Governor, let me ask you about immigration. How many undocumented immigrants are there in Alaska?
I don’t know, I don’t know. That’s a good question.
As governor, how do you deal with them? Do you think they all should be deported?
There is no way that in the US we would roundup every illegal immigrant -there are about 12 million of the illegal immigrants- not only economically is that just an impossibility but that’s not a humane way anyway to deal with the issue that we face with illegal immigration.
Do you then favor an amnesty for the 12 or 13 million undocumented immigrants?
No, I do not. I do not. Not total amnesty. You know, people have got to follow the rules. They’ve got to follow the bar, and we have got to make sure that there is equal opportunity and those who are here legally should be first in line for services being provided and those opportunities that this great country provides.
To clarify, so you support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants?
I do because I understand why people would want to be in America. To seek the safety and prosperity, the opportunities, the health that is here. It is so important that yes, people follow the rules so that people can be treated equally and fairly in this country.
Needless to say, some of the initial reactions from the right are not good.
I’d expect her to make some damage control clarifications to this — but it’ll probably be too late. Illegal immigration is not an issue where “the base” trusts John McCain much anyway; this is likely to act as a sharp pin to their nearly deflated balloon.
Added: If Palin does step hard to the right with damage control, I think that would lend support the argument Marc Ambinder made this morning.