Somos Republicans, a national pro-immigration organization, wants former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain to abandon his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in the next election cycle.
Controversial remarks Cain recently made on the issue of border security are at issue in the Hispanic group's call for the Republican hopeful to drop out of the race.
ThinkProgress relays what Cain had to say during a stop in Iowa last month:
I just got back from China. Ever heard of the Great Wall of China? It looks pretty sturdy. And that sucker is real high. I think we can build one if we want to! We have put a man on the moon, we can build a fence! Now, my fence might be part Great Wall and part electrical technology...It will be a twenty foot wall, barbed wire, electrified on the top, and on this side of the fence, I'll have that moat that President Obama talked about. And I would put those alligators in that moat!
More recently, Cain was asked about the remarks in a New York Times Magazine interview:
You said of the Great Wall of China, "I think we could build one" as a solution to our immigration problems. Are you concerned that as many as three million Chinese died building it?
[Cain:] My point was, if they could build that wall centuries ago without bulldozers, we can secure the border today. It could be a combination of walls and high-tech equipment. Now, if accidents happen, that's one thing. But I think we can improve upon that ratio of three million people dying.
"As a civilized society we need to seek civilized solutions that meet the needs of our free market economy," said Somos Republicans in a statement released on Monday. "We fail to see how anyone can seriously consider alligator filled moats and a new 'wall of China' a practical solution to our broken immigration system. The ancient Romans fed Christians to wild beasts to deter the rise of Christianity, but eventually Roman society became Christian, and China eventually fell to invaders from the North despite its great wall. ... As someone who constantly talks about his 'problem solving' skills, we would expect Cain would know that problems are solved not by treating symptoms but by addressing root causes."
Below full text of the release issued by the group:
National Hispanic GOP groups wants Herman Cain to quit Presidential race.
Ankeny, Iowa - Recently, presidential candidate Herman Cain called for solving illegal immigration by securing our border with a moat filled with alligators and an electrified "great wall of China." Throughout his campaign, Cain has emphasized his "problem solving" abilities and business experience with Godfather's Pizza.
As a civilized society we need to seek civilized solutions that meet the needs of our free market economy. We fail to see how anyone can seriously consider alligator filled moats and a new "wall of China" a practical solution to our broken immigration system. The ancient Romans fed Christians to wild beasts to deter the rise of Christianity, but eventually Roman society became Christian, and China eventually fell to invaders from the North despite its great wall.
As someone who constantly talks about his "problem solving" skills, we would expect Cain would know that problems are solved not by treating symptoms but by addressing root causes. The U.S. has seven million undocumented immigrant workers at present. The quotas of guest worker visas are a 'drop in the ocean' for unskilled or low skilled workers, and quotas for highly-skilled workers are also low, and lead many high tech employers to relocate research facilities overseas. Some family members of U.S. Citizens have been waiting since September 1992 for immigrant visas. For those who are not relatives of citizens or highly skilled professionals, there is essentially 'no line to stand in.'
One need only look at the worker shortages in Georgia and Arizona agriculture sectors to see the dire consequences of enforcement-only strategies that don't address the needs of America's economy. 40% of Yuma Arizona's lettuce crop went un-harvested after 100,000 Hispanics fled Arizona following passage of SB1070, even though Yuma has unemployment rates rivaling those of the great depression. Georgia passed a similar law, and now farmers are struggling to find migrant farm workers and now must decide which crops to leave rot. According to a recent study by the Cato institute, for every farm worker in the field, another 3.1 workers depending upon their work. Ironically the fast food industry is one of the sectors of our economy that is heavily dependent on undocumented immigrant workers, so we can't help but wonder if Cain's wealth from this industry was built on undocumented immigrant labor!
Throughout U.S. history, whenever legal immigration has been unreasonably restricted, the result has been illegal immigration, first with Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century, then with Southern and Eastern Europeans during the 1920s, and today with unskilled undocumented workers, over 70% are from Latin America. Our last major immigration overhaul was in 1965, at a time that 50% of native adult Americans were high school dropouts, as compared to 6% today. Clearly, our demographics and needs have changed but our immigration system hasn't.
We call on Herman Cain to drop his candidacy for President. His recent comments and lack of practical solutions to solving illegal immigration show he's not a serious candidate. Many Hispanics find his recent comments comparing immigrants to "invading Huns" offensive, and also insensitive when thousands of immigrants died crossing the desert. We're looking for practical and humane solutions, and find Cain's pandering to xenophobes disgusting. Apparently nativist tea has been served up at many tea parties! Hispanics are a key swing vote, and whichever GOP candidate succeeds in winning the nomination cannot win the general election without the Hispanic vote. Cain needs to leave the field open to more serious candidates.