La Gobernadora: On Univision, Sarah Palin Talks About Immigration for the First Time

Sarah Palin talks to Univisions Jorge Ramos

Sarah Palin talks to Univision's Jorge Ramos

Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin was seemingly out to counter the critics who complain that she doesn’t talk to the press. On Tuesday, she sat down to chat with CNN, NBC and Spanish-language network Univision. The interview with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos was the first Palin has granted to a Spanish-language media outlet and it touched upon a few issues of interest to Latinos in the U.S.

The interview –which aired Tuesday and will be broadcast again Sunday morning [see listings]– was the first time Palin spoke about the touchy, mood-killing issue of immigration, as La Opinión blogger and Feet in 2 Worlds contributor Pilar Marrero noted. [You can see clips from the interview here.]

The vice presidential nominee said she did not support “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants already in the U.S. But she also said she doesn’t think all of them should be arrested and deported, according to a story on Univision’s website.

[Update: You can read the whole interview in English here.]

“There is no way that in the U.S. we would roundup every illegal immigrant — there are about twelve million illegal immigrants,” Palin said. “We –our policy– John McCain has been so clear with his policy and it makes a lot of sense too: we secure our borders first.

“But then with a comprehensive approach we must deal humanely with those who are here, and we must allow the steps to be taken to protect the families of those who are here, maybe as illegal immigrants today.”

Palin also said she lamented the raids in search of undocumented workers that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been conducting across the country. But, Univision noted, she would not say whether they should be stopped. Palin instead advocated examining the issue on a “case by case” basis.

One immigration-related issue where Palin took a definite position was driver’s licenses, which she said should not be granted to undocumented residents.

On the whole, Pilar Marrero wrote,

…it’s not clear whether Palin favors immigration reform or how she would solve the issue of undocumented immigrants by tending to those who’re here legally first, since one thing is not related to the other. I assume she referred to those who are waiting to immigrate legally, but that wasn’t clear.

Palin also used her appearance to again call Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez “a dictator.”

The Alaska governor said she wanted to “pressure dictators like Hugo Chávez” through negotiations and sanctions, and that it is important that the U.S. not depend on people like the South American leader for its energy supplies. But she also said an American military intervention to oust Chávez has to be “the last alternative.”

Palin talked about NAFTA –it shouldn’t be renegotiated, she said–, expressed support for the pending free trade agreement with Colombia, said Cuban leaders Fidel and Raúl Castro should go, and added she hoped to visit “a free Cuba.” With the Univision interview Palin devoted more attention to Latin America in one sitting than anyone in the presidential contest has done in quite some time.

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