TUSCALOOSA, ALA. -- Mike Huckabee has changed his mind and will sign an Alabama senator's immigration pledge for presidential candidates - an effort to defeat the McCain-Kennedy proposal in the U.S. Senate.
In Birmingham last week, Huckabee said he was almost ready to sign the pledge put forth by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., but was on the fence regarding one of its aspects. "Which one?" a reporter asked.
Huckabee said it had to do with the 13th point of the 15-point pledge, one to "eliminate the visa lottery program and change current preference categories that guarantee automatic entry for aging parents and extended family members and replace it with a system that fairly and objectively evaluates at least 50% of applicants based on characteristics such as education, skills, English ability, and age."
Huckabee said he wasn't sure if the ratio for immigrants with advanced degrees was "arbitrary" or flexible enough for changing needs.
"Everything else about it is...absolutely fantastic," Huckabee said. "That's the one piece we haven't been able to completely work on. Hopefully we can get with Senator Sessions to get that verified."
Later at a rally in Tuscaloosa, Huckabee announced he would sign Sessions' pledge. Asked about the decision during the media avail that followed, he said, "Point 13 dealt with ratios of people in engineering-- we looked at that and decided it really is not a big issue and certainly not something that ought to keep us from signing it. It's very consistent with our 9-point immigration plan so I thought, what better time to do it than when I'm in Alabama."
Regarding the seemingly quick manner in which he decided to sign the pledge, he said, "We've been looking at it for about a week…I looked at it last night and today and decided when we got here that this would be a great time to sign the pledge."