Too many Republicans are learning the wrong lessons from last week’s spectacular defeat and are indicating a willingness to work with President Obama on immigration reform. The argument is that by doing so they would close the gap with the Democrats on the Latino vote. Anyone making that argument is terribly misguided. Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to millions back in the 1980’s, yet the borders weren’t secured and Hispanics did not flock to the Republican Party.
National Review makes the case that making a formal policy of refusing to enforce the law is simply bad policy, and that there are other ways to deal with the problem of illegal immigration. Legalizing illegal activity is no way to get less of it.
We know from historical experience that immigration amnesties serve only to encourage yet more illegal immigration, and the suffering and disorder that go along with it. Illegal immigrants constitute a permanent underclass, the growth of which is in the long-term interest of neither the citizens of the United States nor of those immigrants who aspire to citizenship. Stopgap measures such as “temporary guest worker” programs simply convert that underclass from de facto to de jure.
There are many steps we can and should take toward improving our national immigration regime. It should be easier for those with job offers — particularly highly skilled, English-speaking professionals — to gain long-term residency in the United States and to embark on a path to citizenship if they so choose. And for those who are here illegally, especially those who were brought here as young children, our policy options are not restricted to amnesty or round-ups and mass deportations. As anybody who has ever missed a credit-card payment can attest, we have more than sufficient information technology to identify whether people who are cashing paychecks, renting homes, or transacting ordinary business are in fact legally authorized to do so. Until the borders are physically secured, our most effective and most humane option is steady, consistent, judicious workplace enforcement. We do not lack the national means to enforce the law, only the political will to do so. And even if our immigration system is broadly liberalized, the law still will need to be enforced. Non-enforcement simply is not a viable permanent state of affairs. Law enforcement would be as necessary after an amnesty as it is today.
Many on our side argue that most Hispanics are Christian, pro-life and socially conservative. So are a good number of black voters, but you don’t see many of them voting Republican. There’s no reason to believe Hispanics will suddenly switch political allegiance if Republicans cave in to the Democrats, especially when so many believe in statist policies. They need to stop with the knee jerk reaction of going along with bad policy in the hopes it will help them politically, because it won’t. What will help is treating all American voters like adults rather than pandering to anybody based on race, gender or social class.
The Republican party and the conservative movement simply are not constituted for ethnic pandering, and certainly will not out-pander the party of amnesty and affirmative action. Republicans’ challenge is to convince Hispanics, blacks, women, gays, etc., that the policies of the Obama administration are inimical to their interests as Americans, not as members of any collegium of grievance. That they have consistently failed to do so suggests that Republican leadership is at least as much in need of reform as our immigration code.
If the GOP goes along with this all they’re going to do is create even more Democrat voters and bring about one party rule that will be impossible to crack. Especially considering that if they do go along, Obama will take full credit and the media will give it to him. At least until something goes wrong, and then blame will be pinned on the GOP.