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Republicans Immigration Conundrum

Hugh Hewitt identifies a potential danger to continued Republican electoral dominance:

After two days of conversations in DC with leading conservatives and officials, it is clear to me that the GOP is the party of expertise and achievement abroad and innovation and new ideas at home, always the superior position in politics. The only serious danger to its leadership is a split over immigration --the sort of split that destroyed Peel's Conservative Party over the Corn Laws and Gladstone's Liberals over Home Rule for Ireland and Chamberlain's theories of imperial preference. The president's plan will stir a lot of passions, and would best be coupled with an extraordinary push for southern border security in the form of a border length fence and an easy to patrol highway along its length.
Glenn Reynolds agrees with Hewitt, and notes that there is serious anger in the trenches over the issue.

Nicholas Stix looks at the support for immigration debate at the largest GOP-friendly web sites, and finds that it is an topic that for the most part can't even be broached.

If the GOP's editorial bosses refuse to permit respectable, rational criticism of policies killing off American sovereignty, the members of the GOP's conservative majority shall find themselves with different standard bearers and media, and possibly, a different party.
While I agree that Stix's observations are damning the history of the internet suggests that those who fail to address topics the public is interested in will be routed around. Regardless of the popularity of FreeRepublic, Lucciane, and Townhall, if immigration debate is stifled there the audience will find new forums.

Update: Michelle Malkin notes that Democrats are starting to get a clue and are attacking the immigration issue from the right.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Republicans Immigration Conundrum:

» Yippee-Ki-Yay! linked with I'm a Border Security Supporter

» Stones Cry Out linked with Series on Immigration Policy

Comments (43)

Hewitt is such a tool. A fe... (Below threshold)

Hewitt is such a tool. A fence wouldn't do a darn bit of good and it would just feed the racism charge against Republicans. Hewitt knows it so he keeps talking about border security instead of workplace and orther internal enforcement which is the real issue.

A physical barrier is meaningless without legal enforcement against the criminal activity (i.e. employing/exploiting illegals). It is like sending all the soldiers of Troy to guard the walls of Troy when you have a bunch of business men and lawyers hauling in a large wooden horse.

Damn it! I mispelled "other... (Below threshold)

Damn it! I mispelled "other." Preview is my friend...Preview is my friend...

Septeus,Neither Part... (Below threshold)

Neither Party is willing to do anything to stop the flow of Illegals, let alone ENFORCING CURRENT LAWS against Illegals.

What aggravates me is that ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

What aggravates me is that those opposed to enforcement of existing immigration laws can't put up a single cogent argument for maintaining the status quo of laxness. How the hell can we have a serious debate on an issue if they pooh-pooh our arguments, and refuse to put forth their own?

(Sadly, the last has long been a rhetorical question)


Kevin,VERY enlight... (Below threshold)


VERY enlightening find and a real eye opener. A political site that reputes to discuss important issues of the day or of the party and subsequently refuses to cover such a vitally important issue as national sovereignty and illegal immigration is cowardly. You can bet that I'll keep this is mind if/when I seek content of relevant import.

Those sites should be ashamed. The discovery of such filtering smacks of political hackery and ends up redefining the hosts not as defenders of and seekers of truth but rather of agenda-driven power brokers. They should post a disclaimer of their position, however defensible (or not), and dispell with the notion that they maintain integrity. In such circumstances where no disclaimer exists but the impositions do, the sites become clearing houses of one-way debate where omission of ideas and their banter indicate the closing of the curtain. We don't need curtains, we need light. What's next? Closing doors?

As to another of your observations, yes, "there is serious anger in the trenches over the issue [of immigration]."[emphasis added] The GOP better listen to the public or there will be trouble - in fact and as noted, there already is. The question this lowly citizen has (as well as everyone with whom AD is associated) is why a government perpetually ignores solving these issues of sovereignty for political expediency. If borders are not defended, there is no country. If its laws are not enforced, there is no country. If wholesale granting of amnesty (or whatever PC term of the day) to vast populations is accepted as cyclic policy, there is no country. If the constituents are ignored (at the expense of special interests), there is no country. I bristle with the passive inaction and kicking of cans we so unceremoniously accept. Shameful.

The GOP may likely lose more support than it gains if it doesn't reform illegal immigration. The fact that Hillary Clinton can get to the right of it should be a gigantic red, white, and blue flag waving in its face. Maybe she is falling on her sword to corner the Republicans as hate-mongers for future generations of illegal immigrants who become registered Democrats. Maybe she commits political hare kare with the hope of drawing PAC support from big business seeking cheap, soft assets. Or maybe she recognizes a fatal flaw in the GOP platform and wants the proverbial wedge-issue to invite third-party splintering. For anyone thinking that her position is one of self-sacrifice, I have a bridge to the future to sell you in lala-land. Her wedge won't create an easily expunged splinter, it will create a chasm big enough for an 18-wheeler of illegal immigrants to drive through... maybe it will use that aforementioned bridge.

Hewitt is just as bad as th... (Below threshold)

Hewitt is just as bad as the rest. Hearing him try justify another amnesty or guest worker program is a joke. I have no doubt they will try to seek another amnesty for the promise of beefed up security at the border that will never happen. Like security is something that should be bartered, in the first place. Let's just keep driving wages down, and spending for health/incarceration/education for illegals up. California now forks over 10.5 billion plus a year.

Illegal immigration may be hillary's talking point these days, but it's all talk. We're really between a rock and a hard place. Both parties are willing to lie about their positions, too. I suspect I won't be voting for any one 2008.

With regards to Lucianne, ... (Below threshold)

With regards to Lucianne, I have read that site since 2000, and I have never seen any filtering of news. The articles posted have to come from legitimate news sources. Some news sites requested Lucianne not link to them, but I don't remember why. I think World Net Daily was one of those sites. Some of the posters who were banned were making racist and anti-semitic remarks, as well as using symbols, and plays-on words, in place of obsentities. For example, Dashole instead of Dachle.
Bush was hammered relentlessly on Campaign Finance Reform and his illegal immigration policy. Half the people on those boards won't contribute to the RNC anymore because of those issues. An article on illegal immigration will have a huge thread bashing Republicans and Bush. Remember when Bush had to take time out in Spring of 2004 to go shore up his base? The boards on Lucianne were full of fed up people who were saying they would not vote for him. Then Michael Moore released his stupid movie and the tide turned, the boards united to fight the "common enemy". Thank you Michael Moore!

I think this is an issue th... (Below threshold)
Will Pickering:

I think this is an issue that probably induces racists to come out of the closet, and a lot of sites don't want be associated with this type of commenter. Regardless of the merits of the OBL or Great Waller positions, racism is, unfortunately, a dirty underside of this issue.

P.S. What a URL?

RE: Will Pickering's post (... (Below threshold)

RE: Will Pickering's post (March 12, 2005 08:32 AM)

I think this is an issue that probably induces racists to come out of the closet, and a lot of sites don't want be associated with this type of commenter...

That may be true and is admittedly unfortunate. However, the racists will be spotted and subsequently ignored by serious people. They'll probably also get virtually thrashed. Some hosts might even manage to screen the "racists" (however they define it since it is their site) since they manage to remove other questionable content. It would be apparent to regular readers what sites truly filter the most egregious violators and what ones filter reflexively to the point of censorship. I submit readers of such material are smart enough to discern that difference and the audience traffic will adjust accordingly.

We cannot ignore important topics because it might induce riff-raff, and persons promoting serious dialogue shouldn't cower from challenge. We have lots of nasty debates with all sorts of extraneous baggage and manage to address them... why should immigration be different? If the fear of racists crawling out from the woodwork is indeed the fear trotted out as excuse, then I suggest it is a convenient smokescreen concealing a more nefarious agenda.

P.S. What a URL?

Do you mean in webspeak? It is a uniform resource locator.

be forwarned, disjointed ra... (Below threshold)

be forwarned, disjointed rant follows

Hewitt refuses to take up this exact cause, because he’s part of that OBL crowd. Note his defense of the indefensible David Drier, who had to dump over 1.5 million of his warchest into re-election because of his record on coddling illegals which was exposed by local radio hosts. Drier still supports the Presidents Amnesty program, though he has been a positive force on some immigration issues. His constituents gave him a nice wakeup call when he only won his seat this year with 54% of the vote against an unfunded, and unsupported Democrat who pledged to oppose an open borders policy.

There are some 20 radio stations working together to get people to go to Washington to lobby on behalf of enforcing even existing immigration laws, and to halt the chances of “amnesty”. In LA, the John and Ken show (largest radio audience in the US for a single station) have been harping on this for years because of how bad the problem has gotten in California. Years ago you would never see the kind of article Time recently did about illegal immigration, spotlighting the some 3 million that will come into the country this year. Even the NYTimes is running illegal immigration articles. How is it that these bastions of lefty media are waking up to the idea of the harms involved in unchecked immigration before the Republican party?

As to the “racists” argument, people need to quit fearing a label that is used too often, the term racist has little power with anyone but the PC media, and other PC followers. Your average American doesn’t think its racist to enforce border law, that’s why nearly 70% oppose illegal immigration. And if you are debating illegal immigration (that key term being illegal) and the first action the other side does is play the race card, then you’ve already won the debate. Much like Goodwins law, playing the race card has no legitimacy in the immigration debate.

Opposition to illegal immigration is not opposition to legal immigration. This is the part of the debate that pisses me off the most. The second you speak out against illegal immigration you get labeled as some anti-immigrant xenophobe. When in actuality you just want the rule of law to apply equally. Why should big corporations get away with knowingly hiring illegals and receive no punishment. 70% of the farm workers in California are illegal, the INS could round them up tomorrow, but they don’t because they bow to pressure from both sides. The left wants illegals because they want a new exploitable power base. The Right wants them because they want cheap labor and to support their masters at big business. Who gets left out in the cold here, the American public who ends up paying for it all with lost jobs, lower wages, closed hospitals, overcrowded schools, packed roads, criminal invasion, and a whole host of other problems.

Since this isn’t a “race” issue, you may be curious as to what gets so many of us pissed off when our own part, the party of “fiscal responsibility” fails to understand the biggest thing that sticks in our craw is that this is a massive economic and fiscal responsibility issue.
Analysis of the latest Census data indicates that California’s illegal immigrant population is costing the state’s taxpayers more than $10.5 billion per year for education, medical care and incarceration. Even if the estimated tax contributions of illegal immigrant workers are subtracted, net outlays still amount to nearly $9 billion per year. The annual fiscal burden from those three areas of state expenditures amounts to about $1,183 per household headed by a native-born resident. This analysis looks specifically at the costs to the state for education, health care and incarceration resulting from illegal immigration. These three are the largest cost areas, and they are the same three areas analyzed in a 1994 study conducted by the Urban Institute, which provides a useful baseline for comparison ten years later. Other studies have been conducted in the interim, showing trends that support the conclusions of this report. Each year this burden continues to grow. The Presidents amnesty program is misguided, and lets be honest that’s exactly what it is, amnesty. They screwed up in 86 when they passed amnesty, and we of short memories forgot that they promised this would be the last time. But now its back again, and the party elite on both sides remain motionless.

What disgusts me so much, and this applies mostly to Freerepublic, is that they always harped like a bunch of lefty moonbats when it came to the “rule of law”, yet now they ignore it totally. Pot-meet-kettle. Hypocrites all.

The posters that were banne... (Below threshold)

The posters that were banned on Lucianne, and the ones making racist comments were piled on by the other posters. They were not making arguments, just spouting racist bile. Most posters think that illegal immigration is out of hand, and that their party is ignoring their voices.
Quite few posters are threatening to stay home in 2006 and 2008. These tone deaf Republican leaders better pay attention, because people are sick and tired of shelling out their money to the RNC, only to be ignored after the checks are cashed. Kudos to the armed citizens who banded together to patrol the border in Arizona. If the politicians refuse to protect the borders, I have no problem with a citizens' militia doing the job for them.

If you think that things ar... (Below threshold)

If you think that things are bad now, just wait. The second that an actual terrorist attack occurs in America, with the perps (or their funding or their weapons) provably having come in over the Mexican border, all of GWB's "open border" BS will become a club that will be used to beat the Republican Party to death at the polls. This may be the one issue that the Democrats can use to reinvent themselves as the Party of National Security (and score points with a number of their own constituencies) and if the GOP strategic leadership refuses to recognize this... so much the worse for all of us.

The second that an actua... (Below threshold)
Christopher Rake:

The second that an actual terrorist attack occurs in America, with the perps (or their funding or their weapons) provably having come in over the Mexican border, all of GWB's "open border" BS will become a club that will be used to beat the Republican Party to death at the polls.

This is an excellent point. Hillary has to have thought of this.

Every time I read a story about how Bush (or President Clinton for that matter) ignored warnings about al Qaeda or terrorism generally I roll my eyes. Whatever warnings were delivered were buried in a mountain of a million other warnings. This won't be true the second time around. From Tancredo on the right to Hillary on the left to the nascent militia on the border, there are plenty of sirens blaring at this very minute. The biggest tragedy of another terrorist attack will be the loss of human life, but if it's launched across an undefended border there will be political hell to pay. And there should be.

Hmmm.You know. If... (Below threshold)


You know. If I were a terrorist I'd dress up my gang in traditional Arabic robes, ride camels and make a "Blair Witch Project" video of our crossing the Mexico border on our way to bombing some residential shopping mall. really camp it up and make the whole thing completely ridiculous.

That would pretty much torpedo the GOP's credibility on the GWOT. Damn good thing the terrorists are completely clueless on Americans.

IMHO I think the current laxness is just plain idiotic. We've spent over $300 billion on the GWOT and for what? To STILL be vulnerable over our borders? The GOP can't even use the fiction that enforcement of immigration law will cost them votes because, as past elections have shown, a majority of legal immigrants are in favor of enforcing immigration laws. That also includes latinos.

Frankly the GOP is being extremely short-sighted on this issue and I would have no trouble abandoning the party over this.

Hmm. From Kevin's mouthed o... (Below threshold)

Hmm. From Kevin's mouthed observations to the following ears:

+ Septeus7's warning of stymied prosecution.

+ BurbankErnie's reminder of lax enforcement.

+ Jay's recognition of failing retorts.

+ julie's insight on the lying from both parties.

+Will's inference of the stealth codeword "racism".

+ Gabriel's entirely cogent "rant".

+ Stormy70's call for self-preservation (dare I say duty).

+ DaveP's recognition of a Democratic quill in the quiver.

+ And numerous other considerations...

Noticing a trend here? Yes, it's still early in this thread's life but already a consensus has developed. It's not very often that we see solidarity like this on any site. Are there any naysayers out there?

GOP - get on the ball, NOW!

The GOP forgets that their ... (Below threshold)

The GOP forgets that their base can be fickle. Here in Texas, we went years voting out Governors of each party only after one term. Bush was the first governor to win a second term in decades. I agree with everyone here that the border issue is the soft underbelly of the GOP, and it can destroy them if the terrorists poke it with a sharp stick.

Just remember it isn't just... (Below threshold)

Just remember it isn't just a GOP issue, but that both Parties refuse to ENFORCE or address ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. From Congress down to local Police Officer, School Board to Judges,NO ONE is enforcing immigration laws. Here in CA, the Police cannot even ask a person being given a traffic citation whether they are a legal citizen or not, claiming only an INS Officer can ask that. The INS WILL NOT enforce the laws by rounding up ILLEGAL ALIENS in known locations, even by tips from concerned citizens. CA Politicos on the Left and Right have been battered by John and Ken. The Governator is backing down on the Driver's License for Illegal's platform he ran on here. NO Politico has the testicular fortitude to stand up to their real interests:

Republicans = Corporate Interest

Democrats = Liberal PC, open society, one world, antiwar, ACLU member crowd

Face it, Hillary says Borders are number 1 concern, so now she can sit back and wait for the inevitable. If she was really concerned, She is a SENATOR. SENATORS write BILLS. BILLS get voted into LAW. LAWS get enforced. Hillary won't do Shit.

Okay, here's the flip side:... (Below threshold)

Okay, here's the flip side: The Mexican government has made encouraging illegal imigration an unacknowledged policy for a long time now (with the emergence of the 'How to' guide, published by the Mexican government, it may not be so uacknowledged any more): it helps dispose of restless and ambitious types that might threaten the status quo and contributes quite a bit of greenbacks to Mexico's economy in the form of remittances from those who made it to the folks at home.
If we close the border to illegals and make it stick (ignoring the cost and difficulty of doing so), the least we'd face would be a major diplomatic rift with Mexico. Consider the volume of goods that flow in both directions across that border, and remember that Mexico has been America's largest single importer of oil since the 80's, and you have the makings of an economic disaster. Worst case scenario, we might see a Mexican oil embargo (with Venezuela kicking in) coupled with a refutation of the NAFTA treaty.
Bush and the GOP might just be putting the best face on a situation that they know they can't change.
What is the price that we (and here I mean America at large, not just Republicans or Democrats) are politically willing to pay for a secure southern border? Discussion?

The major cause of illegal ... (Below threshold)

The major cause of illegal immigration is the corrupt Mexican government will not change its socialist policies in order to provide economic iopportunity for their own people. By allowing illegal immigration we enable Mexican government corruption. Mexico knows it would have a revolution on its hands if illegal immgiration were stopped. Mexico desperately needs a revolution. Our current policy of illegal immigration dooms us to a nightmare.

Interesting post by Malkin ... (Below threshold)
Ray Midge:

Interesting post by Malkin yesterday to the effect that Democrats are moving to attack from Bush's right on this (although I suspect they don't actually agree with what they say, just taking advantage of Bush's fertile hypocricy here.) Still though. Link

Er, duh. I just realized K... (Below threshold)
Ray Midge:

Er, duh. I just realized Kevin linked the same Malkin thing in his post. I'll just slink away now.

I'd like to extend my quest... (Below threshold)

I'd like to extend my questions about the unfavorable consequences of closing the Mexican border, and (with all respect) I'd like to use PatJ's comment as a springboard. Say it goes like this: We end Mexico's 'illegal immigration' safety valve; they end up with a revolution (rather than simply jacking up the repression). How likely is it that they will end up with an "ethical" government- or even a stable one- and how likely is it that they will get a military junta or a Chavez-esque "revolutionary" dictatorship? Will American troops be needed to protect our interests? Will we need to post a military armed guard on our borders to keep the war on their side of the Rio? What will the effects be on American commerce with Mexico? What would we do about the hordes of refugees that might be heading north to escape the fighting? Turn them away? Set up camps?
A lot of American diplomacy south of Texas has been centered on the idea of NOT having a revolutionary state bordering on America. I'm not disagreeing with you- I find the Mexican kleptocracy repulsive- but if we do foment the downfall of Mexico, we may be coming in for consequences far worse than we have with the status quo.
Note that I'm in favor of a tight border. It's just that I haven't seen much discussion of the topics I'm raising in the normal immigration debates and I want to air them for consideration.

Bush and the Reps will not ... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

Bush and the Reps will not do anything on this because it would do damage to the bottom line of : IBM, NIKE, Ford Motor, Tyson Foods, Apple, Gillette and many others I am not aware of.They hire illegals because they are invisible - not on the payroll. Therefore they save 35%-50% in payrol taxes (Soc Sed, UI, SDI,Workers Comp ...), and an additonal 15% - 60% in other payroll related benes (retirement, medical ins, dental ins. ...)

Well, Hugh Hewitt's linked ... (Below threshold)

Well, Hugh Hewitt's linked to both you, Wizbang, and me, and we are both catching plenty of flak for addressing this issue. Are the folks above the "small, hard-core nativist, anti-even-legal-immigrant group that seeks to hijack every conversation and comment thread about border security" to which Hugh refers?

Folks, we have a real problem and we have to have a serious debate and solution. Bashing Bush and raising conspiracy bogeymen will not only get us nowhere, it will cause us to lose the leasdership on the issue to the left.

I saw that Hugh Hewitt char... (Below threshold)

I saw that Hugh Hewitt characterized the comments here as "fringe," but they're not fringe.

We are enabling the enrichment of Mexico's elite at the expense of the average Mexican citizen and at untold cost, not only in dollars, to the US. We are perpetuating the problem.

In reply to DavedP, cordially, about the consequences of a revolution in Mexico, one doesn't know if, or how, violent one would be.

You can ask many of the same questions about our stirring up the ME, but, long-term, I don't think the status quo is acceptable below our border.

We already have (economic) refugees from Mexico at an estimated rate of 10,000 per day. Sure we'd need troops on the border, we need them now. I genuinely hate to say it, but if you turned away refugees, there wouldn't be change in Mexico. (Not forgeting that there are illegal aliens here from all over the world. China is second in the number of illegals here.)

I'd think it would hurt trade with all of Latin America, not just Mexico, for how long one doesn't know.

I think you have to do a cost/benefit analysis of whether is it worth it to maintain the US as a sovereign nation or not, because it is not an exaggeration to say that is the question we are facing.

Texas governor, Rick Perry, is planning a massive, and I do mean massive, toll road from Mexico through Texas, later planned to go further into the country. The contractor is Spanish. Private funds are to be used. No one got to vote on it. No one is sure Americans will be in change of it. If this plan comes to fruition, there won't be much of a border left. Not that there's much of a border now, but the question of our borders will become even more meaningless.

I believe the notion that t... (Below threshold)
Ray Midge:

I believe the notion that the Republican party is adopting an amnesty/soft stance on illegal immigration because they are beholden to business interests is simplistic and, frankly, originates from the same mental cave as most of the left's moonbattery.

The real impetus is over the importance of winning elections . That politics sometimes requires that some prinicples have to bend or simply be forgotten about to accomplish other goals. They fear that acting so that the R party becomes perceived as 'anti-immigrant' is going to drive Mexican-Americans as wholly and as permanently to the Dem's as civil rights did African Americans.

It's one thing to say that Immigration is a 'super-important issue,' it's another to say it's so important it's worth driving ourselves into the electoral/demographic wilderness come 2030 for decades afterward.

Winning elctions matters. What kinda of world would the future hold had some 'prinicipled stance' of R's from 1980 elected Kerry to office in 2004? Would you still be so angry about the R's stance then or would you recognize there exist ugly trade offs in the political world, that you can't get anything if you demand everything?

There seems really only two responses to the R leadership:
1. You're wrong. A hard border jihad won't result in political devastation come the future (Prove it, I say. R leasership pays consultants/demographers big money to provide this info, so where's your non anecdotal proof); or
2. The pol. devastation can be avoided if we can actually accomplish the goal of removing illegals (So how? More border patrols? Ha! The only thing that will work is removing the economic incentive for them to come here. Can this be done effectively w/o a National ID card and all the "Nazi/Big Brother" brickbats that will be hurled at the party (perhaps deservedly.))

I write this not because I'm unsympathetic or don't share the outrage over the costs inflicted by unchecked illegal immigration, but because I'm tired of people assuming the R's are acting as they are because they 'are beholden' to some group or another. No. The issue is 'winning elections.' And not just in border states. That, regardless of how pumped up about this issue you are, REALLY, REALLY matters.

Ray,On one hand you ... (Below threshold)

On one hand you say Politico's aren't tied to Big Business/Immigration, then on the other hand you say it is Politico/Elections. Why is one Moonbattery and not the other? Why is one more legit then the other? Both Parties are denying what their constituents want, and that is no open borders, enforce the Laws already in place to deal with the Illegal Immigration problem. You would have to be naive to think that Politicians are not tied to the MONEY Corporations give to their Campaigns and the promises which have to be kept to get ELECTED. Both answers deal with elections, just in a different light. Over 70% of Americans do not want Illegals coming here. The job situation is WORSE because of it. Many Industries are now overrun with Illegals. If this is the fringe talking, Then America is Majority Fringe. This is not a Republican/Democrat Issue. This is a POLITICAL Issue that NO POLITICIAN will touch, and that is the sad truth. Elections or Corporations, it is not the WILL OF THE PEOPLE being served. Draw the conclusion you like, call me fringe and discount my view, but realize the truth.

BurbankErnie: Sorry, didn'... (Below threshold)
Ray Midge:

BurbankErnie: Sorry, didn't want my words to be a personal attack. Just disagreeing with the notion that the reason R's are acting as they are is because of some old musty knee jerk 'in bed w/ business' notion.

Really, that has about as much explanatory depth as some early 20th centruy pol. cartoon depicting a group of massivly overweight felines labeled 'Bizniz Fat Kats' holding the puppet strings of some tiny, dancing 'Republickin' on a stage.

Rep's will take the money, mind you, but it ain't the money making them dance. It's a cold appreciation of electoral/demographic future America.

Either they're wrong about the future or they're wrong that it's inevitable. That's where the debate needs to be. I'm not defending their inaction, but they have good reasons for (not) doing what they're doing: to exist as a party capable of winning future elections. That's what has to be examined. Silly caricatures (sorry) don't do much beside marginalizing their holder's otherwise well placed outrage.

In response to The Hedgehog... (Below threshold)

In response to The Hedgehog and Hewitt -

From Hewitt:
Saturday, March 12, 2005 (Posted at Noon, EST)
Glenn has penned his MSNBC column on the political perils of immigration policy for the GOP. Wizbang's post (and especially the comments thread) underscores that the fringe can quickly overwhelm any discussion of the problem if the issue is not addressed in candid and comprehensive fashion. Polipundit has more, and Hedgehog and Michelle Malkin should be checked frequently for informed views on the tough issues. There's a small, hard-core nativist, anti-even-legal-immigrant group that seeks to hijack every conversation and comment thread about border security, and you can usually identify its members pretty quickly. But the venom among this small, off-putting group should not disguise the fact there is widespread, across-the-political-spectrum worry that there isn't enough effort being put into border security. And that concern could become Hillary's path to the right in 2008, though it is hard to see how, if the issue is border security, the answer could ever be a Democrat in the White House.

Speaking as one of the quickly identified members of the "small, hard-core nativist, anti-even-legal-immigrant" "fringe" spewing "venom" in my own special "off-putting" manner, I find Hewitt's pigeonholing a bit offensive not to mention erroneous. How is it that this concerned assemblage of individuals from who-knows-where responding on a publicly accessible forum asking others for debate on the issue "overwhelm[ing] any discussion of the problem"? Wizbang is not editing content. Wizbang, as far as I know, is not blocking response. This very Wizbang post is about Aylward's warning that "topics of public concern", illegal immigration being one of the biggest effecting every legal citizen of this country, require open debate or the audience will abandon it ["GOP-friendly web sites"] and seek new forums. The respondents make points and wait for dissent. Up to the point of critique when Hewitt posted his entry, there had been none, and believe me, the Liberals who read this site would not hesitate to jump on this thread to contradict a post. I'm not naming names but some thrive on the antagonism (or maybe they enjoy watching perceived allies eat their own - sneaky devils). This tells me that the criticism is not fringe, is justified, and is shared among many shades of the political rainbow despite different motives for disclosing such critique.

It is entirely commendible that Hewitt is broaching this topic since it is as serious as one will find in the political world, nevermind its nonpolitical overtones which are implicitly substantive. I just don't find his response (Noon, EST) particularly considered. In fact I read his statement as a contradiction. After summarily dismissing this "fringe", Hewitt appends "there is widespread, across-the-political-spectrum worry that there isn't enough effort being put into border security." How can widespread agreement on the very problem addressed by the fringe still be considered fringe? In case you don't study rhetoricals, it isn't.

Yes, following the Malkins and Tancredos of the world is important, particularly regarding illegal immigration and because they are so good, since these issues are central to the way they make their living; however, their respective forums are not conducive to debate from the everyman who doesn't exist to live and breathe politics. This forum is. And Wizbang has advanced the idea that such forums exist, that they be wide open, and that they not filter the content despite the odd chance that something unsavory be discovered. Some would say we were venom-spewing fringe. Fine, call me a puffadder in the Californian-Arizonan-New Mexican-Texan desert. (I'm afraid the upper latitudes and coastal waters are too hostile for my delicate constitution.) If my positioning will ward off illegal immigrants, I'll wear the title like a badge of honor and defend the Constitution that I do have.

Ray - - Let me tell you h... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

Ray - - Let me tell you how to deal with the IBM, Ford Motor, Apple et . al. problem Do away with the payroll taxes and then there will not be an economic reward to hire illegals. Now does that sound "left moonbat". I voted for Goldwater in 64.
To state the facts honestly does not make one a lefty. There is a tremendous advantage to hire someone for whom you pay no taxes. I all employess were not taxed there would be no incentive to hire illegals.

Rod: I've read your stuff ... (Below threshold)
Ray Midge:

Rod: I've read your stuff here before and, normally, agree with it. It's just that I think you're wrong here, or at least your emphasis. Also I don't mean to paint you as a lefty with my remark, I think each side (left and right) has its moonbats and moonbattery inducing issues. Maybe the word itself is a little rough, so if you were insulted, I apologize.

That said, the notion that the Rep.'s are taking the position they are because the Fortune 500 has them in their pocket and illegals are vital to their work force is simply... strange. I seriously doubt Fortune 500 co's are employing illegals (here in the U.S.) in any numbers outside of their cleaning staffs or corporate campus lawncare (probably sub'd out anyway.) You seem (?) to be claiming they're hiring them as executives or, maybe, assembly workers (?). Is the UAW really turning a blind eye to massive #'s of illegals taking union jobs? Maybe stuff w/ illegals happens somewhere at the margins, but big co's concern re: immigration seem more centered on changing VISA laws to allow foreign engineers and such to work here legally.

Again, don't mean to call an old leatherneck a 'lefty.' Know that's not the case and apologise if that's how I came off.

AD: At first I was offend ... (Below threshold)

AD: At first I was offend by Hewitt's comment. Rereading it, I can see it's poorly written. Is he calling Wizbang and the commenters fringe? Or, is he noting the references to discussions at other websites? To make it more confusing, up until now Hewitt has done everything to prevent this topic from being discussed. He acts dismissive and annoyed everytime someone tries to bring it up on his radio show. I finally stopped listening to him. He's too knee jerk RNC. And since he lives in SoCal, to hold his position on immigration, he must be wearing blinders. So, shame on him.

Rereading my own comments, I realize nothing has changed. It's just a ruse to get people to get with the program based on false promises and phony debates.

RE: DaveP.'s post (March 12... (Below threshold)

RE: DaveP.'s post (March 12, 2005 01:30 PM)
...Consider the volume of goods that flow in both directions across that border, and remember that Mexico has been America's largest single importer of oil since the 80's, and you have the makings of an economic disaster. Worst case scenario, we might see a Mexican oil embargo (with Venezuela kicking in) coupled with a refutation of the NAFTA treaty.

You have relegated this to a Mexico-U.S. trade issue rather than a U.S-border/illegal immigration issue but I understand why. However, the problem is not limited to the trafficking of end-product (an imbalance by the way as there is a significant trade deficit with our second largest partner in trade) but is exacerbated by the export of capital for manufacturing outside of the U.S. Actually, introducing trade into the equation is so huge that I don't think this thread can handle it. The topic is just so vast. But to simplify greatly, a majority of the trade is one-way with the U.S. importing goods increasingly manufactured by capital and hard-assets exported from the U.S. and its concomitant cheaper labor. From economic theory, this makes sense since the idea is to move the hard assets into places where soft assets are cheapest. This, however, is not beneficial for the U.S. because it results in the desire of business to devolve to the lowest common denominator of the cheapest labor possible. U.S. manufacturing and Mexican manufacturing will trend toward equilibrium. Macroeconomists with secure jobs might smile on this. I do not.

But getting away from the forest of economic trees, would our blocking of immigrants upset the flow of goods so much as to be catastrophic? I doubt it. Mexico has more to lose than the U.S. does. In 2003 the U.S. was the destination for 81.2% of Mexican exports. The U.S. was the source of 64.8% of Mexican imports. That's quite an imbalance if we just look at end product and that imbalance has since widened. Mexico is not about to terminate that trade because they are a little miffed that we tightened the spigot. Well, maybe they would throw a threatening tantrum for a while to intimidate policy, but the U.S. cannot be subservient to Mexican interests. Now I haven't included the trade from nations south of Mexico that traverse the pipeline northward through Mexico. Certainly Mexico would impose a higher tariff (assuming tariffs are applied) so the cost of goods would increase accordingly. It might start making those foreign-made end-products more expensive and cause consumers at home to buy U.S. manufactured products instead. I think I'd smile on that were I an American.

As to the oil argument, maybe a paradigm shift would be a good thing. Our travails with securing that energy resource has directed our policy for too long. No, I'm not insinuating anything about Iraq here. What I am suggesting is that our addicition to foreign energy resources has compromised this country. We must interject ourselves into places we would not have to if we weren't concerned with certain regions being hijacked by tyrannical governance. Not included in the cost of energy is the horrendously expensive military to defend our interest. That indirect cost is not included in your bill at the pump so it remains a hidden expense. I should think we could move to alternative energy at a faster pace (hell, any pace), and this dustup, if it occurs, could be the very vehicle to advance that project. Could an oil embargo ensue and result in higher energy costs that trickle through production lines? Sure, as could any number of unknowns. But I think it is worth the risk, and the sooner the better, before Chinese and other expanding second-world economies really flourish.

I've just touched on a few things but it seems to me that the economic hit might not be too bad and the enforcement of law would be, in the long-term, a boost to our economic stability and independence.

julie,I've never l... (Below threshold)


I've never listened to Hewitt and have read his blog but twice, including this most recent contradiction. I'll defer to your experience though I still read his post as a particularly pointed one since our comments were parenthetically specified.

Your mention of Hillary's talking point is true and is the triangulating trap to be used a la Perot 1992 Presidential redux. Perot appealed to the independents that tended Libertarian and a good chunk of fiscally Conservative Republicans. Clinton rode that divide to election. Clinton the prodigy has found the very issue she will hope to ride into the White House in 2008. That's a horse race the GOP better grasp coming out of the gate because at turn one, Hillary is in the lead. Will there be other issues to ride leading up until then? Absolutely, but all the Democrats really need is one big, all encompassing issue to carry them to victory. I submit Bush's was national security and he would not have won last year were it not for that singular issue. Values may have been important but they are hard to quantify. National security is much less so and is a commonly uniting theme. Illegal immigration is too.

It's not just winning elect... (Below threshold)

It's not just winning elections. That has become an added reason, but it would not have been significant if massive illegal immigration was not *already* in play.

Sure business wants cheap labor, but there's more to it. The government has wanted the revenue from illegal's phony Social Security cards. Though the totalization agreement throws that for a loop.

The US birth rate is down and they've wanted younger workers. Though trying to solve that problem as Europe has, with illegal immigration, just causes different problems.

Hewitt's remarks are to try to get people to think the comments here are "fringe" so others won't go along with them, but that won't work. This is a subject that I hear come up constantly from people of all walks fo life. They say the same as the comments here.

Julie,You are absolu... (Below threshold)

You are absolutely spot on with your assesment of Hewitt. I read his book "If It Is Not Close, They Can't Cheat", and the main thread is follow the RNC line. BTW, I thought it was an outstanding read otherwise. I believe Hewitt was responding to the Comments on the aforementioned Blogs. That is what really pisses me off. Most of the responses are in agreement; Bush's stance on Immigration is wrong, and hard to agree with. I do not see where the Majority can be labeled fringe.

Ray, I didn't take your words as an attack, and hope you did not take my response as one either. Any excuse used as justifying an Amnesty program or an open border just does not sit well with me, be it for votes or Campaign Dollars.

Ray - - I have a friend w... (Below threshold)
Rod Stanton:

Ray - - I have a friend who is a mid level exec at IBM (on a par withe the gofers fired by Viacom) IBM did a cost analysis of hiring illegals as engineers and programmers about 12 years ago. About 10 years ago, based on the analysis, they decided that even though illegals tend to be less productive than Americans the overwhelming cost savings in all the related taxes make it worth while to hire them as engineers and programmers; as well as janitors and assembly workers. Nike did something similar 20 years ago up in Ore. I have not heard GM, or Sun doing this so I dont say Fortune 500.

Illegal immigration from Me... (Below threshold)

Illegal immigration from Mexico is basically foreign aid for the Mexican government but it is mostly paid for by American blue-collar workers. This is simply unfair.

I agree, Steve J. I want to... (Below threshold)

I agree, Steve J. I want to throttle the next person who says illegal immigrants do the jobs most Americans wont' do. They won't do them b/c the flood of cheap labor has driven wages down. For the approx. $1400 bucks it cost me a year to pay for services, I could afford an extra quarter a head of lettuce might cost me. I'm worried about all this talk about giving illegal immigrants drivers licenses It will result in more lost jobs for Americans.

Another subgroup that has n... (Below threshold)

Another subgroup that has not been addressed is the transient or seasonal labor pool that migrates back and forth to fill all of those "undesirable" jobs. I've spoken to a few illegals and temp workers (they work for legitimate companies that subcontract out certain services and the subcontractor is the one serving as the buffer or launderer of illegal labor) and they use their employment as high-wage labor compared to work in Mexico.

A couple to three months in the U.S. equates to a full year of wages there. In essence they use U.S. social support to subsidize their welfare while in the U.S., draw a paycheck from a subcontractor that may/may not disclose their presence, avoid any payroll or other taxes (except for sales), and subsequently return home only to return year after year. The younger ones tended to save the money so that they could live comparatively better than their counterparts at home; the older ones sent the money home to support the family.

The upshot is that even temp worker programs drive down U.S. wages and may still result in the avoidance of taxes due the government (i.e. taxpaying citizens). This cheap labor pool is a problem no matter how government or business tries to spin it. I guess the alternative is to let offshoring escalate since all businesses seem to think that they will outcompete their competition if they just offshore quicker. Well, one day all business will be offshoring and those high-paying jobs will start moving too. The consequence? There won't be too many employed people available to purchase those cheap, imported products. Ah but those mobile corporations will do just fine. They'll move their headquarters to the next country that provides tax breaks and incentives.

I think the best example of recent time is the textile industry. The U.S. was miles ahead of the entire world due to capital investment and worker productivity. Next, capital was moved to foreign soils and maquiladoras to exploit cheap labor. Every textile company had to follow the leader to remain competitive. American plants aged and the infrastructure was not maintained. The exodus increased. More capital left, local jobs plummeted, and the industry proceeded to collapse. NAFTA contributed to that accelerated collapse since any equilibrating tariffs were essentially removed from the equation. (Up until 1913 when the 16th Amendment was ratified, tariffs financed our entire government.) My how times have changed.

Now, the southern exodus to Mexico is not even cheap enough. The plants moved to Mexico are now competing with even cheaper labor from China. And the cycle continues. Any country that expects to remain economically sound needs heavy industry and manufacturing. As capital keeps following the cheapest labor around a shrinking globe, the race to the bottom accelerates. Is this good for America?

Yes, this was a bit of a rant. No, I really don't feel better. Maybe the U.S. has a problem. Now which party is going to fix it? That is probably the party that gets my vote. And I haven't even addressed the national security component yet.

Okay I've had enough! It's... (Below threshold)

Okay I've had enough! It's time to coin the following:

1. A label ("Migra Merchant" - see below)
2. A slogan
3. A mascot to represent the opposing side (my suggestion: a rat)
4. A logo (for T-shirts)
5. A prediction
6. An ultimatum
7. A group identity

8. A campaign.

The opposing side is the coalition of vested interests who undermine honest public dissemination and discussion of the illegal immigration problem.   Here's my suggestion:

1. New label: Migra Merchant (pronounced "mee-gra" of course)

Definiton: One who trafficks in, takes advantage of, subverts the law for, manipulates public opinion for, or otherwise champions in any way, the practice of illegal immigration into our country. (Okay, the phraseology may need some work)

Alternate Definition: Migra merchants: Those who illegally traffick in human capital ("undocumented workers") and/or seek to benefit economically or politically from the practice.

2. New slogan: "Just Say No to Migra Merchants." (okay it's a placeholder :) )

3. New mascot: A rat? (A cute one so people don't look away in horror :) )

4. New logo: The Migra Merchant mascot (the rat) inside a "Ghostbusters" circle w/the line through it.

5. New prediction: "If the Migra Merchants desert the American people, the ship will sink."
(Juxtaposed against the visuals of the rat, obviously. Too fatalistic? Too demagogic? Too logically contradictory? I like it myself)

I can see a T-shirt with the Migra Merchant rat logo (#4) & the slogan (#2) on the front, and the prediction (#5) on the back, with a list of the worst offenders of illegal alien hiring practices. It would be fun to see ordinary folks going shopping on Saturday wearing T-shirts (listing stores like Wal-Mart, Kroger, ... on the back), while they're in those very stores cruising the aisles or standing in the checkout line.

6. New ultimatum: "You're either with us or against us." (borrowed from the GWOT, needs to be worked a little :) )

7. New group identity: Citizens Against Migra Merchants (CAMM) (?)
Or how about this: USCAMM "You-scam" (U.S. Citizens Against Migra Merchants)

To be xeno-friendly, the "C" in CAMM/USCAMM could also stand for "Consumers"

8. New campaign: Expose "migra merchants" through a dedicated website, ad campaigns, etc. Raise holy heck. How 'bout it?

:-D Enjoy.

Will Pickering said, "I thi... (Below threshold)

Will Pickering said, "I think this is an issue that probably induces racists to come out of the closet, and a lot of sites don't want be associated with this type of commenter."

Where immigration is concerned, I think the charge of racism should be held back except in extreme cases. Immigration has consequences, some good, some bad. Because of those consequences, I believe Americans have an obligation to question any immigration policy. But many people keep their mouth shut, because they fear the charge of racism. Now, don't get me wrong. I know that there are racists out there. But often people don't know how to express themselves well, and all they're able to communicate is their anger and fear. In most cases that anger and fear is about losing control of the country, about the unstability bilingualism does to any nation, and about finding communities latinized instead of Americanized. These are valid and rightful concerns. The race of the immigrant is not the issue to most Americans upset about immigration. They would feel the same way about any group of immigrants that created the same changes in our culture.

To Happy: I agree that voca... (Below threshold)

To Happy: I agree that vocabulary is everything in this war (even when I'm half-joking like I was above). The "racism" charge when applied to illegal immigration is specious and transparent, and is acknowledged as such (in confidence) even by those using it. Disgusting. The only thing keeping it alive is its endless repetition, plus the fact that they are never called on it by our Fourth Estate.

I think empowering average citizens with the right vocabulary to address their fears & concerns without incurring the "racism" charge - perhaps a vocabulary that succeeds in doing an end-run around the "racism" charge altogether - may be the key to winning the "semantics war" against these people.

Thanks - have been enjoying the thread tremendously. Despite my "comerciantes de la migra" post, I believe the issue is ever more serious as time progresses.






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