The amnesty wing of the GOP has traditionally offered a false choice between legalizing millions of illegal aliens or losing the Hispanic vote. Their argument was that to be competitive with the growing numbers of Hispanic voters, Republicans had to get on board with amnesty.
The numbers for that argument never made any sense.
Even George W. Bush, as a wartime president who was supportive of amnesty, had only managed 40% of the Hispanic vote in his best election. And that was the strongest performance by a Republican since Reagan. Even assuming that every post-amnesty Republican candidate could get 40%, a ridiculously implausible political fantasy, that would only doom the GOP as a political party a good deal faster.
Republicans who were less enthusiastic about illegal alien amnesty still usually insisted on the need for more immigration. As if a country with high unemployment among unskilled laborers needs even more unskilled laborers whose only asset is a willingness to undercut American workers by working for less.
But the best way for Republicans to increase their share of Hispanic voters is by rejecting amnesty and reducing immigration.
The latest Gallup numbers show that among foreign-born Hispanics, Hillary Clinton enjoys an 87% percent approval rating while Donald Trump only has a 13% approval rating. However among Hispanics born in this country, Hillary Clinton only scores a 43% approval rating while Trump rises to 29%.
Those numbers are not significantly worse than Romney’s overall ratings among Hispanic voters.
While Trump performs very badly with Hispanic immigrants, his numbers improve significantly among Hispanics who were born in this country. Some of them even support his anti-migration stance.
If Republicans really want to increase their share of the Hispanic vote, the smart way to do it is to increase the share of native-born Hispanics within the Hispanic population. Originally the majority of Hispanics were born in America. But by the new century, foreign-born Hispanics had become the majority. The increase in foreign-born Hispanics coincided with a sharp decline in the Republican Hispanic vote which dropped from the 30s to the 20s.
Bush’s 40% was a wartime aberration, but the share of foreign-born Hispanics began slowly declining again this decade. That is one reason for Obama’s open borders and the aggressive push for amnesty.
Democrats know that their best bet for increasing their share of the Hispanic vote is to quickly increase the number of foreign-born Hispanics on the voter rolls. And some Republicans have been foolishly helping them. Republicans perform best with native-born Hispanic small business owners. Democrats perform best with unskilled immigrants with poor language skills and little sense of the larger country.
Democrats have been trying to reshape the Hispanic population to match their political interests. Republicans however routinely champion illegal alien amnesty and increased immigration. These policies, undertaken under the pretext of increasing the Republican Hispanic vote, actually increase the share of the Hispanic population most likely to vote Democrat and least likely to vote Republican.
The idea of limiting immigration to do better with Hispanic voters may seem counterintuitive. But Hispanic support for open borders and even open immigration is a talking point, not a truth.
Immigration is not a priority for most Hispanic voters. The economy is. Immigration restrictions with an economic basis that are applied fairly and without prejudice would score more points than amnesty. The Hispanic voters for whom amnesty and immigration are the highest priorities are the least likely to vote for the GOP anyway. Republican “evolution” in these areas will benefit Democrats and hurt Republicans.
The left has made amnesty and immigration into racial issues to distract from integration. Immigration has always been premised on integration. Republicans do better with better integrated voters.
Integration means learning the language, becoming self-sufficient and moving up the economic ladder. Democrats want open borders because a flow of constant migration undermines integration. Instead of moving forward, immigrant communities remain ghettos always full of new immigrants in need of government services who never integrate, but who become comfortable with that static way of life.
That’s unhealthy for them. It’s unhealthy for the country. But it’s very healthy for the Democrats.
American immigration was meant to be cyclical. A wave of immigrants, like a heavy meal, takes time to digest. The entry of a million immigrants should be followed by an extended pause to allow them to integrate. Instead we take in a million immigrants the next year and then the year after that.
And every single year.
Immigration is a problem for the GOP. Not because immigration is bad, but because immigration without integration increases two types of problems that the left thrives on as a political movement; dependency and divisiveness. A dependent voter is easy to control. A divided society is easier to manipulate.
Mass migration strains social services which increases the budgets and political power of left-wing organizations. It leads to tensions that the left volunteers to resolve by fighting bigotry. The new immigrant is speedily recruited as a client and a victim while retarding his integration. And even if he does manage to learn to stand on his own two feet, there will be four others to replace him.
The country’s immigrant population tops 40 million. We need time to integrate that many people. That’s what Trump is asking for. That’s what the Democrats are fighting tooth and nail because their political interests are served through disruptive immigration rather than constructive immigration.
We need an honest conversation about immigration both nationally and within the GOP.
The amnesty wing of the GOP has spent far too much time peddling myths that have no basis in fact. They have offered us a menu of false choices and told us that we were doomed to destruction if we didn’t destroy ourselves. The Democrats have misconstrued the immigration debate as a racial issue. They have offered Republicans yet another false choice between racism and open borders.
Both choices are false.
Amnesty, on any terms, would doom the GOP. An immigration pause would make the GOP more competitive nationally and among Hispanic voters. The Democrats have spent generations laboring to reshape national demographics to suit their political ambitions. Republicans would be wise to do the same. Less immigration means more integration. And that equals more Republican voters.
America has taken in 40 million immigrants. It’s time for it to begin the long process of integrating those who are here legally and expelling those who are not. And then, once we are politically and economically healthier, the time may come for us to resume immigration again.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
published in Frontpage magazine n 9-8-2016