OCALA, Fla., June 12, 2014 — Illegal alien amnesty looks to be a thing of the past for the time being.
Republican U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary defeat by Randolph-Macon College economics professor David Brat sent shock-waves through our nation’s political establishment and punditocracy alike.
Among many other issues, such as kowtowing to Wall Street and not connecting enough with his Richmond-based constituency, Cantor lost because of his reported support for certain “comprehensive immigration reform” measures. Brat, who seems to have been genuinely concerned by this, made the matter known throughout the congressional district.
Despite spending just over $122,000 through May 21 (the date of the most recent FEC filings for the two candidates; Brat raised about $200,000) to Cantor’s $4.8 million — a 40-to-1 margin for Cantor — Brat’s message resonated with ordinary people. The rest is stunning political history.
Republican House incumbents who face or might face far more well-funded primary opposition are now running away from amnesty. This flight will not only prevent a legalization program for undocumented immigrants until this fall’s midterms, but eliminate the possibility for so long as a mobilized base of voters opposes it.
With such limited potential, certain Democrats may even drop the issue and look toward more viable public policy measures.
Still, the question of why so many oppose amnesty is rarely answered. Could it be a closeted from of anti-Hispanic bigotry? Considering that the overwhelming majority of illegal aliens come from south of the border and, according to Pew, 65 percent of Hispanics are Mexican in heritage, who knows? Well, perhaps somebody does.
“This ‘perception’ is false and pernicious,” Dr. Stephen Steinlight of the Center for Immigration Studies told me last year. “No solid data or body of empirical evidence suggest, let alone prove bigotry motivates the great majority that opposes amnesty. It is a smear disseminated by amnesty advocates to advance their cause.
“‘Immigrant advocates’ lack compelling arguments to support their position. By labeling opponents ‘bigots,’ they rationalize refusal to debate them and camouflage fear of responding to opponents’ ideas with a fraudulent moral justification. ‘One Nation, After All,’ an exhaustive study of American attitudes towards Third-Rail issues by Alan Wolfe, finds no evidence that bigotry plays a role in opposition to Hispanic immigration. Americans oppose illegal immigration, not immigrant ethnicity.”
If ancestral background does not play a role, or at least one of significance, then what does?
“All nations need controls on immigration,” Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, mentioned to me in 2012. “There is a common misperception that immigration laws exist to facilitate the orderly admission of foreign nationals who would like to live in the U.S. In reality, immigration laws exist to protect the vital interests of the people of the United States and, only then, to ensure the orderly admission of people we choose to open our doors to. Immigration always benefits immigrants – they wouldn’t come or remain if it didn’t benefit them substantially.
“It may also benefit certain business interests in the U.S. who can take advantage of lower cost labor. Some foreign governments may also benefit, allowing a safety valve for their own unemployed and underemployed a stream of remittances from their citizens who live in the U.S.
“However, excessive immigration, poorly designed immigration policies, and the failure to control illegal immigration have a negative impact of most Americans. It can affect their jobs and wages as they are forced to compete against immigrant workers – both legal and illegal. Low-wage immigrants and their dependents are subsidized by taxpayers, either directly through means-tested programs, or indirectly through their use of public services and infrastructure that are not paid for through the taxes collected on their own meager earnings. Immigration is also leading to large-scale population growth that Americans neither want, nor which is beneficial to our environment and resource conservation.”
There is the answer to why untold millions of Americans oppose illegal alien amnesty. It not only makes sense, but dollars and cents for those either native born or legally immigrated.