Amnesty will Lead to More Affirmative Action

Of all the consequences that would result from amnesty, one that hasn't been discussed enough is the expansion of affirmative action.

Affirmative action takes existing racial grievances, institutionalizes them, and then magnifies them.  As Shelby Steele noted, affirmative action encourages "a victim-focused identity in minorities" and fosters "a parasitic diversity industry" [1].

Affirmative action policies will benefit minority immigrants, and minority immigrants will naturally support affirmative action policies.  How do we know?  Because Hispanics are telling pollsters so.

Sixty-five percent of Hispanics believe that affirmative action should be used to ensure that more Hispanics get to college or university, and 68% support affirmative action in employment, according to a 2011 Angus Reid opinion poll.  A 2012 Georgetown University poll showed that 63% of young Hispanics (18-24) support affirmative action to "redress past discrimination," along with 75% of young blacks, but only 19% of whites [2].

Of course, making up for past discrimination doesn't apply to people whose ancestors never set foot in this country, but fairness was never the goal of racial preferences; former Democratic Senator James Webb famously noted that affirmative action simply favors "anyone who does not happen to be white."

The policy is bad enough.  The greatest harm is the poisonous racial grievance reinforced by the policy.

People who believe that their racial group is often discriminated against will support affirmative action.  On this point, the open-borders Republicans have done an extremely poor job of understanding Hispanic viewpoints about how this country treats them. Sixty-four percent of Latino adults claim that discrimination against Hispanics in schools is "a major problem," and 58% said the same of the workplace, according to a recent Pew poll.

What gets counted as "discrimination" in people's minds is hard to say.  Actual discrimination does not always correspond to accusations of racism and unfair treatment.  Hispanic views towards immigration enforcement are unsurprisingly left-wing, so any type of immigration enforcement could be considered discrimination by those who see discrimination in every policy they dislike.  Consider the results of this Pew poll: 76% of Hispanics oppose workplace raids, 73% oppose criminal prosecution of illegal immigrants, 70% oppose the criminal prosecution of employers for immigration violations, and 53% oppose employee database checks to verify the immigration status of workers in a given workplace.

There are very few policy issues that liberals don't reduce to supposed racism.  Even "righteous indignation against diversity and reverse discrimination" is one of the "implements of racism" for upper-class whites, according to law professor Mari Matsuda, a founder of the highly influential critical race theory [3].

It's safe to say that when a racial group perceive a high degree of supposed discrimination, they will not be voting for limited government, but will instead favor reverse discrimination.  Those who assert the contrary -- pro-amnesty Republicans -- have the extraordinary burden of showing some basis in history or logic for believing that groups with a racial victim mindset will reject racial preferences.

It is a false hope that any significant number of those who receive amnesty will vote Republican, unless the GOP gets in the affirmative action game.  Give a group amnesty, and they'll be thankful to all Democrats and a few Republicans, but Democrats will give them more of what they want from the state.  The choice will be simple.

Racial preferences and reverse discrimination will worsen if amnesty passes.  This is entirely predictable, and it requires no foresight to understand that people who benefit from the regime of reverse discrimination will gladly promote that regime with their votes.  The only way to slow down the victim lobby is to stop amnesty, and enhance enforcement immediately.

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John T. Bennett has a Master's Degree from the University of Chicago, where he researched lower-class culture and social policy.  He is also a former Army officer and veteran, with tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Djibouti, Africa.  His writing has appeared in Human Events,, and The Chicago Tribune, among others.

[1] Shelby Steele, "A Victory for White Guilt" Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2003, at A16.

[2] Diverse, Disillusioned, and Divided: Millennial Values and Voter Engagement in the 2012 Election, Public Religion Research Institute and Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, 26 (2012).

[3] Matsuda, Mari J., Public Response to Racist Speech: Considering the Victim's Story, 87 Michigan Law Rev. 2320, 2362 (1989).

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