Amnesty: Bad Policy, Even Worse Politics

Political leaders make decisions constantly. They’re about either policy or politics; doing things to benefit the nation, or doing things to gain and keep power. The former is policy, the latter is politics.

Amnesty, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently stated Republicans are now open to supporting, is bad on both fronts: bad for the country, and bad for the GOP. Partly because the policy argument against amnesty has been covered so well elsewhere, and partly because Republicans so often place politics above the good of the country, I’ll focus on amnesty’s bad politics. In sum, if the GOP truly wants to gain the respect (and votes) of Hispanic-Americans, they can do so, but only by not giving in on this issue.  

If the past nine general elections are anything to go by, Republicans will not be rewarded for getting behind the latest amnesty bill introduced last month by House Democrats -- Lindsey Graham and Dick Durban have since introduced their own Senate version. The Hispanic electorate won’t shower them with their votes, nor will the amnesty-beneficiaries themselves after they naturalize.

Ever since the first Reagan election, when Hispanic exit-polling began, Hispanics have voted fairly consistently for Democrats on an over 2-to-1 basis. Even after President Reagan signed a sprawling (and fraud-ridden) congressional amnesty in 1986, that ratio didn’t change. When George H.W. Bush was elected in 1988, he received only 30 percent of the Hispanic vote; 7 points lower than what Reagan got in 1984 before the amnesty. Moreover, the provision of an additional amnesty in 1990 only led to more demands from Hispanic and open-borders activists; a theme that continued with six more amnesties that followed and now seems to get louder every year.

That 2-to-1 ratio might even worsen for the GOP. Many of those GOP-voting Hispanics are third-plus-generation Mexican-Americans; an aging and increasingly small demographic among the broader Hispanic electorate. In their place will be young Hispanics, many of whom have been incubated in schools where the dominating narrative is that the ‘Southwest was stolen’ and that ‘immigration is justice.’ As education writer Ernesto Caravantes has said, “[universities] have become havens of a reverse-racism in which the white Anglo-Saxon establishment is always seen in an unflattering light… [this makes Hispanic students] feel sorry for themselves for perceived wrong-doings in the past [and] perpetuates an activist and negative mentality in [them]…”

Then there’s question about Democrats’ united push for amnesty (and mass immigration in general). If it would truly reward the GOP, why would Democrats be driving so hard for it? They know the above voting trends and the replacement effects mass immigration has on the conservative electorate. The corporate sector, of course, replaces their workforce all the time. Sometimes with immigrants, sometimes by relocating factories abroad; all in order to keep wages low, unions weak, and expensive investments in innovation unnecessary. Today at least, the political sector is just as ruthless.

Former Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez explicitly spoke about replacing the ‘old America’ for the benefit of his party, when he told colleagues in Congress, “if millions of [Hispanics] naturalize [and] become citizens [they’ll join]… the New American Coalition that will dominate politics for decades to come.” (emphasis mine).

Diluting the electorate isn’t specific to the U.S. Years ago, it was revealed that the UK Labor party under Tony Blair had designed a giant surge in immigration specifically to bring in more left-wing voters and ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity.’ Political scientists have a name for the practice: “demographic engineering.” Oft-cited examples include Soviet Russia and China which respectively inundated the Baltics and Tibet with their own nationals in order to quell separatist urges there. As the Dalai Lama stated about China in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech years back:

The issue of most urgent concern at this time is the massive influx of Chinese settlers into Tibet... this development, which threatens the very survival of the Tibetan nation, its culture and spiritual heritage, can still be stopped and reversed. But this must be done now before it is too late.

Well-financed Hispanic activist groups will also help ensure that no rewards go to Republicans if they push amnesty. So extreme are these organizations, they’re lobbying Twitter and Facebook to have pro-immigration-enforcement groups banned from their platforms. Single-issue pro-amnesty groups, in particular, will, of course, not close up shop once their sole reason for existing is rendered moot. Without a doubt these groups will persist in demonizing the GOP and simply find a new group of illegal aliens to demand amnesty for (such as the new waves who will inevitably cross our borders in anticipation of another amnesty). To use GOP consultant parlance, amnesty will not “take the issue off the table” and Republicans will go on being denigrated as usual -- not congratulated. 

Fundamentally, those in the GOP who think amnesty is good politics must believe that weakness garners respect. As we saw in the midterms, most of those Republican congressmen who yielded to the open-borders lobby and went against the President during last year’s amnesty fight are now gone (while most who stood firm remain). Weakness will only lead to more demands, not rewards. This will be true for the direct beneficiaries of amnesty as well as the immediate and extended family members they bring in.

The bottom line is that the President and the GOP should have faith in the DACA aliens and their capacity to adapt. They should ask these aliens (and others included in the Democrats’ bill) to return to Mexico and Central America and agitate for reforms there. They also should tell them that relying on the American people is wrong and remind them what the American people themselves did to create the freest and fairest nation on the planet -- e.g. they rebelled against unaccountable power and broke up corporate monopolies and criminal syndicates, etc. By asking something from them, something admirable, the GOP will get respect from the Hispanic people, certainly more respect than if they’ve caved out of weakness.

By recognizing their strength, ignoring Democratic intimidation, staying consistent on messaging and strong on the rule of law, the GOP may lose votes from some left-leaning independents, but they’ll gain more from right-leaning ones, including Hispanics. It’s strength, not weakness, that is good politics.

Political leaders make decisions constantly. They’re about either policy or politics; doing things to benefit the nation, or doing things to gain and keep power. The former is policy, the latter is politics.

Amnesty, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently stated Republicans are now open to supporting, is bad on both fronts: bad for the country, and bad for the GOP. Partly because the policy argument against amnesty has been covered so well elsewhere, and partly because Republicans so often place politics above the good of the country, I’ll focus on amnesty’s bad politics. In sum, if the GOP truly wants to gain the respect (and votes) of Hispanic-Americans, they can do so, but only by not giving in on this issue.  

If the past nine general elections are anything to go by, Republicans will not be rewarded for getting behind the latest amnesty bill introduced last month by House Democrats -- Lindsey Graham and Dick Durban have since introduced their own Senate version. The Hispanic electorate won’t shower them with their votes, nor will the amnesty-beneficiaries themselves after they naturalize.

Ever since the first Reagan election, when Hispanic exit-polling began, Hispanics have voted fairly consistently for Democrats on an over 2-to-1 basis. Even after President Reagan signed a sprawling (and fraud-ridden) congressional amnesty in 1986, that ratio didn’t change. When George H.W. Bush was elected in 1988, he received only 30 percent of the Hispanic vote; 7 points lower than what Reagan got in 1984 before the amnesty. Moreover, the provision of an additional amnesty in 1990 only led to more demands from Hispanic and open-borders activists; a theme that continued with six more amnesties that followed and now seems to get louder every year.

That 2-to-1 ratio might even worsen for the GOP. Many of those GOP-voting Hispanics are third-plus-generation Mexican-Americans; an aging and increasingly small demographic among the broader Hispanic electorate. In their place will be young Hispanics, many of whom have been incubated in schools where the dominating narrative is that the ‘Southwest was stolen’ and that ‘immigration is justice.’ As education writer Ernesto Caravantes has said, “[universities] have become havens of a reverse-racism in which the white Anglo-Saxon establishment is always seen in an unflattering light… [this makes Hispanic students] feel sorry for themselves for perceived wrong-doings in the past [and] perpetuates an activist and negative mentality in [them]…”

Then there’s question about Democrats’ united push for amnesty (and mass immigration in general). If it would truly reward the GOP, why would Democrats be driving so hard for it? They know the above voting trends and the replacement effects mass immigration has on the conservative electorate. The corporate sector, of course, replaces their workforce all the time. Sometimes with immigrants, sometimes by relocating factories abroad; all in order to keep wages low, unions weak, and expensive investments in innovation unnecessary. Today at least, the political sector is just as ruthless.

Former Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez explicitly spoke about replacing the ‘old America’ for the benefit of his party, when he told colleagues in Congress, “if millions of [Hispanics] naturalize [and] become citizens [they’ll join]… the New American Coalition that will dominate politics for decades to come.” (emphasis mine).

Diluting the electorate isn’t specific to the U.S. Years ago, it was revealed that the UK Labor party under Tony Blair had designed a giant surge in immigration specifically to bring in more left-wing voters and ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity.’ Political scientists have a name for the practice: “demographic engineering.” Oft-cited examples include Soviet Russia and China which respectively inundated the Baltics and Tibet with their own nationals in order to quell separatist urges there. As the Dalai Lama stated about China in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech years back:

The issue of most urgent concern at this time is the massive influx of Chinese settlers into Tibet... this development, which threatens the very survival of the Tibetan nation, its culture and spiritual heritage, can still be stopped and reversed. But this must be done now before it is too late.

Well-financed Hispanic activist groups will also help ensure that no rewards go to Republicans if they push amnesty. So extreme are these organizations, they’re lobbying Twitter and Facebook to have pro-immigration-enforcement groups banned from their platforms. Single-issue pro-amnesty groups, in particular, will, of course, not close up shop once their sole reason for existing is rendered moot. Without a doubt these groups will persist in demonizing the GOP and simply find a new group of illegal aliens to demand amnesty for (such as the new waves who will inevitably cross our borders in anticipation of another amnesty). To use GOP consultant parlance, amnesty will not “take the issue off the table” and Republicans will go on being denigrated as usual -- not congratulated. 

Fundamentally, those in the GOP who think amnesty is good politics must believe that weakness garners respect. As we saw in the midterms, most of those Republican congressmen who yielded to the open-borders lobby and went against the President during last year’s amnesty fight are now gone (while most who stood firm remain). Weakness will only lead to more demands, not rewards. This will be true for the direct beneficiaries of amnesty as well as the immediate and extended family members they bring in.

The bottom line is that the President and the GOP should have faith in the DACA aliens and their capacity to adapt. They should ask these aliens (and others included in the Democrats’ bill) to return to Mexico and Central America and agitate for reforms there. They also should tell them that relying on the American people is wrong and remind them what the American people themselves did to create the freest and fairest nation on the planet -- e.g. they rebelled against unaccountable power and broke up corporate monopolies and criminal syndicates, etc. By asking something from them, something admirable, the GOP will get respect from the Hispanic people, certainly more respect than if they’ve caved out of weakness.

By recognizing their strength, ignoring Democratic intimidation, staying consistent on messaging and strong on the rule of law, the GOP may lose votes from some left-leaning independents, but they’ll gain more from right-leaning ones, including Hispanics. It’s strength, not weakness, that is good politics.