Monday, January 23, 2006

An important article on immigration.

Tamar Jacoby had a great article in the last Weekly Standard (January 23, 2006) on immigration - an issue that generates a lot of heat and very little light among conservatives.

She explains it well:
The issue appeals to a range of dark emotions: economic insecurities, fear of terrorism, and resentment about spending tax revenues on people who have no right to be here in the first place. Then there are the cultural concerns. According to Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center, some 40 percent of the public think the growing number of newcomers "threaten traditional American customs and values."
The thing is - nobody has really defined "traditional American customs and values". What exactly are they? How are they threatened by people immigrating from Latin America? It is a vague phrase - and one that can easily lead to shifting goalposts.

Let's be honest - there is a very unsavory element (Jared Taylor is a regular contributor to among those who have opposed President Bush's proposals on solving the present situation. We're talking what is, at best, winking at the unacceptable (somehow, Michelle Malkin lets VDARE run her columns a day earlier than or Creators' Syndicate). Samuel Francis was not even admitted as a racist, despite clear evidence of his bigotry. Reading President Bush's speech on his proposal, I get the impression that he has thought this problem through, and that he wants a real solution to the problem - not a political slogan or a band-aid. He's not favoring amnesty (despite many claims to the contrary from his opponents).

The fact is, we are at nearly full employment (unemployment is at 4.9%), and we have a lot of jobs that need doing. Dirty jobs, jobs involving outdoor work, jobs involving a low level of skills. And we've had one to one and a half million abortions per year since 1972 (over 34 years - that's as many as 51 million abortions), which also effects the potential labor force. In essence, it is largely an economic problem - and a problem of America's own making. In a sense, it is cultural - we have allowed abortion a foothold of at least three deacdes and probably longer, much to our nation's discredit. But in addition to that moral problem, the 34-51 million abortions have also created a huge economic problem. These are people who would be potentially doing the dirty/low-skill jobs.

What makes it worse, in my opinion, is that the anti-immigration approach costs the GOP at the polls. Not just the aftermath of Pete Wilson and Prop 187 (which turned California into a solid blue state), but the recent gubernatorial campaign in Virginia (Kilgore went from parity among Hispanic voters before his anti-illegal immigration campaign to losing 58-42). It also ticks off the business community - which is the only counterweight for the labor unions (those who support Tancredo should keep in mind that the business community can sit out elections, too).

Very simply, this issue gains some support among the base, but loses a lot among Hispanic voters, the business community (which wants to be left alone), and those who do not care for the blatant use of wedge issues. On the other hand, a constructive solution could not only provide secure borders, meet the needs of business, and it will strengthen the Republican party politically. If, that is, the Republicans can stand up and solve the problem rather than fall for the usual routines from the usual suspects. But that is going to take a very bloody fight.

It's a fight that is worth it.

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