Republicans not RINOs: Immigration Reform a Republican Tradition

Americans and immigrants share the same values of work, family and opportunity. There is no reason to fear the newcomers arriving on our shores today. If anything, they will energize what is best about our country.” – Republican Congressman Jack Kemp

Republican Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp

Many of my fellow conservatives consider Republicans like Marco Rubio and myself as sellouts and RINOs. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we come from a long tradition of conservatives who have led on the issue of immigration and fought for reform.

As Republicans, we are the party of personal responsibility. We are the party of rugged individualism, where we pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and work hard to overcome adversity. This is exactly what most immigrants do, as they boldly leave their homes, their country, their people, and their native tongue – giving up everything they once knew, in order to better themselves and their families. This sounds like the type of people we would want to come to our nation and be integrated into our society – people who are seeking a better life and are willing to give up everything for it. These are the type of people who would make great additions to our nation, whether they be guest workers, legal residents or even naturalized citizens.Another principle from the Republican tradition that pro-immigration reform leaders stand on is family values. Being a descendant of a Mexican immigrant myself, I was taught at an early age about the importance of prioritizing my life. The order was to put God first, family second and then school/work third. Just as my family is important to me, so it is for the millions of immigrants and their family members who came here illegally. At the end of the day, if we believe in parental rights and are pro-family, we should not be seeking to deport mothers and fathers of American citizens. A great conservative voice for this was President George W. Bush, who said,

“I know there’s a compassionate, humane way to deal with this issue. I want to remind people that family values do not stop at the Rio Grande River. People are coming to our country to do jobs that Americans won’t do, to be able to feed their families. And I think there’s a humane way to recognize that, at the same time protect our borders, and at the same way to make sure that we don’t disadvantage those who have stood in line for years to become a legal citizen.”

Thus, it is hypocritical to say that we are a party of pro-family values if we are not willing to at least consider dealing with the reality that many of these illegal immigrants are related to United States citizens. Also, many of these citizens are the children and grandchildren of illegal immigrants. Historically, this is something Republicans have taken into consideration.

Moreover, Bush believed as many Republicans do, that we will never be able to secure our borders until we have an immigration program that allows immigrants who are seeking work to be able to participate in our economy legally. Bush States,

Republican

George H.W. Bush

Regan also was a compassionate conservative leader who not only believed in amnesty, but who passed amnesty.  He stated in 1984,

“I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.”

Republican

Ronald Reagan

Reagan believed that America was a city on a hill for immigrants. He did not believe in building a wall because he did not see that as beneficial. Instead, Reagan thought of an idea where people could come here and work and then go home freely. Here Reagan and Bush talk about immigration,

 

Another great leader from this Republican tradition is Jack Kemp. Back in 2006 Kemp stated,

“In many respects, the way Republicans position themselves on immigration will determine whether the party retains the mantle of majority leadership. Will we remain a party that governs – that offers practical solutions to the problems facing the country? Or will we revert to the harsh rhetoric of criminalizing illegals and even those who provide services, albeit unwittingly? Immigration – including the robust annual flow required to keep our economy growing and the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country – is a fact of life in the United States today. And the only practical way to deal with these stubborn realities is with a comprehensive solution, one that includes border security, interior enforcement, a guest-worker program and status for the illegal immigrants already here.” (bold added)

The question then becomes will we heed the words of those Republicans like Bush and the late Jack Kemp who were leaders on the issue of immigration, or will we hid behind the usual rhetoric? Republican leaders, like Marco Rubio, wish to actually deal with immigration in a conservative way – a plan that emphasizes border security while still dealing compassionately with the 11 million illegal immigrants who are here today. We have a strong tradition and we will stand on this tradition.  Jeb Bush also seems to echo the warnings of Jack Kemp. Jeb Bush makes the point that the rhetoric that is used against immigration reform is “wrong and stupid” and the “combination to be incorrect and stupid is very dangerous in politics.”  He is right, we need to stop using immigration as an issue of division that divides  our nation, because doing nothing is irresponsible to the millions of lives that will be affected by whatever law passes congress.

Moreover, it is not just compassion that drives Republicans to seek for real reform, but the fact that immigration has a net positive impact on our nation. I became a Republican because they had sound policies that were responsible, especially as it relates to economic policy. This is why many Republicans like Rubio, Flake and Ryan have embraced immigration reform because they have a sound policy for increasing immigrant labor. As I have stated in a previous research blog post,

“There any many benefits to having affordable labor. As previously mentioned, in cities that boast a high percentage of low skilled immigrant labor, goods and services are provided at a more affordable rate. This translates into cost savings for the population as a whole.  It is imperative to understand that the total national income is not lost from these savings; rather it is redistributed by creating employer gains and savings for consumers.[33]  The savings for the consumer will allow them to later choose where they would like to spend the extra cash, which would in turn help another business, consequently, helping the employees of that business. In the end, the wealth is not lost.  In addition, high skilled laborers who are paid less than native born employees actually add to economic growth and job creation. Economist Peri explains that “firms pay immigrants less than their marginal productivity, increasing the firms’ profits. Such cost savings on immigrants act as an increase in productivity for firms…[T]his allows firms to expand production and employ more people in complementary task many of which are supplied by natives.”[34] Therefore, immigrant labor helps to creates more affordable goods and services by increasing profits to businesses and helps them to employ more Americans, which are net benefits, instead of a net loss.”

Ultimately, immigration reform is good for both employers and individuals and for the growth for our economy as a whole. It is positive for the immigrants and their families. This is why many Republicans like Paul Ryan, conservatives leaders like Grover Norquist and conservative economists like Arthur Laffer and Arthur Brooks  are strong proponents of immigration reform.

Republican Marco Rubio

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

In conclusion, those conservatives who say that Republicans who believe like me are RINOs and leftists who hate America, need to be reminded of the great Republican leaders of the past and present. There are leaders fromthe past such as the late Jake Kemp and Ronald Regan.  And there are current Republican leaders such as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who has come out in favor of a path to citizenship, along with Senators Marco RubioJeff Flake, and Congressman Paul Ryan all of which support reform. Furthermore, these leaders do not support amnesty; rather they support giving illegal immigrants an opportunity to work here legally and the potential to earn a green card and later citizenship, if the immigrant desires. This is not amnesty, which would be a pardon; rather, it is an opportunity, not a guarantee. We all know Walker stood up to the unions in Wisconsin, and Flake has stood up to the Republican establishment opposing federal spending in Washington DC. Then there is Paul Ryan who for years has fought to balance the budget and reduce America’s deficit.  These great leaders and many others like them have impeccable conservative records. Therefore, when one says that Marco Rubio, Jeff Flake, Scott Walker and Paul Ryan are RINOs, I would respond, “No, they are Regan, Kemp and Bush Republicans.”

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Editors note: as with all blog postings that appear with a by-line, the opinions presented are the author’s and not necessarily the positions of Cafe Con Leche Republicans.

Thomas Martin Salazar Cafe Con Leche RepublicanThomas Martin Salazar is an Arizona leader of the Café con Leche Republicans. Thomas was born and     raised in Arizona. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from Grand Canyon University and is currently working on obtaining a MDiv in Biblical Communication from Phoenix Seminary. Thomas has also served as the Grand Canyon University College Republicans Vice President and interim President (February 2007-April 2008) and as a Maricopa County Republican Precinct committeeman (August 2009 – August 2012).

Conservative Principles and Gang of Eight Immigration Reform

A great debate is raging among conservatives these days. One camp argues the gang of eight immigration reform is amnesty, contrary to conservative principles, amnesty encourages more illegal immigration, and immigrants vote Democrat.

Marco Rubio gang of eight immigration reform

Marco Rubio

The other camp, led by Senator Marco Rubio and Grover Norquist, argues our legal immigration system has been broken for decades, and we effectively have de facto amnesty because it’s simply not practical, humane, nor economically wise to deport 11 million. They believe our present immigration system, with its arbitrary quotas and massive bureaucracy is inconsistent with conservative free market principles. They reject the notion that immigrants invariably vote Democrat, and see opportunity to win more New American votes, as proven by Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and recently by Canada’s Conservative Party.

A May 2011 poll by Pew Research found “staunch conservatives” split 49%/49%. Three Republican groupings, “staunch conservatives”, “main street Republicans”, and “libertarians” split roughly 60/40% in favor of immigration reform including a path to citizenship.gang of eight immigration reformA recent poll found 60% of Republicans  support immigration reform, and after details of the gang of eight immigration reform plan were explained, support rose to 75% with just 10% strongly opposed. The perception fostered in the mainstream news media for years is that Republicans are monolithic and opposed to immigration reform, but clearly Republicans have been and still are divided. Before November, Republicans who were shrill about immigration were often quoted in the media, while most Republican leaders tended to avoid the topic or only talk about immigration enforcement, which is less divisive. Since the November election debacle, pro-reform Republicans are more vocal, pushing back against the shrill minority who for years have berated immigrants.

gang of eight immigration reform grover norquist Grover Norquist has been staunchly pro-immigration reform for many years. He participated in a series of immigration reform conferences during 2012. Only the last conference, just weeks after the election, garnered any media attention at all, while Mitt Romney’s self-deportation rhetoric garnered constant media coverage. Most media coverage of conservatives who support immigration reform is recent.

Immigration Before the Progressive Era

Prior to the progressive era, American had no immigration quotas and a few common-sense restrictions, such as barring criminals, prostitutes, paupers, etc.

America’s first unauthorized immigrants were African slaves, imported after Congress banned the importation of slaves in 1808. In the Southern states slavery was still legal, and more slaves needed, and so the importation continued despite the ban.

Later, many Irish immigrants bypassed legal ports of entry because they were simply too impoverished to pay the head tax. The federal government did not have immigration inspectors until 1890, though some states had immigration inspectors. Very few immigrants who arrived in America were turned away. Those who chide unauthorized immigrants with the claim their grandparents came legally would do well to compare today’s immigration laws with the past; the laws are vastly different now.

Immigration as a Tool of Progressive Social Engineering

Prior to the first quotas, Ellis Island admitted 98% of immigrants who arrived. There were no immigrant visas; those who wanted to immigrate simply arrived, and unless they were in an excluded class (i.e. criminal, prostitute, sick, etc.) they were admitted.

Madison Grant The Passing of the Great Race

Madison Grant, progressive and author of “The Passing of the Great Race”

In 1921 and 1924 strict per-nation quotas were imposed, designed to bar non-Europeans altogether, and severely restrict immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe. Early modern progressives like Margaret Sanger, Madison Grant, and Harry Laughlin argued Southern and Eastern Europeans were genetically inferior and lowered the intelligence of America’s people”, would never assimilate, came seeking charity, increased crime rates, etc, many of the same arguments we hear today.

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood founder

Harry Laughlin infamously testified in Congress that 82% of Jewish immigrants were feeble minded.” Madison Grant wrote the book “The Passing of the Great Race, or the Racial Basis of European History” (read here), which argued “Nordics” were superior, and greatly inflamed American public opinion against immigration. Hitler called Grant’s book his “Bible” and ordered it translated and published in Nazi Germany, and Nuremberg war crimes defendant Karl Brandt referred to Grant’s book. Not surprisingly Hitler praised the 1924 National Origins Act.

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood and an ardent supporter of eugenics, wrote of immigrants and blacks in Pivot of Civilization: 

“…’human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning… human beings who never should have been born.”

Harry Laughlin President Pioneer Fund, Deputy Director Eugenics Research Office anti-Semite anti-immigrant eugenics activist immigration amnesty

Harry H. Laughlin, architect of 1924 immigration quotas

Later, Laughlin founded the Pioneer Fund, which later financed today’s leading anti-any-immigrant organizations with millions, and still funds academic “research” about “differences” between the races. Numerous Pioneer funded studies were referenced in the book “The Bell Curve“, which insinuates blacks have lower intelligence levels than whites for genetic reasons. The book has been widely debunked by other researchers, but the ideology keeps cropping up, most recently among the anti-any-immigrant lobby headed by FAIR, NumbersUSA, and the Center for Immigration Studies. FAIR grew with the help of millions in funding from the Pioneer Fund.

John Tanton FAIR NumbersUSA CIS Center for Immigration Studies Eugenics US English ProEnglish gang of eight

John Tanton – who founded FAIR, NumbersUSA, and CIS.

John Tanton, founder of the modern day anti-any-immigrant movement is very much like Madison Grant, except Tanton’s bigotry is much more subdued, since most modern day Americans won’t listen to bigots. Like Madison Grant, John Tanton is a liberal, conservationist, eugenics activist, and has held leadership positions in Planned Parenthood, Zero Population Growth, etc. Most of the arguments Tanton and his disciples use to argue against immigration and for population reduction are identical to those of his ideological great-grandfathers Madison Grant, Harry Laughlin, Margaret Sanger, and Paul Ehrlich (author of The Population Bomb).

Is the Gang of Eight Immigration Reform Amnesty?

Those who constantly throw out the term “amnesty” in describing the gang of eight immigration reform would do well to consult Webster’s dictionary:

amnesty: the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals.

pardon: the excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty.

With $2,000 in fines and a ten year wait to even apply for permanent resident status, clearly a stiff penalty is exacted, in addition to a tough set of requirements such as proof of payment of taxes, background check, etc. The 1986 immigration reform clearly was amnesty, as no fine or wait time was required. Those who met the requirements were simply granted permanent resident status.

Is “Amnesty” a Magnet for More Illegal Behavior?

Opponents of the gang of eight immigration reform argue amnesty is a magnet for more illegal immigration, and point to the increase in illegal immigration after 1986 as evidence that amnesty is a magnet.

Historically, what has been America’s experience with mass amnesty? Did past amnesties lead to more illegal behavior?

America’s first mass amnesty was Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation granting amnesty to confederates who would swear a loyalty oath to the United States. Lincoln didn’t live to see the end of the civil war, but President Andrew Johnson honored Lincoln’s amnesty, though he added exclusions, for example refusing amnesty to top confederate leaders. How many civil wars have we experienced since 1865? Zero!

If the U.S. had made a serious effort to prosecute confederates for treason during time of war, we could probably have denuded a number of forests building gallows for hanging hundreds of thousands. However, the nation saw the need to move on after a bloody civil war, and virtually all confederates were granted amnesty in exchange for regaining their loyalty to the U.S.

Immigration Amnesty

America’s first immigration mass amnesty came in the late 1920s. Early modern progressives saw immigration laws as a tool for social engineering. Immigrants from various nations were barred, starting with the Chinese in 1882.

In the early 20th century, 200,000 Italians immigrated to the U.S. each year, but in 1924 Italy’s immigration quota was set at under 4,000, a 98% reduction! Similar reductions were imposed on Russia and other Eastern and Southern European nations. Not surprisingly, within a few years the U.S. had several million unauthorized immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, who were “inspected” and allowed to stay. Then, as today, it was considered impractical to deport so many. Recently the New York Times opined that Hispanics are the New Italians, drawing parallels with 20th century immigration.

Did the late 1920s immigration amnesty lead to more illegal immigration? Clearly not, because the great depression soon followed and the economic forces that led so many to immigrate illegally vanished.

Critics of immigration reform argue the 1986 amnesty served as a magnet to more illegal immigration, but was this really the case? In statistics, there’s a term “correlation is not necessarily causation.” A doctor once pointed out in an op-ed the correlation between pantyhose usage and lung disease, but pantyhose clearly doesn’t cause lung disease!

There has indeed been more illegal immigration after 1986, but a review of the inflows of unauthorized immigrants reveals that inflows followed to the state of the economy, not policy. During the late 1990s illegal immigration inflows surged, while in recent years net illegal immigration from Mexico has dropped to zero, as the U.S. experienced a jobless recovery while Mexico’s economy has been strong, and Mexican birth rates have declined. AFTER a 1996 law that toughened immigration enforcement, there was a surge in illegal immigration. Clearly illegal immigration inflows have much more to do with economics than policy!

Is Today’s Immigration Policy “Conservative” or “Progressive”?

The quota concept originated with early modern progressives, who were huge believers in racial eugenics and social Darwinism. The infamous Dillingham Commission (1907-1910) authorized by Congress devoted entire volumes of their report to immigrants as charity seekers, criminals, and predicted immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe would never assimilate and become a vast underclass. Children of immigrants were often “retarded” according to the Dillingham Commission.

immigrants who refuse to learn English

Dillingham Immigration Commission – Retarded Children of foreign-born non-English speaking fathers.

I have read through several volumes of the Dillingham Commission Report, and one thing stands out: Southern and Eastern Europeans were smeared in the same manner as Hispanic immigrants are today. A vast permanent underclass was predicted by early modern progressives, but for some reason I’m not able to find a vast underclass of Southern and Eastern European descendants in America today, nor am I able to locate a large population of feeble minded Jews as predicted by 1924 National Origins Act architect Harry Laughlin. In fact, Jews are among the most successful demographics.

The blatantly racist per nation immigration quotas and bars to non-European immigration were eliminated in 1965, but the quota concept remains with us to this day, for both immigrants and guest workers.

Do quotas make sense? I think not! Immigration is driven by economics, and inflows should be driven by labor markets, not arbitrary quotas influenced by special interest groups (i.e. big labor). Critics of immigration reform point to America’s immigrant quota as largest in the world. However, as a percentage of population U.S. immigration inflows are #22 of 34 OECD nations. Canada admits 2-1/2 times as many immigrants; Switzerland and Germany five times as many, and tiny Luxembourg ten times as many immigrants, as a percentage of population. For some strange reason our demise as a nation is predicted if we accept more immigrants, but 21 other nations already accept more immigrants and don’t experience the dire consequences predicted for America.

Similar arguments were made by slavery proponents, that freeing the slaves would bankrupt the U.S. We freed the slaves and paid for a long civil war, but didn’t go bankrupt in the process.

Conservative Principles in Immigration Reform

Conservatives believe in limited government in free markets and limited government, but are current immigration policies consistent with conservative principles? I say emphatically not! The main features of today’s immigration policy are arbitrary quotas with no basis in free market capitalism, with massive government bureaucracies telling employers how many immigrants they can hire, how to recruit them, and even how much to pay. Some employers, particularly farmers, must deal with several big bureaucracies, with no assurance their harvesters arrive in time for harvest, and big fines for honest paperwork mistakes. Not surprisingly, farmers bitterly complain how difficult the system is to use, and less than 10% of farm ‘guest workers’ have visas.

Conservatives also believe in the ‘rule of law’ and conservatives are against amnesty, as amnesty by itself is a temporary solution. As a conservative, I am opposed to amnesty in and of itself, as that doesn’t address the underlying problem. In 1986 Congress passed immigration amnesty with some enforcement provisions which proved largely ineffective. Congress failed to follow up for many years on border security, and never followed up on guest workers. In effect, in 1986 Congress ‘kicked the can down the road’, making three million immigrants legal, without addressing the root causes of the problem.

Current immigration and guest worker quotas have no rationale in economic need. Historically whenever economic demand for immigrants and guest worker labor exceeds quotas, the result has always been widespread illegal immigration. This happened in the 1929s, again in the 1950s when a resurgent post war economy required more guest workers than the quota. We’ve often experienced illegal immigration since the braceros program was eliminated during the 1960s at the behest of big labor unions. Big labor continues to be a major obstacle to guest worker programs. We presently have 9-9.5 ‘guest workers’ of which 1.8 million have a work authorized visa. The balance would no doubt be happy to obtain a visa if those were available to them, but they’re not.

Immigration Reform and the Rule of Law

As a conservative, I support the ‘rule of law’, but I also recognize that enforcement alone cannot turn bad policy into good policy. If we lowered superhighway speed limits to 20 MPH to conserve gasoline we’d surely have enforcement problems! Then would we pour massive enforcement resources to stop speeding, or step back and recognize that policy and enforcement are intertwined, and sensible policies result in manageable enforcement? Or would we take an ‘enforcement first’ stance and massively enforce a 20 MPH speed limit until everyone stops speeding, before setting rational speed limits?

When guest worker visas are limited by arbitrary quotas to less than 20% of demand, we should not be surprised that many come here illegally seeking work. Obviously we’d like for everyone to enter the U.S. through the front door, but when that door has been broken for decades we should not be surprised that our ‘hired help’ enters through the back door or windows. It’s obvious that the best way to divert migrant workers from illegal channels to legal channels is with sensible guest worker programs.

It’s Time to Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform

I’m not happy with all aspects of the gang of eight immigration reform. I’d rather see us get rid of quotas, perhaps implementing a tariff on guest worker wages payable by employers, to tile the table in favor of hiring Americans workers first. It’s easy to predict future waves of illegal immigration, when demand exceeds quota and Congress again fails to act, under pressure from big labor. Big labor has already been hard at work undermining guest worker reforms, for example limiting the number of guest worker visas in the construction industry. However, once housing rebounds, and the need for guest workers exceed quotas, we can expect unauthorized immigrants to fill that gap.

I’m also not keen about e-verify. The federal government has been trying to make e-verify work since 1996. E-Verify is a deeply flawed system. Unauthorized immigrants can readily circumvent e-verify by using a real person’s name and social security, with fake ID. As long as the name and social security number match, most will pass e-verify. U.S. citizens who are unlucky enough to be the subject of errors in government databases, and their employers, can expect to spend weeks dealing with mammoth bureaucracies to get errors fixed!

The gang of eight immigration reform plan calls for increased use of e-verify, and buried within the bill are provisions to incorporate biometrics into e-verify. Biometrics will make it much more difficult to circumvent e-verify, but many Americans will balk at providing biometric information such as fingerprints, DNA, etc., viewing it as the invasion of privacy it is. Another major annoyance will be exit controls for everyone leaving the country. Without capturing information about those leaving the U.S., the entry/exit tracking for visa overstayers cannot work. However, this will impose delays on all travelers exiting the U.S.

However, all-in-all, the gang of eight immigration reform plan would be a big improvement over the present situation. Eliminating quotas is not likely as long as progressives and their big labor backers are wedded to the notion of quotas, especially for guest workers. Guest worker programs would be streamlined, and guest worker visas would become portable. It may also be easier for Congress to act in the future with the most contentious issue – legalization – behind us. We should all back the gang of eight immigration reform plan, while also writing our elected representatives with suggestions for improvement.

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Bob Quasius is the founder and president of Cafe Con Leche Republicans.

Are Arizona Conservatives that naive about Grover Norquist?

Plenty of political unrest brewing over an event scheduled Thursday night featuring the President of Americans for Tax Reform and founder of the Islamic Free Market Institute, Grover Norquist.

National security advocates including Pamela Geller, David Horowitz and Frank Gaffney have all been very vocal in their opposition to Norquist’s standing in the conservative movement.

In March, 2010, Pamela Geller wrote an article for American Thinker:

Grover Norquist’s ties to Islamic supremacists and jihadists have been known for years. He and his Palestinian wife, Samah Alrayyes — who was director of communications for his Islamic Free Market Institute until they married in 2005 — are very active in “Muslim outreach.” Just six weeks after 9/11, TheNew Republic ran an exposé explaining how Norquist arranged for George W. Bush to meet with fifteen Islamic supremacists at the White House on September 26, 2001 — to show how Muslims rejected terrorism. (read entire article, “Grover Norquist Jihad.”)

Over a year ago, Founder and President of The Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney, issued the following video warning and challenge:

And here is what David Horowitz had to say about Norquist as recent as February 12th of this year during his keynote at CPAC 2011:

Arizona advocates for strong national security and border security policy should be more than a little concerned about Norquist’s appearance at this casual Republican event tomorrow night. Friends of Israel should be even more alarmed that the Norquist soiree will hoodwink more conservatives into a false sense of peace and security regarding our single most important ally in the Middle East.

Those Arizona conservatives who venture to show at tomorrow night’s Norquist event should ask Mr. Norquist the hard questions. At at time when the country is debating the proper burial treatment by the Obama Administration of the most notorious terrorist in history, someone ought to press Mr. Norquist on his sensitivities and sensibilities in the battle against Islamic terrorism.