Immediately following the results of the election, pro-open border folks in the Republican Party pounced on some exit polling data suggesting that our refusal to support endless amnesties and conferring voting rights on illegal immigrants is killing us as a party.
This line of thought is predicated on a number of erroneous premises:
1) They are assuming that the current Hispanic voting bloc would dramatically shift to the GOP as long as we support amnesty, irrespective of our views on every other issue.
2) They are assuming that the 12 million new voters will be at least 51% Republican (otherwise, it would be a net loss for us anyway). The reality is that 90% of poor illegal immigrants would vote for Democrats.
3) They are assuming that the 12 million who are granted citizenship would not petition the government to bring in millions of their relatives and spawn chain migration.
4) They are divorcing immigration from fiscal conservatism and obfuscating the fact that absent major welfare reform, the new flood of poor immigrants would cost hundreds of billions to the welfare state.
5) Most importantly, they are forgetting the other 90% of the electorate. They are assuming that by granting amnesty to illegals, we would not lose the votes of the rest of the country. The reality is that our reluctance to fight back on this issue has already severely limited our appeal to white working class voters (and even some black constituencies) who are hardest hit by illegal immigration.
Look, we are all willing to deal with the reality of 12 million illegals here and are willing to compromise if there is a sane policy put in place that will deal with the aforementioned issues. Before we issue another amnesty we need to ensure that it will indeed be the last one. Otherwise is just Charlie Brown and Lucy all over again. If we don’t do anything to limit welfare benefits and chain migration, what is to stop us from becoming an even stronger magnet for future waves of illegal migration? Remember that even if we secure the border (something that I don’t trust them to do), 60% of illegals come here through legal points of entry and overstay their visas. They will continue to do so as long as we telegraph the message that once they are here, they are home free with a full array of welfare benefits awaiting them.
Let’s not draw rash and puerile conclusions from the election and throw our principles, policy positions, and electoral viability out the window in one capricious maneuver. Let’s have a mature discussion about dealing with the issue in a way that rectifies the failures of the 1986 amnesty. Calling fellow conservatives racists for voicing some of these concerns is not an adult conversation.