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May 18, 2007

Comments

"In fact, in a perverse race to the bottom, the GOP presidential candidates (excluding McCain, who finds himself in an extraordinarily tough spot here) will be falling over themselves to out-amnesty the other."

Romney has already denounced it, actually.

(And digressively, James Dobson has denounced Giuliani; more popcorn, please.)

I assume you mean "out anti-amnesty," though.

History doesn't always repeat, but this looks like a good candidate for that. The GOP can't disown their racists, but they can't give in to them and get the latino vote either. That looks plausible, if not iron-clad.

That isn't the only Republican wedge issue. Sometimes I wonder whether Rove etc looked at the difficulties they'd have holding their alliance together, and decided it wasn't worth trying, that they'd just clear-cut the economy etc while they could and then drop the resulting mess into somebody else's lap. Cut and run.

it’s going to get racist, and it’s going to be coming almost exclusively from the GOP

I'd actually be against illegal immigration of Canadians, for instance, provided that ever got going on this scale.

That's probably racist, too, though, given how white those folks are.

Slart,

I think that you are just upet that you are getting lumped in with a bunch of other people and called racists as a group. As in "all people who oppose this deal are racist". That isn't what I read publius as saying. What I read him as saying is that there will be a backlash and some of it, especially from the far right, will be racist. That group is vocal enough that they will present that entire group as racist, even if it isn't true. If you want to be mad, get mad at that group, not those on the left who recognize it is going to occur ahead of time.

Moreover, kepp in mind that a lot of this post is about perceptions. It really doesn't matter if you are a racist or not. If the his[anic community views opposition to this bill as a sign of racism (or even just heavily weighted against them), the community probably won't support that group or members of it for a long time. This isn't a claim on whether that is appropriate. Just that it is likely true.

What I read him as saying is that there will be a backlash and some of it, especially from the far right, will be racist.

Objection: tautology. You're going to hear from guys like David Dukes, and of course that's all going to be about race. It's like predicting hot weather in the summer.

How much of a point there is to take away from this is, I think, a function of how much of that there is. After all, there is a nonzero set of advocates for HPV inoculation that hold that neutering males is really a much more effective way of countering the disease.

Slarti: "That's probably racist, too, though, given how white those folks are."

Well played, sir. (From a legal Canadian immigrant.)

In this respect, it’s a very similar dynamic to the 1964 Civil Rights Act

I think that it is much more directly comparable to the 86 amnesty. Once again, in exchange for amnesty we are being promised that enforcement will be strengthened – just like in 86. We see how well that worked out… 20 plus years later and we have at least triple the number of illegals we had in 86.

And why try to tie this to racism? Why is wanting our laws enforced racist? Personally, I want the white middle class guy from Europe who overstays their visa rounded up and sent packing just as fast as the Latino who walked across the border.

(Note: I am on record as conceding that some kind of amnesty is inevitable and the “Z Visa” sounds a lot like what I proposed. So I don’t have a big problem with the amnesty aspects of this. I just have no faith that any enforcement provisions will actually be, ah, enforced – and history is on my side here. If the trend holds, in 2028 we’ll be discussing amnesty for 36 million illegals.)

I think in 2028 illegal immigration will be a minor problem compared to others but that's just me the chartered doomsayer.

Why is wanting our laws enforced racist?

there are loads of weakly-enforced laws out there. but you never hear conservatives complain en-masse about lax enforcement of gun laws, for example. they don't take to the streets and organize posses to march around looking for gun ownership violations. so, i don't buy that "enforce the laws!" line.

there's something about these immigration laws that bugs, broadly, the same group of people who advocate racist policies like "Kill Em All [Muslims]" and "We Need To Punish Them [Iraqis] for 9/11". it's not much of a stretch to assume that someone who's a racist when it comes to Muslims/Arabs is also racist about Hispanics.

obviously there are conservatives who aren't racist, and it's a shame you get lumped-in with the idjits. sorry about that. humans think in groups.

I didn't read publius as saying anything like: people who oppose this are racist. I mean, he doesn't know what he thinks of it, because he's waiting for the details. (As am I. I am against guest worker programs on principle, though I could be persuaded to be for a bill that had enough other good things in it, and I will be interested to see what makes them confident that they will get the enforcement right this time.)

His basic point is about this, I think: "the hysterical, race-based backlash that will erupt from its nativist, Dobbs/Kaus/Buchanan wing." That's one specific backlash, not any opposition that arises. For my part (since I'm uncomfortable speaking for publius), I believe two things. First, that many people will oppose this bill, and that many of those people, who may yet include me, will do so for perfectly good reasons. (I don't mean that they will necessarily be right, just that their reasons will be good ones. There could be other even better reasons that they aren't seeing, etc., etc.) Second, that there will be a "hysterical, race-based backlash".

I take it that it's obvious that the people who are part of the "hysterical, race-based backlash" will not be among the people who oppose the bill for perfectly good reasons, and since I've committed myself to the view that there will be a lot of the latter, I necessarily think that not everyone who opposes the bill is part of any "hysterical, race-based backlash". Nonetheless, I think it will exist.

And I agree with publius that the people who are part of it will be predominantly, though by no means exclusively, Republicans, that the backlash will come to be identified as a Republican phenomenon, and that this will damage the Republican party with Latinos. (It may strengthen the party with other groups, thereby altering the party's character.)

I say this in part because I saw this happen in California, over Prop 187. I assume that there were people who supported it who had good, non-racist reasons. I know that there were also people who supported it out of racism and xenophobia. It destroyed any chance the California GOP had of appealing to Hispanics for the foreseeable future. I don't want to speak for publius, but I thought his point was just: prepare for the national version.

OCSteve, I won't get into a battle with you over the term amnesty again. But I do think hefty fines, sending a family member back to country of origin, an extra long wait to get legal status, etc takes it out of the realm of amnesty.

But, the key point, and one on which I agree with you, deals with preventing this from becoming a problem in the future. That requires several steps, including better border control, including along the Atlantic so those pesky Poles stop swimming over here, and the Pacific to keep those Asians out, etc. Some snark intended.

The point of the snark is that it is not just the Hispanic illegal immigration problem. And that the real issue it to create a situation where there is less incentive for people to come here illegally. And that goes back to the employer issue.

And again, as publius points out, the devil is going to be in the details.

I will also reinforce what socratic_me said. The key is in perception. On both sides. If the far right wants to call this amnesty and yells hard enough, that is how it will be viewed by many. If the far left wants to call the right racist and it is yelled loud enough, that will become the reality to many people.

Kos always likes to talk about the "reality based community" which is a misnomer. Reality for most people is unrelated to facts and more based upon perception. The future will depend upon which of the perceptions takes hold.

If the far right wants to call this amnesty and yells hard enough, that is how it will be viewed by many.

CNN.com has a poll right now:

What do you think of the proposed immigration bill?

1. Immigration reform
2. Amnesty for illegals

#2 is up 65 to 35

cleek and hilzoy: I read this to be pretty broad:

This is a Category 5 Hurricane coming people. It’s going to be ugly, it’s going to get racist, and it’s going to be coming almost exclusively from the GOP, the GOP presidential candidates, and Mickey Kaus.

…as in lots of ugly racism coming from the right in general. But as I no longer consider myself part of the GOP, I won’t take it personally ;)


john: I won't get into a battle with you over the term amnesty again

I’m open to other terms that confer a similar meaning if it would be less provocative. (Similar meaning as in taking something now illegal and offering a path to make it legal.) I’d prefer not to derail any points I may have by using a “trigger word” that some strongly disagree with.

I agree with you 100% on the employer issue.

I think there will be lots of racism coming from the GOP, and some coming from Democrats as well. But I don't think this means that everyone in the GOP who opposes this bill will be racist.

It's like saying: reading romance novels is an overwhelmingly female thing. This is true, as far as I know: the overwhelming majority of people who read e.g. Harlequin romances is female. But that doesn't imply that all women read Harlequin romances.

OCSteve, the point, IMO, is that this does not take something that was illegal and make it legal. What it does do is take an illegal action, provide for a penalty for the action and then give the person committing the illegal action a different route to take.

I think part of the problem is the perception that the only appropriate penalty for a person who enters this country illegally is deportation. Now if someone wants to have that view, fine, they are allowed to do so. However, it is also legitimate to look at other penalty options.

Of course, this may all become moot if the House doesn't come up with a bill and then coordinate it with the Senate. The end result may be vastly different than what we are now looking at.

It's not so much racism as it is xenophobia. The problem a lot of people have with immigration is that they believe an influx of large numbers of foreigners will change our traditional culture and they don't like it. While these people may have more concern with Mexicans than they do with white Europeans, that's a result of the fact that white Europeans tend to speak our language and have a culture more similar to ours. I don't particularly care about any of this, but I'm just sayin'.

Regardless, the likelihood is that the voice of the Right on this issue will not be the reasonable guys like OCSteve, but the screamers like Michelle Malkin ranting about reconquista and such. If you get upset over Cinco de Mayo but you never say a word about Paczki Day, it doesn't take long for folks to figure out what you're all about.

The fact is that immigration reform is an important priority for the business community. And the business community generally gets what it wants. That’s true for both parties, but it’s close to gospel truth for the GOP.
For the GOP, the business community *always* gets what it wants, and what it wants is enough sub-citizens to keep citizen wages low.

TO me the interesting question is, will the racist anti-immigrants turn on the plutocrats, and will the GOP as a whole go with its core voters or its core funders?

Hilzoy, are you questioning my masculinity because I read Harlequin romances? That's how I read it.

Objection: tautology. You're going to hear from guys like David Dukes, and of course that's all going to be about race. It's like predicting hot weather in the summer.

How much of a point there is to take away from this is, I think, a function of how much of that there is.

Regarding the tautology objection, you are correct that there is no art in predicting the racist backlash, but that's not the point. The point is exactly as you stated in the second quoted paragraph, thus your objection is moot. That's how I read it.

Objection: tautology. You're going to hear from guys like David Dukes, and of course that's all going to be about race. It's like predicting hot weather in the summer.

Objection: selective sampling. In addition to the David Dukes, which you're right in implying that we shouldn't consider as part of the mainstream GOP, we're also going to hear from the Tancredos, who /are/ part of the GOP mainstream, as well as the vast majority of the GOP who are far more concerned about "brown peril" than they are about, say, tightening security at our ports or locking down our border with Canada.

I'm not saying you fall into that group, and I don't think anyone else was either. There are any number of perfectly legitimate and non-racist reasons for supporting immigration reform and border security.

But based on the evidence of their own behavior and statements, the majority of Republicans in Congress are at best narrowly focused on dealing punitively and ruthlessly with Mexican immigrants in a way that gives the appearance of racism, and at worst patently and unequivocally racist.

So as far as I'm concerned, if it improves both security and the lives and opportunities of immigrants, this bill is a twofer. It creates good law and policy, and in the process shines a bright light on the worst aspects of the Republican party, destroying their credibility with a growing voting demographic.

That is what we call political jujitsu: doing a good thing that simultaneously gives your opponents an opportunity to destroy themselves.

If we don't want amnesty, then it's very important that we give no amnesty to those businesses that made sure that they followed the rules that allowed them to say that they "didn't know" that they had hired undocumented immigrants even though they knew without a doubt that these people were not documented properly. The '86 law failed because it was designed to fail. As long as there is no meaningful threat of enforcement against employers who break the law, there can never be 'immigration reform'.

I'm s orry that the comments have gotten off on the "racist/not racist" issue because I think publius makes a (too me) stunning comparison with the dixiecrats migrating to the republican party after civil rights. What he/she is saying strikes me as very important--whatever you think of the merits or demerits of the bill. I, personally, agree that the devil is in the details. Anything that large corporations are for I'm, personally, against. But that is a separate issue.

What I read publius as saying is that structurally vis a vis a growing bloc of activated voters (latinos, other immigrant groups) the republican party has a chance to shape its message and create new loyal voters--but it can't because of t he way its core voters will perceive this attempt to widen the republican franchise/brand name.

Its sit back and enjoy the popcorn time, in my opinion. This is payback to the southern whites who walked away from the democratic party because of civil rights. Now they've got nowhere to go but a third, more marginal party if they abandon the republican party out of racist pique.

That says nothing and can say nothing about the merits of this bill as a 1) humanitarian bill, 2) wage/labor bill. There's just too much going on in this bill for it to be considered all good or all bad. On balance I think that its probably bad for american workers, both legal and illegal. While it may or may not be "good" for indiidual immigrant families.

aimai

Now they've got nowhere to go but a third, more marginal party if they abandon the republican party out of racist pique.

Yes. Such marginalization would be as it should be.

OT: Pub, I'm going to see Mastodon tonight. Still digging it?

Buchanan wing of what? The party that will no longer have him?

And Mickey Kaus? Forgive my ignorance, but where does he fit in, here, and since when is he regarded as a racist GOPer? I get that he's been opposed to illegal immigration, but that's not the same as "racist", in general.

A lot depends upon how it spins out. I hear quite a bit of anti-immigration rhetoric which sounds like it comes with racist overtones coming from labor groups. So I wouldn't be so certain that the immigration question is a full time winner for Democrats in this construct.

The war in Iraq on the other hand....

Buchanan wing of what? The party that will no longer have him?

The party that "will no longer have him" because of the war, which isn't exactly relevant here.

I guess with this whole Ron Paul mess we might end up seeing the final banishment of the paleocons, but the formal severance hasn't actually occurred as yet.

"I get that he's been opposed to illegal immigration, but that's not the same as "racist", in general."

Same as opposing affirmative action--intellectually dishonest Democrats spin that straight to racism. And in politics the dishonest people of both parties tend to outnumber the honest ones by a very large amount.

"Buchanan wing of what? The party that will no longer have him?

The party that "will no longer have him" because of the war, which isn't exactly relevant here."

What? Buchanan was well on his way out by 1997, and had been pushed enough that he felt he had to run as a member of another party by 2000. I strongly suspect that the Iraq war had little to do with that.

"And in politics the dishonest people of both parties tend to outnumber the honest ones by a very large amount."

Sigh...

Agreeing with Seb twice in one week. What am I to do.

I know, on the Dem side its 51%-49% and on the Republican side its 75% to 25%. Of course this is my opinion only and is not necessarily the opinion of the providers of this blog.

"You're going to hear from guys like David Dukes,"

Duke, not "Dukes." He's not actually one of the Dukes of Hazzard.

Even if he were, his name would still be "Duke."

"And why try to tie this to racism?"

Read up on the history of nativism and Know-nothingism and our immigration laws, OCSteve.

These issues didn't begin in 1980, or 1970, or 1960.

Hell, just rent Gangs of New York for a beginning primer.

Understanding nativism, and its history in America, is a separate topic than "what makes for the best immigration policy today?" and "what's the best bill that can be passed?" But it's the question you asked, which is a topic of context.

yes - mastodon. very jealous. i've gone poppy in '07, still rueing the fact that i missed lily allen in DC.

as for the race/non-race point, i didn't really mean for this to be topic de comments, but it's an important point. anyway, yes, i'm certainly not saying (1) all GOP is racist; or (2) opposition to this bill is racist. that's the point of the term "wing," which implies that it's a faction.

that said, it is still very true that St. Reagan openly and institutionally embraced coded racism to win over George Wallace Democrats -- this is something that I think does not get nearly enough attention in reagan discussions. he opposed pretty much every civil rights bill, except that he finally caved in under intense pressure on the 83 VRA extension. his talk of welfare queens and quota doctors was, i'm sorry, racist rhetoric to describe an otherwise complex problem.

face it -- the people here are smart, non-nativist conservatives. but the gop made an institutional deal with a big bloc of racist whites to attain political power. this is a cost of the alliance -- sometimes frankenstein's monster is hard to control

Same as opposing affirmative action--intellectually dishonest Democrats spin that straight to racism.

Oh, spare me.

It's true that there are defensible, non-racist reasons for opposing affirmative action. But let's not pretend that an enormous portion of the animus towards it in the Republican party--particularly in the South--is not racially motivated. As with the obsession with illegal immigration, it's hard to square that claim with the rhetoric, actions, and voting record of GOP politicians over the last 20 years or so.

"It's true that there are defensible, non-racist reasons for opposing affirmative action. But let's not pretend that an enormous portion of the animus towards it in the Republican party--particularly in the South--is not racially motivated."

That's perfectly true, but it's also important to be clear that that hardly means that all supporters of the Republican Party at any time are all racists.

It's kinda important to be clear that one isn't calling non-racists "racists": doing otherwise doesn't aid communication. To put it mildly.

It's kinda important to be clear that one isn't calling non-racists "racists"

there might be one i missed, but it looks like everyone here has been pretty careful to make it clear that they're not saying everyone who votes GOP is a racist. there are qualifiers, quantifiers, disclaimers, etc., in all the posts that use the word "racist".

He's not actually one of the Dukes of Hazzard.

So, he's got a redeeming feature after all. I doubt that'll be enough.

I get that publius wasn't, perhaps, tarring all Republicans as racist, even that he wasn't tarring all proponents of paying somewhat more than lip service to immigration law as racists.

Gary's last comment, that's what I was getting at, or trying to.

That's perfectly true, but it's also important to be clear that that hardly means that all supporters of the Republican Party at any time are all racists.

It's kinda important to be clear that one isn't calling non-racists "racists": doing otherwise doesn't aid communication. To put it mildly.

I thought I was fairly explicitly clear on that point, Gary, when I said that

I'm not saying you fall into that group, and I don't think anyone else was either. There are any number of perfectly legitimate and non-racist reasons for supporting immigration reform and border security;

and when I said that

It's true that there are defensible, non-racist reasons for opposing affirmative action.

I thought the fact that I was not accusing "all supporters of the Republican Party at any time" of being racist was fairly implicit in the plain meaning of words and phrases like "enormous portion of the animus towards it in the Republican party", "the rhetoric, actions, and voting record of GOP politicians", "the majority of Republicans in Congress", and "worst aspects of the Republican party".

I appreciate your insistence on clarity in writing, Gary, but you may want to apply that scrutiny more closely to your own nitpicks on occasion.

"I thought I was fairly explicitly clear on that point"

Yes. I didn't disagree. I noted a separate point, which I read Slarti as trying for, and it turns out my reading was correct.

You know, I don't think I support this in its current form. It's much, much worse than McCain Kennedy which passed the Senate last year, would have a decent shot at getting through the House & which Bush seemed open to signing. Why should that be? We have more Democrats in the Senate now & House control. It's fine as an opening bid, but why settle for this? Especially since there won't be another major reform for a decade, and if we end up with a large illegal population all over again the anti-"amnesty" bloc is going to be that much more insistent.... I trust Ted Kennedy's basic decency on this issue, but not necessarily his negotiating skills.

Well, considering that we have someone like Tancredo Actually Running For President and being treated as a "serious" Republican candidate (as opposed to what they're trying to do to Ron Paul), one can understand why Hispanics might be inclined to turn a suspicious eye on the Republican Party as to how welcome they actually are.

Now on top of that, certain people who loudly proclaim their Republican-ness will pull a big hissy fit over something that is being presented as a way to solve a problem that affects quite a few Hispanics. Add to this a few verminious "conservative" shock-jockeys making a few rancid comments which get picked up and repeated everywhere (with lackladasical tut-tutting as "disapproval" from other conservatives.)

Not surprising if we see California GOP, redux. If you don't police your own, you get tarred by what they are doing.

If this ends up the way Reagan's amnesty did, (And I think it both will, and is intended to.) there's not a whole lot more opponents of illegal immigration can do, because so large a percentage of the population will consist of illegal immigrants, ex-illegal immigrants, and their children, that it will be "game over".

"After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?"

That is, essentially, what our governing class are doing with illegal immigration: They are electing a new people, whether or not the present people want them to. And they know that once they've done it, the new people will be happy with what they've done. So all they have to do is tough it out a few more years.

"That is, essentially, what our governing class are doing with illegal immigration: They are electing a new people, whether or not the present people want them to."

Would you care to present some population figures, specifically including demonstrating how and when the number of voting -- or simply present as adults -- illegal immigrants will outnumber citizens, perhaps?

Numbers would seem to put us in the realm of establishing whether your claim is factual or not.

Yes, Brett Bellmore is right, I can see that now. This is all a plot to flood the USA with a bunch of swarthy illegal immigrants who will drown out all of us true Anglo-Saxon Americans and turn this country into one huge barrio where nobody speaks English any more. The horror! The horror!

publius threw beer on my 60 year old father last weekend.

my father is not an immigrant, but interestingly enough he descends from some, so i think publius's position is pretty clear.

o, colonel awesome = kovarsky = colonel federal wheelhouse. i'll fix that soon.

Isn't it dangerous for publius' handlers to be giving code word communications in public?

I normally try not to be too mean, but I have a bit of John Cole's reaction to all this.

Now the freepi want to impeach Jorge Bush. HAHAHA

I think what gets lost in the whole discussion is the havoc wrought on the families in Mexico. That's the reason I think we need to control illegal immigration.

Now the freepi want to impeach Jorge Bush. HAHAHA

Well Bush did say that he's a uniter.

" not saying everyone who votes GOP is a racist. "

Though, given the GOP's current mad passion for fighting 'voter fraud' which really means 'fighting minority voting', I'm not sure how a non-racist could possibly justify voting Republican.

"If this ends up the way Reagan's amnesty did, (And I think it both will, and is intended to.)"

Ah, but Reagan's administration was at least vaguely competent.

Just imagine what cosmic disaster the Bush administration will come up with!

Why, by 2009, the Bush administration will probably manage to import the entire populations of Ecuador and Panama.

No, given the Bush administration's position on imigration, that would be massive competence.

Jon H: "I'm not sure how a non-racist could possibly justify voting Republican."

Only true if that person is a single-issue voter. In the specific case of Bush, it's hard to see what the counterbalancing good thing would be, but -- well, a ways back we were wondering whether anyone could vote for someone who threw American citizens in jail w/o a trial, and I think it was Katherine who noted the example of FDR. I would have voted for FDR.

I can see why Jon H might think that, in much the same way that I can see why a staunch Republican might think that only a Communist could vote Democrat.

It takes a certain blind predisposition to see evil in those one disagrees with, perhaps.

Jon H: Though, given the GOP's current mad passion for fighting 'voter fraud' which really means 'fighting minority voting', I'm not sure how a non-racist could possibly justify voting Republican.

Well, there's nothing to say that someone virulently homophobic might also be non-racist, and think (rightly, on the whole) that the best way to ensure GLBT people will never achieve equality is to vote Repiublican. Or - which is quite common, according to many Republicans - so thoroughly misogynistic that voting anti-choice/forced pregnancy is more important than any other issues. Or someone might believe that someday they'll be in the income-group (or indeed, believe they already are in the income-group) that Republican policies are designed to benefit, and think that in voting Republican they are voting to benefit their personal wealth.

Or - which honestly, I think is the most common reason - just vote Republican because you always have, and always will. People who think about politics and vote according to issues they care about are, according to most surveys, actually in the minority....

Ah, and self-righteousness. I almost forgot that part.

"In the specific case of Bush, it's hard to see what the counterbalancing good thing would be,"

Then you have a remarkably poor imagination. While I think that, on ballance, Bush has been a remarkably bad President, there are a number of issues on which he's better, in the opinion of a substantial number of people, than either Kerry or Gore. Gun control, abortion...

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