The Party of Immigration

Republicans need a new approach to Hispanics and other newcomers.

Immigration restrictionists are right when they argue that proposed “comprehensive” reform won’t do the GOP much good with Hispanics. But that isn’t because, as the restrictionists believe, Latinos are welfare-grubbing, government-loving Democrats who will never vote for the party that denies them free stuff. It’s more because, when it comes to immigration, Republicans don’t show them the nice side of limited government.

Mitt Romney’s shellacking among Hispanics, nearly 75 percent of whom voted for Barack Obama, brought Republicans to the negotiating table on immigration reform, but only grudgingly. Many still believe that Latinos are a hopeless cause. 

In the wake of the election, Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute alleged that the source of the “strong bond” between Hispanics and Democrats wasn’t immigration policy but Hispanic support for “strong government intervention in the economy” and “progressive taxation,” as if Hispanics are born Keynesians. And an incendiary National Review Online editorial noted that Hispanics are “disproportionately low-income and disproportionately likely to receive some form of government support.” 

But these commentaries betray a lack of perspective. Hispanics are hardly unique in their voting behavior. With the exception of Cubans and Vietnamese, no minority—rich or poor, on or off the dole—has much love for the GOP. 

Consider Indian Americans: More than 85 percent voted for Barack Obama, and 65 percent generally vote Democratic. This despite the fact that, like Jews (another anti-Republican minority), Indian Americans are wealthier and less likely to receive government support than the overall population. What’s more, Indian Americans should be natural allies of limited-government politicians, given how much government dysfunction they’ve witnessed back home.

So how do Republicans manage to alienate nearly every minority? By applying limited-government principles very selectively. During the last 50 years the GOP has opposed welfare handouts, racial preferences, and multiculturalism. Yet the Party of Lincoln has looked the other way when the government has oppressed minorities through racial profiling, discriminatory sentencing laws, and, above all, immigration policy.

America’s immigration laws are an exercise in social engineering that should offend any sincere believer in limited government. They strictly limit the number of foreigners allowed from any one country, largely to prevent America from being overrun by Hispanics and Asians. 

The result: Highly skilled foreigners from India and China have to wait up to two decades to convert their temporary work visas (H1-Bs) to green cards or permanent residency. During this time, they can’t change jobs, and their spouses can’t work. But they have it good compared to low-skilled Hispanics.

Latin American immigrants can’t even get permits to legally enter the U.S. for work. Uncle Sam is extremely tight-fisted with visas for unskilled non-agricultural foreigners. Even if they manage to obtain visas they have no way of applying for green cards because, unlike H1-B workers, the law offers them no avenues to do so. Unless they have close relatives in America, the only way holders of H2-A or H2-B visas can live here permanently is illegally. 

Rather than demanding stricter enforcement of these irrational rules, Republicans could have made common cause with the Hispanics and Asians who are victimized by it. Instead of urging the Obama administration to add to its record-breaking deportation numbers, they could have led the charge against the visa raj that shackles immigrants and the businesses that hire them. Instead of pushing border drones and electric fences, they could have made more compassionate immigration laws a civil rights crusade.

Democrats may resort to bribery, handouts, and fear mongering when wooing immigrants to their side. But Republicans could go a long way simply by staying true to their limited-government principles. 

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Why don't they become the party of free markets and limited government while they're at it? Ridiculous.

  • jamson74||

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  • John C. Randolph||

    I would deport you in a heartbeat.

    -jcr

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I am noticing a bit of repetitiveness in Shikha Dalmia's articles....what is it?

  • ||

    She thinks you should buy Gillespie and Welch's book?

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    During the last 50 years the GOP has opposed welfare handouts, racial preferences, and multiculturalism.

    I would say these are good things, not bad.

  • Tony||

    Latino immigrants, latino citizens, and pretty much everyone who's not male and white is a liberal on both economic and social concerns. It's probably best for the GOP to just stick with its voter suppression methods.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Shut the fuck up, Tony.

    I don't need your permission to go off the plantation.

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    Owned.

  • John C. Randolph||

    But HM, the nice white boy is just trying to improve your life by demanding your obedience to the state. I mean, that worked out so well for the Jews, why wouldn't you do likewise?

    -jcr

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    pretty much everyone who's not male and white is a liberal on both economic and social concerns.

    Strange, most blacks I know are socially conservative.

  • satya||

    And Obama is helping H1b workers? There were no major reforms in last 5 years and the green card queue is still stuck. I still don't see why Indians vote for him.

  • ||

    They thought Biden's impression was spot on.

  • John||

    The vote for him because Indians want in on the racial grievance gravy train.

  • John||

    Perhaps if the Dems didn't poison the well by making everything about amnesty and citizenship (read importing more Dem voters) Republicans would be more willing to make a deal.

    We have seen this in Europe. The European left freely admits now that it wanted immigration in the 1960s as a way of importing voters. The American left wants the same thing here. But if you just give VISAs and not citizenship, they can't do that and everyone wins.

  • Tony||

    Which must mean Republicans oppose reform because they don't want more Democratic voters. Principle!

  • John||

    And Democrats won't fix the VISA system because it won't get them any votes. Go figure.

  • vikingthane||

    to tony and co if you really care about reality then you realize once this amnesty happens its the end of civilization let alone libertarianism the third world care nothing for lofty ideals they want to get paid. so in 50 years when youre watching your wife and daughter raped and hacked up like some South African farmer today. pat yourself on the back for your principled stand and creating a continent wide nuclear armed Haiti- good work

  • KevinP||

    This is the truth.

    The new pathway to citizenship will directly place the most non-libertarian voters on the rolls, increasing big government even further.

    And Shikha is A-OK with that.

  • Tony||

    Principle!

  • KevinP||

    Any cite free article by Shikha Dalmia. She is one of the weakest Reason writers.

    Is it too much to provide a citation for this claim:
    Consider Indian Americans: More than 85 percent voted for Barack Obama, and 65 percent generally vote Democratic.

  • John||

    Implicit in all of her articles on immigration is that Hispanics are single issue voters on immigration. And the evidence shows they are not. They have other values and other issues they vote on. So even if Republicans roll over on immigration, Latinos will just continue voting based on other issues.

  • Mickey Rat||

    How about "Shikha Dalmia on...Any Other Subject, Please!".

    Talk about when all you have is a hammer...

  • vikingthane||

    LIbertarianism like enlightenment republics contain the seeds of their own destruction the moochers simply vote themselves your rights property even your children.culture is not tranferable all men are not created equal neither are civilization. so as Milton said sort of you can have libertarianism or you can have multiculturalism not both.Join the dark enlightenment we are practical libertarians leave these marxist poseurs trolls

  • vikingthane||

    racial profiling, discriminatory sentencing laws, and, above all, immigration policy.
    maybe she should look at the dept of justice crime stats

  • buybuydandavis||

    "With the exception of Cubans and Vietnamese, no minority—rich or poor, on or off the dole—has much love for the GOP. "

    Not surprising. The nations of the world that have a similar conception of freedom liberty are in the Anglosphere, and predominantly white.

    As much as we might call Canadians socialists, they're much closer in outlook to us than the French or Germans, much much closer than Chinese or Malaysians, and the Pakistanis and Saudis are for all practical purposes another species.

    "What’s more, Indian Americans should be natural allies of limited-government politicians, given how much government dysfunction they’ve witnessed back home."

    No. They come from a big government culture. Those are their baseline assumptions, born out of the way their society functions.

    George Bush thought that a desire for freedom burned in the breast of people everywhere. Reality does not bear that out.

  • XM||

    Most Asians either come from collectivist nations or are on welfare themselves. Asians are over represented in terms of wealth and college population, but there are plenty of hopeless among them. Actually, GOP performs a little better with wealthy minorities.

    They don't like limited government. They just don't. They're not going to get all hot and bothered when the government bans texting while driving and makes it more difficult to smoke. Bloomberg's soda nannyism and the like is a minor annoyance to them.

    The Republican party is YOU. If a reason writer tries to argue against minimum wage or Obamacare, the response will be "stop being a Republican".

    The GOP has a FAR better chance winning back some of the white votes or the female votes.

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  • Choey||

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  • KRoyall||

    The first thing these new citizens would do is vote against anything remotely Libertarian in nature. I can't get behind a movement that supports policies that would bring about its demise.

  • SukieTawdry||

    "Uncle Sam is extremely tight-fisted with visas for unskilled non-agricultural foreigners."

    And we need a bunch of unskilled non-agricultural foreigners overrunning the place why exactly?

  • submandave||

    "With the exception of Cubans and Vietnamese, no minority—rich or poor, on or off the dole—has much love for the GOP."

    So, the two groups that have been abused and killed at the hands of Communists oppose Democrats. Just sayin'. File under "Things that make you go Hmmm."

  • ZombiePete||

    "But Republicans could go a long way simply by staying true to their limited-government principles."

    That's kind of the problem right there, isn't it? Neither of the two big tickets have "principles" anymore, they have polling data and election consultants and media advisors. "Principles" are outmoded in today's political environment.

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  • Lee Reynolds||

    So the solution to our social ills is open borders? The way to appease people of various "foreign" ethnicities is to let their distant cousins immigrate without restriction?

    I want America to be a melting pot, not a salad bowl.

    I also find it strange that the supposed victims of racial profiling and discriminatory sentencing laws (I never knew minimum sentencing laws required stiffer punishments for "minorities," you learn something new every day!) are the very same people who vote for the political party that wants to empower government even more. If someone is beating you with a stick, does it make sense to hand them a bigger one?

    The left has been extremely successful in casting support for the Socialist party as a cultural norm. Black people who are culturally black vote for the Socialists religiously because it is part of their cultural identity. The same is true of various other groups.

    Trying to trace this back to some policy or another on the part of the GOP is absurd. The leftists cast the GOP as the party of and for "white people" and their own party as the party of and for "minorities." It wouldn't matter what the GOP said or did, as long as people vote based on identity instead of ideas, the Socialists will continue to get the "minority" vote.

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  • J_West||

    I have some experience in campaigning from the ground up: precinct walking, campus organizing, and the like. I can tell you from experience that minority outreach programs just do not work. That sector of minorities who will vote for the Republican Party (or LP!) will do so for largely intellectual reasons, not because the GOP is pandering to them on some issue.

    But here's a thought: if the Republicans want to bring in conservative voters, there are quite a few white people in South Africa and Zimbabwe who want to get out from a country disintegrating into crime and anti-white discrimination. Supposing the Republicans were to sponsor a bill to make them American citizens. These people would support gun rights, law and order, and oppose affirmative action and other liberal programs. They also might be able to rebuild devastated American inner cities.

    How about it?

  • mynet sohbet||

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