NRO Falsely Stereotypes Hispanics and then Complains They Won't Vote for Conservatives

Anti-immigration conservatives are questioning whether extending amnesty to illegals would have any political pay off for the GOP among Hispanics. And if they keep conducting the discussion as if Hispanics are deaf, there certainly won’t be.

A case in point is last week’s National Review Online editorial that Matt Welch blogged here. It wrapped every half-truth and ugly stereotype of Hispanics into grammatical sentences and then insisted in its headline that amnesty would be (politically) “pointless.”

“Illegal immigration is one of the few domains in which the authorities entrusted with enforcing the law feel obliged to negotiate the most concessionary terms and conditions with those who are breaking it, as though law enforcement were an embarrassing inconvenience,” it averred.

How out-of-touch must the NRO writers be if they think that the power in the illegal-government relationship is on the illegals side? But setting aside the patently absurd notion that the Joe Arpaios of the world would negotiate with helpless Hispanics about anything, is amnesty some kind of exotic practice rarely ever used, as the NRO suggests? Not really. Amnesty has a long and honorable history in the service of all kinds of causes, not just immigration.

Amnesty was used in a big way after the Civil War when the victorious Unionists gave Confederate forces a pass from prosecution. In the 1980s, amnesty for tax scofflaws was a popular tool of state governments to encourage tax compliance. Kansas used it to get owners of banned pit bulls into compliance with the law. And governments elsewhere have used amnesty to prod their citizens to turn in their guns, including the British government with the Irish Republican Army.

To be sure, people have an obligation to obey the rule of law. But the rule of law also has an obligation to be rational. And the need for amnesty is often a sign that the law is broken because the cost of enforcing it becomes more costly -- both socially and monetarily -- than suspending it.

That’s why amnesty doesn’t strike most people as inherently wrong. It is no skin off their back if the legal standing of some people is restored when no one else is harmed. No one would support amnesty for murderers or rapists because that would mean withholding redress from their victims — and potentially creating more. But no Unionist was disadvantaged when Confederate soldiers were exempted from treason in the interest of national healing. Likewise, there is no downside to anyone of extending amnesty to illegals and giving them a chance to build stable and secure lives — which is why more than 60 percent of the public supports it. (And, no, it won’t be unfair to foreigners playing by the rules and waiting in line. Low-skilled immigrants, as opposed to every other kind, have no queue to wait in, as I noted here. That’s the real injustice)

But hyperventilating against amnesty was the kindest part of the NRO editorial. Here is what it said about Hispanics:

While many [Hispanics] are in business for themselves, they express hostile attitudes toward free enterprise in polls. They are disproportionately low-income and disproportionately likely to receive some form of government support. More than half of Hispanic births are out of wedlock. Take away the Spanish surname and Latino voters look a great deal like many other Democratic constituencies.

In short, as Matt put it, as far as the NRO is concerned, Hispanics are “welfare sucking and politically hopeless.” The latter might turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but what about the former?

If NRO editors have ever visited California orchards or even stayed at a Marriott, they’d know that there is nothing more hardworking than a Mexican immigrant. Hispanics don’t come to America to trade a life drinking tequila by the cactus tree for one slouched on a couch watching TV while sipping coke and eating chipotle chips bought with food stamps. To the extent that they have a retirement plan, it is early death that an 18-hour, back-breaking work day would surely bring.

Indeed, according to a study by Dan Griswold for the Cato Institute, labor participation rates of foreign-born adults (67.9 percent) are higher than the native-born (64.1 percent). What’s more, this gap is even more pronounced with respect to men. About 80 percent of foreign-born men participate in the labor force — a full 10 percentage points higher than native-born ones. And the kicker: labor-force participation rates were highest of all among unauthorized men at 94 percent.

Conservatives claim that welfare use among Hispanics is higher than the rest of the population (which causes Hispanics, in turn, to vote for politicos who support a bigger welfare state). But that is an apples to oranges comparison. Indeed, as Griswold also notes, as Hispanics move into the lower class living at the poverty line, the native-born move into the middle class. That’s because cheap Mexican labor generates productivity gains that boosts real native wages and generates better-paying jobs for them. (For a fuller discussion of this point, go here.) “Even though the number of legal and illegal immigrants in the United States has risen strongly since the early 1990s, the size of the economic underclass has not,” points out Griswold. “In fact, by several measures the number of Americans living on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder has been in a long-term decline, even as the number of immigrants continues to climb.”

So the relevant comparison is not between welfare use by poor Hispanics and relatively well off native born. The relevant comparison is between welfare use (and voting behavior) by poor Hispanics and what welfare use (and voting behavior) would have been if the native born had continued to occupy the lower class. In other words, is it possible that Hispanic immigration might have actually lowered the cost of the welfare state?

That is the question that’ll need to be answered before one can claim that amnesty for Hispanics will mean an end of America and apple pie. But the answer is notoriously difficult to pin down because it is extremely hard to get sufficiently nuanced, micro-level data that breaks down welfare use by ethnic groups, income groups, and immigration status. (I know because Cato’s Alex Nowrasteh and I have been trying to do just that and running into all kinds of difficulties. A free lifetime Reason subscription for any PhD student willing to take this on as a dissertation project.)

But what’s the point in grappling with tough questions when nasty stereotypes work just fine. Yes, NRO?

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  • John||

    Amnesty was used in a big way after the Civil War when the victorious Unionists gave Confederate forces a pass from prosecution.

    And the South became a solid unionist Republican voting block as a result. Right?

  • RyanXXX||

    Good point

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And the South became a solid unionist Republican voting block as a result. Right?

    If Reconstruction wasn't sabotaged, maybe it could have been.

  • Gladstone||

    I doubt the former Confederates would have been the ones voting Republican in that scenario.

  • robc||

    eventually.

  • John||

    And can we please stop confusing amnesty for citizenship? You could grant them all green cards tomorrow without making any of them citizens.

  • ||

    Yes, because having a class of people who are legally allowed to live and work in the US, but are permanently denied the right to vote would be SO IN KEEPING with our basic principles.

  • RyanXXX||

    Fuck the "right to vote." What does it have to do with liberty? If our basic "'principles" require giving third-worlders the right to legally take my stuff, then we need new principles

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    If our basic "'principles" require giving third-worlders the right to legally take my stuff, then we need new principles

    If they're already working and living here, they're no longer "third-worlders".

    But you knew that already.

  • Juice||

    "As all voting is secret (by secret ballot), and as all secret governments are necessarily only secret bands of robbers, tyrants, and murderers, the general fact that our government is practically carried on by means of such voting, only proves that there is among us a secret band of robbers, tyrants, and murderers, whose purpose is to rob, enslave, and, so far as necessary to accomplish their purposes, murder, the rest of the people." - Lysander Spooner

  • Acosmist||

    They don't want to vote.

  • OldMexican||

    *I* don't want to vote. They gave you a Republic to YOU - if you can keep it.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Historically.Yes. Or did you think all those Chinamen buliding the railroads were simply allowed to vote on the issues of the day.

  • SIV||

    Since when is the right to travel/work/reside the right to vote? Jesus Fucking Christ you might as well just register the whole fucking world and let them vote for what kind of oppressive government we're going to have.

  • entropy||

    So... you actually think you can get legalization for residence and work, but keep them disenfranchised without the right to vote?

    And presumably they will be paying taxes without the right to vote?

  • SIV||

    Just like a resident of one state who lives and works in another. I can't vote in Texas of Tennessee but I pay taxes there.

  • entropy||

    But you aren't an aggrieved ethnic block.

    Hell you're probably white. Nobody gives a shit about you.

  • entropy||

    Plus, you can still vote where you can vote.

    You can't vote everywhere, but you can vote somewhere.

    That's different from someone who can't vote anywhere. Mexico doesn't count.

  • R C Dean||

    You can't vote everywhere, but you can vote somewhere.

    And these immigrants can still vote wherever they are a citizen. If that country doesn't allow voting, or voting by overseas citizens, that's not our problem.

  • ||

    And these wetbacks can still have a right to trial wherever they are a citizen. If that country doesn't allow trials, that's not our problem. We're still going to lynch 'em.

    YEEEHAAAAW, RESPECT MAH SOVEREIGNTAAAAAAAH

  • Scooby||

    Why doesn't Mexico count? If I were to expatriate myself to Mexico, I wouldn't be able to vote there until I was naturalized. I would still be able to vote in the US by absentee ballot, just as Mexican citizens are allowed (to vote absentee in Mexico) after they move North of the border.

  • ||

    Who said Mexico doesn't count? See we're talking about this country called the USA.

  • Scooby||

    Entropy said, in the comment to which I was responding:

    That's different from someone who can't vote anywhere. Mexico doesn't count.


    I'm all for free movement of labor and capital, but not necessarily for no-holds-barred universal suffrage.

  • ||

    I'm all for free movement of labor and capital, but not necessarily for no-holds-barred universal suffrage.

    So, you are perfectly ok with having a class of permanently disenfranchised workers in the US who can never become citizens?

    Perhaps we can just make them our house servants. That will solve all our problems.

  • Scooby||

    Yeah, I'm OK with disenfranchising all sorts of people, including many natural-born citizens- perfectly OK with it. Universal suffrage has brought us an entitlement/welfare state that will be the ruin of us.

  • sarcasmic||

    Too many people have the "right to vote" as it is.

    As far as I am concerned, if you don't pay taxes, you should have no right to vote on who decides how the money is spent.

    That would include all government employees.

  • Killazontherun||

    Voting is not only one of the most horrible things you can do to your fellow citizens, but is not at all essential to a libertarian order. To a great extent, it is the reason ours is so eroded.

    Shrike's favorite pundit, Rush had a few interesting words. He said he had a conversation with a sitting pro-immigrant senator who was asking him what could he do to get Rush's support. Rush said all it would take would be to ban those who have been processed previously as illegals to be denied voting rights for twenty years and he would get on the radio tomorrow and support full amnesty. The senator told him the culture of DC would never permit that.

    So, it isn't really about immigration and open boarders or anything concerning principle really for wither side. It is about votes and voting patterns. One sees the votes at an opportunity to increase their power, the other side sees it as a threat to holding on to their own.

  • Killazontherun||

    immigration and open boarders borders

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Killazontherum,

    So, it isn't really about immigration and open [borders] or anything concerning principle really for wither side. It is about votes and voting patterns.


    Of course it is, and the Dems are winning at that game, despite the fact that they have been leading Latinos all this time with false promises.

    The Republicans have a chance to take this issue and tell Latinos "Look, despite what you heard, we WANT you here to work and prosper, but you cannot obtain the same voting rights that everybody here had to wait at least 18 years to get. We offer you the legal status you must certainly deserve and you will be able to become citizens after 18 years, JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE who is born here. The Democrats just want to taunt you with amnesty so they can have the vote of your already-legal relatives. We offer you to get this done once and for all and set up a rational system that will allow people to come here to work and prosper, not to become pawns for greedy politicians. Whaddya say, huh?"

  • Killazontherun||

    Works for me. It would call the Democrats bluff. They actually have the most to lose if the current mess is reformed as they benefit the most from the arrangement.

  • Virginian||

    It is about votes and voting patterns. One sees the votes at an opportunity to increase their power, the other side sees it as a threat to holding on to their own.

    Bingo. The Dems think they can make Texas a swing state with one signature. The GOP fears they're right.

  • MJGreen||

    Permanently denied the right to vote? They can still become citizens, if they so choose.

    Or are all immigrants supposed to immediately be granted citizenship?

  • Proprietist||

    I've always felt the rational compromise is if they entered the country illegally, they can get a conditional legal work/residency visa with no path to citizenship. If they want a path to citizenship, they can always start over through a standard legal path either via a spousal visa, work visa or lottery, but they don't get any residency credit for the previous conditional residency.

  • ||

    I've never been hit up by a Mexican beggar.

  • sarcasmic||

    Anyone who says Mexicans are lazy has never worked with one.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Anyone who says Mexicans are hardworking has never been to Mexico.

  • ||

    Right on, Sarcasmic. Does anyone know where the lazy Mexican immigrant stereotype originated from? I've found them to be one of the hardest working groups of people over the course of my career.

    My guess is that the lazy-Mexican claim was born from unions.

  • sarcasmic||

    Does anyone know where the lazy Mexican immigrant stereotype originated from?

    The siesta. People would see Mexicans dozing off in the hot afternoon sun and wrote them off as lazy, not realizing that they would get back to work once things cooled down.

  • Proprietist||

    This is so true. And I live in Texas.

  • ||

    I spent most of my adult life in California, then three years in Texas, and now in a heavily Mexican small town in northern Illinois. So it's not from lack of exposure.

  • Proprietist||

    I mean, I work in the barrio of Northwest Dallas and the closest thing I've ever seen to a Mexican begging are the dudes standing around waiting for day labor.

  • ||

    Exactly right. I lived in Austin, a haven for panhandlers and not a one was Mexican- or for that matter Asian. Go to the parking lot at Home Despot to hire a couple guys to do some labor for cash and it's Spanish-speaking only. Which is OK, I learned enough to let them know what I needed and how much I was willing to pay.

    Here in N. IL., same story- lots of brownish people eager to work hard for cash, no panhandling. And I learned how to make a killer mole verde while I was at it.

  • Scooby||

    The only place I've been hit up by a Mexican beggar was Mexico. That's where you will find the Mexicans too lazy to travel North for work.

  • ||

    There's an analogy to Arabs, Chinese, and Indians. They do FAR better than the "older" citizens of every country they move to, but back in Lebanon/Egypt/Syria, India, and China... well... not so much.

  • ||

    To be sure, people have an obligation to obey the rule of law. But the rule of law also has an obligation to be rational.

    But we can't make the rule of law rational until people start obeying it. No amnesty until our jack-booted thugs stomp people into obedience!
    OBEY!

  • Acosmist||

    "Amnesty was used in a big way after the Civil War when the victorious Unionists gave Confederate forces a pass from prosecution."

    Hi, fallacy of equivocation! Nice to meet you.

  • ||

    I thought that was mainly because it would have been logistically and economically idiotic to prosecute half the country for treason.

  • Proprietist||

    Just like it would be logistially and economically idiotic to prosecute and deport 12 million illegal immigrants.

  • WTF||

    OT:
    Alabama high school psychology teacher Bob Grisham has been suspended for 10 days without pay for a rant that included calling the first lady “fat butt Michelle Obama."

    Lese Majeste, I guess.

  • SIV||

    been suspended for 10 days without pay

    He should have gone into law enforcement

  • WTF||

    Yeah, then he could beat and kill with no more than a paid vacation at worst.

  • Tim||

    There is nothing more country club than GOP despisal of Mexicans.

  • SugarFree||

    Which is especially silly given how nice they keep the tees and greens.

  • SIV||

    If NRO editors have ever visited California orchards of even stayed at a Marriott were a racist collectivist senior analyst at the Reason Foundation, they’d know that there is nothing more hardworking than a Mexican immigrant

    Fixed that for ya Shikha.

  • OldMexican||

    Fixed what? What's your rationale?

  • SIV||

    All Mexican immigrants are hardworking? No immigrants of other nationalities work harder? No native born Americans ever work harder?

    Shikha is using stereotypes in a column attacking "false stereotyping". That is some Grade A "analysis" they pay her for.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: SIV,

    All Mexican immigrants are hardworking?


    There must be at least ONE that is not, SIV, but we do not jump through hoops and spend thousands of dollars (or risk life and limb) just to lay on a cot while sipping Pinas Coladas. Use your head.

  • R C Dean||

    we do not jump through hoops and spend thousands of dollars (or risk life and limb) just to lay on a cot while sipping Pinas Coladas.

    Never been on a Caribbean vacation, have you?

  • WTF||

    Shikha is using stereotypes in a column attacking "false stereotyping". That is some Grade A "analysis" they pay her for.

    Shikha gets graded on a curve.

  • Killazontherun||

    No native born Americans ever work harder?

    I recall one year I was standing in line to pay for my college tuition. I over heard a conversation between two others in line where one asked the other if she were Greek. Not knowing or caring anything about on campus culture I naively asked if they were going to be involved at an upcoming event at the Orthodox church. They sneered 'not that kind of Greek.'

    I made sure to let them see that I paid my tuition in full and in cash. Just dropped the twenties and hundreds on the table. Working full time allows one to do that.

  • OldMexican||

    But the rule of law also has an obligation to be rational.


    Well, immigration laws and other impediments to the free flow of labor do have at least one rational purpose: To increase the esteem and morale of mediocre and lazy natives.

  • Proprietist||

    I think keeping out violent criminals and those with severe, communicable diseases is a legitimate purpose of having an enforced legal immigration system. But then, we all also know that banning something does not make it go away and the powers assumed by government can be easily abused outside the original scope.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Proprietist,

    I think keeping out violent criminals and those with severe, communicable diseases is a legitimate purpose of having an enforced legal immigration system.


    I agree, but unfortunately the current system is more designed to discourage immigration than to keep those elements out. The criminals and the sick are still able to enter the US while those that want to work are either told they can't or that they need someone in the US to "sponsor" them, as if these were children they are dealing with.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    We'll see how welcome traditionally Catholic Hispanics are here when they eschew support for same-sex marriage recognition and want to be able to keep their assault weapons. Boom. Truth bomb just went off.

  • OldMexican||

    No one would support amnesty for murderers or rapists because that would mean withholding redress from their victims


    The collectivists at the GOP and talk radio (and here) would have one believe that there are victims with damages to address, because THEY TAKE'EM AMERICAN JOBZ!!!!

  • WTF||

    DEY TUK ER JERBS!!!!

  • OldMexican||

    according to a study by Dan Griswold for the Cato Institute, labor participation rates of foreign-born adults (67.9 percent) are higher than the native-born (64.1 percent).


    You lazy gringos!

  • WTF||

    Well, that's because DEY TUK ER JERBS!!!!

  • Azathoth!!||

    Did you not look at that cartoon chart they keep pushing? They HAVE to have a job just to get in the door, of course their employment will be higher.

  • SIV||

    In other words, is it possible that Hispanic immigration might have actually lowered the cost of the welfare state?

    It sure must suck when the available data doesn't support the answer you want.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    To be sure, people have an obligation to obey the rule of law.

    Do they? Did Jan Gies have an obligation to turn the Franks over to the Nazis ought of obligation to obey the rule of law?

  • robc||

    That was Rule of Man.

    Rule of Law does not mean "any law in place".

  • Stormy Dragon||

    That seems something of a no true scottsman there. What distinguishes law laws from man laws?

  • ||

    Rule of Law does not mean "any law in place".

    Actually it does. Notice how it isn't "Rule of Rational Laws" or "Rule of Fair Laws," just "Rule of Law.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I'm agreeing with Stormy here. I have an obligation to respect my fellow human beings person and property. To the extent the law coincides with that obligation, we are good to go. To the extent that it doesn't, fuck the law.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Indeed, as Griswold also notes, as Hispanics move into the lower class living at the poverty line, the native-born move into the middle class.

    The Mexican-Americans don't.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Sidd Finch,

    Your link only states that Mexican-Americans are likely to gather more with people of the same cultural background, not that they cannot or are unable to move up the middle class. That's not at all surprising since most immigrants tend to do that for a few generations before spreading and blending.

  • Sidd Finch||

    That's not at all surprising since most immigrants tend to do that for a few generations before spreading and blending.

    This isn't true at all. European immigrants made huge 1st gen. jumps towards white norms. And didn't regress in the 3rd generation. 1st gen. Asian-Americans beat whites right now.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Sidd Finch,

    This isn't true at all. European immigrants made huge 1st gen. jumps towards white norms.


    When was this? Before 1924? Most of the European immigrants TODAY tend to be already wealthy individuals, at least compared to Latin American workers. But European immigrants during the late 19t Century and early 20th Century had a hard time moving upwards just like Latinos are today, and they tended to keep themselves in communities of like-minded and culturally-consistent individuals. That does not mean that one set of immigrants was harder working than the other or more interested in blending in than the other - BOTH were.

  • Sidd Finch||

    When was this? Before 1924?

    Sure, just like those on the pretty charts labeled gen. 3 under "1965" and "original resp."

    http://www.amazon.com/Generati.....0871548496

    The majority of fourth generation Mexican Americans continue to live in Hispanic neighborhoods, marry other Hispanics, and think of themselves as Mexican. And while Mexican Americans make financial strides from the first to the second generation, economic progress halts at the second generation, and poverty rates remain high for later generations. Similarly, educational attainment peaks among second generation children of immigrants, but declines for the third and fourth generations.

  • lap83||

    The libertarians who argue about the "right" to travel only seem to apply that right to those who want to travel here, while Americans shouldn't do anything about our own getting killed in other countries. Dead diplomats? Probably our fault.

  • Killazontherun||

    Whatever you are smoking, no thanks. I don't want any of that shit.

  • Josua||

    They're socialists, just like more than half of the United States population.

    Immigration is a non-issue.

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