Amnesty Now!

Why the party of immigration panic is nominating an immigration reformer

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Mitt Romney declared his presidential candidacy one year ago with a 2,400 word speech. None of those words was "immigration." The issue of workers illegally entering the country was dealt with one pat phrase: "I believe that homeland security begins with securing our borders." He couldn't have been more careful if he was wearing a bike helmet and knee pads. How hard of a line would he have to take on immigration? He'd wait and see. Better, for a while, to keep it vague.

A while lasted about one month. At the Conservative Political Action Conference, where Romney would win the first of many easily purchased straw polls, the candidate got bold. He was suddenly the defender of American sovereignty against unskilled workers making the "wide-open walk" across the border. He attacked John McCain's comprehensive immigration bill, gleefully calling it "McCain-Kennedy" and warning that "amnesty didn't work 20 years ago, and it won't work today."

Romney, swinging his platinum pick axe wildly, had finally hit on a vein of gold. He watched along with the shocked pundit class as the immigration bill came up again in the Senate and John McCain, already wounded by a mismanaged campaign, plummeted into third or fourth place. Fred Thompson started his six month sleepwalk into the race by bashing "comprehensive immigration reform": He, too, figured that this was an issue that split the campaign wide open.

And they weren't wrong. If you walked into an "Ask Mitt Anything" townhall meeting or an "Oh, God, Why Am I Doing This?" Sam Brownback event in Iowa this summer you would have heard endless, angry, heated, and pissed-off verbiage about how illegal immigrants were ruining the state. If you headed down to South Carolina, a must-win McCain state that looked iffy for a long time, you would have heard the same thing, but louder. In May, Mitt Romney visited the state with a message as sharp as his jawline. "One simple rule: No amnesty!" Sen. Lindsay Graham, a McCain ally, was booed viciously. And the rest of the Republican candidates smiled and dialed up their anti-immigration rhetoric.

The problem for the demagogues was that the primaries weren't held in the white heat of late summer, when immigration anger was at its highest. In Iowa, 33 percent of Republicans marked "illegal immigration" as their top issue, and only 4 percent of those voters went for McCain. But the fade was on. In the state where Lindsay Graham got heckled, only 26 percent of voters said illegal immigration was their top issue, compared to 40 percent who said the economy and 31 percent who said either "terrorism" or "Iraq." And a full 47 percent of those immigration voters favored a "path to citizenship" or "temporary worker" status for illegal immigrants.

Graham and McCain had been hurt by the immigration fight, of course. McCain confirmed to The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza that his coalition-building on immigration reform caused his six-month poll swoon: "I was told by one of the pollsters, 'We see real bleeding.'" But McCain massaged his stance on the issue, telling audiences that he favored "enforcement first." Mike Huckabee spent the months before Iowa and South Carolina pandering shamelessly, adopting every suggestion of groups like NumbersUSA and successfully courting Minutemen maharishi Jim Gilchrist. Still, by the time of the South Carolina primary the issue was so quiescent that McCain suffered no real damage. "A ceiling of 18 percent of the most dedicated Republican voters in that conservative state cared so much about illegal immigration that they voted against McCain," noted David Freddoso of National Review. "Another six percent cared about it so much that they voted for him. That puts McCain's immigration deficit in the South Carolina GOP primary at 12 points overall."

The most glaring sign of how the issue was fading was, as usual in this campaign, Romney's obvious feint and switch to another issue: the economy. Bolstered by a win in Michigan, Romney dropped most of his immigration talk and started comparing John McCain to Hillary Clinton. It was almost poetic that McCain's win in Florida, the primary that shaped the rest of the race, was made possible by a 30 percent to 40 percent landslide with Republican Hispanic voters. There was no Hispanic Republican population that big on Super Tuesday, but by then the issue had faded even further. In talk radio-riven California only 29 percent of voters called immigration their top issue, and McCain won both counties on the Mexican border, Imperial and San Diego. (Romney won only three counties, none of them south of Fresno.) In McCain's own Arizona, where Republicans once viewed him vulnerable to a primary challenge on the issue, only 31 percent called it their top issue, and 53 percent of them opposed deportation.

None of this is to say Romney was the only candidate who got mired in the immigration fever swamps. Twenty-one years ago, seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for president, Ron Paul filled out a CNN questionnaire with unashamed open borders answers. Asked whether "the new immigration bill" was "solving the problem," he wrote "no" and that the way to fix it was "open all borders." Paul opposed strengthening the U.S. border patrol and making English "the official U.S. language." But in April 2006, just as the current immigration maelstrom starting churning, Paul demanded that the government "allocate far more resources, both in terms of money and manpower, to securing our borders" as the only way to solve "immigration problems and the threat of foreign terrorists." And Paul ran hard on immigration this year. An ad that saturated New Hampshire's TV screens showed Mexicans climbing over the border as a narrator intoned the ways Paul would stop the immigration mess. One piece of direct mail showed a work boot trampling the Constitution and promised the voter that "Ron Paul will end birthright citizenship."

More than a week before Super Tuesday I asked Paul why his stance had evolved or whether he was trying to just win votes. "Even under the best of circumstances I don't think people should be rewarded for breaking the law," Paul told me. So I asked what Paul thought might have happened if his earlier advice had been taken and the borders were opened. "If you'd asked me that in 1987 I'd have qualified what 'open the borders' meant," he said. "It probably would have meant at the time that we'd have a generous work program. We need workers—we should allow workers to come in." Paul was saying what about half of those GOP voters with immigration on their minds had been saying. But his campaign had marked them as deportation die-hards, and it suffered for that.

The solace for Paul is that he did not suffer quite so much as Mitt Romney. Romney, who always knew better, calculated that voter anger at illegal immigration and illegal immigrants themselves would carve out a position for him in the race. He bought the hype that this would become, indeed, the defining issue of the GOP race, and was blindsided by both the McCain comeback and Mike Huckabee's traction in Iowa. How could either of those things happen if the base was worried about immigration? Simple: He, and a lot of other people, assumed the worst about Americans and immigration.

David Weigel is an associate editor of reason.

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  1. Can you show proof of the cnn questionnaire you say Ron Paul filled out years ago? It seems like poor journalism to site something like that without backing it up with proof.

  2. I only scanned the first part, but I’m going to guess that Weigel forgot to mention that the MSM continually allows McCain to lie and mislead on this issue (just one example: youtube.com/watch?v=wm0uWz2BS9M). And, I’m going to guess that Weigel forgot to mention that the MSM constantly lies and misleads about the issue, even when it doesn’t involve McCain.

    So, what Weigel is discussing is actually the issue after it’s been presented by the corrupt MSM.

    If the issue had a fair debate, I can guarantee everyone that many more people would be very concerned about it and neither McCain, Obama, nor Clinton would have much of a chance.

    And, McCain’s walking into the lion’s den tomorrow.

  3. My son was born when I was living (legally) in another first-world country. He was not offered that country’s citizenship. I didn’t think ill of that country; I just thought “Hey, it’s their country; they can do what they want.”

  4. I think the simple answer is that the immigration thing is a hysteria of a minority of voters, and something that most moderates are more savvy about. Economic conservatives know something like the McCain bill makes more sense than “SEND THEM ALL TO GITMO VIII!” types.

    I think the whole thing will probably play to republican disadvantage if they play it up, so most are shutting up, aiming at least at getting a viable candidate, then putting pressure on the white house if/when he wins.

  5. My son was born when I was living (legally) in another first-world country. He was not offered that country’s citizenship. I didn’t think ill of that country; I just thought “Hey, it’s their country; they can do what they want.”

    Um yeah…so you take away birth right to citizenship in the US…so if i am no longer a citizen because i was born here then why am I a citizen at all?

    Seriously Ron Paul has been playing with this bullshit for god knows what reason…if we don’t have birth right then what the fuck do we replace it with in a nation full of immigrants and descendants of immigrants??

  6. Once again, if the MSM did their job and followed the money instead of trying to obscure the trail, and reported on the huge flaws in what the candidates propose, and did real investigative reporting instead of just repeating lies, most people would realize how important the issue is.

    As for joshua corning, Ron Paul and everyone else who wants the same thing only want changes vis-a-vis the children of illegal aliens. The status of the children of citizens would not be affected. Who put the latter thought into your head?

  7. David Weigel wonders why the party of immigration panic is nominating an immigration reformer.

    Let me hazard a guess…

    Of 100 Americans, the greatest direct impact that illegal immigration has on 80 of them is that they sometimes hear Spanish spoken in the grocery store. Of the 20 others, 15 see their well beings directly improved by illegal immigrants. Of the 5 who believe that their well beings have been hurt by illegal immigration, 3 don’t vote, and the 2 that do vote voted for Hillary Clinton.

  8. What MikeP says makes a lot of sense!

    Just as long as you ignore all those who live in areas that are burdened by massive IllegalImmigration, such as those in communities where hospitals have been shut down.

    And, just as long as you ignore things that – once again due to the corrupt MSM – most people aren’t aware of. When the FederalReserve and major banks try to profit from money that was earned illegally, that leads to corruption. And, that corruption leads to many other problems that people don’t see at the supermarket, but which do have a serious impact on their lives.

  9. Lonewacko, I realize that a lot of people get their cathartic joy from watching Lou Dobbs and his ilk playing out the threat to our sovereignty and the war on the middle class. The more click?d ‘n’ learn?d among them even visit your media empire.

    Nonetheless, when they get into the voting booth, perhaps something that they heard about that happened to some other person somewhere else may not actually mean as much as they thought when the pollster called and asked last week.

  10. His stand on immigration is one ofJohn McCain’s few redeeming features. But it is not totally out of character for Republicans. Conservatives have long been divided on the issue.

    In 1980, Ronald Reagan actually advocated “open borders” with Canada and Mexico, for free trade reasons, and to benefit the corporate interests that backed his campaign. In the same year, Rep Phil Crane pointed out that when America had a more free economy, we accepted millions of immigrants.

    When the economy has a downturn, it is easier to scapegoat “cheap immigrant labor” and “cheap imports” than to actually reduce the burden of government that is causing economic problems. This has effected popular attitudes in the last couple years.

  11. The real question is why anti-war voters keep voting for McCain. Like Caplan and Hayes point out, voters are idiots.


  12. Seriously Ron Paul has been playing with this bullshit for god knows what reason…if we don’t have birth right then what the fuck do we replace it with in a nation full of immigrants and descendants of immigrants??

    I’d wondered that, too. RP taking a hard lonewacko turn is a mystery worth a whole chapter in Doherty’s next revision.

  13. tom,

    We’re not like other first-world countries (I assume you mean Europe, or possibly Japan). We’re the United States.

    We don’t have this “blood and soil” horseshit. We don’t try to protect our racial purity. We don’t have a lot of the repellent history and practices of most other first world countries. And we don’t want it.

    Sure, they can do anything they want. So can we. I don’t think we want to be more like other first world countries in that area.

  14. The citzenship by birth is actually because of post-slavery constitutional amendments. Pretty hard to deny citizenship or play any legalistic games with the children of slaves it when full citizenship automatically follows from being born in the country.

  15. I would say that immigration has long been the issue that most deeply divides Republicans.

    Others might say abortion is that issue, but to me that mostly breaks down between “vehemently pro-life” and “don’t really give a shit.”

  16. Lonewacko,

    I’m not trying to be a jerk, but what hospitals have closed down because of illegal immigration? I ran several searches, and I finally got to this article:

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/309/6960/973
    which had the line:

    “Major social issues in American cities – AIDS, violence, drug misuse, teenage pregnancies, homelessness, and illegal immigration – have resulted in severe cost pressures on public hospitals, which are obliged to admit those in need of care but unable to pay for it.” Not very specific, unfortunately.

    I even searched “hospital” on your site, and I didn’t see anything in the first twenty links or so about hospitals closing because of illegals.

    If “hospital closings” is your best argument, I’m even thinking that MikeP might have even gone a bit high at 5% for the number of Americans hurt by illegal immigration. I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise by links.

  17. joe:

    We’ve got pure blood and racial purity in this country? When did this happen? 🙂

    Personally, I’m against illegal immigration… however I also want it to be a whole hell of a lot easier to get into this country, make it a much simpler process that has three requirements:

    1) No violent felons.
    2) Maximum of two months without a job.
    3) No SS/Welfare.

    Nephilium… who actually knew someone who was deported for overstaying a visa… an IT guy from Australia…

  18. I guess “MSM” is now the new code for any journalist who doesn’t agree hook, line, and sinker with everything uttered from the mouth of Paul.

    You guys are groupthink at its worst.

  19. Nephilium-

    I agree with your criteria, but I think since they don’t recieve welfare/SS benefits they should also get a tax refund.

  20. Cesar,

    I’m a native-born American who doesn’t get welfare/SS.Where is my tax refund?

  21. I’m a native-born American who doesn’t get welfare/SS

    SIV, the longer illegal/temporary legal immigrants pay SS taxes, the longer the ponzi scheme goes on. IllegalMexicans are proping up Socialist Security right now.

  22. I’d like to see Singapore/Hong Kong style immigration laws. You can work here until your heart’s content, but unless you pass a pretty tough citizenship test you don’t get to vote or get welfare.

  23. Cesar:

    The tax refund is a tricky one… I’d say yes to Medicaid and SS tax… but no to Federal. However, the employers would still have to pay the standard amount. Otherwise, you would skew the market for employees towards guest worker immigrants.

    Oh, and obviously, no voting rights.

    Nephilium

  24. 3) No SS/Welfare.

    Legal immigrants pay social security and medicare taxes. It would be unfair to make them pay the taxes and not be eligible for the benefits.

  25. David Weigel wonders why the party of immigration panic is nominating an immigration reformer.

    Not to contradict anything in Weigel’s analysis, but McCain is basically winning the same way Clinton (Bill-type) won the whole thing in ’92 – a split among his opponents is giving in a pluarity in a lot of places, which is giving him the majority of the people that matter (delegates/electors). So I think is shows that immigration panic is a large, but not unifying element of the current Republican party.

    And on the Democratic side, immigration panic is an issue of (some) northern union whites and (some) african americans (and Kaus), but not nearly animating enough to waiver their loyalty to a nominee Clinton or nominee Obama. The same cannot be said of the Republicans for nominee McCain.

  26. I’m a native-born American who doesn’t get welfare/SS.Where is my tax refund?

    Why should you get a refund? What does giving a non-citizen a refund have to do with you? You’re a citizen (thanks to pure luck, but a citizen nonetheless). Do you suddenly have a problem with laws treating non-citizens differently? I thought you were all for it.

    Besides, speaking of SS/welfare, I would think that anti-immigration types, who think “we” have a right to decide who can live and work here, could not possibly have much of a problem with those that claim “we” also have a right to determine how our money is invested for retirement and a right to determine how “we” take care of our poor.

  27. You could also make an argument that the SS taxes native born citizens pay at least benefit their grandparents.

    The grandparents of immigrants from Mexico get no such benefit.

  28. mccleary:
    link
    link
    link
    link

    Up with “libertarianism”!

  29. “We don’t have this “blood and soil” horseshit. We don’t try to protect our racial purity. We don’t have a lot of the repellent history and practices of most other first world countries. And we don’t want it.”

    (applause)

  30. Amnesty might be a very valid idea, but arguing that McCain won due to the Amnesty position would be poor reasoning. There are a lot of confluent reasons McCain won, not the least of which is a lack of any exciting candidate for ‘conservatives’ out there…. or the fact that the Huckster is splitting votes. Never mind the fact that McCain has been publicly touting his newfound “secure the border first” policy.

    The amnesty debate has interesting points on both sides, but I don’t think it was even in the top 3 reasons that McCain achieved his victories. Most of the situation has more to do with a handful of very unusual circumstances, and frankly it has more to do with McCain’s war-hero background and how this impacts a party that has been very worried and slightly paranoid about armed conflict with the Muslim World for nearly a decade now.

  31. The real question for the nativists and the candidates and rabble rousers that egg them on is are THEY willing to support extra taxes that will be required to hire all those extra INS and Border Patrol agents that will be needed to ship all the illegals out of the country? I find it sadly ironic that conservatives say they want “government of the backs of the people” but taken to it’s logical conclusion, they want INS agents breathing down the backs of business owners making sure all their employees are “legal”.

  32. Good article. Here’s another good one that highlights the best arguments from both sides of the immigration debate:
    Illegal Immigration and the American Workforce

  33. ChrisO,

    I would say that immigration has long been the issue that most deeply divides Republicans.

    Get a grip, you’re starting to sound like Weigel and the rest of them around here. They do some good stuff, but there’s a few places where things get a little less than entirely rational.

    The idea that immigration is THE REASON McCain won, and/or that it’s THE REASON anybody else lost, is a freaking joke to anyone who’s even semi-rational. Just like the idea that “support for the Iraq war” has hurt the Republican party.

    All of which ignores the fact that a far more unifiying concern among Republicans would sound more like “what happened to fiscal conservativism and small government?”. It’s safe to say the Medicare fiasco hurt Bush and the Republican congress at least as much as immigration and Iraq has.

    But if believing immigration and Iraq are the only issues that matter is part of your religion — and everybody knows their religion is actually reason — well, then that’s different.

  34. 1. The Hoover link doesn’t seem to include any discussion of non-financial matters. Which is pretty stupid.

    2. Andrew Murphy is apparently one of the Stupids sent to provide the same discredited arguments seen many times before. Not too many new hires would be needed, we’d just need to mean it (and conduct a few stings with bulldog prosecutors). Also, the INS hasn’t existed for almost five years.

  35. Just like the idea that “support for the Iraq war” has hurt the Republican party.

    I do, too.

  36. mccleary asked…

    I’m not trying to be a jerk, but what hospitals have closed down because of illegal immigration?

    Lonewacko responded…

    link
    link
    link
    link

    I clicked. I learned.

    Four links. Zero closed hospitals.

  37. So Click N Learn,

    I tell you what tiger, you can handle my share of the extra taxation needed to kick all the illegal immigrants out since your so passionite about it.

    Like they say, put your money where your mouth is

  38. I find it dismaying that people are pimping solution sets which involving kicking all the illegal immigrants out. That, to some, the goal of a round up and purge of millions of people is acceptable, or even heartwarming, is about as palatable to my sense of liberty as people coming to bat for water boarding as a “useful tool”

    As it stands, we have a bloated imperious government with a crazy aggressive, hugely expensive (and, oddly enough, largely ineffective) foreign policy spending us to ruin, and the best that some people can come up with is “fuckin’ mexicans, wanting to come up here and work. I’m scared!”

    I will now set myself on fire…

  39. joe,

    I would simply point out that for much of US history to be a citizen of the USA, that is the concept of being such, one had to be white. The concept of a multi-racial democracy as an idea shared by more than a small minority of persons is really a post-WWII idea.

  40. I blame the WOD for the immigration explosion. If there weren’t a lucrative opportunity to avoid standard work, we would have people that would do those jobs nobody will do. Plus, let a few million less-violent people out of prison and we’d have no shortage of low wage workers.

  41. Lynchings, slavery, war-time internment camps, race riots, laws against interracial marriage, segregation…what are you talking about joe? Our history is just as repellent as most other first world countries and in some instances, worse.

  42. “Our history is just as repellent as most other first world countries and in some instances, worse.”

    Bullshit.

    France – the reign of terror and Napoleon launching three separate world wars in an effort to conquer Europe

    Belgium – A record of colonialism in Africa that makes the US treatment of Indians look humane

    The Netherlands – A record of colonialism in SE Asia that is similar to Belgium’s in the Congo

    Germany – Two World Wars and the holocaust

    Russia – 100 million or more dead from Communism

    England – probably equal to the US

    Japan – Brutally colonized a large section of Asia and helped start the Second World War

    China – 100 million or more dead from Mao

    Spain – A history of genocide in South America

    Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. For all of this country’s flaws, and there are many, the rest of the world is much worse and much more brutal.

  43. Somthing is wrong; I am agreeing with Joe again:

    “We don’t have this “blood and soil” horseshit. We don’t try to protect our racial purity. We don’t have a lot of the repellent history and practices of most other first world countries. And we don’t want it.”

    BTW – Don’t include the UK. Born there = citizen. Born to a UK citizen abroad = UK citizen.

    My ex is from the UK. One kid born in UK, one kid born in Florida. Both kids have US & UK birth certificates and both kids are eligible for passports from the US & UK.

  44. We don’t have this “blood and soil” horseshit.”

    Joe is right about that. We don’t and we are a lot better off for it. But just because we embrace immigration, doesn’t mean we have to embrace all immigration all the time. There can be something in the middle between open borders and being like Japan.

  45. John, not to be knocking the US, but don’t forget our treatment of the Philopinos after we took over the Philipines after the Spanish American War and our treatment of American Japanese citizens during World War II and the nuking of innocent Japanese civilians at the end of World War II.

  46. “But just because we embrace immigration, doesn’t mean we have to embrace all immigration all the time.”

    On what basis should immigration be limited?

  47. “There can be something in the middle between open borders and being like Japan.”

    Yes there can be. And, our country is better becuase of it!

  48. “John, not to be knocking the US, but don’t forget our treatment of the Philopinos after we took over the Philipines after the Spanish American War and our treatment of American Japanese citizens during World War II and the nuking of innocent Japanese civilians at the end of World War II.”

    Our treatment of the Philipinos was brutal by today’s standards but no worse than any other guerrilla war of the time. Pretty much every major power has some kind guerrilla war on its hand. As far as the atom bomb, the alternatives were to invade or starve out Japan both of which would have killed a lot more Japanese than the A bomb did. Further, daylight bombing of civilians was par for the course in the Second World War. The Japanese and Germans and the Russians committed just as much of it as we did. It is not that the US is flawless. No country is. It is that if you compare its misdeeds for the time to other countries’ misdeeds, the other countries come out a lot worse. As bad as the US treated the Philipinos, it wasn’t the Belgium Congo. As harsh as the A-bomb was, it wasn’t the holocaust or the systematic rape and murder that the Russians committed when they occupied Germany and so forth.

  49. “…they occupied Germany[, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Estonia]?”

  50. John,

    There are many repellent events and patterns of behavior in American history. One observation one can make regarding this is that we are neither especially good nor especially bad either.

    Our treatment of the Philipinos was brutal by today’s standards but no worse than any other guerrilla war of the time. Pretty much every major power has some kind guerrilla war on its hand.

    So basically the U.S. was acting no differently than other nations at the time.

  51. “As far as the atom bomb, the alternatives were to invade or starve out Japan both of which would have killed a lot more Japanese than the A bomb did.”

    Before the bomb, the Japanese offered terms of surrender which included not trying the emperer for war crimes. The US rejected those terms and would accept nothing less than unconditional surrender. After the bombing, the US accepted the very terms of surrender they had rejected before, so the bombing was for nothing.

    “Further, daylight bombing of civilians was par for the course in the Second World War. The Japanese and Germans and the Russians committed just as much of it as we did.”

    It was actually the British that started that.

  52. John,

    As bad as the US treated the Philipinos, it wasn’t the Belgium Congo.

    I’m not quite sure how this is any real defense of American behavior in the Phillipines.

  53. bookworm,

    I think that the Germans started it first in their attack on Rotterdam.

  54. “So basically the U.S. was acting no differently than other nations at the time.”

    Yes. The difference is that the US doesn’t have the Belgium Congo or the Reign of Terror or the holocaust or Mao on our conscience. Nothing the US has ever done comes close to those things. There is a point where a difference in quantity becomes a difference in kind. This discussion is getting pointless and high jacking the thread. Nothing you say is going to convince me that the US, whatever its flaws, was ever the moral equal of Revolutionary France, Soviet Russia, Communist China, 1930s Japan and the like. Just because everyone is sinful doesn’t mean you can’t make any moral judgments.

  55. “John,

    As bad as the US treated the Philipinos, it wasn’t the Belgium Congo.

    I’m not quite sure how this is any real defense of American behavior in the Phillipines.”

    It is not. But what it is a rebuttal to is all of the “we are just as bad as everyone else” self loathing bullshit that people seem to believe. To think that the US has the same historical sins to answer for as any other country is just crap. The rest of the world has a lot more to answer for and interestingly enough many of the countries who spend the most time lecturing Americans, see France, Germany and Russia, have the most to answer for.

  56. “I think that the Germans started it first in their attack on Rotterdam.”

    No, Churchill started it right after he came to power which was before Rotterdam.

  57. John,

    Just because everyone is sinful doesn’t mean you can’t make any moral judgments.

    Which of course means moral judgments against one’s own patria as well.

  58. bookworm,

    Official British policy didn’t change until after Rotterdam.

    John,

    To think that the US has the same historical sins to answer for as any other country is just crap.

    The U.S. simply is not some special nation living above the fray of things.

    The rest of the world has a lot more to answer for and interestingly enough many of the countries who spend the most time lecturing Americans, see France, Germany and Russia, have the most to answer for.

    Many Americans are fine lecturers themselves.

  59. Churchill started it right after [London was bombed]

    The inital bombing of London may have been a navigational error, but how the hell were the Brits supposed to know that.

  60. “Official British policy didn’t change until after Rotterdam.”

    My source for England starting the deliberate terror bombing of civilians comes from John Denson’s “A Century of War” which you can get from the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

  61. bookworm,

    Well, I suspect that terror bombing was used prior to WWII.

  62. Nick,

    I was making reference to a specific aspect of history – the bit about “pure blood” – not our history as a whole. Yes, we’ve had a lot of nasty history in our past, but the particular variety of nastiness expressed in the phrase “blood and soil,” we have been remarkably free from, especially compared to the Japanes, British, or Germans (just to pluck three first-world countries).

    Calidore,

    I would say that there was at one time an ideal of Americanism that had a racial component, but people of all races have been citizens of this country from the beginning. Even under the most conformist versions of assimiliationism, the idea that people could come to this country and become good Americans, regardless of their background, was a core principle.

  63. Bookworm,

    “John Denson’s “A Century of War” which you can get from the Ludwig von Mises Institute.” No idea who Denson is. Just because it is written in a book doesn’t mean it is accurate. I bet I can find multiple books that claim the holocaust never happened. Some CSA apologists like Denson’s book too. http://www.plpow.com/OrganizationInfo.htm

    I know, I know, it’s from Wikipedia and therefore not always accurate, however it does confirm everything that I have ever read on the subject.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_bombing_during_World_War_II

    Strategic bombing during World War II

    Within hours of the war starting on 1 September 1939 the president of the United States (then a neutral power), Franklin D. Roosevelt, issued a request to the major belligerents to confine their air raids to military targets.[1] The next day French and the British agreed to abide by the request which included the provision that “upon the understanding that these same rules of warfare will be scrupulously observed by all of their opponents”.[2] Berlin waited until the 18 September before agreeing to the request (by which time Warsaw was within the combat zone and a military target).
    The United Kingdom had a policy of using aerial bombing only against military targets and against infrastructure such as ports and railways which were of direct military importance. Whilst it was acknowledged that the aerial bombing of Germany would cause civilian casualties, the British government renounced the deliberate bombing of civilian property, outside combat zones, as a military tactic.[3] This policy was abandoned on May 15, 1940, two days after the Rotterdam Blitz, when the RAF was given permission to attack targets in the Ruhr, including oil plants and other civilian industrial targets which aided the German war effort, such as blast furnaces which at night were self-illuminating. The first RAF raid on the interior of Germany took place on the night of 15 May – 16 May.[4]
    On August 24, 1940, some German aircraft strayed over London and dropped bombs in the east and north east of the city. A period of reciprocal retaliation began, mainly focussed on industrial areas.

  64. Joe,

    Will you stop it! I am agreeing with you again.

    “Even under the most conformist versions of assimiliationism, the idea that people could come to this country and become good Americans, regardless of their background, was a core principle.”

  65. The US rejected those terms and would accept nothing less than unconditional surrender.

    Very wise. Anything less than unconditional surrender tends to leave the loser “unbroken” and raring for a rematch. See, e.g., Germany post-WWI. Say what you will about the unconditional surrender policy of the WWII Allies, but it put a permanent stop to the imperial ambitions of Germany and Japan.

  66. “Very wise. Anything less than unconditional surrender tends to leave the loser “unbroken” and raring for a rematch. See, e.g., Germany post-WWI. Say what you will about the unconditional surrender policy of the WWII Allies, but it put a permanent stop to the imperial ambitions of Germany and Japan.”

    The point I made was that we ended up accepting surrender with conditions from Japan, the very terms Japan offered before we nuked them. Concerning FDR’s insistence on unconditional surrender from Germany, the war went on unecessarily for more years with a tremendous increase in loss of life because of FDR’s stubborness.

  67. “Just because it is written in a book doesn’t mean it is accurate”

    I didn’t say that. I just pointed out the source. It’s true that the source could be wrong. I just wanted to show that I didn’t pull my information out of my ass.

    According to Denson, Churchill stated that civilian casualties on May 14, 1940 were intentional to promote terror among the German people.

  68. Im totally way late, but I needed to say =

    Hey Lonewacko? You are a nauseating idiot. Get a life or please die. Please drown in your own excrement. or eat a taco and reread Emma Lazarus.

  69. Ebenezer Scrooge:

    ChrisO,

    Get a grip, you’re starting to sound like Weigel and the rest of them around here. They do some good stuff, but there’s a few places where things get a little less than entirely rational.

    The idea that immigration is THE REASON McCain won, and/or that it’s THE REASON anybody else lost, is a freaking joke to anyone who’s even semi-rational. Just like the idea that “support for the Iraq war” has hurt the Republican party.

    Amazing how you can find things in my comments that I didn’t write. My point was quite simple: immigration has long been one of the deepest and clearest policy divides within the GOP. Different Republicans have very different views about immigration.

    That rather unarguable point does not translate into me saying that immigration is “THE REASON” that McCain is winning the nomination, and you’re being dense for saying so. McCain has been annoying the Republican base on a number of issues for many years, and it’s all coming to the surface now.

  70. Japanes, British, or Germans (just to pluck three first-world countries).

    Niggling, but the whole “three/four worlds” cold-war models of the globe is kind of dated at this point.

    personally i think huntington’s ‘civilizational’ breakdown makes more sense these days

  71. Colin said:

    I guess “MSM” is now the new code for any journalist who doesn’t agree hook, line, and sinker with everything uttered from the mouth of Paul.

    You guys are groupthink at its worst.

    If you want to see groupthink at its worst, go to freerepublic.com and start a thread having to do with Ron Paul. For every post that doesn’t use the phrases “tin foil” or “kool-aid” I owe you a dollar. For every post that does, you owe me a dollar.

    I would post one myself, but me and every IP address I’ve ever used has been banned from ever commenting ever again. Apparently it’s not to uncommon

  72. joe,

    I would say that there was at one time an ideal of Americanism that had a racial component, but people of all races have been citizens of this country from the beginning.

    I would say that whiteness and being an “American” went hand in hand well into the 20th century. It takes many decades following the Civil War for the idea of a multi-racial national identity to slowly take hold. Prior to that being non-white excluded one from being considered an American.

  73. R.C. Dean,

    The German surrender in Nov. 1918 was unconditional.

  74. I’m sorry, but this article is way over the top, even for Reason.com.

    According to David Weigel, people that want to actually enforce the immigration laws on the books are “the worst of Americans”!!!!!

    What does that say about Reason then???

    Has it occured to Mr. Weigel that McCain was the obvious successor, the annointed son of the Republican Party from the beginning? If it weren’t for the immigration issue, he would have easily breezed through the process. Instead, opposition to amnesty forced him to fight for the nomination tooth and nail (and he backtracked on some of his earlier proposals).

  75. Oh – and for those who don’t think that any hosptials have closed due to illegal immigration, try this article from the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Quote:

    “High-technology EDs [emergency departments] have degenerated into free medical offices. Between 1993 and 2003, 60 California hospitals closed because half their services became unpaid. Another 24 California hospitals verge on closure. Even ambulances from Mexico come to American EDs with indigents because the drivers know that EMTALA [The Emergency Medical
    Treatment and Active Labor Act] requires accepting patients who come within 250 yards of a hospital. That geographic limit has figured in many lawsuits”.

    Or you can simply google the words: Bisbee+Hospital+Arizona+closed for a hosptial that I am personally familiar with.

  76. Or you can simply google the words: Bisbee+Hospital+Arizona+closed for a hosptial that I am personally familiar with.

    I tried that. I didn’t find any closure of any hospital. All I found about any hospital closures in Bisbee was the following:

    Huge increases in doctors’ malpractice insurance premiums forced Copper Queen Community Hospital in Bisbee to shut down its Obstetrics Department in January 2002, causing all expectant mothers to be referred to Sierra Vista for prenatal care and births.

  77. Careful John Rohan, you’ll get somebody around here confused. It isn’t supposed to be that way you know.

  78. for those who don’t think that any hosptials have closed due to illegal immigration, try this article from the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

    I tried it. What unadulterated crap.

    We’ll just start with the fact that there is absolutely no source for the statistics in the snippet you quote. A similar statement earlier in the article (“84 California hospitals are closing their doors”) does claim a source. Readers of the the source article will find absolutely no mention of immigrants, illegal immigrants, or the like. You will instead find the following:

    Like other hospitals that have closed down, RFK Medical Center was hit by rising costs
    for nurses to fill state-mandated nurse-to-patient ratios that went into effect in
    January and the heavy expense of seismic retrofitting required by state law.

    Stahl said RFK Medical Center’s emergency room, which serves 24,000 patients a year, was
    not a major financial drain now, but officials worried that it could become one if the
    hospital remained open.

    The rest of the article is a diatribe against illegal immigrants that must be read to be believed. In contrast to the authoritative name of the journal it appears in, it was not written by a medical doctor and has only a passing association with medicine.

    We are still left with zero hospitals that anyone can point to that closed because of illegal immigrants. I don’t doubt that some examples likely exist. Illegal immigrants settle in poorer areas of communities where most hospitals are publicly funded and already provide a great deal of mandated yet uncompensated care. I can believe newly added poor residents can be straws that break the camel’s back. On the other hand, it may be telling that no one can point to one.

  79. This article confirms what I have been thinking for some time now. The people that oppose illegal immigrants are a noisy, hot-headed MINORITY; while the rest of the population has much more common sense. Love it!.

  80. I’d have much more sympathy for those who want to put a border across the southern border of the US if we didn’t have such a screwed up immigration system.

    The INS is the one part of the US Government that is actually worse than anything any Libertarian ever claims about inefficient government. Take the worst example of a dysfunctional DMV, multiply it by 10, square it, then raise it to the 400th power of itself, and you just might get a whiff of the ghastliness of the INS.

  81. To MikeP:
    You have been given a load of references already, but you refuse to see the forest for the trees. You remind me of the Tobacco companies in the 1990s who insisted nothing was wrong with cigarettes that you couldn’t find absolute 100% hard definite proof that smoking causes cancer.

    Here’s an LA Times article you might find interesing about Copper Queen. The Hospital closed both their emergency room and their obstetrics department due to a flood of illegal immigrants; in fact, miraculously, when border apprehensions went up, and the government started reimbursing for care of illegals, the hospital went back into the black! I guess it’s just a coincidence, huh?

    For a more recent example, the huge Grady hospital in Atlanta is on the brink of closure, and even the NYT, normally a cheerleader for illegal immigrants, grudgingly recognizes them as a huge source of the problem:
    (page 1)Virtually every aspect of Grady’s operations has come under scrutiny: its nine neighborhood clinics, its subsidized pharmacy, its care for Atlanta’s growing population of illegal immigrants, even its 60-year-old governance structure.

    (page 4)A third of the hospital’s newborns are now children of Hispanic parents.

    Grady’s crisis has not touched Hillary’s parents, Patricia and Daniel Reyes, who seemed calm as the nurses wheeled the baby away for a checkup. They paid for prenatal care in $100 installments, and Medicaid will cover the cost of the delivery, because the baby is a citizen.

    But her parents are in the country illegally. Without Grady, families like theirs would face an uncertain future in their new city.

    And about the other article, I’m not sure how it matters, but the author, Madeleine Cosman, is not a medical doctor but a lawyer who specializes in medical law and has authored over 15 books. Coincidentally, most indigents who are costing hospitals millions $$ are not doctors either…

    Also, an MGT survey found that:
    southwest border county hospitals reported uncompensated care totaling nearly $832 million in 2000…almost $190 million or about 25 percent of the uncompensated costs these hospitals incurred resulted from emergency medical treatment provided to undocumented immigrants

  82. Yes, GeorgeV, those who oppose illegal immigration are a very “noisy and hotheaded minority”. Never mind the fact that immigrating without permission is illegal in just about every nation on Earth (including Mexico), but somehow we are still a tiny minority. Must be an alien plot…

  83. You have been given a load of references already, but you refuse to see the forest for the trees.

    mccleary asked a question that, as I noted, does not sound that difficult to answer. So far no one has answered it. There is no forest if there are no trees. And it’s starting to look like a lot of shrubbery that we’re all being told are trees.

    The Hospital closed both their emergency room and their obstetrics department due to a flood of illegal immigrants;

    I see nothing in what you cite about a closed emergency room, and, as I quoted above, the closing of the obstetrics department was apparently due to the costs of malpractice insurance.

    in fact, miraculously, when border apprehensions went up, and the government started reimbursing for care of illegals, the hospital went back into the black! I guess it’s just a coincidence, huh?

    No one is arguing that illegal immigrants use local hospital services that localities might not be able to pay for. What is being argued is whether this is a big enough effect to induce the closings of scores of hospitals. The clear answer to that appears to be “no”.

    For a more recent example, the huge Grady hospital in Atlanta is on the brink of closure, and even the NYT, normally a cheerleader for illegal immigrants, grudgingly recognizes them as a huge source of the problem:

    Ah, another example of a hospital not closing. As I noted above, I would not be surprised if you could find one that actually did close through exactly the mechanisms discussed in this Times article. I didn’t realized how surprised I would be that you couldn’t.

  84. And about the other article, I’m not sure how it matters, but the author, Madeleine Cosman, is not a medical doctor but a lawyer who specializes in medical law and has authored over 15 books.

    Is this the person that Lou Dobbs recently called a wackjob?

    Madeleine Cosman, as we learned following that report in Physicians and Surgeons, the publication, is precisely what you styled her: she is a wack-or was a wackjob.

    I am sure that many have been annoyed if not outright fooled by an article that sounds like it’s from a reputable medical journal while having almost nothing to do with medicine and apparently little to do with facts.

    My biggest problem with that article is that the actual solution to the problem of mandated yet uncompensated care — you know, compensation — is never mentioned by Cosman’s article. You did mention it when discussing Copper Queen hospital:

    …and the government started reimbursing for care of illegals, the hospital went back into the black!

    Cosman’s solution instead has the wonderful acronym CRAG:

    Close America’s borders
    Rescind the citizenship of anchor babies
    Aiding and abetting illegal aliens is a crime
    Grant no new amnesties

    Yeah, a lot of good medical and health administration advice there.

  85. No one is arguing that illegal immigrants use local hospital services that localities might not be able to pay for. What is being argued is whether this is a big enough effect to induce the closings of scores of hospitals. The clear answer to that appears to be “no”.

    LOL, then what is your “clear” answer then? Those 84 California hosptials closed due to something. Typical of those who cling to their views no matter what (like those tobacco companies) you are asking for a burden of proof on one issue far beyond what is reasonable, and not holding your preferred possibilities to the same standard. When you are dealing with people-oriented activities, you are never going to get 100% positive evidence to laboratory standards. Similarly, I could claim you cannot prove drunk driving causes a rise in traffic deaths or that smoking causes cancer, since in every single case there are some other factors also affecting the outcome.

    So why do border hospitals close? All from mismanagement or malpractice premiums? Maybe. but you have a load of evidence suggesting otherwise. (The Copper Queen example above, strangely went from red to black when the flow of illegal immigrants slowed down. There is was nothing in the article about their malpractice premiums changing).

    You also have a load of evidence that is difficult to ignore:
    1) the financial cost of treating illegal immigrants, as noted earlier above
    2) California is one of the few states without runaway malpractice premiums, probably because they have a hard cap on jury awards (under MIRCA)
    3) California is a border state, with the largest illegal immigrant population in the country
    4) The administrators at these hospitals themselves constantly cite indigent patients from Mexico as a huge factor in their runaway costs. Are they all racists?
    5) The birthright citizenship policy in the USA as well as EMTALA encourage Mexicans to cross the border and use US hospitals (not even immigration proponents argue against this)

    So, I would love to hear your explanation, which, I’m sure, would meet the high standards of proof that you have set for everyone else…

  86. Why does this site continue to refer to a desire to exist existing immigration law as panic? Once again, these people are breaking the law. A desire to see that law enforced is not panic, nor is it “anti-brown” racism.
    It is frankly no longer possible to take this site seriously as far as immmigration is concerned. Despite Reason’s repeated protestations that it is not calling critics of illegal immigration racists, it continues to use phrases such as brown-panic or similar nonsense. Furthermore you continue to totally ignore the deleterious effects of unchecked illegal immigration.
    Yet another reason, aside from your rabid support of an equally rabid bigot, that libertarianism is a fringe movement in this country and always will be.

    And for the poster directly above, don’t even try to argue with these people about hospital closures. They will ignore all evidence to the contrary, including multiple hospital administrators, particularly in Arizona, who have stated explicitly that they are going bankrupt because of illegal immigrants. A huge majority of the people here reject this evidence because it just does not fit into their “opponents of illegal immigration are motivated solely by racism” narrative.

  87. In my above post, the word exist in the first sentence should be enforce instead.

  88. Those 84 California hosptials closed due to something.

    Maybe 84 hospitals closed. I can’t tell. In an article with almost 98 references, no citation near either mention of that number says anything about total numbers of hospitals closing.

    The single source cited near those numbers says, as I noted above, …

    Like other hospitals that have closed down, RFK Medical Center was hit by rising costs for nurses to fill state-mandated nurse-to-patient ratios that went into effect in January and the heavy expense of seismic retrofitting required by state law.

    The source makes no mention about illegal immigration.

    So why do border hospitals close? All from mismanagement or malpractice premiums? Maybe. but you have a load of evidence suggesting otherwise.

    At least in California, the evidence so far presented suggests they close due to state mandates on nursing ratios and seismic retrofitting. In Arizona the evidence so far presented (my comment of February 7, 2008, 3:48pm) suggests an obstetrics department that closed due to malpractice premiums.

    So, I would love to hear your explanation, which, I’m sure, would meet the high standards of proof that you have set for everyone else…

    So far we have references to hospitals that have closed and we have references to hospitals that are under additional financial duress due to illegal immigrants.

    What we do not have is an answer to the original question: a hospital that is both.

  89. Do I believe that illegal immigrants using health care they can’t pay for is a problem? Yes. Do I believe that they put duress on already stressed hospitals in poorer communities? Yes. Do I believe that some hospital somewhere has closed primarily due to the added duress of illegal immigrants? Even in the face of zero supporting evidence, yes, I still believe it.

    Do I think that this provides a significant argument against immigration? No.

    What it provides is an argument against uncompensated mandates. Since there is little hope of removing the mandate and good public health reasons not to, it is the compensation that needs to be addressed.

    I submit that this is a problem that has more to do with the provision of health care to the poor and less to do with illegal immigration. After all, according to the MGT survey cited, 77% of the uncompensated costs of southwest border hospitals are due to citizens and legal immigrants.

    It is also interesting to note that, in contrast to Cosman’s article, the recommendations of that MGT survey do not include any of the four actions from the acronym CRAG. Rather the survey is replete with suggestions on how to deal with the problem of compensation — how to spread the costs of uncompensated care over the larger economy to reduce the burden faced by the smaller communities.

  90. As “B” above indicated, it’s useless to debate this any further here, since you are totally ignoring all the information you have contrary to your argument, as if it wasn’t even given to you.

    But to comment on something else:
    It is also interesting to note that, in contrast to Cosman’s article, the recommendations of that MGT survey do not include any of the four actions from the acronym CRAG. Rather the survey is replete with suggestions on how to deal with the problem of compensation — how to spread the costs of uncompensated care over the larger economy to reduce the burden faced by the smaller communities.

    Yes, why not? LOL, this is like people in Europe (where I live) who constantly talk about their “free” health care, oblivious to the fact that they all pay for it, even if they don’t do it directly.

    Requiring the federal or state government to compensate hospitals for the cost of indigents merely hides the problem by shifting the burden of the cost from the hospital to everyone else by siphoning from the public treasury. This might mask the problem in the short run and keep the hospitals quiet, but it does nothing at all about the actual costs themselves or their causes; ie illegals/and other indigents who use border hospital emergency rooms in lieu of routine care, or the birthright citizenship policy that encourages women in late stages of pregnancy to take hazordous journeys across the desert to make certain they have that baby in a US hospital.

  91. Requiring the federal or state government to compensate hospitals for the cost of indigents merely hides the problem by shifting the burden of the cost from the hospital to everyone else by siphoning from the public treasury.

    There is no doubt that there are costs associated with illegal immigrants. But the 200 million dollars from that MGT survey are a pittance — parts in a thousand — of the scores of billions of dollars of their net economic contribution. If the price of gaining that economic benefit while maintaining the emergency room mandate yet keeping hard-hit hospitals from closing is some more federal funding, that is better — and far, far cheaper — than whatever draconian measures would be required to close the borders.

  92. On what basis should immigration be limited?

    It should be based on the legality of it. All of you that want this country to become Mexico, go ahead and move there. As for the rest of us, we’ll keep America and speak our good ole’ English language. Perhaps if you had to compete with contractors that use “cheap” labor, you might understand the hardships us middle Americans face at times. I am sick of people that aren’t affected by things like this putting their two cents in. p.s. My family immigrated here from Germany after ww2 and isn’t it amazing that I can speak English, and try to fit in with Americans? Also they didn’t jump a fence either. Thanks, cabron.

  93. On what basis should immigration be limited?

    It should be based on the legality of it.

    On what basis should the legality of it be limited?

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