Pro-Immigration Stances Bedevil Conservatives, American- and Foreign-Born


Over at National Review, whose history of immigrant-baiting goes back at least to the days when Brit-born editor John O'Sullivan published anti-immigrants pieces by Peter Brimelow, proprietor of the odious (and cash-strapped) site Vdare.com, John Derbyshire pans libertarian Republican Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico who's running for the GOP presidential nod in 2012.

Here's NR's John Derbyshire on Johnson, who bothered Derb with his stated willingness to let Mexicans enter the country freely to work:

Johnson is a driveling idiot on the National Question. Libertarians really need to drop their globalist fantasies and get to grips here….

Johnson's sin is to approve of letting more people into the country rather than fewer. And for saying things such as, "I think immigration is a good thing." To which the pedantic Derb replies:

There is no debate, to the best of my knowledge, between people who are for immigration and people who are against it. The debate is about what our immigration policy should look like….

Gee, that's really helpful. Actually, there are lots of people who are against immigration, at least from certain parts of the world. People such as…John Derbyshire, who quotes himself to that effect:

[Libertarians'] enthusiasm on this matter is suicidal to their cause. Their ideological passion is blinding them to a rather obvious fact: that libertarianism is a peculiarly American doctrine, with very little appeal to the huddled masses of the Third World. If libertarianism implies mass Third World immigration, then it is self-destroying. Libertarianism is simply not attractive either to illiterate peasants from mercantilist Latin American states, or to East Asians with traditions of imperial-bureaucratic paternalism, or to the products of Middle Eastern Muslim theocracies.

Maybe I'm reading between the lines here, but I think it's fair to characterize the above as pretty anti-immigrant. Derb gets riled up when Johnson says stuff like this:

I think that illegal immigration is really the issue. We need to make documentation of illegal immigrants as easy as we possibly can. There're all sorts of ways we could do that, starting with the employer. Let's make it easy to document illegal immigrants so that they become tax-paying immigrants.

That sounds pretty good to me, but then again I'm a suicidal libertarian who's all driveling on the "National Question." The Derb though, isn't fooled by such palaver, crying "Amnesty!" in thunder:

So far as I can extract any meaning from that, it seems to be a call for amnesty and open borders. If the entire population of, say, Saudi Arabia wants to come and settle in Albuquerque, Gary Johnson is apparently just fine with it.

Good luck to you, Governor. I've put you down on my list of politicians I'll vote for … when hell freezes over.

Zinnnng! Oh, Derb, you've done it again! Whole thing here.

And don't think it's only Brit cons what fears the huddled masses of the Third World. Here's Reason contributor(!) W. James Antle III writing in The American Conservative about how Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is even worse than Sen. John McCain on immigration:

Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona's Sixth District, is the only major Republican running for Kyl's Senate seat. He has already raised over $1 million at this early stage of the race, scaring off potential competitors. Flake is in many respects an impeccable conservative, especially on fiscal policy. Yet according to NumbersUSA, Flake has a worse recent record on immigration than even McCain. In fact, his grade is worse than all but two members of Arizona's congressional delegation—both liberal Democrats.

Unlike Kyl, Flake is an amnesty true believer. He has sponsored or voted for pardoning illegal immigrants at least six times. Flake teamed with Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) in introducing the STRIVE Act, which would have given amnesty to the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants present in the country, subject to the usual dubious conditions, while creating a generous new guest-workers program….

Yet if Flake has an easy ride to the GOP senatorial nomination even in a state like Arizona, it will reflect poorly on efforts by immigration-control groups to make amnesty as unpalatable to Republican voters as tax increases.

More here.

Worse still, Flake wants to let Americans travel to Cuba! Aye caramba!

Read Reason's immigration archive to get a sense of why we believe what we believe when it comes to the free movement of people. It's enough to note here that if conservatives push immigration as key issue, they will have trouble culling many libertarians to their sides. And check out Gustavo Arellano, the "Ask a Mexican" columnist who can legally become president of these United States. Would that be such a bad thing? I don't think so. Do you?