Thursday, July 31, 2003

Immigration Reform - A Winning Issue for Democrats?

Exceptionally interesting article by Scott McConnell over at The American Conservative about Howard Dean and the immigration question, which he thinks - and I concur - could be a winning issue for Democrats to run on in 2003. The current immigration policy in this country is primarily popular, from what I can tell, with a) big business, because it forces down wages and benefits, b) leftists of the brain-dead school who still believe in the "melting pot" and c) immigrants already here who want to increase their numbers and hence influence. Well, folks, the pot is melting. Immigrants force down wages, take jobs from Americans who need them, consume more than their share of welfare benefits, and if they're illegal and paid under the table, pay no income or FICA taxes. Large numbers of them now appear to have no interest in learning English and becoming American. They are the sole reason our population continues to skyrocket, degrading the environment. Very few people that I talk to of any political orientation believe that our current immigration policies - and our H1B visa policy - is a good idea. This is an issue that could truly resonate with large segments of the American people.

Any Democrat interested in raising the immigration issue has a good precedent and ready-made vocabulary. In 1995, the bipartisan federal advisory Commission on Immigration Reform headed by Barbara Jordan, the first black member of Congress elected in Texas, recommended cutting the legal immigration rate by about one-third and sharply stepping up enforcement against illegal aliens. President Clinton initially endorsed her proposals, but legislation based on her commission's recommendations was defeated in the House after a massive Left-Right lobbying campaign by open-borders business interests and ethnic lobbies. The economy was booming then, however, and hardly anyone was out of work. The vote would probably be different today. Why couldn't a Democrat like Dean seize the "vital center" of the immigration debate, embrace the Jordan proposals, and outflank Bush as a protector of American culture, prepared to enforce American laws and preserve the rights and living standards of working-class Americans? Answer: he could.

It's worth thinking about, for all of the Democratic candidates. It would set them firmly apart from the current Administration and would appeal to a lot of people, especially working-class white males, who have the most to lose from the continuation of present immigration policies.


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