Back in Gingrich’s home state of Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal had an illegal alien crisis. More than 425,000 illegal aliens resided in the state, a 123% increase from 2000 to 2006, at a cost of $2.4 billion annually according to Federation for American Immigration Reform. Governor Deal, unlike most Washington politicians, took the issue head on by signing into law HB87, “The Illegal Immigration Enforcement and Reform Act.” The law amongst other provisions mandates E-Verify to all Georgia businesses, has a stricter punishment for people who fake identification to get a job, new ID regulations in order to obtain welfare, and punishes businesses who knowingly hire illegals with a $10,000 fine. The result of this new tough enforcement has been that many illegal aliens have self-deported either back to their native country or to states that offer better safe havens. This may result in hundreds of millions of dollars saved for taxpayers per year in welfare and education costs saved to the taxpayers. Some call such laws effective, but Republican candidates call them heartless, as did Rick Perry when defending his decision to give in-state college tuition to illegal aliens in Texas.
None of the candidates on the stage in last week’s debate has been more tone deaf to the political realities of our immigration problem than Mitt Romney. Henceforth Governor Romney stated, “This is a party that loves legal immigration.” Governor Romney and most of the other GOP candidates for President may love legal immigration, especially for their business allies who depend on cheap labor, but legal immigration does not love the GOP. Between 1980 and 2008, Los Angeles County, the nation’s largest, had its immigrant share of the population increase from 22% to 41%. The Republican share of the votes fell from 50% to 29%. In Cook County, Chicago, the nation’s second largest county, the immigrant share of the population has doubled while the GOP share of the votes fell from 40% to 23%. In Manhattan, New York the immigrant share grew by 10% to 34% total from 1980 to 2008, but the GOP share of the vote fell from 26% to just 13.5%. The same is true for states like Colorado, New Mexico and Virginia which has seen a diminishing state GOP as the immigrant population aggrandized. If these trends hold true, which they have for three decades and Mitt Romney is the GOP candidate for President, every state will start to be as blue as the Governor’s home state of Massachusetts. But don’t expect Romney to go soft on supporting diversity and mass immigration; to paraphrase the governor, he can’t afford to because he’s “running for president for crying out loud.”
The issue of immigration goes far beyond the GOP. According to Gallup, a plurality of Americans and at times a majority have favored reducing the amount of legal immigration since 1987. Most recently in 2011, 43% of Americans said we should reduce the amount of legal immigration while only 18% said we should increase legal immigration. It calls into question, then, why almost all GOP candidates for president have declared that we need to make immigration easier and take in more immigrants. It might pay for a Republican to take note from the Bill Clinton playbook and at least say that until unemployment goes down we need to make immigration “safe, rare, and legal.”
When the citizens have had to vote on issues of immigration, they have mostly stood pro-enforcement. From Proposition 187 in California to voting for the re-election of Governor Jan Brewer who saw her poll numbers increase from 42% to 56% after signing SB 1070 into law. SB 1070, which was tepidly accepted by some Republicans and rejected by almost all Democrats, has been responsible for 100,000 illegal immigrants leaving Arizona in the two months that followed the bill’s passage. The Mexican government acknowledged the massive migration, in the month that followed SB 1070 becoming law, the Mexican government stated 23,000 illegal aliens returned home from Arizona. SB1070 while scorned by the political class was supported overwhelmingly by both the people of Arizona and Americans as a whole.
All GOP candidates are missing one vital element to modern immigration, that being assimilation. Assimilation is the process that took nearly 12 million German, Italian and Irish immigrants from 1865 to 1924 and turned them into the greatest generation of Americans. This process is lost today; immigrants are encouraged to keep their heritage, language, faiths, and tribal laws. Discrimination against women, anti-American bigotry, hatred of “old white men”, and refusal to become American have been well documented across the country; from Somali cab drivers in Minnesota, to a UCLA professors, to students who hang the American flag under the Mexican flag in a California high school.
ESL classes, ethnic balkanization, and anti-American sentiment have driven much of the uneasiness amongst most Americans. Yet this vital key of American immigration policy for 200 years has not only been abandoned, it is completely ignored by one party and viewed as racist white supremacy by the other. Assimilation is treason in the multicultural tower of Babel. To quote Congressman Allen West (R-FL), “ I think that anytime someone is coming across your border and they haven’t been invited, that can be considered what the founding fathers wrote as an invasion into your country.” By Congressman West standards, America is under mass invasion.
Robert Putnam, Harvard Professor and author of Bowling Alone, The Collapse and Revival of American Community stated in an interview at Harvard, “New unfamiliar diversity is to make everyone uncomfortable… We get less involved with our community and we trust everyone less." Putnam states the way to counter this is to "create a sense of shared identity."
However the question remains: When a nation is taking in two million legal and illegal immigrants per year, mostly from the third world, how can we create a common shared identity?
The breakdown of our common civic society and the evaporation of our social capital have caused trust of our community and our government to go into free fall. Take into account a Gallup poll in 1964 on the question of “Can most people can be trusted?” in which 77% responded yes. By 1996, only 8% of Americans said that “the honesty and integrity of the average American” were improving, and 50% thought we were becoming less trustworthy.
The United States may very well be balkanizing. Black self-segregation and white flight have been well documented throughout the country. The United States is turning into a high school cafeteria, where the jocks sit amongst themselves, as do the cheerleaders, as do the nerds, as do the dungeons and dragons fans. Not because they hate one another, but they prefer to be amongst their own based on “positive feelings” as described by Professor Robert DeFina of Villanova University on his study of African Americans’ self-segregating.
And as this crisis of confidence and cohesion engulf main street Americans, the ivory towers of Washington are immune. The Democratic Party is the party of “multiculturalism, mass immigration and the mortgage crisis”. It would just be in the interest of diversity if the Republican Party could offer a different solution. If amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants is the solution, then is it still the solution for 20 million or 50 million or 100 million? To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “if you want more of something, have the government subsidize it.”
In 1924, Calvin Coolidge signed an immigration act that decreased the flow of immigrants to 2% of the population until it was overturned in 1965 by Lyndon Johnson. This 41 year gap on mass immigration allowed the unity of the American people; “out of many, one.” Such boldness is rare in modern political life. The only possible solution appears to be drafting Calvin Coolidge in 2012.