Phyllis Schlafly, one of the strongest proponents of the theory that the Republican Party can survive simply by solidifying its base of white voters, is out with a new report arguing that all the GOP needs to do to thrive is to cut legal immigration in half.
In the report, Eagle Forum argues that immigrants – particularly Latino and Asian-American immigrants -- are inherently “leftist,” drawn to “the left’s race-based grievance politics,” and reliant on the country’s “racial spoils system and a huge welfare state,” and so therefore legal immigration should be dramatically reduced in order to save the Republican Party.
The report backs Schlafly’s idea – echoed by groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies and activists such as Pat Buchanan – that the Republican Party shouldn’t bother trying to become “ welcoming and inclusive” (particularly through immigration reform) but instead stir up racial hostility in order to solidify its hold among white voters. Unsurprisingly, this theory was first laid out by a prominent white nationalist writer before it hit the big time.
Schlafly has never been very good at hiding partisan motivation for right-wing policy. Last year, for instance, she unabashedly admitted that the purpose of Voter ID laws is to decrease Democratic turnout.
We’ve collected ten of the worst arguments in Eagle Forum’s report, which we fully expect to see waved around by conservative lawmakers in the near future.
- Democrats promote immigration just to get votes. “Looking at the political motivation of the groups pushing higher immigration and amnesty, it’s obvious that the Democrats promote large-scale immigration because it produces more Democratic votes. A recent Gallup poll found that ‘Hispanics in the United States identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party over the Republicans Party by about a two-to-one margin, regardless of whether they were U.S.-born.’ If the Republican Party is to remain a party that is conservative and nationally competitive, it must defeat amnesty and any proposed increases in legal immigration. Further, conservatives must work to significantly reduce the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country from the current level of 1.1 million a year.”
- Reducing legal immigration should be the #1 conservative issue. “ Each decade under current policy, about 11 million new legal immigrants arrive and become potential voters. If immigration is not reduced, it will be virtually impossible for Republicans to remain nationally competitive as a conservative party. The key conclusion of the report is this: For conservatives, there is no issue more important than reducing the number of immigrants allowed into the country each year .”
- Immigrants “attracted” to “affirmative action and welfare” and “identity- and grievance-based politics.” “Most immigrants come from countries where the government plays a larger role in the economy and society. Their support for expansive government is reinforced by liberal elites in immigrant communities and the liberal urban areas in which so many settle. Further, immigrants’ liberalism often reflects self-interest, as many benefit from affirmative action and welfare. Unfortunately, some immigrants are also attracted to the Democratic Party’s support for identity- and grievance-based politics. In short, the factors contributing to immigrants’ liberalism are largely outside of the Republican Party’s control .”
- Anti-immigrant policies don’t hurt Republicans. “The idea that Republicans’ support for Proposition 187 two decades ago is what continues to cost the party [California] ignores the fact that voters in immigrant communities support Democrats because they largely agree with them on policies other than immigration ... The real problem is that immigration has created a far larger liberal electorate in California. If legal immigration is not reduced, the same thing will happen across the country .”
- Immigrants will turn America into New York and San Francisco . “These are two of the most intensely immigrant-settled cities in America — one-third of their residents are foreign-born. The governments of both cities are solidly left-wing, combining high taxes and oppressive business regulation with the Left’s cultural agenda and race-based grievance politics. The immigrants in both cities are quite different, with San Francisco being predominately Asian while New York’s immigrants are very diverse, with Hispanics being the largest share. Yet, there has been no significant political pushback against liberal policies from immigrant voters in either city. In fact, Hispanics and Asians are part of the dominant Democratic coalition in both places. New York and San Francisco show how voters in immigrant communities can live with the most extreme manifestations of the Left’s social and economic agenda and remain enthusiastic Democrats. ”
- Immigrants are “alienated” by patriotism. “Yet the gap between naturalized citizens and native-born citizens on measures of attachment to the United States is so large that the authors of a Hudson report concluded that the nation’s ‘patriotic assimilation system’ is broken. These results matter politically because patriotism and American sovereignty are central to the conservative message, but such a message is meaningless to a significant share of immigrant voters, or even likely to alienate them .”
- Immigrants encourage “ethnic separatism” and “grievance-based politics.” “ Putting aside the level of immigration, the rise of multiculturalism and ethnic grievance-based politics makes the kind of assimilation that leads to voting Republican much more difficult. Unlike in the past, today’s immigrants are arriving in an America with a racial spoils system and a huge welfare state, which unfortunately many are dependent on. This new reality makes it much less likely that the children of today’s immigrants will come to identify with the small-government agenda of the Republican Party. Most principled Republicans rightly oppose such policies, but identity politics and all the policies that go with it are well established in modern America. Even if one optimistically assumes that someday we will abandon such divisive policies, for the foreseeable future immigrants will continue to arrive in an America that encourages ethnic separatism and discourages assimilation. In fact, mass immigration provides one of the key underlying justifications used by liberal elites for continuing such policies. This fact makes lowering the level of new immigration all the more important.”
- Diversity is ruining America. “Finally, immigration increases support for big government by adding to society’s diversity. Robert Putnam of Harvard has shown that increased diversity results in less civic engagement and attachment. Putnam’s work shows that as diversity increases, people of all groups become less trusting of one another — even less trusting of members of their own group. He concludes that people in diverse communities tend “to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.” A society in which private citizens do less for themselves but want more from the government is tailor-made for Democrats. Federal immigration policy, if it is allowed to continue, will move America further in this direction. When private citizens do less for themselves or for others, the vacuum is filled by government. Yes, immigration adds many new Democratic voters. But it also makes the rest of the electorate more inclined to support the Democrats’ statist agenda."
- Descendants of European Catholic and Jewish immigrants aren't good for Republicans either. "It is also worth pointing out that many of the descendants of Great Wave immigrants still do not vote Republican, a century after many of their ancestors arrived. Looking at white non-Hispanic Catholics and Jews gives us some idea of how the descendants of these immigrants vote today. While Romney did better in 2012 than most recent Republicans with white Catholics, in both 2000 and 2008 only 52 percent voted for the Republican presidential candidate. Moreover, a majority of Jews have voted Democratic in every presidential election for which there is data, including 2012. The idea that the descendants of Great Wave immigrants eventually became solidly Republican is incorrect."
- Immigrants will take away your guns just by living in cities. One of the reasons whites have such a strong commitment to gun rights is the much larger share who own them. The reason for this is that a much larger share of whites live in rural America or have roots there and are thus familiar with firearms in a way that is less common among urbanites. Asians and Hispanics in contrast are settling in cities and the suburbs where hunting and gun ownership are much less widespread. And they are coming from countries where firearms ownership is highly restricted. It is unlikely in the extreme that Asians and Hispanics will ever have gun ownership rates approaching that of whites given where they are coming from and where they are settling. This fact means that immigration unavoidably increases the share of the electorate that has no experience with guns. As a result, immigrants and their children will tend to be much more supportive of efforts to limit or even ban gun ownership. As is the case with other issues, continued high levels of immigration have important implications for the future of public policy.