It’s the question of the decade if not the question of the century: “Why is there such a disconnect between the political class and the people of the United States on the issue of illegal immigration?” The easy answers are that Republicans want cheap labor for their big-business contributors and Democrats see a near-limitless source of new votes.
Conventional wisdom rarely goes beyond that point, but really, labor and votes are mere surface issues. To some extent, and perhaps even unconsciously, our political elites seem to feel that many of their problems — stuff like the recent Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal — are really the fault of their constituents. Those darned voters sometimes organize, write letters, go on the blogs, and complain about high taxes — sometimes they even vote a politician out of office. The nerve!
Perhaps a better class of constituents could be found that in time might begin to replace the whiners that our officials have to deal with now. You know — a new type of voter that could be shaped into a perfect constituent that would never demand term limits or open government.
That’s the conclusion of Fredo Arias-King, who met privately with at least 80 members of Congress while handling public relations for then-candidate Vicente Fox in 1999 and 2000. The Harvard-educated Arias-King made 14 trips to the United States for Fox and attended both of the American political conventions. He says 90 percent of the officials that he spoke to wanted big increases in immigration. A few, he says, disparaged their white constituents calling them “rednecks” and apologizing for their views on immigration.
Arias-King reports that many Congressmen seemed willing and even anxious to effect a change in the ethnic composition of the United States. But why? That’s the $64,000 question.
Those of us who support Rule of Law have asked this question about President George W. Bush and about so many of our officials. Why would anyone want to take a country such as the United States that has worked remarkably well as a democratic society and change it into something that resembles a third world country with few property rights and no middle class? Why change the United States into Mexico?
Digging deep, Arias-King suggests that Democrats welcome the tired, poor, huddled masses because that will create a need for more government. Bring in lots of poor people, and welfare programs will come back bigger than ever, and those who consume the welfare will vote for Democrats forever.
Republicans, on the other hand, many of whom have dropped any pretense at supporting smaller government, are willing to take all these poor people because the upper classes want them as low-paid servants and because they might be shaped into loyal Republicans. The upper class will simply tell the lower class how to vote. That seems to be the view of the President’s most trusted aide, Karl Rove.
And that’s the thinking that leads to proposals such as the one put forth by U.S. Rep. Mike Pence and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison that calls for “Ellis Island Centers” and “temporary” worker programs that last 17 years. All the while, officials like these and even President Bush are beating their chests and talking about border security. What they really seem to want is a “path to citizenship” that will create much more government and millions of new voters, all dependant on the elected officials who made it all possible.
Citizens look at the immigration issue from an entirely different perspective, and therein lies the great divide. They ponder the unintended consequences of adding between 30,000,000 and 100,000,000 new residents. They wonder what will happen to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the new Pharmaceutical Benefit once millions of naturalized immigrants begin to age. They’d like someone to explain where we’re going to get enough water and where we’re going to put our garbage once the landfills are used up. They’d like to know how we’re going to save our emergency rooms and our schools.
These are problems best solved by government — at least in the opinion of the political class. And the smart money right now is on their side to ram through a temporary worker program and a path to citizenship, perhaps creating that new constituency that will keep them in power forever.