The Amnesty Delusion

The Editors, National Review, November 12, 2012

Having suffered not one but several humiliating defeats on Tuesday, Republicans are in danger of embracing “comprehensive” immigration reform—which is to say, amnesty—out of panic. The GOP does need to do better among Hispanics and other voters, but this is not the way to achieve that—and, more important, it is bad policy. A formal policy of refusing to enforce the law is not obviously the best substitute for an informal policy of refusing to enforce the law.

But first, credit should be given where it is due: The Obama administration, by keeping economic growth at anemic levels, has managed to control illegal immigration better than most of its predecessors. The Reagan-era Immigration Reform and Control Act conferred amnesty upon some 3 million illegals in exchange for promises of stepped-up enforcement at the border and in the back office, but the sanctions never quite materialized. Even though some improved security measures were implemented after 9/11, the Bush years saw a 40 percent increase in the population of illegals, according to the Migration Policy Institute.


Our immigration system is in need of deep reform, but amnesty is not the first item on intelligent reformers’ to-do list, if indeed it belongs on the list at all.


We know from historical experience that immigration amnesties serve only to encourage yet more illegal immigration, and the suffering and disorder that go along with it. Illegal immigrants constitute a permanent underclass, the growth of which is in the long-term interest of neither the citizens of the United States nor of those immigrants who aspire to citizenship. Stopgap measures such as “temporary guest worker” programs simply convert that underclass from de facto to de jure.

There are many steps we can and should take toward improving our national immigration regime. It should be easier for those with job offers—particularly highly skilled, English-speaking professionals—to gain long-term residency in the United States and to embark on a path to citizenship if they so choose. And for those who are here illegally, especially those who were brought here as young children, our policy options are not restricted to amnesty or round-ups and mass deportations. {snip} Until the borders are physically secured, our most effective and most humane option is steady, consistent, judicious workplace enforcement. We do not lack the national means to enforce the law, only the political will to do so. {snip}

Republicans who believe that amnesty would buy them an electoral advantage with Hispanics are deluding themselves. That Hispanics are a natural Republican constituency because of their Catholic and family-oriented traditions is wishful thinking. Hispanics are not uniformly in favor of amnesty for illegals—polls have shown that a segment of the Hispanic population ranging from a large minority to a small majority oppose the policy. Polls also show that a substantial majority of Hispanics support Obamacare, and that Hispanics voted accordingly on Tuesday. Those who see in Hispanics a potential bloc of socially conservative voters should consider that polls consistently find blacks to be slightly more anti-abortion than whites, but they are not exactly lining up behind Rick Santorum. There is very little reason to believe that Hispanic Catholics are any more likely to vote like social conservatives than non-Hispanic Catholics. For that matter, the majority of Hispanic evangelicals voted for Obama in 2008.

The amnesty signed into law by the charismatic and popular President Reagan did not bring Hispanic voters into the Republican party; Republican congressional leaders who believe that sending one to President Obama would redound to their benefit are engaged in a defective political calculus. Nor are Hispanics the only group of voters to consider. Blue-collar whites do not appear to have turned out for Republicans in the usual numbers last week. Support for amnesty will not bring them back. If the policy advanced the national interest, that consideration might not matter. It does when supposed political advantage is the argument for the policy.

The Republican party and the conservative movement simply are not constituted for ethnic pandering, and certainly will not out-pander the party of amnesty and affirmative action. Republicans’ challenge is to convince Hispanics, blacks, women, gays, etc., that the policies of the Obama administration are inimical to their interests as Americans, not as members of any collegium of grievance. {snip}

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  • Puggg

    Oh my. Did NR for once decide to flip the “stop sucking” switch?

    Quick, whoever did this: Write some more good columns before Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru get back to town.

    • Or, they could take an old Sam Francis column and change the dates, and pass it off as something written today.

    • The__Bobster

      Here’s a “still sucking” article from a few days ago.

      National Review Back On The Amnesty Bandwagon
      By Federale on November 12, 2012 at 8:18pm

      After a bout of temporary sanity, National Review Online has doubled down on amnesty for illegal aliens, taking its marching orders from the Chamber of Commerce.
      NRO November 12, 2012 by Robert Zubin

      Toward An Intelligent Immigration Policy

      Over the past few years, some in the conservative movement have allowed a legitimate concern over border security to become conflated with anti-immigration politics. As the recent election shows, this confusion threatens to saddle the Republican party with a losing platform that will become even more unsustainable in years to come.

      Some conservatives say that whether it’s popular or unpopular, imposing strict limits on immigration is the right thing to do, and it must be defended. Are they correct? Putting aside politics, let us step back and consider, on the basis of first principles, what a proper immigration policy should be.

      • Sherman_McCoy

        Those Sock Cuckers!!!

  • RJSNS16

    Did it ever dawn on the GOP that maybe by being tougher on illegal immigration, they would attract more white votes?

    In Orwellian speak – they’re changing a supposed core position of their party…just to get elected.

    So much for the goal of politicians convincing the electorate their core position is correct in the first place.

    And to think that millions of whites think they will have a place at the table and will be treated benevolently by a non-white majority…just because “they” weren’t racist back in the day.

    Whites in their 20’s who voted for Obama are in for the shock of their lives in the next four years…just with illegal immigration and affirmative action/disparate impact.

    • “So much for the goal of politicians convincing the electorate their core position is correct in the first place.” — Absolutely, you hit the nail right on the head. By arguing principles rightly and forcefully, you get more votes from everyone: whites and minorities ( ). Open Borders hurts everybody, and fighting it is a winning issue for the GOP.

    • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

      White youngsters — aged 18-29 — rejected Obama in the 2012 by a 51 to 44 margin — despite relentless anti-white multicultural programming from K-12/universities/Hollywood/news media.

      • RJSNS16

        That 44% (millions of suicidal foolish whites) are in for the shock of their lives…

        • Marc B.

          As are most White people after they start making their way in the world and the racial double-standards that negatively effect their job acquisition and other aspects of their life start smacking them in the head. The White’s with enough remaining self-respect will slowly adopt a policy of self-interest that carries over into their political life. The White’s who have had their own will diminished by Cultural Marxist indoctrination (mostly submissive types) will take it on the chin in most aspects of their life concerning the self-interest of their people and sometimes even themselves.

  • Maybe they should considering hiring a writer named John Derbyshire


    • I’m always leery of feeding the National Review by quoting it. Given that the National Review nervously does the SPLC’s bidding by quickly firing anybody with a non-PC view, real conservatives should just stay off that site.

  • Amrendevotee

    This editorial is about 30 years too late.

  • Joe

    This article is still only half-way there.

    The Republicans do not need to find out how to win black and Hispanic voters. It’s not going to happen no matter what they do. Those voters want free stuff and the Republican Party will never be the party of free stuff the way the Democrats are.

    The Republicans need to abandon not just amnesty, but the whole idea of winning non-white voters. That’s what someone needs to come out and say. They need to focus on reaching all the white voters they didn’t get. Blue collar whites who can’t get jobs because of illegal immigrants and affirmative action. White students who are victims of affirmative action. Middle class whites who pay the bills for Section 8 and EBTs to have their own neighborhoods and schools destroyed. White environmentalists should be made to understand that no non-whites care about global warming or GMOs. Gay whites need to be made to understand how blacks really feel about gays. Jews (yes, jooz) need to be shown how blacks feel about them. White women need to be shown how safe they aren’t in non-white neighborhoods and schools. These are the areas that Republicans need to work on, and they should explicitly write off the non-white vote.

  • gibs_me_dat

    Good sense from the editors of National Review,

    until their thinking “evolves” and they catch up with progress and promote amnesty for Dreamers.

  • kjh64

    What would be even better is a strong 3rd party that strongly opposes amnesty and advocates common sense policies that are best for the American people, that rivals both the Dems and the Reps.

    • Well, I voted Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party in the last election. But the problem, unfortunately, with what you’re saying, is that whenever the third party shows up people will say a vote for it is a vote for the Democrat (or Republican) so you should instead vote for the Republican (or Democrat) directly. Also, Dem voters vote Dem due to affirmative action and other racial benefits, so they would dislike the 3rd party as much as they do the GOP.

      Americans, non-Hispanic Christian whites in particular, have been brainwashed into thinking that taking care of themselves and looking after their interests is Nazi-ism and hence must be avoided at all costs. That’s why Pat Buchanan couldn’t get 1% of the vote in his 2000 run, while Shinataro Ishihara (Japan’s rough Pat Buchanan equivalent), repeatedly won the Tokyo governorship races. The Japanese don’t have that must-not-take-care-of-yourself complex that Americans do.

      • kjh64

        Oh, I agree getting a 3rd party to look out for American interests, especially those of Whites, wouldn’t be easy. The media would crucify it I’m just saying that is what is needed, a strong 3rd party. Who knows, things might get so bad within the next 4 years that many Whites will do something. Maybe it will happen, I don’t know.

        • Marc B.

          At some point, and I see that time coming in the very near future, conservative White’s will no longer care how bad the media disparages an emerging Third party advocating for White interest. It may actually help that party because White’s sick of the all the GOP BS might view that bad press (a press dominated by neo-cons and post-modern leftists) as a selling point. Look at how even mainstream White’s are exponentially much less bothered by the term “racist” since 2007.

          • The first step for whites is to simply refuse to get their news from any website that the SPLC does not label a “hate group”. This will force sites like National Review and Human Events to be occasionally un-PC if they want our readership, and will cause writers like John Derbyshire to be in high demand in order to gain the SPLC’s coveted “hate group” designation.

  • Epiminondas

    An amazing turnaround. Did National Revue finally read a Steve Sailer analysis? Conservatives had been telling Republicans for several decades that opposition to both affirmative action and amnesty was the path to victory. Have they finally seen the light at the eleventh hour?

  • DelmarJackson

    White working class voters are looking for anyone that will deliver less immigration. Up to now, the GOP was the only hope they had. if the GOP turns out to be all immigration weasels and grants another amnesty, somewhere down the line there is going to be a class war. having lost the immigration war, blue collar whites will not forget the GOP stabbing them in the back, and vote with the ‘minorities’ to squeeze every penny from those who enabled the end of the nation as we know it. What does the GOP think is the real reason they lost so many white voters this election?

  • loyalwhitebriton

    There is very little reason to believe that Hispanic Catholics are more likely to vote like social conservatives…

    Of course there isn’t. Race trumps faith, always. And the inferiority complex that stems from being a ‘minority’ will always be a stronger force than one’s religious convictions – said complex being closer to the “ID” (inner child) than the more abstract considerations of spirituality.
    The left know this perfectly well, and play on it expertly.

  • SoCal LoCal

    I will believe NR is serious when they undo the damage from their prior purges, and take the long knives to their neocons and Christian Zionists.

    • AB7

      What is your problem with Christian Zionists? Are you pro-Muslim? Or are you one of those naive twits today who think that America will survive with Islam within our borders?

      • SoCal LoCal

        Christian Zionists care LESS about our borders than those of the Near East. A bad choice for any patriot, all the more so a racially conscious one.

        • AB7

          You believe the liberal lies about them. Liberals Jews believe that Christian Zionists ONLY want the Jews to inhabit Israel so that then that would “force” God to bring about end-times and “force” all the Jews to become Christian blah blah blah. All that it is is Christians supporting Jews because of the Bible and the God of the Bible. It isn’t for self-interest, though the Bible does say that those who support the Jews will be blessed and those who curse the Jews will be cursed.

          Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

          (This also explains why the Muslims are so cursed.)

  • thoughtcrime1933

    The most delusional part about this is the assertion that somehiw granting an illegal a legal status will make them get off welfare, happily pay taxes, shun set asides for them and vote for YTrepublican candidates. It’s equally ridiculous to assume that illegals will magically become productive members of YT society. Yes yes, MS13 members will burn off their tatts and start having bake sales for Orphans.

  • SLCain

    We don’t need “immigration reform”. We need to impose a moratorium on immigration, arrest and/or fine employers who knowingly and willfully employ illegal aliens, and deport ALL those illegal aliens now here. Anything less than that is not enough.

    As another commenter pointed out, the GOP should not court hispanics or other minorities at all. They should blatantly and shamelessly make their appeal to whites only.

    The National Review has gotten exactly the Republican party that they wanted. Let them glory in Mitt Romney’s failure. To Hell with them.

  • Other Guest

    The problem with attempts to enforce employer sanctions is that many illegals are working off the books (for your neighbors) as house keepers, nannys, handyman, lawn maintenance, unauthorized car repair, etc.

  • Pelayo

    The Republican party needs to start representing White people. Immigration is a problem with which we must deal but Blacks committing wanton violence against us is the most important issue that everyone is afraid to address. Unless that issue is resolved there is no point in worrying about immigration. There won’t be enough of us left to matter.

  • louisville slugger

    The real question other than 70% never vote for anybody other than liberals is since when do conservatives not cater to them or go out their way or put up any roadblocks for them anyway?
    Conservatives just know liberals have them in the bag but nobody stops them from voting for the conservative. Its the same for blacks who will automatically vote for liberals but still noone forces them not to vote for conservatives.
    The entire argument is a hoax and disingenuous to say the least and a waste of time. Liberals always use petty 8th grade reverse psychology snake oil to trick and deceive.