Illegal Immigration Finally Turned Off Public

Victor Davis Hanson, PJ Media, August 31, 2015

Why did the illegal-immigration issue launch Donald Trump’s campaign? Why did his recent tense press conference exchange with Univision’s Jorge Ramos please even some of Trump’s liberal critics? What is it about illegal immigration that has finally turned off so many Americans?

1. Race

Over the years immigration activists successfully deconstructed the complex issue of illegal immigration into a race and class morality tale of privileged whites picking on poor brown people. The operative buzzwords were “racism,” “nativism,” and “xenophobia.” That theme is now mostly bankrupt given that every great lie eventually falls from its own weight.

It was rarely the host, but more often the activists on behalf of the guests, who framed illegal immigration in racial terms. Activists foolishly fabricated the controversy as “we noble Latinos” against “you prejudiced non-Latinos.” They forgot apparently two obvious truths: one, thirty percent of Americans are not so-called white; and, two, most people resent ethnic chauvinism. {snip}

Sometime in the last five years, the public woke up and grasped that Latino elite activists were not so much interested in illegal immigration per se, but only to the degree that the issue affected other Latinos. Were 3,000 Chinese illegally entering California per day by ship on the Northern California coast, Latino activists and politicians would probably be the first to call for enforcement of federal immigration law.

It is difficult for the National Council of La Raza to attempt to airbrush away vocabulary like “anchor baby” and “illegal immigration,” while insisting that its own nomenclature “La Raza” has nothing to do with race. {snip} In the public mind illegal immigration has gone from the old narrative that racists were enforcing the law to keep out mostly brown people to a new generation of racists who are trying to subvert the law to bring in mostly brown people.

2. The Law

The old canard that without law there is nothing did not resonate with voters in connection with illegal immigration until the 21st century. As long as there were only one or two million illegal immigrants apparently the public turned a blind eye. No longer. {snip}

Then the myth arose that criminality among illegal aliens was in fact lower that found in the general population, as if it mattered not at all that a quarter of all federal prisoners were in the United States illegally, or that some states reported that more than a fourth of their felonies were attributable to illegal aliens, or that around 20,000 illegal aliens from south of the border were routinely incarcerated in California prisons alone. Completely lost in the back and forth was the old notion that an immigrant, legal or illegal, was supposed to be a guest, whose behavior should be the model, rather than defended as no worse than those whom he joined.

{snip}

3. Mexico

Mexico itself has become quite unpopular. Accordingly to recent polls, never have Americans had more negative views of Mexico than during the era of Obama. Americans tired of being told that Mexico did not like the U.S., when the real truth was increasingly the opposite. It is not just the daily news of cartels, beheadings, and corruption that made Mexico unattractive, but the cynicism of the Mexican government itself.

{snip}

Hypocrisy became synonymous with the idea of Mexico. Its constitution defines illegal immigration in racialist and chauvinist terms–barring those it finds unhealthy or an economic burden or even prone to upset “the equilibrium of the national demographics.” If American emulated Mexican law, almost all illegal aliens would face immediate deportation if not prison sentences. When Mexico deliberately has exported ten percent of its population and lectures the U.S. on their ensuing welfare, then the vocabulary of hypocrisy fails.

{snip}

4. Politics

The Obama-age progressive political narrative was that an old, too-white America was changing largely due to immigration and that this was a much-needed antidote to oppressive white privilege. Activists proudly pointed to California and New Mexico’s suddenly solidly blue politics and promised that Texas, Colorado and Nevada were soon to follow. In 2008 and 2012 the so-called “Latino vote” went nationally at about 70% for Democratic candidates. This was deemed a noble thing–but in a way 70% of the white vote not voting for a Democratic candidate would have been seen as proof of “racism” and “backlash.” {snip}

5. Illegal Immigrants

The illegal-immigration movement only recently has sought to finesse its public relations. For a decade illegal immigration was oversold as an arrival of “dreamers,” various future brain surgeons and physicists whose innate talent could now be tapped if only the U.S. would wave the cruel legal details. But illegal aliens are not all dreamers any more than they are all criminals. They are what they are–good, bad, and neither: poor oppressed people who flee racist Third World governments in hopes of jobs and/or U.S. government support, with the further assumption that their illegality, lack of English, absence of education, and dearth of skills and capital will not only not matter, but earn them coveted victim status in the U.S. So far they have been proven prescient.

It is still common to find at immigration rallies thousands of Mexican flags, with far fewer–if any–American flags. Illegal aliens do not just root for visiting Mexican sports teams, but go the extra mile of booing the American opposition.

{snip}

It is alleged that Donald Trump is a demagogue who whips the ignorant up. Perhaps. But on matters of immigration he came late and often in antithesis to his own former positions. The truth is that the illegal-immigration lobby was its own worst enemy, its message couched in racism, illegality, untruth–and finally incoherence.  People are tired of being called racists by racial chauvinists, of being dubbed insensitive by unfeeling opportunists, and of being called politically naive by political manipulators.

If there were not a Donald Trump, he would likely have had to have been invented.

[Editor’s Note: Here is a source which explains more about Mexico’s immigration law.]

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