I reviewed my archives and found that over the life of the Pilgrim I have written more on immigration than any subject, and I will readily admit that I don’t have much to add. But I will restate some basics and add a couple of thoughts: I am not a “restrictionist” as that term has been defined and, in fact, I prefer an increase in immigration quotas over more guest workers, but I come down on the side of those who believe that we will not solve this problem without first committing to a policy of restoring the value and the priority of citizenship and strictly controlling our borders, while requiring assimilation to this culture by those we choose to admit. In other words, immigration should be first about citizenship, not about new voters or new workers, and let me add, not about family reunification.
It seems that the current revival of reform efforts is primarily about these latter items, and it’s also clear that there is a large element of Republican fear involved, fear that if the party doesn’t aggressively embrace some form of amnesty, it will be history with America’s fastest growing ethnic group. Well, count me in agreement with a recent National Review essay which concludes “…..the idea that an amnesty is going to put Latinos squarely in the GOP tent is a fantasy”. In fact, there is plenty of evidence of the reality that Latinos are a fairly reliable Democratic constituency. Can Republicans do better with this group? Sure, but the evidence is that it won’t be because of amnesty for illegal immigrants, and Republicans would be foolish to fall for this false promise again. What is needed is a better message about the opportunity in free markets and individual responsibility and the importance of education, the same message as with any other group of citizens. Do we need broad reform of the immigration system? Sure, but not until credible border control and enforcement mechanisms are put in place.