When it comes to immigration, our terms have been redefined in an Orwellian sleight of hand. Today, the one who comes over the border illegally is called the same thing as the one who waits to come over legally, as those of my parents’ generation did.
Back in the late 1950s when my parents and aunts and uncles escaped from communist Yugoslavia being an immigrant meant staying off the government dole and having “sponsors” guaranteeing that you would. My relatives spent years as refugees in Austria, where they worked on farms, often living in barracks. Once here, they were greeted by sponsors who guaranteed housing, food, and medical care until the new immigrants could find jobs. It was a mark of shame to receive public assistance. Immigrants skimped and saved. They struggled to learn English and what they could not learn they demanded their children learn. When I and my cousins went to public school, we were inculcated with American values and strove to become Americanized.
This is not true today where government-paid workers search out immigrants, offering them government assistance. In schools, immigrant and illegal alien children get anti-American lessons, and often in their own language.
Now Republicans are embracing the same ideas. They even use the language of the Marxists who have been behind the push to legalize millions of illegal aliens in order to gain Democratic voters.
As New Zealand blogger and researcher Trevor Loudon documents in his new book, The Enemies Within, the push for amnesty for new Democratic voters began in 1995 when the unions, that had previously fought amnesty to protect jobs, were taken over by Marxists who then infiltrated the Democratic Party.
A key player is SEIU leader, and Honorary Chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, Elisco Medina. In 1999, he convinced the AFL-CIO convention that U.S. immigration policy was “broken and needs to be fixed.” In 2000, the AFL-CIO called for a new amnesty and the repeal of the 1986 law that criminalized hiring illegal aliens.
In 2009, Medina spoke about the need for “’comprehensive immigration reform’” at America’s Future Now! conference in Washington, D.C. Noting that two out of three Latino voters voted for Barack Obama, he presented a two-part strategy:
In order to expand their power, he said progressives need to be “solidly on the side of immigrants,” who would remember “who was there with you.”
Second, with “reform of immigration laws,” 12 million people would be put on “the path to citizenship, and eventually voters.” Medina asked attendees to imagine the gain in voters even if only two out of three voted Democrat.
But if one does not believe Loudon that Democrats/Marxists are using the case of “immigration” for vote harvesting, one should listen to esteemed political science professor Alan Abramowitz, author of The Polarized Public: Why American Government Is So Dysfunctional. A year ago, at our annual Labor Day book festival in Decatur, Georgia, he told an Obama-pumped audience that the demographics were on their side. Abramowitz is known for his accuracy in predicting election outcomes. But it’s not rocket science. Abramowitz simply looked at the demographics and correctly predicted a Democratic victory. (Political polarization was attributed to conservative “extremism” on the part of conservatives, which would disappear once they were outnumbered.)
As Abramowitz showed the charts and graphs, as well as photos of multihued Obama rallies, I thought of how sad it was that he would brag that the gains in Democratic voters was not due to the appeal of ideas but to racial and ethnic pandering. It was a celebration of vote-buying.
This Labor Day weekend, at the Americans for Prosperity Foundation conference, I heard hecklers interrupt Senator Marco Rubio’s speech with chants of “no amnesty.” Rubio has used rhetoric about the “broken system” to sell the “Gang of Eight’s” senate bill 744. Many in the audience were annoyed by the hecklers, still seeing Rubio as a shining star, an old-fashioned immigrant success story. “He’s right on most of the issues,” a woman told me.
Yes, Rubio did hit all the talking points about economic freedom. But these were the same canned lines that I had heard in the summer of 2008 at the first Red State conference in Atlanta.
In 2013, in front of nearly 2,000 activists he became flustered as he tried to ignore calls of “traitor.”
As I left the room, I saw three individuals in bright pink t-shirts emblazoned with “Pink Slip Rubio.com” standing in the hall. One was Jack Oliver, legislative director for Floridians for Immigration Enforcement, a decade-old group. Oliver feels betrayed by Rubio, who had shaken his hand and promised that he would never support comprehensive reform, legalization, or the Dream Act. According to his group’s website, Senate Bill 744 gives work permits and legalization to over 11 million illegal aliens, doubles authorized immigration to 22 million over the next decade, and adds millions to welfare and entitlement rolls. Oliver calls it “amnesty first and a promise for enforcement lager,” and contends that the bill never would have gotten through the Senate without Rubio acting as the immigrant “poster child” of the sponsoring “Gang of Eight.”
Oliver began his career in construction as a plasterer laborer in 1968, a time when such a trade could support a family. He got involved in the immigration fight when he heard George W. Bush claim that illegal aliens were needed to do the jobs Americans wouldn’t do. He saw his wages drop 30 percent under Bush’s lax policies. He had left Florida in 1986 and returned in 2002. As a field superintendant he saw that construction workers were making less in actual dollars than what they had been making in 1986.
“I saw how devastating illegal labor is to the domestic labor market,” he says, citing the millions of young people who aren’t going to college. “If they’re not going to make a living in the trades we’re going to have to subsidize those families. It’s an expansion of the welfare state.” Especially hard hit is the black community. He estimates that 75 percent of the construction laborers with whom he worked in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C., were black.
The immigration bill will change demographics forever, he contends, with Democrats fast-tracking the newly legalized immigrants to citizenship and voting rolls. It will end the conservative movement.
Post-election quarterbacks attributed Mitt Romney’s loss to a “conscious decision to blow off Hispanic voters.” Republicans sounded like a party that “hates brown people,” said Erick Erickson. Others made similar analyses until the real numbers came in, showing that the deciding factor in the Republican loss was the abandonment by white working class voters—like Oliver. Furthermore, as J. Christian Adams pointed out, going back to the George W. Bush administration, the policies of the left don’t work with conservative Hispanics, the only ones the GOP can realistically count on.
I am reminded by Jack’s story about my immigrant family, about an uncle who was a bricklayer, about my father who was a welder. Other legal immigrants I knew worked in manufacturing or such skilled labor jobs. Today they would not have a chance.
So Rubio, despite the rhetoric from the powerful large business interests in the Republican Party, is no friend of the middle class or of legal immigrants.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.