Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Immigration? Maybe

I have a post up over at Greg's place about Marco Rubio's (perhaps) flip on immigration, and at PP about the breakdown of the House bipartisan talks. I'm sticking with what I've always said: the big question here is whether mainstream House conservatives want a bill or not. If they do, John Boehner will bring up the Senate bill and let it pass; if not, he won't. End of story.

Matt Yglesias has the same logic, but thinks that surely House Republicans will want it to fail, as have a few people I've seen on twitter. I've written a bunch of things that all concluded that it was all up to House mainstream conservatives, but haven't engaged at all on what their incentives are. So I'll give it a shot here.

Here's Yglesias:
From the GOP perspective, the calculus of a path to citizenship has two elements. On the one hand, most of these new citizens would probably be Democrats. On the other hand, taking part in a bipartisan immigration reform effort might open Latino voters' ears to other aspects of the GOP message. But the absolute worst-case scenario is one in which a path to citzenship becomes law over the loud objections of GOP-elected officials. 
So he concludes it's "unlikely" that the House would do it.

He might be right! But there's another point of view which also might win out. Republicans might decide that there's a collective action problem here in which the party as a whole (and especially their future presidential candidates) are better off if immigration passes, but most Members of the House (and many Senators) are better off if they vote against it.

And what Yglesias considers the worst-case might not be. Remember, the bill that's going to move, if one does, is the bipartisan Senate bill -- a bill which guarantees that at least three Republicans (the Gang of Eight minus Rubio) will get a fair amount of the credit and will earn a trip to a White House signing ceremony. So opposition to the bill might not be seen as a partisan split even if the majority of Republicans vote against it, and at any rate it might be better for GOP-Latino relations to have the issue disappear after a bill passes than for the issue to stick around to 2016 and beyond.

What it might come down to, really, is that bit about "loud objections of GOP-elected officials." If Congressional opponents of the bill can manage to avoid arguments perceived as bigoted -- if they can restrict themselves to praise for immigrants and immigration reform but just not quite this bill -- then the whole thing could at least plausibly work for both individual Members and the GOP as a whole. But if the debate is bound to descend into immigrant-bashing, then it doesn't.

The only other thing I could add here is that all of this is about perceptions, not reality. The question isn't what will actually be good for the GOP as a whole; it's what individual Members of the House believe will be good.

I have no idea what House conservatives are actually thinking. I just can't see either side being clear and obvious. And my guess is we won't start to know the answers until after the Senate acts.


  1. The other part of the question is to what degree do the actions of the individual members of the GOP get reflected onto the image of the party?

    I'm inclined to think that, absent a presidential race in close proximity, that what the GOP does won't affect the image of the GOP. I have a very presidentially-centered view of public opinion, though.

    1. Although I should note that I'm open to being proved wrong on this one: Bush proposed immigration reform and the congressional GOP killed it, and, IIRC, Latinos moved away from the GOP in 2008 (and further in 2012, but I'm loathe to tie that to immigration just yet; I suspect economics did a lot of that).

  2. If Congressional opponents of the bill can manage to avoid arguments perceived as bigoted -- if they can restrict themselves to praise for immigrants and immigration reform but just not quite this bill

    In this quote, the "--" should be replaced with "i.e."

    So anyone arguing against immigration is "racist!" and should be fired and muted. It's a very similar mindset to that of the UK sociopaths who've already criminalised negative statements about immigration. Proponents of free speech should be terrified of the current US dynamic and fully-bloomed Euro examples; strangely, there are zero prog proponents of free speech. None.

    Better yet, Prof Bernstein links to Yglesias pointing out the obvious about voting in a new people to disempower non-Jewish white Americans, but he doesn't find any of this particularly contradictory or perverse.

    1. Some argue against immigration based on economic theories -- for example, the belief that immigrants harm existing residents by pushing down wages. Whether you agree with this or not, this kind of discussion could be seen as thoughtful and not bigoted.

      Others clearly oppose immigration because they consider immigrants to be genetically inferior to current residents. This is bigotry, pure and simple.

      Jonathan points out, correctly, that it matters a lot which of these voices is the loudest.

    2. David,

      if they can restrict themselves to praise for immigrants and immigration reform

      I have no interest in arguing about your second case because it has almost nothing to do with my growing resistance to the idea of any but the most highly constrained immigration. It's also completely pointless, because the progs who run this country have terrified all but the most stubborn into silence. Nobody wants to get Richwined. If I could change a public prog's mind on this case I would never learn because he wouldn't want his life ruined by admitting it.

      As for the other arguments (of which there are many) almost no one has the guts to talk about them because the progs who run this country have clearly stated the best way to avoid a Richwining; praise immigrants and praise "immigration reform." That is: shut up, slave! Reality is irrelevant!

    3. Is someone keeping a list? "Progs" is a group which so far appears to include everything from Hobbes to Heritage. Also Aristotle.

    4. Of course, Aristotle. Nothing more progressive than believing that there exist natural slaves, who have no independent reasoning capacities, and therefore need masters to fill that gap by giving them orders. Nothing more progressive than believing that women are capable of independent reasoning but that that reasoning is powerless over the female soul. And especially nothing more progressive than believing oneself justified in those above beliefs on the grounds that what surrounds us is the result of the unbeatable combination of nature and the cumulative wisdom of the ages, and that we had pretty much figured out everything important by 400 BCE, and from now on -- at most tinkering.

      Aristotle also (seriously) was a vehement opponent of immigration reform and specifically of a path to citizenship for people without two Athenian-citizen parents (or maybe by that time only citizen father and free mother -- there were successive liberalizations). Even though this kept him from ever becoming an Athenian citizen. (He was principled about taking the interest and point of view of wealthy male Athenian citizens as inevitably correct, even when it hurt him.)

      Man, but Hobbes, idk. Maybe backyardfoundry was thinking -- which is correct -- that Hobbes holds that in a state of nature we all have natural rights as individuals. But "rights" in some sense so weak he doesn't think anybody else is actually obliged to respect them in that state. And of course when at one moment of time we collectively contract amongst ourselves to obey a single sovereign for ever and aye (the contract isn't with the sovereign at all), we forfeit all of our rights, and our children's and those of our children's children. -- The basic problem here may be that monarchists do not, actually, fit cleanly on our contemporary political spectrum.

      That said: there's at least one very good option if you want to tar "progressives" with the brush of some distant historical figure, because Rousseau is an important progenitor of the proto-progressive tradition, and Rousseau was a fascist. -- N.B. that that historical tradition runs straight through various Founders.

    5. That's a reliably shallow response, but I'm not actually criticizing. If you were to fairly address questions like whether the silencing of Richwine was on a slippery slope toward UK/euro style speech criminalizing, then the prog swarm would coalesce around you in the same fashion as with so many others.

      And this is a fun blog, so we'd all be the worse if that were to happen.

  3. If I were looking at this from the perspective of a GOP consultant (something I don't claim to be experienced or skilled at), I would say that the Hispanic population, like any ethnic group, will have its share of social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, big and small businessmen, people, in short, who might be open to the basic Republican message if it could just be voiced rationally. It appears, however, that the party is not going to break into this group until the immigration issue is taken off the agenda, one way or another. That is the long-term incentive for allowing the bill to pass. The short-term disincentives are that the first wave of new Hispanic voters are pretty much all going to vote for Democrats and that allowing the bill to pass is going to annoy a certain percentage of the party's base. So, taking the trade-offs into account, the closest thing to a solution is to allow the bill to pass, blame the passing on Democrats (and hope that the immigrants eventually forget), and put off for as long as possible the day that the immigrants become voting citizens (or, even better, funnel them into a "guest worker" program that provides cheap labor for business but never allows them to vote for Democrats). That seems to be where they are going, with the objections of the base still providing the majority of the suspense.

    1. I'm with you on this one, Scott. I think of multiculturalism for the 2013 GOP being like that wave in the movie Castaway, the one that was constantly breaking out at the horizon, preventing Tom Hanks from making a serious effort to leave the island. So it is with embracing diversity in today's GOP.

      Eventually, though, we know how that (admittedly fictional) story ends for Hanks. Says here the same thing happens, sooner rather than later, with the GOP. It is altogether plausible that 20 years out, we all look back at the days of hispanic+black/GOP mistrust and laugh and wonder how it ever was that way...

      ...that is of course, assuming the current GOP doesn't permanently poison the well wrt immigration reform. Scott's pretty much correct about their road forward, it seems to me.

    2. Scott Monje,

      This is probably a better GOP strategy.

      At Plain Blog, fully ethnicized/racialized voting is just as legitimate as any other style, so maybe the GOP should get on it and embrace the Sailer Strategy.

    3. backyard, that's a good and somewhat instructive link. Sailer notes that whites voting as a bloc could elect the entire government; why don't they and keep out the aliens? One plausible answer is that ethnic voting is not at all natural; where it happens specific ethnic groups are reacting to a perceived common interest.

      Take, for example, blacks. Particularly post- Civil Rights era, where whites in the south apparently fled a party out of a desire to sustain a de-facto apartheid system. That system is obviously not in the interest of blacks, voting with those whites obviously isn't either. That doesn't make those blacks inherently conservative or liberal, but it does give them a common interest in voting for a particular political party (e.g. the one opposed to the defacto apartheid that is against their interests). Whites, writ large, obviously don't have a similar unifying interest, and their voting pretty naturally reflects that.

      Is the landscape for defacto apartheid still 'like that'? Maybe not, probably its debatable. As a white guy, not for me to say. Surely there's a tipping point at which the "anti-perceived-xenophobia vote" is no longer necessary, after which I suspect that blacks, along with other minorities, will naturally no longer vote so overwhelmingly democratic.

      Or to take a slightly different tack: what's so threatening about illegal immigration from Mexico? Well, beyond the voting for the liberals, there's the fact that they do all those jobs that Americans won't (have better work ethics). Then there's the 'problem' of big international banks lending them tons of dough to buy houses, which they do - and live several to a house, building equity and pursuing the American dream. And on and on...

      ...Know what's funny about that story, backyard? The problem we have with hispanics is that they are too damn conservative. Maybe we'd be better off if they felt more comfortable in the fold, no?

    4. Surely there's a tipping point at which the "anti-perceived-xenophobia vote" is no longer necessary, after which I suspect that blacks, along with other minorities, will naturally no longer vote so overwhelmingly democratic.

      As Sailer has shown, this is no longer the case. Blacks have a net movement to the South. Cities outside the South where Blacks live are becoming more inhospitable and segregated. Blue states have much bigger differences in black/White poverty rates, etc.

      But there's zero movement by blacks to national Republicans. Democrats simply offer too much free stuff and racial griefing for it to make sense for Blacks to vote for Rs. I mean, blacks are going to be poorer than whites for the foreseeable future, so any pro-market reforms or movements against affirmative action are going to be perceived (Coates style) as "racism!" So the proggier party will keep the black vote.

      This applies to Hispanics to a lesser degree.

  4. " are too damn conservative "

    Latinos have a higher percentage of criminal records, welfare recipients and outside of wedlock birthrates compared to whites or Asians. They also have lower incomes so it makes sense for them to vote for the party that offers more to the poor.

    " if they can restrict themselves to praise for immigrants "

    Conservatives should not follow this advice when sentimental mush like what CSH wrote is widespread. McCain follows this line and it did not help him with the Hispanic vote. Immigration policy should be based on facts not fantasy even if some of the facts about Latinos contradicts multicultural delusions that are cherished by the media and the open borders crowd.

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  6. Sen. Leahy and his colluding Senators have done nothing to stop massive welfare payouts to illegal aliens and their offspring now or in the future. The Border Patrol spokesman Crane has been restrained from arresting criminal aliens along the border by order of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton, but my guess it comes from the White House, and that even ICE agents in internal enforcement have NO CONFIDENCE in DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. Health care coverage for newly legalized immigrants is emerging as a barbed concern in Congress’ driving to remake the nation’s immigration system, that is posing problems for Senate negotiators and threatening to derail when it reaches the House. The question is how much access to taxpayer-subsidized healthcare should be granted to immigrants who were here illegally and are embarking on a pathway to citizenship. Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano mounted a vigorous defense of the Senate Gang of Eight’s comprehensive immigration plan Tuesday, declaring the legislation an “important first step” to reforming the nation’s immigration laws. Then again under senate 477, she would have the total power over running the immigration laws, which would be a crisis in the making, and as we are all well aware the taxpayers will get all the costs to incur the path to citizenship, processing for the millions, medical examinations and those who get a working visa, able to sponsor close family seniors, progeny that will need retirement, social security programs. The fines that are supposed to be imposed, is just a $1000.00 and Sessions in imparted, that just like the previous punishments for breaking the law, it will never be enforced? WHO PAYS FOR THIS? YOU ARE THE PAYEE!

    THIS LAW IS FAR WORSE THAN EVEN THE 1986 IMMIGRATION REFORM & CONTROL LAW (IRCA) AND WILL EVEN NULLIFY THE LAWS ON THE BOOKS. THIS LAW IT’S SO SOFT BECAUSE THE WORK MAGNET IS STILL THERE, DRAWING MORE TO THE BORDER AND NOT DEPARTING AFTER A VISITORS VISA EXPIRES. Sen. Leahy and his corrupt co-conspirators refused the amendment, to install a departure location at airports to fingerprinting passengers leaving the country. This is a cost effective entry and exit mechanism that was introduced by Sen. Sessions, who was criticized and lambasted by a gathering of elderly Senators who obviously been pressured by the wealthy lobbyists, who run amok continuously in Washington. There are hundreds of thousands of green cards in this assembly line, for Guest workers and will also need monetary support in years to come. Even the mandatory E-Verify program is really compromised, by dragging its enforcement over 18 months, instead of implementing the program immediately?

    READ THE RUSSMUSSEN POLLING RESULTS ON THIS SENATE BILL 477 AND IMMIGRATION LAWS, THAT FOR ME IS THE ONLY REPORT THAT ABSOLUTELY TELLS THE TRUTH OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN QUESTIONED. RUSMUSSEN POLLS ARE NOT DOCTORED SO THAT PRO-ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS GET ANANSWER CONFORMING TO THEIR NEGATIVE AGENDA. Tuesday, May 07, 2013: The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% of Likely U.S. Voters still favor the plan that would give legal status to those here now illegally who have otherwise obeyed the law as long as the government really secures the border to prevent future illegal immigration. Thirty percent (30%) oppose the plan even with the guarantee of tougher border security. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.


    The only Senator, who has the Americans security in mind, is Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, stating, “The federal government has reached a point now where virtually no one is being deported, except those convicted of serious crimes." I heard what that old War Horse Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont had to say on cable, which majority Americans see it as very poor performance, that doesn’t place any tough enforcement for the border (the 2006 Secure fence Act) that still remains in stasis, and that double layer fence only occupies 17 miles in San Diego County and remains so approximately 8 years. Than this Gang of Eight and 16 others have just about rejected any of the tough amendments that would stifle the next waves of another illegal alien invasion. As Sessions said today this immigration enforcement has not been fixed? I think the chairman of the judicial committee Leahy stays measurably unclean, after negotiating with the unions, La Raza, Dept of Commerce the giant agricultural mega companies, tech companies, pro-immigration organizations and the other special interests behind closed doors. Instead of playing into the unethical hands of the money people, the irrational Senators could have gained some acceptance by adding the triggers. If this Senate bill 477 passes as it is, America is dead economically? Millions of Americans still jobless will be up against the 10 to 25 million who’s suddenly become legal and can then compete to be hired. ALL THE TRIGGERS BUT A FEW WERE DISMISSED AS IRRELEVANT BY THE GANG OF EIGHT?

  8. Thank You for Providing information about UK immigration it is very useful and i have also some information for share it is related to uk immigration . Global Migrate is the leading consultant company which provide best information about visa and immigration.


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