Of Lost Causes and the Reagan Coalition

 

WalkerScott Walker has joined the Light Side of the Force. And judging by the howls of derision and scorn that have erupted from the left, center, and even some provinces on the right, the Death Star of amnesty for illegal aliens and unrestricted cheap labor for small and large businesses across America might – just might – have a critical vulnerability.

By now the news is widespread, especially among those of us who have been begging and pleading with our elected officials to enforce the immigration laws for a generation. But if you missed it, Walker, admitting that his position has evolved from his earlier support for some kind of “pathway to citizenship,” has come down firmly and unequivocally on the side of secure borders, interior enforcement, and (be still my beating heart) E-Verify.

There is no substitute for a somewhat lengthy quotation from Walker, who unveiled his immigration plan on Glenn Beck this past week (apologies to those who have read this several times already):

We need to have a much bigger investment from the federal government to secure the border, through not only infrastructure but personnel and certainly technology to do that and to make a major shift. If you don’t do that, there’s much greater issues than just immigration. Folks coming in from potentially ISIS-related elements and others around the world, there’s safety issues from the drugs and drug trafficking and gun trafficking and gun things with regard—but to get to immigration you have got to secure the border, because nothing you do on immigration fundamentally works if you don’t secure that border.

To the uninitiated, this is conventional wisdom – a mere Republican talking point. The only time this kind of talk arouses Democrats or the Chamber of Commerce is when securing the border is introduced as a precondition to comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). CIR legislation — which includes additional money, forces etc. to secure the border while granting amnesty (i.e. the right for someone to continue to reside permanently in the United States without returning to their home country first) — is perfectly acceptable to the pro-amnesty forces. It is what the Gang of Eight bill proposed.

However, if some “border security metric” is introduced and action on a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens is made contingent on achieving some value for that metric, then fury appears. The reason for this is simple. The left, the Chamber of Commerce, and their allies know full well that simply saying we will shut down the border and then grant amnesty after we’re confident it’s secure is tantamount to begging every impoverished soul in the world to rush that border as many times and in as many ways as necessary to get the prize.

The fact is (and the pro-amnesty supporters know this) that if America never summons the will to send people who are in this country illegally back to their home countries, then it really doesn’t matter how big a wall we build. Maybe if we were Liechtenstein we could manage it; but not with the size of our borders.

And this is where Scott Walker’s ensuing remarks are so sublime.

Then I think you need to enforce the law and the way you effectively do that is to require every employer in America to use an effective E-Verify system. And by effective I mean you need to require particularly small businesses, and farmers, and ranchers. We’ve got to have a system that works, but then the onus is on the employers — and the penalties have to be steep [so] that they’re only hiring people who are here, who are legal to be here. No amnesty. If someone wants to be a citizen, they have to go back to their country of origin and get in line behind everybody else who’s waiting.

And the reason that the integrity of our borders and a halt to the importation of poverty is so critical?

Because the more I’ve talked to folks — I’ve talked to Senator [Jeff] Sessions and others out there, but it is a fundamentally lost issue by many in elected positions today — is what is this doing for American workers looking for jobs? What is this doing to wages? And we need to have that be at the forefront of our discussion going forward.

I have been waiting for Jeff Sessions to declare his candidacy for President. I need wait no longer. His appointed Jedi Knight has arrived.

In addition to reversing illegal immigration, Walker has also declared that America needs to have more restrictions on legal immigration – again, with the aim of protecting American workers.

And so now the slings and arrow fly. As Ross Douthat chronicles in an excellent article in (of all places) the New York Times:

[Walker’s] comments were not precisely welcomed by an array of voices on the center-right. Not only Republican senators in the pro-comprehensive reform camp but also an array of conservative writers accused Walker of “economic ignorance” and “being brow-beaten into submission” by anti-immigration activists (that’s Ben Domenech), of an “inexplicable” and “pandering” lurch toward policies that represent a “perversion of American ideals and a recipe for decline” (that’s Philip Klein), of an embrace of “a know-nothing aversion to immigration that defies reality” (that’s Jennifer Rubin).

(Douthat hasn’t even gotten to the left yet).

The commentary (alluded to by Douthat and others as well) seethes with rage. This is telling, because the key distinction between anger on the one hand and amused pity on the other is that anger requires the perception of danger.

Nothing chills the bones of the pro-amnesty crowd more than the remote possibility, appearing like a dark horseman galloping out of the distant mist, that someone might ascend to the Presidency and say: “It is time now for the people who are here illegally to go home and for the people who aid and employ them — and they know who they are — to start obeying the law…and if they don’t, they will go to jail.”

And what makes this prospect a legitimate – a terrifying – possibility is, among other things, the alliance that it brings to the table. It brings the blue-collar workers who were part of the Reagan coalition. And, to boot, it brings at least some of the impoverished inner city African-Americans who have watched their job prospects go to illegal aliens.

If Walker really knows what he is doing – and his political acumen has always seemed unimpeachable – then before long you will see him holding events in Milwaukee (or Detroit, or Baltimore, or Sioux City) talking to young, unemployed inner city dwellers (black and white) and asking them: “Has the immigration policy of the last two Presidents worked out real well for you?”

As Todd Feinburg and I discuss in our latest “Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast: Lost Causes and Climate Change,” the illegal alien case has indeed seemed, for so long, a lost cause. Hope of reversing the illegal tide is hanging by a thread. The target seems so tiny and so distant.

And in such cases the only thing you can say is: “Use the Force, Scott.”

There are 33 comments.

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  1. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    I always knew that I was right to bet on this horse.

    Now if we can just get him elected and hold him to his word here, we’d begin to get some sanity back in the immigration mess that we’ve got.

    • #1
  2. user_44643 Member
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    Music to my ears! As someone who was born and raised on the Texas-Mexico border, I find this very encouraging.
    It’s about time border security was taken seriously and our immigration laws enforced. Let the open borders/pro-amnesty crowd go vote for their natural allies: the Democrats.

    • #2
  3. user_1008534 Member
    user_1008534
    @Ekosj

    Finally … A voice of reason

    Here is an apt analogy for our current immigration situation…

    I hold an annual Holiday open-house. Food and drink and merrymaking. Come one, come all. Everyone is welcome. All I ask is that you present yourself at the front door, shake my hand, look me in the eye and introduce yourself.

    My soirée is so popular that there is frequently a line of guests lined up on my walkway waiting their turn to enter.

    However, there exists a group of people who, instead of waiting their turn with the others outside, go around back, hop over my fence, force open my back door and help themselves to the contents of my refrigerator, pantry and bar.

    What are we to think of these folks?

    For myself, I think they have abused my hospitality and have shown contempt for my guests waiting out front. I’d demand that they leave and rightly so.

    • #3
  4. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OmegaPaladin

    Immigration is a genuine class-war, elites vs. the rest, populist issue.  If the democrats actually cared about helping the lower classes, they would be all over this issue.  I’ve heard Democrats who viewed Bush as the embodiment of evil express their frustration with open borders.  Legal immigrants really can’t stand the blatant unfairness.  And this is a issue that really bothers urban African-Americans – at least according to the people calling in on urban talk radio.

    • #4
  5. Umbra Fractus Member
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    I know a lot of people who would be okay with amnesty as long as they could be assured that it would be the last one ever. If they thought for one second that border security would be taken seriously, many on the right would accept amnesty for those already here at least as a compromise position.

    The problem is nobody believes the border will ever be secure. If the amnestistas get their way we’ll have amnesty in 2016 and then we’ll have this exact same debate all over again before 2036.

    And the open borders crowd in 2036 will still expect the rest of us to believe that they’ll really get serious about securing the border this time. Honest!

    • #5
  6. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @carcat74

    Ekosj:Finally … A voice of reason

    Here is an apt analogy for our current immigration situation…

    I hold an annual Holiday open-house. Food and drink and merrymaking. Come one, come all. Everyone is welcome. All I ask is that you present yourself at the front door, shake my hand, look me in the eye and introduce yourself.

    My soirée is so popular that there is frequently a line of guests lined up on my walkway waiting their turn to enter.

    However, there exists a group of people who, instead of waiting their turn with the others outside, go around back, hop over my fence, force open my back door and help themselves to the contents of my refrigerator, pantry and bar.

    What are we to think of these folks?

    For myself, I think they have abused my hospitality and have shown contempt for my guests waiting out front. I’d demand that they leave and rightly so.

    Amen & hallelujah—preach it!

    • #6
  7. user_280840 Member
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Ugh.  E-Verify again?

    • #7
  8. DocJay Member
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Sweet!  Smart move to distinguish himself from the Jebbies.

    • #8
  9. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Ekosj:Here is an apt analogy for our current immigration situation…

    However, there exists a group of people who, instead of waiting their turn with the others outside, go around back, hop over my fence, force open my back door and help themselves to the contents of my refrigerator, pantry and bar.

    Don’t forget that they also mow your lawn, clean your bathroom, fix your roof, and clean all the dishes, while your lazy kids sit on the sofa.

    • #9
  10. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Walker should be in every black church in america with that message.

    • #10
  11. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    Fred Cole:Ugh. E-Verify again?

    Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, chapter six on the importance of the rule of law to a democratic republic. Do you have a better way to get unscrupulous employers to stop betraying their neighbors and obey the law? Or does it not matter to you?

    • #11
  12. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    Valiuth:

    Ekosj:Here is an apt analogy for our current immigration situation…

    However, there exists a group of people who, instead of waiting their turn with the others outside, go around back, hop over my fence, force open my back door and help themselves to the contents of my refrigerator, pantry and bar.

    Don’t forget that they also mow your lawn, clean your bathroom, fix your roof, and clean all the dishes, while your lazy kids sit on the sofa.

    They don’t mow my lawn or clean my bathroom or fix my roof or clean my dishes. If a contractor brings an illegal alien onto my property (and I demand green cards or birth certificates if I am remotely suspicious) I tell them to leave immediately.

    • #12
  13. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Valiuth:

    Ekosj:Here is an apt analogy for our current immigration situation…

    However, there exists a group of people who, instead of waiting their turn with the others outside, go around back, hop over my fence, force open my back door and help themselves to the contents of my refrigerator, pantry and bar.

    Don’t forget that they also mow your lawn, clean your bathroom, fix your roof, and clean all the dishes, while your lazy kids sit on the sofa.

    Ok, maybe where you live. But in my part of middle class fly over country we mow our own lawns, clean our on messes and have the ability to hire roofers that are in the country legally. So no, they mow and clean for some rich people not for most of America.

    • #13
  14. user_348375 Member
    user_348375
    @TrinityWaters

    Michael Stopa:

    Valiuth:

    Ekosj:Here is an apt analogy for our current immigration situation…

    However, there exists a group of people who, instead of waiting their turn with the others outside, go around back, hop over my fence, force open my back door and help themselves to the contents of my refrigerator, pantry and bar.

    Don’t forget that they also mow your lawn, clean your bathroom, fix your roof, and clean all the dishes, while your lazy kids sit on the sofa.

    They don’t mow my lawn or clean my bathroom or fix my roof or clean my dishes. If a contractor brings an illegal alien onto my property (and I demand green cards or birth certificates if I am remotely suspicious) I tell them to leave immediately.

    Thanks for this uplifting post and the following commentary, Michael.

    • #14
  15. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    With one position statement, Walker draws the wrath of the Fay Lady and the WSJ. And, finally, puts the foibles and fumbles behind him and proves himself the adult in the room. Which raises the next problem: in a city of Harry Reids, Joe Bidens, John “suspending my campaign because this financial mess is too scary” McCain, and many more, how can an adult function anymore?

    I now feel much better about absorbing the slings and arrows of the lean weeks of Walker supporting. Thanks, Scott!

    • #15
  16. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Hurrah for Scott Walker!

    I think he should go one step further, with something that I’ve proposed before.  No path to citizenship.  Ever.  If you came here illegally, you never get to be a citizen.

    • #16
  17. user_280840 Member
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Michael Stopa:

    Fred Cole:Ugh. E-Verify again?

    Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, chapter six on the importance of the rule of law to a democratic republic. Do you have a better way to get unscrupulous employers to stop betraying their neighbors and obey the law? Or does it not matter to you?

    You have a willing seller of labor services and a willing buyer of labor services, so I don’t see what damn business it is of any third party, nor how it is “betraying” anyone else.

    But let me set that aside.

    You asking me if I have a better way than to force employers to do even more expensive, tedious, government mandated paperwork?  You’re asking me if I have a better way than a gigantic government system that requires citizens to get permission from the government before they can get a job?

    Yeah.  If the Federal government thinks this is so damn important, they can enforce it themselves instead of imposing on business owners and citizens for the dubious policy goal of perpetuating its asinine and non-functional immigration system.

    • #17
  18. user_280840 Member
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    It shouldn’t, but it never ceases to amaze me how self described conservatives are able to twist themselves into knots to believe that more government is somehow less government.

    • #18
  19. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Fred Cole:It shouldn’t, but it never ceases to amaze me how self described conservatives are able to twist themselves into knots to believe that more government is somehow less government.

    I don’t think any conservative would argue that E-verify is less government.

    • #19
  20. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    Fred Cole:

    Michael Stopa:

    Fred Cole:Ugh. E-Verify again?

    Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, chapter six on the importance of the rule of law to a democratic republic. Do you have a better way to get unscrupulous employers to stop betraying their neighbors and obey the law? Or does it not matter to you?

    You have a willing seller of labor services and a willing buyer of labor services, so I don’t see what damn business it is of any third party, nor how it is “betraying” anyone else.

    But let me set that aside.

    You asking me if I have a better way than to force employers to do even more expensive, tedious, government mandated paperwork? You’re asking me if I have a better way than a gigantic government system that requires citizens to get permission from the government before they can get a job?

    Yeah. If the Federal government thinks this is so damn important, they can enforce it themselves instead of imposing on business owners and citizens for the dubious policy goal of perpetuating its asinine and non-functional immigration system.

    You believe then that borders should be completely open? People should be allowed to enter and leave and bring what they want with them in the way of goods without hindrance or inspection?

    Further, you believe that if you suspect someone you are hiring of having committed a crime you are under no obligation to alert the police? Or is it that you may choose as you wish what are in your opinion crimes and what are not? And then only inform the authorities if your new hire has violated a law that you agree with? (cf., as I say, Hayek on this).

    As for betrayal, it is betrayal because we have an enormous, lawless underground that has grown up in the last generation because unscrupulous employers have cared more about that third Mercedes Benz in their driveway than the social and economic costs they are thrusting on their neighbors.

    • #20
  21. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Fred Cole:It shouldn’t, but it never ceases to amaze me how self described conservatives are able to twist themselves into knots to believe that more government is somehow less government.

    You know, controlling the borders is one of the relatively few government functions about which almost all conservatives agree.  Without such control the nation-state starts to fall apart.  Which is exactly the problem that has the Conservative base up in arms over the immigration issue.

    Conservatives don’t always want “less government.”  We want effective, vigorous government in the relatively few areas in which it should be involved.  Your argument would apply equally to criticizing conservatives for wanting to vigorously enforce laws against rape and murder.

    • #21
  22. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Z in MT:

    Fred Cole:It shouldn’t, but it never ceases to amaze me how self described conservatives are able to twist themselves into knots to believe that more government is somehow less government.

    I don’t think any conservative would argue that E-verify is less government.

    An E-verify (along with other enforcement measures) that serves to reduce the stress on prisons, hospitals, and schools (for starters) is less government. And they will implement it horribly causing millions of new injustices cuz nobody gets fired at Uncle Sugar’s Mammoth Redistribution Emporium. Government is a lose, lose proposition. I don’t know why anyone is daft enough to wanna run it.

    • #22
  23. user_280840 Member
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Arizona Patriot:You know, controlling the borders is one of the relatively few government functions about which almost all conservatives agree. Without such control the nation-state starts to fall apart. Which is exactly the problem that has the Conservative base up in arms over the immigration issue.

    You ignore history.  The type of borders, passport systems, and immigration controls we have today are a modern phenomenon.  They’re only about a century old.  But somehow, before that, the nation-state didn’t fall apart.

    • #23
  24. user_280840 Member
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Michael Stopa:You believe then that borders should be completely open? People should be allowed to enter and leave and bring what they want with them in the way of goods without hindrance or inspection?

    Further, you believe that if you suspect someone you are hiring of having committed a crime you are under no obligation to alert the police? Or is it that you may choose as you wish what are in your opinion crimes and what are not? And then only inform the authorities if your new hire has violated a law that you agree with? (cf., as I say, Hayek on this).

    Are you asking if I think that people should be free to peacefully travel as they please, and to peacefully transact business as they please without hinderance from third parties?  Then, well, yes.

    Also, if you believe someone has committed a crime, why would you hire them?  I wouldn’t.

    As for betrayal, it is betrayal because we have an enormous, lawless underground that has grown up in the last generation because unscrupulous employers have cared more about that third Mercedes Benz in their driveway than the social and economic costs they are thrusting on their neighbors.

    I despise class warfare.  My conservative friends also usually reject it.  I don’t know why you resort to it.  That lawless underground was created because we have an immigration system that refuses to comport to reality.

    • #24
  25. user_280840 Member
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Sisyphus:

    Z in MT:

    Fred Cole:It shouldn’t, but it never ceases to amaze me how self described conservatives are able to twist themselves into knots to believe that more government is somehow less government.

    I don’t think any conservative would argue that E-verify is less government.

    An E-verify (along with other enforcement measures) that serves to reduce the stress on prisons, hospitals, and schools (for starters) is less government.

    Gotta trust me, Z.  I know that of which I speak.

    • #25
  26. Michael Stopa Contributor
    Michael Stopa
    @MichaelStopa

    Fred Cole:

    Fred Cole:

    Are you asking if I think that people should be free to peacefully travel as they please, and to peacefully transact business as they please without hinderance from third parties? Then, well, yes.

    This is fine. If you are willing to admit that what you support is an essentially open border that, like in the Middle Ages, is free to anyone to cross in either way as they choose and bring in or out whatever they like, then that’s a well defined and consistent position. It also has the virtue of being quaint and rather adorable in its own way. Good luck!

    • #26
  27. user_280840 Member
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Michael Stopa:

    Fred Cole:

    Fred Cole:

    Are you asking if I think that people should be free to peacefully travel as they please, and to peacefully transact business as they please without hinderance from third parties? Then, well, yes.

    This is fine. If you are willing to admit that what you support is an essentially open border that, like in the Middle Ages, is free to anyone to cross in either way as they choose and bring in or out whatever they like, then that’s a well defined and consistent position. It also has the virtue of being quaint and rather adorable in its own way. Good luck!

    The Middle Ages … or the first several hundred years of American history.

    It’s disturbing that you find the idea of human freedom to be “quaint”, but I believe in live-and-let-live, so I suppose to each his own.

    • #27
  28. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    All else equal E Verify would probably be a typical federal muddle of old tech and flawed software. And yet….

    Today, if you want a job with 95% of companies in the U.S., the employer has to fill out a form and collect two forms of government issued ID. The requirement is already in place. These documents currently reside in a file folder at your place of work. The information is collected, but not verified. I know from experience, when the temporary service at my old work place verified the SSANs of their employees, almost 40% came back as duplicates. Fakes.

    If Walker sticks to this position and he is nominated, it represents the best opportunity to prove that our position is supported enough to have an impact. Rather than being told reform is not popular, we may have proof one way or the other.

    • #28
  29. user_483582 Member
    user_483582
    @PepeLePew

    Many things have changed. Since truck now cross borders with large loads, they are the equivalent of ships in the past—and those were sufficiently restricted at the harbors that most federal revenue came from tariffs on the cargo. That was not free and open travel between nations. Furthermore, in the 1920s immigration was suddenly restricted, and not just to keep out the ill. My family got in just ahead of those restrictions. I suspect that there were many more such restrictions at the borders that we are just too young to remember.

    • #29
  30. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Michael Stopa:

    Fred Cole:

    Michael Stopa:

    Fred Cole:Ugh. E-Verify again?

    Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, chapter six on the importance of the rule of law to a democratic republic. Do you have a better way to get unscrupulous employers to stop betraying their neighbors and obey the law? Or does it not matter to you?

    You have a willing seller of labor services and a willing buyer of labor services, so I don’t see what damn business it is of any third party, nor how it is “betraying” anyone else.

    But let me set that aside.

    You asking me if I have a better way than to force employers to do even more expensive, tedious, government mandated paperwork? You’re asking me if I have a better way than a gigantic government system that requires citizens to get permission from the government before they can get a job?

    Yeah. If the Federal government thinks this is so damn important, they can enforce it themselves instead of imposing on business owners and citizens for the dubious policy goal of perpetuating its asinine and non-functional immigration system.

    You believe then that borders should be completely open? People should be allowed to enter and leave and bring what they want with them in the way of goods without hindrance or inspection?

    Mr. Stopa, this is why I have taken to calling them Libertardians.

    • #30

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