Primary Lesson


National Review’s two cover stories on Rubio.

The two biggest losers of the 2016 cycle are Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Bush came into the election with a reputation as a conservative reformer, a successful governor, and (by many accounts) the smarter, better of the sons of George H. W. Bush. That said, Jeb had a number of significant problems — the wrong last name, lack of charisma, support for Common Core, etc. — any one of which might have sank his candidacy, though it’s at least arguable that he was undone by his stance on immigration.

Reminiscing On My American Experience


shutterstock_141944233Do you remember your first popsicle? Its taste? Its color? Where you got it? How it made you feel?

I do. I was seven-and-a-half- years old, and it was mid-July in Princeton, New Jersey. Two days prior, I had ridden on my first airplane. It was from Bucharest to New York via Amsterdam. We’d flown a Pakistani airline, and the Pakistani plane food had left me feeling nauseated; I spent the next day throwing-up and feeling miserable, crying, and realizing that all of my previous life in Romania had been left behind. I mostly missed my grandparents. Sure, I had been excited by the prospect of moving to America, this great place I knew to be filled with gum and Ninja Turtle toys. Two days in, however, I hadn’t really seen any proof of this and the jet lag and associated sickness had left me rethinking my expectations.

But by the second day I was back on my feet physically speaking, and my mother was keen to go grocery shopping. As she could not leave me and my brother alone, she thought we would be useful as mules to haul our groceries back to our apartment. Thus, we walked all the way to the ShopRite up the street along a road that clearly was not built with pedestrians in mind. It was hot. I don’t think I was all that excited by the journey.

It’s the Immigration, Stupid


Racine-FlagMany Americans get very mad when they see protesters waving Mexican flags in American streets. It calls to mind the people who have been flooding into their communities, their emergency rooms, their public parks and their schools for a generation – people with broken or non-existent English who are showing up in increasing numbers mowing lawns, installing carpets or flooring, working in liquor stores or bagel bakeries or garages or a myriad of other businesses or else who are standing out huddled together by the street at 6 AM waiting to be picked up by someone for day labor.

The flying Mexican flag reminds Americans that these people are breaking the law and living in a lawless underground which shuns the police. They are people who – either through poverty or because of a deficiency in character and upbringing – possess no concept of “respect for the law;” people for whom the law is merely a punishment entity that needs to be factored into their personal cost-benefit, risk-reward analysis. They are people whose fundamental amorality with regard to society’s explicit and implicit rules allows them to obtain welfare handouts wherever possible, to apply for child tax credits for children outside the country, to use emergency rooms rather than pay for medical services, to drive without a license and drive away recklessly from accidents and to gather at and often trash public parks and spaces.

These are people who, for whatever reason, have chosen an illegal life course and who, in order to maintain it, are forced into a cascade of other illegalities. That someone living illegally in a foreign country would be unburdened by an abstract respect for the law of that country is not surprising. The disposition you would expect from them is contempt. It is not hard to believe that such people would be prone to disrespect more serious laws involving property and personal safety.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Ian Tuttle of National Review react to more specific allegations of Trump hiring foreign workers over Americans and that he is shifting his position on H1-B visas.  They also discuss Trump dismissing warnings that the military would refuse to carry out illegal orders such as killing the family members of terrorists.  And they slam Hillary Clinton for using footage from the Benghazi hearings to reflect her boredom in watching the debate.

ISIS and the Refugee Crisis


shutterstock_319837088In 1956, Charles Tiebout published a famous paper that hypothesized that when faced with an inefficient government, people would “vote with their feet” and move to another jurisdiction. While he applied his model to local governments, we can think of this happening across national borders as well. This can provide us with some insights about the current refugee crisis.

ISIS views itself essentially as a government and has been at work establishing geographic boundaries. This government is clearly coercive and millions of people are “voting with their feet” by fleeing ISIS-controlled territory and territory that ISIS may control at some point. The fact that a vast number of people have fled indicates that either ISIS wants them to leave or it is ineffective in containing its population.

It doesn’t seem logical that ISIS would want a government with few people rather than one with a large number of people, so we might assume that it has trouble keeping its people within its geographical boundary. If it cannot keep people from leaving, the next strategy would be to keep anyone else from receiving those fleeing ISIS-controlled territory.

In Practice, the Trump Deportation Plan Might Look More Like a Form of Amnesty


Trump-ShrugDonald Trump says “everything is negotiable” about his immigration plan. That statement yesterday comes after BuzzFeed’s editor suggested Trump told New York Times editors — in an off-the-record chat — that he would be willing to compromise on the plan, including mass deportation of undocumented immigrants. Many Trump supporters might assume the GOP presidential candidate intends to send some 11 million of these folks packing, with many or most never to return. This could be a brutal and oppressive process. And expensive.

But as my colleague Marc Thiessen has pointed out, what Trump really has been proposing is something that might eventually allow almost all to eventually get permanent legal status here in America.

Here is an example of Trump talking about his deportation plan:

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review reveal who they voted for today and describe the atmosphere at their polling places.  Then they like a new video from Adam Carolla telling people not to vote for anyone who promises to fight for you on issues people deal with themselves.  They also shake their heads at the fact that the only way for candidates to get air time anymore is to lob crude insults at their opponents.  And they react to Donald Trump telling Sean Hannity that every immigration plan – except the wall – is negotiable.

Why Didn’t Sessions Endorse Cruz?


360px-Jeff_Sessions_official_portraitIn recent threads, members have speculated as to why Sen. Jeff Sessions endorsed Donald Trump instead of Sen. Ted Cruz. On the Corner, Mark Krikorian offers his take:

This is purely speculation, but I think what probably made up [Sessions’s] mind to endorse — and to endorse Trump instead of Cruz — was the imperative to stop Rubio. For some reason, the conventional wisdom has gelled that Cruz can’t stop Trump, whereas Rubio can. I think that’s nuts — unlike Rubio, Cruz is likely to actually win his home state. (I’ll be voting for him tomorrow in Virginia.)

He continues:

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Ian Tuttle of National Review cheer the relentless assault of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz on Donald Trump’s record and lack of policy details.  They groan as Chris Christie emerges to endorse Trump.  And they discuss Trump’s panicked response to Mitt Romney’s demand that Trump release his tax returns.

What Did Rubio Learn And When Did He Learn It?


Marco Rubio by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Let me start out with some due praise in defense of the embattled senator’s honor. It’s not that Marco Rubio’s a liberal. He was elected on the Tea Party wave and — before that — he was a leading light in Florida politics. He received numerous endorsements from the likes of Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, and Mark Levin. And he is rightly commended as a credit to the Senate, the Republican party, and the conservative movement.

How Donald Trump Will End Illegal Immigration


363px-Donald_Trump_(14235998650)_(cropped)With last night’s victory, it’s now even clearer that Donald Trump is the GOP frontrunner. As someone who’s been on-the-record as refusing to support him since October, I find this deeply disheartening. As if the rest of it weren’t enough, his comments blaming George W. Bush for 9/11 and claiming that Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq should have sunk him.

I’ve no doubt, however, that Trump will meaningfully deliver on his key promise to reduce illegal immigration. Sure, building a big, beautiful wall will help, as will continuing to beef-up the Border Patrol, but these supply-side tactics can only do so much. As with drugs, part of the solution has to address the demand for the contraband. In the case of immigration, that means asking why millions of people — particularly those from Latin America — are trying to break into our country.

The answer, I think, is simple: Our country is objectively better than those they come from. We have a higher standard of living, far greater opportunity and liberty, safer streets, better schools, and enjoy the blessings of a deeper and more vibrant culture. As Trump himself might put it, America’s great. That’s why people are willing to leave everything behind and undertake the physical and legal risks of crossing the border. It’s worth it to them.

Immigration Is Not a Deal Breaker for Rubio


Sen. Marco Rubio’s involvement in the Gang of Eight attempt to pass comprehensive immigration reform has been one of his campaign’s biggest stumbling blocks. This, and and his refusal to disavow some form of “amnesty,” has left him vulnerable and at odds with the base. The only way for Rubio to win the nomination — so the theory goes — is to take a hardline on immigration.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review cross their fingers and hope that the South Carolina primary will lead to fewer GOP candidates going forward.  They also slam two major school districts in Northern Virginia that are cancelling school on Super Tuesday to avoid congestion at polling places, but we explain why it’s good for kids to be there on Election Day.  And we wade into the Pope vs. Trump debate.

The Donald or The Francis?


From the front page of the New York Times online at this very hour:

ABOARD THE PAPAL AIRLINER — Inserting himself into the Republican presidential race, Pope Francis on Wednesday suggested that Donald J. Trump“is not Christian” because of the harshness of his campaign promises to deport more immigrants and force Mexico to pay for a wall along the border.

Immigration Idiots and Amnesty Maniacs


GOP_ImmigrationComedian George Carlin asked, “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot … and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” Something similar is going on in the GOP’s immigration debate.

After a decade of failed — and often deceptive — Republican and Democratic efforts to enact comprehensive immigration reform, nearly everyone distrusts everyone else on the issue. A divide between the parties is expected, but more damaging is the intraparty battle within the GOP. Once President George W. Bush went all-in for an immigration package that proposed amnesty that wasn’t called amnesty and a fence that wasn’t actually a fence, conservatives understandably no longer assumed good faith in their party leaders.

Immigration and border enforcement have long been divisive issues, but there are a few areas of common ground. Nearly all voters believe we should expedite the processing of passports, and most believe that, say, a successful, America-loving businessman from Manila shouldn’t have to wait two decades to become a US citizen. But popular reforms like these have been consistently buried within 1,000-page omnibus bills that overhaul border security, the H1B visa program, and college financing for children of illegal immigrants.

Tough Ad Questions Trump on Hiring Illegal Immigrants


It’s odd that a hotel, casino, and golf course magnate like Donald Trump has come out so strongly against amnesty and illegal immigration. Not to impugn those industries, but anyone who frequents such facilities across the US might notice more than a few laborers who don’t exactly fit the profile of long-time naturalized citizens. A new ad by Our Principles PAC hits him on his business hypocrisy and his recent support of amnesty:

Are We Truly Importing Democrats with Immigration?


immigration_flags_mexican_328_rtrThere are plenty of good reasons to be concerned about immigration today. National security is the big one, but there are many other strong arguments. An argument I don’t really understand, though, is the claim that immigration is the scheme by which Democrats have covertly been sneaking new voters into the country.

I understand some of the evidence that people use to support this argument — the percentage of white folks that Romney won was greater than Reagan’s, the change in US immigration policy in the 1960s. Ann Coulter’s most recent book (which I confess I have not read) purportedly makes these claims. The Democrats are bringing droves of immigrants, legal and illegal, to fundamentally change the nation’s voting tendencies. She has asserted as much in interviews.

But there’s an assumption in that argument that too often goes unchallenged. We didn’t win Hispanic voters in 2012, and historically, Hispanic voters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican. Therefore, the increase in Hispanic voters must be the result of coordinated Democrat actions, because they know that Hispanics will always vote for them.

Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review react to the Defense Department considering demoting David Petraeus for his mishandling of classified information and the message this sends to those investigating Hillary Clinton.  

They also slam Marco Rubio for continuing to say he thinks all illegal immigrants who are not felons should be able to stay in the U.S. once they’ve been here a certain time.  And they discuss the uproar over an alleged lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations.

Breaking: SCOTUS to Hear Immigration Case


shutterstock_216196921From the NYT:

Fourteen months ago, Mr. Obama ordered the creation of a program intended to allow as many as five million illegal immigrants who are the parents of citizens or of lawful permanent residents to apply for a program sparing them from deportation and providing them work permits. The program was called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. The president has said the program was the result of years of frustration with Republicans in Congress who had repeatedly refused to support bipartisan Senate legislation to update immigration laws. In an Oval Office address just before Thanksgiving in 2014, Mr. Obama excoriated Republicans for refusing to cooperate and told millions of illegal immigrants, “You can come out of the shadows.”

But the president’s promise has gone unfulfilled. A coalition of 26 states, led by the attorney general in Texas, a Republican, quickly filed a lawsuit accusing the president of ignoring federal procedures for changing rules and of abusing the power of his office by sidestepping Congress. In February, Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Federal District Court in Brownsville, Tex., entered a preliminary injunction shutting down the program while the legal case proceeded. The government appealed, and on Nov. 9 a divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, affirmed the injunction.

How Did You Form Your Position on Immigration?



This is not intended to be an “I’m right and you’re wrong” post. It’s also not meant to be a conversation about which candidate has the right stance on immigration, and it sure isn’t meant to be a post about Trump.

Here at Ricochet I may, in some ways, have a unique (or at least a minority) perspective on immigrant workers in America. Allow me share my background. I’m one of the owners of a concrete construction company that operates all over the Southeastern United States. Like many commercial or industrial construction companies, our workforce is predominantly Hispanic. Our company has participated in E-Verify for years, and does more than legally required to check IDs and fulfill other requirements. I estimate we’re 75 percent Hispanic, some US citizens, but the majority not. This is true of our carpenters, finishers, and superintendents, too, not just our unskilled labor. This micro-level, practical experience no doubt colors my opinions about immigration as much as the macro-level, theoretical arguments color other people’s.