Monday, May 01, 2006

Dems & Immigration

Former Democratic Governor of Oklahoma Brad Carson is urging his fellow Democrats to face reality on immigration.

On the elite or "overclass":

"From their cloistered positions, the solution to nearly all perceived problems - from globalization to crime -- is education, which was their own personal visa into the merit-obsessed overclass. For this group of people, immigration is not about inequality in America, but instead all about a cheap nanny, inexpensive lawn care, or proof of multicultural bona fides. Even to bring up the subject of immigration is to seem impolite, if not crass."

On the increasing underclass:

"In sum, a greater proportion of American young people are low-skilled dropouts than thirty years ago. Close to 50% of these dropouts are immigrants. Now there's a problem for the overclass to consider."

On the implications of immigration on progressive politics:

"Besides, the growing number of low-skilled workers, swelled by illegal immigration, makes these progressive interventions that much more expensive and, hence, unlikely."

Carson's recommendation:

"By recognizing the harmful effects of illegal immigration on low-skilled citizens and by supporting legislation to prohibit untrammeled immigration, Democrats would boost the economic prospects of their core constituencies while driving a wedge into the Republican base. Democrats could even oppose illegal immigration while welcoming legal immigration, especially of the high-skilled variety. Immigration presents Democrats with an unusual opportunity to shake up the coalitions that have guided the political parties for a generation, while proving to the struggling middle and working classes that the Democratic Party is serious about reclaiming its historic role as their champion. The overclass might frown, but I would bet that millions and millions of American workers would reward the Democratic Party with their electoral gratitude."

I would add that Democrats can come out tough-as-nails on immigration and probably emerge without losing much of the Latino vote--the media wouldn't claim it's racism or xenophobia if Dems cracked down on immigration, and they're coming from a stonger position (at least as far as perception) on race issues and civil liberties.

Will this happen? Probably not. Multiculturalism and ethnic-identity politics has become the heart of the Democratic Party and I doubt curtailing immigration is compatible with these visions. I am a very strong and lifelong Republican but I would consider voting for a moderate Democrat who I had confidence in on this issue.

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