Four Immigration Myths And Credulous Media

Having written

292 columns
over the last six years, I`m
inundated by feelings of both satisfaction and
frustration when reviewing this year`s Congressional and
media debates over illegal immigration.

To their credit, House Republicans and much of the
blogosphere get it. (See, for example, postings




Mickey Kaus


Your Lying Eyes


Chris Roach

Face Right

, and

Mean Mr. Mustard

And yet in the more insulated institutions, the Senate
and the legacy media, ludicrous falsehoods long ago
exploded on and elsewhere are still proffered
as if they were indisputable fact.

The lack of accountability and integrity in the

mainstream press
is striking. A pundit, once
established, can apparently propagate

nonsense catastrophic to America
for years without
paying any career price for his incompetence or bad

The appalling legislation approved in the Senate
Judiciary Committee with the support of four foolish
Republicans (and of

all the Democrats
, of course) is the unsurprising
outcome of the risks I`ve long pointed out in the
Bush-Rove strategy.

Bush victory in 2004 was always going to hinge on
turning out the non-Hispanic white majority in vast
numbers. But that was too politically incorrect to
explain to the media, so the White House concocted a
smokescreen operation

bamboozling innumerate reporters
into believing that

small Hispanic vote
would, somehow, be the

key to the GOP victory.

When the Administration finally revealed its

open borders immigration plan
January 2004
, it pointedly excluded previously
illegal aliens and new guest workers from becoming
citizens (i.e., voters), precisely because a majority
were sure to vote Democratic.

Hilariously, Bush announced he was dead-set against
"amnesty." He redefined the word "amnesty"
so it no longer meant

forgiving lawbreakers for their crimes
and allowing
them to continue to reap the

benefits of their lawbreaking
. Indeed, doing exactly
that was an essential part of the Bush plan. In a

sense aimed solely at

Republican Congressmen
who don`t want

illegal immigrants to get the

right to vote,
Bush redefined "amnesty" to
mean only "giving citizenship to illegals." (Of
course, their children born in America get citizenship,
so in the long run it doesn`t make much difference—the
Democrats still benefit.) 

But as I wrote in February 2004 about the cynicism of
Bush`s plan to institutionalize a new class of
disenfranchised helots:

"But Bush`s new
Machiavellianism automatically cedes the

rhetorical high ground to the Democrats,
who are
already pushing for `earned
` (i.e., giving illegals the vote). Bush
is left contradictorily sputtering about how

wonderful immigrants are
and how we don`t want them
to become our fellow citizens."

One notorious problem with lying is that you start to
believe your own lies. So, for the benefit of GOP
senators, let`s review some of the most common myths
about the political impact of immigration that are
constantly retailed in the prestige press, even though
they were shot down years ago on

  1. The Hispanic vote
    is so super-colossal huge that any attempt to limit
    illegal immigration is automatic political suicide.

Dick Morris
, whose client list includes the
President of Mexico, went on TV last week, I am told,
and declared that Latinos would make up 20 percent of
all voters by 2012. Slightly less hysterically, the

Wall Street Journal
editorialized on Friday:

"Given that the
Hispanic share of the electorate has climbed to 8% in
2004 from 2% 20 years ago, and is likely to climb to 12%
by 2020, Republicans who ignore Hispanic voters are
guaranteeing themselves future political defeats."

In truth, as measured by the gold standard of voting
measures, the

Census Bureau`s
survey of 50,000 households right
after each election, the Hispanic share of the
electorate has climbed to

6.0 percent in 2004

3.0 percent 20 years before in 1984
. In other words,
it doubled over those six elections, not quadrupled as
the WSJ asserted.

As you may recall, before the 2004 election, in the
tradition of Julian Simon`s wager with Paul Ehrlich,

I offered to bet
neocon immigration-booster Michael
Barone $1,000 that the Hispanic share would be closer
to my estimate of 6.1 percent than his

wild proclamation
in U.S. News & World Report
that they "could
be 9 percent by 2004
He did not take me up on
the bet, which is too bad because I could the use the
money a lot more than he could.

So, the Hispanic vote has been growing an average of 0.6
points every four years. It`s unlikely to reach 12
percent by 2020, unless Congress does something stupid
this year, such as putting illegal aliens

"on the path to citizenship,"
unfortunately, is what the Senate Judiciary Committee
just did.

Also, note that a sizable minority of the Hispanic vote
consists of Puerto Ricans and Cubans, who aren`t
concerned with illegal immigration legislation because
they have their own deals.


72 percent
of Hispanic voters in 2004 were
native-born citizens, so their emotional connection to
illegal immigrants is indirect at most. Indeed,

surveys show
that Hispanic voters have sensibly
ambivalent feelings about illegal immigration, since
they frequently

suffer most directly from it.

Finally, Hispanic voters are concentrated in states and
Congressional districts that are seldom up for grabs.
For example, two states that were completely out of play
in the

Electoral College

Texas and California
, were home to 47.5 percent of
all Hispanic voters.

  1. Bush won 44
    percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004.

In the Wall Street Journal today, former
Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie, now

who "represents
clients who

a temporary guest worker program,"

in an op-ed entitled

"Populists Beware! The GOP must not become an
anti-immigration party":

"Between 2000 and 2004, President Bush increased his

support in the Hispanic community
by nine percentage
points. Had he not, John Kerry would be president

No, as
we pointed out here in at the time, and is now
widely accepted, Bush`s improvement among Hispanics was
most likely 4 or 5 points, or just a little better than
his improvement among non-Hispanic whites of 3 or 4

  1. Bush owes his
    re-election to Hispanics.

Bush owed his re-election to getting his

white base
to turn out in remarkable numbers.

White turnout
was up from 60 percent to 67 percent,
while Hispanic turnout was stuck at 47 percent.

Bush drew 11.6 million
more votes in 2004 than in 2000, of which 9.5 million
came from

non-Hispanic whites.
Whites provided almost an
order of magnitude
as many incremental Bush votes as
the next most important ethnic contributor to his
growth, Hispanics, at 0.97 million extra votes.

  1. Opposing illegal immigration in 1994 cost the GOP
    control of California.

That myth is close to
the opposite of the truth.

Republican Presidential candidates
California nine out of ten times from 1952 through 1988,
but, beginning in 1992 (two years before

Proposition 187
), have lost the state by solid
margins four times in a row.

Partly this is caused
by the rise in numbers of

Democratic-voting Hispanics

. But it is also caused by

immigration`s effect on non-Hispanic whites.

Across the country,
Republican performance correlates closely with a state`s
level of "affordable
family formation
because the GOP`s family
values orientation appeals most to voters with families.
The huge increase in California`s population, including

Hispanic baby boom
triggered by the 1986 illegal
alien amnesty, drove up the cost of buying a home and
devastated the public schools. This drove many
family-oriented voters out of the state, and kept others
from getting married and having children. The Total
Fertility Rate of white women in California

dropped 14%
between 1990 and 2000.


William Frey
of the Brookings Institution pointed
out to me in 2000:

"Another cause of
the rise of the California Democrats is selective
out-migration of the more rock-ribbed Republicans. The
folks who have been leaving California`s suburbs for
other states have the white, middle-class demographic
profiles of Republican voters. California`s middle class
families are being squeezed out by real estate prices.
And Republicans are

heading for whiter states
where they won`t have to
pay taxes for so many

social programs
for the poor."

So the GOP is currently in the process of

cutting its own throat
—with an imported knife.

[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic

The American Conservative
His website
features his daily