National Review`s Ramesh Ponnuru Instructs Us On The Right Way To Love Illegal Immigrants
The latest issue of National Review has an
article by Ramesh Ponnuru [Getting
Immigration Right: A headache and a half for the GOP, October
8, 2007 (Subscriber link)] in which he tries to expose,
in his Olympian way, the flawed thinking of both the
he defines as supporters of a guest worker program, an
amnesty with certain preconditions, and increased border
security—and the "restrictionists"—whom
he defines as supporters of an enforcement-only
(Typical of the Establishment Right, Ponnuru`s belated
awakening to what
Peter Brimelow back in 1995 called
does not yet extend to legal immigration. On present
form, maybe he`ll get around to that by 2019.)
him mail] claims:
"I`m not saying that
immigration policy should be
determined by the needs of the Republican Party".
But clearly the thrust of his article is what policy
will better serve the
Stupid Party—and, of course, its media groupies,
such as himself.
Ponnuru starts off by
listing a number of flaws of the “comprehensivists”.
He acknowledges that amnesty upsets both
conservative Republican voters and swing voters. He
now admits that Hispanics are far from
"natural Republicans" and that no amount of
outreach will make them vote for the GOP, so that
increasing the number of Hispanics will inevitably hurt
the GOP. He also argues that promoting amnesty will
create a backlash that will raise the profile of
Tom Tancredo, apparently a bad thing, and something
that will not bring Hispanics into the GOP.
All these points could be
reduced to one fact: the "comprehensive" approach
has the dual effect of
alienating white voters who would otherwise vote
Republican, and creating more Hispanic voters who
will vote for the Democrats.
This is actually the
relatively less objectionable part of Ponnuru`s piece.
But he still gives the “comprehensivists” far too
much credit. Virtually every single one of them had at
some point supported an amnesty with no strings
attached. They only added the preconditions and the
increased border security, both
riddled with loopholes, to make their goal of
amnesty a little easier to swallow.
Furthermore, many of
these "comprehensive" amnesties have still
managed to upset the Latino Lobby for
not being expansive enough.
Needless to say,
Ponnuru`s criticism is not limited to amnesty
supporters. Indeed, Ponnuru claims that "the
restrictionists avoid the comprehensivists` mistakes in
favor of new ones all their own."
“restrictionists” have (he concedes) the momentum in
the party, "it is their errors that are proving more
Ponnuru makes five
criticisms of the “restrictionists”:
- Although acknowledging that Bush`s gains among
have been overstated, Ponnuru says restrictionists
don`t give Bush
enough credit for increasing the Hispanic vote.
- Tough rhetoric by
Newt Gingrich on sanctuary policies will alienate
- This is
evidenced in the fact that Arizona GOP Congressman
Jeff Flake did better than
JD Hayworth in the Hispanic vote, and Flake won
re-election, and Hayworth lost.
- Attempts to abolish
birthright citizenship are bad because it makes the
GOP look like it hates children and it will be thrown
out in the courts—albeit wrongly, Ponnuru admits.
These arguments have been parroted by immigration
enthusiasts and refuted by
VDARE.COM countless times. But to summarize:
- No one denies that Bush increased his share of
the Hispanic vote in 2004. The point is that the
increase was within the normal range for the GOP
Hispanic share, which fluctuates with its white
systematically further to the left, and the total
trivial compared to the white vote.
- Sanctuary policies
encourage more illegals to come who will then
bring more crime and health problems.
- There are still
13 times as many white voters as Hispanic voters,
who as Ponnuru now admits will vote Democratic anyway.
- Everyone but the
neocons knows that it was the War in Iraq and
Republican corruption, not immigration, that caused
GOP losses. Flake was relatively sane on Iraq by GOP
standards and was one of the few Republicans who opposed
most of the corruption and pork. Hayworth was one of the
war`s strongest cheerleaders and involved with a number
Abramoff scandals. Significantly, in the same
election cycle, Arizonans
overwhelmingly voted even tougher restrictions on
state benefits to illegals.
- One would also think that the author of
a book on the politics of abortion wouldn`t see the
fact that left wing judges will throw out a bill as
sufficient reason to oppose it. Just as with abortion,
solution to the problem of birthright citizenship
isn`t to give up, but rather to push for better
judges, constitutional amendments, and/or
restricting the power of the judiciary. His
argument that we mustn`t propose any policy that
could be perceived as being "anti-children" could be
SCHIP, or for that matter
the DREAM act.
Ponnuru then grandly suggests a middle ground. The
“comprehensivists” are to scale back
their ambitions, and the “restrictionists”
scale back their rhetoric, where they will
inevitably find their way to whatever immigration policy
Ponnuru is promoting at the time.
Right now, it seems like the “comprehensivists”
are doing exactly what Ponnuru wants. They are
introducing amnesties in piecemeal portions like the
DREAM act, and
AgJobs. Unfortunately for Ponnuru, and fortunately
for the country, the restrictionists aren`t being
The piece ends with Ponnuru`s great paradox, "The
comprehensivists say Republicans can`t alienate
Hispanics; the restrictionists say that more immigration
hurt the party. The political problem for
Republicans is that they`re both probably right."
Bunk. The truth is there is no great dilemma for the
GOP. Ponnuru refuses to recognize that there are still
more white voters than Hispanic voters in this country.
Steve Sailer has
crunched the numbers to show that if the GOP could
just increase their share of the white vote a couple of
points, they could afford to lose the
entire Hispanic vote. In fact, they could lose
the entire nonwhite vote and still be elected. If
and when the Republicans or the Democrats learn to
count, then both parties will spend more time competing
for the white vote—which will require doing something
about the invasion of this country.
If, however, the illegal alien babies get
12-20 million illegal aliens in this country get
amnestied, and nothing is done to curb legal and illegal
immigration, then eventually Ponnuru`s preferred
“dilemma” might occur.
This is why Pat Buchanan says in his bestseller,
State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and
Conquest of America,
unreviewed by National Review), that this is
America`s "last chance" to get immigration right.
This summer, Ponnuru gave the keynote address at the
Center for Immigration Studies`
Eugene Katz luncheon. To his credit, he gave a
genuinely insightful speech on media bias for
amnesty. But the fact that he was thus honored by the
biggest restrictionist think tank unfortunately promotes
the dangerous illusion that he is a patriotic
immigration reformer merely trying to give some
In fact, for the at least the last six years, Ponnuru
has viciously attacked Pat Buchanan, Peter Brimelow, and
even National Review under the editorship of John
O`Sullivan, for their alleged alarmism (not to say
“racism”) about immigration, while claiming that he
supports their goals. What he appears to want is a
“restrictionism” that does not restrict—and does not
social life inside the Beltway.
Ponnuru purports to want both sides to find a
“middle ground”. But the truth is that there are not
two sides that need to come together. In trying to seek
middle ground, while posing as an immigration reform
advocate, Ponnuru effectively works to move the debate
to the Left. He has opposed deportations, any attempt to
select who comes into the country, and now ending
birthright citizenship and sanctuary cities. He has even
gone as far as
suggesting that an amnesty with "triggers" is
Even more troubling is that Ponnuru has now moved on
from criticizing Buchanan and Brimelow to JD Hayworth,
Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich—three men who have
little to no restrictionist credentials. If these men
are now too tough on immigration, one can only wonder
whom he has in mind as an immigration control statesmen.
Six years ago, Ponnuru scoffed at the "fantasy
could make immigration the central, realigning issue of
American politics." [Minding the `Golden Door`:
Toward a Restrictionism that can Succeed,
National Review, April 2, 2001]
immigration is becoming the central, realigning
issue. For example, presidential candidate
Congressman Tom Tancredo has promised to campaign
against any Republican who supports amnesty. I get calls
every day from Democrats telling me how much they like
Tancredo and Pat Buchanan.
Mike Pence went from
conservative hero, to political pariah solely
because of his support for a "middle ground"
amnesty. And look what happened to John McCain.
The “restrictionists” are
wiping the floor with the “comprehensivists”. And
they are doing it outside of the Republican Party and
the Establishment Conservative movement. This is what
Ponnuru, like his friend
Jonah Goldberg, is frantically trying to prevent.
Immigration reform patriots don`t
just have the momentum within the GOP; they have
momentum across the country. So long as they continue to
use what Ponnuru sniffs at as "hyperbolic"
rhetoric to bypass the Main Stream Media, stick to their
principles, and ignore timeservers like Ramesh Ponnuru,
they might just save America.
him mail] is the founder
of the Robert A Taft
Club and the executive director of the
Team America PAC. A selection of his articles can be seen
views he expresses are his own.