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,
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
immigration disaster

does not yet extend to legal immigration. On present
form, maybe he`ll get around to that by 2019.)

Ponnuru [Send
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."

Because these
have (he concedes) the momentum in
the party, "it is their errors that are proving more
consequential now."

Ponnuru makes five
criticisms of the “restrictionists”:

  1. Although acknowledging that Bush`s gains among

    have been overstated,
    Ponnuru says restrictionists
    don`t give Bush

    enough credit
    for increasing the Hispanic vote.

  2. Sanctuary policies
    are necessary because otherwise
    illegal aliens won`t report crimes or seek healthcare

    paid for by the US government

  3. Tough rhetoric by

    Newt Gingrich on sanctuary
    policies will alienate
    Hispanic voters.
  4. This is

    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.
  5. 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

countless times. But to summarize:

  1. 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
    share but

    systematically further to the left,
    and the total

    trivial compared to the white vote
  2. Sanctuary policies

    more illegals to come who will then
    bring more crime and health problems.
  3. There are still

    13 times as many white voters as
     Hispanic voters,
    who as Ponnuru now admits will vote Democratic anyway.
  4. Everyone but the

    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.
  5. 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
    used against

    welfare reform

    , or for that matter

    the DREAM act.

Ponnuru then grandly suggests a middle ground. The
are to scale back

their ambitions,
and the “restrictionists”
are to

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

act, and

. 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

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.

Of course, this would be condemned as

"identity politics for white people"

and his friend

Jonah Goldberg.

If, however, the illegal alien babies get
citizenship, the

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
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
constructive criticism.

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
) about immigration, while claiming that he
supports their goals. What he appears to want is a
“restrictionism” that does not restrict—and does not
threaten his

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"

acceptable compromise.

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]

But, inexorably,

immigration is becoming the central, realigning
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.

Marcus Epstein
him mail
] is the founder
of the Robert A Taft
and the executive director of the
The American
Team America PAC
. A selection of his articles can be seen
here. The
views he expresses are his own.