Last Wednesday, shortly before the House passed the DREAM Act, Congressman Dana Rohrabachersaid on the House Floor: “I rise in opposition to the Affirmative Action Amnesty Act, or otherwise known as the DREAM Act”
“If an illegal immigrant, if this act passes, if an illegal immigrant happens to be of a racial or ethnic minority, which the vast majority of illegal immigrants are, that individual, as soon as legal status is granted, will be entitled to all the education, employment, job training, government contract, and other minority preferences that are written into our federal and state laws. As a result, the DREAM Act would not only put illegal immigrants on par with American citizens, but would in many cases put them ahead of most American citizens and legal immigrants. So those voting for this so-called DREAM Act are voting to relegate the position of non-minority American citizens to behind those who are now in this country illegally.”
[Senate vote on DREAM Act set for next week, by Mizanur Rahman, Houston Chronicle, December 9, 2010]
As you can imagine, the usual lefties screamed “racism“. The OC Weekly blogged “Dana Rohrabacher Finally, Openly Appeals to His Skinhead Constituents in Attacking DREAM Act“. Media Matters repeated demanded a “Political correction” without actually pointing to anything he said being untrue. The American Prospect`s Adam Serwer called the remark “fairly blatant attempts to exploit white racial resentment”.The Washington Monthly, suddenly interested in the GOP electoral success, called it “Another Setback for Republicans` Minority Outreach.”
Of course, what none of them mentioned is that what Rohrabacher said is true. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 81% of illegal immigrants come from Latin America with another four percent from Africa. Just four percent are from Europe or Canada—and not all of those are white. [Trends in Unauthorized Immigration, Pew Hispanic Center, October 2, 2008]
There is nothing in the DREAM Act barring the amnestied illegal aliens from racial preferences. So increasing the percentage of non-Asian minorities entering the pool for college admission will put them at an advantage over white and (in some cases) Asian American citizens.
Instead of getting outraged at Rohrabacher, we should be asking why immigrants are given racial preferences.
Even many liberals are opposed to this policy. Black Harvard Professor Orlando Patterson [Email him] wrote that “It is ridiculous…that all persons of so-called Hispanic ancestry are considered disadvantaged minorities“ [The Ordeal Of Integration, 1998, p. 193] Former MALDEF Board member Lawrence Fuchs called affirmative action for immigrants a“historical accident for which there is no possible justification.” [What do immigrants deserve? By Lawrence R. Fuchs, Washington Post, January 29, 1995] (Both remarks quoted in Collision Course: The Strange Convergence of Affirmative Action and Immigration Policy in America,
By Hugh Davis Graham.)
In July, Democratic Senator Jim Webb (VA)—who signed the cloture petition for the DREAM Act—wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal arguing that “America still owes a debt to its black citizens, but government programs to help all `people of color` are unfair.”
Senator Webb argued that while Affirmative Action programs should continue for American blacks, they should not be extended other non-white groups. He noted:
“Many programs allow recently arrived immigrants to move ahead of similarly situated whites whose families have been in the country for generations. These programs have damaged racial harmony. And the more they have grown, the less they have actually helped African-Americans, the intended beneficiaries of affirmative action as it was originally conceived.”
[Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege, by James Webb, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2010]
Personally, I am one of those extremists who believes that Americans should be judged by their merit regardless of race. However, if we must have Affirmative Action, it makes sense for both practical and moral reasons to limit it to the descendants of American slaves.
African Americans make up only 12% of our population. While the costs of preferences are great for even a small percentage of the population (Peter Brimelow and Leslie Spencer estimated the cost of quotas in 1991 at 225 billion dollars) this policy is manageable.
However, Hispanics are already make up a larger percentage of the population than blacks. If immigration continues at its present rate, Whites are expected to be a minority by the year 2042.
Despite attempts to justify affirmative action based on an intrinsic need for “diversity”, it is still largely seen by both the public and its beneficiaries as a form of compensation for slavery and Jim Crow.
In 2004, the New York Times reported on a study by black Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates (later of Gates-Crowley infamy,) and Lani Guinier, which noted only a “third of the [black] students were from families in which all four grandparents were born in this country, descendants of slaves. Many argue that it was students like these, disadvantaged by the legacy of Jim Crow laws, segregation and decades of racism, poverty and inferior schools, who were intended as principal beneficiaries of affirmative action in university admissions.” The bulk of Affirmative Action came from the children of African and West Indian immigrants, were biracial, or in some cases (like Barack Obama) both.
The NYT noted that this trend appeared at schools across the country. It noted:
“Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania who have been studying the achievement of minority students at 28 selective colleges and universities (including theirs, as well as Yale, Columbia, Duke and the University of California at Berkeley), found that 41 percent of the black students identified themselves as immigrants, as children of immigrants or as mixed race.”
[Top Colleges Take More Blacks, but Which Ones? by Sara Rimer and Karen W. Arenson, New York Times, June 24, 2004]
At the very least, the vast majority of these African immigrants are here legally. However, the DREAM Act will go a step further and reward those who broke into our country with preferences.
In 1999, neoconservative Nathan Glazer wrote
“African Americans are at the heart of the issue. Certainly, Hispanics or Latinos are also beneficiaries of group-sensitive (one cannot say for them “race-sensitive”) policies, and this is almost as seriously disputed as preferences for blacks. Yet it is clear that race-sensitive policies began in the 1960s primarily because of the near absence of blacks on American college campuses, and because of the unfolding civil-rights revolution… the fact is that blacks, not Hispanics or other groups, have posed the key dilemma for American society since its origins. The Constitution, which had to take account of the large population of black slaves, did not have to take account of Hispanics; the Civil War was not fought to free Hispanics; the key post Civil War amendments to the Constitution were not passed because of the condition of Hispanics or with their circumstances in mind.”[The case for racial preferences (PDF), By Nathan Glazer, Public Interest, Spring 1999]
Naturally, Black-White relations was the “key dilemma” when America was an essentially bi-racial society, prior to the 1965 Immigration Act.
However, four years after Glazer wrote those laws, Hispanics surpassed blacks in population in America. Now, the House of Representatives passed a law that will give amnesty to 2.1 million illegal aliens—approximately 80% of whom are Hispanic—on the condition that they attend colleges where they will receive preferences.
Hispanic immigration is at the “Heart of the issue” of Affirmative Action. The granting of amnesty to millions of illegal aliens who will get preferences over white American Citizens should be at the heart of the opposition to the DREAM Act.
“Washington Watcher” [email him] is an anonymous source Inside The Beltway.