Trump Effect–WEEKLY STANDARD Cover: “On The Immigration Front Lines”


The current cover story of the Weekly Standard is about ICE Removal Operations against what the magazine terms “bad hombres” [The Immigration Frontlines, By Tony Mecia, Jul 17, 2017]. Why is that unusual for what’s supposed to be a Republican journal? Because it’s Bill Kristol’s paper, and I remember quite clearly what he said about patriotic immigration reformers in 2006:

Y is for Yahoo

Turning the GOP into an anti-immigration party could dash Republican hopes of becoming a long-term governing party.

Apr 10, 2006 | By William Kristol

THE HOUSE CAUCUS TO RETURN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO MINORITY STATUS–also known as the House Immigration Reform Caucus–held a press conference Thursday. The GOP solons were upset. The Senate Judiciary Committee had not followed the lead of the House in adopting an “enforcement only” immigration bill. The committee had reported out a sensible and comprehensive immigration bill that includes border security measures, a guest worker program, and, for illegal immigrants already here, a path towards earned legalization and citizenship.

California representative Dana Rohrabacher decried the Senate’s guest worker proposal as “the foul odor that’s coming out of the United States Senate.” After all, he explained, if illegal aliens who do many farm jobs were deported, “the millions of young men who are prisoners around our country can pick the fruits and vegetables. I say, let the prisoners pick the fruits.” (I am not making this up.) Though the House bill has no flag-related provision to my knowledge, Virginia representative Virgil Goode nonetheless weighed in, “I say if you are here illegally and want to fly the Mexican flag, go to Mexico and wave the American flag.”

But the press conference was not heavy on substantive policy argument. Much of it had to do with the political ramifications of the immigration issue. Colorado representative Tom Tancredo explained that President Bush didn’t understand the electoral dynamics, and lamented, “Although he’s not running for reelection, I wish he would think about his party.” Rep. Rohrabacher predicted that Senator McCain and other immigration supporters will find their careers cut short. Iowa representative Steve King provided the rhetorical climax of the press gathering when he claimed that the current Senate Judiciary bill is really an amnesty bill (it isn’t), and thundered, “Anybody that votes for an amnesty bill deserves to be branded with a scarlet letter, ‘A’ for amnesty, and they need to pay for it at the ballot box in November.” [More]

King was right about the 2006 elections—they were a catastrophe for Republicans, although partly because of Iraq. But Amnesty itself was repeatedly defeated.

So that’s what Kristol really thinks about immigration. While the current  story has a lot of “on the one hand, on other hand” about illegals and sanctuary cities, it does have this amusing item:

In 1994, 59 percent of California voters approved Proposition 187, a measure that, among other provisions designed to discourage illegal immigration, required local law enforcement to determine if anyone arrested was in the country illegally and, if so, report them to federal immigration authorities. Activists sued and blocked implementation of the law. After years of litigation, a federal judge struck it down in 1997, declaring, “California is powerless to enact its own legislative scheme to regulate immigration.” A lawyer with the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund enthused: “The judge has vindicated the principle that we can’t have 50 immigration policies, we can only have one.”

Today such activists, in the face of an administration that wants more robust enforcement, have soured on the idea that the federal government reigns supreme on immigration. There are 382 metropolitan areas in the United States, and sanctuary city advocates would have as many different policies bloom.

Quite. And while Kristol has occasionally shown signs of feeling the heat on immigration enforcement and Amnesty, there’s no reason to believe he’s seen the light. See Bill Kristol and Charles Murray Debate Replacing Unsatisfactory White Working Class with Immigrants from February 2017.