You hear a lot of weird things on the late-night “Coast to Coast” radio program, from UFO sightings to demonic possessions to every variety of conspiracy theory, but an advertisement we heard last night from “Progressives For Immigration Reform” might have topped them all.
From both the “Progressive” and the “For Immigration Reform” parts of the name you would expect the spot to be in support of the Senate’s bill calling for some phony-baloney border enforcement and a very real “path to citizenship” allowing millions of illegal immigrants to vote for the Democrats in upcoming elections, but the weird part was that group was against it. The group is not only against the border enforcement portions of the bill, something they seem to take seriously, they also argue against the idea of bringing in more illegal immigrants. All of the arguments were couched in terms of environmentalism and the depressing effects of mass immigration on the wages of low-skilled workers, which accounts for the “progressive” portion of the name, and apparently the sort of immigration reform that they are for is quite different than what the Senate has in mind.
There’s nothing surprising about progressives finding reasons to oppose mass immigration, which has traditionally been opposed by labor leaders ranging from Samuel Gompers to A. Phillip Randolph to Cesar Chavez, and which is an affront to the anti-population-growth elements of the environmental movement, but we were nonetheless surprised to hear any of them come right out and say so. The Democratic party has collectively concluded that the Senate bill serves its interests, and all of the factions within usually fall in line. This is most conspicuously true in Congress, where it takes some extreme home state or home district political pressure to get a Democrat to buck the party line, but even the rank-and-file members of our acquaintance are almost always willing to accept the party’s position even when a favored is clearly against their self-interest.
Plenty of Republicans have endorsed the Senate’s bill, always giving ostensibly conservative reasons for doing, but conservatism is an individualist philosophy and party discipline is therefore less reliable. The rank-and-file of the GOP seem to be overwhelmingly opposed to the Senate bill, though, and we expect that few Republicans in the House will be willing to swim against that surging tide. Throw in a few Democrats more beholden to the black, green, and labor lobbies than the Hispanic vote and it might be enough to defeat the bill in the House.
The conservative arguments against the bill seem more persuasive to us than what the progressives are peddling, but we’re happy to have their help nonetheless. Their support is especially helpful because no one is going to accuse them of racism, and the notion that one needn’t be a Meskin-hatin’ redneck is a significant contribution to the debate.
— Bud Norman