Matt Lewis

5 reasons conservatives should favor more (legal) Hispanic immigration

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

Yesterday, President Obama delivered a speech calling for immigration reform. This is needed, of course — but as always — the devil is in the details.

Sadly, in recent years, it has become impossible to have an adult discussion on the topic. The debate is often muddied by peripheral concerns having little to do with policy. For example, some liberals favor increased immigration — not because they believe it will make America stronger — but because they assume this will benefit them politically. Conversely, some conservatives oppose immigration for the same reason.

Putting aside the immediate impact immigration might have on electoral politics, there are some solid reasons why conservatives ought to favor increased legal immigration. Here are five:

1. China: As I recently noted, one reason China will not overtake America is because their one-child-per-family law created a demographic time bomb. There simply won’t be enough young Chinese workers to support the increasing population of aging Chinese. Population, of course, is key for a thriving nation — both economically and militarily. Anyone who doubts this should consider how France’s low birth rate — coupled with their bloody losses in World War I — effectively sealed their decline as a world power. Thanks in large part to Latino immigration, America will likely remain a much younger nation than China. (The catch is that young Americans must be part of the tax-paying system in order for their to be a benefit.)

2. Defending Christendom: Based on media reports and observation, some conservatives seem worried about the possible rise of sharia law in America (I do not share this concern, but stick with me here). Others simply worry about preserving Western or Christian civilization. Before dismissing the influx of Hispanics into America, conservatives should consider the “Islamization” of France — Europe’s largest Muslim populated nation (over 5 million). Unlike France, America’s geographical proximity favors an influx of Hispanic immigrants, thus guaranteeing that a rising Muslim population will not soon pose a demographic threat to America. (To be sure, we have our own unique challenges: There are, of course, Latino gangs — and many Hispanics come from nations where the political culture is corrupt or where socialism and “social justice” are the dominate ideologies.) Americans who fear a Muslim takeover should take comfort in knowing America’s birthrate will be supplemented by the influx of “family-values” Christians from below the border.

3. Entrepreneurship: As American Enterprise Institute (AEI) president Arthur Brooks has argued, immigration is “actually is the most entrepreneurial act, where you put the most capital at risk.” Some social scientists even go so far as to argue that Americans are genetically more entrepreneurial than citizens of other nations because those predisposed to take risks came here, while their less adventurous brethren stayed home. An even more controversial argument says that a person willing to cross the Rio Grande to obtain a better way of life might ironically be more entrepreneurial than someone willing to stand in a line and fill out the requisite bureaucratic paperwork (one can assume a nation dependent on the rule of law does not benefit by having immigrants whose first act in the nation is to defy the law). Regardless, consider this: Who is more likely to engage the free market — someone who risked their life to come here — or someone who was blessed enough to be born here?

4. The Economy: The anti-immigration movement has largely been a populist phenomenon, while some free market fiscal conservatives argue the availability of immigrant workers is vital for a thriving economy. In some ways the populist resentment is both logical and emotional: Blue collar Americans struggling to make ends meet might simply resent having to compete for jobs with highly-motivated and entrepreneurial immigrants who may work longer hours for less money. Small business owners, on the other hand, might see things differently. The Chamber of Commerce, for example, has argued in favor of comprehensive immigration reform and a guest worker program. One can easily imagine that the influx of immigrants willing to do jobs most Americans don’t want to do — for less money — might have a salutary effect on the overall economy. What is more, one can imagine deporting high-achievers such as Ph.Ds might have a negative impact on our ability to compete globally.

5. Shady Beginnings: The modern anti-immigration movement was launched by an environmentalist named Dr. John Tanton who was concerned about how increased population might impact the environment. As The New York Times recently reported, Tanton initially, “urged liberal colleagues in groups like Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club to seek immigration restraints, only to meet blank looks and awkward silences.” It was only after leftist groups declined to adopt his positions that the environmentalist began founding his own anti-immigration groups.

As you can see, there are compelling reasons why conservatives who put principle over politics might support increased immigration. At the very least, once political considerations are put aside, it becomes a debatable “adult” conversation to have. This, of course, does not mean conservatives shouldn’t insist on securing the border or should support “in-state tuition” rates for illegals — but it does mean the debate is much more nuanced than the media might have you believe.

  • Michael

    Why should any support any more immigration.  The number of people we have now in the U.S. is destroying the environment, and destroying open space.  We need to stabilize our population.

  • Delmarjackson

    Number one

    Thanks in large part to Latino immigration, America will likely remain

    answer

    will likely remain like California, which thanks to immigration, now lags behind only Mississippi as having the least educated population

    Number two

    America’s geographical proximity favors an influx of Hispanic immigrants, thus guaranteeing that a rising Muslim population will not pose a demographic threat

    answer, The fastest growing group of illegals are Indians and chinese overstaying their visas, there is nothing stopping ,muslim islamization of america, except time and the will of Muslims, thanks to our traitorous immigration laws and lack of federal enforcememnt

    number three

    Who is more likely to engage the free market — someone who risked their life to come here — or someone who was blessed enough to be born here

    answer,
    yes immigrants do start businesses, as the federal governmemt has handed out billions over the last 30 years to immigrants to do just that. I have some personal experience. My mom, who worked babysitting for 12 years in her home and 10 years in a day care facility wanted to open her own day care, she located the perfect small house in a multizone area to do so. One day she saw in the paper the SBA was granted millions locally to give to haitians to start up companies. My mom went to SBA and was denied as she did not have ” Business experience.”

    Alos, immigrants usually open business targeting other immigrants, how many taco stands do we really need?

    number four

    immigrants willing to do jobs most Americans don’t want to do — for less money — might have a salutary effect on the overall economy

    answer.

    among economists the consensus on immigration has been clear for 20 years, and was confirmed by the National Academy of Sciences report The New Americans back in 1997.

    Americans do not benefit, in aggregate, from immigration. It does increase Gross Domestic Product—but the bulk of that is captured by the immigrants themselves, through their wages. Once transfer payments are factored in, American taxpayers are paying for their own dispossession. However, immigration does cause a transfer of income within the native-born community—from labor to the owners of capital, through its impact on wages.

    number five

    It was only after leftist groups declined to adopt his positions that the environmentalist began founding his own anti-immigration groups.

    answer,

    attacking Tanton means you have no argument against his groups he founded.

    why don’t you bring up 100 million dollars given to Sierra club by one of to never mention overpopulation and immigration again, or how the founder of earth Day’s main theme was population stabilization, as nearly all our problems stem from too much ever growing populations.

    For the love of money
    Since 1996, leaders of the Sierra Club have refused to admit that immigration driven, rapid U.S. population growth causes massive environmental problems. And they have refused to acknowledge the need to reduce U.S. immigration levels in order to stabilize the U.S. population and protect our natural resources. Their refusal to do what common sense says is best for the environment was a mystery for nearly a decade.

    Then, on Oct. 27, 2004, the Los Angeles Times revealed the answer: David Gelbaum, a super rich donor, had demanded this position from the Sierra Club in return for huge donations! Kenneth Weiss, author of the LA Times article that broke the story, quoted what David Gelbaum said to Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope:

    “I did tell Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me.”

    In 1996 and again in 1998, the Club’s leaders proved their loyalty to Gelbaum’s position on immigration, first by enacting a policy of neutrality on immigration and then by aggressively opposing a referendum to overturn that policy. In 2000 and 2001, Gelbaum rewarded the Club with total donations to the Sierra Club Foundation exceeding $100 million. In 2004 and 2005, the Club’s top leaders and management showed their gratitude for the donations by stifling dissent and vehemently opposing member efforts to enact an immigration reduction policy.

    Mr. Gelbaum is entitled to restrict how his donations to the Sierra Club Foundation are spent. But he should NOT be permitted to influence how other members’ dues or donations are spent or to dictate policy choices via the threat of withholding contributions. That is completely inappropriate.

    Even worse, Sierra Club leaders accepted Gelbaum’s conditions in secret and forced a modification of the Club’s policy to conform to his wishes. Furthermore, Club leaders certainly shouldn’t have misrepresented immigration reductionists as anti-immigrant or racist in order to guarantee Gelbaum’s donations; there is nothing inherently racist or anti-immigrant about sustainable levels of immigration.

    Worst of all, the U.S. population continues to grow by about 3 million people per year, of which nearly half are immigrants, and two-thirds of the growth is a result of immigration, if the children of immigrants are included. Our forests continue to be clearcut to provide construction materials, our groundwater is depleted to provide water for our growing population, we grow more and more dependent on foreign sources of oil, and we are unable to reduce our output of greenhouse gases, all thanks to our burgeoning population.

    We don’t like it when the oil, timber, coal, and nuclear power industries oppose environmental reform, yet we understand why they do it: for the love of money. Is it any better when the Sierra Club opposes environmental reform for the love of money?

  • Pingback: Latinos will save Christendom! « The LatiNone

  • brittanicus

    1986 IMMIGRATION CONTROL & REFORM ACT WILL BE ENFORCED BY THE TEA PARTY

    On March 17, 2011, Democrat Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada speculated for reasons known to himself, that the TEA PARTY would be short lived and disappear? Where he came up with this hypothesis makes the Tea Party branch members laugh, as the Tea Party is continually growing and now in the tens of millions. Senator Reid has a dense amount of illegal aliens in the Silver State and is obviously pandering. States as Nevada and California must receive oversight to observe if illegal aliens are voting in elections, as absentee ballots are easy to forge numerous times. As of today there are thousands of these cells, as the spirited Founder and chair Rev. William Temple of Freedom Jamboree and the Tea Party National Straw Poll Convention explained at the news conference. Temple reprimanded the majority Speaker of the House Republicans, John Boehner. He had not sufficiently pushed for a cut in the massive federal deficit of 14.5 Trillion dollars and climbing each day. One of the main issues that must be exposed is the distraction of the illegal immigration invasion. This is currently associated with jobs, the economy, gasoline prices and banks that not lending to home buyers.

    In El Paso, Texas, yesterday president Obama made a speech relating border security and the need to allow more immigrants into America? My assumption we should ask the 22 million Americans who are unable to find a full time jobs, specifically the poorer workers who don’t have a higher education? So just what we necessitate is more immigrant labor so says the President? According to the president’s speech and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano the border is more secure now, than it’s ever been? Yet according to the General Accounting office “illegal aliens can only be stopped along 129 miles of our nearly 2,000 mile long border with Mexico and along only 2 miles of our nearly 4,000 mile long border with Canada!” Local Border Sheriffs Larry Dever of Cochise County and Paul Babeu of Pinal County and anonymous Border agents have a different attitude to Obama’s statement.

    The border region is more dangerous than ever before? That the border is so dangerous, that there are signs indicating these certain areas are off limits to the American public. Rep. Michele Bachmann, Senator Rand Paul, key leadership of the Tea Party opposes measures of easing immigration restrictions. Over the previous 3 decades, our borders have become less effective, with easy access in some locations to illegal immigrants, increasing the flood while the enforcement of our existing immigration laws have fallen on deaf ears. Rep. Bachmann stated, ” I support legislation that first addresses our most urgent problem: securing America’s borders. We must start by using new technologies such as electronic surveillance where most effective. We need to enforce current laws by holding responsible those who willfully violate our nation’s immigration laws.”

    Bachmann also co-sponsored declaring English as the official language of the US. Activists have said remove incentives and rewards to illegal aliens such as licenses, welfare, and other taxpayer services. Senator Rand Paul in my personal letter said, “I also believe that subsidizing something creates more of it, and I do not think the American taxpayers should be forced to pay for welfare, medical care and other expenses for illegal immigrants. I will work to stop those taxpayer funded benefits.” America is a land of charitable and compassionate people, but our generosity and principles are being strained and being abused by those who are willing to break the law, taking our jobs and our tax dollars. Why is it not a felony to enter the United States without permission? Today these individuals are protesting and demanding even more from the taxpayers, in the form of education, health care, services that is provided to citizens and legal residents.

    The Tea Party America’s has declared that the illegal alien population will begin to shrink instead of growing, if we support candidates that will reflect the will of the vast majority of American citizens. The revolt within the Republican Party is the TEA PARTY who is resentful of both political parties having agendas to support their individual empowerment. This accounts for thousands of extra votes for Democrats and for the GOP exploitable cheap labor. Neither is the belief of the TEA PARTY that wants stronger enforcement at the North and Southern border, which includes a National Guard presence, with the ability to kill drug smuggling, weapons and illegal immigrants, with force if necessary? Furthermore, the mandated use of the new version of E-Verify, that carries tough penalties for businesses that hire workers, without legal status. In addition, the Permanent operation of “Secure Communities” in local police locations, to fingerprint and check their criminal charges through ICE data bases.

    The Tea Party will not tolerate any further Amnesties, after the Great 1986 Amnesty laws were ignored by both parties. Internally in America, 20 million illegal aliens still find work in notorious businesses of every classification. The 2006 Secure (Double) Fence Act was intentionally unfunded just months after being enacted. The Tea Party apposes Sanctuary Cities, Chain Migration and the court mishandled instant citizen for babies intentionally conceived to gain entrance for illegal parents into America. The Dream Act, which in turn will add to the Chain Migration and Immigration Reform, a misleading name for Amnesty. All these lenient rewards, just encourages further exploitation and a unfettered magnet to financial benefits and public services once crossing the border or overstaying expired visas. The American people have woken up and each day are finding that the Tea Party (perhaps third party) are more like their middle class interpretation that they are striving for? The Tea Party stands somewhere between Democrats and Republicans in definition, as moderate Conservatism have received amazing results in such a short time. So Join the TEA PARTY as the revolution has just begun, to fade out the radical people who run this country. Skilled immigrants with high profession job expertise will receive the hospitality of all Americans, including the Tea party members. But we must stop the unfettered incursion of people, who will need welfare assistance and will displace impoverished Americans who still have a manual jobs.

  • BillyShaft

    I find your premises to be wrong. First, you do not get to define a conversation as “adult”.

    Second, you declare that “immigration reform is needed”. Once again, you make a false premise to suit your piss-poor argument.

    Immigration ENFORCEMENT is needed.
    We will talk like adults (because according to you, “adults” speak in terms of reform) after the border is sealed. After all, we played this stupid amnesty game in the early 80′s with the promise that we would handle the border later.

    Fool me once…blablabla

  • jerrodl

    So “the devil’s in the details”? Where are exactly these details in this fallacy-ridden piece?

    And “The modern anti-immigration movement was launched by an environmentalist named Dr. John Tanton”? Really??? Wow, do you have a lot of learning/reading to do. As Al Gore once said, you need to go yourself.

    Wow, this is really a piece of crap…I am now dumber for having read it.

  • Greaseman

    He certainly makes a case for conservatives to embrace illegals, right? How many of those crossing the Rio Grande are legal but Lewis talks so grandly about their entrepreneurial energy. Should conservatives now call them undocumented workers instead of illegals? Should we give them blanket amnesty now? Why should others abroad go through the laborious immigrations process when so-called conservatives advocate for amnesty to appeal to the growing segment of the populace? Rome is burning…

    • callenlaw

      OK, I guess I can see how that could be a fair interpretation of Lewis’s clumsy embellishment of a single quote to make a broader point about welcoming entrepreneurship from any source, including Hispanic immigrants.

  • Greaseman

    Lewis, why don’t you simply declare you are part of the Washington establishment now? ACU has declared they are no longer conservatives preaching “big tent” and allowing themselves to be infiltrated by Muslim extremists.

    Lewis talks about the benefits of people freely violating our laws and completely ignores the immigration process that so many abide by. What do we tell those folks that can really contribute to the USA who are dutifully completing all the forms and background checks. I bet the Lewis’ head to 7-11 on the weekends to pick up cheap labor for work around the house too. Think any of them had background checks? How many of those laborers had violent criminal backgrounds yet some stupid homeowner thought he’d save a few bucks by hiring illegals? How many of them came back to rob the place or harm the family?

    More importantly Lewis, who is paying you to advocate such illogical conclusions beyond the Daily Caller? We all know about the unspoken pay-to-play mantra of ALL the groups in DC including the vaunted ACU.

    • callenlaw

      Er, I don’t see where Lewis said anything about welcoming illegal immigrants, Grease:

      “there are some solid reasons why conservatives ought to favor increased legal immigration.”

      I also don’t see anywhere where he mentions ACU… he mentions AEI, but I’m 99.9999999999999999% sure that’s not the same thing.

      • Greaseman

        ACU claims to be the leading organization of the conservative movement.