On a recent episode of the Fox News Sunday television program, syndicated radio host and conservative potentate Rush Limbaugh made a shocking announcement: he supports blanket amnesty for illegal aliens in the United States.
Before his considerable base of faithful, America-first listeners had time to clutch their pearls in horror, Limbaugh placed an addendum on his proposal. He supports amnesty, provided that the amnesty recipients are not allowed to vote for 15 to 25 years. As Limbaugh predicted, the response to his generous offer from those pushing amnesty for illegals has been crickets. Why?
The Limbaugh plan painted some broad strokes and left unanswered questions. For example, would the years it can take to be approved for citizenship count against the 15 to 25 years required before voting rights would be granted? While this may have seemed like a throwaway line on a Sunday morning political talk show, it is highly revealing as to the motives of those who would swing the proverbial doors of this country wide for the world’s seemingly endless supply of tired, poor and hungry. While the official line is that amnesty is an act of compassion for the less fortunate, the reality is that those illegals represent the opportunity for a voter registration drive that would fundamentally alter the electoral map of the country for generations. The importance of illegal aliens inside the corridors of power in Washington comes not from a humanitarian instinct, but from their potential as future citizens and voters. The party that capitalizes on this, the thinking goes, will gain formidable political hegemony over their rivals.
While this phenomenon is tailor-made for the Democrats, there is Republican support for it as well, but for different reasons. There is a significant corporate GOP donor base that supports amnesty for the cheap labor that it would provide. Such an action may be good for narrow labor cost interests, but is decidedly bad for the nation that is seeing its population increasingly balkanized. Scant concern is shown for the effect such an influx of cheap labor would have on lower to middle-class American citizens, many of whom came to the country legally. They would see their wages driven downward at a time when the economy is finally emerging from its post-recession slumber.
More to Limbaugh’s point, there is a line of thought in Republican circles that a largely poor and unskilled illegal alien population, while naturally inclined to vote for Democrats, could somehow be converted into reliable GOP voters. Such a belief is buttressed by the fact that arrivals from Latin America are largely Catholic, pro-family and pro-life, ostensibly making them receptive to the Republican platform.
While the idea sounds good in theory, it flies in the face of recent electoral history. The last significant amnesty took place on Ronald Reagan’s watch in 1986. That act of kindness barely moved the needle in terms of Hispanic votes migrating to the GOP. Similarly, amnesty-friendly Republican presidential candidate John McCain netted a paltry 31 percent of Hispanic votes in 2008. Compare that to the haul of Donald Trump in 2016, who was vilified by open borders activists as anti-Hispanic, racist, xenophobic and worse. For all the demagoguery, Trump exceeded the expectations of many and netted 29 percent of the Hispanic vote. While there is clearly opportunity for GOP inroads among Hispanic voters, the evidence suggests that opportunity is not wedded to a pro-amnesty position.
Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and their colleagues have sought to make significant political hay from the plight of illegals among us. Legalize the Dreamers, they say. Do it for the children out of a sense of compassion. The Trump administration and its allies should enter Limbaugh’s idea into the immigration discussion and put it in the pro-amnesty lobby’s court. If they did, it would quickly reveal that empathy for illegal aliens is largely borne not from compassion, but from Machiavellian political opportunism.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.