The GOP’s immigration dilemma

By   /   February 26, 2013  /   1 Comment

By Laura Meckler | The Wall Street Journal

GAFFNEY, S.C.—Sen. Lindsey Graham had just explained how his immigration overhaul plan would secure the border and crack down on employers who hire illegal residents.

But when he asked a luncheon of the Cherokee County Republican Party what should happen to the millions already in the U.S., one woman yelled back, “Send them home!”

It is the kind of response that Mr. Graham, an architect of a bipartisan plan that would provide a path to legal status for undocumented workers, has come to expect in his home state. It is also the kind of reception that neatly encapsulates the dilemma the Republican Party faces as it shapes its future: Make the GOP more welcoming to the nation’s swelling—and decisively Democratic—Hispanic population and risk the ire of a chunk of its most fervent supporters; don’t and watch Democrats keep winning elections on the strength of Latino votes.

“Can we just be honest with each other?” Mr. Graham responded to the woman. Most people here illegally have established roots, many with children and grandchildren who were born in America, he said. “How many of you would sit on the sidelines and watch your grandmother get up and go?”

Read the complete story at


  • SpecialKinNJ

    Faxed this morning…

    The Honorable Sen. Graham (SC)
    Good morning:

    “The GOP’s Immigration Dilemma” is WSJ page-one this morning, and the story begins with the “Send them home” reaction of a woman at a Cherokee County GOP luncheon to your question as to what should happen to the millions of illegal immigrants now resident in our country. Also your follow-up, including “How many of you would sit on the sidelines and watch your grandmother get up and go”?

    Your response reflects powerful effects stemming from “Dirksen’s Inequality”, an
    expression positing that “the mind is no match with the heart in persuasion; constitutionality is no match with compassion”, exploitation
    of the power of which made President Obama an unparalleled Campaigner in Chief.

    Nonetheless your question goes to the heart of the issue of illegal immigration that — due to lack of proper treatment over the decades since President Reagan’s “amnesty assuming border control” proposal was adopted (with no subsequent attention to the assumption) — has metastasized throughout the national body politic thus complicating all efforts at remediation.

    Having failed to control the influx of illegal immigrants—and thereafter promptly to
    detect, detain and deport the illegal entrants – efforts to remedy our failure are complicated not only by the force of Dirksen’s Inequality, but also are compounded due to effects specified in Pope’s Admonition, referring
    specifically to “vice” but generally applicable to failures promptly to reject
    illegal activities, as follows: “Vice is a monster of so frightful mien as to be feared needs only to be seen, but seen too oft’, familiar with her face, we first endure, then pity, then finally embrace.”

    But the foregoing analysis was included in my recent fax to you and your Senate
    colleagues in the so-called “Gang of Eight”, in which the hope was expressed
    that a middle ground might be found between the straw-man of mass deportation
    and a path to citizenship for the current sub-population of illegal immigrants–largely Hispanic—characterized by Prof. Krugman in 2006 as a “permanent nonvoting working class”. And based on the data Table 1 (based on the voting behavior of their citizen counterparts in 2008) GOP candidates won’t be favored by members of the newly designated “permanent nonvoting working class”
    Table 1. A pattern not amenable to modification?
    South Carolina 2008
    Vote by Race Total Conley Graham
    White (72%) 26% 74%
    African-American (25%) 87% 13%
    Latino ( 3%) N/A N/A
    Asian ( 0%) N/A N/A
    Other ( 1%) N/A N/A

    Texas 2008
    Vote by Race Total Noriega Cornyn Other/No Answer
    White (65%) 27% 72% 1%
    African-American (13%) 89% 8% 3%
    Latino (19%) 61% 36% 3%

    New Mexico 2008
    Vote by Sex and Race

    Total Udall Pearce Other/No Answer
    White Men (27%) 48% 52% N/A
    White Women (23%) 47% 52% 1%
    Black Men (1%) N/A N/A N/A
    Black Women (0%) N/A N/A N/A
    Latino Men (16%) 65% 35% N/A
    Latino Women (25%) 74% 26% N/A
    All Other Races (8%) 79% 19% 2%

    Please oppose any general proposal for a “path to citizenship” for current illegal
    residents, and consider instead “a path to temporary working permits, at the
    termination of which holders are expected to return home” as part of an answer to your “what to do about them” question that is applicable to the majority of currently illegal residents/ workers/ etc. The time limits on permits might be adjusted in such a way as to provide time for the Congress (and the families involved) to resolve messy questions about grandmothers and children that have arisen due to “our” failure to enforce the law over the past three or so decades.

    As the current population of permit-holders is gradually diminished, such permits can be issued legally to successive cohorts of foreign workers to fill largely
    unskilled positions in agriculture, construction, lawn and home care, etc. As this process becomes institutionalized, it seems logical that problems posed by illegal entry, per se, will tend to diminish.

    In any event, please give mind and constitutionality at least a fighting chance against the heart-and-compassion-highly-politically-tinged proposal presented by Pres. Obama and favored by many but not all Democrats in the Senate and House