Growing and Vibrant Economies need people…

America’s immigration policy is bad, but not as bad as Europe’s. The answer for America is to assimilate, not restrict.

The Incredible Shrinking Continent

For decades most European countries have consigned immigrants to the margins: in Germany, some professions were restricted to German citizens well into the 1990s, while eligibility for citizenship itself was based on bloodlines until a landmark reform in 2001. Millions of refugees were legally barred from working, which forced them into squalid welfare dependency. Muslims especially remain unintegrated and ghettoized in many European countries, including France, Britain, and the Netherlands. Now many European countries have tabled important policy reforms such as the drafting of a continentwide asylum policy and the formulation of smarter immigration criteria based on education and skills. Others, like Spain and the Czech Re-public, are actually paying migrants to go away. The danger is that Europe’s worsening hostility toward foreigners will halt or even reverse efforts to assimilate those who are already there, spawning a fast–growing, permanent underclass. According to the OECD, immigrants have been losing jobs at almost twice the rate of native-born citizens during the current crisis, and in many countries the socioeconomic gap between immigrants and natives has begun to grow again.
All this comes at a critical moment for the global economy. Economists predict that global GDP will double in the next 20 years, and as many as 1 billion new, skilled jobs will be created. To avoid being left behind, Europe will need to upgrade its workforce to compete in knowledge-intensive sectors. It can’t afford to neglect the education of its immigrant populations or to give up competing for its share of the global talent pool. If it makes the wrong choice, Europe will become smaller, poorer, and angrier. Instead of attracting newcomers, the continent will watch its own best and brightest decamp for better opportunities in the growing economies of China, India, and Brazil. (The economic booms in Poland and Romania have already been slowed by a severe dearth of skilled workers.)
As Europe fiddles, some countries aren’t standing still. At the onset of the global crisis, the Canadian government briefly considered slashing immigration quotas to protect its labor market. It then decided to keep its borders open and even to speed up acceptance procedures for some highly skilled arrivals. While migrants have lost some ground recently, they’re still twice as likely as native Canadians to hold doctorates or master’s degrees. Even within Europe, there are a few countries doing it right. Sweden wasn’t satisfied with merely implementing a new, skills-based immigration policy; it actually upgraded its integration efforts, including language and vocational training for existing immigrants, right in the middle of the crisis. But much more can be done to attract skilled migrants—raising the number of visas available in professions where shortages already exist, for example, or cutting the red tape that can make it all but impossible to get non–European diplomas recognized. Nations and companies could also do a much better job of recruiting more of the -estimated 1.4 million foreign students currently enrolled at European universities.

At the rate Sweden is going, it will be a more conservative nation than the US in a decade or so.

Now THIS is Border Security

Of course, if this were true, we’d have to deport our entire education system. NOW THAT’S A THOUGHT!!

Don’t tell Tom Tancredo…

…But people still like America.

700 Million Worldwide Desire to Migrate Permanently

United States Tops Desired Destination Countries

The United States is the top desired destination country for the 700 million adults who would like to relocate permanently to another country. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of these respondents, which translates to more than 165 million adults worldwide, name the United States as their desired future residence. With an additional estimated 45 million saying they would like to move to Canada, Northern America is one of the two most desired regions.

An article every center-right person should read

Agree or disagree, this article lays out much of the debate taking place right now.

A Driving Desire To Lose

Of the two main American political parties, Republicans are now clearly distinguished by their driving desire to lose. Every faction seems determined to rule the kingdom of irrelevance.

Witness the reaction to the National Council for a New America — an anodyne “listening tour” by Republican officials recently kicked off at a pizza parlor in Northern Virginia. Social conservatives attacked this forum on education and the economy for the offense of not being a forum on abortion and the traditional family. Neo-Reaganites searched the transcript for nonexistent slights: How dare former Florida governor Jeb Bush criticize “nostalgia” for the “good old days”? Why didn’t he just spit on Ronald Reagan’s grave? Other conservatives criticized the very idea of a listening tour, asking, “What’s to hear?”

During a recent conversation, Bush described himself as “dumbfounded by the reaction.” He added: “I don’t think listening is a weakness. People are yearning to be heard. Perhaps we should begin with a little humility.”

There is much for Republicans to be humble about. The party, says Bush, faces “dramatically changing demographics, especially Hispanics in swing states,” the “alienation of young voters” and an unprecedented drop in support among college graduates.

“Trying to be all things to all people isn’t going to work,” Bush contends. The goal is “not to redefine our beliefs, but to recognize challenges and adapt,” particularly on the issues of national security, health care, education, the economy and the environment. Republicans need to “focus on creating policies relevant to today — not things relevant 20, 30 or 40 years ago.”

Jeb Bush insists that this focus on creative policy can be unifying because “conservatives have more in common than they disagree on.” And the Republican Party has been unified in opposition to President Obama’s disturbing accumulation of federal debt and power. But on other issues, it seems to me that Republicans are likely to pass through a series of wrenching debates before they arrive at “policies relevant to today.”

If this is to remain a center-right nation (and some effectively argue that it no longer is), the so-called “right,” better get about the business of persuading people to join them on the right side of center instead of pushing every one who fails one of their litmus tests over to the left side of center.

How hard can that be?

They aren’t all suicidal after all….

Not that any of this is going to help Romney.

GOP back to wooing Hispanics

According to TheHill.com, a congressional newspaper that publishes when Congress is in session, ”Romney believes that one way to attract more minorities to the GOP is to pass immigration reform before the next election, saying the issue becomes demagogued by both parties on the campaign trail.” The article also quotes Romney as saying, “We have a natural affinity with Hispanic-American voters, Asian-American voters.”

This could be extreme political repositioning, even for Romney.

As governor of a blue state, he once said he favored a sensible path to citizenship. Then came the 2008 presidential campaign. During primary season, Romney hammered rivals like John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee for being soft on illegal immigrants. As a national candidate, he embraced a ship-them-back-home, tough-guy approach, even after it was reported that he employed a landscaping company that relied on illegal Guatemalan immigrants to care for his own lawn. When U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado — who made a tough stand on illegal immigrants the centerpiece of his presidential campaign — dropped out of the race, he endorsed Romney.

How Romney gets beyond the flip-flop-flips of his multiple-choice positions on immigration and other issues is a mystery only he can solve.

But any edging back to a call for immigration reform illustrates a larger point. Scapegoating immigrants was a losing strategy for Republicans in the 2008 presidential campaign; and Romney doesn’t see it as a winning strategy in 2012.

Bush 2004 – 42% of the Hispanic vote
McCain 2008 – 30%

Thank you Tom Tancredo, for helping elect Barack Obama.

Aside from irreparably damaging the GOP…

This is Tom Tancredo’s OTHER legacy

Iowa: What Happens When a Town Implodes

During a bitter cold January week, penniless women and children stream into a Catholic church in the northeast Iowa town of Postville that has served as their refuge since May 12, when 389 workers were arrested during an immigration raid at the Agriprocessors Inc. meatpacking plant. The women are among 26 former Agriprocessors workers, most from Guatemala and Mexico, charged with immigration violations and fighting deportation. Released on humanitarian grounds but required to wear electronic ankle bracelets, the women, as well as about 59 children, now depend on the community, especially St. Bridget’s church, which operates a Hispanic ministry from a worn brick house.

One woman needs medical care for her anxious 12-year-old son, who has started wetting his bed. Another needs legal help for her husband, arrested during a return visit to Agriprocessors by immigration agents last fall. “I am very sad and worried,” says Irma Lopez, 28, a former Agriprocessors worker who remains in limbo with her young daughter while her husband is back in Guatemala, one of many arrested workers deported in October after serving five months in prison. “I worked since I was eight years old and now I feel worthless. I can work but I’m not allowed to.”

Eight months after the Agriprocessors raid, Postville is still grappling with what its leaders call “a humanitarian and economic disaster,” compounded by the recession and a harsh winter. Life isn’t much easier for “legal” workers. Inside a faded community hall serving as a relief center are Michael Barner, 47, and Patricia Williams, 41, who moved to Postville last month to work at Agriprocessors but had to leave their jobs soon after due to illness. They have arrived with an eviction notice and are seeking help to return to Dubuque. “We came here. We tried. I got sick. We just have to go back home,” says Barner.

Even after accounting for the aggressive pro-immigration bias and sob-story nature of this piece, the devastating stupidity of the GOP’s anti-immigration jaunt is apparent.

Furthermore, even if one concedes that the passage of unenforceable laws that no one wants enforced is hypocritical, it does not provide an excuse to execute stupid policy.

My personal opinion is that Bush’s immigration plan had too much immigration and not enough assimilation. That said, the GOP would be in much better shape at this very moment had the party listened to Bush instead of following Tom Tancredo off of the electoral cliff.

“An anti-Hispanic attitude is suicidal.”

That’s a quote from Karl Rove, who, though probably overrated, is still 100% right on that score.

Deal with it, angry white guys and gals. Find a way to make peace with some sort accommodation on immigration or consign Conservatism to the ash heap of history with your intransigence.

It’s your choice.

Full throttle on wrong track

The limited appeal of Immigration demagoguery and the lasting toll it is going to take on the GOP became clear early this year. Mitt Romney tried to win Iowa and New Hampshire as an anti-immigrant hard-liner. He was beaten by Mike Huckabee and McCain. Then Hastert’s seat was lost in the humiliating defeat of Illinois’ leading Immigration demagogue, ice cream magnate Jim Oberweis—in part because Latinos voted overwhelmingly against him.

There is a simple answer. Become the Assimilation Party, and paint the Democrats as the “Balkanization Party.” It will be effective because it is true.

How did being a “hard liner” work out for you?

More good news for Lou Dobbs…

More Immigration Losers

Virginia Republican Congressman Virgil Goode’s narrow loss to Democrat Tom Perriello became official last week, and it caps another bad showing for immigration restrictionists. For the second straight election, incumbent Republicans who attempted to turn illegal immigration into a wedge issue fared poorly.

Anti-immigration hardliners Randy Graf, John Hostettler and J.D. Hayworth were among the Republicans who lost in 2006. Joining them this year were GOP Representatives Thelma Drake (Virginia), Tom Feeney (Florida), Ric Keller (Florida) and Robin Hayes (North Carolina) — all Members of a House anti-immigration caucus that focuses on demonizing the undocumented.

According to a review of election results by America’s Voice, an advocacy group, Republican restrictionists had especially weak showings in “battleground” races. “Nineteen of 21 winners advocated immigration policies beyond enforcement-only,” says the report. “This includes 5 of 5 Senate races and 14 of 16 House races listed in the ‘toss-up,’ ‘leans Republican,’ or ‘leans Democratic’ categories of the Cook Political Report.”

Mr. Goode, a 12-year incumbent, had made a name for himself in Congress as a seal-the-border advocate. Among other things, he has called for mass deportations and amending the Constitution to deny U.S. citizenship to children of illegal aliens.

Gee, smaller and smaller groups of angrier and angrier people. That’s the ticket!

If Republicans want to reclaim that lost 14% (and more) without losing too much of the “angry white male” vote, one way to do it would be to become the “assimilationist” party – as opposed to the Democrat’s “Balkanizationalist” model.

The left wants the undocumented workers as another excuse for their “welfare state” programs, and the right wants the cheap labor. What do the American people want?

They want to know who is here, what they are doing, and how long they plan to stay. (do the polling, and I’ll bet you’ll find that is accurate). Crafting an immigration program that separates temporary workers from those who want citizenship is the first step. Tracking (or at least trying) them is another.

Regardless, by framing the issue as Balkanization v. Assimilation, the Republican Party will be more in line with existing citizens AND a good chunk of the recently assimilated. They need not win all the new citizens. 45-55% puts Republicans right back in the drivers seat.

St. Augustine’s advice to the GOP

This nugget of extreme wisdom comes from a Politico article written by Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina.


“Unity in the essentials, diversity in the nonessentials, and charity in all things”

Of course, we could all quibble about what is, and what isn’t “essential.” Some angry white males probably think it is “essential” that the GOP work to kick every Hispanic out of the USA. Others think it is essential that we become an open, assimilationist party (as opposed to the Democrats “Balkanizationalist” model).

That said, Sanford’s, and Augustine’s advice is pretty good. I just don’t know if the party has the ability to heed it.

What’s next for the GOP?

We would be wise to start with the biblical notion of first taking the log out of your own eye before worrying about the splinter in someone else’s. In other words, Republicans would do well to first focus on how we were beaten in November not by Democrats, but in many cases by those in our own party.

Our party took nothing short of a shellacking nationally. Some on the left will say our electoral losses are a repudiation of our principles of lower taxes, smaller government and individual liberty. But Election Day was not a rejection of those principles — in fact, cutting taxes and spending were important tenets of Barack Obama’s campaign.

Instead, voters rejected the fact that while Republicans have campaigned on the conservative themes of lower taxes, less government and more freedom, they have consistently failed to govern that way. Americans didn’t turn away from conservatism, they instead turned away from many who faked it.