July 28, 2014

MICKEY KAUS: Boehner’s Bad Coach. “A good football coach thinks several plays ahead. Rep. Salmon seems incapable of thinking one play ahead. By passing any immigration change now — even a desirable one — Republicans open themselves up to a protracted negotiation, perhaps into a lame duck session, with the massed forces of Obama, Haley Barbour, the Chamber of Commerce, (and Rupert Murdoch), all angling for one part of ‘comprehensive’ reform or another. That might be good for GOP fundraising — lobbyists can be generous when they really want something — but this isn’t a fundraising game (or a PR game, let alone a football game). What is at stake is the fundamental policy of the nation.”

I say revisit it in 2017. Until then, in Bob Dole’s memorable phrase, remember that sometimes a little gridlock can be a good thing.

And remember this from (immigrant!) Eugene Volokh:

I think, though, that the “Pilgrims = Illegal Aliens” equation illustrates the exact opposite. The whites immigrated to America — and took over the place. (I’m glad they did, but I can surely understand why the Indians might have disagreed.) Likewise, Jews immigrated to Palestine (adding vastly to the numbers already present), sometimes illegally — and eventually there were more Jews in some parts than Arabs, so Jews started running the place. Now Israelis are sensibly objecting to Palestinians’ asserted “right of return” to their and their parents’ homes, because if enough Palestinians are allowed to immigrate into Israel, they’ll start running the place.

The bottom line is that for all the good that immigration can do (and I’m an immigrant to the U.S., who is very glad that America let me in, and who generally supports immigration), unregulated immigration can dramatically change the nature of the target society. It makes a lot of sense for those who live there to think hard about how those changes can be managed, and in some situations to restrict the flow of immigrants — who, after all, will soon be entitled to affect their new countrymen’s rights and lives, through the vote if not through force.

I sometimes pose for my liberal friends a stylized thought experiment. Say that they live in a country of 3 million people (the size of New Zealand) where 55% of the citizens are pro-choice and 45% are pro-life (1.65 million vs. 1.35 million). Now the country is facing an influx of 1 million devoutly Catholic immigrants, who are 90% pro-life. If these immigrants are let in and become citizens, the balance will flip to 2.25 million pro-life to 1.75 million pro-choice (56% to 44% pro-choice); and what my friends might see as their fundamental human right to abortion may well vanish, perfectly peacefully and democratically.

It’s unlikely that any constitutional protection will stand in the way: Even constitutions can be amended, and new judges can be appointed. Nor can one rely on “education” or “assimilation” — what if the immigrants simply conclude that their views on abortion are just better than the domestic majority’s? I think many of the current residents may rightly say “We have nothing against Catholics; but we don’t want our rights changed by the arrival of people who have a different perspective on the world than we do.”

Letting in immigrants means letting in your future rulers.

If today’s immigrant wave were likely to vote Republican, all right-thinking people would be demanding deportations and a mile-wide belt of barbed wire and minefields along the border.

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