Craig Dunn: Hispanics are GOP's immigration problem
Thursday, July 11, 2013 1:35 PM
KOKOMO – “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to
breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these,
the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden
When my ancestors, Scots Irish immigrants from Ulster,
immigrated to America in the early part of the 18th Century, they were
not greeted by Lady Liberty and her famous poem. The statue had not been
erected nor the words of the poem written. However, they were welcomed
by a vast land whose siren call around the world could be heard by all,
“Come to America and be free!”
For centuries, the downtrodden
and oppressed from around the world have made their way to our shores
asking only one thing, an opportunity to work and live in freedom. The
flow of immigrants to our country has enriched our character and forged a
nation that has been stronger, more creative and more successful than
the other, generally homogenous, countries of the world. What country
would not be made stronger by a man who says, “I am going to take
everything that I have and move my family to the United States where
there is opportunity and freedom?”
Of course, for over 200
years, Americans have resisted welcoming new immigrants to their
country. They’ve feared that the new arrivals would threaten the
prosperity that they have come to know. Our nation, as great as it is,
has resisted immigration by Irish Catholics, Polish, Germans, Italians,
Jews and Chinese, to name just a few. We would have resisted immigration
of black Africans if they had not been forced to come here for the
economic benefit of the South. I don’t know if it is merely fear of
change, fear of the unknown or a natural tendency to fear anyone who
doesn’t look like us that has motivated Americans over history to fight
immigration. America has become a club that after trying desperately to
get in, we try desperately to keep everyone else out.
brings me to our current immigration challenge. Let’s be honest about
it. We don’t have an immigration problem; we have a Hispanic immigration
problem. I hear no one complaining about those Canadians sneaking
across the border and stealing American jobs. I hear no one complaining
about all those Indian doctors providing medical care or engineering new
electronics. Oddly enough, I don’t even hear much complaining about
the Chinese flooding our shores. In the United States, the immigration
problem is Hispanic.
There is no denying that having between
11 million to 17 million undocumented illegal immigrants is a problem.
There is also no denying that those illegal immigrants are here solely
because they have been invited. No, we did not invite them with engraved
invitations. We invited them with jobs that no other American wants to
do, that they cannot find in their home country. We invited them with
freedom that they do not have in their home country. We invited them
with opportunity that they will never have in their home country. We
invited them with hope for their children’s future that they cannot have
in their home country. In short, the United States is an attractive
nuisance. Let’s all thank God for that.
Just like past waves
of people coming to our land, Hispanic immigrants have become political
pawns. Democrats have seized on the swelling numbers of illegal
immigrants, realized the potential heft of a future Hispanic vote and
pandered to the hopes and dreams of these people. Republicans have
played the “protect our economy” card, much as it has been played for
over 100 years in an effort to get votes from the fearful. The real
political decision is not whether we will eventually grant citizenship
to these illegal immigrants or not. We will. We simply will not be able
to deal with such a huge number of people without a formal process.
The issue is how we will get to citizenship.
Democrats naturally favor the easiest and quickest way to get Hispanic
immigrants citizenship and a voter’s registration card. They advocate a
fast track to citizenship without any regard to the law of unintended
consequences. Although many Democrats have generally viewed laws as mere
guidelines and not hard and fast rules, they would do well to view the
law of unintended consequences as immutable. If you give 17 million
illegal immigrants legal status before establishing a reasonable path to
citizenship and if you make 17 million illegal immigrants legal with
the wave of a wand without controlling our borders, then you will
replicate the problem in short order with ever-staggering numbers.
Republicans would like to see a wall erected on our southern border to
keep the illegal immigrants out. This would be an expensive and
foolhardy venture. The Great Wall of China might just as well be called
the Great Wall of Futility. Walls can be breeched in ways that render
If we are serious about stopping the flow
of illegal immigrants to our country, there is only one way to do it.
We must control immigration at the employer level. We must make the
illegal employment of undocumented immigrants so cost prohibitive that
no employer will chance it. Turn the considerable talents of the
Department of Labor and the IRS away from Tea Party groups and toward
those who profit from inducing illegal immigration and the tide of
immigration will significantly reduce. Much like illegal narcotics, it
is demand that controls the problem and not supply.
inflows of new illegal immigrants curtailed, we may then turn our focus
to bringing the millions of existing non-documented residents into our
system legally and then our nation may, once again, profit from a people
yearning to be free. Freedom loving Americans should honor this shared
dream of liberty.
Dunn is chairman of the Howard County Republican Party.