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The Weekly Standard Has a Post Up on The Campaign Standard Blog Dealing With an Interesting Paradox for GOP Candidates on the Subject of Immigration

Posted by WLS

There  Campaign Standard blog links to an New Yorker article by Ryan Lizza which concerns the idea that the illegal immigration issue is, to some degree, being driven by a few small states that have suffered an unusually high level of illegal hispanic immigration, and that fact has created a political environment on that subject which is out of proportion to the way the large majority of American’s view the problem.  Here’s a passage taken from the article by the blog post:

Anti-immigrant passion also owes much to the disproportionate influence of a few small states in the nominating process. National polls show that, as an issue, immigration is far behind the Iraq war, terrorism, the economy, and health care as a concern to most Americans; a recent Pew poll shows that, nationally, only six per cent of voters offer immigration as the most important issue facing the country. But in Iowa and South Carolina, two of the three most important early states, it is a top concern for the Republicans who are most likely to vote. “It’s the influx of illegals into places where they’ve never seen a Hispanic influence before,” McCain told me. “You probably see more emotion in Iowa than you do in Arizona on this issue. I was in a town in Iowa, and twenty years ago there were no Hispanics in the town. Then a meatpacking facility was opened up. Now twenty per cent of their population is Hispanic. There were senior citizens there who were—‘concerned’ is not the word. They see this as an assault on their culture, what they view as an impact on what have been their traditions in Iowa, in the small towns in Iowa. So you get questions like ‘Why do I have to punch 1 for English?’ ‘Why can’t they speak English?’ It’s become larger than just the fact that we need to enforce our borders.”

It seems to me that Lizza’s article underplays the issue to some degree — its not only right-wing yahoos in the GOP who are troubled by the issue — look at the reaction Spitzer/Clinton got on the “driver’s licenses for illegals” subject. 

But, Lizza is correct in his view that the outrage over the problem is largely a result of the culture shock suffered by a lot of previously homogenous communities who have undergone a wave of unexpected and unexplained immigration. 

I first crossed paths with this phenomenon in the mid-1990’s when I started prosecuting large-scale methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution cases in California.  When California was pretty much the center of the universe for multi-pound meth manufacturing (before home cookers became more prevalent) it was common for large loads of meth to be intercepted leaving Calif. and destined or the mid-west.  Don’t ask me why, but Des Moines was favorite destination — the first case I ever took to trial involved 5 pounds of meth going from a Mexican cooker to a white guy in Des Moines.   

What I later came to learn was that one reason for that arrangement was that large populations of illegals had settled in Iowa — and later into other midwestern and mid-Atlantic/southern states — in order to take decent paying jobs in slaughter houses and meat packing plants, displacing higher paid union jobs in the process.  Because most of these hispancis were illegal — although there were many legal and naturalized Mexican immigrants as well stemming from the Clinton Admin. basically throwing open the border in the mid-1990s to try and wrest control of Calif. from the GOP —  they tended to concentrate themselves in a small geographic area.  Sometimes whole villages would immigrate in groups over a period of several months, and simply transplant themselves from Mexco into the US.   

These little self-contained communities became perfect places for drug traffickers to hide.  They lived among the Spanish-speaking workers and their families, brought meth in from west coast, and sold it into the rural midwestern communities where its popularity  exploded in the 1990s.   Along with these drug networks came lots of crime as well, as drug use among both the illegal immigrants and the citizen communities increased dramatically as a result of its easy availability.

I know from anecdotal experience that similar transformative events happened in Minnesota, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi.

And, to the citizens of those states, much of this seemed to spring upon them overnight and without warning.  I remember talking with local and federal law enforcement guys, and they commented on the open hostility of the long-time local residents toward the illegals that had come in, taken away union jobs, brought drugs and crime to their small towns,  and set themselves up in little separate communities that were not much more than transplanted Mexican villages.  Then you add to those problems the strains placed upon schools and and the local health care systems which weren’t too robust to begin with — we’re not talking about major metropolitan areas, but rather towns with 10,000 or 20,000 residents.  

With that perspective, I can see exactly the point that is attributed to McCain in the piece, and how this history of Iowa and South Carolina, among other states, has shaped the view of the locals towards illegal immigration.  

13 Responses to “The Weekly Standard Has a Post Up on The Campaign Standard Blog Dealing With an Interesting Paradox for GOP Candidates on the Subject of Immigration”

  1. I’ve seen this in my community but I couldn’t beging to explain it as well as you did in a few paragraphs. Excellent post.

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  2. “legal and naturalized Mexican immigrants as well stemming from the Clinton Admin. basically throwing open the border in the mid-1990s to try and wrest control of Calif. from the GOP”

    I’ve never heard this one before.

    whitd (10527e)

  3. The MSM is definitely working overtime trying to convince themselves that the majority does not actually care about illegal immigration despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    I can’t figure out if they are really fooling themselves or not.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  4. whitd — naturalization hearings in central Calif. were moved from courtrooms to stadiums to accommodate the huge numbers.

    wls (6c5569)

  5. Shall we have a straw house, wood house or brick house?”

    With the primary season upon us, both major parties are now starting to make choices as to who will be the presidential nominee. There are many issues to consider, and different people have different opinions as to which issues are the most important. In my view, the two major issues facing America today are terrorism and illegal immigration. So to me, in choosing the best candidate (and party for that matter)I want to know who will do the best job in securing our borders and protecting the American people from future acts of terror. I already know which party will not do either of the above-the Democrats. Therefore, my choice (as an independent) is which Republican will fill the bill. I have yet to settle on one final candidate. I know there are many people out there who believe in open borders, sanctuary and amnesty for illegal aliens, as well as a diplomatic approach to the terrorism problem. I strongly disagree with those opinions.

    I have chosen the fairy tale of the Three Little Pigs to make my point. Is it simplistic? Sure it is, but often, truth is simple. The question I raise for all Americans is this: If you think we live in a dangerous world, where would you prefer to live-in a straw house, wood house or brick house? If you think we should be able to control who comes into our country, where would you prefer to live-in a straw house, wood house or brick house? If you think we could experience another 9-11, which house is preferred- straw house, wood house or brick house?

    Now if you are one who believes in open borders and a cessation of our War on Terror-involving our military, then in my view, a straw house is ok for you. Not for me.

    In this world we live in today, I feel we need a brick house. The only question for me in this election is- who will build the brick house?

    gary fouse

    fouse, gary c (66502e)

  6. Well said. Is this phenomenon also sometimes being characterized as the “Balkanization” of America? I prefer a brick house and english only.

    atmom (023baa)

  7. “whitd — naturalization hearings in central Calif. were moved from courtrooms to stadiums to accommodate the huge numbers.”

    And you think this was a clinton administration policy to move naturalizations faster for political purposes, not any other reason (say, like, there being lots of applicants, there being a backlog, etc…). I’ve heard its harder now. But I think its 9/11. Not nativism.

    Do you have numbers on naturalization?

    whitd (10527e)

  8. House Policy Committee
    Policy Perspective

    Christopher Cox, Chairman

    Clinton Administration’s Own Verdict:
    Damage From ‘Citizenship USA’ [INS] Can Never Be Undone
    May 12, 1997

    Last year the press revealed rampant corruption and abuse in the Clinton Administration’s scandal-wracked “Citizenship USA” program, a blatant attempt to naturalize a million prospective Clinton voters before the Presidential election.
    News reports showed: (1) that control of the supposedly non-partisan $95 million taxpayer-funded initiative was moved from the INS to the Clinton White House; (2) that the Administration turned naturalization over to advocacy groups linked to the Democratic Party; and (3) that the Administration failed to complete FBI background checks for nearly 20% of the record-breaking 1.05 million people naturalized in FY 1996.
    In the ensuing scandal, the Clinton Administration repeatedly promised wholesale reforms that would undo the damage from Citizenship USA and prevent future abuses. Now internal reports, outside reviews, and House and Senate hearings have revealed that these were hollow promises. By the Administration’s own admission, the program remains a shambles, and the damage it has wrought can never be undone.

    See more here

    tmac (5408eb)

  9. whitd — there’s no question that it was a Clinton Admin. policy.

    The issue was the backlog of naturalization applications that had built up since the 1986 amnesty, and lax border enforcement that followed Clinton’s election. After Clinton was elected in 1992, but suffered huge losses in the mid-term election of 1994, there was a push made by Dems to bolster voter registration in California and elsewhere, and a huge uncaptured segment of potential voters were newly naturalized immigrants.

    When naturalizations were kicked into overdrive in 1995 and 1996, in case any of the new citizens were confused about who to thank, the Dem. Party of Calif. was stationed just outside the various venues with “Bill Clinton for President” buttons and bumper stickers, as well as voter registration materials.

    Do you think it was simple serendipity that led California to go from supporting Nixon, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Reagan, Bush for Pres — Deukmejian, Deukmejian, Wilson, Wilson for governor — as well as a history of splitting its two Senators between the parties until the election of Feinstein and Boxer in 1992 — to being basically non-competitive by the GOP at just about every level of state and federal government, with the exception of smaller Congressional Districts since 1996?

    wls (6c5569)

  10. 9

    “… and lax border enforcement that followed Clinton’s election.”

    This is partisan BS. Bush is worse than Clinton on illegals.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  11. This is partisan BS. Bush is worse than Clinton on illegals.

    Step 1.) Find a dictionary.
    Step 2.) Look up the defintion of followed.

    Taltos (4dc0e8)

  12. James B. Shearer — the fact that Bush 43 has been bad on border enforcement doesn’t change the fact that lax border enforcement began under Clinton.

    I’m not defending Bush 43 Admin. policies, but I lived through Clinton Admin. immigration policies in the 1990s in Central California, and I work(ed) in the business so don’t tell me what happened.

    It was a commonly joked about subject that INS Naturalization proceedings throughtout 1995 and 1996 were moved from a courtroom in the Federal Building to a convention center auditorium, and eventually to a college football stadium because the number of newly naturalized citizens and their families increased from several dozen to several hundred to eventually several thousand — all in time for the 1996 election season.

    This happened up and down California.

    Or do you think the following is simply coincidental? The numbers are GOP %, Dem %, and 3rd Party %

    1968: 48 — 44 — 7 (Wallace)
    1972: 55 — 42
    1976: 49 — 48
    1980: 53 — 36 — 9 (Anderson)
    1984: 58 — 41
    1988: 52 — 48
    1992: 33 — 46 — 21 (Perot)

    Avg: 50 — 43

    1996: 38 — 51 — 7 (Perot)
    2000: 42 — 53 — 4 (Nader)
    2004: 44 — 54

    Avg: 41 — 53

    So, since 1996, the GOP has lost an average of 9 points off its Calif. vote total, whereas the Dems have gained 10 points. No Dem candidate for Pres. had garnered 50% of the popular vote in Calif. during 7 elections between 1968 and 1992 — with only two reaching as high as 48 — but 3 Dem candidates since 1996 have all broken the 50% threshold while winning in the state comfortably.

    But liberalized naturalization of Hispanics in the lead up to the 1996 election cycle had nothing to do with it?

    WLS (dfa1f1)

  13. “But liberalized naturalization of Hispanics in the lead up to the 1996 election cycle had nothing to do with it?”

    It could have. You’d expect the naturalization numbers to rise dramatically following dramatic rises in applications. People who got the 86 amnesty started being eligible in the early 90’s. I don’t think, though, that lax border enforcement in the 90’s has anything to do with naturalizations.

    As to the republican loss in california, there could be several factors. Such as people not liking republicans. and Prop 187.

    whitd (10527e)

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