At These Costs
Richard Nadler’s piece “At What Cost?” (February 23) states that “attempts to remove illegals have diminished the conservative movement.” The piece reflects the false choice often presented to Republicans: Support amnesty or offend Hispanic voters.
On National Review Online I have presented data showing that support for amnesty is not a guarantor of GOP appeal to Hispanics, and that opposition is not a deal-breaker for them. But there is something more fundamental than the data to address: the suggestion that we should sacrifice values in order to pander to a particular group of potential voters. If we approach the Hispanic vote in this manner, which values will Nadler suggest we relinquish next, and for the purpose of attracting which group?
Republicans can successfully appeal to Hispanics — both native-born and legal immigrants — by focusing on the fundamental values of patriotism, rule of law, freedom, family, support for small businesses and jobs, and education. It’s what Bush did in 2004, when he received 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. His Spanish-language ads focused on values and small-business issues, not immigration. Hispanic outreach based on these and other conservative values and American ideals will bind us instead of divide us and strengthen the GOP by attracting Hispanic support.
Another premise of Nadler’s piece — that Republicans advocate mass deportation – is also false. The truth is that we advocate the rule of law. And we have the credibility to do so, since the U.S. has the most generous legal-immigration policy in the world — we admit a million legal immigrants every year. We don’t need to apologize for insisting that newcomers play by the rules, and surveys show that most Hispanics agree.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas)
Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee
Richard Nadler replies: To enforce residency laws, you must remove those who reside here illegally. This remains true whether you round up border jumpers in shackles, starve them into flight, or terrorize their friends and employers into ratting them out. By whatever name you market it, Hispanics aren’t buying, as I explain in my more extensive online response.
As to core beliefs: I don’t know exactly when it became conservative to alienate farmers, ranchers, and chambers of commerce en masse, or when it became “law abiding” to void 7 million private labor agreements, destroying entire export industries. I don’t know when it became principled to advocate home and workplace invasion on a massive scale, throwing 7 million households into crisis — households that include 5 million children and 3.5 million American citizens — over the protests of the most organized pro-life entity in American life, the Catholic Church. But I do know that this moral, economic, and political madness must stop.