The ‘Immigration Backlash’ Myth

By Debra Saunders
Real Clear Politics.com

Of course America needs immigrants. This is a country founded by immigrants and made richer by the imprint of newcomers in search of a land that rewards their hard work and determination to make a better life for their families.

The problem is that no country — certainly, no country with a social safety net — can afford to accommodate everyone who wants in. (Or as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., put it, “We cannot be the HMO to the world.”) That’s why there are immigration policies that limit the number of people who can immigrate here legally.

The lack of an open-door policy has spawned this week’s victim class, illegal or “undocumented” immigrants, who have flouted American law and apparently believe they should not have to pay the consequences of that choice. Hence Sunday’s huge demonstration in Los Angeles, where activists carried signs that called for “Amnistia, Full Rights for All Immigrants.”

The Los Angeles Times duly reported, “Some Republicans fear that pushing too hard against illegal immigrants could backfire nationally, as with Proposition 187 (the 1994 ballot measure that sought to deny benefits for illegal immigrants that) helped spur record numbers of California Latinos to become U.S. citizens and register to vote. Those voters subsequently helped Democrats regain political control in the state.”

Call that the Backlash Myth. In fact, Prop. 187 passed with 59 percent of the vote, and GOP Gov. Pete Wilson, who championed the measure, was re-elected in 1994. In 2003, when Democratic Gov. Gray Davis signed a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses, he so enraged voters that he sealed his political demise. After Davis was recalled from office, the heavily Democratic California Legislature repealed the bill.

That’s your backlash.

Don’t blame racism. While some in the media may think all Latinos vote alike, the Los Angeles Times poll found that 38 percent of Latino voters in California strongly opposed giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

If there is a backlash, it probably will be against the demonstrators. Even before students began blocking the Los Angeles streets to protest legislation in Congress to toughen penalties for illegal immigrants and smugglers, Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies told me over the telephone, “I hope they keep doing it. It just makes it less and less likely the Senate’s going to pass any amnesty.”

A bill passed by the House would make it a felony for illegal immigrants to stay in the United States. Jeff Lungren of the House Judiciary Committee explained that, while it is a crime to cross the border illegally, staying here after sneaking in or after your visa expires has been only a civil offense. The House wanted to make it an actual crime.

When members of Congress complained that a felony was too harsh, House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner put forward an amendment in December to reduce the proposed penalty to a misdemeanor.

This shows what a setup the felony issue was: Only eight Dems voted to reduce the penalty, and the amendment failed by a 257-164 vote. U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., announced that she opposed the misdemeanor amendment because: “In one stroke, it would subject the entire undocumented population, estimated by some to be 11 million people, to criminal liability.” So the Dems stuck with the felony language.

Rohrabacher stresses that 90 percent of illegal immigrants — if not more — are “wonderful human beings.” He notes that no one expects the government to deport all 11 million or 12 million illegal immigrants in America.

The answer is for Washington to toughen enforcement, penalize employers who hired undocumented workers and make border crossing more costly. Then fewer people will move illegally to America.

Instead, on Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill with a guest-worker program that would allow illegal immigrants to apply for citizenship. Big mistake. If Washington passes an immigration bill that grants citizenship to illegal immigrants and includes a phony temporary guest-worker program — phony, because there is no way the government can or would remove workers after six years, as one scheme promises — then the deception will be official. The message Washington will send will resound louder than ever: Forget immigration laws. Legal, illegal, no dif.

Debra Saunders can be reached at: dsaunders@sfchronicle.com


Spencer: Fantasies about Jihad

By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | March 15, 2006

I recently spoke at the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference in The Hague, which focused on Europe’s growing immigration crisis and imminent Islamization; Bat Ye’or, Ibn Warraq, Daniel Pipes, Douglas Murray and others were also featured speakers. The first night we were in The Hague there was a reception for us at the American Embassy. The new Ambassador, Roland E. Arnall, hadn’t arrived yet, but I had a pleasant conversation with our host, Deputy Chief of Mission Chat Blakeman.

Blakeman introduced me to an official of the Dutch Ministry of Integration, who spends her days in dialogue with Dutch imams and other Muslim leaders. We began a wide-ranging discussion about the nature of the jihad threat and the proper response to it. In the course of this I asked her how many Muslim leaders she encountered who were ready to lay aside attachment to the Sharia, accept the Dutch governmental and societal structure and the parameters of Dutch pluralism, and be willing to live in Dutch society as equals to, not superiors of, non-Muslims indefinitely. She told me that there were only very few, but insisted that we had to work with those few, and indeed had to place our faith and hope in them, for otherwise the future was impossibly bleak. I asked her if she had read the Qur’an. She told me no, she hadn’t, and wouldn’t, because she didn’t want to lose all hope — and because whatever was in it, she still had to work to find some accord with the Muslim leaders, no matter what.

I urged her to ask the imams with whom she spoke questions that made their loyalties clear, insofar as they would answer them honestly. I urged her to ask them whether they would like to see Sharia implemented in the Netherlands at any time in the future, and whether they were working toward that end in any way, peaceful as well as violent. I asked her to ask them whether they would be content to live as equals with non-Muslims indefinitely in a Dutch pluralistic society, or whether they would ultimately hope to institute Islamic supremacy and the subjugation of non-Muslims.

She couldn’t ask them those questions, she told me. Such questions would immediately put their relationship on a confrontational plane, when cooperation was what they wanted, not confrontation. But, I sputtered, you’re not getting cooperation as it is. The confrontation is already upon us. What is to be gained by pretending that it isn’t happening?

I don’t envy this articulate and intelligent young lady her job. But her remarks reminded me of a message I received not long ago, after I had criticized former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid’s bit of Wall Street Journal puffery about how Islam is really a religion of peace. A reader took me to task for “suggesting that Islam is irredeemable in some sense.” He asked: “if we assume this to be true, what is to be done. What would Mr. Spencer suggest that this or any American president do to deal with this reality. Wahid was thought to be a step in the right direction when he was president of the extremely large population of Indonesia, but if he is not much more than a ‘trumped-up counterfeit,’ where do we go from here.”

Where do we go from here? We go to reality. We stop deceiving ourselves and allowing ourselves to be deceived by others. If Wahid was being disingenuous about the teachings of Islam, then he doesn’t offer Westerners hope. He offers them a weak reed that will collapse when they need it the most. Why? Because Muslims who are attracted by the siren song of jihad will see through his pleasing platitudes and recognize how slim a case he really has with reference to the Islamic texts. Westerners can be fooled by him, and Muslims can’t. The young lady in the Dutch Ministry of Integration, despite her best efforts to ignore or deny this reality, kept coming up against it: she found that only a small minority of Muslim leaders in Holland were at all interested in working toward integration.

Eventually the Dutch Ministry of Integration and other administrative bodies in the Western world are going to have to come to grips with the implications of that fact, and with the implications of other facts about Islamic jihad that so far they have preferred to pretend did not exist. What would I suggest that the President do about this reality? I would suggest that he acknowledge it as a reality. That he address the nation and the world, and tell them that the United States is going to lead the resistance to jihad and Sharia supremacism in the name of equality of rights and dignity of all peoples. That any state that oppresses non-Muslims or denies them equality of rights in any way will receive no American aid whatsoever. That any state that allows the idea that Muslims must make war against non-Muslims until they either convert to Islam or submit to the Islamic social order will be no friend of the United States. That the idea that the U.S. Constitution should one day be replaced by Islamic Sharia, whether by violent or non-violent means, will be understood within the United States as seditious.

The Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference was one small effort to bring Dutch officials, and ultimately the West at large, to confront the realities of our world that the world is doing all it can to deny. Bat Ye’or spoke about how European officials themselves had brought Eurabia into being by encouraging immigration while eschewing assimilation at the insistence of the Arab League. Only now are Europeans realizing that their culture, their soul, has been sold by their leaders for oil, and the jihad is upon them.

It is a reality so bleak that it is no wonder that most officials prefer fantasy. But they won’t be able to maintain their comfortable illusions much longer.



The Significance of Purim 2006

Today is the Jewish holiday of Purim – in the Jewish calendar it is the 14th day of the Month of Adar (Also, coincidentally, in 2006, the 14th of March). I thought it would be appropriate to provide some insight into the holiday by posting Yoram Ettinger’s “The Significance of Purim 2006”

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PURIM, 2006

The FOURTEENTH/FIFTEENTH DAYS of the Jewish month of ADAR commemorate the NATIONAL LIBERATION of the Jewish People in Persia and the victory of Judah the Maccabee over Nikanor, the Assyrian commander. The sign of Adar is FISH, which is a symbol of demographic multiplication, in defiance of adversity. Moses – the role model of leadership – was born, and died, on the seventh day of Adar. Adar is the root of “to glorify” (“LeHaAdir”).

1. MORDECHAI, the hero of Purim, is a role model of walking against the grain and sustaining one’s (Jewish) heritage with pride, in defiance of a global power and in spite of the (Jewish) establishment, thus producing deliverance for the Jewish People. The first three Hebrew letters of “Mordechai” spell the Hebrew word “Rebellion” (“Mered”), which is consistent with the motto/legacy of the American Founding Fathers: “Rebellion Against Tyranny is Obedience to G-D”). Mordechai – who would not bow to Haman, the second most powerful person in the Persian Empire and who would not compromise his values/principles as did the Jewish establishment – was a member of the tribe of Benjamin, the only son of Jacob who did not bow to Esau.

2. ESTHER, the heroine of Purim was Mordechai’s cousin. The name Esther is a derivative of the Hebrew word for “clandestine”, “hidden”, “covert” (Hester), which was reflective of her (initially) unknown Jewish identity at the royal court. In fact, the one day pre-Purim Fast of Esther (commemorating the three day fast declared by Esther in order to expedite deliverance), was cherished by the Maranos in Spain, who performed Judaism in a clandestine manner. The Scroll of Esther is the only book in the Old Testament, where the name of G-D is hidden/absent. Some of the Sages suggested that the explicit name of G-D is absent because the Scroll of Esther is the only Old Testament book, which deals exclusively with the Diaspora and not with the land of Israel.

3. KING AHASUERUS-XERXES, who heeded the advice of Mordechai, overruling Haman’s intent to exterminate the Jews, prospered as a result of his change of heart and escaped assassination. That was the case with Pharaoh, who escaped national collapse and starvation and rose in global prominence, once he appointed Joseph to be his deputy.

4. POLITICAL INCORRECTNESS underlies Mordechai’s legacy. When Esther expressed reluctance to unveil her Jewish identity, challenge the King’s and Haman’s policy, and intervene on behalf of the Jewish People – lest she be punished by the King – Mordechai reproached her: “If you shall remain silence, there will be [divine] deliverance, but you and your family shall perish.” According to the Sages, Esther avoided the fate of Job, who was a top advisor to Pharaoh, but did not contest the policy of Jewish extermination.

5. CONVICTION-DRIVEN TRANSPARENCY and BLUNTNESS are few of the lessons of Purim, as narrated by Esther Scroll, “Megilat Esther” in Hebrew. The root of “Megilah” is “Galeh” – exposed, overt, in-the-open – the opposite of “Esther”-“Haster”. The contradiction between these terms is a cardinal lesson of Judaism – life is not a picnic; it is complex, full of contradictions and difficult dilemmas. Therefore, one should be driven by principles, rather than by shifty convenience, in order to attain one’s goals. Just as the covert becomes overt, so is pessimism transformed into optimism, if one adheres to one’s conviction, rather than to one’s immediate convenience.

6. THE FOUR COMMANDMENTS OF PURIM:

*The reading/studying of Esther Scroll within the family – highlights the centrality of FAMILY, EDUCATION and MEMORY/COMMEMORATION as the foundation for a solid future.

*Celebration and Happiness – sustains the element of OPTIMISM and FAITH as the backbone of an individual and a nation.

*Gifts to relatives and friends – emphasizes the importance of FAMILY and social bonds.

*Charity to the poor (at least the value of a meal) – indicates the value of CONSIDERATION and CARING for the other person.

7. COMMEMORATION and DESTRUCTION OF A LETHAL ENEMY. The pre-Purim Sabbath is called “Memorial Sabbath” (“Shabbat Zakhor”), commemorating the war of extermination launched by the Amalekites against the Jewish Nation, since the Exodus from Egypt. One of Purim’s lessons is that there are enemies, whose strategic goal is extermination and not accommodation. They should be treated as mortal enemies and not as partners for peace. Mordechai was a descendant of King Saul, who defied a clear commandment and spared the life of Agag, the king of the Amalekites, thus causing further calamities upon the Jewish People. Therefore, Saul lost his life and his royal position. Mordechai rectified his ancestor’s record, by producing the demise of Haman (a descendant of Agag the Amalekite) and his family, which spared the Jew Nation a major calamity.


Congratulations to Michael Tenenbaum

Sometimes life takes strange turns. Michael Tenenbaum a young lawyer and active Republican in Ventura County, decided a few days ago to run for Congress against another Republican, Elton Gallegly. Expecting a tough fight, Tenenbaum nonetheless thought he could beat Gallegly for the seat.

On Friday afternoon, Gallegly decided not to run, leaving the field open for Tenenbaum, but effectively closing the door on any other Republican who wanted to run, since the filing deadline was 5:00pm on Friday.

For a detailed report on why Gallegly decided not to run and what it means read Jon Fleishman’s article in FlashReport, “CD24: Gallegly’s selfish maneuver is Tenenbaum’s good fortune”

Tenenbaum heads up the Republican Jewish Coalition in Ventura County and has been an active Republican in the County. He was appointed to the State Central Committee by Leslie Cornejo, Chairman of the Ventura County Republican Party.

Congratulations to Michael Tenenbaum. He will make a great Congressman.

Republicans reject Governor’s and Democrats bond plan.

Governor Schwarzenegger presented a bill, authored by Democrats, for the issuance of bonds to pay for infrastructure in the State of California. The bill was rejected unanimously by the Republican Caucus.

Jon Fleishman of FlashReport writes:

I had a chat with Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman this morning, to talk about last night’s late session to take up the first-pass at passing a general obligation bond package that is a central part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan. Ackerman told me that after a couple of days of very meaningful negotiations and dialogue, Senate Democrats put up a bill that was so untenable to the entire Republican Caucus that they all unanimously voted no. When I asked Ackerman about the dynamics of the vote he said, “All my caucus members had to do was read the proposal and they all voted no.”

The bond package put up for a vote by Senate President Pro-Tem Don Perata only vaguely resembles the original proposals for an infrastructure plan proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger back in his January State of the State Address. While the Governor has been focused on trying to achieve some sort of consensus and get a compromise plan out of the legislature — the massive borrowing package voted on last night was more like a Democrat SUBSTITUTE for the Governor’s plan.

Besides the fact that a lot of important GOP ‘must have’ components were absent – including much-needed CEQA reforms, and bond debt limit, and any meaningful commitment to pay-as-you-go — this package was like a Christmas tree on steroids, threatening to collapse under the weight of massive ornaments — these being massive spending on programs that go well beyond the scope of the mortar-and-brick types of construction that Californian’s think of when they hear the word ‘infrastructure’.

You can read a lot more about this in an insightful and telling MUST READ article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, by reporter Greg Lucas, where you can read quotes like this one:

“Protection of environmental resources is as much of a long-term investment in California’s future as is the construction of public works that provide water or improve transportation or schools,” said Tom Graff, regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund in Oakland.

The list of massive amounts of funding that go towards an extreme liberal’s view of ‘infrastructure’ is amazing, and you can read about much of it in the Lucas piece.

“It’s far from bricks and mortar, far from setting priorities for getting people from home to their jobs faster,” said Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster in Lucas’ article.

It is precisely the focus of legislative Democrats on all of this non-infrastructure ‘social engineering’ nonsense that has put California in this bind in the first place.

In the meantime, Senate Democrats’ zeal for environmental programs is exceeded by their steadfast opposition to “above ground storage” for water — which, when you take away all of the jargon, means they don’t want any more dams built in California. But no one is really talking about an Hetch-Hetchy style high sierra dams, but rather some rather broad a shallow water storage in some of California’s most remote areas, where the only endangered species is the California Dirt Clod.

Anyways, Ackerman went on to say that he thinks that negotiations will pick up again on Monday morning, and he felt that the legislature probably had until as late as Tuesday to pass something for consideration on the June ballot.

Ackerman made it clear that in his caucus, there is a resolve to let a deadline slip for June if the tradeoff would mean supporting a package such as the one presented to the full Senate last night.

As for Assembly Republicans — their resolve is also strong. I had an opportunity to spend some time with Assemblywoman Lynn Daucher last night, and she was very firm in her belief there is “not one Republican vote” for a infrastructure proposal that is absent the needed reforms that have been discussed — all of the ones absent from the plan advanced by Democrats last night.

The Republican Caucus has a plan for the infrastructure bonds that would cost the taxpayers of California much less than the current plan. The plan would involve “pay as you go” plans, reduction of the amount of the bonds for non-essential improvements, and other ways to reduce the ultimate cost, but provide the funds needed to complete the infrastructure improvements over the next ten years.

Steve Frank, Political Analyst, and author of California Political News and Views wrote this article before the vote, but it describes the problems with the current plan.

The issue is clear. California has massive infrastructure needs. Roads, levees. water projects. Note, I do not say schools. That is because the extremely large number of illegal aliens in the Los Angeles schools have stolen education money from honest students. And, the Los Angeles District is so corrupt and incompetent, that they have “lost” track of over one billion dollars–why give these folks more money?

But the Guv has shown himself to be a creative negotiator. Even though not a single member of the Republican Caucus in the State Assembly (congratulations to moderate Keith Richman for standing tall against billions in bonded indebtedness thrown on the backs of California’s hard working families) supports this effort, the Governor continues to negotiate with the Democrats for a deal. Yes, the Democrats, not the Republicans. Assemblyman Chuck DeVore iN a blog today noted, “Of course, if we do vote on Sunday, none of us on the Republican side will have actually read the bills on which we will be voting as they are negotiated between the governor and Democrats with the Republicans viewed as a kind of annoying little brother who keeps interrupting the discussion.”

To make the point even clearer. On Wednesday of this week the Governor, after spending hours with the Democrats appeared at the Republican Assembly Caucus. He showed them a few pages with numbers on them (I have copies of the documents), no details, no priorities, no explanation what the $71 billion in bonds, and $222 billion in total expenditure, will buy. No discussion as to whether the unions get to keep prevailing wage and Little Davis-Bacon, the enviros get to keep the lawyer enriching environmental laws or whether there would be any reforms the Governor asked for last Fall. Instead, the GOP’ers were told, “this deal is good for California”. Yes, but what is the deal?

Would you authorize spending $71 billion without seeing the details? That is what the governor is asking 120 members of the legislature. First vote the money, then I will give you the complete details.

Here are some of the numbers and an explanation:

$135 million for “farm worker housing”. Why aren’t the farmers paying for this, instead of the taxpayer? Plus, maybe a majority of the farm workers are illegal aliens–why are we building housing for illegal aliens?

$4.7 billion for mass transit, out of $11.3 billion in the 2006 bond–yet only $1 billion in road maintenance at the same time (STIP spending)

$2 billion for “Trade Infrastructure”–but no explanation what that is and how the money will be spent

$300 million for “Transit Oriented Development”–what is this? Is some of this money for eminent domain? No idea, because there was no explanation.

Good business people don’t spend this kind of money without extensive hearings, investigation and understanding. At best they will be given 48 hours to look at everything before they will be forced to vote on Sunday, March 12. Is this the way to do business? Is there any wonder folks have no trust in Sacramento, when they decide to spend this much money with absolutely no oversite and little explanation!

This is a twenty year plan to be decided by the legislature in less than 48 hours, with most not even getting to see the complete deal. What ticking bombs are in the plan? How much for attorneys to fight the battles of the environmentalists? How much more in programs can be in spent if Reforms are put into place? What are the ramification for other needs of the State if these pass? How much in current programs will need to be cut to pay for the interest payments. How much of the “education” money goes to Los Angeles and how much to the rest of the State?

These are just some of the question not answered. The phrase “Rush To Judgement” comes to mind.

As I was finishing the editing of this piece a friend called and asked me what I was doing. When I told him that I was writing a piece on the governor’s Infrastructure Plan, he said, “What Plan?”

I look forward to the thorough analysis of the plan, before the vote, by Senator Tom McClintock. I, along with other conservatives trust his judgement on fiscal matters. He said, at the California Republican Assembly convention last weekend that he would continue speaking out against wrong economic policy, regardless of the source. I offer this space to Senator McClintock, free of editing, to explain his reasons for supporting or opposing the Democrat/Governors proposal on the infrastructure. Tom, the people of California are looking forward to your voice.

The Governor needs to present a plan that is fiscally responsible so that he can get the Republicans to support it, and that plan needs to explain where and what the funds are going to be used for.

UPDATE:
Others blogging on this topic include BoifromTroy, Bill Bradley and FlashReport



McClintock at the CRA Convention

McClintock at the CRA Convention

I am attending the California Republican Assembly Endorsing Convention in, of all places, Bakersfield, California. I haven’t been to Bakersfield in probably 25 years, but it isn’t the sleepy agricultural/oil community it was then.
Continue reading “McClintock at the CRA Convention”