Sunday, September 03, 2006

Insider recounts betrayal

What do US senators really think about Mexican immigration to the US?

Some unexpected information is revealed in an article “Immigration and Usurpation” by Fredo Arias-King. He was an aide to Vicente Fox (who was elected Mexican President) in 1999 and 2000; during this time he discussed the immigration issue, as part of a Mexican delegation, with about 50 US congressmen and senators.

According to Arias-King, 45 of the 50 legislators were clearly pro-immigration. He recollects that some even asked him to “send more”.

This attitude perplexed Arias-King. It was clear from polls that most Americans opposed the mass influx of Mexican immigrants and he found too that most of the American politicians were aware of the “debatable benefits for America as a whole” of such immigration.

And yet all of the Democrat politicians, and all but five of the Republicans, were supportive of mass immigration from Mexico.

Worse, some of the American politicians openly betrayed their constituents. Arias-King tells us that,

While I can recall many accolades for the Mexican immigrants and for Mexican-Americans (one white congressman even gave me a “high five” when recalling that Californian Hispanics were headed for majority status), I remember few instances when a legislator spoke well of his or her white constituents. One even called them “rednecks,” and apologized to us on their behalf for their incorrect attitude on immigration.

Most of them seemed to advocate changing the ethnic composition of the United States as an end in itself.

Some white politicians also pretended to take measures to stem illegal immigration, whilst effectively scuttling any such initiatives:

Some legislators also mentioned to us (oftentimes laughing) how they had “defanged” or “gutted” anti-immigration bills and measures, by neglecting to fund this program or tabling that provision, or deleting the other measure, etc. “Yes, we passed that law, but it can’t work because we also …” was a usual comment to assuage the Mexican delegations ...


One leading Republican senator over a period of months was advising us, through a mutual acquaintance, about which mechanisms to follow and which other legislators to lobby in order to ensure passage of the amnesty proposal. In the meantime, he would speak on television about the need to “militarize” the border.

Why? Arias-King found that,

Democrats wanted increased immigration because Latin American immigrants tend to vote Democrat once naturalized ... and Republicans like immigration because their sponsors (businesses and churches) do.

There is one other important explanation according to Arias-King. In Mexico politics is based to a degree on patron-client relationships. Arias-King believes that American politicians saw some merit in this kind of political culture. He writes:

While Democratic legislators we spoke with welcomed the Latino vote, they seemed more interested in those immigrants and their offspring as a tool to increase the role of the government in society and the economy ... [Several] saw Latinos as more loyal and “dependable” in supporting a patron-client system ...

Also curiously, the Republican enthusiasm for increased immigration also was not so much about voting in the end, even with “converted” Latinos. Instead, these legislators seemingly believed that they could weaken the restraining and frustrating straightjacket devised by the Founding Fathers and abetted by American norms.

These are all interesting points. I doubt, though, that they are really adequate to explain the views of American politicians. It’s unlikely that there is anything so specific to explain pro-immigration attitudes amongst the political class, when the same attitudes are found in the political classes of all Western countries.

There has to be a more general explanation which would explain why Western elites have adopted a pro-immigration stance, whilst non-Western elites (such as the Japanese) have not.

That’s why I often focus on the role of liberalism, since this philosophy is held to (in its left-wing or right-wing forms) by all the major political parties in the West.

(BTW Lawrence Auster has an interesting item up about the way immigration is transforming Detroit.)

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