Spin, Uncontrolled

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on June 11, 2010

Well, the open-borders crowd is at it again. The "compassion" approach to selling the American people on mass amnesty and even higher legal immigration levels failed to attract a following, so the post-Americans are revamping their public message. In other words, open-borders spin spun out on them, so they're changing the language they use to try to sell amnesty and uncontrolled immigration.

Not that zealots aggressively pushing amnesty and mass immigration believe what they're saying. Open-borders advocates have simply "message tested" new words and phrases. They learned the hard way that the public doesn't buy the "the undocumented are only here searching for a better life," "amnesty is the only humane course," "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande" nonsense.

When the amnesty propaganda using the "humanitarian" theme failed, the open-borders cronies escalated "hate" attacks. They sought (and continue) to denigrate their opponents as "xenophobes," "racists," and advocates of "hidden agendas." Never mind that their ad hominem calumnies amount to unfounded claims and gross exaggerations.

They can't win the immigration debate on the merits, so open-borders advocates demonize the people and groups who stand for the rule of law, self-government, and ordered liberty of, by, and for Americans where immigration is concerned. All the zillions of dollars for lobbyists, PR mavens, sham coalitions, letterhead groups, self-serving studies, political payoffs, fat cat spokesmen, etc. haven't succeeded in getting the well-heeled open-borders side much in the way of legislative victory. That side has the monied support of the Soros web to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Heck, they couldn't even stop reauthorization of the E-Verify program or force passage of the DREAM Act (amnesty for illegal aliens who can successfully allege they were brought to the United States before age 16). Not exactly much of a return on investment.

Hence, the change in messaging. The new theme: get tough. Now, there's no actual muscle intended to go along with the tough talk. Watch closely; the substance will remain antipathy toward actual immigration enforcement, continued dismantling of effective enforcement measures, deliberate frustration of common-sense efforts to bar illegal aliens, and the like. As reported by Politico, amnesty proponents will now try to call illegal aliens "illegal immigrants" instead of "undocumented workers," for example.

The new rhetoric will attempt to fool the American people into thinking these advocates have gotten religion. But the only religion the open-borders types have gotten is to pander to average Americans, instead of to the ethnomarxists.

Like Sisyphus and his infernal rock pushing, the pro-amnesty crowd keeps pursuing a near-impossible task: convincing patriotic Americans that legalizing some 11-20 million foreign lawbreakers and making it easier to import additional foreign workers to displace Americans from American jobs is actually good for them and beneficial to the country.

Part of the open-borders crowd's problem is its "repudiation of common sense," as William Voegeli puts it in an excellent essay in the spring issue of the Claremont Review of Books. This essay is well worth reading. Here's just a portion of his keen analysis of how the immigration issue gets addressed by the sort of people in elite circles who might once have been referred to as know-it-alls:

Sometimes the valedictocracy's repudiation of common sense works in the opposite direction: expert analysis shows how things that sound attainable to most people, largely because they were attained routinely for many years, are in reality extraordinarily difficult. Any nation worthy of the name has to defend its territorial integrity, for instance. Doing so includes securing its borders and making clear, consequential distinctions between what will be expected from and by its residents based on whether they are citizens, legal aliens, or illegal aliens. For most of its history, America was not baffled or overwhelmed by the imperative to discharge these fundamental responsibilities. In recent decades, however, the bright lines on the map and in the law that distinguish our country and people from others have become mysteriously blurry and unenforceable.

One effect of this newfound incompetency is that those who are least like the Achievatrons—people who didn't go to college or even finish high school—are forced to compete in the domestic as well as the global labor market against foreign workers. One cause of it is that Achievatrons know the names of Tuscan villages that haven't been discovered by tourists but don't know the name of a single person who really needs a job at a meat-packing plant or cleaning hotel rooms. And because they don't know any such Americans they find it easy to conclude that there are no such Americans, leaving us no choice but to import the labor we need for those tasks. The resulting analytical framework renders illegal immigration a victimless crime, since the only jobs immigrants take are ones for which no American citizen can be hired. Paul Krugman, of all people, has disparaged this consensus, labeling as "intellectually dishonest" the canard that "immigrants do 'jobs that Americans will not do.'" To the contrary, "The willingness of Americans to do a job depends on how much that job pays—and the reason some jobs pay too little to attract native-born Americans is competition from poorly paid immigrants."

In the final analysis, wrapping "comprehensive immigration reform" (which means amnesty and expanded importation of cheap foreign labor) in "get-tough" rhetoric still amounts to bad public policy. It still hurts America and Americans. And it still fails the people whose Constitution our officials are sworn to uphold.