Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Part 3Mass Migration Favors Democrats

Mass Migration Favors Democrats

Mass Migration Favors Democrats
Jon E. Dougherty,
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Immigrants have become a huge political tool used by politicians in Washington as benefactors for new voting rolls, as well as big corporate donors. But despite the leaders of both major political parties looking the other way as the immigration problem worsens, mass migration will likely hurt the Republican Party in the long run, say experts.
"Immigrant groups, like Hispanics, are seeing their political clout grow as members of their ethnic group grow in the country," David Ray, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Newsmax.

"Your Wall Street Republicans see mass immigration as a necessary component to capitalism, that cheap workers are a necessity and even, perhaps, a right," said Ray. "Democrats see immigrants as the next group of loyal constituents."

Dems Favored by Mass Immigration

Craig Nelson of the immigration reform group, Friends of Immigration Law Enforcement(FILE) says, with a laugh, regarding the mass immigration problem, "you'd have to believe politicians are short-sighted, and only care about the next election."

"Karl Rove is no dummy," he said. "The White House knows about the problem. But what [Washington] is really concerned about is November rather than 2010 or whatever," he said, regarding the short- and long-term implications of mass immigration.

Other analysts say so much immigration is benefiting Democrats over Republicans.

"It would be unfair to describe immigration as a voter registration drive for the Democrats," says Steve Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies. "But it would also be inaccurate to say that it has a kind of neutral effect on the political balance" in the U.S.

"Immigrants are clearly trending towards the Democrats," he said, for three primary reasons.

For one, says Camarota, immigrants tend to be poor, which -- at least rhetorically -- plays into the hands of Democrats. "They have a more appealing set of policy options, so to speak, for immigrants," he told NewsMax. "I realize conservatives would counter, 'Yes, but our policies [of individual achievement and capitalism] are actually better for the poor,' and that may or may not be," he said. "I’m just saying the low income tend towards Democrats."

For another, immigrants "benefit from race and ethnic-specific policies" favored by liberals and Democrats, said Camarota. "Most notably, this applies to affirmative action, but there are others."

Third, "immigrants tend to gravitate toward their own leaders in America, and the immigrant elite -- especially Hispanics -- are overwhelmingly Democrats," said Camarota.

"If you look at the policies of Hispanic officials, intellectuals and journalists, they are overwhelmingly Democratic," he said. "If you found an 80-20 split [between Hispanic Democrats and Republicans], I'd be surprised. It's probably more like 90-10."

Ray agrees. "Many immigrants [who] arrive poor and have a hard time making it in America rely on the social programs that Democrats love to hand out."

In the Long Run

He says in the long run, mass immigration will favor Democrats politically, though in the short term, "it will favor the money interests of the Republican Party."

"The major miscalculation the GOP is making is that they're not going to be able to win the immigrant vote through family values," said Ray. "But immigrants, like everyone else, vote with their pocketbooks. As long as we keep selecting immigrants the way we are today, they're going to be overwhelmingly Democrats."

Analysts believe states that are up for grabs now politically -- such as Illinois -- will trend more Democratic as immigration increases the U.S. population in the coming years. Meanwhile, says Camarota, states "that are solidly Republican, such as Texas and Arizona, will go into play. It's not that the GOP will lose every time, but states that overwhelmingly Republican will, long-term, begin to shift" towards the Democrats.

Democratic states -- New York, California -- will remain solidly so, he says.

Ray says it would be better to select immigrants on the basis of they're being able to make it in the U.S. once they get here, and hence, "less reliant on public services."

Balkan American States?

These days, however, many of the immigrants—legal and illegal—come to reap the financial benefits America offers them (jobs, health care, social benefits) without burdening themselves with the task of becoming citizens.

Many of those that do remain insist so much on keeping their ethnicity, culture and heritage alive, they refer to themselves in a hyphenated sense -- Hispanic-Americans or Latino-Americans -- and work hard not to assimilate into American society, but to remain aloof from it. That has experts worried.

Some demographers and immigration analysts have suggested that as America dissolves into a nation not dominated by any ethnic group, cultural tensions could rise to the boiling point.

Other analysts say a society needs commonalities like language, customs, culture and history as fabrics to hold it together. Differences tend to segregate people, not unite them, which could lead to misunderstandings, violence and chaos, they argue.

"We certainly have never had the kind of immigration before that we have now," Camarota said.

Sam Huntington, in the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine, believes the current wave of immigration will eventually create two Americas.

"Continuation of this large immigration (without improved assimilation) could divide the United States into a country of two languages and two cultures," Huntington, a distinguished political scientist who heads the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, wrote.

Like Nelson, Huntington sees the current wave of immigration as unprecedented, especially in terms of numbers. European immigrations from the 19th and early 20th centuries also formed their own ethnic enclaves, but they generally dropped most of their ancestry -- including language -- and assimilated English and American-born culture.

But he believes the current wave of mostly Mexican Hispanic immigrants is different. "Demographically, socially and culturally, the reconquista (re-conquest) of the southwestern United States by Mexican immigrants is well underway," wrote Huntington. "Hispanic leaders are actively seeking to transform the United States into a bilingual society."

Others disagree. "Samuel Huntington is raising a legitimate question - it's just that he's wrong," Cornell University professor Victor Nee, co-author of "Remaking the American Mainstream," a study of immigration and assimilation, told the Chicago Tribune.

"I was shocked by its crudity, " Princeton University sociologist Douglas Massey, who has studied Mexican-American immigration, told the paper. "It's an affront to scholarship."


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