Center for Immigration Studies research director Steven Camarota paid a visit to the raving conspiracy theorists at the Talk to Solomon Show late last month to discuss the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan immigration reform proposal.
Host Stan Solomon started off the discussion with a rant about immigration reform amounting to “total surrender” for conservatives because undocumented immigrants will somehow start committing large-scale voter fraud in favor of Democratic candidates. Camarota replied that while allowing a path to citizenship would be “boon for the Democratic Party in general,” it is in fact legal immigration that “dooms” conservatives. “Legal immigration means conservatives are going to have a tough time in the coming decades, if it’s allowed to continue,” he said. “Obviously we could change it.”
Later in the discussion, Camarota called the provision of the Fourteenth Amendment that grants birthright citizenship to children born in the United States “unwise,” saying that it amounts to “squatter’s rights” for undocumented immigrants.
Camarota then presented his novel twist on the concept of “self-deportion,” the extreme strategy developed by Camarota’s boss Mark Krikorian and disastrously embraced by Mitt Romney. After several years of making life so miserable for undocumented immigrants that they leave the country, Camarota suggests, “then we can come back and decide if there’s some share of the population that are left that we might want to amnesty.”
Solomon: Anyone that believes that this is anything less than total surrender, total amnesty and a total victory for liberalism and the Democrat Party, because all these people will become Democrats before they become citizens, and by the way they’ll vote too because we won’t allow them, anyone, to be identified because it would be somehow wrong to ask them if they’re legal or citizens yet before they vote. So, everyone knows this is a game-changer for America. Am I right or wrong?
Camarota: Right, I mean, it’s a long-term boon for the Democratic Party in general. The amnesty is…there’s something else, I mean, you know, I guess people may not realize, it’s legal immigration that mainly kind of dooms…Well, I don’t know that it doom’s Republicans, that’s just simply not fair. It dooms, sort of, conservatives. Because all of the survey research on the new immigrants, well, at least the ones we can do on Hispanics and Asians, are overwhelmingly in favor of government regulation, more spending, that sort of thing. And we have anecdotal evidence that the small number of European immigrants who come in now also are quite liberal in their political orientation, so the political system will respond to that. I mean, sure, it would be wrong to say it’s just simply a voter registration drive. But legal immigration means conservatives are going to have a tough time in the coming decades, if it’s allowed to continue. Obviously we could change it.
The bottom line, though, is when you haven’t enforced the law very much for twenty years, it’s like, maybe the analogy is squatter’s rights. Or at least this is Marco Rubio and his analysis is that they have a kind of squatter’s rights. And there are perhaps four to five million U.S.-born children now of illegal immigrants. Now, whether we should have given citizenship to people’s children, to a child born in the United States to an illegal parent – virtually no other country in the world would do that, but we do – you know, it’s a fair question to say that was unwise, but we did it. So now, we’re in a very tough situation.
But I do think that we don’t have to deport everyone. The best research indicates that about 200,000 illegal immigrants go home on their own each year. So, it’s just that more than that come and that’s what caused the population to grow. But we think the number coming is down and the number going home is up. So if we enforce our laws, illegals couldn’t jobs or access public benefits, if they couldn’t get drivers’ licenses or access in-state college tuition and all the other things we do, I think we could dramatically increase the number of people going home.
And then, after we show for a number of years that we were serious about enforcing laws, then we can come back and decide if there’s some share of the population that are left that we might want to amnesty.