The Center for Immigration Studies, a leading anti-immigrant group that was invited to testify at last month’s Senate immigration reform hearings, has been making it very clear why it opposes comprehensive reform. In an interview last week, CIS director Mark Krikorian said that Republicans shouldn’t bother courting Latino voters or “importing more of them” through immigration reform because “generally speaking, Hispanic voters are Democrats.”
In an interview yesterday with VCY America’s Jim Schneider, the group’s research director Steven Camarota, piled on, calling GOP supporters of immigration reform “useful idiots” who “have no idea of the political preferences of the people who they’re trying to turn into voters.”
Schneider: I think it’s Politico, this week Monday, talked about this mega GOP donor, Paul Singer, making a six-figure donation to a group that’s involved with marshaling conservatives to support an overhaul of our federal laws on this issue. I mean, is there, it sounds like there’s tons of pressure that’s going on legislators at this time.
Camarota: Yeah, well, you know, what did Lenin, the leader of the Soviet revolution say, ‘There’s a lot of…the capitalist will sell you the rope to hang him.’ Well, you know, there’s just a…and he also talked about the concept of ‘useful idiots.’ These are people who help you inadvertently with your revolution. Well, that’s kind of a harsh statement but the reality is there are lots of conservatives who never actually looked at the voting data, who have no idea of the political preferences of the people who they’re trying to turn into voters.
And so, when you press them on this, a lot of times they’ll say, well, ‘I didn’t know,’ or, ‘We’ll fix that, somehow we’ll change their minds,’ as if they were malleable piece of clay and not human beings entitled to their own opinions. The fact is that if immigration continues, the United States will continue to move in a more left or progressive direction. That’s not necessarily bad or good, but it is a fact, because the new immigrants and their children, based on all the polling that we have, tend to favor expansive government. Again, in a democracy, you change the voters, the political system has to respond. That’s just the reality of the situation.
Elsewhere in the interview, Camarota went all out on the racial dog whistles, taking on Attorney General Eric Holder’s defense of the civil rights of immigrants and non-English speakers. “Unfortunately, there’s a whole industry designed to balkanize the country and remind people of their backgrounds and ethnicity and their race,” Camarota said. “And there’s a lot of what you might call ‘professional ethnics’ out there whose job it is to keep the country divided.” This “identity and grievance politics,” he adds, is “one of the downsides of immigration in modern America.”
Schneider: He also used this term, ‘language minorities,’ and that sounded rather peculiar to me. Can you define, what is he meaning by ‘language minorities?’
Camarota: Well, this is something that’s evolved since the 1960s, not surprisingly, that if you don’t speak English you’re entitled to certain protections, including things like have voting ballots printed up in your language. Now, of course, a moment’s reflection reveals that basically that makes no sense. Because when you naturalize, when a legal immigrant becomes a full citizen of the United States, they have to display a knowledge of English, so they should be able to read English. And people born in the United States should also be able to have learned English. They lived here, they grew up here.
So who exactly are these foreign language battles for? Well, what it’s for is to preserve ethnic identity. And unfortunately, there’s a whole industry designed to balkanize the country and remind people of their backgrounds and ethnicity and their race. And there’s a lot of what you might call ‘professional ethnics’ out there whose job it is to keep the country divided, because if people assimilate, well, they have no one they can claim to represent. And that’s one of the downsides of immigration in modern America, identity and grievance politics.