Immigration Respectability

This year’s CPAC offered few opportunities for anyone in our movement to get a word in about the issues we care about. The “minority outreach” panel—which included a bold agenda for winning Detroit!—was sparsely attended and didn’t include a Q&A. I was, however, able to ask a question at Thursday afternoon’s panel on immigration—“Can There be Meaningful Immigration Reform Without Citizenship?”

This event featured four speakers. The first, Helen Kriebel, advocated for a market-based guest-worker program with minimal government involvement. Businesses would determine who entered the country based on their needs; and workers would gain admittance on a strictly temporary basis, with no promise of citizenship. In others words, Kriebel seeks the creation of a Helot class.[1].

Derrick Morgan of The Heritage Foundation came next. He argued against amnesty in the safest, most boring manner possible. He also stated that no immigration reform of any kind should be enacted at this time because “we can’t trust Obama.”

There final two panelists were Hispanics: Alfonso Aguilar, a former immigration minister from the George W. Bush administration, and the Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr.

I waited patiently … and when Q&A finally came, I sprung into action. Some dissidents like to highjack the mic and turn a Q&A into a lecture—which almost always eventuates in the questioner annoying the audience, getting silenced and then ignored. I wanted to ask a question that would actually get answered. (You can jump directly to my question here . . . in fact, don't watch the entire panel unless you're suffering from insomnia.)

I have a moral question, actually, and I think that’s very important. I was struck by Helen Kriegel’s statement that “we don’t want an immigration policy that’s Republican; we want one that’s truly American. Actually, there are a lot of precedents we can look to for those policies. One of them would be the 1924 immigration act, which restricted immigration to Northern Europeans. You could actually go back a lot further and look at the 1790 Naturalization Act, which restricted immigration to “free white persons of good character.”

The motive for all these acts was that Americans really understood their nation as an extended family, and they wanted to choose people they had something in common with; they wanted to value their own over others.

Do you find that immoral? Do you find this American tradition of valuing our own people, European Christians, over others to be immoral, when it seems to be so much a part of America?

Before I the panel started, I was told by a friend, who works in the Beltway, that Derrick Morgan was “really solid.” My impression is that too many people in our movement, starved as we are for allies, think that someone who makes an argument against amnesty—even one that rejects European identity—must secretly be “one of us.” Perhaps Morgan does oppose amnesty because he, secretly, doesn’t want to experience the displacement of his people? I can’t say. It is noteworthy, though, that after I asked my question, Morgan asserted that American Whites do not have a moral right to create an immigration policy based on identity; indeed, such things are “shameful.” In the end, whatever reasonable things he might say, I can only conclude that Morgan is as much a part of the problem as his ostensible opponents.

  1. It would be interesting to ask Kriegel whether the businesses that engaged these guest worker would not just benefit from cheap labor but would be made to pay damages if, say, one of their recruits committed a crime in the U.S. or overstayed his work visa.  ↩