By Patrick J. Buchanan
Is “Big Sis” one of us?
Janet Napolitano, secretary of homeland security — Big Sis to regular readers of the Drudge Report — held a press conference last week that might cause critics to reconsider their views.
Napolitano claims that in fiscal year 2010, ending Sept. 30, the Obama administration set a record for deportations of illegal aliens, 393,000, breaking the old record of 389,000 in 2009.
The 2010 deportations represent an increase of 81,000 over the number in George W. Bush’s final full year in office.
More important, half of the deportees, 195,772, had criminal arrests. Of these, one-third had committed serious felonies such as murder, rape and major drug offenses. If these figures are precise, Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security ran the equivalent of five army divisions of criminal aliens out of the United States.
In making deportation decisions, said Napolitano, we focus on “removing those who pose public safety threats to our communities.”
Not only is this a fine record compared with the Bush administration, Napolitano’s priorities, criminals out first, are what immigration reformers have demanded for decades.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement audited 2,200 businesses to check for illegal immigrants. Criminal charges were brought against 180 employers.
Yet, the report on Napolitano’s press conference was buried in The New York Times, which raises a question. Why has the White House not itself been boasting about this record? For this crackdown, of which Hispanic communities are surely aware, seems not to have dented Barack Obama’s popularity in the barrio.
The Democrats’ problem among Hispanics is apathy.
From a new Pew poll of Hispanics, The Washington Post reports: “There is good news and bad news for Democrats. … Latinos support the party, but about half of those questioned say they might not show up at the polls on November 2.”
As political analyst Steve Sailer, who looked deeper into the Pew poll, discovered: “Actually the Pew findings are even worse for the Democrats. … Of 1,375 Hispanic adults interviewed, only 44 percent claimed to be registered voters. And only about half of those said they were certain to vote. And Republican Latinos, while rather thin on the ground, are more fired up to vote … than are Democratic Latinos.”
This replicated Census Bureau data from the McCain-Obama election. While Hispanics were about 15 percent of the population, they cast only 7.4 percent of the ballots.
Moreover, John McCain’s pro-amnesty fight, which almost cost him the Republican nomination, did nothing to help him in November, when he lost Hispanics 67-32 to Obama.
But when the McCain of 2010 ran that ad demanding that the government “complete the danged fence,” he crushed conservative rival J.D. Hayworth and is on his way back to the Senate for a fifth term.
McCain’s record these past three years makes the point: Pandering to Hispanics on illegal immigration is no automatic winner for the GOP among Hispanics, and a tough line against illegal aliens is no automatic loser.
Even Democrats are catching on.
In the gubernatorial race in New Mexico, the most Hispanicized state in the union, Democratic Lt. Gov. Diane Denish has promised to deny driver’s licenses to illegals. Her Republican opponent, Susana Martinez, goes her one better. She will take away driver’s licenses from illegal aliens who now have them. Martinez is running ahead and likely to be the first elected Latina governor in U.S. history.
Looking further into the Pew poll, Sailer found that of the seven issues of greatest concern to Hispanics, immigration ranked just fifth, barely ahead of the environment. Fewer than one in three Hispanics named immigration as extremely or very important.
The issues of greatest concern to Hispanics are education (58 percent), jobs (54 percent), health care (51 percent) and the budget deficit (35 percent).
With the exception of an intense concern over the crisis in public education affecting their children, Latinos share the concerns of other Americans. Perhaps it is time we began to treat these as our fellow Americans, rather than doing the Rovian thing and cross-dressing as La Raza Republicans.
Our immigration crisis is not an insoluble problem, if we have the will to resolve it. Not only has Homeland Security deported 780,000 illegal aliens in two years, an estimated 1 million have departed due to the Great Recession and an absence of jobs.
Yet, with 8 million U.S. jobs still held by illegal aliens, 15 million Americans out of work and another 10 million seeking work or having given up, the needed steps are simple, if not easy.
First, “complete the danged fence” on the border. Second, accelerate the deportations. Third, step up the audits and raids on scofflaw businesses that hire illegals. Fourth, enact a law in the new Congress denying automatic citizenship to babies born to parents who are in our country illegally, and dare President Obama to veto it.
Finally, demand a national moratorium on all immigration, until unemployment among all of our Americans falls to 6 percent.
Send the illegals back home, and send the Americans back to work.