By Patrick J. Buchanan
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”
From “A Tale of Two Cities,” Sydney Carton’s words, as he rode the tumbrel to the guillotine, came to mind on reading the latest statistics on what open borders has done to a Republican Party that altruistically embraced it.
The Center for Immigration Studies reports that, since 1980, some 25.2 million immigrants have entered legally and been granted permanent status with “green cards” to work and become citizens.
“Immigration, Political Realignment and the Demise of Republican Political Prospects” is the title of the CIS report, which understates the crisis. Bottom line: The more immigrants in an electoral district, the more grim the GOP prospects. Consider a few of the largest counties in the nation.
Between 1980 and 2008, Los Angeles, No. 1, grew by 2.5 million to 10 million people. The immigrant share went from 22 percent to 41 percent. Over those decades, the GOP share of the presidential vote fell from 52 percent in Ronald Reagan’s rout of Jimmy Carter to 29 percent for John McCain.
Orange County, the bastion of Barry Goldwater conservatism, saw its population rise from 1.9 million in 1980 to 3.2 million in 2008, with the immigrant share rising from 13 percent to 34 percent. Reagan swept Orange County with 68 percent. McCain got 50 percent.
Consider Cook County, the nation’s second largest. While Cook grew by 350,000 from 1980 to 2008, the character of Chicago changed, with the immigrant share of the population rising from 12 percent to 25 percent. In those 28 years, the GOP share of the presidential vote fell from 40 percent to 23 percent.
In Kings County (Brooklyn), the immigrant share of the population rose from 24 percent to 44 percent and the Republican share of the presidential vote plummeted from 38 percent to 20 percent.
Richard Nixon and Reagan carried California seven times on presidential tickets. Both carried New York and Illinois in their greatest victories. Yet the GOP has not won one of those three pivotal states even once in the last five elections.
If California, New York and Illinois are moving out of reach for GOP presidential candidates and the party is being annihilated in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, our three largest cities, what of red states Arizona, Texas and Florida?
They are going the same way.
Harris County, Texas, the nation’s third-largest, grew by 1.4 million since 1980. Its immigrant population tripled as a share of total population to 25 percent. Where Reagan carried Harris with 58 percent, McCain lost it with 49 percent.
Dallas County added a million people to hit 2.5 million by 2008, as its immigrant population surged from 5 percent to 27 percent. Where Reagan won 59 percent of Dallas County, McCain got only 42 percent.
Phoenix is sited in the fourth-most-populous county, Maricopa. Its population in 30 years has gone from 1.5 million to 3.8 million. Where 5.5 percent of Maricopa was immigrant in 1980, the percentage is now above 15 percent. And where Reagan carried Maricopa with 65 percent, McCain, an Arizonan, carried Maricopa with only 54 percent.
In Dade (Miami), the immigrant share of the population has gone in 30 years from 36 percent to 58 percent and the GOP share of the vote has fallen from 60 percent to 42 percent. In Broward (Ft. Lauderdale), legal immigrants tripled as a share of the population, while the GOP presidential vote fell from 56 percent to 32 percent.
The correlation seems absolute. The more immigrants who come in and become citizens, the more Democratic the country becomes.
Why? Almost all immigrants, legal and illegal, are poorer and less skilled than Americans, and depend far more upon government.
According to CIS, of recent immigrants who became citizens by 2008, by 55-30 they identified as Democrats. Among immigrants who have not yet become citizens, 70 percent identify as Democrats, 15 percent as Republicans. The sooner Democrats get them naturalized, registered and voting, the sooner the bell tolls for the Grand Old Party.
Is the GOP problem its hard line on illegal immigration?
This is a myth. According to a Zogby survey done for CIS, 56 percent of Hispanics and 68 percent of African-Americans say legal immigration is too high. Only 7 percent of Hispanics and 4 percent of African-Americans say it’s too low. On no issue is the gulf between elites and the people so wide and deep.
What would be a GOP policy that advanced both the national and party interest?
First, an offensive against the administration for laxity in enforcing our immigration laws against businesses that hire illegals. Each time a business is forced to let illegal workers go, the jobs go to some of our 25 million unemployed and underemployed.
Second, a Put-Americans-First moratorium on legal immigration until U.S. unemployment falls below 6 percent.
And what is Republican Lindsay Graham up to? Collaborating with Sen. Chuck Schumer on a path to citizenship for illegal aliens.
The Sydney Carton Party at work.