Fine, I’ll say it – the immigration bill is a catastrophe for the GOP. With Senators Marco Rubio, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham supporting the monstrosity that is “immigration reform” along with former Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, it would appear that a major schism in the Republican Party is imminent. I feel like this probably wasn’t the reform everyone started talking about after the Romney loss in 2012.
Unmistakably, the bill has many issues (For a more in depth-analysis of this, see Keith Fierro’s earlier article on the subject). These include its inability to stop the flow of illegal immigrants (I remain skeptical about the actual protection of the border after its passing), its subsequent allowance of a greater number of welfare recipients, and its general disregard for the safety concerns of the American people.
Although many argue that the border with Canada remains a more dangerous access point to the United States, the obvious threats to our national security by leaving the southern illegal immigration problem unresolved should not go unmentioned; we shouldn’t have to wait for an attack on American soil before we take precautions to eliminate the problem. Furthermore, a study by the Center for Immigration Studies estimates that 71% of illegal immigrant households received assistance from at least one welfare program in 2009.
The continuing comments that the proposed bill would help the economy is slightly misled – if the legal immigration process was streamlined, the number of immigrants who would then enter the country and pay into entitlement programs would vastly outweigh those who would be given amnesty and do the same through the proposed legislation.
But just hammering on the inadequacy of the bill isn’t enough. It is essential for the GOP to reach some sort of inner-peace and relations on social policy within the party or it will inevitably face collapse.
Personally, I disagree that the libertarian movement is the future of the party. I believe that the movement, being more socially moderate (or – God forbid – liberal), will ultimately harm the party’s image, as it provides the impression that policymakers are willing to compromise their well-founded morals to please their liberal colleagues in Congress simply to pass legislation.
Republicans are now (if it remains possible to fix any of these massive problems before the 2016 election) faced with the difficult task of retaining their traditional values while appealing to the minority vote, the poor vote, and – almost most importantly – the youth vote. Much easier said than done, right? It’s difficult to convince people to vote for a candidate who seems to have disdain for programs that provide their basic economic needs.
What Republicans need are more charismatic and youthful decision-makers and leaders who (while sticking to their guns on tough issues) aren’t “out of the loop”; the “he’s old so he’s irrelevant” argument needs to die. But most importantly they have to deliver results. You want the Hispanic vote? Then help people of all races in the lower and middle classes thrive in our failing economy, not through amnesty or handouts, but by working side-by-side and giving everyone the opportunity for personal growth and development.
The votes will come as economic standing begins to shift for minority and lower-income groups, and those voting as registered Democrats will eventually change affiliation. But no Republican can compete with liberal promises of “caring” for said groups if Republican policies don’t deliver results; conservative economics have worked in the past, they will work now, and they are the key to winning the demographics that could revive the party.
The GOP isn’t going to get anywhere by shifting to the left on any of these issues – they’re creating a divide that will likely make libertarians an emerging third party as opposed to a booster for Republican voting numbers.
Let me just say this: Rubio and Ryan aren’t winning the Hispanic vote with this immigration bill. They’re losing mine.
Conner Dwinell | Hillsdale College | @ConnerDwinell