Republican leaders, including former President Donald Trump, are changing how they talk about illegal migration to focus blame on Democrats for encouraging the migrants to take the dangerous journeys to steal American jobs.
The focus on the damage done by Democrats to migrants and Americans may help the GOP win over the critical bloc of non-ideological swing voters. Those voters often sympathize with poor migrants while opposing fellow Americans being pushed out of jobs by migrants.
“You can’t blame a [foreign] father or a mother who wants their child to grow up here, rather than in poverty, but you can blame the American government for not being honest about the cost,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said March 11. “This is going to be extraordinarily expensive, and it’s going to shake, I think, the fabric of American society.”
At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida on February 28, Trump said, “What the Biden administration is doing to push young migrants into the hands of human traffickers and coyotes is dangerous, immoral, and indefensible.” He continued:
Perhaps worst of all, Joe Biden’s decision to cancel border security has single-handedly launched a youth migrant crisis that is enriching child smugglers, vicious criminal cartels, and some of the most evil people on the planet. You see it every day, just turn on the news. You’ll see it every day.
Under my administration, we stopped the child smugglers, we dismantled the criminal cartels, we greatly limited drug and human trafficking to a level that nobody actually thought was possible… But the Biden administration has put the vile coyotes back in business, and it has done so in a very, very big way.
In a March 11 interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with special guest host Jerome Hudson, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) commented, “I’m tired of the radical left — of Democrats, including those in the White House, right now — walking around patting themselves on the back for how compassionate they are. In fact, they are endangering the lives of the immigrants who they are enticing to come here through their false promises.”
Speaking about the risks facing unaccompanied alien children, Roy continued:
[Democrats] get out there and say all this stuff about amnesty. They encourage people to come here. … It’s irresponsible, and today, while you and I are speaking, some little girl is getting abused by a cartel or by some other illicit actor in Mexico because their parents decided to send them up here in a risky journey and they rode on top of a train.
These are human beings, damn it. These are people that are being used as political pawns by Democrats because they callously want political power and they sell something as false. They sell something that is untrue, and it hurts people and it hurts American citizens, and it hurts to immigrants who come here.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) told Fox Business Network on March 12, “Anytime you have the number of people we have coming across the border illegally being controlled by cartels, human trafficking, sex trafficking, and drug trafficking, it’s inhumane to the people who are coming in illegally. It’s inhumane to the people who are here that suffer as well.”
The change is recognized by immigration reformers.
“It is one of those instances where political expediency actually overlaps with the truth,” said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told Breitbart News. “It is designed to appeal to people’s compassion,” he observed, adding, “but it’s clearly an incomplete argument. A better argument would be to say: ‘This is terrible for American sovereignty, terrible for working Americans, and it endangers these [foreign] people by enticing them to take risks.'”
For more than 30 years, generations of U.S. government officials have loudly pretended to block illegal migration while working with progressive immigration lawyers and business groups to quietly extract millions of workers and consumers from Mexico and other countries.
This policy of extraction migration has suppressed salaries for blue-collar Americans, boosted real-estate costs, and turbocharged retail sales of many products to migrants who have moved into the United States. The stimulus of foreign workers and buyers has spiked Wall Street but has left most Americans with flat wages.
The unstated economic policy of extracting and exploiting migrants who survive the Hunger Games-style trek through Mexico does enormous damage to Central America and Mexico. Many communities have been hollowed out by the loss of young people — including many young people who may have forced reforms on corrupt governments.
On January 30, the Los Angeles Times reported the deaths of 19 migrants killed by gunmen as they approached the cartel-controlled U.S.-Mexican border. The victims included 15-year-old Robelson Isidro:
He earned just $3 a day toiling in the coffee fields around Comitancillo, a largely indigenous town in Guatemala’s western highlands. With a few years of American wages, he hoped to buy the family a house.
The [Guatemalan] community has a long history of sending migrants to the United States, and [Isidro] had uncles who lived there. They had indoor kitchens. They didn’t have to cook outside under a tarp.
“He was ashamed,” his mother said in a phone interview. She said he told her: “I’m going to fight to make my dreams come true. I have to get my siblings ahead in life. I’m going to get them out of poverty.”
The GOP’s new focus on the Democrats’ extraction-migration policy matches the polls.
For years, a wide variety of pollsters have shown Americans have a deep and broad opposition to legal immigration, illegal labor migration, and the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates:
Biden offers $4B in aid to Cnt. America, supposedly to help reduce migration.
But that's minimal: The region yearly gets $10B back from migrants to USA.
So the $4B offer is a fig leaf to hide the Democrats' "extraction migration" policy, say critics. https://t.co/afYGreH53f
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) March 11, 2021
The multiracial, cross-sex, non-racist, class-based, intra-Democratic, and solidarity-themed opposition to labor migration coexists with generally favorable personal feelings toward legal immigrants and with sympathy towards illegal migrants.
Democrats and business groups pressure non-ideological swing-voters to sympathize more with migrants than Americans. The pressure relies on guilt-inducing media-magnified tales of “kids in cages” or “separated families,” and it is combined with pressure on reporters to minimize their coverage of migration’s damaging impact on fellow Americans.
For example, a March 9 polling memo funded by Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us pro-migration group advised politicians to steer clear of economics when they try to justify their pro-amnesty votes:
It is better to focus on all of the aforementioned sympathetic details of those affected [by an amnesty] than to make economic arguments, including arguments about wages or demand for labor. As we have seen in the past, talking about immigrants doing jobs Americans won’t do is not a helpful frame, and other economic arguments are less effective than what is recommended above.
The memo advised Republican and Democrat politicians to trigger voters’ sympathy for poor foreign families:
Adapting family separation messaging to the debate over citizenship is our most resonant message. Voters strongly support Biden’s action to end family separation policy at the border, and in testing a variety of messages in support of citizenship, the item below tests best: “It is cruel and wrong to deport people who have family roots in the United States, and work, pay taxes, and contribute to our communities. We must stop separating families and allow hardworking immigrants to gain legal status and a pathway to citizenship so that we keep families together.”
The deep public opposition to labor migration is built on the widespread recognition that both legal and illegal migration moves money from employees to employers, from families to investors, from young to old, from children to their parents, from homebuyers to real estate investors, and from the central states to the coastal states.
Estb. media is posting many stories about migrant"'children" crossing the border — but 70%+ are teenagers, many of whom are (rationally) seeking jobs.
IOW, Biden's DHS & estb. media are waiving in huge numbers of Latino child workers. #CharlesDickenshttps://t.co/cfWf1Bz9ic
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) March 5, 2021