The common thread of legitimate governments is not to preserve liberty – we in the United States are spoiled with that lofty constitutional goal. In practice, the actual universal role of government is to preserve stability. It is the one role that cuts right to the front of the line in times of crisis. When at war the government infringes on individual liberty to ensure stability. When a large group makes demands of the state through displays of rage, the government more often than not acquiesces to their demands if the situation becomes too tenuous. When the economic systems falter, the government comes in and selects winners and losers, inevitably eroding civil liberties with the intention of restoring stability.
In crunch time, preserving stability trumps all other roles of the state.
It is through this lens that we should look at the response to Arizona’s brave action in addressing illegal immigration. Regardless of one’s feelings towards fairness and the rule of law, 12 million illegal immigrants will never be deported. Never. Their voices will grow louder, and fueled by politician’s desire to use them as political weapons, this group’s megaphone will eventually become a billy club – ultimately making the situation unstable enough to force government to act in their favor. The coming instability caused by illegal immigration is as sure a fact as death and taxes. Our foreign visitors will eventually win citizenship because the government has done little to decrease the power that has come with their numbers.
Politicians that desire to have any relevance in the foreseeable future, who want their party to have a voice in public policy, and ultimately have the numbers to make their policy law, must win the hearts and minds of this community. As abrasive as the thought feels of succumbing to the demands of those in this country illegally, they must be embraced as long-term allies.
I say this as an American of Mexican decent that agrees with the intentions of the recent Arizona immigration law. I’m on the team of those that understand the undeniable prosperity that is unleashed by a government that limits its intrusion on its people. But this philosophy will fall to a pro-government growth, entitlement ideology if proponents of limited government do not end up on the winning side of the immigration debate.
Our federal government has put us in this position. By failing to secure our borders, allowing illegal immigrants to exploit the 14th Amendment through the “anchor baby” phenomenon, and failing to provide a clear and swift path to citizenship, this voice has steadily grown to a point where it can and will demand a place at the table.
Proponents of Arizona’s action find the pill of amnesty impossible to swallow. It becomes even harder to align with this community when one of its spokesman, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón, states that his government “will do everything in its power to defend the rights of Mexicans who are affected by this legislation” – a statement made in the wake of a Mexican police chief decapitation and the killing of another Mexican deputy police chief, both near the US/Mexico border. This brutality routinely happens on his watch.
That said, the opposition to aligning with our foreign visitors must be resisted due to the simple fact that it is a losing political strategy with catastrophic long-term consequences. This is a truth that President George W. Bush, Karl Rove, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have understood. Appearing adversarial to this minority group helps build a narrative that is ultimately false, but nevertheless effective. This narrative was on full display this weekend.
“I would never say, and I have never said because it’s not true, that Republicans, all Republicans are racists. That would be silly and wrong,” said Bill Maher on Sunday’s This Week. He continued, “but nowadays if you are a racist, you are probably a Republican.”
In this one statement Maher captured his team’s long and effective African-American retention strategy. And with Arizona’s new immigration law, his team is now looking to indefinitely capture the Latin-American community with the same game plan.<>
Let’s not let that happen.