Immigration

A Tea Party Thanksgiving

Deal W. Hudson
Published November 24, 2010

Ask me what I am thankful for this year, and one of the first things that comes to mind is the social/political phenomenon of the Tea Party.

To me, it represents a loud “enough is enough” – not only to the nonsense being perpetrated by the White House and the Congress, but also to the bad ideas that have infused our public policy for decades.

If we are lucky, the Tea Party will be around long enough to accomplish a fundamental reorientation of public attitudes toward government, education, and the media.

The biggest loser in the mid-term elections, where the Tea Party demonstrated its clout, was the mainstream media. With the exception of Fox News, all the major news networks and many newspapers failed to take the Tea Party seriously and cooperated in the failed effort to taint it with racism.

Liberals long ago found the best way to fight conservatives was to avoid ideas and instead ascribe them a despicable motive, preferably racism (the charge of misogyny having lost its steam).

When confronting a Catholic liberal, the motive one is often ascribed is not racism but Republicanism – as if this were the only explanation for why you wouldn’t want Catholic dollars going to community organizations that promote abortion and same-sex marriage.

The subject-motive shift – as we used to call this fallacy in logic class – has become so entrenched in the public mind that very few noticed it, until those in the Tea Party refused to take the bait. They weren’t going to have their objections to government bailouts and Obamacare reduced to their supposed objection to an African-American president.

In fact, the Tea Party represents a post-racial society better than President Obama in the White House. The president and his surrogates have not been very subtle in playing the race card, while the Tea Party refused to cower and cringe when charged with bigotry. They know full well that the racism of their parents is no longer part of the fabric of American society.

This fusion of racial and political attitudes was first accomplished in the academy through the vehicle of “multiculturalism.” It purported to put all cultures and beliefs on equal footing, but in practice it denigrated traditional Western education for its association with male domination (patriarchy), conquest (colonialism), and slavery.

Our nation itself – founded by men and women inspired by Western ideals of freedom and liberty – was placed under the shadow of the multicultural critique. As a result, the patriotic impulse was held suspect until it was revived again – not only by the Tea Party but also by pride in our military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Government policies have inevitably been shaped by a mixture of politics, race and gender. The 2005 immigration debate was doomed from the beginning, based as it was in the perverse logic of multiculturalism that grants privileges to those who are classified as “excluded” by taking them away from others.

The legislation currently before Congress called the Dream Act is a perfect example. This bill allows children of undocumented immigrants to go to U.S. universities and pay in-state tuition. Some 55,000 youngsters who come each year to the United States illegally as children or who were born here to undocumented immigrant parents would be allowed to go to university after completing high school.

At present, children of illegal immigrants can’t enroll in college even if they attended elementary, middle, and high school in the United States. These potential university students would now compete for enrollment with students who are American citizens.

This aspect of the Dream Act is grossly unjust and makes a complete mockery of any idea of citizenship. The Dream Act grants economic privileges to persons because they are illegal – privileges denied to a legal citizen.

If anyone wonders why there is such a thing as a Tea Party, all they have to do is look at legislation like this. Whether or not the bill is passed, the debate alone will extend the life and influence of the Tea Party – for which I am thankful.

Sen. Rubio Attempts to Lead on Immigration

Deal W. Hudson

Published May 14, 2013

Last week I signed, with several dozen other “conservatives,” a letter supporting the immigration legislation supported by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

My decision to sign was motivated, in part, by the ridiculous attacks on Sen. Rubio, such as that of the venerable National Review, which was once the flagship of the conservative movement.

It is now apparently trying to win back an audience by replacing the mellifluous voice of Bill Buckley with the screechiness of Glen Beck wannabes. (How sad — this was the magazine my Great Aunt Lucile Morley of Austin, TX made sure was delivered to my post box for decades starting at age 15.)

Sen. Rubio’s effort is right and just on every level.

It is right politically; if the GOP loses the Hispanic vote it won’t win another national election for a century. It is right philosophically; if the United States, if “America,” stands for anything it is the willingness to receive, if not always to welcome, the immigrant (more on this later).

It is right legally; the presence of millions of undocumented immigrants – and a ridiculously porous border with Mexico – requires legislative action that will start, however slowly, to document those who deserve it and bring stability to our borders.

That Senator Rubio has become part of a bi-partisan group should not, in itself, become an invitation to mock his effort. How else can any legislation pass in a divided Congress? As we said in our letter:

“This legislation is not perfect….We are encouraged by the starting point that Senator Rubio and his Republican colleagues have gotten leading liberals in the Senate to agree to. We believe they are working in good faith to improve the bill, and we support a fair, open, and transparent legislative process. We ask that conservatives in the Senate work to improve the legislation. America needs immigration reform.”

As a Catholic, I might be accused of simply following the dictates of the U.S. Catholic bishops on this issue, who have long, and vigorously, campaigned for immigration reform. As a matter of fact, I have been a critic of their stated rationale for reform, in spite of my support for reform going back to the sulphuric debates of 2005.

The Catholic bishops have yet to explain satisfactorily how the “right” of an immigrant in search of his or her economic good completely trumps the “right” of a nation to protect its borders and citizens.

The Catholic view, as most often stated by the USCCB, may seem to some to make the immigrant’s struggle to sneak across our border some sort of heroic, spiritual exercise. This is an argument which has not helped the cause of immigration reform among many Catholic voters.

For the record, I think a thoroughly Catholic argument for immigration reform can be made without creating a briar patch of conflicting arguments about rights.

The legislation supported by Sen. Rubio does not give the Catholic bishops all they want, at least those who have controlled the public argument. But it provides a bi-partisan starting point. As we point out:

“The immigration bill being taken up in the Senate is an important starting point in the effort to improve what even those opposed to the bill agree is a failed and broken system. The bill includes triggers to insure border security and interior security before any immigrant is given permanent legal status. It includes a guest worker program that moves us toward a merit-based system.”

Senator Rubio has taken the lead in the immigration debate by doing the right thing and deciding not to care about the whining right.
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