10.28.2013

REPUBLICAN DIVIDE OVER IMMIGRATION REFORM

immigration reform, protests, mexican
Cesar Bojorquez, Creative Commons
Many in the GOP believe passing an amnesty bill makes Republicans more likable among Hispanics.

By R James Towe  james@sollicitus.us

There is a misguided notion in segments of the Republican Party. 

A sizable portion of the GOP believes that embracing immigration reform as it's currently structured will serve business interests and convert America's rapidly growing Hispanic population to the Republican Party. 'Yes' on the former, absolutely 'no' on the latter.

It's true that elements within the party want to preserve the low cost labor benefits of a broken border. That isn't news. We know that America's business interests have a 'money first' ideology. Business prowess is fine as long as it doesn't contribute to dismantling the America we know into another Latin American country.

Business leaders have threatened to withhold campaign dollars to House and Senate Republicans unless they support the amnesty bill pushed by the Senate (Link). That's their prerogative, but the country should collectively hope that values stand taller than campaign dollars. 

Misconception of the century: Latin American emigrants and Hispanics will vote for Conservative candidates because Republicans voted for immigration reform. 

The amnesty supporters within the GOP have simplified the immigration debate to a pedantic level. It lends understanding as to why the the party is in such a conundrum. Amnesty will create more votes for Democrats.

Important differences define today's immigrant from those of the 19th century. Geography has always been an obstacle to integrating migrants from Latin America. The proximity of the home country allows cultural elements to remain strong long after their arrival to the United States. 

Television and radio provide an unbroken connection to home. This is coupled with the seemingly never ending flow of Spanish speakers from the south. Enclaves grow exponentially, increasing the demand for Spanish language marketing. Each of these elements hardens the cultural features of Latin American emigrants. In time, an 'us against them' environment develops. Stubborn nationalism and unnerving ethnocentrism become more prevalent. Modern day Los Angeles is a disturbing case study for this phenomenon. 

Eastern European neighborhoods of the 19th century eventually shrank into novelty tourist areas as immigrants and their descendants disappeared into the population at large. There was an ocean between these people and their country of origin. No internet or satellite television existed for immigrants to retain the familiarity of home. One became 'American' or failed to succeed.

Native communalism and agrarian customs are integral to the Hispanic psyche.

Prior to the colonial hacienda system imposed by the Spanish and Portugese, communal towns were the social and economic system of the native population (Link). Despite the infusion of European culture and insensitive restructuring of society to fit European colonial interests, ancient traditions survived among the indigenous population. Today, they have profound influence on the social and economic policies of modern Latin American societies.  For many in Latin America, Capitalism is distasteful and oppressive.

No matter how friendly Republicans believe they would appear to Hispanics, their support for small government, low taxes and a reduced social safety net contradicts the Socialistic tenancies of these societies. The political and social statements by the growing Hispanic population speak loudly and forcefully to their own heritage and traditions. Latin American emigrants embracing the customs of the host country are far more difficult to find. If America doesn't come to its senses, I'm afraid history will view the United States as a country that willed itself out of existence due to its indifference and waning national pride. 

Despite the screams and accusations from the American Left, it's a good thing to love your country and fight for its preservation.