NRO Falsely Stereotypes Hispanics and then Complains They Won’t Vote for Conservatives

687e13600866751362831 fm NRO Falsely Stereotypes Hispanics and then Complains They Wont Vote for Conservatives

Anti-immigration conservatives are questioning whether extending
amnesty to illegals would have any political pay off for the GOP
among Hispanics. And if they keep conducting the discussion as if
Hispanics are deaf, there certainly won’t be.A case in point is last week’s National Review Online
editorial that Matt Welch blogged
here. It wrapped every half-truth and ugly stereotype of
Hispanics into grammatical sentences and then insisted in its
headline that amnesty would be (politically) “pointless.”“Illegal immigration is one of the few domains in which the
authorities entrusted with enforcing the law feel obliged to negotiate the most concessionary terms
and conditions with those who are breaking it, as though law
enforcement were an embarrassing inconvenience,” it averred.How out-of-touch must the NRO writers be if they think that the
power in the illegal-government relationship is on the illegals
side? But setting aside the patently absurd notion that the Joe
Arpaios of the world would negotiate with helpless Hispanics about
anything, is amnesty some kind of exotic practice rarely ever used,
as the NRO suggests? Not really. Amnesty has a long and honorable
history in the service of all kinds of causes, not just
immigration.Amnesty was used in a big way after the Civil War when the
victorious Unionists gave Confederate forces a pass from
prosecution. In the 1980s, amnesty for tax scofflaws was a popular
tool of state governments to encourage tax compliance. Kansas used
it get owners of banned pit bulls into compliance with the law. And
governments elsewhere have used amnesty to prod their citizens to
turn in their guns, including the British government with the Irish
Republican Army.To be sure, people have an obligation to obey the rule of law.
But the rule of law also has an obligation to be rational. And the
need for amnesty is often a sign that the law is broken because the
cost of enforcing it becomes more costly — both socially and
monetarily — than suspending it.That’s why amnesty doesn’t strike most people as inherently
wrong. It is no skin off their back if the legal standing of some
people is restored when no one else is harmed. No one would support
amnesty for murderers or rapists because that would mean
withholding redress from their victims — and potentially
creating more in the future. But no Unionist was disadvantaged when
confederate soldiers were exempted from treason in the interest of
national healing. Likewise, there is no downside to anyone of
extending amnesty to illegals and giving them a chance to build
stable and secure lives — which is why
more than 60 percent of the public supports it. (And, no, it
won’t be unfair to foreigners playing by the rules and waiting in
line. Low-skilled immigrants, as opposed to every other kind, have
no queue to wait in, as I noted here.
That’s the real injustice)But hyperventilating against amnesty was the kindest part of the
editorial. Here is what it said about Hispanics:
While many [Hispanics] are in business for themselves, they
express hostile attitudes toward free enterprise in polls. They are
disproportionately low-income and disproportionately likely to
receive some form of government support. More than half of Hispanic
births are out of wedlock. Take away the Spanish surname and Latino
voters look a great deal like many other Democratic constituencies.

In short, as Matt put it, as far as the NRO is concerned,
Hispanics are “welfare sucking and politically hopeless.” The
latter might turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but what
about the former?If NRO editors have ever visited California orchards of even
stayed at a Marriott, they’d know that there is nothing more
hardworking than a Mexican immigrant. Hispanics don’t come to
America to trade a life drinking tequila by the cactus tree for one
slouched on a couch watching TV while sipping coke and eating
chipotle chips bought with food stamps. To the extent that they
have a retirement plan, it is early death that an 18-hour,
back-breaking work day would surely bring.Indeed, according to a study
by Dan Griswold for the Cato Institute, labor participation rates
of foreign-born adults (67.9 percent) are higher than the
native-born (64.1 percent). What’s more, this gap is even more
pronounced with respect to men. About 80 percent of foreign-born
men participate in the labor force — a full 10 percentage points
higher than native-born ones. And the kicker: labor-force
participation rates were highest of all among unauthorized men at
94 percent.Conservatives claim that welfare use among Hispanics is higher
than the rest of the population (which causes Hispanics, in turn,
to vote for politicos who support a bigger welfare state). But that
is an apples to oranges comparison. Indeed, as Griswold
also notes, as Hispanics move into the lower class living at
the poverty line, the native-born move into the middle class.
That’s because cheap Mexican labor generates productivity gains
that boosts real native wages and generates better-paying
jobs for them. (For a fuller discussion of this point, go
here.) “Even though the number of legal and illegal immigrants
in the United States has risen strongly since the early 1990s, the
size of the economic underclass has not,” points out Griswold. “In
fact, by several measures the number of Americans living on the
bottom rungs of the economic ladder has been in a long-term
decline, even as the number of immigrants continues to climb.”So the relevant comparison is not between welfare use by poor
Hispanics and relatively well off native born. The relevant
comparison is between welfare use (and voting behavior) by poor
Hispanics and what welfare use (and voting behavior) would have
been if the native born had continued to occupy the lower class. In
other words, is it possible that Hispanic immigration might have
actually lowered the cost of the welfare state?That is the question that’ll need to be answered before one can
claim that amnesty for Hispanics will mean an end of America and
apple pie. But the answer is notoriously difficult to pin down
because it is extremely hard to get sufficiently nuanced,
micro-level data that breaks down welfare use by ethnic groups,
income groups, and immigration status. (I know because Cato’s Alex
Nowrasteh and I have been trying to do just that and running into
all kinds of difficulties. A free lifetime Reason subscription for
any PhD student willing to take this on as a dissertation
project.)But what’s the point in grappling with tough questions when
nasty stereotypes work just fine. Yes, NRO?

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NRO Falsely Stereotypes Hispanics and then Complains They Won’t Vote for Conservatives

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