Monday, November 27, 2006

Bush's Electoral Silver Lining

After helping steer his party to resounding defeat in the recent mid term elections, President Bush now prepares to advance an immigration "reform" (read: amnesty) program that will, if enacted, virtually guarantee eternal minority party status for the GOP.

The White House is reaching out to leading congressional Democrats on the issue of overhauling immigration, hoping to build a bipartisan coalition to support a 'guest worker' program and provide a path to legalized status for many undocumented immigrants, lawmakers and administration officials said.

President Bush has expressed an eagerness to work with Democrats on the issue in private meetings with lawmakers and in public statements, as he seeks to strike a new tone with Democrats who will be in control of Congress for the final two years of his presidency.

The president's interest in the issue is getting a warm reception from members of both parties in Congress, particularly in the Senate, where a bill reflecting the president's priorities passed this year only to die in negotiations with the House.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat who is set to take the chairmanship of the subcommittee that oversees immigration issues, has already met with leading Republicans -- including Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the Judiciary Committee's top Republican -- to begin crafting a new bill early next year. 'The dynamics are right,' said Kennedy, who worked closely with McCain and others on the immigration bill that passed the Senate earlier this year. 'With a new Congress, we have an opportunity to pass our plan to secure our borders, uphold our laws, and strengthen our economy.'

Kennedy and the other lawmakers are planning a broader meeting this week of about 12 leading senators from both parties. They are hoping to have Congress vote on a final immigration bill by mid-2007, according to congressional aides.

The millions of Hispanic migrants whose status will be legalized under such legislation have shown little inclination to vote Republican. As Heather MacDonald has pointed out, America's new immigrants and the Hispanic ethnic block which they are building, evince a shockingly high level of social problems, the foremost being out-of-wedlock births, one of the surest indicators of multi-generational poverty.

The dimensions of the Hispanic baby boom are startling. The Hispanic birthrate is twice as high as that of the rest of the American population. That high fertility rate—even more than unbounded levels of immigration—will fuel the rapid Hispanic population boom in the coming decades. By 2050, the Latino population will have tripled, the Census Bureau projects. One in four Americans will be Hispanic by mid-century, twice the current ratio. In states such as California and Texas, Hispanics will be in the clear majority. Nationally, whites will drop from near 70 percent of the total population in 2000 to just half by 2050. Hispanics will account for 46 percent of the nation’s added population over the next two decades, the Pew Hispanic Center reports.

But it’s the fertility surge among unwed Hispanics that should worry policymakers. Hispanic women have the highest unmarried birthrate in the country—over three times that of whites and Asians, and nearly one and a half times that of black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Every 1,000 unmarried Hispanic women bore 92 children in 2003 (the latest year for which data exist), compared with 28 children for every 1,000 unmarried white women, 22 for every 1,000 unmarried Asian women, and 66 for every 1,000 unmarried black women. Forty-five percent of all Hispanic births occur outside of marriage, compared with 24 percent of white births and 15 percent of Asian births. Only the percentage of black out-of-wedlock births—68 percent—exceeds the Hispanic rate. But the black population is not going to triple over the next few decades.

As if the unmarried Hispanic birthrate weren’t worrisome enough, it is increasing faster than among other groups. It jumped 5 percent from 2002 to 2003, whereas the rate for other unmarried women remained flat. Couple the high and increasing illegitimacy rate of Hispanics with their higher overall fertility rate, and you have a recipe for unstoppable family breakdown.

Legalizing illegal immigrants will only encourage more to cross the border, while dilluting both US sovereignty and the weight of American law. The increasing influx of new Hispanic immigrants will worsen the situation by making the Hispanic community more powerful and resistant to assimilation. This is a recipe for creating a welfare state meltdown, as well as increasing ethnic strife. It is also a recipe for dooming conservatism - as it has been traditionally understood - to extinction at the ballot box, since few of the new immigrants are apt to be enticed by the idea of curtailed social welfare spending or limited government.

But at least George Bush will get what he apparently wants very dearly: an America that more closely resembles Mexico.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home