A perfect summary of the neocon switch on “conservative” Hispanic immigrants

(Note: the characterization of Frum as an open-borders Republican is not correct, as is discussed below.)

I just came upon this comment by Tim W., in an entry last March about David Frum:

It’s hilarious how open borders Republicans like Frum told us for years that immigrants are social conservatives. We should be delighted that all these people are flooding in from Latin America because of their pro-life and pro-family values. Now that they’re here by the millions, we’re told that we have to move to the left on those same social issues to placate them.

- end of initial entry -

Daniel F. writes:

Concerning your most recent post on David Frum, you might be interested to know that he is not an advocate of “open borders.” Quite the contrary. Whatever other problems you may have with Frum, he has long been in favor of a more restrictive immigration policy, and actively opposed McCain-Feingold. The reader who pegged Frum as an “open borders” type does not know what he’s talking about.

LA replies:

It is true that Frum has not been in the forefront of the active immigration proponents, and in that sense Tim W.’s comment more accurately refers to neocons and open borders Republicans in general than Frum. But that, in fact, is what Tim says. It is not Frum himself who is Tim’s subject, but “open borders Republicans like Frum … ” Tim was incorrect in making Frum the template of open borderism, but aside from that, his comment stands.

At the same time, when you say that Frum “has long been in favor of a more restrictive immigration policy,” that is not correct. He’s never actually taken any position on restricting immigration, though, bizarrely, he’s claimed to have been a pioneer on the issue. His only strong statements on the subject, from 1991 to the present, have been been his harsh denunciations of all actual immigration restrictionists.

Finally, the fact that he opposed McCain-Kennedy is not by itself significant. That bill was so insane, so irresponsible, that even Charles Krauthammer, who had supported comprehensive immigration reform including amnesty in 2006, opposed the even worse McCain-Kennedy bill in 2007. Being against a completely insane bill that legalizes all illegals and gives the government 24 hours to check their credentials does not make one an immigration restrictionist.

See my blog article from 2007 where I give an overview of where Frum has been on the subject. Here is the final paragraph:

Again, I have nothing personal against Frum and I had no desire to attack him, especially during this time when former adversaries are on the same side in trying to stop Bush’s Comprehensive Black Death Act. But it was Frum who chose this moment of all moments to write his self-serving National Review article, “How I re-thought immigration,” using it as an opportunity once again to attack and dismiss the people who actually built up the-immigration restrictionist argument over the years at great cost to themselves while Frum, ensconced in his various establishment perches, was alternately attacking them as anti-immigrant bigots and silently wringing his hands about the harm immigration was doing to America. As late as 2004, Frum’s comments at a Center for Immigration Studies panel on immigration were so ambivalent, tortured, and devoid of substance you wondered why he bothered showing up. Yet this is the guy who now situates himself as one of our age’s leading thinkers on immigration.

March 27

Alex K. writes:

This is the most up-to-date Frum statement on immigration, that I know of.

LA replies:
It’s a reasonable article, and the first immigration-related piece I remember seeing by him where he actually proposes and argues at length for a position, rather than (his usual schtick) denouncing immigration restrictionists or wringing his hands on the subject.

However, this piece only deals with what to do about illegal aliens. Frum still favors the current legal immigration policy which has already transformed America and will transform it much more—which, among other things, has made possible the election of Barack Obama.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 26, 2010 12:46 AM | Send

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