September 28, 2013


Samuel Gompers Versus Reagan (GROVER G. NORQUIST from the SEPTEMBER 2013, American Spectator)

Some of the right's loudest voices, on talk radio and congressional backbenches, have opposed comprehensive immigration reform of the kind historically championed by Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, Milton Friedman, and George W. Bush. Today, conservative opponents of immigration reform stand opposite the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Church of Latter-day Saints, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, and virtually the entire business community--the Chamber of Commerce, farmers, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs--and an Ivory soap percentage (remember those "99 and 44/100 percent pure" ads?) of free market economists. Why?

Hostility to immigration has traditionally been a union cause. The first American law limiting immigration was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, championed by labor bosses. Samuel Gompers, the president of the AFL-CIO from 1886 to 1924, strongly supported the Chinese Exclusion Act and urged Congress to similarly restrict Japanese immigration. Professor Vernon Briggs of Cornell University writes that "At every juncture and with no exception, prior to the 1980s, the union movement either directly instigated or strongly supported every legislative initiative enacted by Congress to restrict immigration and to enforce its provisions." Union opposition to labor mobility also brought us the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which set minimum wage restrictions designed to stop the internal migration of black workers from the South to compete with white construction workers in the North.

Steve Sailer, himself a foe of immigration reform, has pointed out that in 1969, United Farm Workers union leader César Chávez led protests against illegal immigration. Senator Walter Mondale joined the march and the UFW picketed the INS offices to demand closure of the border--long before the Minutemen.

Union leaders believed that immigration challenged the monopoly rents they won through barring non-union members from union shops. Later, unions were joined by radical environmentalists who believed that more Americans were bad for Mother Earth, and that zero population growth, ZPG, could not be achieved simply by limiting the number of live births. Birth control would have to be matched with immigration control. Environmentalists, led by John Tanton, created three front groups--Numbers USA, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, and the Center for Immigration Studies--to act as a conservative mask for his environmentalist goals. 

It begins with hating the other.

Posted by at September 28, 2013 8:51 AM

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