A new Gallup poll shows Americans are unhappy with current immigration and a strong majority of Republicans want it reduced [Americans Showing Increased Concern About Immigration, by Lydia Saad, Gallup, February 13, 2023]. Yet, amazingly, the GOP’s 2024 presidential hopefuls want to ignore the issue. None have called for reducing immigration, let alone the moratorium we need. Nikki Haley is even campaigning on her immigrant background with the usual “nation-of-immigrants” eyewash. So 2024 might be another 2016: a Republican maverick who hits immigration hard, and answers the National Question correctly, could emerge victorious.
Americans’ satisfaction with the level of immigration into the U.S. has fallen six percentage points over the past year, from 34% in January 2022 to 28% today. This is the lowest reading in a decade. pic.twitter.com/PSFxn4URzq— GallupNews (@GallupNews) February 13, 2023
The Gallup poll clearly demonstrates immigration patriotism has strong support among ordinary Americans. It’s even ticking up among Democrats and Independents. Only 28 percent of those polled are satisfied with immigration, a 12 percent drop from 2021. As for the rest, the numbers look like this:
Rasmussen’s latest poll also found strong support for immigration restriction. It showed that 55 percent of all Americans want immigration reduced to no more than 750,000, with 40 percent wanting it reduced to no more than 500,000 per year (the current system allows in roughly a million legal immigrants per year) [Rasmussen Reports Immigration Index, Rasmussen Reports, February 14, 2023]. Interestingly, Rasmussen finds the proportions of blacks (43 percent) and Hispanics (45 percent) who want immigration below 500,000 exceed the proportion of whites (38 percent).
So a large number of Americans want immigration cut. That feeling is especially acute among Republicans, the vast majority of whom want patriotic immigration reform. But unfortunately, the party’s possible candidates for president aren’t responding.
Example: Nikki Haley. The former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor announced her bid for the presidency this week. The 51-year-old neoconservative claims she represents a new generation ready to take the reins. But as seen in her announcement video, her message plants her firmly in the party’s past. There’s nothing fresh about Haley besides her ethnic background: Punjabi Indian. It’s all the bland, inauthentic dreck that Trump easily defeated in 2016.
Most importantly, the announcement conveys an implicitly pro-immigration message.
The ad begins with Haley’s talking about the South Carolina town she grew up in. She says it was divided between white and black. But Haley—birth name, Nimrata Randhawa—was different, because she was the “proud daughter of Indian immigrants.” Her family didn’t quite fit in, but they eventually found their way. Haley doesn’t say how they did this—she just implies that America was and is built by immigrants like her family.
Get excited! Time for a new generation.— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) February 14, 2023
Let’s do this! 👊 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/BD5k4WY1CP
Haley’s ad at least says she wants to “secure our border”—which is, admittedly, better than past Republican candidates like ¡Jeb Bush! and others in 2008, 2012, and 2016 who didn’t see the border as a problem: the real problem was that we didn’t legalize those who crossed illegally. Haley, or her consultants, obviously realize that Amnesty plays poorly with the party base. She also knows they want something done about the border.
But even though Haley didn’t explicitly state it, her message is a tacit endorsement of Leftist immigration myths. She believes her newcomer status and how foreigners make America great is the smart pitch for the GOP primary.
Obviously, there is no chance she will endorse immigration restriction.
Haley’s record on the issue is actually pretty bad. She has consistently opposed the spirit of immigration patriotism. During the 2016 primary, she fervently criticized Trump’s tough stance on immigration. She said Trump’s proposed “Muslim ban” “defies everything that this country was based on and it’s just wrong” [Nikki Haley denounces Trump’s Muslim ban idea, by Jesse Byrnes, The Hill, December 9, 2015]. She argued that “the fabric of America is based on legal immigrants” and demanded Republicans welcome foreigners into this country [Nikki Haley defends against Republican ire over State of the Union response, by Sabrina Siddiqui, The Guardian, January 13, 2016]. And that was on top of her infamous and cowardly removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol.
Haley’s “new generation” GOP is one that pushes more aggressively for diversity and the Great Replacement. Her elevation as a major Republican figure shows the future to the Historic American Nation: a country led by brown-skinned foreigners pretending to be simple Americans. (And tax cuts for GOP donors).
Many of the possible contenders share Haley’s nation-of-immigrants enthusiasm. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who ran in 2016, has long championed increased immigration and Amnesty. Former Vice President Mike Pence was one of the lead drafters of the 2006 Amnesty and also celebrates mass immigration. And South Carolina black Republican Senator Tim Scott claims the “American family was born from immigrants fleeing persecution and poverty and searching for a better future.”
And GOP primary candidates have a tempting reason to spew pro-immigration rhetoric. The powerful Koch network aims to enter the primary and back someone not named Donald Trump.
The deep-pocketed network associated with billionaire Charles Koch is preparing to throw its money and weight behind a single Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential primary -- in a move that could significantly reshape the GOP field. https://t.co/bODHoZHzpK— CNN (@CNN) February 5, 2023
The Kochs are Open-Borders enthusiasts who want the party to increase immigration and legalize illegals. Candidates desperate for their support will know not to suggest reducing immigration [Koch network plans to back a Republican–other than Donald Trump—in the 2024 presidential primary, by Fredreka Schouten, CNN, February 5, 2023].
So, as with 2016, the majority of the GOP field doesn’t want to touch the immigration issue. Yes, it’s a slight, but significant, improvement over 2016 that all potential candidates at least agree about the need to secure the border and none, so far, have endorsed Amnesty. But that won’t cut it. The base wants fewer immigrants. Period.
Trump won in 2016 because he cut through the consultant/donor-driven boilerplate of his competitors and forcefully addressed immigration.
In 2024, two candidates could possibly do this again: Trump himself, or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Weirdly, Trump hardly mentioned immigration when he ran for president in 2020, even though it was one of the most successful parts of his presidency. He reduced legal immigration through executive policies, such as making it harder for welfare-dependent foreigners to gain green cards. He brought refugee numbers down to the lowest on record. He forced Latin American countries to take back illegals and kept out dubious asylum seekers through the Remain in Mexico policy. He imposed an effective moratorium on immigration during the COVID pandemic. He reallocated defense funds for border infrastructure.
Trump didn’t accomplish all of his goals from his 2016 campaign. But he was a significant improvement over his predecessors and stands as an immigration patriot’s dream compared to his successor.
Trump shows some signs of returning to his old self. At his first campaign event in South Carolina, he called out the dangers of illegal immigrants and vowed to mass deport illegals from the country.
They are sending people that are killers, murderers, they’re sending rapists. And they’re sending, frankly, terrorists, or terrorists are coming on their own, and we can’t allow this to happen.
That sounds more like the Trump of 2016. But he just has to elevate this discussion to include restricting legal immigration [Trump vows to ’complete unfinished MAGA business’ by kicking millions of migrants out of USA, by Katelyn Caralle, Daily Mail, January 28, 2023].
DeSantis has tried to raise his profile through immigration. His decision to fly 50 illegals from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last September earned him adoring plaudits in conservative media. He criticized mass immigration at last year’s National Conservatism Conference. He also suggested that America has had success with low immigration levels. He didn’t endorse immigration restriction, but at least he entertained it.
The problem for DeSantis: the Cuban lobby, which supports him but which opposes immigration restrictions. His administration refused to bus Cuban illegals out of the state and pledged to welcome these ocean-crossing infiltrators to the Sunshine State. DeSantis may be unable to address legal immigration because of his Cuban supporters.
My prediction: An immigration patriot in the 2024 cycle will stand out from the pack and likely seize the nomination. At least 71 percent of Republicans, the polls show, would be on his side.
This silent majority just needs a champion with some guts.
Washington Watcher II [Email him] is an anonymous DC insider.