Laura Ingraham, American Nationalism Isn't About Demography

Laura Ingraham, American Nationalism Isn't About Demography
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Laura Ingraham, American Nationalism Isn't About Demography
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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Last week in her monologue on “The Angle,” Laura Ingraham ignited controversy with her criticisms of the way immigration has changed America. As the TV screen showed images of farm workers, presumably migrant laborers, and illegal border crossers, the Fox News host stated:

“The America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.  Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people and they’re changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like.”

For those of us who support the 2016 agenda of sovereignty, border control, and American nationalism, such comments from someone as high profile as Laura Ingraham are very unhelpful.  First, let me state my real respect for Laura as a broadcaster and thinker on public policy.  I’ve been privileged to appear on both her radio and television shows and greatly admire her work and powerful voice. 

In this case though, she enunciated a view that unfortunately impugns the motives of those of us in the America First movement.  Her citation of “massive demographic changes” feeds directly into the misplaced leftist attacks that border control and immigration reform are really motivated by racism and a retrograde return to a more homogeneous America of days past. I urge Ms. Ingraham to retract and clarify these remarks for the following three reasons:

  1. The movement toward sovereignty, in Great Britain, Italy and the U.S., must always be understood as a sensible demand that borders have meaning. A country without borders ceases to be a real nation-state in any practical sense. Border sovereignty is not about race, but rather citizenship and defending citizens -- of all races, whether native-born or legal immigrants -- against foreign threats to security and prosperity.
  2. America is a country and an idea, not a race. All newcomers who respect our naturalization laws and believe in the ideals and Constitution of this land are welcome – and needed!  Ingraham’s comments about changing demography perpetuate nativist myths such as the 19th century Know-Nothing alarmism about Catholic immigrants irrevocably harming America. 
  3. Our entire immigration model is broken. From porous borders to chain migration, American needs, and voted for, material changes to that system.  When it comes to policy, Ingraham and I totally concur on fixes: build the wall, end the visa lottery, move to merit-based legal immigration, and support and empower ICE.  Notice that none of these goals pertain to demography.  The present system is not unsustainable because illegal trespassers into America might happen to be brown – but rather because they are uninvited, break our laws, and infringe upon the rights of all American citizens.  Immigration law, like all law, should be color-blind.  For example, the merit-based filters would include attributes such as education, work history, respect for our way of life, and knowledge of English.  Other factors, like religion or race, are immaterial and not relevant.

The United States stands as a beacon of success to the world because of how well we have formed new Americans for centuries.  To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, one can move to places like France or Japan, but never really become French or Japanese.  Our country displays a singular ability to transform people of all colors and creeds into Americans.  Because of this success, and because of the open hearts and minds of U.S. citizens, with only 4 percent of the world’s population, our land is home to one-fifth of global immigrants.

The open-border radicals of the Democratic Party, many of whom now recklessly call for the elimination of ICE, constantly assail our 2016 movement as a race-based one.  That charge represents a totally unfounded slur. In point of fact, I believe that black and Hispanic Americans suffer the most from illegal immigration, via unfair competition in labor markets and as primary victims of dangerous illegal aliens allowed to remain in our midst.

My message to Laura Ingraham: Demography does not matter. American nationalism, a great and growing movement, has nothing to do with being white, and everything to do with our country thriving as a prosperous, secure, and diverse republic that only cares about the colors red, white, and blue.

Steve Cortes is a contributor to RealClearPolitics and a CNN  political commentator. His Twitter handle is @CortesSteve.

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