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A blast from the Republican past on immigration–Stephen Moore in 1996

Still the Pro-Immigration Party?

Stephen Moore

The immediate fight is over the immigration plank in the Republican platform. There is increasing agitation from Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas and the California delegation to rewrite the platform so it tilts in a more overtly nativist direction—to endorse reductions in the number of immigrants admitted legally. The strategy might greatly appeal to Pat Buchanan’s supporters in the party, but it is almost certain to alienate a huge portion of the pro-growth wing of the party that was critical to the Reagan coalition.

House Majority Leader Dick Armey has stated that “if anything, we should be thinking about increasing legal immigration.” Jack Kemp and Bill Bennett agree.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. From the time of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency through Ronald Reagan’s, the Republicans have generally been a pro-immigration party. Significantly, nativist tendencies have only flourished when trade protectionism has also triumphed within the party. The two economically pernicious ideas go hand in hand.

Stephen Moore has done and said many questionable things, to be sure.  I post this merely as a time capsule of sorts for the Republican Party.