The Swinging Door Policy
Even the most consistent demagoguery becomes self-defeating in the face of a divided people. When illegal immigration wasn’t a particularly salient issue and the prospect of picking up a significant proportion of Hispanic votes outweighed the danger of irritating the nativists, Bush cheerfully sang the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish—in those days, as his publicists were eager to inform us, he was fluent in the language. With his base in revolt, both Bush’s bilingualism and his enthusiasm for La Bandera aren’t what they used to be. The President can’t solve the underlying political problem with this simple PR adjustment, but PR is all he has. A serious crackdown on illegal immigration would harm the interests of his moneyed backers. Indeed, it would put them in legal jeopardy. Meanwhile, the mass part of his support is afraid of all those brown faces. Anyhow, as true Americans, they’d rather face a thousand deaths than actually learn a second language; and you can’t simply point out to these folks that imprisoning or even deporting twelve million hard-working people isn’t going to happen. So it’s a guest worker program to appease the Chamber of Commerce on the plane of the real and three cheers for a culturally white America on the plane of the imaginary.