Not even President Trump’s most ardent admirers would claim that he is a “Great Communicator,” the title bestowed on the last resident of the White House who could plausibly be seen as governing, at least in some respects, as a conservative. But Donald Trump might just be a great clarifier: His words and actions cause his opponents to reveal more of what they’re really thinking than they had in the past—perhaps more than is good for them.
Consider the ongoing debate over immigration. President Trump’s immigration proposal, put into legislative form by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, does appear to be what Trump said it was in the State of the Union Address: a genuine attempt at compromise. Trump offered amnesty and a path to citizenship to those brought here illegally as minors. This included both those who registered under President Obama’s constitutionally dubious DACA amnesty and those who didn’t. The White House’s estimate of the number of those eligible for citizenship under this proposal was 1.8 million. In order to ensure that this amnesty would not boost further illegal immigration the way past amnesties have, Trump asked for a substantial increase in funding for border security, including his promised Wall on the southern border, the elimination of the “diversity lottery” that awards visas without regard to a recipient’s ability to contribute to the American economy, a variety of enhanced immigration-enforcement measures, and a restriction on chain migration. Under Trump’s proposal, future immigrants could sponsor only spouses and minor children, though those restrictions would not go into effect until the current backlog of more distant relatives seeking admission to America—some four million people—is cleared.
The Democrats had no interest in Trump’s compromise. Only three Senate Democrats voted for Grassley’s bill. The mainstream Democratic view was that Trump’s deal was somehow “racist,” and Nancy Pelosi denounced it as a manifestation of “white supremacy.” To highlight her opposition to “white supremacy,” Pelosi even burbled about how proud she was when her young grandson said he wished he were Hispanic. The Democrats’ allies in the media sounded the same theme. The Washington Post ran a story entitled “Trump immigration plan could keep whites in U.S. majority for up to five more years.” The Post’s columnist Dana Milbank charged that Trump’s plan was “nothing other than an attempt by Republicans to slow the inexorable march toward that point at midcentury when the United States becomes a majority-minority nation.” According to Milbank, Trump’s plan “could extend the white hegemony that brought Trump to power and sustains Republicans.” Not to be outdone, the New York Times ran an opinion piece by Steve Phillips entitled “Trump Wants to Make America White Again.” In his piece, Phillips opines that “The White House is assertively working to make America white again” by pursuing policies that “will all have the undeniable effect of slowing the rapid racial diversification of the United States population.”
It is hard to see how an immigration plan that would grant citizenship to 1.8 million illegal immigrants and delay any change in policy regarding family members of immigrants until a backlog of four million is cleared can be characterized as a manifestation of “white supremacy,” when vanishingly few of those 5.8 million are white. In absolute numbers, the United States has never had more immigrants than she does now, and the percentage of people residing in the United States who were born abroad is rapidly approaching the zenith reached at the height of the Ellis Island immigration wave. Trump’s proposal represents an effort finally to curtail illegal immigration and to impose modest limits on legal immigration after a prolonged period of mass immigration triggered by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
Edward Kennedy squarely denied that the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 would alter America’s ethnic balance. What the reaction of Pelosi and Friends shows is that they hope the radical demographic change brought about by that Act will give them the keys to lasting political power. As Steve Sailer noted, Steve Phillips even wrote a book all about that hope, called Brown Is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority. Their reaction also shows how little they think of the America that existed before 1965 and those who are descended from that America or acknowledge their debt to that America. Indeed, the left’s new consensus on immigration seems to be that everyone in the world has the right to come to America, and that anyone who makes it here, even illegally, has the right to stay. Regardless of what type of immigration bill Trump may end up signing, we can be grateful to him for allowing us to see what his opponents really think.