Michael Gerson's column, "GOP should take lesson from Kemp, recognize value of immigrants," which appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 11 issue, is an attempt to build support for comprehensive immigration reform among the Republican Party. I believe his comments will only result in alienating a majority of those who consider themselves the Republican voter base.
Mr. Gerson implies that those who oppose immigration reform are simple-minded and unable to understand the complex economic and political issues relating to immigration. He also appears to consider them to be irrational, says they think immigrants are inferior, and are unwilling to welcome immigrants to what he calls the American "party."
This is the condescending and dismissive attitude the Republican Party elites like Mr. Gerson have been displaying towards the "common folk" in flyover country for quite some time. He must excuse our distrust after the 2006 Secure Fence Act was defunded in 2007, and the failure of comprehensive immigration reforms passed in 1965, 1985, and 1990 due to the lack of enforcement. He also must be delusional if he thinks immigration reform will result in a bonanza of new Republican voters.
As the grandchild of immigrants and naturalized citizens, I find Mr. Gerson, Speaker John Boehner, and many other Republican Party officials to be missing one important aspect of the immigration question. Those who came here and are "in the shadows" disregarded our immigration laws and violated the sovereign borders of the United States. They are not inferior to previous immigrants, they are law-breakers. Also, we now have "sanctuary" cities and states that completely ignore our laws. Our government and elected officials have not been serious about enforcing our immigration laws for decades.
The last time I had a party at my house, the people who came and were welcome were the ones I invited. Nobody "crashed" the party, ate my food, stayed as long as they liked, and then complained they weren't welcome.
The Republican Party elites can insult and dismiss the "common folk" as much as they like. They can put out their smoke screens and try to over-complicate issues like immigration, the national debt, welfare spending, and any other they choose. They can cater to their millionaire donors, lobbyists, and business organizations for funding. Until they present candidates who the voters believe will have integrity, maintain their principles, and uphold their oath of office, the Republicans will always be a second-place political party.
STEPHEN R. KEPF
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