Recently, many within the conservative movement have been struggling to bridge the divide on immigration which exists among them. While many right-wingers continue to pound on immigrants, conservative strategists have warned against alienating the powerful Latino vote and have started advising the Republican Party to tone down its rhetoric. Tea party darling and Fox News host Glenn Beck seems torn on the issue as well.
Beck has long joined media personalities like Bill O’Reilly and Lou Dobbs in perpetuating anti-immigrant myths and fear-mongering. However, last night, Beck announced on his show that he wholeheartedly supports immigrants who come through the “front door” and admitted that he likes them more than “most Americans”:
I have no problem with immigrants. In fact, I like immigrants much more than I like most Americans quite frankly because they respect our country, they understand our country, they are still excited about our country. These people — I would go in boat loads to Ellis Island and be like “come on in!’ We need an Ellis Island, but you come through the front door. Bring us your energy, your enthusiasm, you ideas, the richness of your culture — as long as you’re excited about ours. [...]
People from all over the world come here for freedom and opportunity. And If we don’t have immigrants who love this country, we’re gonna run out of people who love this country…We need people who understand us and have seen our glory from the distance. And from their own corrupt government. Why do you think so many people from South America and from Mexico are coming from across the border?…Our government cannot resemble those governments in South America and Mexico. We must remain different and those people coming from the front door will help us do that.
Perhaps for the sake of sense of consistency, Beck has essentially drawn a line in the sand between immigrants who emigrate to the U.S. legally, and those who do not. Yet, what Beck either ignores or doesn’t realize is that the “front door” is slammed in the face of most people who would like to live and work in the U.S. Though working in the U.S. without authorization is, for most immigrants, an option of last resort, it’s often their only option. Numerical limits on green cards are outdated by over 20 years and are grossly insufficient. Diversity visas are only available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. — anyone from Mexico, China, the Philippines, India, and other countries with high levels of immigration is almost immediately disqualified. Most immigrants do not have the necessary family relationships to apply for legal entry through family sponsored immigration and fail to meet the strict refugee and asylum status criteria.
The kind of immigration reform the White House has endorsed seeks to fix many of those injustices and inefficiencies. However, according to Beck, progressives are simply trying to “dupe” immigrants with poor English skills who don’t understand their “radical” language. Beck also states that progressives would be “happy to welcome” immigrants with Marxist ideologies and “make them part of the fundamental transformation that they’re trying to bring about.”