Could GOP Support for Reparations Save America?

It’s not a border crisis. It’s a border plan. Of course, they won’t admit they have a plan but Biden administration officials, with the help of a rubber-stamp Democratic Congress, have begun their strategy of overloading the immigration system with the long-term goal of flooding the United States with so many millions of illegal border crossers that they will be able to reshape the country for decades to come.

Call it a variant of the Cloward-Piven model, the granddaddy of “fundamental transformation” of American society. As I explained in my book “How We Got Here,” the husband and wife team of Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven created the impetus for the modern American welfare state with a 1966 article in The Nation when they proposed using welfare as a means to force income redistribution.

Cloward and Piven recognized that American society’s urge to take care of our poorest members could be used by an “organized” welfare class to leverage a “guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.” That would happen by enrolling not fewer people in welfare programs, but more. It seems that the more people who are getting financial assistance from the government, the more power those people would have as a group. Cloward and Piven foresaw that a “massive drive to recruit the poor onto the welfare rolls” would challenge the resources of even a wealthy nation like the United States, leading to “a profound financial and political crisis.” That crisis has continued until the current day, and its effects can be seen in both the demand for COVID stimulus checks and the push for a guaranteed minimum income.

Now that we know what a “fundamental transformation” looks like, let’s think about how the same pressures are being applied in the immigration system. The Biden administration almost overnight dismantled all of the Trump policies put in place over four years that were finally paying dividends. Hundreds of miles of wall had been built. Mexico was policing its own southern border and cooperating with the “remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers. The “northern triangle” of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala likewise had been making concerted efforts to slow the flow of migrants from their own countries.

But with the unmistakable signals from Biden, who as a candidate had promised free health care for illegal immigrants and talked optimistically about a path to citizenship for anyone who made it into our country, all that progress was lost within a matter of weeks. Now, the gaps in the wall have become a funnel for illegal immigrants, and the Biden administration has started shipping foreigners into the interior of the country, where they will be eligible not only for free health care, but also free housing, free education, and free food.

On what basis could Democrats justify giving all these benefits to illegal immigrants and then promise them citizenship? If you listen to the rhetoric of White House press secretary Jen Psaki, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas – and now, after President Biden’s inaugural press conference – one is left with the impression that we owe the illegal immigrants a better life because of how hard it is for them to get here in the first place.

Think of it as instant reparations. As soon as an illegal immigrant makes the “dangerous trek” across the border, he or she is defined by the progressive left as a victim – a member of an oppressed class who was lured here by America’s filthy wealth and who suffered untold indignities as a result. Online reporter Drew Hernandez hit upon an apt description of how to think of the drug cartels that help illegal aliens cross multiple borders and dangerous terrain between South America and our southern border. He calls it a “black market Uber service” that delivers people from a life of poverty and fear to one they hope will lead to comfort and security.

Joe Biden’s policies have created an incentive for human traffickers to fill the void between people’s hopes and dreams and the awful reality of rape, prostitution, and criminal exploitation that is the true nature of that black market. Yet progressives who cry about the centuries-old slave trade that exploited Africans are stubbornly silent about the profiteers who make billions of dollars from the human trafficking that is at the core of illegal immigration. It would be easy to blame liberal guilt for the “instant reparations” with which Biden wants to reward border crossers, but there is more to it than that.

This is part of a long-standing plan to globalize the American economy. It’s not just the Democrats who are to blame either. You can go back nearly 20 years to the George W. Bush administration’s ambition to create a North American Union that merged the economies of Mexico, Canada and the United States. Only the robust populism of Donald Trump was able to push back against the combined forces of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the multinational corporations and the progressive left to reverse the tide of globalism. But now it is back with a fury, and no one in the Republican Party seems to know how to stop it.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. What follows is a modest proposal for how to mobilize a functional majority of Americans into a united front to oppose the Democratic plan to void U.S. sovereignty, weaken the U.S. workforce, and dilute the voting power of U.S. citizens. Remember, unlimited immigration at the southern border will result in the suppression of wages across the entire country, and a path to citizenship for more than 10  million illegal immigrants and a huge power shift in politics.

Who will be hurt the most by those predictable effects? The people who live at the lower end of our economy today — African Americans, Hispanics, and working-class citizens of all colors, races and religions. Unfortunately, many of those people are captive members of the Democratic Party’s voting bloc and have tacitly granted approval to the very policies that will decimate their communities. Thanks to the black vote, in particular, Democrats have won the White House and both chambers of Congress, and are  seeking ways to solidify that political clout for decades. That strategy includes not just the plan to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, but also the election scheme codified in HR 1 that will make it much more difficult for Republicans to win the White House.

Why, as an example, would anyone propose banning the use of an ID to verify your right to vote? It makes no sense. The only possible reason would be to protect the ability of people to vote who don’t have a right to do so in the first place. Do you think it’s any coincidence that the Democrats are trying to do so just as millions of illegal immigrants are crossing the border? I don’t.

But if Republicans hope to stop the Democrats from becoming the permanent ruling class, they can only do so by enlisting black Americans and Latino Americans to the cause. That means engaging in a massive outreach that needs to turn American politics on its head.

President Trump had begun this process, and was rewarded with the largest proportion of non-white voters won by a Republican presidential candidate since Richard Nixon. But if we are being honest, Trump’s gains were largely due to his economic successes, which saw record-low unemployment for minorities and better wage growth for the working class than had been recorded for more than a decade. Trump failed to campaign directly to blacks and Hispanics, perhaps due to the impact of COVID and perhaps due to the hijacking of the inner cities in the summer of 2020 by Black Lives Matter. Whatever the reason, minorities were not courted with enough vigor by Republicans to send the only message that matters: We care.

That needs to change. The Republican Party has to acknowledge its natural affinity with minority voters, who in general are more conservative on social issues than other Democrats, and it has to reach out with inventive policies that will prove it is a serious suitor.

One such possibility, as unlikely as it seems, is to support reparations for African Americans. Republicans have opposed reparations for the injustice of slavery in the past, for good reasons. They would cost trillions of dollars, might well exacerbate the racial divide in this country rather than improve it, and would give credence to the primitive concept that guilt and thus responsibility can be passed down through the generations.

But despite the risks, nothing would prove more conclusively that Republicans are serious about including blacks as full partners in the American dream. Instead of supporting instant reparations being given to illegal immigrants, Republicans could spend a much smaller amount of money to provide a symbolic peace offering to the ancestors of slaves who were not lured here by hopes of a better future but were ripped out of their homeland unwittingly by vicious merchants of death and despair.

It would be awkward for Democratic politicians, especially if they are people of color, to vote against such a bill, and if it were linked inextricably to a commitment to build and fund the southern border wall, reject amnesty and stop human trafficking, then it would be well worth it for Republicans to vote for reparations — not as a reward for the hardships of the past, but as a thank you for saving our country today. In addition, the goodwill that such a bill would create for Republicans in the African American community would rival that which was bestowed upon Abraham Lincoln’s party for generations.

It is not a perfect equation, but little in politics is. Nonetheless, there is a kind of poetic justice in turning to those who have had to fight for every inch of the American dream they inhabit to stop the madness of giving away citizenship and its myriad benefits to a group of people who have no legitimate claim to them.

As for how it would work, how reparations could be incorporated into a bill to close the border and ban a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, those details would have to be worked out. That’s what think tanks are for. In the meantime, I have a proposal for what to call the legislation that would save America’s working class by repaying a debt to those whose unremunerated labor helped build the country in the first place: The Making America Whole Again Act.

Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell Mont., is a columnist for RealClearPolitics. His new book “How We Got Here: The Left’s Assault on the Constitution” is available from his Amazon author page. Visit him at to read his daily commentary or follow him on Facebook @HeartlandDiaryUSA or on Twitter or Parler @HeartlandDiary.

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