2010 May 02 Sunday
Peggy Noonan: Control The US Border With Mexico

Peggy Noonan argues in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the first thing that should be done about immigration is border control.

The American president has the power to control America's borders if he wants to, but George W. Bush and Barack Obama did not and do not want to, and for the same reason, and we all know what it is. The fastest-growing demographic in America is the Hispanic vote, and if either party cracks down on illegal immigration, it risks losing that vote for generations.

The Republican Party has no hope of winning the majority of Hispanic voters regardless of what it does about immigration. This is what Republican leaders are too stupid to understand. Why should an ethnic group that earns much lower wages than whites, graduates from high school and college at much lower rates than whites, and benefits from taxing whites to spend on themselves vote for the Republicans? It does not take rocket science to figure out that the Republican Party's catering to Hispanic voters is absolutely futile. Better to go after Indians or Chinese or any other ethnic group with higher incomes.

Noonan says both parties neglect to worry about what's best for America. That means, what is best for Americans. We really are allowed to have best interests and to defend them, all liberal excoriation of the voters of Arizona notwithstanding.

But while the Democrats worry about the prospects of the Democrats and the Republicans about the well-being of the Republicans, who worries about America?

No one. Which the American people have noticed, and which adds to the dangerous alienation—actually it's at the heart of the alienation—of the age.

In the past four years, I have argued in this space that nothing can or should be done, no new federal law passed, until the border itself is secure. That is the predicate, the common sense first step. Once existing laws are enforced and the border made peaceful, everyone in the country will be able to breathe easier and consider, without an air of clamor and crisis, what should be done next. What might that be? How about relax, see where we are, and absorb. Pass a small, clear law—say, one granting citizenship to all who serve two years in the armed forces—and then go have a Coke. Not everything has to be settled right away. Only controlling the border has to be settled right away.

We also need to control the border to keep the heavily armed drug smugglers down in Mexico. Arizona's steps to enforce immigration law should serve as an example for other states to emulate.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 May 02 09:04 PM  Immigration Border Control

kurt9 said at May 3, 2010 10:43 AM:

Ms. Noonan may have a point about the border. However, I don't she is very bright in general. Shortly after the housing bubble popped, she wrote an opinion piece where she thought that the economy would go back to basics and that a lot of glam and glitz we see would slowly fade away. So far, so good. I make these same predictions. Then, she goes on to say that people will stop working out in fitness clubs and that people over 30 years old or so would go back to the frumpy look that was so common in middle-aged people, say, in 1970.

I think Ms. Noonan is dumb. I stopped reading her pieces following this one.

What she seems to not understand is that working out and physical fitness makes it easier to endure the stress that is caused by economic hard times. Obviously, if you are in shape, you have more energy and endurance. You can handle more stress. You are more robust. I argued at the time that more people will hit the gym as a result of layoffs and for this precise reason. Subsequent new articles proved me correct and Ms. Noonan wrong. Lots of people hit the gyn during the early 90's recession (I was in Phoenix at the time) precisely because working out help them to manage their stress and to make them more robust.

Obviously, the more robust you are the better chance that you can handle anything that the world throws at you.

I think Ms. Noonan is an idiot.

Jokah Macpherson said at May 3, 2010 6:21 PM:

I read the "back to basics" piece as well and agree that it was pretty bad and borderline SWPLish. She has written some very insightful columns too, though, including the one referenced in this post. I think she's got a mild case of tunnel vision from spending so much time with the political class but she's not an idiot.

I sometimes wonder if what the Republicans really worry about is not "losing" the Hispanic vote (as if they ever had it) but losing the vote of whites who like to pretend they sympathize with illegals. Once again, this is probably not a class of voters they should be targeting anyway.

kurt9 said at May 6, 2010 1:28 PM:

Noonan's "back to basics" piece was idiotic because she clearly does not understand what "back to basics" means. When the economy declines, people cut back on their spending and extravagance. People cut back by focusing their lives (and money) on doing the things they really enjoy doing and eliminating everything else. Say you live in the Pacific North west (near the coast). You might forgo buying the new SUV or a new home, you might even sell the expensive car and replace it with a cheaper care, but you take up surfing because it is enjoyable and very cheap. Or you might go hiking on the weekends, which is also very cheap and enjoyable. This is the manner of how people cut back in good times. "Back to basics" means doing the things you are really into and throwing out everything else. Its about getting lean and mean about everything else in life.

I experienced the early 90's recession in Phoenix. Gym memberships actually increased during this time. Going out to dinner and bars decreased, along with purchases of big ticket items. Likewise, in this recession, surfing on the Oregon coast has increased because it is quite cheap and fun to do. Families are getting into it. I also see a lot more people out hiking. My gym is more crowded than ever. Sales of big ticket items, in contrast, are much lower than before.

Ms. Noonan has no clue what "back to basics" means.

Randall Parker said at May 6, 2010 6:51 PM:


I am extremely skeptical that laid off people have money to go the gym. They cut back on lots of other things and not gym membership? Recessions cause gyms to cut membership fees. This recession is cutting gym memberships. The readers of one site put dropping gym membership ahead of cutting out HBO or fast food restaurant visits.

As for Ms. Noonan being dumb: That's not what the historical record shows. Her "Boys of Pointe du Hoc" speech for Reagan was brilliant political rhetoric. I also found her book about the Reagan presidency insightful.

She's certainly right about the US border with Mexico. Shut down the illegal alien influx. It is deeply harmful to the commonwealth.

As for getting the housing bubble wrong: So did a lot of brilliant people.

kurt9 said at May 7, 2010 2:35 PM:


Gym membership is cheap. Certainly there are fancy gyms that charge lots of money, but there are many cheap gyms as well. During the early 90's recession, I went to a gym that cost me $17 per month. My current gym, 24 hour fitness, is around $40 per month. I went through a serious, multi-year bout of unemployment during the first part of this decade. I worked out daily at Gold's gym, which cost me only $25 per month. Gold's gym has always been cheap. Gym membership is not expensive. Also, many apartment complexes have their own rudimentary gyms.

I can tell you the 24 hour fitness I go to has never been as crowded as it has been this year (making it a pain in the ass to find the right time to swim because the pool is usually crowded). I have worked out consistently since the early 80's (including Japan where I had to pay three times as much as in the U.S.). I cannot imagine ever giving up my gym membership. Then again, I've never had HBO (I had to follow your links to find out what "HBO" meant) and I don't eat out much (like almost never).

Ms. Noonan has made insightful comments in the past. However, her comment about people going back to the frumpy-assed look just rubbed me the wrong way. I have contempt and disgust for anyone who thinks a return to the frumpy-assed look that was common prior to the late 70's is a good thing. I don't how smart you think they are.

kurt9 said at May 7, 2010 2:41 PM:

The other thing that was imbecilic about Noonan's "back to basics" was her concept of back to basics. What do people do when they have no money? They cut back in their life style. They shift to a life style that requires less money. Isn't this what the Gen-X slacker culture was about in the early 90's? Live a cheap life. Don't get married, don't have kids, find some mates to share an apartment or house with and live a slacker life. I can guarantee you this is a far cheaper (and more enjoyable) life style than what Noonan thought is the back to basics life style. You can even do the lonely-planet thing in Southeast Asia for months at a time and still spend less money than if you lived Noonan's back to basics life. What do you think Japanese young people have been doing for the past 15 years.

I stand by my point. Ms. Noonan is clueless.

Randall Parker said at May 9, 2010 12:42 PM:


When people have less money and their credit maxes out (and sometimes even before) they spend less. I've shown you that they spend less on gym membership. I've shown you that gyms cut their rates. You are wrong about the effect that recessions have on gym membership.

Peggy Noonan is right about the need to stop and reverse the illegal alien influx. She's got one of the biggest issues of the day correct. That does not make her clueless.

Peter said at May 15, 2010 4:14 PM:


For once, Peggy Noonan is right. Our greatest cancer is immigration-this country has become the toilet bowl of the world and lets in all kinds of con-men, criminals, terrorists, barbarians and thugs from all over the third world.

It was our own govt. that gave visas to the 9/11 hijackers and other terrorists, that have led to multiple terrorist attacks and trillion dollar wars and thousands of lost lives.

The 20% unemployment is caused by an equal percentage of foreigners in the US. Greedy corporations import cheap foreigners on bogus work visas by lying on H1/Labor Cert. applications while Americans stand in the unemployment line. According to various studies, aliens cost about 100 Billion per year and their total costs exceeds several trillion dollars. Banning all immigration (legal and illegal) and deporting illegals especially will slash unemployment and virtually eliminate the US deficit. 80% of American voters from both sides are against immigration.

6+ Million people invade this country every year--more than the REST of the world combined. As a result, the US is now the third most populous nation on earth. By giving amnesty, we will have more aliens, who will sponsor even more relatives and tempt even more illegals, causing a population explosion. We cannot fit the whole world here.

As foreigners pour in, there is more congestion and urban sprawl, shortages of land, water and food, more pollution, more cultural clashes and more crime. Jobs are becoming scarce and wages are falling due to a larger labor pool while home, food and other prices keep rising due to more consumers. Violence and corruption are spreading like wild fire.

Aliens, most of whom get free treatment, are bankrupting hospitals and even Medicare and Medicaid, while millions of Americans are unable to afford basic healthcare.

Greedy corporations that want cheap drudge and foreign lobbyists financed sometimes by foreign drug cartels and crime gangs pay-off Democrats kickbacks disguised as campaign contributions to buy them off to pass laws for easy immigration so that foreign countries can dump their problems on us. Demogangsters want the alien flood to vote for them and to hell with the country.

I agree with Ms. Noonan that Republicans are stupid to pander to the aliens because they will never vote for Republicans. Republicans can win election by promising to ban all immigration (legal and illegal).

It is time to join groups such as Numbers USA (http://www.numbersusa.com), or FAIR (http://www.fairus.org), www.cis.org, the Minutemen, etc. and take a stand against the greatest evil ever heaped on our nation. It is also time to amend the constitution to allow national referenda, so the people can pass good laws themselves, since our corrupt evil government won't. For eg.


The most important law to pass is to ban immigration, and the easy visas that let everybody in.

no, i don't said at May 16, 2010 4:01 PM:


1. Illegal immigrants cannot vote, so Hispanic does not necessarily mean "illegal". In fact the word Hispanic is an overused word and it doesn't describe a race, an "ethnic group" or a nationality. At much the term "Hispanic" -which is so loved by politically righteous ones- means relative or having to do with Spanish origins. It is relative to Spain and the Spanish language.

2. "Better to go after Indians or Chinese or any other ethnic group with higher incomes." ...Indians?? Indians?? It'd be interesting to see all those hudreds of thousands of indians flooding up U.S. streets. Nevertheless, I do agree that no politician should leave the Indians out, but I doubt they will make Indians any priority...

3. The U.S. became the U.S. because of immigrants -most of which were illegals, murderers and thieves in their immigrant origins-
Now that Randall mentions the Indians, maybe we should ask the Native Americans -if you can find any- about who they would welcome better in their land, the British invaders or their Indian and Mestizo southern cousins... Out of context? Sorry, but not as long as there's historical record and memory.

Timothy said at June 9, 2011 7:46 PM:

The truth is, not ALL Hispanics are for illegal immigration and not ALL of them are unproductive welfare recipients. Since they're the largest minority in the US, soon to be majority, I can understand trying to reach out to them more than Chinese or Indians, but pandering to illegals is definitely not the way to go about it. Neither is not expecting people here to speak English.

Timothy said at June 9, 2011 7:50 PM:

They get a somewhat impressive 30-36% with the Republicans I think. It's not 95% like blacks for Obama although there are black people who know what's going on and see through his BS.
Our leaders need to understand that they don't need to pander their principles to get votes.

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