CPAC (The Conservative Political Action Conference) is an annual gathering of nutty and hate-filled right-wingers, aka the Republican party faithful, and it is currently going on. This is where speakers throw red meat to the attendees, the redder the better, attacking all their favorite targets with hyperbolic rhetoric. Alice Ollstein reports on one session on immigration that quickly went off the rails when a speaker tried to buck that trend and persuade the audience, using actual data, that immigrants are actually good for the US.
As David Bier, a policy analyst with the libertarian Cato Institute, attempted to lay out research proving that immigrants actually have lower crime rates than native-born Americans, contribute significantly to the economy and are assimilating just as well or better than past generations of immigrants, his fellow panelists derided his statements as “nutty” and angry audience members shouted him down.
“Sweetie, you’re too young to know,” one woman called out as Bier said that the economy has historically done well during periods of high immigration to the United States.
During a heated question and answer session during the immigration panel, a man from Four Corners, Virginia went on an extended diatribe about a Latino man who once crashed his car in front of his house.
“I had to go down to court to testify, and I was the only white face in the crowd other than the lawyers being paid to translate for these people,” he said. “You can go down to Four Corners Park and see obvious illegal immigrants defecating in the woods, fornicating in the woods, and on and on and on. These people are not the immigrants of the 20s and 30s. They will never be able to get good jobs here and be good citizens. Is that in your study?”
Struggling to be heard over the loud applause that ensued, Bier responded, “If you look at the data, the people committing crimes are overwhelmingly native-born Americans. So if you want to talk about the effect of immigrants on the crime rate, they actually lower the crime rate, resulting in a safer society. Obviously there are some immigrants who do commit crimes, just like there were some who committed crimes back when the Irish were the ones coming in.”
“Oh, I’m Irish, don’t you talk about the Irish,” an older woman angrily called out.
Afterwards, betraying a charming naivete, Bier said that he “still believes in the power of facts and research to convince conservatives of the benefits of immigration.”
David, David, David, I wonder how long it will take you to realize that facts have nothing to do with it. What drives these people is stone-cold racism and xenophobia. Don’t expect to be invited back next year.