June 21, 2007] -- The 12 million or more who entered the United States illegally, and
would gain United States citizenship under the current immigration proposal, Senate Bill
1348, will qualify for race preferences and privileges for which the majority of Americans
are not eligible. This is not fair.
That is the view of Ward Connerly of the Sacramento-based American Civil Rights Institute,
a veteran of battles against racial preferences in California, Washington and Michigan,
and who believes that "race and ethnic preferences ought to be wrong under any
circumstances." The current immigration measure, Connerly believes, would constitute
a massive endowment of such preferences.
"This is huge," Connerly told Frontpage. "All this talk of
going to the back of the line is B.S.. They would go to the front of the line. The minute
they are Americans, they move in front of white males and in some cases white
women." [Emphasis added.] Legalized Hispanic immigrants,
Connerly says, would also gain privileges over immigrants from nations such as Russia
because they would be part of an officially sanctioned 'underrepresented minority."
"We have to somehow make the American public aware of this. We are, right now, the
Paul Revere on this. There is a problem here."
The problem, according to Connerly, lies in "the nexus between illegal immigration
and preferences." That issue had not been part of the immigration debate until last
Friday, when Connerly published an open
letter in the Washington Times, signed by various individuals, some of whom disagree
with him on immigration policy per se. Signatories include Grover Norquist, Linda Chavez,
and civil-rights advocate Joe Hicks.
"This is one of those things that people have not thought through." Connerly
said. "A group that has never had the historic discrimination of blacks would be
given the status of an underrepresented minority in this country."
Connerly does not find much to like about the Secure Border, Economic Opportunity and
Immigration Reform Act of 2007, which he considers amnesty, similar to the 1986 measure
that granted amnesty to more than five million illegals. Many of them these prior
beneficiaries of amnesty, Connerly says, have also become benficiaries of preferences and
he sees the potential for repetition. ... A root cause, in Connerly's view, is the
definition of a minority.
"It is not numerical," he said, "you are a minority if you are presumed to
be socially and economically disadvantaged. We will have in California a circumstance that
one group is a numerical majority [Hispanics] but still classified a minority. You would
be hard pressed to say they are disadvantaged. The premise is that minorities are
Connerly is himself as racially diverse as Tiger Woods and finds fault with a
classification system that uses race for Blacks, Whites, Asians and Native Americans but
makes Hispanic an ethnic designation. That poses problems, he says, for legalizing
millions of Hispanics with the stroke of a pen. "The minute illegals become legalized
they become part of preferences," he said.
Connerly is pushing for a "Fairness to Americans Amendment" to the Senate Bill
on Immigration which reads, in part:
THEREFORE, for purposes of the operation of the civil rights laws of the United States,
new immigrants to the United States subject to the Secure Border, Economic Opportunity and
Immigration Reform Act of 2007 shall not be considered to be "historically
disadvantaged," "underrepresented," or to be in a "protected
class" and shall not be entitled to any preferential or remedial employment goals,
educational admissions goals or contracting goals by any entity subject to the civil
rights laws of the United States. [Emphasis added.]
Connerly's past campaigns for equal treatment have prevailed despite much opposition from
professional ethnics and the political establishment. In 1996 he helped eliminate racial
preferences in California through Proposition 209, which became the blueprint for similar
victories in Washington state in 1998 and Michigan in 2006. Some may have thought that the
preferences issue had died with the ambiguous Supreme Court decision on affirmative action
of 2003. But the Michigan campaign last year showed how explosive an issue this
remains. In a campaign where Bill Clinton and Colin Powell both campaigned against
him and Barack Obama ran a radio ad against the measure, Connerly's anti-preference
initiative still prevailed 58-42, a wider margin than Proposition 209and this in the
middle of a Democratic landslide nationally and in Michigan itself insofar as
Gubernatorial and Senate candidates were concerned.
With three major states solidly against preferences, Connerly wants more people to vote on
this question. So he has planned a kind of Super
Tuesday on preferences for November 4, 2008, attempting to qualify ballot measures in Arizona, Colorado,
Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma, states he says are already feeling the effects not only of
'affirmative action" but also of illegal immigration.
"I think we win them all once we get on the ballot," Connerly said. "We
need to bring about a critical mass of states. The majority of Americans do not support
race preferences. The more we get that view in body politic, the more legislators will be
Last known link to
original FrontPageMag story