Illegal Immigration And The GOP’s Descent Into Statismby Doug Mataconis
Former Georgia Congressman, and former Republican, Bob Barr writes in today’s Washington Times that the the emerging Republican position on immigration is another indication of it’s descent into big government statism:
When word surfaced recently that some banks, such as Bank of America, were allowing individuals to open accounts, apply for credit cards and obtain home mortgages even though they did not possess a Social Security number, it was not Big Government Liberals who rose up in arms to stop “greedy” financial institutions from offering such services. It was Small Government Republicans, like Colorado’s Tom Tancredo and Californians Ed Royce and John Doolittle, who waxed indignant that banks engaged in such a free market activity as extending credit to someone who proved creditworthy but did not have a Social Security number.
The reason for this strange behavior by otherwise conservative Republicans? Illegal immigration. From fear that allowing banks to continue engaging in commercial transactions such as extending credit to persons without Social Security numbers encourages illegal immigration, conservative Republicans have introduced legislation prohibiting financial institutions from extending mortgages to anyone who cannot establish their bona fides by producing a valid Social Security number. Some apparently go so far as to consider prohibiting banks from even issuing credit cards to such individuals.
Thus is being writ another chapter in the long and unfortunate march of the Republican Party to the pinnacle of Big Government; a march that figured prominently in the party’s 2006 electoral losses but which continues seemingly unabated in the new, 110th Congress.
As Barr points out, the same logic that Tancredo and his associates are applying to their call to prohibit banks from freely entering into contracts with their customers can be applied in any number of situations:
Â Where, for example, will the mandates they seek — forcing businesses to determine if a person is in this country lawfully before extending credit or selling a product for which that person is otherwise eligible — be next applied? Will a bill be introduced that prohibits automobile dealers from selling a motor vehicle to anyone who cannot produce a valid Social Security card? Will landlords be forced to rent their property only to those who possess a Social Security card? Would it not make just as much sense for these advocates to require presentation of a Social Security card prior to bedding down for the night at a local Marriott?
Â Â Â Moreover, this same philosophy could be just as consistently applied were Congress to prohibit banks from facilitating other “criminal behavior.” Why not, for example, prohibit banks from extending credit to persons who might be in violation of other laws, such as the multifaceted antidrug laws in this country, or whose behavior runs counter to sex-related laws still on the books? Or — and this might hit too close to home to be championed by lawmakers — should not the federal government move to stop individuals who violate federal campaign laws from obtaining credit; because, after all, doing so simply encourages further unlawful behavior?
The answer to that question, of course, is who knows. As demonstrated by the proposals put forward by Tancredo and his supporters, and by the manner in which the leadership and the White House governed in the period from 2001-2006, it is fairly clear that the era of the GOP as a party of small government is, if not over, seriously in danger of coming to an end.