Lately, many Republicans have become sympathetic to the idea of giving legal status to illegal immigrants. But not Ann Coulter. She labels all such plans “amnesty” and harangues Republicans who support it.

Amnesty, in this context, means relieving current undocumented aliens of the legal penalties associated with breaking immigration laws, including related offenses such as obtaining falsified drivers licenses and Social Security cards. Although not all immigration reform proposals include amnesty, one major bipartisan proposal would “give all illegal immigrants instant legal status.”

Coulter recoils at the thought of such proposals. As she said at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference, “If amnesty goes through, America will become California, and no Republican will ever win another national election. . . . I see why Democrats would want amnesty,” but, for Republicans, it’s “suicidal.”

Observe the collectivist essence of Coulter’s view. According to her, immigrant groups will always vote a certain way no matter what; Hispanics, for example—the dominant immigrant group in California—will always vote Democrat; they are somehow predisposed to do so.

Reality to Coulter: Groups don’t vote. Individuals do. And every individual has his own independent mind and free will. Further, only citizens can vote; and not every legal immigrant will or should achieve American citizenship, which is an entirely separate issue from that of immigration.

If Republicans embraced individualism rather than collectivism, they would not only see the absurdity of views such as Coulter’s on immigration; they would also be able to grasp the fundamental solution to all political problems: recognition and protection of individual rights.

If Republicans embraced the principle of rights, they would stop supporting and start rejecting the welfare state—including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and government-run schools. And if they unwaveringly rejected the welfare state, they wouldn’t have to worry about the power lusters and parasites who continued to advocate it (whether newly arrived immigrants or lifelong U.S. citizens). A principled stand against the welfare state and for individual rights on the part of Republicans would render the socialist aspect of the Democratic Party utterly feckless.

If Republicans want to solve immigration “problems”—and all the rest of the political problems we face (real or imagined)—they must reject Coulteresque collectivism and embrace American individualism. It worked to found this country. It can work to fix it.

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Creative Commons Image: Gage Skidmore

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