National Review Online contributor Mark Krikorian claimed that liberals and Democrats are engaged in a “strategy” through immigration to increase the size of government programs. He stated that Democratic support of immigration reform is a way to “import voters” and “exacerbate social problems,” namely poverty and the lack of health insurance, to make it more palatable for Americans to support big government programs like the health care law.
Krikorian floated his new conspiracy theory during an address to the National Security Action Conference's “Uninvited II,” an event hosted by Breitbart News on the first day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that featured many speakers who “were not invited to CPAC.”
As highlighted by the Right Wing Watch blog, Krikorian stated that the Democrats and the left have promoted immigration “for explicitly political purposes,” including as “a way of importing voters.” He continued:
KRIKORIAN: Not just that, but also, they create the conditions such as increased poverty, increased lack of health insurance that lead even non-immigrant voters to be more receptive to big government solutions because liberals will often say, look at the size of the uninsured, we have to have a solution to this.
One third of all the people without health insurance are in immigrant households, 80 percent of the growth in the uninsured population over the past decade is driven by immigration.
So the fact is that the left is not just importing voters, but they're trying to create -- they're successfully exacerbating social problems through immigration that they then point to as the reason for big government solutions, and are listened to more openly. The solutions seem more plausible to just ordinary middle of the road voters precisely because those social problems have been made worse by immigration.
Krikorian added: “The left doesn't say that they have made these problems worse through their own policies but that is part of their strategy.”
Breitbart News also highlighted Krikorian's comments.
Krikorian, the executive director of the anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies is often quoted in the media as an expert on immigration issues, despite his group's anti-immigrant nativist designation and its penchant for pushing false or misleading information about immigrants.
Contrary to Krikorian's contention that “one third of all the people without health insurance are in immigrant households,” a March 4 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that non-citizens, undocumented and legal immigrants, make up less than 20 percent of the uninsured:
Due to limited access to employer sponsored coverage and eligibility restrictions for Medicaid and CHIP, non-citizens are disproportionately uninsured compared with U.S.-born citizens (47% vs. 16%) and are less likely to obtain needed medical care or preventive services. Yet, citizens make up the majority of the uninsured today with non-citizens (lawfully present and undocumented) comprising approximately 20% of the nonelderly uninsured.
Moreover, a 2011 Urban Institute study found that from 1999 to 2007, “the total number of uninsured Americans increased by 6.7 million.” By contrast, the total number of uninsured undocumented immigrants increased by 1.8 million, representing an increase of 27 percent of the overall increase in the number uninsured. This led the Urban Institute to conclude that the increase in growth was “due to growth in the size of the undocumented population, and not to an increase in their uninsurance rate.”
Though Krikorian did not name the liberals who have “been quite explicit” in promoting immigration as a way to increase the number of Democratic voters, the theory has been relentlessly promulgated by conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham.
Although Krikorian wasn't on CPAC's main stage, this right-wing talking point was well represented by Donald Trump who during his speech stated: “When you let the 11 million -- which will grow to 30 million -- people in, I don't care who stands up, whether it's Marco Rubio and talks about 'let everybody in,' you won't get one vote. Every one of those votes goes to the Democrats.”
(Image via Center for Immigration Studies)