The Washington Post has an interesting profile piece this week on two of the men who've helped push the Republican Party so far to the right on immigration policy. Of particular interest, though, was a tidbit about one of their motivations.
One, Kris Kobach, was a telegenic law professor who was worried about foreign terrorists. The other, Michael Hethmon, was a bookish lawyer afraid that immigrants would overburden the environment.
Over the past six years, the two have become the most successful propagators of a powerful idea: that state and local governments can make life so miserable for illegal immigrants that they would choose to deport themselves.... Kobach and Hethmon have helped six states and at least seven cities and counties write tough legislation that allows local police or bureaucrats to crack down on illegal immigrants.
This is pretty standard fare, until Hethmon notes his concerns about the culture.
Immigration is "on track to change the demographic makeup of the entire country. You know, what they call 'minority-majority,' " said Hethmon, who is general counsel at the Washington-based Immigration Reform Law Institute. "How many countries have gone through a transition like that -- peacefully, carefully? It's theoretically possible, but we don't have any examples."
This strikes me as a rather remarkable thing to say, though Hethmon obviously disagrees or he wouldn't have been so candid with a reporter for a national news outlet.
But the quote itself deserves more attention. As Hethmon sees it, he's motivated, at least in part, by concerns about a transition from a white U.S. majority, which he fears may not be "peaceful." In other words, he's working on anti-immigrant measures for Republican policymakers nationwide to prevent whites from slipping into the American minority.
Remember, Hethmon isn't some random figure -- he's worked with Kris Kobach, who isn't just Kansas's secretary of state, he's also advising Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on immigration policy.
Is the Republican Party on board with Hethmon's perspective? Are GOP officials willing to admit it out loud?