Bootleggers and Catholics: The Politics of the Open-Borders Lobby
Economist Bruce Yandle is known for (among many other things) authoring the “Bootleggers and Baptists” theory of government regulation. The gist of the theory is that many forms of regulation (and other types of government intervention) persist because of the political clout of one group – the “bootleggers”—that is only interested in money, and another group – the “Baptists” – that has some religious or ideological interest in a particular form of government intervention. The bootlegger and Baptist language comes from his analysis of alcohol prohibition, where bootleggers supported it because it made the competition – legal alcohol merchants – illegal, whereas “Baptists” is symbolic language for those who supported prohibition for religious reasons.
In her new book, Open Borders Inc., Michelle Malkin documents chapter and verse of what has to be one of the biggest Bootleggers-and-Baptist operations ever – the coalition of large corporations like Koch Industries and Apple Computer, along with arms of the Catholic Church, that seeks to abolish national sovereignty in the United States with open borders. The corporate interest is mainly in cheap labor, says Malkin, whereas the rhetoric of the Catholic Church is about compassion for “refugees.” There is a twist here in Professor Yandle’s theory, however, a twist that probably also exists in many of his other examples. The twist is that although the rhetoric of the Catholic Church is about compassion for the poor, it is not just coincidental that it rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in government grants to administer its “refugee resettlement” and other illegal immigrant programs. The Church also views mass immigration from largely Catholic Latin America a solution to the catastrophic drop off in Sunday offerings (it lost some three million American Catholics between 2007 and 2015) in light of how it has handled its pedophile scandal. “Follow the money” is the main theme of Open Borders, Inc.
Malkin, a lifelong Catholic, excoriates socialist Pope Francis for his rank hypocrisy in pontificating about the need for open borders in America while being surrounded himself by the gigantic and impenetrable Vatican Wall.
“The Vatican is the mother of all exclusive gated communities, with fortifications and phalanxes around its 109 acres that make Beverly Hills look like Appalachia. Keeping watch at the entrances to Vatican City are the members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard . . . the 140-man standing army that is staffed by highly trained marksmen . . . . They accompany the Holy Father on all his travels, packing the same personal defense weapons that fire armor-piercing small caliber rifle rounds used by SEAL Team Six . . . . Vatican City has its own separate police force . . . which performs border control . . . armed with a full range of modern weaponry, including Glock pistols and Heckler and Koch and Beretta submachine guns plus Carbon 15 machine pistols and Heckler and Koch FABARM shotguns.”
There’s nothing wrong with showing compassion to immigrants, writes Malkin, but what the Catholic Church is involved in is supporting “the systematic undermining of an orderly immigration and entrance system that imposes limits, eligibility requirements, criminal background checks, medical screening, and a commitment to assimilation.”
Government showers taxpayer dollars on the Catholic Church’s myriad open borders bureaucracies, bringing not a peep of protest from the usual leftist hysterics demanding “a wall of separation” between church and state. One program alone, for “migration and refugee services” and run by the Catholic bishops, gets 59% of its revenue from government grants. It collected $534 million in taxpayer dollars from 2008 to 2017, writes Malkin. Although it is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization, it spends much of its time hurling insults at any and all elected officials who seek to enforce federal immigration laws. The “open-borders business” of the Catholic Church, says Malkin, is “about cold, hard cash.”
Malkin writes of how Barack Obama got his start in politics after leaving Harvard Law School working for disgraced and now-defunct “ACORN” (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). ACORN was a big league spouter of Marxist rhetoric to “justify” its actions, which is probably what attracted Obama to it. It specialized in such things as threatening to cry “racism” unless banks gave it, ACORN, and not any alleged victims of racism, millions, or tens of millions of dollars. (It did so by making use of the Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act which gave “community organizations” the ability to protest to the Fed and endlessly delay a proposed bank merger or new branch opening unless the bank could prove that it was not practicing lending discrimination. Typically, the complaint would be withdrawn as soon as ACORN got the cash, regardless of whether any study of discrimination was completed). It was essentially an extortion racket that raked in billions over the years. Malkin quotes Obama as explaining how he worked hand in hand with the “Catholic Campaign for Human Development” while with ACORN. The “Campaign” gave ACORN $7.3 million before it was forced out of business after a prostitution smuggling ring it was apparently running was exposed on video by “Project Veritas.”
Catholic Charities is the Big Kahuna of government-funded open borders activism, receiving 98% of its budget in 2012 from government grants. For the past several decades it has received, on average, about 60 percent of its revenue from government grants, with an annual budget of over $1 billion. Fifty-seven government agencies fund Catholic Charities, Malkin reports.
The Catholic Church bureaucracy is not the only recipient of taxpayer funds for open borders lobbying, of course. The Lutheran Church gets some 94% of its funding for open borders activism from the taxpayers; Church World Service gets 72%; Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society gets 54%; Episcopal Ministries gets 22%.
Malkin includes a chapter on the Left’s “hate machine”: The Southern Poverty Law Center (which does nothing for poverty and practices almost no law). The role of the SPLC in all of this, as with all other issues, is to smear any and all dissenters to its radical, Bolshevik-style Leftism as “haters” and “extremists.” When the American Enterprise Institute sponsored a debate by two academics on the issue of immigration, for example, the SPLC condemned the institution for “mainstreaming hate.” Arguing for enforcement of immigration laws that Congress has passed and presidents have signed is apparently the same as being a member of the KKK and burning a cross in the front yard of a black family according to the SPLC. Or so they would like what Rush Limbaugh calls the “low-information voters” of America to believe. Malking documents many examples of this guilt-by-association smear. For example, they will find some genuinely crazy-sounding misfit who no one ever heard of who rants and raves on the internet. He will then be placed on their “official” list of immigrant “haters” and “extremists” along with, say, Senator Ted Cruz, Lou Dobbs, or Michelle Malkin, implying that they are all birds of a feather and equally threatening to society.
Looming over all of this is George Soros, who doesn’t really fit in with the bootleggers-and-Baptists theme despite being a wealthy businessman. Malkin documents the millions of dollars he spends annually facilitating illegal immigration around the world while at the same time quoting Soros’s utopian rhetoric about his dream of a world government (presumably run by himself and his ideological cronies). In other words, Soros is more like one of the “Dr. Evil” characters plotting world domination in a James Bond movie.
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