For those in some media markets who tuned into Wednesday night’s big Politico/MSNBC debate, one of the weirdest moments came during the first commercial break. That’s when Californians For Population Stabilization dropped this ad on the viewing public:
Anti-legal immigration? What?!
Is this some new tea party meme? The coming of an even more conservative immigration policy from the GOP? The justification of every liberal fear, ever?
The answer to the last question may be yes, but the the answer to the other ones is basically no.
Californians For Population Stabilization or “CAPS” as it calls itself, has been around since 1986, and has been running ads like Wednesday’s in California for a while. The theme is simple: many of California’s problems can be traced to the fact that it has a lot of immigrants living there, and the state needs to do what it can to stem the tide.
Of course, they’ve got plenty to say about illegal immigration as well — and in all the old, familiar places. In August, they popped up in Newsmax warning the Super Committee against making cuts to border enforcement.
Yesterday, before the debate, CAPS blasted out to reporters its plan to catch debate viewers’ attention with its TV ad. The goal was to push the candidates gathered on stage to reject legal immigration and save the Republic from the gathering hordes outside the border.
“We’re going to shine a light on the proverbial elephant in the room,” commented Marilyn DeYoung, CAPS chair said in a statement. “Unfortunately, most Republicans don’t know our government is admitting more new, legal immigrants every month than the number of new jobs our economy is creating. That math doesn’t add up for anyone, not Californians who can’t find jobs, not new legal immigrants and certainly not for the American taxpayer.”
Unfortunately for CAPS, the debating Republicans were not willing to condemn legal immigration — though there were happy to talk border fences, Predator Drones and other means of keeping illegal immigrants out.
But when it came to legal immigration, one of the more conservative men on stage — former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — made his case in favor of the concept.
Look, I’m the son of an Italian immigrant. I think immigration is one of the great things that has made this country the dynamic country that it continues to be, people who are drawn because of the ideals of this country. And so we should not have a debate talking about how we don’t want people to come to this country, but we want them to come here like my grandfather and my father came here.