Condoleezza Rice and Republicans on Immigration

In the excitement of the Democratic and Republican national conventions it is easy to overlook some important points that Condoleezza Rice made in her speech at the Republican National Convention. Republicans are often depicted as being either anti-immigration or anti-reform, but this is an incorrect assessment. In fact, Rice spoke of immigration as a necessity:

“We need immigration laws that protect our borders; meet our economic needs; and yet show that we are a compassionate people,” Rice said during her speech.

Republicans are certainly open to immigration reform because they can see the benefit behind investing in immigrants. It would be very foolish not to. Indeed, immigrants are part of the cultural make-up of the United States. Most everyone in America is the descendent of an immigrant. People speak with pride of how their distant relatives came to Ellis Island with nothing but the shirts on their backs, but died the wealthy and successful owner of a business that added to the strength of the American economy and general welfare of the country.

“…You can come from humble circumstances and do great things. That it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you are going,” Rice said.

Some of the greatest innovators that the United States has ever known were immigrants. Google would not be based in the U.S. if not for Sergey Brin who was born in Russia and immigrated to the United States as a child. Andrew Carnegie, the 19th century industrialist, immigrated to the United States from Scotland and built his fortune from nothing. He went on to found many philanthropic ventures in the United States including the famous Carnegie Mellon University. Albert Einstein, a man generally regarded as the greatest thinker perhaps in history, was an immigrant and was living in New Jersey when he died.

This respect for the potential of immigrants is derived from the philosophy of the United States government. America is a meritocracy as Condoleezza Rice points out in her speech, “Ours has been a belief in opportunity and a constant battle—long and hard—to extend the benefits of the American dream to all—without regard to circumstances of birth.” That people who come from all walks of life, no matter in what class they were born, can strive to succeed and accomplish their goals is what American Republicans hold most dear.