The head of the Republican Party of Bexar County had a very odd way of criticizing Hillary Clinton for her flip-flop on immigration reform. Robert Stovall told San Antonio’s KENS 5 that Clinton’s endorsement of comprehensive immigration reform is disingenuous, but then took it a step further (emphasis mine):

“It’s disingenuous for her to come to South Texas and Bexar County, for us to trust her when she’s constantly flip-flopping on these issues. On one side, Hillary and the Democrats are now pro-immigrant. On the other side, Republicans have evolved into the most anti-immigrant group of people that you are going to find.”

There’s a big difference between being anti-illegal immigration and anti-immigration. One position wants to keep people from illegally entering the U.S. That’s a good position to have because if people are going to come into the country it needs to be through proper channels. The other position can hurt Republicans in the polls because it makes people think they just want people who were born in America to live in America and no one else. It’s nativism, which shouldn’t be supported because it goes against the ideas of life, liberty, and property in the U.S. Constitution. The Alien and Sedition Acts can be considered nativist because it tried to keep French immigrants from becoming U.S. citizens on the fear they’d fall under the sway of Thomas Jefferson. There was also fear that what was happening in the French Revolution would happen in the U.S.

But Stovall is actually wrong in his comment about Republican being anti-immigration. There are Republicans out there who are pro-legal immigration, whether it’s Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Marco Rubio. There are Democrats out there who are anti-legal immigration including Bernie Sanders. One thing people need to remember is the Federation for American Immigration Reform was actually started by a leftist named Dr. John Tanton. Tanton is a former chair of the National Sierra Club Population Committee and was the organizer and president of the Northern Michigan Planned Parenthood Association. He was also involved with Zero Population Growth, now Population Stabilization, which promotes abortion because the group believes it’s the best way to keep the world’s population from growing. The group also praised Iran for putting together population controls.

In Muslim societies, there are diverse views on family planning. The Islamic Republic of Iran implemented one of the most successful family planning programs in the history of the world, bringing the country’s fertility rate from 6.9 children per woman in the late 1960s to 1.9 in the early 2000s.

Tanton’s supporters also include ex-Colorado Governor Dick Lamm, who Cato Institute wrote in 1996, wanted to raise taxes, do population control, and not care for the elderly. Lamm also wanted a national ID card law to pass to help law enforcement officers identify criminals and terrorists. If Tanton associates with the Sierra Club (which pushes the Clean Air Act), Planned Parenthood (which is accused of selling baby parts), Dick Lamm (who promoted tax hikes), and Population Stabilization (which wants abortion to keep the population from growing), should conservatives really listen and associate with him?

It’s possible Stovall misspoke or that the KENS 5 story got his comment wrong. It seems odd to have the chair of the GOP party of a largely Hispanic city and county suggest being “anti-immigration” is a good thing. In fact the GOP shouldn’t be anti-immigration and it’s frustrating to see Republicans out there who embrace that label. Borders are important and there’s nothing wrong with protecting them, but if people want to legally immigrate into the U.S. shouldn’t they be allowed to if they pass a background check? It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll all become Democrats or just want “free stuff.” There are plenty of immigrants from countries not in the southern hemisphere who want to come over because they believe in free markets, liberty, and conservative values. It’s important to find these immigrants, accept them, and use them to promote free markets, liberty, and conservative values. Heck, there are probably immigrants from the southern hemisphere who believe in this sort of thing too.

There’s nothing wrong with being pro-American, but the question is how does one translate the beliefs into action? If it’s by promoting a free market economy, keeping the government from picking winners and losers, low taxes, low government spending, not restricting the Second Amendment, protecting religious freedom, protecting private property, making sure free speech isn’t censored, and having a military which keeps countries which want to do us harm from doing so, then that’s fine. If it’s keeping law-abiding people, who just want to legally immigrate and take part in the American Dream from coming into the U.S., then you may want to rethink your position. It really could come back to hurt the party in the long run, especially as the demographics of the country start changing.

Update: KENS 5 had an error in their story and attributed a quote from Democratic Chair Manuel Medina to Bexar County GOP Chair Robert Stovall. I apologize for my own mistake as well. It seemed odd that a GOP chair would say being anti-immigration was good, especially in a multi-ethnic city like San Antonio.