Just when I was feeling a little bad about how the NY Times had to take out a subprime mortgage on its headquarters and is on the brink of financial ruin, the NY Times editors reminded me why I shouldn’t feel bad. In yet another use of the race card, the NY Times runs an editorial labelling those who support border security and enforcing existing immigration laws as racist xenophobes hell-bent on ethnic cleansing of Latinos.

The relentlessly harsh Republican campaign against immigrants has always hidden a streak of racialist extremism….Americans want immigration solved, and they realize that mass deportations will not do that. When you add the unprecedented engagement of growing numbers of Latino voters in 2008, it becomes clear that the nativist path is the path to permanent political irrelevance. Unless you can find a way to get rid of all the Latinos.

In the view of the NY Times, the U.S. is the only country not entitled to sovereignty, including control of its borders, the right to decide who enters the country, and the right to deport those who violated the law through illegal immigration.

There is nothing inherently racist or xenophobic about sovereignty or immigration enforcement. For a hundred years there has been massive legal immigration of all manner of racial and ethnic groups. The issue is not what the color of the country’s skin will be, but whether we will exist as a sovereign nation, or simply an open border with no unique American identity. That unique identity is not based on race or ethnicity, but on a recognition of our sovereignty and a respect for our laws.

You would not think that the concept of sovereignty would be so controversial. But for at least two generations we have allowed the editors of the NY Times and others to deride the American identity as racist, sexist, and just about every other “ist” you can think of. We have allowed those who view America as inherently evil to frame the debate. The debate over an open border has evolved to the point that a large number of people, including apparently the editors of the NY Times, believe that an effectively open border should be our policy.

But it is one thing to disagree, and another thing to stifle legitimate debate by labelling people as racist. The use of the race card worked effectively in the presidential campaign, and seems to be the liberal tactic of the day. Let’s call it for what it is.
UPDATE 2-2-2009: For another take on the NY Times Editorial, see The Other McCain.