By Paul Bremmer
Phyllis Schlafly has been a national leader in the conservative movement since publication of her 1964 bestseller “A Choice Not An Echo,” and many credit her for the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Now, after having spent much of the last 50 years speaking out against forces she believes are tearing the American social fabric apart, she’s becoming a leader in the battle against illegal immigration.
Even at the age of 90, she’s still not done; her latest book “Who Killed the American Family?” will be released by WND Books later this month.
In it, she finds the American family under attack from a range of forces, including feminists, judges, lawmakers, psychologists, universities, the media and illegal immigration.
She sees President Obama and other Democratic leaders as complicit in the importation of people who don’t share the American value of self-reliance.
“The Democrats know perfectly well that the people coming in are people who are not accustomed to our ideas of self-government and limited government, and they expect government to take care of them, and that’s what we’re doing,” Schlafly said in an interview.
It was 1972 when she stepped into leadership in the pro-family movement, and now, through her Eagle Forum, she continues.
Her big victory was over the principal legislative goal of radical feminists, the Equal Rights Amendment. She later was named one of the 100 most important women of the 20th century by the Ladies’ Home Journal.
The Eagle Forum in February issued a report called “How Mass (Legal) Immigration Dooms a Conservative Republican Party.”
The premise was that the vast majority of immigrants in the U.S. have liberal policy preferences, according to survey data from numerous sources. These liberal preferences cannot be overcome by better GOP messaging or Republican support of amnesty for the current illegal population.
According to the report, the only hope for the Republican Party to remain viable as a national conservative party is to restrict the number of legal immigrants allowed into the country each year.
The report dealt mostly with legal immigration, but since it came out, the southern U.S. border has seen a tremendous surge of illegal crossers, many of them children and teenagers. Schlafly is just as adamant about these illegal immigrants as she is about the others.
“I think they ought to be put on buses and sent back immediately,” she said. “There’s no reason to let them in. They say they have to go before some court. They don’t need to go before some court. It’s an invasion of people we don’t want in this country, and they ought to be sent back.”
Schlafly said she favors tighter border security, tougher sanctions against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants and increased deportations of illegal aliens already in the country. She also doesn’t buy the notion that the U.S. needs to import foreigners to fill certain high-skilled jobs.
“Every time I hear this expression that we need to bring in these foreigners who are ‘the best and the brightest,’ I get mad,” she said. “I have four sons who have degrees in electrical engineering and two grandchildren who do, and I think they’re the best and the brightest. And the idea that people we can bring in from other countries are better is just nonsense.”
Nor does Schlafly believe the U.S. should import foreigners to take lower-skilled jobs.
“We’ve got plenty of people who need entry-level jobs, and … even legal immigration is very unfair to our poor people in this country who are American citizens,” she said.
Schlafly has written that immigrants hold liberal political views for reasons largely outside the control of conservatives. Chief among these reasons is the simple fact that most immigrants come from countries where government plays a greater role in society.
“They look upon government as a big factor in their lives, and they don’t know anything different, so how can they support our American way of life?” she said.
When asked whether there is anything conservatives can do to change immigrants’ policy preferences, Schlafly struck a pessimistic tone.
“Well, it might take 50 years, but meanwhile the Republican Party will be dead. Maybe so will the U.S.,” she said.
The bottom line, according to the veteran activist, is that the United States is just too different from the rest of the world. In their home countries, immigrants never learn to appreciate the ideals that make strong nuclear families possible – ideals such as small government and self-reliance.
“Nobody else has a country and a government like the United States has, and we let people in who don’t even understand the terms of limited government and balanced budgets and ‘keep the government out of our life’ and ‘don’t let government tell us how to raise our children,’ and all the other things government’s trying to do,” she said.
“America is so different. America is so exceptional. America is just a different kind of country from every other country in the world.”