Rush Limbaugh's Fact-Free Attack on Illegal Immigrants

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He misleadingly suggests that voter fraud in their ranks could affect the upcoming election and is oblivious to self-reliance in their community.

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In a recent segment, Rush Limbaugh chatted with a caller about illegal immigration, revealing once again that his ideological prejudices often overwhelm his ability to reason.

Let's go to the transcript:

CALLER: First of all, I want to thank you for helping to maintain our national sovereignty.

RUSH: Well, I appreciate that, sir. Thank you very much.

CALLER: That really means a lot. Now, I appreciate getting through in order to bring up a question that I think is really important at this time. My question is: To what extent do you think illegal voting will be a factor in the upcoming election?

RUSH: I don't know to what extent it will occur, but I do know the Democrats are counting on it and want it to happen. They want the option to cheat. It is why they are so opposed to voter ID, photo ID, in order to vote.

CALLER: And I suppose that's why they want to get all these illegals into the country, you know? [That link goes to another Limbaugh monologue about Obama's directive on illegal immigrants eligible for the DREAM Act.]

RUSH: Damn right.

CALLER: Even though a lot of them won't have the right to vote.

RUSH: Not only that, they're potential future dependents on government.

CALLER: Yeah.

RUSH: The last thing they want is these people coming in and becoming self-reliant. That does not further the Democrat Party at all. Self-reliance, individualism, people taking care of themselves does not advance the Democrat Party, and that's all they're interested in.

This monologue maligns the motive of Democrats without presenting a shred of evidence for doing so, and leads listeners astray when it grants the possibility that voter fraud may be a factor in who wins this November. Everything we know about voter fraud suggests that is nonsense.

But what really gets me about the monologue is the part about self-reliant people. Whether you think illegal immigration is a scourge, a boon, or somewhere in between, there's no doubt about this: The people, mostly young men, who set off alone from the only home they've ever known, sneak across a dangerous, militarized border, and find work in the United States, unable to avail themselves of friend networks or most government services or formal banking channels as they earn money and send it back home -- these are among the most self-reliant people in America! By necessity, they're more self-reliant than the average American citizen.

Ponder how this maps onto the DREAM Act. Its beneficiaries would be comprised of illegal immigrants brought here as children through no fault of their own who demonstrated an ability to stay out of legal trouble and succeed in school or the military. They've achieved everything anyone could ask given their legal status, and their ability to be self-reliant is now strained, far more than anything else, by their lack of legal documents.

What explains Limbaugh's position on illegal immigration? An array of factors, I'm sure, but admiration for self-reliance and the people who demonstrate that quality isn't among them.

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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