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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

Republicans Showing Pragmatism on Immigration - or Just Wishful Thinking

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Here's an interesting piece in the Los Angeles Times discussing the change in tone of at least three leading contenders for the GOP presidential nomination. I've blogged about Newt Gingrich's immigration position and I have to say that over many years he's shown an interest in coming up with workable immigration solutions. It's nice to hear Mitt Romney moving away from his 2008 "deport them all" rhetoric. Former governor Jon Huntsman from Utah is a name most people don't know yet, but a lot of GOP insiders think he could be a strong candidate. And he's now talking about alternatives to deporting millions of people as well. Tim Pawlenty said last week that he thinks longtime illegally present immigrants might also deserve special consideration (though he's on record supporting repealing the 14th Amendment right to birthright citizenship, something that will be hard to explain away to immigration moderates).


The LA Times piece speculates as to why the rhetoric is softening. One reason seems to be that most focus is now on federal spending and the economy. I would also say that some candidates are betting that GOP primary voters who vote first on immigration issues are relatively small and that the risk of upsetting them is worth the much greater benefit of being seen as reasonable on immigration to the general electorate (including 50 million Latinos in the country, a sizeable percentage of which are US citizens).


But I've also noticed that politicians seem to get cowed by the antis email, fax, phone and newspaper letter writing campaigns and these are folks that regularly show up at town hall meetings. Despite their very small numbers, they project a loud voice. Those politicians who actually study the polling will see that there is a large, but relatively silent majority who support compromise on immigration. But that's been the case for several years so I while I am optimistic, I'm also realistic and think it may take a few more election cycles before a lot of GOP officeholders come around.

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  1. Another Voice's Avatar
    I still think that while the rhetoric may be modifying in some of these candidates, they can not bring themselves as republicans to match the "campaign promises" from the dems. Politically speaking it would be hard to peel off Hispanic voters on Immigration, if you start at a competitive disadvantage...
  2. JamesV's Avatar

    Looks like GOP might be opening up to skilled immigration reform

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/02/republicans-house-immigration-reform-skilled-workers_n_870600.html
  3. George Chell in Singapore's Avatar
    Wishful thinking!!
  4. F's Avatar
    As long as Durbin is in a position to influence the debate in senate , House republicans cannot do anything. Durbin wants to screw legal immigration for the sake of undocumented.
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