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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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There have been many op-ed pieces discussing the GOP's suicidal alienation of Latino voters. There is no evidence that Republicans will even get a short term boost from anti-immigration voters (the relatively small number of people who make that their major electoral issue) since these folks overwhelmingly vote Republican anyway. And the long term harm in terms of getting votes from the country's fastest growing electoral group will be massive.

The Washington Post's Michael Gerson piece this morning does a good job summing up the stakes:

Ethnic politics is symbolic and personal. Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy gained African American support by calling Coretta Scott King while her husband was in prison. Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater lost support by voting against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A generation of African American voters never forgot either gesture.

Republicans have now sent three clear signals to Hispanic voters:

California's Proposition 187, which was passed in 1994 and attempted to deny illegal immigrants health care and public education before being struck down in court; the immigration debate of 2006, dominated by strident Republican opponents of reform; and now the Arizona immigration law. According to a 2008 study by the Pew Hispanic Center, 49 percent of Hispanics said that Democrats had more concern for people of their background; 7 percent believed this was true of Republicans. Since the Arizona controversy, this gap can only have grown. In a matter of months, Hispanic voters in Arizona have gone from being among the most pro-GOP in the nation to being among the most hostile.

Immigration issues are emotional and complex. But this must be recognized for what it is: political suicide. Consider that Hispanics make up 40 percent of the K-12 students in Arizona, 44 percent in Texas, 47 percent in California, 54 percent in New Mexico. Whatever temporary gains Republicans might make feeding resentment of this demographic shift, the party identified with that resentment will eventually be voted into singularity. In a matter of decades, the Republican Party could cease to be a national party.

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  1. Adi's Avatar
    Why is it that whenever immigration is discussed its always about votes and parties rather than discussing ways of solving controversial elements of the bill.
  2. Another Voice's Avatar
    Because immigration is tacked by politicians and they act out of political gain ONLY!!! The details are just that details to them..... the only thing they want to know is if this gives them a chance to keep their jobs for another term....
  3. ted salladore's Avatar
    This article is very succinct analysis i.e. in decades,the GOP will be resigned to oblivion. Having watched the political scene and discourse all these years, the GOP --who are now in Congress don't see the analysis as something they have to be concerned about. They see issues and political realities not far out in years---but in a myopia: what's good for them in the next 2 years or in the next ( immediate )election cycle.

    It's great to pontificate about the "political future" but the reality is- the right wing GOP in Congress and in the various state houses--are in the same political myopia.They are self absorbed, shortsighted ,always angry and mean.

    The political hyperbole and partisan rigidity will be with us for a while. I guess only an act of God can change the dynamics in D.C. and beyond.
  4. John's Avatar
    These kind of Op-ed's are written zillions time in the past(this one is brilliant), but question is will these make difference, NO. For CIR, congress needs guts and honestly this is the right time for Dems to push for CIR, as the political calculation shows Dems are going to big(significant seats) time come November no matter if they bring up CIR or not, again Politics comes in between, even though DEMS are for CIR including solution to illigals, but afterall they do worry about getting re-elected for next term. I think this is the right time for big votes, if nothing happens in this congress I dont see it happenning in near future. If GOP takes controls of House they will spend most of next year for HCR repeal just to play nice with their base, and i think nothing gets done in 2011 and 2012 is again a big election year.

    I think house and senate term should be 4 yrs, so that we dont have election every other year. And we have to enforce term limit on elected senators and reps, this way they might actually do something for country rather than worry about getting re-elected time and again.

    With current political grid lock and unified oppostion from GOP(including once a maverik John McCain now fighting for his political life), I dont see anything happenning on CIR now or in the immediate future, where as these Op-ed talks about political shift in decades is not that a quite a long wait and with 24/7 media we cant guess what tomorrow brings, let alone decade.

    All we want is meaningful immigration reform PERIOD.
  5. Jack's Avatar
    "Why is it that whenever immigration is discussed its always about votes and parties"

    expedient adj. 2. advantageous rather than right or just.

    Who cares whether immigration pandering is right or just, good policy or bad? We'll give you amnesty and an open border if you 'repay' us with your votes.
  6. Adi's Avatar
    "We'll give you amnesty and an open border if you 'repay' us with your votes."
    Lets not give legal residence to millions but when it comes to our grandma/babies being served we sure as hell don't wanna pay more than minimum wage. Lets not blame the employers who hire illegals, why? Why just focus on illegal immigrants and not the source of problem?
  7. Another Voice's Avatar
    "Who cares whether immigration pandering is right or just, good policy or bad? We'll give you amnesty and an open border if you 'repay' us with your votes."

    Then there is the other side of that.... we will continue to sing the enforcement only solution and pander to the birthers and nativists if you vote for us!!!! Even if is not practical, intelligent or is going to resolve anything... kicking the can down the road is always better politically!!!
  8. Adi's Avatar
    "kicking the can down the road is always better politically!!!"
    especially for the ones who do not have voice in this country. Did anybody say US is epitome of human right?? Its practically tyranny of majority.
  9. John's Avatar
    Foreign IT Pros Paid More Than Americans:

    Link to the paper's abstract here:

  10. Nobody's Avatar
    This is just fantastic. For HCR, Dems are willing to do it alone, but when CIR comes they want Republican support. What does this prove. This only proves that they do not care about immigration reform (at least they can take care of the legal piece first). Every year there will be some reason to put it off. Now every body cares about a Climate bill, which must go first. Now we have the elections. Next year there will be some thing else. In fact people should vote for the GOP, and may be something will happen. Because it was under Bush's term that the reform was at least introduced in the senate, and it lost out because of the lack of support.
  11. My 2 cents's Avatar
    @nobody HCR was driven all the way through even without any Can support only b'cos Obama wanted it as his legacy. The Latinos should realize that all this is political posturing to gain some votes, actually neither party wants to fix immigration. Another issue I would like to highlight is when immigration is discussed the illegals come to the forefront. I haven't seen anything being done for the legals even when the economy was better.
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