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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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My law school roommate and long time friend Henry Olsen is the vice president of the conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute. He's written an essay for the National Review entitled "The Way of the Whigs" and it talks about the danger the GOP faces in terms of long term survival. This might seem strange given the recent polling problems the Democrats have experienced, but Henry writes that there are long term forces at work that Republicans need to heed. One is the growing Hispanic electorate which has shifted decidedly toward the Democrats over the last two election cycles. The GOP's perceived hostility to immigrants and immigration reform are the key reason and there is no way the GOP can regain a solid footing for the future as long as it is perceived as the anti-immigrant party.

A second article with a similar theme appeared in today's Washington Post:

The U.S. Hispanic population is expected to increase by nearly 200
percent by 2050, with non-Hispanic whites comprising about half the
nation's population, down from 69.4 percent in 2000. From 1988 to 2008,
the number of eligible Hispanic voters rose 21 percent -- from 16.1
million to 19.5 million.

"The numbers don't lie," said Whit Ayres, a GOP consultant. "If
Republicans don't do better among Hispanics, we're not going to be
talking about how to get Florida back in the Republican column, we're
going to be talking about how not to lose Texas.

Fewer Hispanics view the Democratic Party favorably than did a year ago, according to NBC-Wall Street Journal polls, when they had voted in record numbers for Barack Obama.
But by many measures, including candidate recruitment and vote totals,
Republicans continue to struggle. The most vexing problem is the
immigration debate, in which hard-liners and "tea party" activists have
alienated many Hispanics with their harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric.

"That's the word that got back to folks on the street: 'They don't want us,' " said Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele, who is looking for ways to tamp down fiery anti-immigration language.

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  1. George Chell's Avatar
    "On fiscal issues, polls show a desire for less government and lower taxes in the abstract, but support for most specific (and expensive) government programs."

    We want government services but we dont want to pay for it. So we have the deficit and debt. We want lower airline ticket prices but get mad when a commuter air pilot is paid $16,000 per annum, while a starting Washington Metro driver gets $40,000. If the ticket price is high we wont buy even if it means the poor pilot will get more than slave wages. We want cheaper products and cheaper food, but we also dont like immigrants and give lip service to paying higher prices for food. Americans love to work abroad but dont want foreigners working here. In this regard all nationalities are guilty with the Brits and the Aussies being the worst cuplrits. However, Americans are more irresponsible than most other nationalities. This is proved by Saxby Chambliss's response to Obama cuts in farm subsidies for Georgia farmers. He wants to protect his constituents and want the "Yankees" to subsidize the southern incometence...only an example here...and oh yes, Arizonans want to pass state laws on immigration and want the rest of us to pay for it!
  2. Jack's Avatar
    'Hispanics were alienated by Republicans pushing for English-only policies and stringent law enforcement'

    The inference is that Hispanics would be turned on by lax immigration law enforcement. But if the other party is already lax and has a built-in advantage with minorities for other reasons (which also happen to antithetical to your party's core platform planks), what do you gain by trying to match the Democrats in terms of immigration looseness? Multitudes of new voters who are going to vote against you no matter how much you pander on immigration. Thus, trying to beat the Democrats at their own game just speeds your extinction up.

    Here is a recent opinion piece by Jonathan Turley which overlaps some of the issues in the one by Greg's roommate:,0,457747.story
  3. George Chell's Avatar
    "Multitudes of new voters who are going to vote against you no matter how much you pander on immigration."

    Sure happened in 2006 like many of your friends in the GOP claimed!
  4. George Chell's Avatar
    And we should have one federal election for Senate, House and the White House every four years, instead of the current arrangements.
  5. Another Voice's Avatar
    As I stated before republicans will benefit from the dems inaction on Immigration by leaving those e votes home as the hispanics will not go out to vote. Hispanics just as the Italians and Irish immigrants in the past have a deep distrust in politics and politicians from experiences in their native countries. As the dems fail to act that will reinforce their notion that it does not really matter if you vote for these people they still will not help you and that will help the republican chances tremendously.
  6. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    "The inference is that Hispanics would be turned on by lax immigration law enforcement."

    Incorrect and you know it. Inference is that the immigration laws need to be made more liberal. For current immigrants, and for the future ones, too.
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