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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

MIXED DAY FOR ANTI-IMMIGRANTS

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The John McCain win is part of the story. Some attributed his win in New Hampshire to the votes of independents and Democrats who were permitted to vote in the Republican primary. Not so in South Carolina. Just a few days ago, I posted on some of the rabid xenophobia that's taken hold in South Carolina and elsewhere in the South. But the Republicans of South Carolina seem to be showing that this type of nonsense is limited to the fringe and they are willing to support a pro-immigration candidate. If I had to rank the Republicans on immigration, I would probably rank the candidates from most pro-immigration to least in this order: McCain, Guiliani, Huckabee, Thompson, Romney, Paul, Hunter.  The actual order of votes in South Carolina was McCain, Huckabee, Thompson, Romney, Paul, Guiliani, Hunter. With the exception of Guiliani's bad performance (and he didn't campaign in the state), this is the worst possible result the antis could have hoped for.



And there was another very bad piece of news. While Tom Tancredo hogged most of the spotlight for being a one-issue anti-immigration candidate, Congressman Duncan Hunter really has run a very similar campaign. After garnering just 114 votes in South Carolina yesterday, Hunter dropped out. The dismal electoral performances of Tancredo and Hunter should be one of the bigger stories in this campaign where the media accepts the conventional wisdom that anti-immigration rhetoric is a winner.



There was better news for anti-immigrants in Nevada where Mitt Romney won easily. He secured 51% of the vote with Ron Paul taking second. But while Nevada Republicans ranked the economy and immigration high on their list, it appears that ethnic pride dramatically boosted Romney. He won 94% of Mormon Republicans and Mormons make up a quarter of Republican voters. Nevertheless, McCain's poor performance in a state neighboring Arizona was certainly not welcome news.



The next test for the GOP will be in Florida and this will certainly be tricky for Romney and Huckabee. Both desperately need to win the state and cannot afford to right off any Republicans. But the huge Cuban Republican constituency in South and Central Florida will not react favorably to their anti-immigration rhetoric. On the other hand, if Thompson drops out of the race this week as many are predicting, that could help Huckabee win evangelical Christian Republicans while Guiliani and McCain split the pro-immigration Cuban vote.

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  1. Another voice's Avatar
    Three of the most influential House of representatives of the cuban community in congress are backing McCain, Sen. Liberman said, he will campaign to bring in the jewish vote to McCain also. I think this one will be fought between McCain and Guiliani. Huckabee and Thompson may drop out after Florida unless thay want to bank on super-tuesday as Guiliani is doing.
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