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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

NY TIMES: GOP CAN SAY BUH-BYE TO HISPANIC SUPPORT

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The irony is that many in the GOP were feeling pretty giddy Thursday night thinking they somehow made a big score by blocking the immigration bill. But the vast majority of people that were against the bill were people who were already likely GOP voters and would answer "over my dead body" if asked to support your typical Democrat. In other words, they probably gain very few new supporters when they where the mantle of the anti-immigrant party.



On the flip side, the Democrats score a major, major coup in the bill's defeat. The NY Times paints the bleak picture for the Republicans in a front page story from this morning's edition. Like yesterday's NBC News report, the story outlines the genuine fear many insiders in the GOP are feeling right now. Leading Hispanic members of the GOP are particularly vocal in their concerns. Linda Chavez, a former Reagan Administration official who was an earlier Bush nominee for Labor Secretary told the Times:

"There may be some short-term gain from this. But in the
long term, it is disastrous for the Republican Party...The tone of the debate, and the way it was framed in sort of an 'us
against them' way, has done great harm in wooing Hispanics to the party."

Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Insitute, a Hispanic-focused think tank, told the Times,

"I think it's bloody for the Republicans. The Democrats said pro-immigrant stuff, and even if they
didn't support it, it was because they said it wasn't good enough. The
Republicans said anti-immigrant stuff and so now they are going to get
killed with this."

I disagree with Ms. Chavez in one respect. There will be NO short term benefit for the GOP. Next year was already going to be tough with the fall out from the war in Iraq still costing the GOP. They could not afford to lose any additional votes and now they can shave off anywhere from 1% to 5% in most races around the country. Overcoming the 60 vote threshold in the Senate may not be such a problem after the 2008 election not just because the Democrats will pick up another four or five seats in 2008. A lot of Republicans are going to think twice about paying too much attention to a barrage of extremist callers the next time and look at the wider sentiments of the American public.



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Comments

  1. Just wondering's Avatar
    I watched quite a bit of the debate about CIR on c-span. Funny, I don't recall ANY Republican making anti-immigrant remarks, with the possible exception of Sessions when he mentioned that CIR would double legal immigration as if that is a bad thing. So the media spin is, Democrats voted against it because it wasn't good enough, Republicans voted against it because they are anti-immigrant. Could someone please give me some quotes made by Republicans that were anti-immigrant? If no one can, I will assume this is just pure partisan politics as usual with the run up to 2008. Just the usual race card stuff from the Dems and their supporters.
  2. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    If you have read the proposed ammendment from each side, the picture would be clear.
  3. Just Wondering's Avatar
    I looked over the Republican amendments, and I don't see any that would have an effect on legal immigrants.
  4. Honza P's Avatar
    I'd agree with you on the hope to get a good immigration bill through, but I have to wonder how that can be true if the Democrats who won with the slimmest margins were also the most likely to oppose the bill for "law and order" and "we're full" reasons.
    Professional politicians follow public reaction as if it were a crucial compnent of their jobs because it is. Slate's Mickey Kaus spends a lot of time showing that the negative reaction to the immigraiton compromise among the msot informed gvoters stayed negative even as mroe people learned more about it.
    I expect we'll see more immigrant bashing in both parties. The Democrats submlimated much of their anti-immigrant feeling because they wanted the intra-GOP fight front and center and kept their voices down, but I fear that if another compromise bill comes down the pike tht has a chance of passing, last minute Democrat opposition could be surprisingly fierce. After all, the opposition to the bill was mroe bi-partisan than those voting in favor, and that was with a safe margin of defeat.
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