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Bloggings: Republicans' Hostility to Immigration Hurts the GOP With Young Voters in General, Not Only Latino Voters. By Roger Algase

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A June 3 report by the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) shows the Republican party's losses among all voters under 30 in 2012 were only slightly less devastating than the GOP's loss with Latino voters. While 71 percent of Latino voters supported re-electing President Obama last fall, 60 percent of all voters under 30 voted for Obama as well, according to the 95 page report, entitled Grand Old Party for A Brand New Generation. 


The entire report can be accessed by going to the Huffington Post's June 3 summary: College Republicans Report Finds Young Voters Hold Many Positions Opposite of Party and clicking the link to the full CRNC report at the end of the Huffpost's summary, which can be accessed at:


www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/03/colllege-republicans-report_n_3378568.html?


A reading of the CRNC report shows that the Republicans are out of touch with, if not openly hostile to, younger voters on such a great variety of issues that the title of the report might more accurately have been: "Grand Old Party against A Brand New Generation". One of these issues, without any question, is immigration, covered on pages 55-60 of the CRNC report.


At the outset, the immigration section of the report states: "The issue of the Republican Party's challenges with the youth vote and the party's challenges with non-white voters are inseparable."


This should come as no surprise, since the report goes on to note that "the Millennial generation is significantly less likely to be white than are older cohorts." 


While the report points out that immigration is not near the top of the list of issues of interest to under-30 voters in general, with only 11 percent naming immigration reform as one of their top two or three priorities in a March, 2013 CRNC survey, that does not mean that this issue is unimportant to the GOP's future. The report states:


"Nonetheless, the immigration debate may set up a 'gateway issue'. For voters who are undecided but have a connection to communities affected by immigration policy, the issue can certainly turn voters away. As one of our focus group participants in San Diego framed it, 'For a lot of people that I know that are in the middle and could go either way, I think immigration is the issue for them. They are like, "I would vote for them, but I have family that wants to come here." So I think if [the Republicans] were more open and not to any extreme - nobody should be at one extreme or the other - but if it was moderate and came to a compromise, then things would change.'"


The above is not to say that the CRNC report identifies young voters as overwhelmingly in favor of immigration reform. In its survey, the CRNC found that 35 per cent of respondents favored a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, while 30 percent supported "enforcement first".


Granted, many college students tend to reflect the views of their families or people they grew up with. I found this to be the case myself more than 50 years ago when I was the head of a small (liberal) political group at Harvard College, and the hot issue facing America was not immigration, but "integration" (i.e. abolishing the Southern racial segregation laws).


Nor is it any coincidence that some of the same Southern states which oppressed and persecuted African-Americans in the 1950's are leading the way in their hostility to immigrants of color today. The fact that they are now doing this under the banner of the Republican party, rather than the Democrats, as in the past, should also be a great cause for concern for the GOP in this new millennium.


Congressional Republicans who are trying to block CIR at any cost, or at least push it as far to the right as possible, should think more carefully about their party's future and support moderation and compromise, as the CRNC report recommends, instead of following the road of extremism based on a racist past.



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