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Bloggings: Right Wing Anti-immigrant Hate is Still Alive and Well. Can it Wreck Immigration Reform? By Roger Algase

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Just in case anyone thinks that immigration reform is a done deal because all Republicans have accepted the reality of demographic change, the following rant by Ann Coulter at the CPAC conference on March 16 should provide a different perspective: Here is her outburst, which drew cheers from those attending, as reported in Politico on the same day:


"If amnesty goes through, America becomes California and no Republican will ever win another national election...I can see why Democrats would want amnesty, but why on earth are Marco Rubio and these endless Bushes supporting it? Even Shemp and Zippo Bush are supporting amnesty for illegals."


She added:


"Republicans are grasping at these suicidal policies because they're panicked, they're demoralized after the last election. Stop panicking, Republicans!"


She also stated: "I'm now a single issue voter against amnesty."


Even though Coulter was critical of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, one can see a broader fear of Latino voters, even among the Republicans whom Coulter condemns as being in favor of "amnesty".


Even the more moderate Republicans who favor giving unauthorized immigrants some form of provisional legal status are trying to put actual citizenship, or even permanent residence, far off into the future. This would be done either by tying permanent residence into border and internal enforcement conditions which are almost by definition impossible to fulfill, or else forcing unauthorized immigrants to the back of a line which might be almost a quarter century long before they could even apply for a green card.


What is emerging are two Republican strategies. The first, represented by Ann Coulter, is to return to the overt hate against Latino immigrants that killed immigration reform in 2007 based on the slogan "No amnesty for illegals".


But after the 2012 election, that slogan is now irrelevant. Ann Coulter is trying to be the Lou Dobbs of 2013.


But Ann Coulter's tirade at least has the virtue of honesty. Latinos and other minorities will never vote Republican (in her view), so as many as possible should be kicked out of the country.


The other strategy, which appears to be the one adopted by Republicans on the "Gang of Eight" Senators, is to create the appearance of accepting both legalization and an eventual "Pathway to Citizenship". But legalization would be "provisional" for at least a generation, and might create a permanent underclass. Will Latinos buy this? 


There might also be other poison pills in the "moderate" Republican proposals, such as drastically reducing family (l.e. Latino) green cards, together with changing the employment-based immigration system to favor educated, high tech workers from rich (i.e. white and Asian) countries at the expense of lower skilled workers from Latin America. This is what the failed 2007 "reform" bill would have done.


Whether openly, as in Ann Coulter's bigoted outburst, or more subtly, as with the "moderates", the Republican attitude toward America's minorities still seems to be one of rejection and distrust. This is not a good omen for the chances of immigration reform.


 

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