While most in the media have been shamelessly trying to railroad Congress into committing itself to an amnesty in early 2013, some media pundits have actually been saying that immigration won't solve the issues the GOP has with Hispanic voters. Columnists and opinon makers from all sides of the political spectrum have shared their thoughts on this trending topic.
Here's a list of what a few had to say.
If it were true that the primary reason that people (illegal immigrants) were coming here is to work, then the Democrat Party would be the ones building the fence on the border.
Why do you think the Democrats welcome them? Why do you think the Democrats want amnesty? They know that they've got them as voters.
The only way you can say the Republicans are not inclusive is because the Republicans are not willing to ignore the law. But it is a feint. It is a head fake. It's a trick.
No doubt a more moderate tone on immigration would help Republicans. But the idea of amnesty as a Latino-winning electoral silver bullet is a fantasy.
First, Hispanics are not single-issue voters: they can be alienated by nativism, but they can’t just be won by the promise of green cards and open borders. (After Reagan signed an amnesty bill in 1986, the Republican share of the Hispanic vote fell in the next presidential election.) Latino voters are not, as conservative strategists often claim, “natural” Republican voters — notwithstanding their (moderate) social conservatism, they tend to lean leftward on economic issues, and to see government more as an ally than a foe. They can be wooed, gradually, if Republicans address their aspirations and anxieties, but they aren’t going to be claimed in one legislative pander.
At the same time, a Republican Party that moves too far leftward on immigration risks alienating its white working-class supporters, an easily disillusioned constituency whose support the party cannot take for granted. These voters already suspect that Republican elites don’t have their interests at heart: Mitt Romney lost last week because he underperformed among minority voters, but also because a large number of working-class whites apparently stayed home. If the party’s only post-2012 adjustment is to embrace amnesty, they aren’t likely to turn out in 2016 either.
Because recent immigrants have no skills, they arrive in dire need of government assistance. Their desperation has been an enormous boon to the Democratic Party.
Thirty-nine percent of native households receive some form of government assistance. By contrast, 57 percent of immigrant households — legal immigrants — get government assistance. We can’t do anything about the native population, but why on Earth is America taking in immigrants who require taxpayer support?
If you come to America and immediately go on welfare, by definition, you are not a desirable immigrant. Except as a voter for the Democratic Party.
Many conservatives seem to hope that a more open attitude toward immigration will solve the Republicans' Latino problem and make everything else better. It's not that simple. For one thing, a more moderate stand on immigration could create new divisions in the party. And its weaknesses among both Latinos and women owe not simply to immigration or to social issues, respectively, but also to the fact that both groups are more sympathetic to government's role in the economy and in promoting upward mobility than current conservative doctrine allows.
… it’s a reminder that the future is uncertain. In 2004 Democrats believed that the culture of America had irrevocably changed. Then came the housing bubble, the financial collapse, and Barack Obama. Events happen, individuals matter, and the first lessons learned are rarely helpful. Or right.
Ramesh Ponnuru from the Charleston Daily Mail
Any effort by Republicans to solve knotty issues like immigration reform is bound to improve the party's abysmal standing with Latinos (and minorities generally). But it probably won't be enough to allow Republicans to compete in earnest for minority voters, who currently identify overwhelmingly as Democrats.
That's because minorities' alienation from the Republican Party goes far beyond language and immigration to the very heart of the conservative worldview.
Guillermo Martinez from the Sun Sentinel
Even if a solution were found, though, the growing number of Hispanic voters would continue to mean trouble for Republicans. Hispanics are disproportionately poor and uninsured. And like people of other races in similar situations, they tend to have views on economic policy that align with the Democrats.
Steven Malanga from the City Journal
Republicans, however, should be aware that a move to a more humane immigration policy alone will not win over the Hispanic vote. …
Daniel Horowitz from RedState.com
These analyses often rely on faulty data that overstate the impact that Hispanic voters have on elections. They also typically ignore the fact that, as exit polls show, Latinos are almost certainly voting, like everyone else, on major issues—especially the economy—not on narrow ethnic lines. Latinos are just like other voters, history suggests: they're more likely to vote for Republicans when the party puts forward a good candidate with broad appeal.
If there's any state where illegal immigration should be sinking Republicans it's Arizona. If you believe the media, Jan Brewer cooks Hispanic kids for dinner, and SB 1070 forces police to randomly lock up any remotely Hispanic looking pedestrian. Yet, Obama has thus far underperformed John Kerry's showing in the state, even though Kerry ran against George Bush, the champion of GOP Hispanic performance. In fact, Romney's 10+ point victory in the state is the strongest showing since George H. W. Bush's 1988 landslide.
Author, columnist, and former Democrat Senate candidate from Caifornia Mickey Kaus
But an accommodating policy toward legalizing illegal immigrants would raise strategic questions for Republicans: last Tuesday in Nevada, Arizona, and other states, Latino voters supported Obama and other Democratic candidates by a ratio of nearly three-to-one.
If adding millions of younger Latino residents to the legal resident population (and eventually to the citizen voting population) means adding millions more Democrats, then how is that a winning strategy for Republicans?
Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin
Maybe these people are convinced the larger GOP project can be saved simply by caving on just this one issue. That seems cracked. The bulk of the Hispanic electorate appears to instinctively vote Democratic, and not just because of immigration. . .
The larger point is that "Comprehensive Immigration Reform"–which is supposed to be a simultaneous combination of an amnesty plus enforcement measures–is a terrible idea. ... The result will be (as in 1986) a new wave of illegal immigrants, largely unskilled, who will bid down the wages of the Americans and legal immigrants at the bottom of the labor market. These workers are the people most hurt by the big economic changes of the last few decades. If you want any American to be able to make a decent wage–even if they didn’t go to college–as long as they are willing to work full time, it's a disaster.
GOP “moderates” and strategists assume that waving the magic amnesty wand and opening up the welfare/entitlement state to generations of illegal immigrants will translate into electoral gains for the party. They’re deluded. They pretend amnesty will come at no cost to legal immigrants and native-born Americans. They pretend they can “secure the border first” by making the same empty, token gestures that have left our borders a bloody joke for decades.
These GOP amnesty-peddlers are as deluded now as they were in 2007 when Bush/McCain/Kennedy spearheaded a failed amnesty campaign. They’ve learned nothing.
How about clearing naturalization application backlogs instead of expanding illegal alien benefits? How about tracking and deporting violent illegal alien criminals instead of handing out driver’s licenses to illegal aliens? How about streamlining the employee citizenship verification process for businesses (E-verify) and fixing outdated visa tracking databases instead of indiscriminately expanding temporary visa and guest worker programs?
Originally Published: Thu, Nov 15th 2012 @ 1:00pm EST