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Policy

2:30pm October 24, 2011

Why the GOP Turned Its Back On Immigrants

alabama-immigration-law-protest

Thirty-one years ago, two Republican candidates stood on a debate stage arguing about who would treat immigrants better. “These are good people, strong people, part of my family,” proclaimed then candidate George H.W. Bush. Candidate Ronald Reagan presented an affirmative solution, stating, “[r]ather than talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems and make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit.”

Three decades later, the Republican Party is unrecognizable on the issue of immigration. Comprehensive immigration reform that includes any kind of regularization of the undocumented population is off the table. The only thing that is up for debate in the GOP is who will be tougher on the demonized undocumented population.

What happened between now and then?

For starters, brown people had more babies than White folks. For years, demographers had predicted that the U.S. would be a “minority-majority” country by mid-century. In 2010, for the first time, only 50.2 percent of babies were non-Latino whites. Meanwhile, the Latino population in particular increased by 43 percent, accounting for more than half the country’s growth over the past ten years due to increased births and immigration.

You would think any political party would be eager to tap into the burgeoning new Latino electorate. While a few Republicans are, the GOP in recent years has mostly stuck with what it does best: courting and winning the votes of older White Americans. The tactical reasoning behind this short-sighted strategy is that it targets the Democrats’ weak spot: White voters.

And many members of that voting bloc aren’t too thrilled about the demographic changes taking place. To a small few, the shift is downright repulsive. To others it simply means that the America their children and grandchildren are inheriting is starting to look, sound, and taste a lot different from the nation they grew up in. That certainly doesn’t bother everyone, but one need not look further than the Tea Party to safely conclude that some White people are freaking out.

Demographic anxiety has been further amplified by post-9/11 national security concerns over the past few years. This atmosphere, coupled with a massive economic recession, created a perfect storm for the Latino community that has been brutally exploited by the GOP.

The Republican Party’s new 21st century immigration platform is aimed both at quelling those fears and stifling the political empowerment of the Latino community.

By turning their backs on immigration reform, Republicans surely knew they were making sure that millions of Latinos would never see the inside of an American voting booth and have President Obama to thank for it. It’s no coincidence that denying college-educated undocumented youth a path to legalization also means that some of the Latino community’s smartest and brightest will never be brought into the political-economic fold. Meanwhile, Republican-led efforts to change the 14th Amendment’s citizenship provisions to exclude the U.S.-born children of immigrants would disenfranchise a large segment of the current and future Latino voting population. In 2009, two Republican Senators fought for an amendment requiring the U.S. Census Bureau to add a question about immigration status to its 2010 survey. Had it passed, it would have likely discouraged many Latino families from participating and produced a serious political and fiscal impact on minority communities.

Immigration isn’t the only issue involved in this approach. Relatedly, many of the voter identification laws passed by GOP legislatures amount to little more than minority-voter suppression schemes.

The problem with the GOP’s White-voter strategy is two-fold. First of all, they’ve brought bigotry into the mainstream. It doesn’t stop with the Kansas state representative who thinks the best way to deal with illegal immigration is to shoot undocumented immigrants like feral hogs or the Alabama state senator who advised his colleagues to “empty the clip, and do what has to be done” on immigration. The hateful rhetoric has worked its way up to the Republican primary where the GOP frontrunner has “jokingly” proposed building an electric fence along the border designed to kill anyone who crosses it.

Secondly, while promoting policies that would stem the growth of the Latino electorate, Republicans have simultaneously alienated and underestimated the significant number of Latino voters who can and do vote. Those voters have proven themselves to be a force to be reckoned with and they’re not too happy with the GOP’s immigration platform and the undeniably anti-Latino tone that it has taken on.

Some Republicans have been smart enough to warn their colleagues that the GOP’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies may relegate the party itself to minority status. Yet, their long-term reasoning has largely been disregarded in favor of short-term electoral gains. Furthermore, many of them lack the courage to call out specific members of the GOP by name.

Democrats still have a long way to go before they will earn the trust and loyalty of the Latino community. Yet, the notion coined by Reagan that Latinos “are Republicans, they just don’t know it yet” is remarkably obsolete.



About the Author

Andrea Nill Sanchez
Andrea Nill Sanchez is a Latina freelance writer and a current student at Yale Law School. She was formerly an immigration researcher at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and blogger for ThinkProgress.org.




 
 

 
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13 Comments


  1. magyart

    Republicans didn't turn their backs on Immigration Reform. Remeber George Bush and Sen. McCain tried to ram it down our throats. The Latino community rewarded Sen. McCain, by NOT voting for him and helping to elect Pres. Obama. Latinos turned their backs on the Rep. party. If they had helped to elect Sen. John McCain, Immigration Reform would have been passed.


  2. Emili

    President George W Bush didn't pass the reform with the majority of the republican support. I came to this country when I was 14 and went high school here and join the military. Now I'm in college doing my undergrad in ME. I know that Majority of the Hispanics liked George Bush. President Bush don't pass the bill so I didn't vote for McCain. If President Bush cannot do it for 8 years, McCain cannot do it for 20 years. How can I trust a another republican person. Republicans will be winning for 20 years in a row if they passed that bill at that time. Now there are no strong personals in the Republican party.
    Mr. Rick Perry is 10 times better than Romney, but still he is not good. Mr. Ron Paul have pretty good strategies. I like Mr. Ron Paul over Romney.


  3. henry

    My name is henry m ramirez. I was born in 1929 in Walnut, CA. My parents were born in Salamanca, Gto, Mejico. They were Mestizos. They were devout Catholics and now are living in Heaven. They purchased Catholic education for all 11 children. All of us worked in the fields-apricots and prunes in Campbelll, CA; grapes in Fresno, citrus in So Cal, walnuts, tomatoes, etc.and paid for our education.
    My father informed us that the Communist Party took over the Carranza led Mexican Revolution in 1914 and established the Mexican Secret Police, called La Policia Federal Judicial, modeled after the Russian KGP. He added that the French Jacobines inspired Plutarco Elias Calles, Obregon, etc. to destroy the Catholic Church in Mexico. That is the basic reason millions of peasant Mestizos fled to the U.S. The better off Criollos and landowners and educated went to Mexico City or Europe.

    I do not know who Andrea Sanchez is and hope to learn. Her countenance does reflect a definite European lineage. Perhaps this is the reason she uses such vague undefined words for people. Videlicet: Latino, white, brown. Why can she not use more precise identifiables, as for e.g.'s Mexican American; European Americans, German Americans, English Americans, European Cubans,
    European Mexicans.

    I recommend you research the Press Releases of Raul Izaguirre, founder of the National Council of the Raza in the 1980's where he frequently blasted the Republican Administration for providing Amnesty to over 2 miilion undocumented Mexicans. He was the parrot for the DNC and George Meany, the President of the AFL-CIO. And also check on the Press Releases of Cesar Chavez along the identical same line and also his chiding the government for not corraling the "Illegal Aliens".
    And, while you are at it, look up the inept work of Cecilia Munoz, The European Bolivian, who worked for the Raul Izaguirre on Immigration during the 1980's and now is in charge of that discipline for another loser, obama, in the White House.

    Try to be fair. The Democrats controlled all of congress and the White House for two years and que hicieron? Pura paja!.


  4. [...] more straws in the milkshake. You can see it in the way that immigration has once again become a hot-button political issue in the U.S., or the rise of population-induced apocalyptic fears. Are we going to breed ourselves [...]


  5. [...] more straws in the milk shake. You can see it in the way that immigration has once again become a hot-button political issue in the U.S., or the rise of population-induced apocalyptic fears. Are we going to breed [...]


  6. Brittanicus

    BOTH SIDES OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE HAVE THEIR AGENDAS, ONE FOR PROFITS FROM ILLEGAL ALIEN LABOR, THE LEFT SIDE FOR A MASSIVE VOTING BLOCK.

    Never was immigration enforcement about any race of people, it strictly about how you enter America. Both political parties are to blame, as how can you enforce a law on anybody—WHEN IT’S JUST A CIVIL OFFENCE? IT MUST BE DRUMMED INTO THE HEAD OF POLITICIANS, THAT ONLY BY ENACTING ILLEGAL ENTRY AS A FELONY, WHICH WILL MAKE FOREIGN NATIONALS TO STAY IN THERE HOMELAND AND NOT TAKE THE CHANCE OF BEING IMPRISONED.

    NEBRASKA, Rep. Berg, Rick (GOP) (202-225-2611) ; NEBRASKA, Rep. Smith, Adrian (GOP) (202-225-6435); LOUISIANA, Rep. Boustany, Charles (GOP) (202-225-2031); MICHIGAN, Rep. Camp, Dave (GOP) (202-225-3561) & (202-225-2031); KENTUCKY, Rep. Davis, Geoff (GOP) (202-225-3465); PENNSYLVANIA, Rep. Gerlach, Jim (GOP)(202-225-4315); KANSAS, Rep. Jenkins, Lynn (GOP)(202-225-6601); MINNESOTA, Rep. Paulsen, Erik (GOP)(202-225-2871); WASHINGTON, Rep. Reichert, Dave (GOP) (202-225-7761); WISCONSIN, Rep. Ryan, Paul (GOP) (202-225-3031) Tell these disinclined lawmakers that you are a voter and that they will be hearing from you in 2012.

    Whoever is pursuing the Presidency better push the mandatory E-Verify to their Audience, as the TEA PARTY is avidly listening to every word. In the following debates, either Perry, Romney, Cain, Gingrich, Bachmann, Paul, Huntsman, Santorum and Johnson will be under pressure to approve THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT (Bill H.R. 2885)

    As an addition through CHAIN MIGRATION and children of illegal aliens is accelerating past the 300.000 yearly entering our nation that taxpayers are forced to pay. This is outlandish paramount circumstance that economic illegal aliens, who steal into America, must have their violation supplemented by American dollars.

    If you want to fax, go to NumbersUSA or please call 202-224-3121 and ask for your U.S. Representative's office to urge action in this next session in Congress. The TEA PARTY will not tolerate Sanctuary cities, Dream Acts, another Amnesty or any Immigration Reform that circumvents the law.

    In our future elections and specifically the 2012 presidential vote, we must firmly oversee our absentee ballots and in the voting precincts. It is proven beyond any shadow of doubt, that illegal aliens are voting, which could be a major problems in close elections; but canvassing organizations of leftists activists and some Democrats are registering illegal aliens as in Texas, without restraint. This is not an isolated case, but rampant throughout this country. Read about voter fraud on the Internet.

    ATTN: USE DISQUS OR FACEBOOK, TO MAKE COMMENTING SIMPLER & EASY.


  7. Brittanicus

    POLITICIANS FLOUTING E-VERIFY AND IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT

    Don't blow off mindless steam in comments or blogs; stop the unceasing complaining and aim your anger and frustration, at the politicians in Washington This chaos caused by unfettered immigration has not been just caused by the Obama administration, but former Bush, Clinton and others. THIS IS YOUR MONEY, TAXPAYERS MONEY–LEGISLATORS ARE SPENDING IN FINANCIALLY ACCOMMODATING ILLEGAL MIGRANTS AND IMMIGRANTS. On SPAN today I saw a smug featured Homeland Security Janet Napolitano making excuses for the Department Of In-Justice. Still informing us that our borders are secure, so why is Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina far from the border, fighting to save their small treasuries from Economic illegal aliens?

    The inception of incessant immigration happened on Ronald Reagan’s dime, known as the 1986 Immigration Control and Reform Act (IRCA) also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli bill. It was apparent from the start that this systematic legalization didn’t work, but because of the loopholes involved the original estimated 3.5, turned into 6 million unauthorized persons whole claimed amnesty. Now our country through fraudulent and abuse we are now carrying an estimated 20 million through chain migration and the unceasing millions of illegal aliens who have broken border rules and 40 percent who over stayed legal visas. The main attraction is criminal minded business owners, who since 1986 have felt comfortably in hiring discount labor. This includes the villains in the farming industry, who have violated labor laws, by keeping wages low and attributing to poor living conditions. Agriculture must also carry the guilt in placing the weight of education for their children and family health care on taxpayers.

    This is a brief description of the Simpson/ Mazzoli law:

    •Requirement for employers to attest to their employees' immigration status.
    •Made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit unauthorized immigrants.
    •Granting amnesty to certain seasonal agricultural illegal immigrants.
    •Granted amnesty to illegal immigrants who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously.


    The whole bill was a total disaster, as business owners has shown since that time, violated the law and ignored the American people. Both the Republicans and Democrats, pushed by the Liberals remained either ignorant to the fact or intentionally covertly assisted in this fiasco. The cost for this fraudulent outrageous experiment carried a price tag over a ten year period of $78 Billion dollars.
    Today—an estimated for full immigration reform, Amnesty, as assessed by THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION, a mind blowing $2.6 TRILLION OF YOUR DOLLARS.

    A labor economics Professor Vernon Briggs, of Cornell University stated:

    "The toleration of illegal immigration undermines all of our labor; it rips at the social fabric. It's a race to the bottom. The one who plays by the rules is penalized… a guest worker program guarantees wages will never go up and there is no way American citizens can compete with guest workers."

    The only way to cut them off from their lucrative jobs and show them who is really in charge, is tell the invaders is to embrace Rep. Lamar Smith” LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT” Pay attention and use the free faxing system to qualify the E-verify law. This is the same Washington switchboard number to insist that your local or federal politician to push a vote on the "THE LEGAL WORKFORCE ACT”. Contact Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH); House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA); House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) ; House Chairman of Ways & Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI.)

    Call ALL these Other Members of the Ways & Means Committee to phone or fax for free. Your arguments and irate anger on the Internet, will most be ignored. But aides in the offices of these lawmakers cannot escape your voices and your wrath. Just keep on calling without hesitation, because the Liberal quacks, Democrat hard liners and the GOP minority establishment don’t want this law imposed. They are not working for Americans any more, but for the open border advocates and the corporate ‘K’ street lobbyists.


  8. [...] more straws in the milk shake. You can see it in the way that immigration has once again become a hot-button political issue in the U.S., or the rise of population-induced apocalyptic fears. Are we going to breed [...]


  9. [...] more straws in the milk shake. You can see it in the way that immigration has once again become a hot-button political issue in the U.S., or the rise of population-induced apocalyptic fears. Are we going to breed [...]


  10. I think that is one of the such a lot significant info for me. And i am satisfied studying your article. But want to commentary on few general things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is actually great : D. Excellent activity, cheers


  11. [...] more straws in the milk shake. You can see it in the way that immigration has once again become a hot-button political issue in the U.S., or the rise of population-inducedapocalyptic fears. Are we going to breed [...]


  12. [...] Obama faced an obstructionist Republican congress that turned its back on any kind of immigration reform because it would anger conservatives; [...]



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