Message to House Republicans: Amnesty Won’t Win Votes
Big Business Turns Up the Heat on Speaker Boehner
While the nation remains gripped by the debate over Obamacare, the relentless push for amnesty and open borders is alive and well in Washington.
Activists stage public demonstrations in the nation’s capital and around the country. The President says immigration is one of his top priorities. Interest groups pressure lawmakers to pass immigration reform before the end of the year.
The real target of pressure to pass immigration reform is House Speaker John Boehner. The most intense heat is coming from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that wants access to low-wage labor.
Boehner is in a bind. Many members of the House Republican caucus are wary of so-called “comprehensive” immigration reform. They know that if a grab-bag immigration bill – similar to the bill passed by the Senate – makes its way to the House floor it is likely to pass. Every Democrat will support it. That leaves only about twenty wavering Republicans required to pass a bill.
Nevertheless, not only big business wants amnesty and open borders. Far too many Republicans believe that comprehensive immigration reform is a path to political advantage for their party.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) took a close look at this premise recently and came up with a stark warning for Republicans. The verdict: Enacting immigration legislation similar to the Gang of Eight bill passed by the Senate in June would “decimate” the GOP as a national party.
In a detailed study entitled Republicans Have an Immigration Problem — and Amnesty Won’t Solve It, FAIR examined economic and demographic data, as well as opinion research and historical voting patterns of Hispanic voters. Among the data highlighted in the study:
- By a 75% to 19% margin, Hispanics in the U.S. favor “big government” over smaller government. That margin is even greater among first generation Hispanics.
- Household income for foreign-born is significantly below the national norm. 37.7% of all immigrant households fall into the bottom 25% of all wage earners in the U.S.
- 29% of illegal aliens — the people who would gain amnesty under Senate legislation — have less than a 9th grade education.
- Gov. Romney’s share of the Hispanic vote was consistent with that of other Republican presidential candidates. However, the growth of the Hispanic electorate has vastly increased the gap for Republican candidates.
- Supporting amnesty does not gain Republicans Hispanic votes. After the Republican-sponsored amnesty of 1986, George H.W. Bush lost the Hispanic vote to Michael Dukakis by almost the same margin as Romney did in 2012. Similarly, John McCain, a long-time advocate for amnesty, failed to gain Hispanic support in his 2008 presidential bid.
- Hispanic voters place amnesty and “immigration reform” low on their list of political priorities.
“The inescapable conclusion of this analysis,” FAIR said, “is that as long as our nation’s immigration policies continue to bring millions of poorly educated and poorly skilled immigrants to the United States, Republicans will have little chance to attract new voters.”
Dan Stein, FAIR’s President, said Republicans are wrong to conclude that the GOP is at a disadvantage with Hispanic voters because of opposition to amnesty.
“In fact,” Stein said, “the Republicans’ problem is rooted in an immigration system that admits millions of people who are heavily dependent upon government subsidies and services.”
Stein said the Republican Party’s problems would be made worse by reform policies that House Republicans are being pressured to adopt.
“More importantly, such policies would be devastating to America’s embattled middle class. Republicans in the House have a unique opportunity to do what is right for the nation and what is best for their own political interests by refusing to accede to special interest demands for amnesty and massive increases in immigration.”
Stein said immigration reforms that help all Americans, including Hispanics, become upwardly mobile are more important than amnesty and increased immigration.
“The American people — including American Hispanics — want Washington to focus on dealing with the serious issues facing our economy, the crisis faced by workers in this country, the solvency of our government, and other issues that affect their day-to-day lives. Our nation cannot afford a bitter and divisive battle over rewarding immigration lawbreakers and satisfying business’s insatiable demand for more foreign labor, while these important issues are allowed to fester.”
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.