The Coming Latino Voter Response to the Failure of Immigration Reform

In After Bill’s Fall, G.O.P. May Pay in Latino Votes (NYTimes-7.1.07), reporter Jennifer Steinhauer looks at the carnage from the failure of the U.S. Senate to passage immigration reform and finds that Latinos see Republicans as more culpable.

And it's not only Democrats that are aware of the Republicans self-inflicted wound. This is how leading conservative writer and former Reagan official Linda Chavez sees it:

“There may be some short-term gain from this,” said Linda Chavez, who served in the Reagan administration and is now chairwoman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative public policy group. “But in the long term, it is disastrous for the Republican Party.”
Many Republicans agree with Linda Chavez--even if any privately. For example, John McCain, who in May told Republicans that “the Hispanic vote is turning against us in very large numbers,” is said to have expressed similar thoughts privately this week.

Finally, Latinos are certainly clear about which party will pay the larger price. Representative were these comments from Antonio Gonzalez of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a Latino-oriented research and policy organization:

“The Democrats said pro-immigrant stuff, and even if they didn’t support it, it was because they said it wasn’t good enough. The Republicans said anti-immigrant stuff and so now they are going to get killed with this.”
Does this mean that Latinos will turn their backs to all Republicans? Of course not. For example:

a.) Not all Latinos are on board with regularizing the status of undocumented workers. While they may not have appreciated the race baiting of certain Republicans--or radio screechers, they're not abandoning a party that better represents their world view.

b.) Many Latinos tend to be grateful people and those 12 Republicans that showed courage in support of the immigration proposal--even though it was flawed--will see their efforts recognized at the ballot box.

c) While immigration is a major issue for Latinos, it is not all they care about. That is, most Latinos are not single issue voters. And, therefore, Democrats will not be able to win simply by saying that their Republican opponent opposes amnesty. Democrats must articulate their own well-conceived immigration proposal and how they'll build majority support for the measure. If Democrats can't do that, Latinos will go elsewhere.

BTW: I still haven't heard how the Democrats see reconciling the interests of labor unions and those of immigrant workers. It's been papered over by it's clear that a number of Democratic politicians favor the interests of the unions.

But rest assured, Latinos--citizens and noncitizens alike-- know that they have been disrespected by a loud element within the Republican and conservative radio--and they won't soon forget it.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7/02/2007

    __I stopped by this site to read what Americas Latino population was saying about this failed immigration bill. An American citizen,with a wife I married while in S.America,and adoption of her son.My path to S. America,and marriage,was directed by the Lord, to a culture of strength in faith, and family. As an American citizen I went through the entire process of bringing my family here legally. I also have close friends from various Latin American countries.Some legally entering, but overstaying their visas, some totally legal,while others I suspect are undocumented. The common thread among all of these people,is there strength in family, Latino community,and the Lord. The same strengths that united the people to create this republic,the United States of America. Strengths that are lacking in the people of this country who use your undocumented status for profit. While this immigration bill would have helped many gain legal status,it would have covered the illegal actions of Americans not paying their fair share. People who,greedily horde their profits from this American family. I know,for a fact,the Latino population in America holds greater morals,and values,than those exhibited by liberal mindset.The same people who gladly profit from those in fear of deportation,but never offer personal support.If they were to sponser you it would be money out of their pocket,and they would lose the hidden asset. I believe this Latino population could do itself a big favour by revolting against these American criminals. The American public is very upset with the democrats actions in congress.You have an American president that recognizes your abilities,your faith,your family values. Use that,in concert with republicans,who recognize the same.Together we can destroy the secular agenda that lives according to your turbulance.