Dealing with the ruins of the last presidential election, Republicans acquiesced to Democrats’ push for immigration reform. Led by Cuban-born U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), the GOP has cynically figured out not a path to citizenship but a path back to the White House. If they don’t back to immigration reform soon, they fear a backlash from Hispanics that could last generations. Winning 75% of the Latino vote in 2012, the Democratic Party looks poised to control the White House indefinitely, barring some economic or political calamity like a double-dip recession or some other major scandal or sexual peccadillo. Asking for urgent action on immigration reform, the GOP has decided to position itself before the very real possibility in 2014 of losing control of the House of Representatives. Republicans aren’t mincing words about their need to win the good graces of Hispanics.
Appearing disingenuous, the GOP runs the risk of looking insincere or even cavalier ingratiating itself to Hispanics. “The Republican Party is losing support of our Hispanic citizens,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), acutely aware of problems facing Arizona and other border states. McCain talks a good game today on immigration reform but only recently, while running for reelection in 2010 against conservative radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth, joined Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, railing against illegal immigrants. Hayworth and other GOP conservatives, like former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Co.), blasted McCain’s support of former President George W. Bush’s 2007 push for immigration reform, before it fell flat in the Senate. Now that the GOP’s in shambles, the Party’s brain-trust at the Republican National Committee sees immigration reform as the fastest path back to the White House.
What McCain and the GOP don’t get is how utterly transparent their change of heart looks to Latinos. “Four years ago they said ‘fix the border.’ Now they say they much prefer a comprehensive solution including a path to citizenship as well as fixing the border,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), pointing out the GOP’s flip-flop on immigration reform. Bush was actually on the right side of the issue in 2007 when his Party, led by Tancredo and Hayworth, vehemently opposed amnesty for illegals or a quick path to citizenship. Border enforcement was the GOP’s mantra back then. Now they’d like to throw it in reverse and welcome 11 million illegal aliens into the country. “We’re hopeful because the Republicans are meeting with Democrats,” said undocumented Phoenix business owner Georgina Sanchez, pleased by the GOP’s apparent change of heart.
Both parties have been reluctant to act decisively on immigration reform because the Treasury currently collects millions of illicit taxes on illegals with phony Social Security numbers. When large employers hire illegal aliens, they typically don’t screen for immigration status, only document what appears like real Social Security numbers for tax purposes. Among the millions of illegal immigrants paying income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, none will collect any benefits when eligible at 65-years-of-age. Illegal immigrants have been one of the government’s best kept secrets to correct the unfounded liability currently seen in the nation’s popular entitlement programs. “A large-scale amnesty is likely to add trillions of dollars to the debt over time,” said conservative Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Al.), putting his finger on the crux of the immigration problem.
Neither political party wants to add trillions to the national debt but, more importantly, to whopping budget deficits. With Obamacare rolling out next year, the government already expects to pay billions to subsidize health insurance for millions of destitute citizens. While Obamacare may eventually pay for itself, the initial start up costs could be staggering. When Bush attempted his version of immigration reform in 2007, it had been over 20 years since the late President Ronald Reagan attempted but failed to get immigration reform in 1986. “When you legalize those who are in the country illegally, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, costs American workers thousands of jobs and encourages more illegal immigration,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tx.), predicting that today’s version of immigration will meet the same fate as past immigration bills.
Both parties superficially support immigration reform. With the midterm elections approaching in only two short years, the GOP jumped on the immigration bandwagon. Even with Rubio pushing to expand the Republican tent, it’s doubtful that the GOP will pick up too many Hispanic votes on immigration reform. Too focused on preventing abortion, banning gay marriage and slashing entitlements to the nation’s needy citizens, the GOP has turned off so many voters that immigration reform won’t win too many Latino votes. Even with the White House backing some version of immigration reform, the Democratic Party also doesn’t need immigration reform to get the Hispanic vote. Backing some version of immigration reform to simply get more Latino votes in the midterm elections won’t play well with Hispanics looking for better education, health care and more opportunity.
About the Author
John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of OnlineColumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.