Supporting a ‘path to citizenship’ for undocumented immigrants has proved toxic in the Republican presidential race. This is despite around three quarters of Americans supporting it, including a majority of Republicans.
Senator John McCain backed away from his past support for immigration reform in the Republican primaries in 2007. Now Rick Perry is being assailed for supporting tuition discounts for children of undocumented immigrants who attend Texas colleges. One reason Chris Christie may have not entered the race is because of his support for immigration reform.
McCain and other Congressional Republicans have instead said “border security first.” But although President Obama and Janet Napolitano are deporting and detaining record numbers, all observers agree that a Republican-dominated Congress is not going to pass any version of a ‘path to citizenship’ anytime soon if at all.
America’s Voice recently published a report about the Republican Party’s stance on immigration, ‘Why Do Elephants Put Their Heads in the Sand?‘.
Says Executive Director, Frank Sharry:
“With immigration a minor issue for a majority of non-Latino voters, and a defining, personal issue for a majority of Latino voters, the GOP’s position on immigration makes no sense. It was bad politics in 2008 and 2010, and given the continued growth of the Latino vote, it will be suicidal in 2012 and beyond.”
Now a Republican group in California, The Lincoln Club of Orange County, a respected 40-year-old group of GOP business people, has broken with the Republican norm, to call for immigration reform.
The group admits that the call is driven by a need to attract the fast-growing Latino population, which have left the Republicans over the hard-line immigration stance.
“Our hope is that this provides a starting point for Republicans and Latinos to find common ground on immigration solutions that respect the rule of law, secure our borders, and afford future immigrants and those who are already here a fair pathway to legal residency,” said Lincoln Club President Robert Loewen.
“Democrats who were in control of Congress for two years under President Obama did nothing to reform our broken immigration system, except to deport more than a million illegal immigrants,” Teresa Hernandez, chairwoman of the Lincoln Club’s Immigration Reform Subcommittee. “Republicans have an opportunity to be leaders on this issue by replacing our antiquated, quota-driven immigration system with a 21st century one that embraces the free-market demand for jobs.”
Picture by Frank Kehren