Conservatives are divided on the importance of immigration reform, with experienced Beltway pros arguing that passing a law now will either save or doom the Republican Party. The debate is coming to a head. Deciding how to proceed presents a political pickle for GOP leaders.
“[If] we don’t pass immigration reform, if we don’t get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn’t matter who you run in 2016,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said over the weekend. “We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community in my view is pass comprehensive immigration reform.” The South Carolina Republican is one of the lead proponents of the bipartisan Gang of Eight immigration bill tentatively set for a vote this summer. It lays out a path to citizenship for the millions of foreigners living and working in this country illegally.
Not so fast, say the skeptics. There are too many unanswered questions about the consequences of rushing through legislation on such an important issue. In a column published today by Rare titled “The amnesty mob vs. America,” Michelle Malkin writes, “There’s nothing, not one thing, ‘conservative’ about mass illegal-alien amnesty.” She argues that legalizing those who broke U.S. laws to come to America undercuts job opportunities for costlier legal workers, is unfair to those jumping through bureaucratic hoops to come here legally, and raises the white flag of surrender in the effort to secure our borders.
And then there is the brass-tacks politics of the matter, as posited by Sen. Graham. Conservative sponsors of this legislation say it is the compassionate thing to do, is vital for businesses that need more workers, and point to the numbers. In last year’s presidential election, 11.2 million Latinos voted; Barack Obama won this constituency by a stunning 71-27 margin, according to MSNBC. This is a rapidly growing segment of the population to which political parties must appeal to remain viable. On the other side of the ideological border fence is pragmatic opposition to the idea. For example, Donald Trump warns that elephants won’t win the presidency for a generation if they pass the Gang of Eight’s bill. “They’re going to make it possible for 11 million or 12 million illegals to become citizens,” the billionaire business titan told Fox News. “Every single one of those 12 million people will be voting against the Republicans.”
So which is it? Should Republicans embrace or be afraid of immigration reform that leads to citizenship for those currently in America illegally? You tell us in today’s Rare Poll.
Written by Editor-in-Chief Brett M. Decker for the Rare Editorial Board