Tuesday, November 13, 2012

No Republican Uniformity on Immigration Reform

After Romney's presidential election defeat last week, many prominent Republicans began advocating for a change in the party's stand on immigration reform.  Pointing to the overwhelming majority of Latino voters who sided with President Obama, these Republicans saw a softening on the party's stance on immigration as one way that the party could appeal to this demographic group.

However, there does not appear to be uniformity within the Republican ranks on this issue.  Some have argued that changing the party's stance on immigration would amount to nothing more than pandering, and would not guarantee that Latinos would be more attracted to Republican candidates.

A strategy that hoisted all hope on immigration reform may not work to attract more Latino voters to the Republican party.  Such a strategy assumes that Latinos are single-issue voters, leaning heavily on immigration policy to guide their choice.  This, however, appears to be a false assumption.  Indeed, to consider the Latino vote to be a homogenous group itself is something of a fallacy.  Cuban Americans living in Florida, for example, are not the same as Mexican Americans living in California.

 The argument has been made that changing the party's stand on immigration reform could be the first step to changing the GOP's image on diversity in general. Business Insider has pointed out that Romney lost among Asian voters in a slightly larger margin than he did among Latino voters.  This is despite the fact that Romney generally won the vote among Americans with incomes of greater than $100,000 per year, and that on average Asians earn more than caucasians.  The argument here is that the Republicans' stand on immigration issues gives the appearance that the party is not so very tolerant of ethnic minorities.  But, immigration reform alone would not be enough to sway minority voters.

Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg argues that Republicans place too much emphasis on Christian values, which can alienate Buddhists and HindusJennifer Rubin in the Washington Post wrote that among the thing Republicans need to consider is running ads in languages other than English, and Democrats do.  A similar thing can be said about campaigns aimed at legislating English as the official language, either of the federal or state governments.  Such actions are insensitive to the diverse population of the United States, and communicate a lack of tolerance to minority groups.

Immigration reform itself may not be a panacea for the Republican party.  But, it can be the first step to changing the party's image provided that harsh-toned rhetoric that appears intolerant of anyone who isn't an English-speaker of European descent is also eliminated.

By:  William J. Kovatch, Jr.
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1 comment:

  1. There are no sounds for immigration reform coming from the Federal government. The White House is quiet on the matter. The U.S. Congress does not want to deal with it. It appears that when re-elections are concerned, the talk of Immigration Reform disappears into the darkness. So what happens? States decide to take the matter into their own hands.