I don’t know, really, whether it would be good or bad politically for Republicans to tackle immigration reform this year. Some say it would be divisive and distract from the party’s Obamacare critique. Others argue that waiting would inject the issue into the 2016 GOP presidential race.
Generally, however, I am in favor of implementing good policy ideas ASAP. And reform that would legalize undocumented workers and create a more-skills based system would be a big net plus economically. (Timing-wise, as Reihan Salam argues, passing a jobs act for the long-term unemployed might be of higher priority.)
Columnist Ann Coulter apparently doesn’t want that sort of immigration reform today, tomorrow, or ever. But it’s not just a piece of legislation she’s against. Coulter is pretty much dubious of all immigration, full stop.
Immigrants — all immigrants — have always been the bulwark of the Democratic Party. … This is not a secret. For at least a century, there’s never been a period when a majority of immigrants weren’t Democrats. … The two largest immigrant groups, Hispanics and Asians, have little in common economically, culturally or historically. But they both overwhelmingly support big government, Obamacare, affirmative action and gun control. … At the current accelerated rate of immigration — 1.1 million new immigrants every year — Republicans will be a fringe party in about a decade … why on Earth are they bringing in people sworn to their political destruction?
1.) Of the 11 million illegal aliens, only 80% are Latino, and only 40% or so might actual seek citizenship. And probably less than half of those will vote. So amnesty might provide Dems with an additional 1 million votes. How would amnesty have played out in the 2012 election? Sean Trende: “Using these numbers, not a single state would have cast its votes for the electors of a different candidate in 2012. In fact, in 28 states, the president’s margin would have increased by just a half-point or less.”
2.) I have been worried that fears of a further influx of unskilled Hispanic labor would metastasize into undifferentiated restrictionism. Well, here we are. So now (some) conservatives don’t want the brainiacs, either? According to Harvard study, immigrants generally account for about a quarter of the US workforce engaged in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.What’s more, according to Pia Orrenius of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, immigrants accounted for well over 50% of the growth in employment in STEM-related fields between 2003 and 2008. So we want those foreign PhDs only if they are big 2nd Amendment supporters?
3.) Such a static way of viewing the world. Maybe Republicans will always have electoral problems with low-income immigrants. But can’t Republicans improve their showing with them — not to mention those Hispanics and Asians natives and immigrants in the middle and upper class — with the same set of pro-growth, pro-mobility policies that might appeal to all Americans? A CBS News report earlier this year points out that Hispanic households earning more than $100,000 were actually more likely to call themselves Republicans than Democrats, but warns that “if over the long term Hispanic voters see a distinction between the parties based more heavily through the lens of group attachments, economics matters less” and Republicans won’t be able to make much progress.
And that scenario seems far more likely to happen if Republicans treat Hispanics and Asians as a fifth column for Big Government rather than voters to be persuaded by policies that appeal to their concerns and by politicians who see them more than just a category in a poll’s crosstabs.