Saturday, November 1, 2008

Latino vote backlash against anti-immigrationist Republicans

Interesting coming from someone so conservative.

Washington Post
November 1, 2008

Chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity; member of the Reagan administration

I'd be surprised if John McCain wins even 30 percent of the Hispanic vote, through no fault of his own. What a difference four years makes. In 2004, President Bush won 4 in 10 Hispanic votes, and Democrats worried that their long-time dominance among Hispanics was slipping away. But thanks to harsh Republican rhetoric on immigration, Hispanics have since cooled to Republicans, badly damaging McCain's chances to win Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico.

There is much irony here. McCain will be punished even though he was a champion of comprehensive immigration reform. And while the immigration issue will cost McCain some Hispanic votes, it is unlikely to gain Republicans any advantage among other voters. The issue has largely evaporated as a major concern in the general election -- it didn't even come up during the presidential debates.

It's no wonder. Despite hyperbole to the contrary, illegal immigration is actually down significantly from its peak -- which occurred in 2000. The illegal-immigrant population grew about 800,000 persons a year from 2000 to 2005, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates. The numbers have since declined to an average of 500,000 net new illegal immigrants each year. While stepped-up enforcement has played a role, the economic downturn has probably been the chief factor reducing the flow.

A pleasant surprise Tuesday would be the election of a president with the fortitude to tackle this issue. complete article

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