Michael Gerson: A suicidal stand on Hispanics
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By Michael Gerson
Friday, May 14, 2010
The Washington Post
Has the Republican Party become, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently charged, the "anti-immigrant party"?
The accusation is overbroad. Republicans (and others) who are offended by chaos at the southern border, who are concerned about the strains illegal immigration places on public services and who believe enforcement should precede comprehensive reform are not necessarily "anti-immigrant."
Reid has an interest in painting with the broadest possible brush to motivate Hispanic supporters in his own, uphill reelection campaign.
But it would be absurd to deny that the Republican ideological coalition includes elements that are anti-immigrant -- those who believe that Hispanics, particularly Mexicans, are a threat to American culture and identity. When Arizona Republican Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth calls for a moratorium on legal immigration from Mexico, when then-Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) refers to Miami as a "Third World country," when state Rep. Russell Pearce (R), one of the authors of the Arizona immigration law, says Mexicans' and Central Americans' "way of doing business" is different, Latinos can reasonably assume that they are unwelcome in certain Republican circles.
The intensity of these Republican attitudes is evident not just from what activists say but also from what Republican leaders are being forced to say. Sen. John McCain, a long-term supporter of humane, comprehensive immigration reform, has run a commercial feeding fears of "drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder" by illegal immigrants...link to complete article