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Jewish World Review
Oct. 15, 2013/ 11 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774
Why immigration reform could spell doom for the GOP
The recent Senate debate over immigration reform focused mostly on three issues: 1) the economic effects of legalizing millions of currently illegal immigrants while also increasing the rate of future immigration, 2) the possibility of achieving real border security and 3) the ethical question of offering the reward of citizenship to those who entered the country illegally.
Beneath it all was another factor, never far from lawmakers' minds, but much less discussed: the electoral effects of reform. Yes, there was a lot of talk about the Republican Party's need to improve its image with Hispanic voters. But the real political issue underlying the debate went far beyond that. Everyone knew the far-reaching Gang of Eight reform proposal passed by the Senate would reshape the American electorate. And now, a new report suggests just how extensive that reshaping could be.
"Based on projections published by the Congressional Budget Office, we estimate that if (the Gang of Eight bill) were to become law it will add more than 17 million new potential voting-age citizens by 2036," writes scholar Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, which opposes the Gang of Eight reform. "These potential voters are in addition to the nearly 15 million that the current level of legal immigration will add by 2036. Combined, current immigration plus the effects of (the Gang of Eight bill) would add more than 32 million potential new voting-age citizens by 2036."
If anyone needs a reminder of how significant that would be, Camarota notes that "the last four presidential elections were decided by 4.5 million votes on average." Adding 17 million new voters -- on top of the 15 million who will come through existing legal immigration channels -- is a big, big deal.
It's a good deal for Democrats, since a wide range of research has shown immigrants and their offspring largely favor the party's approach to governance. In 2012, for example, the Pew Research organization asked whether Americans "would rather have a smaller government providing fewer services or a larger government providing more services." Hispanic Americans favored larger government by a 75 percent to 19 percent split. Even Hispanics who have been in the United States for three generations or more favored bigger government by 58 percent to 36 percent.
Among Asian-Americans, Pew found preference for larger government by a 55 percent to 36 percent split. By comparison, white evangelical Protestants, a mainstay of the Republican party, favored smaller government by a 71 percent to 20 percent split.
On a more specific issue -- support for Obamacare -- surveys have shown that both Hispanic-American voters and Asian-American voters favor the national health care law by substantial amounts.
For Republicans, the painful results of the 2012 presidential race -- Hispanic-American voters chose Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by a 71-29 split, while Asian-American voters chose the president by a 73-26 split -- were a stark reminder that the GOP must improve its standing with those groups. But the results of the new study show why Republicans are so sharply divided over whether comprehensive immigration reform should be part of that effort.
Some advocates of comprehensive reform have been positively apocalyptic in their predictions. When Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Gang of Eight, was asked last June about the GOP's 2016 presidential field, he responded, "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. 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."
For others, the new study suggests that Graham's prescription will make the Republican challenge infinitely more difficult. "It is difficult to see how Republicans remain both a small-government-oriented party and competitive in the face of the electorate that legal immigration is creating," says Camarota.
The GOP faces a hard enough job improving its standing among the 15 million new potential immigrant voters who will be here if nothing is changed in the law. Adding another 17 million through comprehensive immigration reform would steepen the hill considerably. When Republicans debate the politics of reform, those are numbers they should remember.
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10/08/13 Business pushes immigration reform even as it lays off American workers
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07/30/13 Are Republicans fooling themselves about ObamaCare?
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07/09/13 White House determined to start ObamaCare money flow
07/02/13 Rubio's immigration strategy worked brilliantly, but disappointed many
06/25/13 Rise in illegal crossing roils immigration debate
06/18/13 Immigration debate is all about border security
06/11/13 On judges, Obama tells GOP: Don't do unto me as I did unto you
06/03/13 Looking to 2016, Iowa GOP gets excited about Walker
05/28/13 What is the real number of illegal border crossings?
05/21/13 Immigration fight moves to house with deep divide
05/14/13 Senate skips details in rush to pass immigration bill
05/07/13 Winning Hispanic vote won't be enough for GOP
04/30/13 Loopholes put many illegal immigrants on fast track to citizenship
04/14/13 New data on border crossings could change immigration debate
04/09/13 Will immigration reform kill Rubio's presidential chances?
04/03/13 Immigration fight stirs debate over federal benefits
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03/19/13 Don't blame campaign aides for GOP's woes
03/12/13 Obama resists simple fixes for sequestration cuts
03/05/13 Obama vowed to break GOP fever --- but have they broken his?
02/26/13 Budget hawks question doomsday scenarios
02/12/13 Legalization-first could scuttle immigration plan
02/05/13 GOP aims to ease bloodshed in 2016 primary debates
01/29/13 In some GOP circles, reform is already underway
01/22/13 Once a critic of deficits, Obama now goes for broke
01/15/13 Yes, defense spending should be cut --- in the right way
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01/03/13 For Obama, the economy never comes first
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12/18/12 Get ready for the costs and chaos of Obamacare
12/11/12 Obama ups bid as GOP looks for way out of crisis
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11/20/12 Governors take power as balance shifts inside GOP
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07/03/12 Roberts' dodge at heart of ObamaCare decision
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09/20/11 Obama plagued by Dems' ingratitude
09/13/11 Will immigration cripple Perry's bid?
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08/24/11 GOP operatives fear lasting Ron Paul problem
08/16/11 Michele Bachmann and the submissive question
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07/19/11 Book casts doubt on Obama healthcare story
07/12/11 Controversial budget law begins to pay off
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06/06/11 Amid media circus, Palin lays out policy positions
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05/24/11 Eye-for-an-eye filibuster stops Democratic nominee
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04/18/11 Have the U.S. and NATO given up on Libya mess?
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04/05/11 Jihadis Who Killed Americans Get U.S. Support in Libya
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03/30/11 Labor fight in Wisconsin is far from over
03/28/11 Obama fails to grasp the gravity of going to war
03/21/11 Union equates lavish benefits to black civil rights
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02/28/11 Why the GOP shouldn't fear a government shutdown
02/22/11 In Hawaii, a dispiriting glimpse of one-party rule
02/21/11 Obama team uses slippery words to tout budget
02/15/11 Myth and memory: The battle over Reagan's legacy
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11/08/10 Obama, new GOP lawmakers are on collision course
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08/02/10 A battle between Left and Right --- inside the GOP
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07/02/10 Legal complaint against Gore is detailed, credible
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06/14/10 Billions for green jobs, whatever they are
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05/11/10 Enforcing nation's immigration laws would be a bargain
05/03/10 How Obama could lose Arizona immigration battle
04/27/10 What's behind the anti-Tea Party hate narrative?
04/20/10 As government expands, beware the post-office example
04/19/10 Who wins in 2010? Good luck reading tea leaves
04/12/10 GOP Obamacare strategy: Try repeal, then cut
04/05/10 Obamacare was mainly aimed at redistributing wealth
03/30/10 Message to Dems: People still don't like Obamacare
03/23/10 The coming consequences of Obamacare
03/16/10 Marco Rubio and the Republicans who love him
03/15/10 GOP hopes town halls take health care off table
03/08/10 Dems turn risky health vote into manhood contest
03/01/10 Why Obama defies the public on health care
02/22/10 South Carolina mulls 2012: Romney? Palin? Huck?
02/16/10 GOP winning war over Miranda rights for terrorists
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01/05/10 GOP deserves blame for Democratic excesses
12/29/09 Dems' dreams of a blue West begin to turn red
12/22/09 Why Dems push health care, even if it kills them
11/30/09 Dems' kamikaze mission: Health care by New Year's
11/23/09 Why it's a mistake to bring Gitmo prisoners here
11/16/09 Dems' slick fix: $210 billion of fiscal restraint
11/10/09 Obama can't be community organizer for the world
11/02/09 At key moment, Obama leaves health post unfilled
10/26/09 Fierce urgency' for jobs, not health care
10/12/09 Facts hurt Jennings in youth sex controversy
10/05/09 Amid terror threat, Dems chip away at Patriot Act
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09/14/09 Dems stifle Republican health care plans
09/08/09 For Dems, a serious Charlie Rangel problem
09/07/09 Obama's speech: Wrong setting for a sales job
09/01/09 What happened to the antiwar movement?
08/24/09 Why Dems may jam through health care plan
08/17/09 GOP thinks the unthinkable: Victory in 2010
08/10/09 The empty words of a journalist turned flack
08/03/09 Probe finds new clues in AmeriCorps IG scandal
07/27/09 Obamacare haunted by unkept promises of stimulus
07/20/09 Why the GOP failed the Sotomayor test
07/13/09 What the GOPers will ask Sotomayor
06/29/09 Serious questions remain for Mark Sanford
06/22/09 How GOPers can crack the AmeriCorps scandal
06/16/09 Worried about Sotomayor? Consider Andre Davis
06/08/09 Can Mitch Daniels save the GOP?
06/01/09 When the Dems derailed a Latino nominee
05/26/09 Why the GOP will defeat Obama on healthcare
05/19/09 Rosy report can't hide stimulus problems
05/12/09 The Reagan legacy is the man himself
05/05/09 Sen. Specter, meet your new friends
04/27/09 Ted Olson: ‘Torture' probes will never end
04/20/09 Who's Laughing at the Axis of Evil today?
04/14/09 Congress needs Google to track stimulus money
04/06/09 Beyond AIG: A bill to let Big Government set your salary
03/30/09 On Spending and the Deficit, McCain Was Right
03/24/09 It's Obama's crisis now
03/17/09: Geithner-Obama economics: A joke that's not funny
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