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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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07/09/13 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
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05/28/13 What is the real number of illegal border crossings?
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05/14/13 Senate skips details in rush to pass immigration bill
05/07/13 Winning Hispanic vote won't be enough for GOP
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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
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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
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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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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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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
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03/21/11 Union equates lavish benefits to black civil rights
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02/22/11 In Hawaii, a dispiriting glimpse of one-party rule
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04/12/10 GOP Obamacare strategy: Try repeal, then cut
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03/16/10 Marco Rubio and the Republicans who love him
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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?
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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
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10/26/09 Fierce urgency' for jobs, not health care
10/12/09 Facts hurt Jennings in youth sex controversy
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09/14/09 Dems stifle Republican health care plans
09/08/09 For Dems, a serious Charlie Rangel problem
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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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