Ruben Navarrette has consistently said that American businesses who employ illegal workers are a big part, perhaps the biggest part, of the problem that brings so many illegal immigrants to the United States. This is certainly true.
But Navarrette is in denial when he says that “The reason for the Hispanic exodus from the GOP is not because Republicans took a stand against illegal immigration”. For many Hispanics, empathy with people of their own culture means more than mere logic.
Navarrette identifies what is wrong with the relationship between Hispanics and the Republicans:
Just look at Republicans in Congress who have put their weight behind efforts to declare English the national language, deny citizenship to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, and empower local police to enforce federal immigration law. All of these things are opposed by most Latinos.
But he fails to draw the correct conclusion, namely that Hispanics taken as a whole would rather the country retain the open borders of the last two decades than enforce immigration law because so many have friends and relatives who benefit greatly from what is essentially unrestricted access to U.S. jobs, health care, and education.
Given this, it’s equally obvious why Hispanics vote for Democrats much more frequently than for Republicans, the former party being both very unlikely to press for meaningful immigration reform and very likely to provide social assistance dollars to the Hispanic community, legal and otherwise.
Granted, people’s feelings can get hurt by the tone of an opponent’s argument. But that doesn’t explain the almost complete lack of support for Republicans among Hispanic voters. What’s really at issue is a fundamental ethnic and socio-economic divide between Republicans who would like to clamp down on illegal immigration and American Hispanics who see the flood of people like them coming across the Mexican border as more positive than negative.
If that weren’t the case, Hispanics would recognize that providing free health care and education for illegal aliens and their country reduces the level of services provided to the people who pay the bills for these programs, their own children included.
Similarly, the “anchor baby”-style amnesty that allows the children of illegal immigrants U.S. citizenship has been granted to these children at the sole discretion of the United States. It is merely a policy decision whose ultimate correctness is highly debatable, yet it has the weight of a de facto right in the minds of many American Hispanics. Hence the outrage at the idea of changing the policy despite its obvious desirability from the perspective of American citizens.
Finally, Navarrette’s mention of Hispanics’ dislike of local police enforcing U.S. law is a dead giveaway that Hispanics favor illegal immigrants over their fellow citizens. What could be more justified than a Houston police officer enforcing the law of the land, the law that it is his or her sworn duty to uphold? Nothing – unless it threatens the status quo of illegal migration into this country.
The bottom line is that for Republicans to win any substantial support from Hispanics they will have to give up on leading the effort to drive immigration reform through Congress because Hispanic voters, who already dislike Republicans for their fiscal conservativeness, will penalize them for it at the polls.
In other words, Republicans must become Democrats to win Hispanic votes, something that’s unacceptable to the conservative base.