Sunday, August 31, 2008

Immigrants and the GOP - Wall Street Journal

"The immigration platform will go before the full Republican National Convention next week. And before approving it, the GOP would be wise to consider the demographic data that the Census Bureau released earlier this month. A party that thinks it can win elections by alienating Latinos is going to be in the minority for a very long time.

Many on the political right have tried to turn illegal immigration into a wedge issue. And while it hasn't produced victories at the polls, this strategy has succeeded in alienating many among the country's fastest-growing voting bloc. By 2020, Hispanics are projected to be 20% of the electorate, up from 9% today.

Restrictionists are also deluding themselves if they think sealing the border can reverse these demographic trends. Illegal border crossings peaked in 2000 under President Clinton. They're down by half under Mr. Bush. According to Census data, Hispanic population growth is no longer being driven by immigration, legal or illegal. Since 2000, it's been driven by the higher birth rates among Latino women already here.

Perceived animosity toward Latinos can also spill into other ethnic voting blocs. In the 1990s, Republican support in California for Proposition 187, a ballot initiative that denied illegal immigrants access to social services, not only hurt the party with the Hispanic electorate. It also led to a drop in GOP support among the state's Chinese and Koreans voters."

Click here for the full WSJ article

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