01.22.2015 2

Why are Republicans split on amnesty?

Fork in NRD 600

By Finn Barre

Is it possible that President Barack Obama has served Republicans yet another irresistible political target that may do more long-lasting damage to the his party than his horrendous Obamacare legislation?  Some Republicans are saying yes.  His unconstitutional immigration amnesty has delivered Republicans a wedge issue that has the potential to further split the Democrat party and help Republicans build a strong coalition, if only the Republican leadership has the common sense to take advantage of this unforced error.

“But wait!” a reader might interject.  “Isn’t it the Republican Party which is split on this issue?” That is true only in the sense that Jeb Bush, some big business lobbying groups and a swarm of professional political consultants have split with most Republicans in their general support (masked with euphemisms) of fairly open immigration.

This support for immigration amnesty, or whatever they choose to call it, is a mystery because a restriction on immigration is an issue which 78 percent of Americans rate as “very” to “somewhat important,” in 2014 exit polling by the Polling Company, Inc. on behalf of Federation for American Immigration Reform.

This is an issue in which the Democratic Party position generates far more strong opposition (47 percent ) compared to only 29 percent who strongly support President Obama’s amnesty program.

Why then, a perceptive reader might ask, would brilliant professional political operatives such as Karl Rove and independent-minded politicians such as Sen. Rand Paul oppose the party’s rank and file on an issue that is a hands down winner with the American people as well as the Republican base, and one which would allow the Republicans to attract whole swathes of the Democrats who are generally not receptive to Republican messages?

Who are these Democrats?  Let us start with union workers, who find open immigration anathema.  The amnestied illegal aliens are competing for their jobs, not those of Harvard-, Wellesley-, or Columbia-educated lawyers such as Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren or Barack Obama.  Union workers are happy to part ways with their leadership on this issue.

Tough immigration reform is also one of the few Republican themes that can also make an inroad in the African American community.  If you are not paying taxes and do not have a job, the Republican mantra of tax cuts and lower wasteful spending on government programs has little traction and can even be seen as a threat.  But if you see foreigners taking many of the skilled and semi-skilled jobs in your city, you are likely to have a jaundiced view of immigration amnesty and would be open to Republicans on this particular issue.  A Pew Survey in 2006 showed that while Blacks have more positive attitudes about potential immigration amnesty than Whites, they are far more likely to blame immigration for job loss.  In deep-blue Chicago, a full 41 percent of African Americans said they or a family member have not gotten a job because an employer hired an illegal immigrant instead.  Only 15 percent of Chicago-area Whites said the same thing.  It is no surprise, therefore, that nearly half of Chicago-area Blacks argue for lower legal immigration into the United States.  One can imagine their outlook on illegal immigration is even less positive.  As jobs have become scarcer, and indications have grown that there is increasing political as well as economic competition between African Americans and Hispanics in cities ranging from Los Angeles to Raleigh-Durham, this problem has only intensified.  In other words, when the debate gets personal, immigration no longer becomes an issue of whether Republicans are uncomfortable with the color of your skin, but whether they, not the pro-immigration Democrat Party elite, will take steps that may protect your economic livelihood.  A tough immigration stance is also not anathema to Hispanic communities, 54 percent of whom told Pew that they would vote for a Republican even if that individual voted against immigration amnesty.

The spread of Ebola as well as the recent eruption of Islamic violence by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria, in France (Charlie Hebdo), Australia, and Canada is also warming security-conscious voters, such as soccer moms, to a tougher immigration message.  This provides Republicans more potential voters who are uneasy with Democrat Party immigration policies.

Immigration also provides Republicans a populist tune which might play well with the technology industry. Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, and other Silicon Valley titans are pushing hard for an increase of H1B visas for foreign IT professionals.  Not content with pushing for more numbers of low cost gardeners and maids, these super wealthy entrepreneurs apparently begrudge young American IT professionals their good salaries.  In addition to cooperating to prevent IT workers from moving to better jobs within their industry (this is now the subject of a class action lawsuit) they hired a gang of lobbyists to push up their quote of H1B visas.  Apparently, Congress’ present allocation of 65,000 H1B visas each year, with an additional 20,000 visas for people with master’s degrees, is not enough.   Let’s put this in perspective.  BLS statistics show that during 2012, the economy added an average of 153,000 jobs each month.  But more than a month and a half of the jobs created that year were handed over to legal H1B immigrants alone.  In FY2012, 262,569 new H1B visas were approved with 136,890 being for initial employment and 125,679 being for continued employment.  And please note, that these are the good jobs, not the McJobs Democrats complain about.  Those McJobs Democrats hate are being taken by illegal immigrants Obama wants to reward with work visas.

Why don’t Republicans side with the workers instead of the oligarchs?  That would be novel.

But they have to be willing to rouse the ire of the mainstream media, Karl Rove, big business that’s in favor of amnesty, ethnicity-obsessed politicians and racist organizations such as “The Race” — which is the proper translation of the name of Obama’s favorite Hispanic Organization, “La Raza.” On the other hand, this approach would put Republicans on the side of the American people instead of the open immigration oligarchs.  What could make more common sense than that?

Finn Barre is a contributing writer to the Liberty Features Syndicate.

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