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May 30, 2006

On Republicans Reaching A Crossroads On Immigration

Topics: Immigration and Border Issues

Here's a suggestion for the House Republicans that makes a lot of sense.

John McIntyre points out that the GOP is at a critical juncture on illegal immigration and how to fashion a comprehensive solution to the broader immigration debate. He offers that the Republicans are in a position to turn the illegal immigration issue into a significant asset heading into the 2006 elections, but the difficulty will be finessing the issue in a way that does not poison GOP relations with the growing Hispanic community for 2008 and beyond:

There is a quiet rage building among average middle class folks on the illegal immigration issue, and if the Republican leadership doesn't take control of the problem very soon they will allow the more extremist wings of the anti-immigration debate to become the face of the Republican party on immigration. That would be a disaster for GOP hopes to grow their new found majority in the years to come.

Tactically, however, Congressional Republicans should change focus in how they attack the Senate bill, away from the "pathway to citizenship" or "amnesty" issue and instead concentrate on the commitment to halt illegal immigration. This is not a small point, but rather a critically important distinction in the public relations battle.

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Regardless of how it's framed, bringing a screeching halt to illegal immigration must be an absolute priority in anything agreed upon in conference. And any compromise that looks remotely like the Senate bill that passed with 85% Democratic support over the objections of nearly 2/3rd of Senate Republicans just isn't going to fly with the American people. As McIntyre suggests in his article, Washington, particularly the Senate, is living in a bubble - completely removed from where the average American is on illegal immigration.

Posted by Richard at May 30, 2006 11:11 AM

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