Debunking a Myth

by Sal on March 24, 2006

in Politics

Yesterday I wrote about Illegal Immigration and how it was a winning issue for Republicans. One of our loyal readers responded that the Republican Party needed the Hispanic vote to survive, as Hispanics will soon make up at least 20% of the U.S. Population. That comment, while well thought out and certainly valid from a particular point of view, suffers from a false premise. The premise is that Hispanics will in general support Illegal Immigration. This is a myth. There are several vocal Hispanic groups that are in favor of Illegal Immigration, but the majority of Hispanics are in favor of increased border security, a crackdown on illegal immigrants, and denying of services to illegal aliens. An article by Ruben Navarrette Jr., of the San Francisco Chronicle (himself a Mexican-American) debunks the myth that Hispanic American’s support illegal immigration (or oppose tougher restrictions) en Masse. He sights several major polls to back up his claim. Among the results:

  • 61% of Latinos rate Illegal Immigration as a “Serious Problem” (Time Magazine Poll).
  • 60% of U.S.-born Latinos support laws that deny driver’s licenses to Illegal Immigrants (Pew Hispanic Research Center)
  • A Plurality of Hispanic Americans feel that the rate of legal U.S. Immigration should stay the same (44%, with 16% saying the number should be decreased, and 28% saying the number should be increased; Pew Hispanic Research Center).

Ronald Reagan once said that Hispanics were the next wave of Conservatives. I think he is right. Most Hispanics who came here legally (which is a fairly substantial number) are for the legal immigration process. I don’t mind a guest worker program to supply labor for the economy, but those who broke the law should be returned to their country of origin where they can apply for legal immigration status, just like the countless other Hispanic Americans who have done so and are now highly productive and valuable members of American society.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

noonan March 28, 2006 at 3:24 pm

I’ve heard those poll numbers before, but again, it also matters how strongly people feel about the issue. Is it more likely that those among the 60% who feel immigration is a “serious problem” necessarily agree that the immigrants themselves are the problem and the solution is to prevent further immigration and are likely to vote on the matter OR is it more likely that the 40% who see the human side of the issue and probably have some family/friends who could lose the opportunity of being in America are going to vote on the issue? These poll numbers, (while already relatively close and not replicated), merely show surface numbers and its a long jump to saying illegal immigration is a winning issue for the GOP. For example just see today’s Drudge articles, including

On the Ronald Reagan quote, I completely agree, Hispanics likely will be the next wave of conservatives, unless the GOP screws it up by allowing the Dems a wedge issue, a counter-rallying point on immigration reform.

The reason Hispanics are likely to be the next conservative wave stems from the religious nature and family values that are culturally ingrained. This does not necessarily mean that they will vote GOP, just look at the last election where the Hispanic vote was largely split. Look at the way the Dems have played race in the African-American community to great success. My point is Bush and the GOP should tread more lightly and hand-in-hand with recognized conservative Hispanic leadership when engaging this issue.


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