Re: GOP Immigration Reform Politics Turned ‘Upside Down’
This from Huffington Post:
At this time last year, Republican U.S. presidential contenders were competing to act tough on immigration to win favor with the party’s conservative base.
Eventual nominee Mitt Romney led the way by advocating "self-deportation" – a plan that essentially called on the government to make life so miserable for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, most of whom are Hispanics, that many would leave on their own.
This plan by Romney was just the first step of many in his attempt to appease old white conservative voters, which the GOP very wrongly understood as the majority. But trumpeting this idea would, of course, disenfranchise the Latinos in doing so, but who cares? They wanted the good-ole-boy vote.
I don’t know exactly how republican thinkers heard of “self deportation”, but the source of that idea was no more than a satirical jab at a piece of legislation in California, not a brainstorm from within his campaign. I like to think that they heard the satire and thought it was serious, not having a clue that a republican bill could be ridiculed in such a manner. This from The Daily Beast:
Mitt Romney’s immigration policy may not be a joke, but the name he’s given it is. The much-mocked term "self-deportation" was not invented by harsh immigration lawmaker–and Mitt Romney backer–Kris Kobach but instead originated in a 1990s satirical ad responding to a California ballot initiative that attempted to ban illegal immigrants from using public schools and hospitals.
Sort of like early Stephen Colberts, a couple of Mexican-American comedians funded a group called "Hispanics Against Liberal Takeover" and made mock news releases and radio ads wherein they pretended to be conservative activists promoting the law.
This American Life recalls interviewing HALTO founder Daniel D. Portado–a Mexican-American–back in 1996 about the idea of self-deportation. Portado explained in jest, "We feel that the immigrants are taking too many jobs, are bringing down the quality of life. They’re not allowing our young American teenagers the character-building experiences of picking fruit and cleaning hotel beds." Lately, Portado has been using his twitter feed to try to remind America that "self-deportation" was his idea, and it was not a serious one.
What has changed since Romney’s brilliant idea? Well, since the grand ole party has been hoist on their own petard with the self-deportation thing, and since they have since discovered that their once coveted old pasty white majority is no more, they have come up with a brilliant plan. Now they want to do a 180 degree flip-flop and be the champion of Latino causes. From Huffington Post:
The changed dynamic on immigration reflected how "the election was a real wake-up call to Republicans. They have had their eyes opened on Hispanics," said Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College in Minnesota.
Asked why he thought this immigration bill might succeed, McCain said: "Elections. The Republican Party is losing the support of our Hispanic citizens."
Republican strategist Ana Navarro said McCain – whose state borders Mexico and is about 30 percent Hispanic – could be an important voice to other Republicans on the immigration bill.
"Nobody can talk to other Republicans with the authority that John McCain can about what it means to move the Latino vote," Navarro said.
So there it is – the truth. This newly found compassion has nothing to do with saving families, or granting some of the perks of being a tax payer in America. No! It is all about swinging votes – nothing more. It is important to note here, that any legislation the GOP backs will be carefully combed as to not offend the white conservative base. So look for something weak coming out of Congress.
What is almost as weird as Romney’s self deportation plan, is the fact that the GOP thinks Latinos won’t notice, or can’t read, or can’t understand that the sudden reversal of the GOP platform has nothing to do with immigrants’ plight, but sadly, only their vote. The GOP doesn’t yet understand that they will be heralding yet another insult at the very folks they wish to befriend.