Politico reports today that California Republicans are urging House Republicans to pass “comprehensive” immigration reform, for fear that the party “can’t win elections” in the state unless the legislation succeeds. That false message parrots the talking points being pushed by pro-amnesty unions and activists, who have taunted the GOP with slogans such as “Road to Exctinction or Road to Citizenship” at rallies this month.
Politico’s story, by Jake Sherman, gets many other details wrong, such as the number of participants at an immigration reform rally in Bakersfield last week. He puts the number of attendees at 1,000–wrong, yet below other media estimates, and perhaps a concession to the fact that there were never more than a few hundred present, as Breitbart News and several other news agencies actually on the ground confirmed.
The fact is that California Republicans stand to lose even more from comprehensive immigration reform. Since the Reagan amnesty of 1986 created many new Democratic voters in the state, the California GOP has struggled. Ironically, its last gasp was the election and re-election of an immigrant–Arnold Schwarzenegger–as governor, though that is a fact for which the Republican Party is never given much credit in the debate.
Yes, there is anti-immigrant sentiment among a minority of Republicans; it is there among Democrats, too. Many issues attract Hispanic voters to the Democrats other than immigration. Many rely on public services championed (though poorly administered) by Democrats; many rely on jobs that require union membership; many come from countries whose political cultures are dominated by socialist populism.
The panic among California Republicans about the party’s poor standing in the Hispanic community will not be resolved by federal immigration legislation; if anything, it will consign the party to obsolescence, because along with creating new Democrat voters, a “path to citizenship” will alienate the GOP’s remaining voters. If the Republican Party does not stand for the rule of law as Democrats flout it, the party stands for nothing.
Competing for Hispanic votes in California requires selling conservative policies to new constituencies, and showing Hispanic voters how they can be part of a larger America rather than bit players in the Democrats’ divisive interest-group game. That takes effort, time, and commitment, and will not be resolved by a deeply flawed immigration reform bill, no matter how much the media try to convince Republicans otherwise.