In the Republican Presidential primaries, successful candidates have supported strong immigration enforcement policies. It is not the only key to success. Michele Bachman had the most unequivocal stance against amnesty and open borders, but didn’t make it past the Iowa Caucuses. Newt Gingrich is famously weak on the issue, and enjoyed early fleeting success. Even Rick Santorum was for amnesty before he was against it. In fact, Mitt Romney is the only successful candidate with a long proven record on sensible immigration enforcement. His support for SB 1070 and other tough measures has burnished his image with conservatives, who have otherwise been wary of his ideological credentials. As it stands, the Republican electorate has proven itself strongly against open borders and amnesty. To win the nomination, a Republican candidate must support effective immigration law enforcement.There, say the pundits, is the problem. Come the general election, they say, Hispanic voters will remember this hard stance, and will overwhelmingly vote against the GOP. Except in Florida, with its anti-Castro Cuban-American population, the conventional wisdom is that Hispanics vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Even in Florida, it is said, the Republican hold on the Hispanic vote is slipping. Time magazine published a cover story on the subject, “Yo Decido. Why Latinos will pick the next President“. The author, Michael Scherer, argues that the Latino vote even puts conservative strongholds like Arizona at risk in the general election. President Obama has pandered to the Hispanic vote on Univision, promising to give broad amnesty to illegal aliens if he is re-elected.
Are the Republicans doomed? The pollsters at Latino Decisions point out that the Hispanic vote in Arizona was overwhelmingly against immigration hardliner Jan Brewer when she ran for re-election.
And that is where the doomsaying falls apart. Jan Brewer was an accidental governor, gaining the office when her predecessor left office early. She faced a popular Democratic opponent in Terry Goddard.
And Jan Brewer won. She won big. She played Ronald Reagan to Terry Goddard’s Walter Mondale.
And she owed it all to being tough on immigration enforcement. Before she signed SB 1070, nobody knew who she was. After she signed it, she became a political figure of national importance. And she managed to do it in a state with almost twice as many Hispanics as the national average.
The American people aren’t all stupid. They know what’s in their best interest. While the Hispanic-American vote might go Democratic, the overall American vote favours strong immigration enforcement.
Strong immigration enforcement wins elections, nationally and locally, in March and in November.