A Tougher Immigration Enforcement Platform Might Have Put Romney in the White House

Published on December 18th, 2012

By Joe Guzzardi
November 19, 2012

When you listen to GOP leadership, you get the sense that the only way Republicans can win is to become de facto Democrats. Nowhere is this illogical thinking more apparent than in the crazy notion that if Republicans would get onboard with Democrats and embrace amnesty, then they could capture the Hispanic vote and hence the White House.

Such thinking doesn’t even stand up to the most fundamental analysis. Simply stated, on immigration Republicans cannot now and never will be able to out maneuver Democrats. Hispanics, blacks, gays, pro-choice women are all part of Democrats’ key constituency that Republicans can’t dislodge. Exit polling proved that Mitt Romney lost because his campaign didn’t resonate with his white American base. Since the white voting bloc still represents more than 70 percent of the electorate, Romney’s failure among them doomed him.

Nevertheless, the post-election hysteria remains focused on the Hispanic vote. In fact, the sound and the fury about Latinos, still only ten percent of the electorate, is intensifying. A new super PAC named Republicans for Immigration Reform, organized by Cuban Carlos Gutierrez, seeks to correct what it refers to as the political damage inflicted by the GOP’s so called anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Gutierrez, who served in President George W. Bush’s open borders administration as Commerce Secretary, claims that the GOP’s “hard line” immigration stances alienated “crucial” Hispanic voters. The super PAC is poised to endorse the amnesty policies already embraced by President Obama, Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Majority House Speaker John Boehner who talk like they can’t wait cave in to the administration’s call for comprehensive immigration reform. According to Gutierrez, millions in cash will be directed toward House and Senate candidates who espouse their immigration stance. A super PAC can accept unlimited contributions.

Ironically, Gutierrez was one of Romney’s campaign advisors—one of the many consultants who served the candidate poorly. After the election, Gutierrez took Romney to task for his use of the phrase “self-deportation.” Romney’s problem, however, was not what he said but how he said it.

Self-deportation, which Romney failed to explain satisfactorily, is the logic and desirable outcome when jobs and other entitlements like free education, driver’s licenses and deferred action are no longer automatically available to illegal immigrants. Since Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act passed, the border has become more porous and internal enforcement weaker. The result is more illegal immigration and more accommodations for them.

If, for example, Republican House would pass E-Verify legislation in the 113th Congress, that could represent the first step in self-deportation. E-Verify guarantees that anyone who seeks or holds a job is legally authorized to work. Once it passed in the House, the Senate and the president if they vote “nay” would be forced to explain why they don’t want to insure that only legally authorized workers hold scarce U.S. jobs.

Since the economy was repeatedly listed as voters’ top concern in the months leading up to the election, Republicans would benefit from a staunch defense of American workers. The mandate for Republicans going forward should not be the impossible-to-achieve goal of a larger Hispanic vote share but instead to campaign on immigration as a jobs issue. More immigrants mean fewer jobs for American workers. Immigration, legal or illegal, adds more potential workers which in turn makes securing employment harder for native-born and legal immigrants already here.

The math is simple; the logic unassailable. Even though Reagan’s “one time” 1986 amnesty should have curried Hispanic’s favor, they have never rewarded Republicans with their vote, a pattern that won’t change even if the GOP foolishly signs on for another comprehensive immigration reform package.


Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose syndicated columns have been continuously published since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]

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