By Howard Foster -
Advocates of “immigration reform” promise that if Republicans give legal status to the millions here illegally, overwhelmingly Hispanics, they will end up voting Republican. At least this will initiate a meaningful dialogue. The same claims have been made for decades about blacks, Jews and working women.
There are very good reasons why the dialogue never gets very far. As every conservative should know, human beings are complicated and basically apolitical. The typical voter does not make a checklist of issues or perform a cost-benefit analysis of party platforms in deciding which way to vote. The preference is usually made very early in life based upon tradition, heritage, the perception of which party is in power in one’s community, and which party or candidate seems to relate to their circumstances. Black Republican candidates have run here in Illinois (Alan Keyes) for major offices and have never won more than 15% of the black vote. Black voters probably see them as tokens or sell outs.
Linda Chavez, an Hispanic Republican, ran for the Senate from Maryland and did poorly in every group including Hispanics. She now advocates for immigration reform, apparently having learned nothing from her experience. I’ve heard her make her pitch as recently as last week. She simply ignores the gloomy data about Hispanics in America. Here are some sobering facts from the Pew Hispanic Center:
- 6.7% Hispanics
- 5.6 Blacks
- 3.4 Whites
- 25.4% Hispanics
- 27.9 Blacks
- 11.0 Whites
Food Stamp Recipients:
- 23.4% Hispanics
- 29.1 Blacks
- 9.3 Whites
In other words, Hispanics are quite poor and economically are not apt to think like the majority. And as for their supposed social conservatism, the survey finds they support gay marriage by a margin of 52%-34%. These are not socially traditional voters, and anyone arguing to the contrary should show their data.
And as for immigration being the door-opener, that seems absurd too. Recall in 1986 President Reagan supported an immigration amnesty. It was not well received among Hispanics. They voted 2-1 for Michael Dukakis over George Bush in 1988. And their party preference has not moved our way over time. The survey found the political preference of Cuban immigrants is now only 47% Republican compared with 64% 10 years ago.
These are sobering data. The first rule about holes is to stop digging.
Howard Foster is an immigration attorney based in Chicago.