Sunday, October 16, 2005

Illegal Immigration: What GOP Voters Want

The internal GOP debate on what to do about illegal immigration splits into roughly two camps-- those who want tougher enforcement and a program to normalize those illegals already here; and those who simply want tougher enforcement and a program to force those illegals already here to leave, whether by outright deportation or because life has become so inhospitable for them that they leave voluntarily. The debate between these two points of view has been vigorous, as the discussions on this blog have shown. (Example here.)

Today's op-ed by Tamar Jacoby suggests that GOP voters strongly favor the enforcement + normalization approach. You need to read the whole thing, but here are some conclustions:

. . . the irony is that an enforcement-only approach won't even please many voters, Democrat or Republican. According to a national poll of 800 likely
Republican voters to be released Monday by the Manhattan Institute, the party rank-and-file is far more pragmatic than many House Republicans believe. Yes, they look favorably on vigilante groups such as the Minutemen. Yes, many of them want to cut the number of legal immigrants we admit each year, and some — 16% — want to stop the flow entirely.

But when pressed about what the government should do to get a grip on illegal immigration, not even a majority think that enforcement alone will solve the problem. An astonishing 84% understand that it would not be possible to deport 11 million foreigners.

And when asked to chose between a combination of enforcing current law and deportation, on the one hand, and, on the other, a registration program that would allow unauthorized workers to come in out of the shadows and earn legal status (the approach often pilloried as "amnesty"), the Republicans surveyed opted resoundingly, by a margin of 58% to 33%, for earned legalization.

The solution they favor (a remarkable 78% say they would support it): an enforcement-plus package much like the one reformers propose that would combine tougher border security, increased penalties for employers, registration for a temporary worker program and — provided those workers pay taxes, learn English and stay on the right side of the law — a path to eventual citizenship.

This is not surprising. What will be interesting to see is whether the GOP will act like a majority party and pass legislation actually dealing with the problem responsibly and thoughtfully, and whether the hard-core pro-deportation wing of the party will take its ball and go home if that happens. The result of such short-sightedness by some conservatives might be a return of the Democrats to power, in which case the illegal immigration problem will only get worse. But in that case many pro-deportation conservatives will be in the position they seem most comfortable with: simply complaining about the government's failure to govern by abstract "conservative" principles, rather than getting behind an imperfect solution that might actually work in the long run.


Anonymous Wagonboy said...

Loud voices on the right calling for untenable solutions and giving too much slack and stage time to the non-solutions of the left. Republican leadership in congress, for lack of any genetic material normaly found in men, is unwilling to go to the matt to do the right thing because it might be viewed unfavorably in the various studio greenrooms around town. The President is viewed as AWOL or bumbling on the issue. The media misrepresents most of the realities. The American people, by healthy majorities, are largely for a conservative, common sense, fair approach if honestly hashed out by an actively engaged congress.

Are we talking immigration, the war, social security, energy or judicial appointments?

We conservatives get what we deserve when we're not actively engaged with our elected representatives. They need to be be stronger, we, (as in We The People...) need to push them there.  

Posted by Wagonboy

Sunday, October 16, 2005 6:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To deal with the illegal alien problem, I feel that we need to take a multifaceted approach. First, we need to recognize that borders are man-made, imaginary lines. They were not put there by God. But one of the most basic laws of Nature and of Nature's God is that parents "...will not suffer (their) children that they go hungry, or naked." Most illegal aliens are only here in response to that imperative: they are trying to do right by their children. And if we refuse to "impart of (our) substance" to such needy ones by simply expelling them, we endanger ourselves, for we will not be entitled to ask for God's protection for our country. We should make it possible for responsibly-behaving aliens to regularize their status by becoming legal guest-workers.

Second, we should make it easier for those wishing to come for work to do so as long as there is work for them that isn't taking away work from our own citizens.

Third, we should make it very difficult for anyone else (terrorists, drug-runners, etc.) to enter the country, and expell or prosecute anyone here who engages in such behavior.

And finally, we should individually and through the government do all that we can to help our fellow beings in other countries to improve their own economies and circumstances. I think, for example, of a program providing low-interest loans for education. "The man with the love of Christ in his heart will not be content to bless his own family only, but will roam through the world, seeing to bless the whole human family." 

Posted by Elizabeth

Monday, October 17, 2005 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous DL said...


You raise good humanitarian points for Christians or just any and all good people to consider. Should we have unlimited access? How many people can milk a cow, before they all run out of milk?
Should we open our borders completely to those who believe that Christ's followers are all infidels, is the big question?

I suspect that this announcement(which could have and should have, been made a long time ago)was the result of the Miers fiasco and the split in the GOP. It could be a diversion to the nomination problem, or a bone to quiet down the base. I also tend to think those politicians on the right are worried about next year. It is certainly way overdue, to begin acting strongly on this issue, which has even invited public criticizm from the left.(Hillary)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 4:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Illegal immigration is 1 of 3 key problems facing
country today #1 Iraq #2 Energy and #3 Imigration.
My self I put energy #1 as its going to put this
economy in the toilet...Back to immigration,W says
they are doing jobs no one wants (YEH RIGHT)drive
through any new housing tract and look who is
doing all the building,Framers, roofers ,cement
Workers and painters all MEXICAN...I have a friend
who runs a large tree service,same 20 workers for the
last 15 yrs all Mexican,I asked why he said they
work hard and no drug or alcohol problems, go figure.
Its been said the Democrats want victims and the
Republicans want cheap labor sounds about right to me
and the real fact is they both want the Mexican vote!!!! 


Wednesday, October 19, 2005 10:53:00 AM  

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