Texas Republican Congressman Fesses Up on Opposing Immigration Reform

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Texas Republicans with elephant hats

The prospect of new citizens voting Democratic stiffens the resolve of Texas Republicans, big and small, to oppose comprehensive immigration reform — virtually guaranteeing that their fears will come to pass.

If I said that the reason that Republicans oppose comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship — now being championed by both Democrats and the more bright and reasonable GOP leaders — and is because they are afraid of being voted out of office, you would probably think that I was being partisan.  All right, that might be possible — but how about if a Congressman from Texas says it, out loud, to the Associated Press?

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) on Monday told the AP that he doesn’t support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship because it might get him voted out of office.

Marchant represents Dallas, Texas, where there are estimated to be thousands of undocumented people residing. His district is 24 percent Hispanic. Yet, he was quite straightforward when explaining that these numbers worked against him, and informed his opposition to reform:

“It’s hard to argue with the polling they’ve been getting from the national level,” said Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, referring to signs of serious problems for Republican presidential candidates if immigration laws aren’t rewritten. “I just don’t experience it locally.”

The proposed immigration overhaul “is very unpopular in my district,” said Marchant, who represents suburbs west of Dallas. “The Republican primary voters, they’re being pretty vocal with me on this subject.” Besides, he said, “if you give the legal right to vote to 10 Hispanics in my district, seven to eight of them are going to vote Democrat.”  [emphasis in TPM recounting of story]

I know that this sounds like the kind of thing that a partisan like me might make up, but it ain’t.  As much as Republicans talk about how Latinos are a natural fit for their party, not even they believe it.  They believe that new citizens, from DREAM Act kids on down, will vote Democratic — and so they oppose enfranchising them.  It’s a raw, naked power play, doing incalculable damage to people just to maintain political advantage.  It’s sick and it’s wrong and it’s going to cost the Republican Party in the long run — even if they do successfully block comprehensive immigration reform.

There’s an alternative way for the Republican party to compete politically: move back towards the center — and to rational policy debate.  But I suppose that trying to keep Latinos and Asians from becoming citizens is a lot easier.

The fallback strategy is apparently to hope that people will just forget about this once reform is done — or once growth in these immigrant communities means that many of them get to vote anyway.

They’re counting on your forgiving and forgetting.  Will you?

(And OC Republicans: you’re a pretty intelligent lot — how do you see this playing out for you?  Hoping that Asians won’t notice?)

About Greg Diamond

Prolix worker's rights and government accountability attorney. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Runs for office sometimes, so far to offer a challenge to someone nasty who would otherwise have run unopposed. Someday he might pick a fight intending to win it rather than just to dent someone. You'll know it when you see it. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. A family member works part-time as a campaign treasurer. He doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he hated. He does advise some local campaigns informally and generally without compensation. If that changes, he will declare the interest. He also runs a less frequently published blog called "The Brean," for his chosen hometown, where he is now fighting with its wealthiest and most avaricious citizen-donors. This just seems to be his way.