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?)