Republicans And Immigration

John McCain, as everybody had been expecting, has officially clinched the Republican nomination. This just goes to show something I had believed all along: Republicans, as a whole,  are not anti-immigration.

The Republican relationship with immigration is a lot like the Democrat relationship to education – you have a few people that make alot of noise about the subject but in the end, nobody really cares. The fact that the most pro-immigration candidate has won the GOP primary and the most anti-immigration candidate dropped out early because of a lack of support testifies to that. Anybody who says otherwise just does not understand the GOP.

11 Responses to “Republicans And Immigration”


  • Wooo, Hold on there HP!

    I’m as pleased as anyone to see the “least anti-immigrant” candidate win the nomination, but I beg to differ with you on what that means about the current GOP.

    As best I can tell, McCain won the nomination despite his pro-immigration stances of the past – which he had to largely refute. I sincerely doubt that McCain won many votes because Republicans were enamored of his comprehensive illegal immigration reform. Which is not to say he shouldn’t have. He just didn’t. That’s today’s GOP.

    If I had to pick a reason McCain won the nomination, I would say that he won the nomination because Giuliani made a strategic blunder in staying out of the fray too long, and subsequently McCain was able to take advantage of the winner-take-all nature of the GOP primaries.

    Just to be clear – I like McCain. I won’t be voting for him because I disagree strongly with him on the subject of elective wars that may last 100 years (according to him) and cost trillions of dollars. Call me crazy, but I just don’t think that’s a terrific policy. But I agree that, among the Republicans, he’s the best choice.

  • EYES OF TEXAS

    McCain has had to do some back stepping as to where he stands on illegal immigration and he will have his feet held to the fire by the Republican Party to secure our borders and resolve the illegal alien issue. The Save Act is well on it’s way to becoming law which will encourage millions of illegal aliens to return home. Don’t think McCain won’t listen to the roar of American citizens demanding get tough policies on those who have broken, and are breaking, immigration laws of the U.S.A.

  • urbanleftbehind

    It is the West (reasoned arguments and personal experience)beating back the South (just plain ignorance), which is why I would, given no alternatives, vote for a Hunter or a Tancredo versus Thompson.

  • I see what you are all saying and I tend to agree but you are still missing the bigger picture. Not only did the least anti-immigration candidate win the GOP primary but also the most anti-immigration candidate dropped out early because of a lack of support.

    Granted, I am not saying that the GOP is somehow pro-immigration. It’s a complicated issue that can’t be simplified to pro- or con-, my only point here is that if the GOP was as anti-immigration as people assumed, say, 6 months ago, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in now.

    Up until now, the Republican party as a whole has been all bark and no bite on immigration. McCain is just one more example of that long tradition. Reagan, just a few elections ago, was another.

  • Perhaps there is an asusmption that since McCain won, he will fall in line with the GOP’s base anti-immigrant policies. Thats where we will see if the party as a whole is anti-immigrant or not. How much does his tone change now that he is the nominee? If you were one of the people who have been deported as a result of the increased anti immigrant sentiment (so much so that members of local gov’t–sherrifs, etc.) you wouldn’t say there is no bite…There definitely is an increased ICE presence…

    Not only is he the least anti-immigrant, but he is also the most LIBERAL of them all, which says something of how republicans feel about their candidates. What you think?

  • I agree with your general point. I’ll be watching to see where McCain takes the immigration issue.

    My bet: He will stay relatively pro-immigration, with some bones thrown towards the anti-immigration crowd but likely on a pro-defensive foundation (ie more security on the borders because terrorists can come through). However, on other issues, such as taxes, he will move more towards the right. In other words, giving the base something they really do care about (lower taxes) in exchange for something lower on the priority list (immigration).

    For me atleast, it would make my politics more complicated if the GOP was to come out full blown anti-immigration. I might start voting libertarian or something.

  • Up until now, the Republican party as a whole has been all bark and no bite on immigration. McCain is just one more example of that long tradition. Reagan, just a few elections ago, was another.

    We have differing opinions of the history of the GOP vis-a-vis immigration. As I see it, during the 60′s and 70′s the GOP was unashamedly, enthusiastically pro-immigration. This was a reflection of the conservative movement’s laissez-faire philosophy. By contrast, the Democrats of the 1960′s pushed through an immigration bill meant to pander to the unions that significantly restricted for the first time immigration to the U.S. from Latin America.

    All of this began to change for the worse in the 1980′s and 1990′s, as certain politicians on the right (Pete Wilson, etc.) tapped into the growing distrust of conservatives towards minorities that grew out of the civil rights era.

    Today, we have a GOP that is essentially anti-immigration, despite it’s proud tradition to the contrary. Reagan represented the GOP of his era, just as Romney, Huckabee, et al represents the GOP of today. McCain is an outlier – an artifact of the past GOP. Unfortunately, it’s the GOP that’s changed. And I am proud to say that I am no longer a registered Republican.

  • I don’t think that McCain or the GOP are or have been “pro-immigration”. They are pro-CHEAP LABOR for business. Always have been, always will. Don’t confuse pro-immigration and pro-cheap labor.

    Also, the fact that McCain comes from a border states helped shape his views on the need for cheap labor.

    I do agree and am thankful that the GOP and Reagan helped legalize a ton of my PRIMOS y PRIMAS who were here as mojados. Many other primos y primas thought we may have the same type of legalization program under Bush. Then came 9/11. End of story.

    Because of the Union backlash, I don’t think its probable that Clinton or Obama would push through immigration reform or legalization.

  • LaurenceB,

    Yeah, you got the free market Republicans that are unabashedly pro-immigration (many open borders even) vs. the traditional Republicans that are significantly less so, many full on anti-immigration. It’s a raging debate that has been going on in the party for some time now and nobody knows who will ultimately win out. My bet is on the free market side though.

    TacoSam,

    You oversimplify. McCain also supports increases in the number of H1-B Visas, and thats hardly considered ‘cheap labor’.

    Totally agree on the Reagan thing. It is because of Reagan that most of my family got their citizenship as well.

    Oh and good point on the union comment. I am impressed. Most people, especially most Democrats, don’t even understand that subtle problem. Let alone publicly admit it.

  • HP, do you agree with the free market Republicans? Am I oversimplifying by saying that if goods should be able to pass freely from country to country, then workers should be able to do so as well? What is your take?

    With respect to the unions, yes the Democrats are beholden to the unions and other special interest groups, just like the Republicans are beholding to the defense companies (witness the war in Iraq), oil companies, and big business. Every 4 or 8 years the different special interest groups take turns holding power. No harm in stating the obvious.

  • You are not oversimplifying at all. I am a big believer in both free-trade and immigration.

    Btw, completely agree with you on the Democrat and Republican thing. I have always viewed politics as a special interest power grap…with special interests on both sides. Neither side is ‘morally superior’ to the other. Both are ugly politicians, you just gotta pick the poison that does the least harm, that pushes us just a lil in the correct and/or least damaging direction.

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