A new poll undermines the conventional wisdom, relentlessly peddled by some Republican establishment types, that Republicans need to embrace Schumer-Rubio style amnesty in order to make headway with Hispanic voters. The poll, conducted by Republican pollster John McLaughlin, finds that, by a margin of 60 percent to 34 percent, registered Hispanic voters support granting legal status to illegal immigrants only when the goal of stopping 90 percent of future illegal immigration is reached.
The Schumer-Rubio legislation grants legal status to illegal immigrants without regard to any metric of success in preventing illegal immigration. Indeed, as Andrew Stiles points out, the position favored by a strong majority of Hispanic voters is more hawkish than the one put forward by Senator Cornyn, but rejected by the Gang of Eight and its adherents. Cornyn’s amendment would have required a 90 percent border-apprehension rate before illegal immigrants, having already been granted legal status under the legislation, could apply for a green card.
The poll also found that Hispanic voters oppose allowing illegal immigrants to obtain federal benefits, including Obamacare benefits, “while they are going through the legalization process and before the 90% goal is reached.” Here, the split was 56-40.
In addition, the poll explodes the notion that immigration is an overridingly important issue for Hispanic voters. For them, the issue ranked last in importance behind the economy, education, and health care. Among non-registered Hispanics, however, immigration ranked first in importance. That’s kind of scary, if you think about it.
Amnesty supporters might respond to these poll results by contending that backing Schumer-Rubio style legislation is nonetheless a key to reaching Hispanic voters in order to overcome the image (which, the poll confirms, exists) that Republicans don’t care about Hispanics and, indeed, “discriminate” against “people like them.” We hear this view, for example, from Hispanic organizers within the Republican party — probably as an excuse for their inability to deliver and/or an attempt to mask the extent to which Hispanics strongly favor the liberal economic agenda.
But to the extent that Hispanics can be “reached” by Republicans via the immigration issue, presumably this can be accomplished by supporting the Hispanic-favored position on immigration reform, without pushing an approach they consider too lenient. The Democrats won’t permit that position to become law, of course. But pushing it should, if anything, help Republicans and hurt Democrats with Hispanic voters.
In any event, attempting to curry favor with Hispanics by advancing legislation more liberal than they say they want takes pandering to a new level.