Most readers seem to disagree with my perspective on the necessity of resolving the immigration-reform issue while we still have a say in how it gets implemented. Newt Gingrich, however, sees the same problem that I do, which is that the issue is an albatross around the neck of the GOP as it tries to reach out to non-white voters. “You can’t say to someone, ‘I’d really like to get your vote over jobs,'” Gingrich tells the Morning Joe panel, “‘and by the way, we’re kicking your grandmother out.’ It doesn’t work.”
Jennifer Rubin notes that the immigration problem isn’t just a policy issue, and its damage isn’t limited to Hispanics, either:
Opponents of immigration reform say that the “Asian problem” can’t be because of the party’s stance on illegal immigration because that’s an issue primarily related to Hispanic immigrants from our hemisphere. Wrong.
The party’s position on immigration is off-putting to many ethnic and racial groups because it reflects, they believe, a GOP that doesn’t want them and doesn’t want a diverse society.
David Goldman offers some insight on the subject:
Asian-Americans, like any other immigrant group, come here with the hope of bringing family members with them. Tough enforcement of immigration laws makes life as hard for them as it does for any other immigrant group, and frustrates their hope of reuniting families in America. The result of our present immigration laws is that we fail to keep out the illegals we don’t want, and make it harder to absorb the skilled and energetic immigrants we do want. There will be endless discussion during the next few months of [Mitt] Romney’s mistake in moving to the right of Rick Perry on immigration during the Republican primaries, and I will leave the detailed parsing to the professionals. I hope the professionals talk to Asian-Americans first.
Asians now outnumber Hispanics among new immigrants. As Goldman puts it, “If we Republicans can’t persuade our most successful, entrepreneurial, family-oriented citizens to support us, we won’t be in business much longer.”
It’s that perceived hostility to diversity that will lock the GOP out of urban centers, where Democrats enjoyed a big turnout, even with a better economic message and policy. Note that the GOP share of the Asian vote declined by an even greater degree in 2012 than the decline in the Hispanic demographic. The Republican Party has to improve its standing among these demographics — not by pandering, but by offering conservative solutions that improve their lives. But in order to make the argument, we need to improve the perception of our agenda, and immigration reform is a big obstacle to that goal.