But to fully capitalize on the political conservatism of the Latino community, the American Right first needs to abandon its increasingly prevalent conviction that a browner America portends a permanent Democratic majority. There is ample reason to believe otherwise. Polls show that immigrants are consistently more patriotic than native-born citizens, and tend to be entrepreneurial, hard-working, and deeply religious — values that lie at the heart of the American character conservatives say they want to protect.
“These are people with high aspirations,” says Chavez. “They have a real spirit, a willingness to be risk takers, and high motivation. And all of those things make a huge difference in your chances of succeeding in a country like the United States, which still does offer tremendous opportunities.” This, she argues, is likely the reason for the Republican Party’s growing Hispanic support. “It’s the economics,” she says. “But it’s also a sense of patriotism — you know, Hispanics do join the military in large numbers, and if you look at Pew Center statistics, they still pretty much believe that if you work hard you can get ahead, and that people achieve based on their own efforts. And all of those things are aligned with a more conservative political point of view.”
Recently arrived immigrants still tend to vote for Democrats in higher numbers than Republicans, despite the fact that their political views are often more closely aligned with the GOP platform. In California, for example, immigrants consistently poll as more conservative but less Republican than their native-born counterparts. This discrepancy tends to go away with time: As immigrant communities assimilate, their partisan affiliation becomes indistinct from the political distribution of the general American population. But insofar as recent arrivals do skew Democratic, Republicans should consider the possibility that their party’s anti-immigrant wing is alienating a large swathe of voters in an otherwise sympathetic demographic.