Kick out the brown people
Posted on Thu, Dec. 08, 2005
Issue of illegal immigration divides Republicans heading into `06 elections
By Steven Thomma
Knight Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON - Jim Gilchrist lost his bid for Congress this week. But as the founder of the "Minutemen" border patrol, he won a bigger personal victory by sending a signal that immigration will be a major divisive issue in next year's congressional elections.
A growing chorus of Republicans like Gilchrist wants to throw illegal immigrants out of the country and seal the border behind them. They're being urged on by talk radio and conservative activists with the same fervor that led the government to intervene last spring in the case of Terri Schiavo, a brain-damaged Florida woman.
But just as in the Schiavo case, appealing to the Republican Party's social-conservative wing on illegal immigrants could invite a backlash, this time from Hispanics. Cracking down also risks splitting vital parts of the party's base.
"This puts them in a tough spot," said R. Michael Alvarez, a political scientist at the California Institute of Technology. "They're torn in at least three directions. They need to appeal to the business side of the party that needs the immigrant labor. They need to appeal to the conservative base. And they need to appeal to Latinos and Hispanics."
Already an icon to Americans who are fed up with illegal immigration, Gilchrist ran for an open seat in the House of Representatives on the single issue of getting tough on illegal immigration. Despite running as a third-party candidate, he managed to win 25 percent of the vote in a district dominated by regular Republicans.
"The Gilchrist vote ought to be an early warning of the level of voter anger out there about illegal immigration," said Dan Schnur, a Republican strategist in California. "That a third-party candidate drew 25 percent of the vote tells us this is an issue that reaches voters at a very visceral level."
It's likely to embolden like-minded Republicans, such as Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., who's pushing legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants and is weighing a run for his party's 2008 presidential nomination.
Tancredo spokesman Will Adams said the message of the Gilchrist vote was that the Republican conservative base was adamant about immigration and would reward those who were tough on the issue - and punish those seen as weak.
"Conservative Republicans won't stomach someone who is squishy on immigration," Adams said.
The problem on this is that Tancredo is a racist and his solutions are tinged with an unrealistic understanding of the US-Mexico relationship.
But this is a perfect issue to split the GOP and expose their racism.
How do Dems deal with this? Very simple: blame the people who hire them. We all understand the need for a home and a job, but without the illegal employers, they couldn't come here.
Every time Tancredo and his racist allies open their mouths, they need to face hard questions, like what happens if we do build a moat across the border? How would the Mexicans react, and they would? These people are fantasists, and the Dems need to rip apart their plans and call for realistic solutions.
The worst idea, and one which they should be tarred with, is birthright exception. They want to take away one of the Constitution's most important ideas, that anyone born in America, is an American.
posted by Steve @ 12:27:00 AM