The GOP's dilemma
Yeah, this will help the GOP
Demonstrations on Immigration Harden a Divide
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
The Republiklans in action.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 14 — Al and Diane Kitlica have not paid close attention to the immigration debate in Congress. But when more than 100,000 mostly Hispanic demonstrators marched through Phoenix this week, the Kitlicas noticed.
"I was outraged," Ms. Kitlica told J. D. Hayworth, the Republican who is her congressman, as she and her husband stopped him for 20 minutes while he was on a walk through their suburban neighborhood to complain to him about the issue.
"You want to stay here and get an education, get benefits, and you still want to say 'Viva Mexico'? It was a slap in the face," Ms. Kitlica said, adding that illegal immigrants were straining the Mesa public school where she teaches.
A few miles west, Gus Martinez, a Mexican immigrant who was moonlighting at a hot dog stand after a day installing drywall, said the protests had changed his perspective, too.
Mr. Martinez, who said he was a legal immigrant, said he also supported border security to curb illegal entry. But he had taken the day off to march earlier in the week because he believed that the foes of illegal immigration were taking aim at Hispanics as a group. The demonstrations, he said, had instilled in him a sense of power.
"It showed that our hands — Latino hands — make a difference in this country," Mr. Martinez said. "They see you are Hispanic and call you a criminal, but we are not."
Representative Steve King, an Iowa Republican from another district, said his office had been flooded with angry calls about the recent marches. "It is one thing to see an abstract number of 12 million illegal immigrants," Mr. King said. "It is another thing to see more than a million marching through the streets demanding benefits as if it were a birthright." He added, "I think people resent that."
But Mr. King, who supported a House bill to restrict illegal immigrants without creating a guest-worker program, said he was also feeling new heat from the thousands of Hispanics in his district, many of whom worked in its meatpacking plants. Responding to a survey by his office, some Hispanics called him a racist for asking questions about building a wall with Mexico, or suggested a wall with Canada, he said.
When voters approved a ballot measure that year to block access to state services for illegal immigrants, more than 40 percent of Hispanic voters supported it, according to some surveys of people leaving polling places.
But many Hispanics said opinions had changed dramatically in the past few weeks, partly because of the hostility they perceived in some proposals from Mr. Hayworth and other conservatives.
"When people are talking about shooting people who come across the border," said Harry Garewal, chief executive of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, "yeah, I think that causes some angst."
Others here, like the Kitlicas, said the marches had only sharpened their worries that illegal immigrants from Mexico brought with them crime, financial burdens, national security risks, cultural disintegration and even diseases like drug-resistant tuberculosis — concerns echoed often by conservative talk radio hosts in the state.
Mr. Hayworth recently published a book, "Whatever It Takes" (Regnery Publishing, 2006), in which he advocates enlisting agencies like the Internal Revenue Service to find illegal immigrants; arresting and deporting them all; deploying military troops on the southern border; and temporarily suspending legal immigration from Mexico.
His opponent, Mr. Mitchell, calls those ideas "unrealistic."
Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat who supports a temporary-worker program that would allow illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, said that House conservatives like Mr. Hayworth remained a major obstacle to such legislation. "That is the oil in the water," Mr. Grijalva said.
But with the Hispanic electorate set to swell as the children of immigrants come of age, Mr. Grijalva said that history was on the other side.
"You might be getting a momentary bump," he said, "but in the long run you are going to lose."
The problem is that while this may give a short term boost to the GOP, it creates long term emnity with a growing population. Hispanics inclined to support the GOP now see them as a group of racists. All because the GOP framed the immgration problem as one with brown people and not with bad laws and ineffective enforcement.
Once it became a matter of talk about not loving the US and destroying the culture, especially when so many Hispanics are serving in combat, was destined to turn them against the GOP. The GOP had made serious inroads into the Hispanic community outside California, who had been radicalized by Prop 187 which passed and then died in courts, until this.
What you basically have is the revolt of the servant class. All those Republiklans calling for the Army on the border and walls think the people who serve them will remain mute. And it isn't just the immigrants, either, it's the small business owners, the civil servants, the panoply of people who make a community work. They're all supposed to bow before the anger of the white ruling class and arm the border.
God forbid that they take pride in their heritage and petition the government for a redress of grievances. They should be rounded up.
Only problem, most of the people marching are as American as the Republiklans, and plan on voting to show that.
It's amausing to see the white ruling class show ignorance about their society and who makes it work. Remember how New Yorkers were shocked when they found out their city relied on several thousand transit workers? Well, a lot of white people in the Southwest are gonna have the same shock. The sneering was amusing as well. They're stupid, why do they make so much money. The answer: because the job is dangerous and walking in winter really sucks.
Well, why do you not attack Hispanics as some sort of immigrant plague? Because when they get pissed, things stop working.
All they had to do was keep race out of it. Most people want a controlled border and effective immigration. But they had to let the Republiklans lead the way and they had to make it about brown people.
You know, the GOP courting about black people is about suburban soccer moms not liking racism. Well, do you think they like racism against immigrants any better?
posted by Steve @ 9:00:00 AM