Ira Mehlman

Barack Obama put on his statesman’s hat as he strode into the East Room of the White House last week to implore House Republicans to enact amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and massively increase the flow of new immigrants and guest workers into the United States.

The president wanted everyone to know that his call for amnesty has nothing to do with politics. Nothing. “I’m not running for office again. I just believe this is the right thing to do,” Mr. Obama stated. But even if it did have something to do with politics, the president hastily added that doing so would be politically beneficial to Republicans.

President Obama is not the only one offering counsel to Republicans. Ezra Klein, a Democratic leaning blogger for the Washington Post, snarkily described Obama’s push for an amnesty bill as a “devious plot to destroy the Republican Party by increasing its vote share among Hispanic,” adding that “most everyone agrees [passing such a bill] would be good for the Republican Party.”

How could a party reeling from the fallout over the budget impasse resist such altruistic advice from the leader of the other party and his allies? Well, the ancient admonition, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts,” should come to mind, finds a new analysis by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

For one thing, the increased “share” of the Hispanic vote Klein suggests (without evidence) the Republicans would realize from supporting an amnesty bill might actually increase their aggregate vote deficit. About 11 million Hispanics voted in the 2012 elections (out of more than 20 million who were eligible), meaning that Mitt Romney’s 27 percent share was 4.8 million votes fewer than what President Obama received. At 20 million Hispanic voters, some future Republican candidate would need to increase his/her share of those votes to 38 percent, just to maintain the same 4.8 million vote deficit.

Only one Republican presidential candidate, George W. Bush in 2004, has reached that level of Hispanic voter support. Not even his father, who was elected president just two years after major amnesty legislation was enacted by a Republican-led Senate and signed by Ronald Reagan, came anywhere close. Running against Michael Dukakis, arguably one of the weakest presidential candidates the Democrats have ever nominated, George H.W. Bush polled just 30 percent of Hispanic voters.


Ira Mehlman

Ira Mehlman is the Media Director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.