Kathryn Lopez

Republicans are understandably and laudably concerned about expanding their electoral base to include more Hispanics. But it's insulting to assume that Hispanics will vote for you, as some leading Republicans seem to, only if you turn a blind-eye toward those who have entered the country illegally via "economy class" (as they dubbed making it across our open southern border in the movie "Spanglish"). As one GOP Hill staffer puts it, "it borders on racism to think that Hispanics automatically support amnesty for illegal immigrants over security at our borders."

Indeed, Steve Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, notes that: "polls show that for actual Hispanic voters, immigration ranks as a relatively low priority. So it's not clear this is a way to win Hispanic voters." He adds that "for actual Hispanic voters who might vote Republican, they tend to be more law-and-order types, so again it's not clear that this is a winner politically." "Law-and-order types" would generally nod in sincere agreement when President Bush talks about the "American Dream" being open to folks who "work hard and play by the rules." Hispanic voters want rules to be the nation's priority before we announce an official amnesty (codifying out current general non-enforcement policy) for those who have already broken said rules.

Hispanic voters, like every other voter in the pool of potentials, will likely be won over by Republicans, perceiving leadership from the GOP on the war on terror, the economy and so-called social issues ... not because they were pandered to on immigration.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.