I understand the interest of business lobbies in getting cheap, unskilled labor through amnesty, but why do Republican officeholders want to create up to 20 million more Democratic voters, especially if it involves flouting the law? Are the campaign donations from the soulless rich more important than actual voters?
Without citing any evidence, the Rubio Republicans simply assert that granting 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens amnesty will make Hispanics warm to the GOP. Yes, that's worked like a charm since Reagan signed an amnesty bill in 1986!
True, Romney lost the Hispanic vote, but so did John McCain, the original Rubio. (McCain lost Hispanics by 67 percent compared to 71 percent who voted against Romney.)
President George H.W. Bush created "diversity visas," massively increased legal immigration and eliminated the English requirement on the naturalization test. In the 1992 election, he won 25 percent of the Hispanic vote -- less than what Romney got.
Although Hispanic politicians, spokesmen and TV networks benefit from Rubio's mass legalization scheme, there's no evidence that Hispanic voters care very much about it.
Amnesty never shows up in polls as a top concern of Hispanics. It's a top concern of employers, not workers -- which isn't going to do much to help Republicans shed that "Party of the Rich" image. After Reagan signed an amnesty bill in 1986, unemployment among Hispanics skyrocketed when, suddenly, there was increased competition for low-skill jobs. That's precisely why businesses want amnesty, not because of their deep concern for the plight of the underclass.
How's this for an idea: Why don't Republicans remind Hispanic voters that the more low-skilled immigrants who are admitted, the lower their wages will be? That at least has the virtue of being untried.
Whatever it is that makes Hispanics love Obama, it's not amnesty. He double-crossed Hispanics on amnesty; in the words of Univision's Jorge Ramos, "You promised (amnesty), and a promise is a promise and with all due respect, you didn't keep that promise." Obama still won 71 percent of their vote.Indeed, almost alone among demographic groups, the Hispanic vote increased for Obama from 2008 to 2012. Protestants, Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, men, whites, white women -- even single women -- all voted in larger percentages for Romney than they had for McCain.
Only Hispanics and Asians increased their vote for Obama. Coincidentally, these have been our two largest immigrant groups over the last several decades. (It's sort of touching that Democrats couldn't get Americans to vote for them, so they had to bring in new voters from other countries to start winning elections again. Immigrants really are doing the job Americans just won't do.)
The canard about Hispanics being "natural conservatives" comes from the same cliche machine that gave us the one about blacks being "natural conservatives." At least blacks really are social conservatives -- they just vote Democratic, anyway.
As Charles Murray has pointed out, Hispanics are less likely to go to church or be employed than non-Hispanics. They are less opposed to gay marriage than everyone else -- 44 percent compared to 50 percent. (By contrast, 55 percent of African-Americans oppose gay marriage, according to a 2012 Washington Post/ABC poll -- even more, according to how they vote.)
Nor, unfortunately, do Hispanic immigrants become more Republican the longer they've been here, as some Republicans claim without bothering to see if it's true.
To the contrary, they get more liberal. Cubans used to vote Republican nearly as reliably as Mormons. In 2012, 49 percent of Cubans voted for Obama.
Will amnesty win the Cubans back? I don't think so: They already get amnesty under the Cuban Refugee Adjustment Act. Same with Puerto Ricans, who are automatic American citizens.
Trying to appeal to Hispanics with amnesty would be like trying to win over baseball fans by shouting "Go Yankees!" at a Mets game. Except that would at least capture some baseball fans.
So why do Hispanics vote Democratic? Like most legal immigrants since Teddy Kennedy's 1965 Immigration Act, Hispanic immigrants are poor. The poverty rate of second-generation Hispanics is lower than the first -- but the third generation's poverty rate is higher than the second.
Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that Hispanics have the highest illegitimate birthrate in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2010, for every 1,000 unmarried Hispanic women, 80.6 had children out of wedlock, compared to 65.3 for unmarried black women and 29 for unmarried white women.
If Republicans think we can have mass amnesty for millions of government-dependent immigrants and become a more libertarian country, they're crazy.
This isn't because of a failure to "reach out." Republicans can't beat Democrats at the government assistance game. From single mothers to corporate subsidy-takers, they want your money and the Democrats promise to give it to them.
Instead of trying to compete with the ethnic lobbies, welfare schemes and racialized politics of the Democrats, perhaps Republicans should allow our immigration system to admit more immigrants who won't immediately go on government assistance, as 60 percent of new immigrants do now.
Putting 12 million to 20 million of them on a "path to citizenship" won't make them like Republicans; it will make Republicans lose.