House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Wednesday that he supports a proposal that would grant U.S. citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants, leaving many conservatives concerned that his leadership in the House will result in an immigration reform bill that doesn’t adequately account for border security. If Boehner wanted an excuse for passing a bill without mandating border security before legalization takes place, however, he should probably avoid reading the results from a recent Latino Opinions study conducted by the GOP polling firm McLaughlin and Associates.
According to the poll, which was funded by Republican activist John Jordan, 60 percent of Hispanic voters “support tougher enforcement of the border to keep undocumented immigrants from coming into the U.S. illegally.” In addition, an incredible 55 percent of Hispanic voters support “strengthening the enforcement of the border to stop illegal immigration with additional fencing, police, surveillance drones and other measures.”
What about the requirements that border security be put in place BEFORE any legalization process goes into effect? Well, 60 percent of Hispanics surveyed supported legalization occurring “only when” 90 percent of the border security goal is reached.
If all of this isn’t enough to convince you that good, tough conservative legislation would be welcomed by Hispanics, then take into account that this survey indicated that a majority of Hispanics “support an immigration reform bill that lets undocumented immigrants stay in the country legally, but not to get welfare or food stamps, spends billions to stop new undocumented immigrants from coming in, and lets undocumented immigrants get green cards and permanent citizenship only after the flow of undocumented immigrants is cut by 90 percent and only if they pay a fine and learn English.”
The evidence here, if accurate, clearly displays the state of the Republican Party as so many conservatives see it today: The policies aren’t the problem, the message is. To say anything else is to ignore the reality that Hispanics do want intelligent and reasonable reform, but they also want to support a party who gives the impression that it cares about them and their problems.
It’s time for Republicans to get a reasonable immigration bill with mandated security passed. There is no excuse for compromising on the issue when even Hispanics, who are more likely than any other group to oppose increased security measures on the Mexican border, support the reforms proposed by conservative Republicans in the House. If this bill fails to provide needed security, Republicans can only blame themselves and their inability to tap into the desires of the American people, yet again.