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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

Bloggings on Immigration Law

by Roger Algase

Will bigotry against immigrants and minority Americans doom the Republican party to extinction?

An article in the February 26 issue of New York Magazine by Jonathan Chait suggests that this year's election may be the last chance for the Republican party to survive. The reason is that the GOP's appeal to less educated white voters is driving all other demographic groups into the arms of the Democrats. These include college educated whites and minorities, including Latinos, America's fastest growing ethnic group.

One might also add another demographic - women of every ethnic, religious and income group - to the list of voters whom the Republicans are going out on a limb to make every possible effort to antagonize. Rick Santorum, especially, seems determined to make sure that every woman in the US will vote for the Democrats if he is nominated for the presidency.

But Santorum's comments about abortion, contraception and Satan, while testing the borderlines of rationality, have plenty of competition for the lunacy prize, especially from moronic Republican legislators in Virginia. Santorum is also using religious bigotry, including his attack on JFK, one of the most popular presidents in our history. Anyone who believes in our Constitution and in religious freedom would have to agree that Santorum's speech was a vivid, dramatic, illustration of what the words ad nauseam mean.

Santorum's attack on JFK went well over line between reason and pathology. If Santorum becomes the Republican candidate, the election, instead of being a referendum on President Obama's performance, would be a referendum on Santorum's sanity - not one he is in a good position to win. 

Another ominous development is Santorum's attack on college educated voters in general. But, just as the attacks against racial minorities, women's rights and religious freedom have been Republican staples for a very long time, the same is true with the Republicans' hostility toward educated voters.

Anyone who has read this far will no doubt be asking what the above has to do with immigration. The answer is that it has everything to do with immigration. An excellent article in the February 27 Financial Times, by Anna Fifield, is entitled: "Republicans talk tough on immigration." True, Santorum, the most extreme of all, is the only one who has attacked legal immigration, which he called by the racist term "lotteries and chain immigration". But Romney is hardly any better: he has just been endorsed by Arizona's governor, Jan Brewer, not to mention the unspeakable Kansas Secretary of State and author of numerous state anti-immigrant hate laws, Kris Kobach.

Insanity on immigration has been part of the Republican presidential campaign from the start. Remember Herman Cain and his electrified border fence? Rick Perry and his campaign appearances with Sheriff Joe Arpaio? Michele Bachmann's call for every state to adopt an Arizona-style hate law?

Newt Gingrich, for his part, has almost completely backtracked on his previous "have a heart" proposal to give legal status to a handful of unauthorized immigrants. By the time his proposal comes out in final form, eligibility for legalization will probably be limited to applicants who are at least 90 years old and are willing to go back to their countries for another 10 years before becoming eligible to return to America (after paying a million dollar fine).

Moreover, according to Anna Fifield's article, some Republican legislators in Arizona are not happy with the state's already harsh Wo sind Ihre Papiere? ("Papers, please") hate law. They want to enact an even more draconian one, which would require schools to report unauthorized immigrant children and hospitals to report unauthorized immigrant emergency room patients to the DHS. This would escalate hatred of minority immigrants from racial profiling and discrimination to outright persecution and oppression, as has already happened in Alabama.

Can a party which relies on hate and bigotry against both Americans and immigrants survive much longer? We may see some answers in November, assuming that minority US citizens are still able to make it to the polls despite voter ID laws in 31 states (so far) aimed at disenfranchising them. It also assumes that unlimited Super-Pac money from the Koch brothers and other billionaires, enabled by the Citizens United assault on our democracy, will not allow this year's election to be stolen. Let us hope these assumptiona will turn out to be justified.


About The Author

Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.


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