David Kirkpatrick

May 1, 2010

About that Arizona “green card” law

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:48 pm

Here’s the first two bits from today’s Mike Allen Playbook:

The Arizona Republic, the state’s largest newspaper, will publish a full-page, front-page editorial on Sunday calling on state leaders to put politics aside and work toward meaningful immigration reform. The newspaper, a partner in the POLITICO Network, will condemn the lack of leadership it says has been demonstrated by a host of elected officials, including senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, former governor and now Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, as well as other local, state and national officials.

And:

Secretary of State Clinton, the first guest on the new HD ‘Meet the Press’ set, to NBC’s David Gregory (taped yesterday for air tomorrow): ‘This law … is written so broadly that if you were visiting in Arizona and you had an accent — and you were a citizen from, you know, my state of New York — you could be subjected to the kind of inquiry … that this law permits.’

GREGORY: ‘You think it invites profiling? Racial profiling?’

SECRETARY CLINTON: ‘I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. … I think … a state doesn’t have the authority to … try to impose their own immigration law — that is really the province of the federal government. … I don’t want to offer a legal opinion. … I’ll leave that to the Justice Department. But I know the attorney general of Arizona has raised questions about the legality.’

There’s been a lot of discussion about the Constitutionality of the law, the undue and unfair burden it will place on law enforcement officials in the state, and obviously its impact on illegal immigration in Arizona.

Another meme that’s going around and getting traction on both sides of the aisle is it could end up being something of a death blow the GOP nationwide. Maybe even as soon as this electoral cycle, taking some steam out of a likely very favorable Republican November.

I think the GOP lost the Latin vote with wild-eyed nativism during the Bush 43 years, particularly the second term, but any Latinos who had any inkling to vote Republican have most likely banished the thought. This attitude will last at least a generation, or maybe longer, right at a time when the Latino population (legal and voting) is growing around the country.

Now the idea that Bush 43 had some unusual mojo with the Latin vote is way overstated. It was a Karl Rove talking point and point of emphasis because he saw the demographic future and knew it was key for Republicans to court the Latin vote. Cue the crazed and rabid GOPers in Congress who went into an anti-immigration frenzy overriding any efforts by the White House to own the issue.

At the time of Bush’s two elections, the Bush 43 administration publicly touted how he grabbed a historic level of Latino GOP support. That was a lie. I have it on very good authority (a deep insider in the White House at the time) that by the actual numbers Bush 41 claimed a higher portion of the Latin vote than the son, so don’t think the GOP began wasting a golden opportunity in the mid- to late-2000s with that bloc. The real issue is Karl Rove was right. The party desperately needed to begin gaining Latino support to remain a force nationwide in the coming decades.

The anti-immigration zealots in Congress began nailing that coffin shut with abandon, and this legislative move by Arizona just might have hammered the final nail home.

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