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In the 2008 election cycle, the Republican Party and its candidates spent millions of dollars and ran hundreds of ads attempting to use immigration as a wedge issue in scores of competitive races throughout the country. Like in 2006, when the GOP employed a similar strategy, the 2008 attempt went down in flames and the Party was handed major setbacks at the ballot box. A new report released today from America’s Voice examines key Congressional races in which immigration played a role and finds that, not only did immigration not work as a wedge issue, but it could actually be counterproductive in trying to attract the votes in battleground Congressional districts and states.
The new report, Republicans: Fenced In by Immigration, found that in 19 of 21 key races throughout the country, the winners advocated immigration policies beyond enforcement-only. This includes 5 of 5 Senate races and 14 of 16 House races listed in the “toss-up,” “leans Republican,” or “leans Democratic” categories of the Cook Political Report.
“Clearly, the Republican wedge strategy around immigration has proved a spectacular failure,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “In both 2006 and now 2008, Americans responded to candidates who offered practical fixes to our broken immigration system, instead of those who tried to exploit the issue for political gain.”
Instead of enforcement-only approaches, voters in overwhelming numbers supported candidates that called for a smart, fair, and practical approach to immigration reform, one that will bring the system under control by registering undocumented workers so they can get on the tax rolls and a path to citizenship; ensuring stronger enforcement against employers who exploit workers; and allowing a limited number of immigrants whose work is needed long-term to come to the U.S. legally rather than illegally.
The report is available at http://americasvoiceonline.org/fencedin
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