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Flake/Cardon AZ Senate Primary Battle Joins Romney 2012 Campaign as Evidence of GOP’s Outdated & Counterproductive Immigration Thinking
Washington, DC – When it comes to immigration, Republican candidates remain stuck between a nativist rock and a demographic hard place. This week, a few sensible voices like Condoleezza Rice, George P. Bush, and Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal editorial board are warning of the dangers of anti-immigrant politicking and pointing the Party toward a more inclusive approach to immigration reform. Meanwhile, candidates like Mitt Romney, Jeff Flake, and Wil Cardon remain stuck in the old way of thinking about the politics of immigration.
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “The Republican playbook on immigration is pervasive, outdated, and counterproductive to the long-term interests of both the Party and the country. Thankfully, some prominent conservative and Republican voices are speaking out about the problems with running to the hard-line right on immigration. The question is – when will Republican candidates listen?”
Among recent developments:
In an editorial titled, “Hard Line Push Imperils Party,” the home-state Arizona Republic wrote, “Cardon’s conundrum [on immigration] is an entire party’s burden. Not so long ago, Jeff Flake, the favorite to win the GOP primary, was wrestling with his own soft credentials on immigration. A politician known for his brave and nuanced view of immigration policy decided it was necessary to armor up as a border warrior, presumably to win this primary. Flake’s former enthusiasm for humane immigration reform made him ripe for attack on the right, and Cardon hustled to outflank him there. But that became more difficult this week as new facts suggest Cardon may have profited from the labor of undocumented immigrants. Republicans everywhere are wrestling their own incompatible arguments and histories. The industrial-strength war on migrants that wins GOP primaries today is positioning the party to lose larger prizes tomorrow. Flake’s and Cardon’s distress is mirrored by GOP standard-bearer Mitt Romney, who carried into the presidential general election all the baggage of the tough talk he used to win GOP primaries… Republicans will either figure out how to address border policy in ways that do not insult immigrants or they will be rolled by the hard facts of a nation growing increasingly more diverse and more Latino.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley had a similar take, also noting that Flake’s current stance on the issue takes the country further from a real solution: “Mr. Flake has represented suburban Phoenix since 2001 and distinguished himself as, among other things, a champion of comprehensive immigration reform that includes not only more border security but also viable guest worker programs to meet U.S. labor market demand and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented workers already here. These days, he sounds more like Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, denouncing comprehensive immigration reform as ‘a dead end’ and saying it’s no longer ‘possible or even desirable’…A Senator Flake would surely be an additional vote for spending restraint in the Upper Chamber. Unfortunately, he might also be another vote for the immigration status quo that he once bravely fought to change.”
“This doesn’t have to be so hard. Most Americans support practical, common sense immigration solutions. They’re looking for leadership, not extremism. Republicans could court both Latinos and non-Latino voters with the same immigration policy,” said Tramonte.
America’s Voice – Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.