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Alabama Editorial: Jeff Sessions is Helping His Party Lose the Latino Vote

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Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is undoubtedly one of the Senate’s loudest voices against immigrants and immigration reform — and not everyone back home in Alabama is very happy about that.  Remember — Alabama is the state that passed HB 56, which for a time was the nation’s harshest anti-immigrant law.  In the last few years the law has been largely struck down, after costly and protracted legal battles for the state and much damage to Alabama’s reputation as a hospitable place.  Many in Alabama have seen the damage that ideological opposition to immigrants brings.

The Anniston Star today has an editorial criticizing Republicans for doing nothing on immigration reform, and Jeff Sessions for being one of the issue’s key opponents.  America is a changing place, the editorial reminds the GOP.  “A party that caters largely to one ethnic group is a party destined to struggle.”  Read the full editorial here or below:

When discussing immigration reform, the Republican Party faces one of two choices: accept America’s ethnic diversity or remain firmly against alterations that run counter to the party’s hard-line ideology.

Or, put another way, what does the GOP value more: winning future presidential elections or thwarting Democrats’ efforts to reform U.S. immigration laws?

Tom Donohue, president of the conservative U.S. Chamber of Commerce, stirred the pot among for Republicans earlier this week when he told this joke during an event in Washington. “If the Republicans don’t do it, they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016. Think about that. Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody’s attention.”

In the words of George W. Bush, mission accomplished. 

All jokes aside, a Republican will be on the presidential ballot in two years, rest assured. Donohue’s point, however, is no laughing matter for a fractured national party in which rival groups are wrestling for control of the party’s platform.

On one side are those like House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, whose face bears signs of stress from the daily battles with his tea party colleagues. Opposite him are people like House Majority Eric Cantor of Virginia, lawmakers eager to take the GOP in directions even further to the right. (Cantor, in an odd measure of conservative mettle, is being challenged in his state this year by a tea party candidate.)

The result is a national party searching for its identity. Democrats have won the last two presidential elections; the last Republican not named Bush to win the White House was Ronald Reagan — in 1984 — and unless former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush enters the fray, the ballot will be Bush-less in 2016. Republicans have legitimate aims on the Senate this fall, but that doesn’t resolve the internal questions about the party’s stances on issues such as immigration.

In Alabama, our state’s staunchest Republicans should be proud of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, who has kept up the fight against immigration-reform proposals in the Senate. A Sessions spokesperson, Stephen Miller, told Politico.com that “immigration reform should mean putting unemployed Americans back to work, not replacing them at a lower cost.” 

Sounds as if Sessions is OK with Republicans’ struggles in attracting America’s ever-increasing bloc of Latino voters.

Sound advice for Republicans would urge for moderation and modernization. America is changing — daily. A party that caters largely to one ethnic group is a party destined to struggle.