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Hayworth Race: Fork in the Road for Republicans on Immigration

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Former talk show host, U.S. House Representative, and anti-immigration zealot J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) is now challenging Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in a Republican primary. The race is just the latest flashpoint in the GOP’s ongoing battle to define itself with respect to immigration and Latino voters.

Today, America’s Voice is releasing a new report entitled, “J.D. Hayworth – Leading the GOP Into a Political Wilderness on Immigration.”

It’s telling that Hayworth’s Senate bid has already been endorsed by notorious anti-immigration crusaders Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (under several federal investigations for racial profiling) and Minuteman Civil Defense Corps co-founder Chris Simcox.

The overwhelming failures of the Republican anti-immigration wedge strategy in the 2006 and 2008 elections, and the long-term necessities for the GOP to improve its national appeal among Latinos and independents, require Republicans to reject the Hayworth approach to immigration politics. Americans deserve and expect a solutions-based approach to immigration policy, not more anti-immigrant demagoguery.

America’s Voice Founder and Executive Director, Frank Sharry, argues:

J.D. Hayworth is among the most egregious examples of the failure of the anti-immigration wedge strategy. While anti-immigrant wedge politics resound with some Republican primary audiences, they are a dead loser for general elections and the GOP’s long-term viability.  Hayworth vs. McCain is shaping up as a test of whether the Republicans have learned the lessons of the past.

Check the new report out here.

Update: Andrea Nill at the Wonk Room features the report in the context of a nation conservative conference happening this week– see “CPAC Features Contradicting Immigration Panels:”

Today, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is featuring two conflicting immigration panels in what seems like a blatantly duplicitous and opportunistic attempt to appeal to the nativist instincts of the anti-immigrant Right while simultaneously trying to grow the Republican base to include more Latinos.