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ICYMI: Republicans Highlight Political Consequences of Delaying on Immigration Reform

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Speaker of the House John Boehner’s (R-OH) pessimistic take on the prospects for immigration reform legislation generated widespread reaction and attention yesterday.  Among the most important are those from a range of conservative commentators who immediately grasped the political consequences for the Republican Party should they fail to pass immigration reform this year:

John Feehery, a former House leadership aide and current Republican consultant, said, “I don’t agree with the attitude that we can and should wait until next year to pass an immigration reform bill.  To deal with the matter of not trusting this President, I have a pretty simple solution:  Make the major provisions of the law go into effect after he leaves office.  It will take at least a couple years to implement the new systems and write the new regulations any way.  Just delay that process until the President is out of office.  Some Republicans will ask: how can we make sure that we trust the next President?  How will we know if Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush will do what we say on immigration?  It’s hard to predict the future with great exactitude, but I will tell you this:  If we don’t pass immigration reform this year, we will not win the White House back in 2016, 2020 or 2024.”

Ari Fleischer, former George W. Bush press secretary and current Republican strategist said, “The reality is no Republican will take the White House again if Hispanics voted the way they voted in 2012.  The electorate is changing.  There are not enough older, whiter voters, and Republicans have to realize that.”

Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles said, “We have a problem.” [Speaker John Boehner] “created an expectation in the public and with the Latino public.  We expect him to follow though.  But if they don’t deal with it, we will be handicapped, whoever is the candidate in 2016.”

Commentary magazine’s Peter Wehner presented a range of data and trends to show the relentless demographics facing the Republican Party and compelling action on immigration.  Notes Wehner, “From 1996 to 2012, according to census figures, the white share of the eligible voting population (citizens who are older than 18) has dropped about 2 percentage points every four years, from 79.2 percent to 71.1 percent; over that same period, whites have declined as a share of actual voters from 83 percent to 74 percent (according to census figures) or even 72 percent (according to the exit polls). With minorities expected to make up a majority of America’s 18 and younger population in this decade, all signs point toward a continued decline in the white share of the eligible voter population—which suggests the GOP would have to marshal heroic turnout efforts to avoid further decline in the white vote share.  If the electorate’s composition follows the trend over the past two decades, minorities would likely constitute 30 percent of the vote in 2016. (SourceRon Brownstein).  Wehner concludes, “Whether Republicans understand the nature of the challenges they face–and if they do how they intend to deal with them and who will emerge from their ranks to lead them–will go a long way toward determining the future of their party and their country.”