tags: Press Releases

Sarah Palin Joins GOP's Anti-Immigrant Brigade

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Palin Kept Russian Commies out of Alaska; Will Now Defend Arizona from Southern Hordes

Washington, DC – Most in the GOP just cannot help themselves.  They seem determined to drive their Party off a political cliff by supporting the Arizona anti-immigrant law and vacuous, “border security first” positioning at the national level. 

This past weekend, Sarah Palin became the latest prominent Republican to both support the Arizona anti-immigrant law and the “border first” position.  At a Phoenix rally with Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) on Saturday, Palin said, “It’s time for Americans across this great country to stand up and say ‘We’re all Arizonans now and, in clear unity, we say, ‘Mr. President, do your job, secure our border.” 

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “Sarah Palin is as knowledgeable about immigration policy as she is about foreign policy.  If she actually studied up, she’d understand that ‘border security first’ means ‘border security never.’  They seem to have missed the fact that the ‘keep out’ sign on the border is trumped by a ‘help wanted’ sign a hundred yards in.  The only way to stop illegal immigration and gain operational control of the border is a comprehensive approach that complements border patrols with a crackdown on illegal hiring, a requirement that those in the U.S. illegally get right with the law, and reforms of the legal immigration system so that going forward it is functional and fair.”

Palin’s comments are increasingly the norm in Republican circles.  In Florida, GOP Senate candidate Marco Rubio and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum are providing full-throated support for Arizona’s anti-immigrant law.  In California, the primary battle over who will be the Republican candidate for governor increasingly seems a referendum on who can talk tougher about illegal immigration.  Senator John McCain has responded to a primary challenge from J.D. Hayworth by abandoning his previous support for comprehensive immigration reform in favor of completing “the danged fence.”  And Senator Jon Kyl, a champion of comprehensive immigration reform in 2007, is threatening a filibuster should Senate Democrats try to move such a proposal this year.  Summing it up altogether too accurately, anti-immigration zealot Tom Tancredo crowed to Politico about these developments, saying that among Republicans, “everyone sounds like Tom Tancredo on immigration.”

Meanwhile, a small but brave contingent of Republicans and conservatives recognize the damage to their interests by continuing to support the Arizona law and enforcement-only proposals. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) told Roll Call, “Part of the reason we have done so poorly with Hispanics was that there are a number of people who really went out of their way not to solve these issues but to stir them up.”  Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) noted that, “It’s a minority that believes that we should become the kind of country where the agencies of the federal government are systematically breaking into the homes of people throughout this country to find their legal status and to deport them if they are undocumented.”  Former Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) stated, “I kind of cringe to see it all start again, to hear the same angry voices…When it comes to immigration, I think a lot of people express themselves in ways that make Hispanics uncomfortable.”

Religious conservatives are also beginning to speak up in opposition to the Arizona law and in support of comprehensive immigration reform.  Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, recently said “those who say that making someone pay a fine, get to the back of the line, learn English and take a civics class in order to get legal status is ‘amnesty’ need to take a remedial English class themselves.”  Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, asked, “do Republicans desire to alienate Hispanics in the same matter they have alienated African Americans, or engage the nation’s largest ethnic minority in defense of life, family and liberty?”  Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said “The law the way it is now is not pro-family, and evangelicals are, at our heart, pro-family.”

Conservative columnist Michael Gerson captured the dynamic at play well, writing, “Whatever temporary gains Republicans might make feeding resentment of this demographic shift, the party identified with that resentment will eventually be voted into singularity.  In a matter of decades, the Republican Party could cease to be a national party.”

Added Sharry, “if the GOP really wants Sarah Palin, Tom Tancredo and the Arizona law to be the face of the Party, then the Party is over.”

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.