Just last week, Senator Ensign stated: “We have to reach out to Hispanics. ” Rather than lend a helping hand to children in need, however, Senator Ensign had scathing remarks for immigrants in today’s SCHIP debate. Via the AP: “We are giving more incentives to folks to come to the United States […] to get on the government dole.” Here’s a tip for Sen. Ensign when he goes on his Hispanic outreach tour: you might want to start with not demonizing their children.
This week the House is will vote on reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and the Senate Finance Committee will take up much-needed companion legislation to help more Latino and immigrant children access health care. Besides being the right thing to do, and even the fiscally responsible thing to do, this legislation will be a watershed moment for the GOP. The Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act (ICHIA) bill would eliminate the five year wait legal immigrant children must currently endure before qualifying for health coverage. Republicans now face a unique opportunity to challenge the perception that they are anti-immigrant by passing it.
Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, had a thorough piece in today’s Chicago Tribune on just what derailed the GOP this election. “As the Republican Party surveys its post-election train wreck, the pain must be even greater knowing that, with Hispanic voters, the GOP drove itself off the track.” The GOP immigration wedge strategy became a serious liability for the Republican Party at every level of the electoral contest this year. With the addition of latest anti-immigrant campaigner, Virgil Goode, our post-election analysis now shows 20 of 22 battleground races we tracked favoring candidates who took a more comprehensive approach on immigration. How many did hardliners win? Two.
Sen. Martinez has been one of the courageous Republican leaders speaking out on the divisive immigration rhetoric employed by his party. Will Sen. Martinez feel more freedom to speak up on immigration, now that a looming re-election is out of the picture? Nothing’s certain, but it is safe to say that the GOP’s moderate base on immigration is an endangered species worth preserving.
Today Media Matters has a post slamming political commentator Dick Morris for failure disclose major contributions that could have led him to provide the National Republican Trust PAC with free publicity during the election. Last month, one of their ads was designated, “one of the sleaziest false TV ads of the campaign,” according to Factcheck.org, a site that combs through ads to determine their validity. It conflated the 9/11 terrorists with undocumented men and women working in this country.
Well, if there’s one thing we can all agree on right now, it’s that this election has ripped conventional wisdom to shreds. A new report by America’s Voice, The GOP: Fenced in by Immigration, details how nineteen pro-reform candidates beat hard-liners in twenty-one battleground house and senate races across the country.
Republican analysts are now chiming in: the GOP encouraged the kind of “red-meat” xenophobia within its ranks that blocked immigration reform. And it backfired, bigtime. “Here’s the truly ominous trend for the Republicans: Hispanic voters nationwide chose Obama over McCain by 67 percent to 31 percent. This is a huge shift from 2004, when George Bush won an estimated 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, and the trend was instrumental in moving states such as Florida, Nevada and Colorado into the Democratic column last Tuesday….”