Saturday, February 23, 2013

Note to Republicans – Please Continue With Your Anti-Immigration Stance

It Does Great Things for Your Opponents

Less than 20 years ago California supported and passed what was then the most anti-immigrant state measure ever enacted.

A generation ago, California voters approved a ballot initiative that was seen as the most anti-immigrant law in the nation. Immigrants who had come to the country illegally would be ineligible to receive prenatal care, and their children would be barred from public schools.

The idea, of course was to make California so in-hospitable to Hispanic immigrants that they would not come to the state.  It didn’t work.

Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Students after school in Glen Avon, east of Los Angeles. Latinos now make up more than two-thirds of many cities in that region.

In 1990, Latinos made up 30 percent of the state’s population; they will make up 40 percent — more than any other ethnic group — by the end of this year, and 48 percent by 2050, according to projections made by the state this month. This year, for the first time, Latinos were the largest ethnic group applying to the University of California system.

Towns that just a decade ago were largely white now have Latino majorities. Latinos make up an important power base not only in urban centers like Los Angeles, but also in places that were once hostile to outsiders. There are dozens of city councils with a majority of Latino members, a Mexican-American is the mayor of Los Angeles and another is the leader of the State Assembly. Nearly all of the 15 California Republicans in Congress represent districts where at least a quarter of the residents are Latino.

But it did a great thing for the politics of the state.

Proposition 187, the 1994 ballot initiative, prompted thousands of immigrants to register to vote and ignited a generation of activists, including dozens who now hold public office or run immigrant rights organizations that lobby for change in federal laws.

“The fact that the Republican Party got identified with anti-immigration has made things very difficult for them,” said Mark Baldassare, the president of the Public Policy Institute of California, which closely monitors shifts in the state. “It is what is going on nationally now, but California started much earlier.”

So the message to Republicans is please, please keep your hatred of immigrants in full public view.  Democrats are a weak party, despite holding the Presidency and the Senate and they need all the help they can get.  Keep it up and you will find a grateful nation.  No not grateful enough to vote for you but grateful just the same.

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