Concerned citizens and Immigration Reformers,
Hispanics in general did not vote for Mitt Romney for the same reason they haven’t supported Republican Presidential candidates in the last 30 years (see more proof in my comments down below). Because of mass legal immigration, which has been tilted to Hispanics (and of late to Asians) without respect to education and skill, most Hispanic immigration has resulted in low-skilled and poorly educated immigrants who favor free government services. As noted in numerous polls over the years, Hispanics listed immigration between number eight and eleven as their most important issue. Voters generally vote for their top three reasons and what’s in their best interest. And of course if immigration were their top issue, it would not be listed so low in the polling data.
The poorest of Mexico and the third world have been flooding into the USA for over 30 years. The Center for Immigration Studies, they use data from our own government and appear before Congress more than any other organization, reports the children of all immigrants account for one-third of all children in poverty. Newer immigrants and their US-born children account for two-thirds of the increase in the uninsured from 2000-2010. In 2010, 36% of all legal immigrant-headed households used at least one major welfare program. Among the top sending countries, welfare is the highest for households headed by immigrants from Mexico (57%), Guatemala (55%), and the Dominican Republic (54%); and lowest for those from Canada (13%), Germany (10%), and United Kingdom (6%). Of course current legal immigration policy has been tilted away from European countries since the early 1970’s.
We have in effect imported several generations of poverty. And, to repeat, those in poverty generally do not vote for Republicans.
Would an amnesty help? Whether the number be 11 or 20 million, the vast majority of those amnestied would become Democrat voters for one simple reason; they would be low income voters.
In 1980 Ronald Reagan won 35% of the Hispanic vote. In 1984 he won 37%. In 1986 Reagan signed the IRCA Amnesty that put over 3 million illegal aliens, the majority Hispanic, on the pathway to citizenship.
In the 1988 election, George H.W. Bush (was Reagan’s Vice-President) won 30% of the Hispanic vote, a drop of 7 percentage points. Why was that? If an amnesty will produce so much good will for the Republicans, then why didn’t Bush get an even higher percentage than Reagan? Michael Dukakis got 69% of the Hispanic vote that year and didn’t have anything to do with the amnesty.
In 1992 Bush’s percentage of the Hispanic vote declined further to 25% in his failed reelection bid with Bill Clinton getting 61%.
However in 1996, President Bill Clinton signed IIRIRA into the law, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. It was an anti-illegal immigration bill amending the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and IIRIRA covered everything from border control to penalties on immigrants and employers who violate the immigration laws (employer piece never enforced but it was voted into law). Many immigrants were affected by new three- and ten-year bars to admissibility for having been “unlawfully present” in the United States (having entered without any inspection or overstayed a nonimmigrant visa). Five weeks after Bill Clinton signed the IIRIRA on September 30, 1996, Hispanic voters rewarded him with 72% of the vote for a 51 point margin over Bob Dole.
To coin a phrase from my friend Rick Oltman: “Repeat after me, Low income voters, when they vote, do not vote for Republicans.”
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