Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Politics of the immigration issue
Republicans have made no secret of their efforts to make political inroads within the Hispanic community the last 6 years. But I can't help but think this immigration debate could reverse all of those gains and more all at once.

This a civil rights issue. And if Democrats step forward and show real leadership in championing opportunity and fairness for immigrants, truly embracing their contributions as a part of America, we may have paved the way for 2 generations of Hispanics to identify themselves solely with the Democratic Party. Sure, many immigrants can't vote. But their children can. And those young citizens, living through this civil rights experience will hear their parents and community bad-mouthing Republicans for years, and rightly so. If Democrats do the right thing in the right way, an entire generation of Hispanic Americans might live the rest of their lives as likely to vote for Republicans as African-Americans whose parents marched through the 60s: not very.

Republicans may not be that politically suicidal. Looks like they may be backing off the most egregious elements of the bill. And Democrats might not be either that smart or honorable. But for a couple weeks at least, the fastest growing segment of American population has witnessed with the GOP really thinks immigrants and the working poor. That kind of honest moment in today's age of pandering feels pretty rare.

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