All of the chatter on the Republican campaign trail is about illegal immigration, but Republicans are pushing back on an effort by President Obama to get legal immigrants citizenship and registered to vote. There is an effort mounting on the right to stop legal immigrants from becoming citizens and voting.
According to Politico:
It turns out that many Republicans consider legal immigration a more immediate and existential threat to the GOP than illegal immigration. While the total number of illegal immigrants is estimated at 11 million, there are more than 13 million permanent legal residents — and that number could grow at a clip of a million a year.
Conservatives have increasingly been raising the alarm about legal immigration as a more imminent threat to Republican power than any possible pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S.
Just last month, immigration hard-liner Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) called for reducing the number of green cards issued each year, warning that the government is on track to allow 10 million new permanent residents into the country over the next 10 years. While his analysis focused on what he considered the potential negative economic impacts, the political implications were unsubtly telegraphed in the states cited to put the 10 million figure into perspective: The new residents would be “larger than populations of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina combined.”
The Republican objection to immigration is about keeping the electorate small, white, and conservative. Republicans saw what happened when new voters of color entered the political process in 2008 and 2012. Demographics are not working in their favor, so the opposition to citizenship for immigrants is another way to keep people from voting.
Instead of competing for the support of these potential voters, conservatives are putting their efforts into excluding them from the electoral process.
As a reminder, these are legal immigrants that Republicans are trying to keep from becoming citizens and voting. This group of immigrants followed the rules and did everything the correct way, but conservatives are still trying to stop them from becoming citizens and voting.
The Republican Party can’t win a contest of ideas, so they are going to try to rig the game. Legal immigrants should respond to these tactics by completing the six-month long citizenship process and immediately registering to vote.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association