The Corner

Re: Why Hispanics Don’t Vote for Republicans

To follow up on the question of whether Hispanics are held back from their natural Republican affinities by immigration-reform obstructionism, let’s not forget Obamacare. A Fox News Latino poll in September 2012 found that 62 percent of likely Latino voters backed President Obama’s handling of health care, including the Affordable Care Act. Only 25 percent of those voters wanted the act repealed. The Catholic Church’s strong opposition to the bill’s contraception mandate did not tip the Latino scales against it, dealing another blow to the myth of the “social values” Hispanic conservative. A Romney Spanish-language ad trumpeting Romney’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act showed that his strategists “don’t know what they are doing,” Latino pollster Matt Barreto told USA Today in August.

Rather than solving the Republican party’s alleged Hispanic problem, the suddenly popular immigration amnesty could exacerbate it. Those who oppose amnesty do so on two grounds: a revulsion against violations of the rule of law and a fear that an amnesty will attract more illegal immigrants to the country, as previous amnesties in Europe and the U.S. have done. Those illegal immigrants who are drawn in by the hope of yet another future amnesty will be precisely that category of immigrant which now provides an ever-growing base for the Democratic party — low-skilled individuals who disproportionately consume government services and who lack the social capital to reliably inoculate their children against America’s underclass culture.  

Without question, millions of Hispanic immigrants have been credits to their communities, reclaiming troubled neighborhoods such as South Central Los Angeles with their fierce work ethic. But politics aside, the country needs an official pause in mass unskilled immigration and a reordering of the system towards education, skills, and language ability. Out of sheer fatigue, I would almost be willing to support an E-Verify-preceded amnesty (starting with a DREAM Act that, unlike every extant version, disqualifies applicants with criminal records and requires serious educational attainment) in exchange for the elimination of chain migration and its replacement by a skills-based selection process. Congressional Democrats’ recent torpedoing of green cards for foreign Ph.D. science graduates, however, simply to preserve the “diversity” visa lottery shows how deep Democratic commitment to low-skilled immigration is. It would be risky to assume that they don’t know what they’re doing.

Heather Mac Donald — Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and the author of the New York Times bestseller The War on Cops

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