The Corner

Immigration Futures

One of the most interesting things about the immigration debate has been the relative reluctance of liberal pundits to address the issue–Mickey Kaus being the (delightful) exception that proves the rule. Democratic presidential candidates lined up to sponsor amendments on family reunification, so as to get on the good side of Hispanic voters. Yet bloggers and pundits on the left have remained largely silent. It will be interesting to see what happens if immigration moves to the center of the presidential campaign. At that point, presumably, liberal pundits will have to pipe up.

Have liberal pundits and bloggers stayed relatively quiet simply because they’re more interested in Iraq and other issues? Or do they sense that arguing for amnesty and against enforcement is a losing political game? If the latter, what does that say about the presidential politics of immigration? Many argue that Republicans will suffer if immigration becomes a big part of the presidential campaign, given the importance of the Hispanic vote. But immigration seems like the sort of issue that could drive a lot of independent and sometime Democratic voters in a Republican direction–and spike Republican turnout. I guess we’ll see. Or will immigration fade away as a presidential issue, precisely because it’s such a hot potato?