Paul Gordon Collier

immmigration reform a dem issue

Immigration reform has been a winning strategy for democrats in the past, and one they hoped to deploy in 2014.  The idea is to move the debate away from the Affordable Care Act and towards a position that democrats could not only win on, but galvanize their base to show up to the polls in November.

It remains to be seen the extent to which the immigration reform debate will galvanize Democratic supporters to show up and vote in November, but recent events may prove to galvanize even greater numbers to the poll in 2014 in opposition to the current amnesty track the dems hoped would buoy them up in the 2014 election.

Case in point, the new town hall protests happening across this country, with the latest coming from Michigan:

These town hall protests are occurring in opposition to Federal Agents attempting to house illegal immigrant teens in American communities.  They are spontaneous and being led by diverse groups, including traditional Democratic strongholds.  Unlike the Town hall protests of 2010, these protests are not about theoretical possibilities or principles, but survivalist, existential concerns (be they real or imagined).

Communities across America are coming face to face with the reality of ‘immigration reform’ through the influx of the so-called ‘unaccompanied minors.’.  The emotional appeal to fairness and equality and taking care of the children is falling on deaf ears when those ears belong to people who will have to open up their communities to the risks involved in importing teens who they know nothing about (and neither do the Federal Agents attempting to deliver them to these communities).

These communities are dealing with hardship issues of their own, with local taxes going up, school districts being forced to lay off teachers and even local police departments experiencing cuts.  Local resources are already stretched thin.  Taking in an influx of people in need is more than most communities can bear in today’s climate.

A recent report by Breitbart Texas reveals that these waves of ‘unaccompanied minors’ (illegal immigrant children) will cost tax payers millions, even billions of dollars.  From Breitbart:
Crittenton Foster Care recently placed an advertisement in the Penny Saver Newspaper in Murrieta, California asking for “loving, compassionate parents to provide a loving home” for illegal immigrant minors. It said, “Help heal the wounds … for children in foster care programs including survivors of human trafficking and unaccompanied refugee minors. Reimbursements up to $6,054 monthly tax free.”

In addition to these expenses, the organization told Breitbart that these children will also be given free healthcare at a time when most Americans are seeing a dramatic spike in their insurance premiums.

The actions this administration has decided to take regarding these illegal immigrant children (whether they should or should not be taken) has driven home the cost and risk of an amnesty track for all illegal immigrants like rhetoric or theory never could.  Whether or not such connections could fairly be made between the influx of the ‘unaccompanied minors’ and illegal immigrants who have lived in the US for years is not as significant a factor as the perception by the American voter.

A recent report from The Hill paints an even bleaker picture for democrats, who now must come to terms with the reality that the battleground states which will decide control of the Senate in 2014 will not constitute populations that would be highly galvanized to vote on immigration reform, the Latinos.

From The Hill:
“In light of turnout models it’s probably not as strong an issue as it would be in presidential years,” said Steve Jarding, a Democratic strategist and former advisor to several senators from conservative leaning states such as former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.).
“I still think Democrats have fumbled this issue because they allow the issue to be played on Republican terms,” he said. “Republicans are trying to suggest immigration is the reason wages are suppressed and it’s a racial issue. I don’t like it. That’s what they’re doing cynically. They’re saying when you get immigration, you suppress the wages of non-immigrants, i.e. white people.”
He said Democrats need to “put everybody in the same boat” and steer the debate away from race.

That last sentence, ‘steer the debate away from race’, will be extremely difficult for democrats who have run largely on race, gender and class identity in recent elections.  Should the democrats succeed in moving the debate away from ‘race’, the perceived reality of paying for other people and opening your communities to greater security risks may loom even larger than they already are.