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Paul Ryan Misses Point As To Why GOP Needs An Immigration Bill

July 11, 2013

I have not read one analysis from anyone that the Republican controlled House of Representatives will surely pass an immigration bill this year.  Given how the vast majority of congressional districts are drawn so that 70% of them have only small percentages of Hispanics means there is little incentive for most Republicans to deal with this issue in a realistic fashion.   If there is not a bill this year, there is almost certainly no hope for one in 2014, a year that will be dominated by the mid-term elections.

Serious members of the GOP understand that the party is in real trouble when it comes to presidential elections given the hemorrhaging of Hispanic voters to the Democratic Party.  Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, knows how to cut to the core of most issues, and did so earlier this summer when he warned of a ” demographic death spiral” for the GOP if this issue was not resolved.

Which leads me to the way Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan spoke of the matter to a GOP house caucus on Wednesday.   While Ryan has been deeply involved in the immigration bill talks he seems to have missed one of the headlines from the last election.

More than Cantor and perhaps even Boehner, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is someone  who is catching Republicans’ eyes. The 2012 vice presidential nominee and House  Budget Committee chair, who has been quietly meeting for months on immigration  reform, took to the microphone at Wednesday’s meeting, saying that the GOP needs  to tackle immigration — and now. Immigrants, he said, are important to the  country’s economic vitality.

While it is true there is a very important economic reason to get the immigration bill passed, it would seem to me that Ryan, of all people, would understand the political life-blood of his party is at stake when it comes to this issue.  Ryan, who was the vice-presidential candidate, knows full-well that Latinos voted for President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney by 71% to 27%.  Ryan knows there is no way for enough angry white males to again elect a Republican to the White House.  So before Ryan touts economic reasons it seems to me he should make it clear to his splintered caucus that there is a pure political purpose for them to get off the can, and move the senate bill forward.

Ryan needs to stress to his Tea Party friends that Latinos made up 10% of the electorate in 2012, as indicated by the national exit poll on election day, up from 9% in 2008, and 8% in 2004.   The analysis also shows that as a group, non-white voters made up 28% of the nation’s electorate, up from 26% in 2008.  If those trends are not clear enough Ryan might look at the battleground states, consider the growing number of Hispanic voters, and then start adding up electoral votes.

The lack of candor from many Republicans about the real need for the immigration bill astounds me.

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