By Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), chairman of the House subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement - 02/17/11 11:38 PM EST
Markos Moulitsas, in his “GOP’s Latino problem” column on Feb. 16 in The Hill, quotes without attribution figures from the 2008 elections to “prove” that Republicans are losing the Hispanic vote.
Apparently Mr. Moulitsas missed the 2010 elections. Let me provide some numbers from that election:
Republican support is growing among Hispanic voters because Republicans agree with U.S. citizens of Hispanic descent that illegal immigration hurts all Americans. Among native-born Hispanics without a high school degree, 35 percent are either unemployed, are forced to work part time or are so discouraged that they have left the labor force.
These are among the Americans hurt by illegal immigrants who come here to take U.S. jobs.
Mr. Moulitsas and other backers of amnesty like to pull the race card. But illegal immigrants are not all Hispanic and many don’t cross our southern border. Instead, 40 percent of illegal immigrants came here on a valid visa and never left. They represent races, colors and creeds from all over the world. What they have in common is that they are illegally in the United States and are taking American jobs at a time when 14 million Americans are out of work.
I recently chaired a hearing on E-Verify, an easy-to-use, accurate, computer-based employee verification system that ensures people have a legal right to work in the United States. It doesn’t ask ethnicity. It doesn’t ask place of worship. It simply makes sure the person’s name, date of birth and Social Security number or alien identification number match. If they do, the process is over. If it doesn’t, and the person has a legal right to work in the United States, the employee then has an opportunity to resolve the discrepancy, which most do successfully within a few days.
With E-Verify in place, illegal immigrants from wherever they hail will be barred from taking American jobs. And every American, regardless of their ancestry, will have access to those jobs.
That won’t stop Mr. Moulitsas from race-baiting. But it will be a win for all Americans.
Legal immigrants an important asset to U.S.
From Yeh Ling-Ling, executive director of the Alliance for a Sustainable USA
As a legal immigrant who used to work for immigration law firms, I wish to respond to former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, who was quoted as saying, “We favor welcoming legal immigrants into this country ... .”
Some immigrants are absolutely great assets to the U.S. and many are good workers. However, Mr. Gillespie and other policymakers must realize that admitting one million LEGAL immigrants every year to the U.S. essentially means more jobseekers, students, patients, drivers, welfare recipients, etc., thus exacerbating problems we try to solve.
Within 30 years, China went from symbolizing poverty to holding the largest foreign currency reserves in the world. This is in part due to its population/immigration policy. The U.S. should use China’s immigration policy as a model to reform our immigration.
Republican values the key to win Hispanic votes
From Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee
A recent column by Juan Williams (“Bipartisan deal could address immigration,” Feb. 14) claims pro-rule-of-law policies are hurting the Republican Party’s appeal to Hispanic voters. But the facts tell a different story.
Exit polls from the November midterm elections showed 38 percent of Hispanic voters cast ballots for House Republican candidates in 2010. This is more than in 2006 (30 percent) and 2008 (29 percent) when President Bush was spearheading the effort to pass an amnesty bill.
Also in November, Republican Latino candidates in Florida, New Mexico and Nevada won statewide races while calling for enhanced border security and enforcement of immigration laws instead of amnesty. The Senate also saw seats held by pro-amnesty incumbents change to pro-enforcement candidates. This level of Hispanic support for Republican candidates last November came despite widespread claims by amnesty advocates that a pro-enforcement stand would undermine Hispanic support for the GOP.
The author cites a Gallup poll saying that 64 percent of Americans want Congress to deal with illegal immigration. But that does not mean that the American people want amnesty. On the contrary, time and again American voters have overwhelmingly defeated amnesty attempts, including the 2007 comprehensive immigration reform and last year’s push for the DREAM Act.
Republicans should not abandon their pro-enforcement position, but instead should appeal to all voters — including Hispanics — with our approaches to better education, small businesses and job creation. The right way to attract Hispanic support is to emphasize our shared values.