Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) pleased liberal Democrats and cheap labor Republicans when he endorsed legal status (amnesty) for 11 million illegal aliens in the U.S. He added, in confusing statements, that he opposed giving them a pathway to citizenship but also opposed a policy of preventing them from becoming citizens. He strongly maintained that GOP support for amnesty would help the Republicans win Hispanic votes and thereby remain a viable party.
Fact Check: Paul based his claim on winning Hispanic votes on a poll by Latino Decisions that 32 percent of Hispanics would be “more likely” to vote for Republicans if they supported amnesty. He neglected to note, however, that the poll also found that 50 percent of Hispanics said that Republican support of amnesty would have no effect on their votes at all.
The fact of the matter, as shown in polling, is that amnesty is a relatively small issue in terms of why most Hispanics don’t vote Republican. The main reason is that Hispanics are a liberal constituency which generally rejects the core Republican message of smaller government. According to the Pew Hispanic Center 75 percent of Hispanics favor larger government compared with only 41 percent of the general population.
Paul also maintained that the defeat of Mitt Romney confirmed the need for Republicans to endorse amnesty to get Hispanic votes. Romney who opposed amnesty received just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. But four years before that John McCain, a strident supporter of amnesty, only got 31 percent. A spread of just four points clearly shows that the issue of amnesty alone does not have a significant impact on Hispanic voting.
Passage of amnesty, however, most likely will deal a fatal blow to Republicans at the polls. It probably would alienate many in the Republican base and cost more votes from that source than it would gain. Also, most of the amnestied illegal aliens, largely poor and relatively unskilled, will support the Democrats once they become citizens. And even if legalized without a path to citizenship, they will become citizens sooner or later because liberal progressives and their media allies will agitate unceasingly until they do.
If Republicans want more Hispanic votes the best way to do so is to do what they did in 1924 when they weren’t getting the votes of Italians and Poles and other working class immigrant groups. A majority Republican Congress that year moved then to reduce immigration sharply, which enabled people in those groups to begin moving up the economic ladder. As they did, more and more began voting Republican. Mass immigration today, legal and illegal, keeps Hispanics poor and Democratic.