Monday, November 10, 2008

Anti-immigrant Politics is no sure path to Electoral Victory.

Now that most of the Republican xenophobes in Congress were given their pink slip, and the once Grand Old Party has shrunk to non-existence in D.C., maybe common sense can be used to pass an immigration reform bill once and for all.

And now that we have a new president Barack Obama, there will be some rather interesting changes...including a new head of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Now that the head of ICE, Michael Brown clone Julie Myers, will be replaced, and a large amount of Latinos pulling the lever for Obama, you can count on pressure to placed on the new administration to revise the policies of ICE raids across the country.

Here is a quick review for some Anti Immigrants measures:

Oregon Measure 58, which would have prohibited teaching Non English-Speaking public schools students in a language other than English for more than two years. Failed. The Proposition was widely opposed by teachers' groups and Immigrants rights advocates.

Missouri did pass a mostly meaningless English Only measure which states that English is the Official language for Government Meetings. This will not produce any changes to the current status quo.

Arizona Prop 202, failed to pass. It would have weakened the existing employer sanctions, but added penalties for ID theft against Undocumented Immigrants.

In an example of race where Immigration drove the debate, Lou Barletta, the staunchly Anti Immigrant Mayor of Hazelton, Pa; Lost his challenge to incumbent democratic Congressman Paul Kanjorski, demostrating the inneffectiveness of his Anti Immigrant platform for voters interested in real solutions to the Increasingly gloomy economic outlook.

In case you weren’t watching the Escondido City Council elections, coffeehouse owner Olga Diaz unseated incumbent Ed Gallo, breaking up the trio of Gallo, Sam Abed and Marie Waldron that made national news with their unsuccessfull attempt to deny rental housing to undocumented immigrants. This is good news

Clearly, anti-immigrant politics is no sure path to electoral victory, especially if it is the central message -- a lesson that the Republicans should have learned from their 2006 losses. But neither was it the case that the victories of Dole’s and Barletta’s opponents were primarily due to their pro-immigrant, pro-immigration positions.

In North Carolina, Dole’s loss was mainly due to surge in those who voted straight-ticket Democratic. According to post-election analysis by Dr. Michael Bitzer, associate professor of political science at Catawba College in North Carolina, the 52-44% victory of state senator Kay Hagan over incumbent Dole would have been a 51-49% victory for Dole without the straight ticket votes. Also, the heavy early voting, central to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's grassroots effort to get people registered and to the polls, heavily favored Hagan in the state.

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