Latino voters not that happy with tenor of immigration debate

GOP presidential candidates have voiced their support for immigration policies that leave out most Latino voters, who are looking for a commonsense solution to the issue, but Democrats are not doing much better, participants in Spanish language Univision news show Al Punto said Sunday.

Immigration policies supported by GOP presidential candidates “do not articulate a political or economic position that is realistic,”said Viviana Hurtado, of the Wise Latina Club, on Al Punto.

According to TIME magazine’s Tim Padgett, ”the Latino community, especially the Mexican American community, do not want an open door policy that lets anybody in.” What they want, said Padgett, “is a commonsense policy” – something neither Democrats nor Republicans have offered.

Padgett added that “Democrats are doing well with Latinos only because Republicans are doing so badly.”

Sylvia Manzano, of Latino Decisions, wrote Sunday that “Republican candidates have devoted quite a bit of time to issues disproportionately affecting Latinos, asserting their party and ideological bona fides on topics like official English language laws, immigration, Mexican border control, the DREAM Act, bilingual education and various identification laws. From the vantage point of most Latino voters, the Republican party champions positions opposite to their interests.”

According to the The Guardian, Kris Kobach, author of the controversial immigration enforcement laws in Arizona and Alabama, ”has been in direct discussions with [Mitt Romney] the presidential candidate about possible changes to federal policy should Romney win the Republican nomination and go on to take the White House.”

Kobach, current Kansas Secretary of State, is a long-time supporter of “attrition through enforcement” policies, which Romney himself has called “self-deportation.”

While speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this month, Kobach said that attrition through enforcement is a rational enforcement of immigration law, adding that Arizona was the first state to require E-Verify – a move that has led tens of thousands of undocumented workers to self-deport. In Alabama, said Kobach, “in the first month after the [immigration] law was enforced, unemployment dropped 0.5 percent in one month.”

He added the U.S. could be headed toward a national attrition through enforcement policy, because two GOP presidential candidates have said they support the strategy.

“If you want to create a job for an American citizen tomorrow, deport an illegal alien today,” Kobach concluded.

According to The Guardian, “Kobach estimates that within the first four years of a new Republican presidency, as many as half of the current pool of undocumented aliens – some 5.5 million – could be made to flee by introducing much more aggressive enforcement of immigration documents.”

The Immigration Policy Center has said that Kobach’s self-deportation idea is “grounded in fantasy.”

“In what version of reality would we see undocumented immigrants, two-thirds of whom have been putting down roots in the U.S. for a decade or longer, simply get up and leave?” says the Center.

“Kobach’s fantasy ignores the impact of losing millions of workers, consumers and taxpayers on the American economy,” notes the Policy Center. “In Alabama, home to one of Kobach’s ongoing self-deportation experiments, reports estimate that losses could be in the billions because of Kobach’s law.”

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