committee, and neither Abraham norrnNewt Gingrich nor any other Republicanrnleader in Congress has shown any interestrnin further constraints on immigration.rnThe Republican and Beltwayrnconservative mantra quickly became thatrnthe parh’ should oppose illegal immigrationrnbut support the legal variet}’—a nonsensicalrnposition: if the only problemrnwith illegal immigration is its illegalit)’,rnthen why not simply repeal all lawsrnagainst it so that it would all be legal? Indeed,rnthroughout 1997, congressionalrnRepublicans began unraveling the veryrnlegislahon they had helped craft the yearrnbefore, restoring welfare benefits to legalrnimmigrants and amnesty provisions forrnreladves of illegals.rnIt ought to tell us something about thernRepublican Part)’ that in all the hysteriarngenerated over the loss of the Hispanicrnvote, not once did any senior part}’ leaderrnsuggest that there were issues at stake inrnthe imniigration controversy that thernpart}’ simpK could not abandon withoutrnlosing its character as a conservativernvehicle. Indeed, Linda Chavez faultedrnRepublicans not only for seeking to reducernlegal immigration but also for restrictingrnwelfare benefits to legal immigrantsrnand being too quick to “fan thernnatiist tlames, blaming immigrants forrntaking American jobs and increasingrncrime.” Her objections beg the questionsrnof whether immigrants should receivernwelfare and whether uncontrolledrnimmigrahon does take jobs and increaserncrime (there are substantial studies thatrnshow that it does). The naked cynicismrnof the Republicans in considering onlyrntheir own immediate political interestrnand ignoring larger issues of principlernand national interest does nothing to reassurerneither Hispanic or non-Hispanicrnvoters that they can rely on the GOP tornremain committed to any firm position.rnNevertheless, the argument that Republicanrnsupport for immigration controlrnhas alienated Hispanics doesn’t reallyrnwash. There are several hard-headedrnreasons, aside from principle, why thernpart}- should ignore the argument andrnget on with curtailing immigrahon entireK’.rnIn the first place, Hispanic voters haverntraditionally been more Democraticrnthan Repiblican, with the exception ofrnCuban emigres in Florida. From 1972rnthrough 1988, Republican presidentialrncandidates won an average of less thanrn32 percent of the Hispanic vote, whilerntheir Democratic rivals won an averagernof nearly 66 percent—more than twicernthe Republican share. It’s true that, inrn1996, Clinton won a whopping 72 percentrnof the Hispanic vote to Bob Dole’srn21 percent, but Clinton’s share was stillrnless than the 76 percent of the Hispanicrnvote that Jimmy Carter won in 1976. Inrnshort, there is no massive swing of Hispanicsrnfrom Republicans to Democrats;rnHispanics have largely always beenrnDemocratic, as their congressional representationrnshows.rnIn the second place, it remains to bernproved that increased Democratic votingrnby Hispanics in the last elecdon was duernto Hispanic support for immigration andrnfear of Republican opposition to it.rnThere simply was no concerted Republicanrnopposition to immigration. The firstrnaction Bob Dole took after securing thernGOP nomination in 1996 was to announcernhis rejection of the party’s restrietionistrnplatform, and his runningrnmate, Jack Kemp, has long supportedrnimmigration, legal and illegal. NeitherrnDole nor Kemp had any record of supportingrnimmigration restriction, and thernparh’ as a whole has not been in the forefrontrnof the movement for restriction.rnBob Dornan lost his re-election bid inrn1996 in part because of the large Hispanicrnvote in his district (and perhaps becausernof voter fraud by illegal immigrants)rnbut not because he opposedrnimmigration. Dornan has always takenrnthe line of legal immigration, good; illegalrnimmigration, bad. As for strong restrictionistsrnamong Republican congressmen,rnneither California’s Elton Galleglvrnnor Texas’s Lamar Smith seemed to havernan}’ problem winning reelection, whilernTexas Governor George W. Bush’srnstrong support for immigration doesn’trnstop two-thirds of the state’s Hispanicsrnfrom registering Democratic.rnIt’s probable that Hispanics voted forrnthe Democrats in 1996 because they perceivedrnRepublicans as welfare-trimmingrnbudget-cutters whose policies wouldrnjeopardize government benefits that therngrowing Hispanic underclass demands.rnIf that was the Hispanic perception of thernRepublicans, it was a rather more accuraternone than the delusion that the parh’rnis unequivocally dedicated to cuttingrnback immigration.rnThirdly, it is by no means a valid assumptionrnthat all Hispanics are in favorrnof more immigration. Proposition 187rnwon the support of some 23 percent ofrnHispanics, and in 1992 the Latino NationalrnPolitical Survey found that morernMexican-Americans and Puerto Ricansrn(75 and 79 percent) favored reducingrnimmigration than did non-Hispanicrnwhites (74 percent). There is no reasonrnwhy Republicans who oppose immigrationrncannot effectively appeal to manyrn(perhaps a majority of) Hispanics andrnwin their support. Nor is there any reasonrnto think that even among pro-immigrationrnHispanics, a candidate’s positionrnon immigration is what determines howrnthe Hispanic voter will cast his ballot.rnConservative values involving family issues,rncrime, and the economv ought tornappeal to middle-class Hispanics at leastrnas much as immigration reform alienatesrnthem.rnFinally, Republicans, even if they losernsignificant parts of the Hispanic vote permanently,rncan expect to gain votes byrnopposing immigration. A Roper poll inrn1996 showed that some 83 percent ofrnAmericans want immigration reduced.rnIt’s true that immigration has never beenrna major national campaign issue, butrnthat’s because no Republican nomineernhas ever sought to make it one. There isrnabsolutely no reason to believe that a Republicanrnpresidential nominee runningrnon a platform that calls for severe restrictionrnor outright curtailment of immigrationrnwould lose votes, and as the impactrnof immigration increases throughout therncountr}’, there is every reason to believernsuch an appeal would win major popularrnsupport.rnThe new Republican argumentrnagainst immigration restriction is thereforernof dubious validity, but it neverthelessrncontains a truth worth pondering.rnBecause Republicans for a generationrnhave contrived to ignore immigrationrnand delude themselves about its culturalrnand political effects, the Hispanic part ofrnthe electorate is increasing rapidly, andrnthe intense left-wing mobilization of Hispanicrnvoters does promise that what thernRepublicans fear has already happenedrnwill indeed happen. That is what I andrnPeter Brimelow and other supporters ofrnimmigration restriction have been trvingrnto tell Republicans for some years, andrnit’s why the parh’ needs to start paving attentionrnto us instead of to pro-immigrationrnideologues like Gigot and Chavez.rnWe told you so; you didn’t listen; nowrnyou’d better before your ov’n predictionsrnof political disaster start coniing true becausernyou lacked the guts and good sensernto deal with immigration when it was stillrnpossible to do so.rnMARCH 1998/35rnrnrn