SB1070 Drama Is Over: Now Let’s Focus On The Future For The GOP And Latinos

By Alex Gonzalez

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down significant portions of the controversial Arizona immigration law, but allowed to stand a hot-button provision that requires police officers to review the immigration status of all those they detain. This ruling comes in time when  Republicans, including Presidential Candidates Mitt Romney have embarked in a new endeavor to woo Latinos voters. There is ample evidence showing that the Republican party is ready to move away from the Immigration harsh rhetoric, if they don’t, Republicans run the risk of becoming another California where the GOP has rescinded  to a  third  party  because of proposition 187.

SCOTUS struck down three provisions on SB1070 saying that the state had overstepped its authority by making it a state crime for immigrants who do not register with the federal government, or to seek work ,or hold a job.  It also struck down a provision that would allow police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant.   Section 2-C,  which would have required  police — whenever they make an arrest for a suspected violation of a law and have some reason to think that the individual is an undocumented immigrant — to hold that individual until they can check the legality of their presence in this country. Justice Kennedy argued that:

“The Federal Government has brought suit against a sovereign State to challenge the provisions even before the law has gone into effect. There is a basic uncertainty about what the law means and how it will be enforced. At this stage, without the benefit of a definitive interpretation from the state courts it would be inappropriate to assume [that provision] will be construed in a way that creates a conflict with federal law..This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect,”

In other words,  SCOTUS is letting the only provision Arizona had to implanted the bill that can show how the laws could be discriminatory  to a certain class of citizens because of the way they look or sound.  If the state of Arizona still wants to become the new California and let SB1070 do what 187 did for Republicans in California,  they have the right to so.  But this should never be the policy of the Republican Party.  And the reality is that Arizona does not want to do anything to enforce immigration laws.  For example, The U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Arizona law requiring employers to use the federal E-Verify system. Yet Arizona does not enforce or follow its own laws when it would be detrimental to the state’s business environment such as agriculture.   Thus, SB1070 is just a political stunt and bad policy that does very little to solve or enforce immigration and more detrimental for the Republican Party in the Southwest.

In a column for the Los Ageless Times, authored by George Skelton, and titled California GOP Sinking Into Third-Party Status, Skeleton points out that one of the main reasons for the plummeting in Republican registration in California is related to the immigration issue since 1994 when the Gov. Pete Wilson first introduced Proposition 187.  According to Skelton, in California more than one-fifth of registered voters, 21.3%, are listed with no party preference, according to the Secretary of State. That’s double to 10.7% in 1996 and more than quadruple the 5% in 1972. In the last 16 years, the GOP’s slice of the electorate has fallen from 37% to 30.2%.  While Democrats have kept 47.1% to 43.4% lead.

“In California, the Republican Party has done tremendous damage to its brand with its positions on immigration and gay marriage,” David says. “Add to that the no-tax pledge. I am suggest that Texas Latinos will never be like Latinos liberals, however they can become conservative democrats if the Party does not take a more pragmatic view on immigration and education.

As a result, if the  state of Arizona, with its Republican majority in the legislature, wants to continue the implementation of this bill—even after Russell Pearce was ousted from office, the national Republican Party platform needs to stay away from SB1070  because it runs the risk of suffering from an exodus of Latinos voters in southwester states the same way it  happened in California after prop 187.

And this is simple math equation. One ½ of the population of k-12 students in Arizona are Hispanics and 30% of total states population is Hispanic so it is just a matter of time before this bill is put to rest. Hence, if Republicans want to keep majorities in Texas and take back California, New Mexico Nevada, and Colorado by wooing Latinos into the Party, they need to put SB1070 into the history books the same way Proposition 187 was put to rest.

Latinos care about their culture, family ties, and on the tone of immigration.  Values are important for people and the 1/2 the population of Latinos are immigrant or first generation. According to the new Gallup poll, the most important issues for Latinos are: Healthcare, Economic Growth, and Immigration.  But among the “first generation” and immigrant cohorts, immigration remains the top issue.  Gallup poll underscores that Hispanic voters are less likely to mention immigration as their top concern, but for those Latinos who are immigrants and first-generation, immigration is still the one main focus. And this segment of “first -generation” of Latinos is large bloc of Americans.

According to the US census,  the Hispanic population in 1990 was 22.4 million and in 2011 it reached 52 million; they also were the fastest growing, with their population increasing by 3.1 percent since 2010. This boosted the Hispanic share of the nation’s total population to 16.7 percent in 2011, up from 16.3 percent in 2010.  California had the largest Hispanic population of any state on July 1, 2011 (14.4 million), as well as the largest numeric increase within the Hispanic population since April 1, 2010 (346,000). New Mexico had the highest percentage of Hispanics at 46.7 percent.  Los Angeles had the largest Hispanic population of any county (4.8 million) in 2011 and the largest numeric increase since 2010 (73,000). Starr County — on the Mexican border in Texas — had the highest share of Hispanics (95.6 percent).

Therefore,   about 30 million of Latinos rsdin in states like California , New Mexico and Texas that  Gallup labels “first generation” who were born in the US, or arrived, between 1990 and 2011 are affected psychologically by tone utilized in the immigration issue. And since the this generation is mainly located in wealthy states with a large congressional Electoral votes, the SB1070 issue could add serious  damage  to the long term interest of the GOP as it occurred in California after  Proposition 187. So political identity often develops at home and in communities, not in political rallies.

For example, according Henrik Temp from the American Enterprise Institute, there is some type of socio- physiological conditions to become conservative and politically engaged; but this can be learned at home.

1.    Lack of resources. Hispanics have lower incomes than whites. If you don’t have money, it can be difficult to engage in politics. For example, if you’re poor it’s more difficult to volunteer your time or money to a political campaign.

2.    Lack of civic skills. Most Americans gain civic skills from their parents and their schools. Since 40% of Hispanics are foreign-born, a significant chunk of the population never had the chance to learn from either of these sources. Moreover, these foreign-born Hispanics will be unable to transmit civic skills to their children, making those children entirely reliant on an education system whose success is largely dependent on the socioeconomic status of the neighborhoods around them.  Psychological engagement in politics is a necessary precursor to action, and it would seem that Hispanics have not, as of yet, become engaged in this way.

3.    Lack of institutions. Local and community organizations are effective motivators for political action, but such opportunities are few and far between among Hispanics, perhaps due to their socioeconomic status or the relatively large number of Hispanics who are new immigrants.

If the Gallup poll is correct, and because of about 30 million of Hispanics are relatively a young group  first generation—their social and political values will come from a education, and group interaction with peers, and neighborhoods around them. Too,  this generation of Latinos is estimated to double in next 25 years;  and, most of this generation won’t have positive views of SB1070 the same way Latinos in California that grew up in 1990s in California do not have positive view of 187 . Consequently, the long-term interests of the Republican Party in Texas, California and New Mexico depends heavily in the ability to bury the ghost of SB1070. And this cultural fear of SB1070 is equal shared among long-time affluent 4th and 5th generation of Latinos, or Mexican-Americans, in states like Texas, and New Mexico who see SB1070 as a cultural attack.

Unless the Republican Party wants to turn SB1070 into the new prop 187, the remaining provision of SB1070 is best left to Arizona and its residents. The fact that  a state that was granted the right to enforce E-verify  by SCOTUS, but opted not enforce it  because it was not good economic policy for the state, should make it obvious to GOP that this enforcement-only policies  bad policies; hence, the remaining provision of SB1070 will not be enforced since it would be economically detrimental for the state.  So why should the GOP continue a policy that is not even enforced in Arizona, and not practical for the image of GOP among Latinos. Thus,  the Republican Party in the southwest is better served by abandoning any rhetoric of  SB1070 to history books and focus on the education of 30 million of  first-generation Latinos whose political values will come from  their  socioeconomic status of the, families,  neighborhoods, Local and community organizations around them.

SB1070  was a bad legislation, and the remaining provision will be declared unconstitutional because  if it is implemented, we will get actual case before the SCOTUS. Also, SB1070 was  bad public  policy; and SB1070 was–and is–a bad policy for Republicans, which is why Republican Governors from California, New Mexico and Texas openly opposed it.  Consequently,  SB1070  is a bad policy for the growth of Republican Party with Latinos and SB1070 is bad policy for Mitt Romney.

If Republicans in Georgia and Alabama really wanted to do an enforcement-only policy that would pass any constitutional challenges, why wouldn’t   they pass E-verify that has just been up-held by SCOTUS in granting states the right to enforce that law.  Thus, despite the justices’ express permission, not a single state enacted a law imposing E-Verify on any new employers. As Marco Rubio argued in his speech to Naleo, too many have made money, scared people, and scored political points with the issues of immigration.  But in reality  as Linda Chavez argues “We have never had better border enforcement than we do now; there are fewer illegal immigrants coming in than at any point in the last 40 years; more illegal immigrants have been deported than any time in our history; we have a larger border patrol than at any point in history. What we need is LEGAL IMMIGRATION REFORM to allow willing workers to come legally.”

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