Americas Majority Foundation Releases New Study: Border Wars: The Impact of Immigration on the Latino Vote

Sept. 26, 2007

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Sept. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "If the Republican Party renounces comprehensive immigration reform in favor of 'enforcement only,' Democrats will capture New Mexico , Nevada, Colorado, Florida, and Iowa in the upcoming presidential contest," said Americas Majority Foundation (A.M.F.) research analyst Richard Nadler .

The foundation's newest study, involving 145 precincts and 175,000 votes, analyzes actual vote shifts in Hispanic portions of six congressional districts in the 2004 and 2006 elections. "In the Latino areas where candidates advocated a variant of 'enforcement only,'" said Nadler, "support for Republicans dropped by more than 21 percentage points over a single cycle, and support for Democrats rose by an equivalent amount. But where Republican candidates supported comprehensive immigration reform - some combination of border control and guest-worker programs or earned legalization - the situation was quite different. There, Republicans lost roughly 4 percentage points, and Democrats gained 4 - a shift in line with national trends."

Nadler finds that border security is not the key issue affecting the Latino vote. "There are nine congressional districts bordering Mexico," he observes. "Bush carried five in 2004, and Kerry, four. The congressmen from these districts all advocate stiffer border controls. The problems associated with open borders are their constituents' problems - drug smuggling, human trafficking, crime and overburdened social networks. A congressman can support rigorous measures -- a border fence, electronic surveillance, increased Border Patrol, workplace ID, expedited deportation for major crime - all without prejudicing his ability to attract Latino votes. But when a politician heads into the murky territory of mass deportations, or rejection of guest worker programs, or criminalization of the civil infractions of undocumented work, the political penalty he pays among Latinos is harsh and prompt.

"Policies that induce mass fear in illegal aliens induce mass anger in legal aliens. The moral hazard associated with decades of non-enforcement of immigration laws becomes explicit with 'enforcement-only.' Ties of family, culture, and a shared media communicate the fears of the group directly threatened - the illegals - to other Latinos who are not.

"Participants in the immigration debate needn't like this conclusion. But they had better understand it."

The full text of the report is available for download at

SOURCE Americas Majority Foundation

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