GOP politicians are shifting the immigration debate to economics, and away from culture and race, boosting their outreach to the many Hispanics who are worried about legal and illegal immigration.
“It is not our job to get cheap [migrant] labor for big business, as much as labor might want that,” Rep. Tom Cotton told The Daily Caller Aug. 15.
“By standing up against illegal immigration, and by standing against the [Senate’s 2013 immigration bill], I am in fact showing, as so many [other GOP legislators] are, that I care about Americans,” including American Hispanics, said Cotton, who is running for the Arkansas Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor.
The shift is backed by polling data, which shows widespread opposition among independents and Hispanics to illegal immigration, and significant support for rapid deportation of Central American illegals.
The polling data and the GOP shift is a problem for President Barack Obama, who is widely blamed for allowing the Central American inflow.
Obama is also expected to soon announce a high-risk policy of awarding work-permits to millions of illegals already in the country. That policy also risks a repudiation from swing-voters and Hispanics worried about wages and jobs, according to polling data.
“Surveys do show that [Hispanics] want to strengthen the border, [and support] border enforcement,” said Adrian Pantoja, an expert at Latino Decisions, a California-based firm which provides polling advice to progressive groups.
Republicans “can have very strong support for some Republican positions if they are framed in a way that is not anti-Latino or group [Latinos] into one category,” said Pantoja, who is also a professor of Political Studies and Chicano/Latino Transnational Studies at Pitzer College.