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Opinion, Santa Monica, Tom Elias, Immigration

Immigration Newest Battle For California GOP's Soul

Thomas B. Elias, Columnist
Santa Monica Mirror Archives
Thomas B. Elias, Columnist

Posted Sep. 21, 2013, 9:00 am

Tom Elias / Mirror Columnist

Repeated battles for the soul of California’s Republican Party began in earnest in 1968, when the ultra-conservative state Schools Supt. Max Rafferty bested moderate U.S. Sen. Thomas Kuchel in a June primary election and went on to lose badly to Democrat Alan Cranston, who would then be reelected three times.

The newest split in this party that began by advocating freedom over slavery is about immigration, with moderate elements in the state GOP wanting some sort of pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and the conservative wing holding they are all criminals who should have no rights or privileges.

It’s a reflection of a national battle first symbolized in 1964 by the fight over Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater’s nomination for President, one that still sees state parties all over America severely divided almost 50 years later.

In those days, the battle was over segregated housing, voting rights, and what was euphemistically called “states’ rights,” the party’s conservative wing arguing that states should be able to restrict voting, allow landlords to discriminate on the basis of race or religion, and more.

Today’s conservative Republicans say they discriminate against no one and want merely to limit government intrusions on individual rights, while insisting that no illegal act – including sneaking across a border – should be rewarded.

“The GOP divide is serious and real,” writes Stephen Frank, conservative blogger and former president of the California Republican Assembly. “Issues like amnesty and abortion have so divided the party that folks on both sides of those issues say if they lose, they walk.”

Already about 14 percent behind Democrats among registered voters, the state’s GOP can ill afford to have anyone opt out. But Frank, strongly against both abortion and what conservatives call amnesty, claims that when Republican voters “no longer see a difference between the two major parties, (they) say no to the GOP.” He says that’s happened since 14 GOP senators voted for the omnibus immigration bill now languishing in the House of Representatives.

But House members have long been moved more by what’s happening in their districts than anything else. If they alienate their constituents, they can’t survive.

So it makes sense that Republican Jeff Denham, whose district includes Central Valley cities like Tracy, Manteca and Turlock has lately spoken in favor of “top to bottom immigration reform.” About 44 percent of residents in his district – a swing one since new boundaries were drawn – are Latino.

By contrast, only about 20 percent of residents in the district of fellow GOPer Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach are Latino and Rohrabacher adamantly opposes any law granting any sort of path to citizenship for the undocumented. The overwhelming white Anglo majority in his district makes it among the nation’s most conservative.

Their colleague and party mate, David Valadao of Visalia, meanwhile, called the Senate immigration bill “monumental,” saying he is committed to “developing a reasonable, responsible immigration plan.” No coincidence, probably, that 67 percent of his district’s population is Latino, including about half its registered voters.

For the most part, this split does not carry over to abortion, the other litmus test for Frank and his fellow conservative leaders. Almost every Republican is pro-life. And yet, the state’s Republican convention last year voted only narrowly to keep the party’s strong anti-abortion platform plank. So there’s disagreement on that, too.

California is not unique. In states as varied as Maine and Alaska, state GOP officials have been forced out lately while their parties – like California’s – face financial problems.

“There’s been a lot of division and disharmony in the Republican Party,” Maine’s new GOP chairman, Rick Bennett, told a reporter.

But Frank believes the real danger to the party lies in what might happen if the Republican-controlled House passes any immigration bill containing a route to citizenship – which is probably necessary to get Senate concurrence and become law.

If no such law passes, plenty of Latino voters in districts represented by Republicans will vote against the GOP. Of course, many would anyway.

But if enough Republicans do go along and Frank proves correct, a large segment of base GOP voters could stay home next year and beyond. Which means the party faces consequences either way, and might as well search its soul and do what it believes just and moral.

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Sep. 21, 2013, 9:56:11 am

hacimo said...

Illegal aliens need to return to the land of their birth and citizenship. They have entered our sovereign territory without permission and have made themselves into outlaws. They are stealing america n jobs and creating an artificial oversupply of labor. This is distorting the labor market so as to reduce wages and increase the return on invested capital. This is the fundamental reason why american workers make less today then they did in 1968. It is the fundamental reason why the wealth gap between rich and poor is higher now than at any previous point in american history. We tried being nice guys in 1986 but it didn't work. Now the gloves need to come off. They are doing great harm and cannot remain. They are not welcome. We must regard them as invaders who must he expelled. Anyone who sides with the invaders is a traitor to his or her country. There is noting more to be said about this matter.

Sep. 21, 2013, 2:54:16 pm

Dave Francis said...

Placing more U.S. Border Patrol agents on our international border with Mexico is not the only enforcement issue that is of paramount importance, as there are a limited number of ICE officers to enforce audits and checking payrolls of businesses, who seem to forget that employment priority should be legal residents and actual citizens. It’s really absolute madness to deploy 20000 more agents along the border, when there are only upwards of 5000 ICE officers to check incoming passengers at airports. By now the avid reader of media reports know that “Overstays” as Immigration and custom Services that has fittingly named them, are the 40 percent of illegal entries who remain here after their temporary visa has expired. It’s incomprehensible that they could have minimized this violation of our laws, decades ago. It just goes to show that Washington never meant to enforce immigration laws; it was just lip service and nothing more. Same is why Illegal entry is not a felony? The answer is simple that illegal immigrants were never meant to be impeded? In California for instance the cost in supporting the illegal alien invasion, would bring hot bile erupting up from the most Americans stomachs: A projected $650 million in welfare benefits will be distributed to illegal alien parents in 2013, county officials said Monday. Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich announced the latest figures from the Department of Public Social Services, which showed more than $376 million in CalWORKs benefits and food stamps combined have been distributed through July to illegal alien parents for their native-born children . Approximately $54 million in welfare payments are issued each month, consisting of nearly $20 million in CalWORKs and $34 million in food stamp issuances, according to the data. An estimated 100,000 children of 60,000 undocumented parents receive aid in Los Angeles County, according to Antonovich, who said this year’s projections — up about $1 million from the nearly $53 million in total benefits issued in July 2012 — underscore the economic impact of the nation’s immigration debate. “When you add the $550 million for public safety and nearly $500 million for healthcare, the total cost for illegal immigrants to county taxpayers exceeds $1.6 billion dollars a year,” Antonovich said in a statement. “These costs do not even include the hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually for education.” WE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SO GULLIBLE, THAT THE MAJORITY OF US FAILED TO LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES? FAILED TO LEARN WE WERE TAKEN FOR A RIDE IN 1986 BY THE AMNESTY. THEY ONLY THING MOST POLITICIANS CARE ABOUT (NOT ALL) IS WHERE THEIR DONATION ARE COMING FROM, TO BUILD THEIR PILE OF DOLLARS IN CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND THE SECRET FREEBIES THEY COLLECT UNDER THE TABLE. Think about it? Does it make any commonsense that entry into America is a civil offense? Try that in a foreign country, such as Mexico? All that waits for you there, is jail time, until you can bribe the authorities? No matter what a foreign national does, they escape with leniency and a slap on the hand. Drunk drivers who are in this the U.S. illegally are often let go on there own recognizance? There seems to be one law for Americans and another in pandering for illegal aliens. No felony to illegally enter our country and a very distinct difference of crimes where illegal aliens slip away from prosecution. If that wasn’t bad enough a directive from the Imperial Court of Obama, releasing not only illegal aliens with infractions of the law, but serious offenses that puts American lives in jeopardy not only on our highways, but in communities also? The majority of Liberals are oblivious to the truth, but Steve King (R-IA) said the death toll at the hands of foreigners far surpassed the 9/11 slaughter. Inquisitive people can reveal the truth for themselves, by investigating ‘The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration, that offers a huge amount of statistics that is kept absent by the left media. Same situation with the facts held back by the press in most cases of legal discovery of corruption at both State and federal agencies at American citizens and residents are either interested or not, but they are sure going to be aware if king Obama keeps presidential orders, bypassing the Congress. In just a few years Obama has brought America to her knees. He left Americans to die in Benghazi, aided terrorists with money and weapons, spied on Americans and collapsed our country financially. Still, he wants to give amnesty to millions of illegal’s. More people, who keep arriving here, can bring in more family members. Sponsorship means financial support, which eventually brakes down and becomes the taxpayer’s burden. CHAIN MIGRATION is a bad idea and law. The voices of personages state it will build the economy, but on whose backs when the number of unemployed keeps climbing. People in full time jobs now find themselves without a job, or hired to a temporary position and below their previous wage rate without benefits. The young worker is especially venerable to the relentless search for a job. ILLEGAL ALIENS ARE VOTING IN OUR ELECTIONS, WE MUST ALL BE ARMED WITH A BIO-METRIC SOCIAL SECURITY CARD, TO STOP JOB THEFT, VOTER FRAUD AND CREDIT THEFT.

Sep. 21, 2013, 6:58:07 pm

xboomer said...

Tom Elias, I hope a illegal person gets your job because they are willing to do it at half the cost.

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