A recent report presumes that immigrants are about to make the GOP a permanent minority party. But additional evidence shows that the study by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) might be wrong. Hispanics could pick up GOP votes in the coming elections, provided they don’t nominate a Romney candidate who could chase them away.
According to Chad Groening’s article in OneNewsNow.com “Study of legal immigration: A demographic dilemma, or worse, for GOP,” CIS Director Steven Camarota reported the findings of James Gimpel, a political science professor at the University of Maryland, who did a study for the CIS.
“He looked at what happened to the Republican vote at the county level over the last three decades,” Camarota told Groening. “What he found was that each 10 percent increase in the immigrant share of the population reduced the Republican vote by about six percentage points.”
Gimpel and Camarota are assuming, of course, that because someone votes for a party, it means that they support that political party. It’s a fair assumption, but what if you have a group that votes one way but has preferences for another? Take the example of Southern Democrats who voted against the Republican Party for decades because of the Civil War. They easily flipped to the GOP as Republicans when the party got more conservative, and Democrats became more liberal, especially on civil rights.
Could something similar be happening to Hispanics?
At a recent conference, I interviewed Alex Nowrasteh, an Immigration Policy Analyst with the Cato Institute. His research, co-authored with Dr. Robert A. Lawson with Southern Methodist University and Dr. Benjamin Powell at Texas Tech University, has a different conclusion about immigrants.
“There is no international evidence that immigrants decrease economic liberty in their new countries,” Nowrasteh said. “In the U.S., there is some evidence that immigrants are associated with small decreases in economic freedom, but very small compared to economic benefits.”
And where the immigrants come from is also very important. “Immigrants from non-OECD countries are associated with increases in economic freedom,” Nowrasteh adds.
So why haven’t Hispanics voted more for Republicans?
Evidence from Marist polls shows that more Hispanics blamed Obama for the economic recession instead of George W. Bush, which could have opened up an opportunity for the GOP in 2012. But Mitt Romney decided to run as an anti-immigrant candidate. He called DREAM Act kids “illegal aliens” on Univision. His wife Ann Romney called Hispanics biased after the GOP convention. Other conservatives questioned Hispanic commitment to being American. That’s why even a Romney-Rubio ticket wouldn’t have won over Hispanics.
Republicans have shown some promise in nominating George P. Bush for Land Commissioner in Texas (unfortunately, he was the only one on the ballot with any Hispanic ties in Texas). Even then, a party official took a swipe at the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor for being Hispanic, something Bush condemned. The GOP could actually win over Hispanics, provided their candidates don’t believe the CIS report and chase away a group of supporters again.