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June 17th, 2013

Immigration Reform is Losing Proposition for Republicans

The debate over immigration reform continues to rage in the nation’s capitol.  There are three sides to the current debate – Republicans who are pushing for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, Republicans who are opposed to anything that looks or smells like amnesty, and finally the Democrats, who are content to watch the various facets on the Republican Party go after each other.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has been a vocal opponent of the immigration reform package that is being backed by a group of moderate Republicans in the Senate.  This isn’t the first time Grassley has had a ringside seat to an immigration rodeo in the U.S. Senate.  In 1986, Grassley support President Reagan’s immigration reform act that granted amnesty to over three million undocumented immigrants.

Grassley now regrets supporting the 1986 amnesty and has thus attempted to put some teeth into the legislation that is currently making its way through congress.  Last week, Grassley offered an amendment that would have required that the border be secured before any illegal/undocumented immigrant is grated any form of legal status.  Unfortunately, Grassley’s amendment was dead on arrival in the Judiciary Committee and on the floor of the senate.

While most Americans would agree that securing the boarder is the most realistic and commonsense approach to solving our immigration problems, the Republicans who are looking to pass immigration reform know it’s a deal breaker for Democrats.  That should give all Americans pause.  If there is no desire to actually secure our boarders, are we not effectively allowing anyone who takes up residence in the United States to be come a full fledged citizen as long as they jump through all the right hoops?

If you think we have entitlement problems now that the baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age, just wait until Marco Rubio, John McCain, and Democrats open the United States up for citizenship on demand.

As one would expect, Congressman Steve King is doing his part in the battle to block the immigration reform proposal in the House of Representatives.  King is leading a group of 70 Republican members who are opposed to ANY immigration reform bill passing in the House.

King and others believe that the reconciliation process would strip any boarder enforcement mechanisms that the House would put in the bill. It is also likely that the final version of the bill would likely have enough votes to pass the House as long as Democrats support it.  As Glenn Beck said during an interview with King on Thursday, any immigration bill passed by the House would be a “Trojan Horse” that would grant amnesty to all undocumented people living in America.

Grassley and King have done a tremendous job of advocating for their position on this subject, yet many Republican leaders seem hell-bent just to do something on the issue of immigration in hopes to help them at the ballot box in future elections.  The news media, political commentators, and some influential Republicans have propelled an argument that Republicans will not be able to win national elections in the future without the ever expanding Hispanic vote.

Oddly enough, even some Democrats are worried about Republicans’ chances at that ballot box.  New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez recently told Politico, “I would tell my Republican colleagues, both in the House and the Senate, that the road to the White House comes through a road with a pathway to legalization. Without it, there will never be a road to the White House for the Republican Party.”

Shouldn’t the moderate Republicans in the Senate or the power brokers pushing for immigration reform be a little skeptical of their own legislation when someone like Menendez offers the GOP political advice?  Despite the fact that this guy has a major sex scandal dogging him, he still has the gall to tell Republicans what medicine they should take.

All Republicans need to take a step back and re-examine this issue.

Pandering to a specific ethnic group or any group of voters is not leadership, nor will it help Republican candidates win elections.  Yet, moderate Republicans in the House and Senate, the Republican National Committee, and National College Republicans all want to do just that, pander for votes.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think Republicans should ever look at voters based on color or nationality.  Even though the Democrats have mastered race and gender politics, I find the practice to be demeaning. Are we so foolish to think that every white man is alike?  Do you really think that every woman holds the same views on every issue?  Do we really think that the most important issue to Hispanics is providing a get out of jail free card to anyone who’s in the country illegally?

Talk about a bad case of overgeneralization.

Republicans will win national elections again once they begin to care about individuals.  It’s worked in Iowa during the last two presidential caucus cycles.  Both Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum offered a very populist message to voters.  They didn’t care if you were black, brown, white, rich, poor, male or female.

Huckabee and Santorum both talked about upward mobility.  To some, that might have meant getting a job, to others it meant advancing in their current job.  Maybe someone listened to that message and started their own business.  To the current business owners it meant growing their existing business.  It is in the best interest of Americans and Republicans for people to succeed, yet far too few candidates really care about opportunity and growth.

Republicans will not fix their electoral problems as long as they think there is a piece of legislation out there that solves their problems.  Ronald Reagan once said, that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”  Yet, with Republicans still licking their wounds from the last election, they are stuck looking to the government for a solution.  No wonder the Republican Party is such a mess.

The 2012 election is behind us.  It was bad.  It’s time to move on, but in doing so, we need to return the ideals of Ronald Reagan, not big government, and we cannot win by stealing a page from the Democrats’ playbook.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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