On Immigration Reform, GOP Can Take Lessons From Defeat
Paul Brown, considered one of the most influential coaches in football history, once said, “You can learn a line from a win and a book from a defeat.” So my good friends from Resurgent Republic, a conservative nonprofit, which gauges public opinion about public policy through national polls and focus groups, have done an excellent job at learning from the defeat of last year’s presidential election.
In their latest poll they went to two seminal conservative states: Iowa and South Carolina, and polled primary Republican voters about the issue of the day — Immigration. Their findings should give our conservative congressmen and senators not only cover, but encouragement.
In previous Resurgent Republic research, it was made clear that immigration reform should not be viewed as a one-step solution guaranteeing Republican inroads among Hispanic voters. Yet it is a very important if first step of a long-term effort.
It was learned from their post-election analysis that majorities of Latino voters in swing states believe the Republican Party does not respect their values and concerns. This opinion is the result of rhetoric from a small, but vocal, number of Republicans that has characterized past immigration debates.
What I could gain from the answers of these voters was heartening. For them, immigration policy should encourage the values of the American Dream. On this point, participants volunteered descriptors such as “freedom,” “opportunity,” “hard work,” and an ability “to make a better life for themselves.” It is precisely what immigrants come searching for.