GOP,Dems eye immigration ruling
July 31, 2010 · Print This Article
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – On the surface, a judge’s decision to block tough provisions of Arizona’s immigration law was a defeat for the state’s Republican governor and a win for the Democratic Obama administration. But neither party is sure it will play out that way politically, either this fall or beyond.
Keeping the illegal-immigration issue burning might help some Republican candidates, who need a fired-up conservative base, campaign strategists in both parties said Thursday. And the federal ruling might let Republicans campaign for tougher immigration enforcement without embarrassing scenes of police officers demanding documents from U.S. citizens of Hispanic descent, a widely predicted fallout of Arizona’s pending law.
But if the GOP appears too zealous, it runs a longer-term risk of alienating Hispanic voters, one of the fastest-growing constituencies.
A handful of Republicans pounced on U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s decision Wednesday to block provisions of the Arizona law. One of them would require officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws if there’s a reasonable suspicion the person is in the country illegally.
The Republican Governors Association issued a fundraising e-mail from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, asking for help in the ongoing fight to implement the law. And Colorado Senate hopeful Jane Norton’s campaign conducted robocalls telling Republican voters of her support for the measure.
But beyond Arizona, where street demonstrations took place on Thursday, many politicians took a wait-and-see stance. In Washington, top Republican lawmakers and party officials made statements about jobs, energy, taxes, health care, campaign finance and passport fraud, but there was hardly a whisper about immigration.
Democrats were nearly as quiet, aside from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus calling for a comprehensive solution to the issue.
The people plotting campaign strategy say illegal immigration can be an emotional but unpredictable issue. Many Americans express concerns about unlawful entries and the impact on wages and government resources. But they also talk about the power of deportation to break up families, and other matters.