- - Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sometimes a little research confirms something everyone knows. The Pew Research Center asked in a National Survey of Latinos, “Are unauthorized immigrants overwhelmingly Democrats?” The answer was overwhelmingly yes, which should give House Republicans a little food for thought. They should be wary of indigestion.

The survey found that Hispanic immigrants living here without citizenship or permanent legal resident status are likely to call themselves Democrats 31 percent of the time. Only 4 percent consider themselves Republicans. That 8 to 1 advantage for Democrats adds up to a lot of new voters if the 11 million illegals get amnesty. That prospect is the driving force behind the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Given the obvious math, it’s not clear why Republican leaders in the House are pushing their own “lite” version of the Dream Act amnesty bill. A Judiciary immigration and border security subcommittee session on Tuesday addressed the immigration status of illegal immigrants brought here as children, a precursor to the Kids Act, the Republican leadership’s path toward citizenship for illegal alien minors.

Democrats aren’t interested in half a loaf. With their Senate immigration bill in hand, they’re going all out against the Kids Act, even though they have strongly backed similar Dream Act proposals. The Republican strategy is curious. Only last month, the Republican-controlled House voted 224 to 201 to deny funding to implement President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy of June 2012 that implemented the Dream Act with an executive order. Republicans rightly decried this as an executive overreach. Now the tune has changed.

Discussing immigration reform Thursday, House Speaker John A. Boehner endorsed efforts to write legislation dealing with the legal status of children of illegal immigrants, presumably similar to the Kids Act. He further said the American people “expect that no one who broke our laws will get special treatment.”

The chief talking point in support of the Dream Act, and by extension the Kids Act, is that the children who came to the United States through no effort of their own shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents. When a single mother, for example, commits a crime that lands her in prison, her children suffer being sent to live with relatives or in foster homes though the kids did nothing wrong. Life can be unfair that way, but most of us want to do whatever we can to ease the suffering and unhappiness of a child.

Legalizing the minor, unemancipated children of illegal immigrants naturally would almost inevitably mean legalizing their parents or even guardians. This is compromise based not on principle, but on limiting the electoral damage. Some Republicans say pandering on the immigration issue will win them support among Hispanics; the Pew numbers argue that it won’t.

Democrats aren’t pushing amnesty out of compassion. They’re doing so out of a political calculation that bringing in as many immigrants legal or otherwise as they can is the path to a permanent majority. If Republicans want to return a president to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, they must acknowledge the obvious.

The Washington Times