- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It was quite interesting to read Dan Stein’s Nov. 20 Op-Ed column, “What’s next on immigration reform? What the voters said,” because it expresses the same anti-immigrant reasoning that has led to the loss of political clout (and House seats) for those who oppose comprehensive immigration reform. If I had to draw it, his article would look like an ostrich with its head in the sand.

Despite Mr. Stein’s claims, commentators on both the left and right have concluded that immigration indeed was a factor in Hispanic voters decisively supporting pro-immigrant candidates in the November election. Exit polls and other studies show that the anti-immigrant rhetoric used by many candidates in 2006 and 2008 - taken from Mr. Stein’s talking points, no doubt - had a demonstrable effect on how Hispanics voted. Hispanic voters concluded, understandably, that attacks on undocumented immigrants were attacks on them and their communities.

The results bear this out: In the election, pro-immigrant forces gained as many as 28 votes, and anti-immigrant groups lost 15 votes in the House of Representatives.

The American people have seen through the hateful rhetoric of the Federation for American Immigration Reform and support a comprehensive and humane solution to the country’s illegal immigration problem. The 111th Congress would be wise to agree. Indeed, a recent Zogby poll found that 69 percent of Catholics support a path to citizenship for the undocumented.

KEVIN APPLEBY

Director

Migration and Refugee Policy

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Washington

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