The issue of immigration is a political hot potato for Republicans, just as the launch of the Affordable Care Act is for Democrats, says Ruben Navarrette, a syndicated columnist and CNN contributor.
"I'm of the opinion that Obamacare is a disaster for the country, and it's going to be a disaster for the Democratic Party for a long, long time. And Democrats don't know how to wrestle that beast of Obamacare to the ground. Everywhere it comes up, it comes up bad for them," Navarrette told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"Likewise [on] immigration for Republicans. The shoe's on the other foot. Immigration comes up bad for Republicans . . . Republicans make this way too easy on Democrats," he said Monday.
"They play into the hands of [Sens.] Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, and others who really don't have any scruples and don't have the best interest of Hispanics at heart. Republicans have played into their hands and made it so easy to be demonized on this issue."
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Navarrette does not think either party is strictly on board with immigration reform.
"There are Democrats who are split on immigration and Republicans
[who] are split on immigration," he said.
"On the Republican side, you have some strong business-driven Republicans who are hearing from businesses that can't find Americans to take some of these jobs, and they need a steady . . . dependable workforce: the dairy industry, the agricultural industry, the construction industry.
"Then you have another element of the Republican Party that worries about the cultural changes that are going on in our cities, and so many cities turning into Little Mexicos. It's freaking them out, as demographics tend to do with some people."
Navarrette thinks that Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican and one of the fathers of immigration reform, is balking at passing the House bill because it has changed dramatically over the months.
"I don't think Rubio can really claim fathership over the bill anymore. It's a whole different animal now. But Rubio also sees some of the fire that [Sen.] Ted Cruz [of Texas] has fought taking a hard line against any kind of reform effort, and Rubio's a little concerned. If he decides to run for president, where's that constituency going to come from?" Navarrette said.
"There are Republicans out there who used to like Rubio a whole lot, and then on immigration, they don't like him anymore. So, he's a bit confused about what he wants to do and where he wants to go from here."
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