Tags: Immigration | Mexico | GOP | Hispanic | Vote | census

What GOP Must Do to Grab Hispanic Vote

By Monday, 22 September 2014 01:42 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The Hispanic population has been skyrocketing. They are now the second largest group in America, registering 16.3 percent in the 2010 census for a total of 50.5 million. This was a 30 percent jump over the 2000 census in which Hispanics totaled 35.3 million. Demographers are also predicting that Hispanics will soon be a plurality in the southwest. In California they are expected to hit 40 percent any day now.
This rapidly changing demographic poses a problem for Republicans whose percentage of the national Hispanic vote has dropped from a high of 42 percent in 2004 to 29 percent in 2012. And if the GOP doesn’t address this voting bloc problem now they could be locked out of the White House for a generation.
In "A Race For the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans," Cuban-born Mike Gonzalez cogently describes the rise of the Hispanic population, its impact on American politics, and presents an excellent blueprint for what Republicans must do to attract them into their camp.
The legal and illegal emigration from Mexico, Latin America, Cuba, and other Caribbean islands to America, Gomez explains, was caused by several U.S. policy initiatives.
The first was congressional legislation signed into law in 1964 by President Johnson that abolished the Bracero program for temporary guest workers from Mexico. Created during the Second World War, this program permitted as many as 500,000 Mexicans to enter the U.S. every year to work seasonally on farms and then to return to their homeland.
Although the program succeeded in meeting the demand for temporary workers and had the additional benefit of checking the growth of illegal immigration, the unions despised it because the laborers were not dues-paying members. Hence, organized labor leaders leaned on Johnson and the Democratic Congress to eliminate the Bracero program.
In Gonzalez’s judgment, the next policy “which had a profound impact on immigration patterns” and was “no less important than ending the Bracero program, was the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.”
This Act was responsible for dramatically increasing legal immigration, particularly from Mexico. The 1965 law “exempted parents, spouses, and children of citizens from the resident visa cap of 20,000.” As a result, the total number of visas granted grew significantly every year.
Illegal immigration also grew by leaps and bounds after 1965 because the repeal of the Bracero program caused millions of Mexicans to sneak over the border to seek low-skill jobs.
The massive influx of Mexicans, who account for 60 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population, the migration from other Latin American counties, and the fact that they have more children than other American groups, explains how the U.S. “got from fewer than 7 million Hispanics in 1960 or less than 4 percent of the overall population to 50 million today, accounting for 16 percent.”
While most Hispanic immigrants came to American “with a strong work ethic, intact families, and alert children ready to learn,” Gonzalez argues that over time they became victims of war on poverty programs, multicultural programs, and changing mores.
This “downward assimilation” into pathologies that have destroyed their family structure began in 1976 when “Congress passed Public Law 94-311, which by magic created the Hispanic population for official use” and made different ethic nationalities from south of our border one protected minority class eligible for government welfare and affirmative action programs.
Today Hispanics have a 53 percent illegitimacy rate, a 30 percent high school dropout rate, and 50 percent of their households receive some form of government assistance. These startling statistics reveal that the upward mobility Hispanics came here seeking has been dashed.
There is, however, hope. Gonzalez’s looks to Texas as the model for the future. While the Hispanic population of both Texas and California has hit 38 percent, Texas’ path to equality does not emphasis identity politics and an expansive welfare state like its neighbor.
Gonzalez points out that California, with 12 percent of total U.S. population, has 34 percent of the nation’s welfare population while Texas, with 8 percent of the total population, has only 3 percent of the country’s welfare caseload.
“The two states’ different history and welfare dependency status,” Gonzalez observed, “have had an impact on family formation, religiosity, and the educational gap; three important cultural indicators that are associated with stability, ability, to move upward on the income scale and conservatism.”
Thanks to the Texas “culture of self-help, entrepreneurship, relative family stability and religiosity,” plus its low-tax, low-regulation policies, the state has a booming economy. As a result, Texas’ Mexican-American Hispanics “have a lower unemployment rate than California’s, are more entrepreneurial, own their own homes at a higher rate, go to church more often, have stronger family units, and have children who perform better academically,” and they vote Republican “at a higher rate than California’s Mexican-American Hispanics.”
Republican activists should read "A Race for the Future," heed the author’s advice, and begin promoting the Texas approach in Hispanic communities throughout the nation. If they don’t, they will consign their party to the dust bin of history.
George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of N.Y. and N.J., is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact." He also is a columnist for TheCatholicThing.org and the Long Island Business News. Read more reports from George J. Marlin — Click Here Now.

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The Hispanic population has been skyrocketing. They are now the second largest group in America, registering 16.3 percent in the 2010 census for a total of 50.5 million.
GOP, Hispanic, Vote, census
Monday, 22 September 2014 01:42 PM
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