Obama’s Immigration Move: Does it Play in PA?

Screenshot from the Spanish language version of barackobama.com

President Obama’s new immigration policy has been called a deft political move. Not only does it help secure the Latino vote, but he has GOP leaders tongue tied. Any outspoken criticism of the proposal could risk Republicans’ chances for the Hispanic vote.

The policy allows qualifying illegal immigrants, those younger than 30 who came to the U.S before they were 16, who were brought to the country as children to remain in the country without the possibility of deportation.

It’s estimated that this act could help around 800,000 immigrants.

The President has described the proposal as “more fair, more efficient and more just.”

“This is not amnesty. This is not immunity. This is not a path to citizenship. It’s not a permanent fix. This is a temporary stopgap measure.”

While Obama says it’s the “right thing to do” for the country, it’s left Republicans without a ‘right’ move.

GOP leaders are stuck. If they criticize the proposal too harshly, they may alienate Hispanic voters. However, if they don’t criticize the proposal, they could alienate conservative voters.

While Rep. Barletta (R-Luzerne), chairman of the Immigration Caucus, has slammed the order, other prominent Republicans, including Governor Corbett and House Speaker John Boehner have remained been largely silent on the proposal.

Mitt Romney, usually an outspoken critic of the President, has also not commented. Rather than attack the policy, he criticized the tactic Obama used: a unilateral executive order.

What he did say was that the country needs a more long-term solution.

“I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis, so they know what their future would be in this country.”

“If I’m president, we’ll do our very best to have that kind of long-term solution that provides certainty and clarity for the people who come into this country through no fault of their own by virtue of the action of their parents.”

In a speech Thursday, Romney laid out a more detailed position on immigration, including a path to citizenship for those who have served in the military. But he still declined to say that he would repeal Obama’s order.

“Some people have asked if I will let stand the President’s executive action,” he told a conference of the National Association Of Latino Elected Officials. “The answer is that I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the President’s temporary measure.”

However, Romney may not have to worry about his standing in Pennsylvania over the policy.

Dr. Chris Borick, Director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, doesn’t think the move will increase the President’s chances of winning PA.

“I’m not sure the bump that he gets here among Hispanic voters and more energized progressives will offset any further alienation that he may create among working class white voters in places like Southwestern PA.”

“The Obama calculus is probably that the gains they may get in a place like Florida may be worth some losses in Pa where they assume they have a little larger margin to play with.”

He added that while he may receive the Hispanic vote, he risks losing the white working class vote.

About 5.7 percent of PA’s population is Hispanic or Latino, according to the 2010 census. the National average is 16.7 percent.

6 Responses

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  2. It is a progressive move and may be to appease the left end of the party who is also disenchanted with Obama. It may also be an appeasement move with urban Catholics who have long held haven policies so they can use them for political purposes.

    Will it make a difference in states like Colorado? Is it an attempt to balance out the disenfranchisement of Necro-Americans in some states due to new voter ID laws?

  3. In PA alone we pay $1.4 billion a year for services provided to illegal aliens.

    We are constantly told “we can not deport 11 (actually 20-30) million illegal aliens,” while the corrupted politicians who facilitated this invasion of illegal aliens continue to increase the rewards bestowed on them. It was and is the corrupted politicians who, at the behest of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, unions, and LaRaza, who are solely to blame and it is the same who should be forced to remedy this crisis sans law-abiding citizens’ tax dollars.

  4. I know a number of latino’s and they are law abiding. Most do not like illegal immigration because of how it makes them look. They have worked hard to come here and become citizens. I’ve hired a number of them on occasion and they are the hardest working people I have ever seen. Obama is playing the race card with them, and the ones I have talked to do not like it. All Obama does is tear people apart. I want a president who brings us all together.

  5. Here’s a newsflash:

    Not all hispanics are the same. The vast majority of the illegal population is coming from Mexico and other countries in Central America. This strategy will probably play well in California and other states with large populations of illegals hailing from those areas.

    I’m just not sure how well it will play in states like Pennsylvania since the majority of this state’s
    hispanic population doesn’t come from these areas.

    I’d imagine that the initiative won’t exactly whip up the Puerto Rican vote since they’re all legal. They have other issues to worry about. Same goes for Cuban Americans in Florida (although most of them would probably vote Republican anyway).

  6. Let’s state the obvious here, does it help in swpa? No. Does it help moderate democrats down ticket? No. These people feel torn in the sense that they are hardcore against Romney on economic/ labor/ pocketbook issues but are socially conservative and torn on policies such as this one, which some see it as a free lunch, in the sense there is a reward bestowed as the result of illegal immigration, while others see as good to add them to the tax rolls, but what message is sent to those following the rules and laws?

    However, I believe these folks, or atleast ive hear would be able to send for their families too… if there’s truth to that, then it’s far more massive. There are a bunch of democrats in swpa that are kind of the more old school new deal coalition dems.

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