As Barack Obama and the progressive Democrats rail through immigration reform, let's look at how immigration reform and amnesty policy sets with Republicans. The thought of granting amnesty to over 12 million immigrants has divided conservatives and moderates alike.
Of course, immigration amnesty (Government granting citizenship to illegal aliens), is opposed by a vast majority of conservatives. Conservatives agree there are several key reasons to oppose granting amnesty. Including: 1) Amnesty will cause a massive surge in demand for government services such as food stamps and medicaid for these new citizens, 2) an increase in federal services will cost approximately $2-3 Trillion that our country cannot afford, 3) legal immigrants that have been in process for citizenship will be trumped by millions of illegals flooding the federal government, and 4) border enforcement must be achieved and signed off by all Southwestern border state Governors before new immigration policies be allowed to proceed.
Following the 2012 election, Republicans such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham are convinced the GOP must repair its acceptance with Hispanics. These moderate Republicans believe amnesty is a way to make amends.
However, we must look back on history. Ronald Reagan actually granted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens in the '80's. What was his reward from Hispanics? He only achieved 35% of the Hispanic vote in his second term election.
This history lesson lends credence to the conservative mantra. That conservatism needs to work on its strongest aspect of its similarities with Hispanics. Social conservatism on many levels resonates entirely with the Hispanic community. From family values to pro-life, these values are embraced by conservatives and Hispanics alike.
Can conservatives and moderates reach agreement about amnesty? Resolving this split between moderate and conservative Republicans is at the crux of the problem. Most moderate Republicans are socially weak and centered about what it takes to be re-elected. Conservatives for the most part stand on their principles and work in their states to communicate why constituents should support their values and candidacy. The result of the 2012 election has driven enough moderate Republicans over to support amnesty that the Senate Democrats will have the votes to advance an amnesty bill.
What can the conservatives use as a firewall to mitigate the pending tide of amnesty? Well, a wall is the correct word. Conservatives and most moderate Republicans feel our southern border with Mexico must be fully secured before any further reforms are deployed. It seems as if most Democrats will agree to a border policy that will increase security before amnesty is fully implemented. However, there is strong resistance from Barack Obama and progressive Democrats that want to fast track amnesty without assuring strong borders or delaying illegals application time to become citizens.
Conservatives will need to stay on message to assure immigration reforms do not go awry. Protecting our borders and assuring the reforms do not explode the size of the federal government will be the focus. There will be considerable expense to our back pockets. Imagine the scope and expense of processing over 12 million new citizens on a amnesty track, then trying to provide government services to the same. Conservatives must work to keep costs down and implement checks on the immigration system so this is say a 10-15 year program instead of another on-going social hand out to immigrants. Conservatives will need to hold firm that after a period of time the amnesty clause will expire for those illegals within our borders to apply. This will allow amnesty to occur, but on a restrictive scale so the expense of amnesty and impact to federal social programs will be contained.