Let me start by saying that I’m not sold on the new immigration bill. The additional costs, especially with health care, should have everyone asking whether this comprehensive reform should be divided up into separate bills. As I wrote back in January, Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner aptly noted that:
…the CBO estimated that the law would cover an additional 11 million people on Medicaid (at a cost of $643 billion from 2013 through 2022) and 25 million through the exchanges (at a cost of just over $1 trillion over the same period). So, for every additional 1 million people on Medicaid, the federal government will be spending about $58 billion over the next decade and for every 1 million people on the exchange, taxpayers would be spending about $41 billion. Projecting this out for 8 million new beneficiaries would give a range of $328 billion to $464 billion.
So, the fact that we haven’t found way to pay for this new immigration push has me on the opposite side of Sen. Marco Rubio, but for those who feel that this will destroy the GOP, like Ann Counter, those convictions are misplaced. Coulter has called Rubio the “Kevorkian” of the Republican Party since she believes these reforms will lead to more liberal voters, which would forever keep the GOP in a “permanent minority.” That’s fallacious.
James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute has a rather insightful post Thursday debunking some of these myths.
Let me respond with three numbers: 775,000, 0, and 45%.
1. The first number refers to the Democratic Hispanic Bonanza Scenario and supposed deluge of 11 million illegal immigrants/undocumented workers. What if all those folks were citizens last November? Well, of that 11 million, only 10 million are adults. And of that 10 million, only 8 million are Latino. And of that 8 million, only 3.5 million would have been voting-age citizens if undocumented Hispanic immigrants became citizens at the rate equal to that of eligible Hispanic immigrants. And of that 3.5 million, only 1.7 million would actually bother to vote. And of that roughly 1.7 million, how many of these new Latino Americans would be net Democratic votes, nationally? Just 775,000 or so, according Harry Enten, polling analyst at The Guardian. So President Obama would have done about a half percentage point better vs. Mitt Romney. Some bonanza.
2. The second number refers to the Electoral College. Wouldn’t those 775,000 net Democratic voters have flipped a few more states Obama’s way? Not one, according to RealClearPolitics polling analyst Sean Trende. Zero. And key swing states would have been only marginally more difficult to win. Obama would have done, for instance, only 0.2 percentage point better in Ohio, New Hampshire, Missouri, and Minnesota.
3. The third number refers to the average share of the popular vote that GOP presidential candidates have garnered over the past six elections, a pathetic 45%. Republicans don’t need someone to help them commit political suicide. They’re managing just fine on their own. And that deterioration might accelerate if Americans think the GOP killed immigration reform mainly because the party feared reform would produce more Democratic voters. And why wouldn’t Americans think that given the comments of some conservative pundits such as Coulter.
775,000 new Hispanic voters, nationally, is hardly a number to be worried about given that the Millennial generation is becoming the most pro-Democratic generation ever. If conservatives are worried about a surge of Democratic voters, they’re already here.
So, can we now focus on how this immigration reform will increase the burden of the state on American taxpayers? It’s a message that can resonate more successfully with voters, and if done properly – the GOP can come off looking like the party that’s trying doing immigration reform properly. Roy Beck of Numbers USA has already stated the threats this bill has to American workers, and said this wouldn’t be the problem that it is now if Congress had honored it’s own immigration reforms in 1986, 1990, and 1996. All three promised border security, but never delivered. That’s Washington for you. In the meantime, the status quo remains the cheapest option for taxpayers, but it’s an unsustainable course of action. Heck, even Rich Trumka of the AFL-CIO has called on Congress to improve worker protections, which only highlights that no one is really happy about how this is going.