Bush Has His Guest Work Cut Out

Chicago Sun Times

The amnesty and guest workers programs are so unpopular with the public that a skeptic at the White House meeting wondered how this problem would be handled. “We’ll marginalize our critics,” replied an apparatchik. “Well, it’s a little difficult to marginalize 70 percent of the American people,” replied the skeptic — and so it is proving.

Monday’s “Washington Post” reported that the White House was suffering anguish because the Republicans in the House, responding to their constituents, intended to vote for a bill that contained measures to improve border security without the guest worker/amnesty parts. The RNC chairman, Ken Mehlman, lamented that such a bill would endanger the GOP’s outreach to Latinos.

How can it possibly be electorally disadvantageous to adopt a policy supported by 70 percent of voters in order to win more support from Latinos who constitute less than 8 percent of voters? Even that question understates the absurdity of his argument because, as numerous polls show, Latinos are almost as divided as other Americans about legal and illegal immigration.

A recent Pew survey of Latino attitudes shows most Latinos rank immigration as not a very important issue. But 23 percent of them — and 34 percent of Latinos born in the United States — think illegal immigrants hurt the economy by driving down wages. Most surprisingly, a majority of Latinos think legal immigration from Latin America should be reduced (13 percent) or stay the same (43 percent) as opposed to increased (31 percent.)

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