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January 11, 2008

Anti-immigration strategy fails

By ANDRES OPPENHEIMER, January 10, 2008, MIAMI HERALD (Oppenheimer Column):

"Here are the three things that I found most interesting about Tuesday's New Hampshire primary in which Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton and Republican Sen. John McCain won upset victories that threw the 2008 presidential race into uncharted territory:


• First, the anti-immigration card didn't work in New Hampshire. Contrary to expectations, McCain won despite virulent attacks by fellow Republican hopeful Mitt Romney and others that he was being too soft on the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

According to exit polls, immigration was not among the three most important issues for Democrats, and was tied for third place among Republicans.

''McCain's victory is good news for those of us who support a comprehensive immigration reform,'' says Democratic Party pollster Sergio Bendixen. ``His campaign couldn't be destroyed by those who claimed he was not being aggressive enough on immigration.''
McCain had been a leading sponsor of a 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill that would have both increased border security and provided an earned path to legalization to millions of undocumented foreign workers. Romney, Mike Huckabee and other Republican contenders said that the proposal amounted to an ''amnesty,'' and are calling -- some more explicitly than others -- for the massive deportation or induced departure of all undocumented immigrants.

Granted, McCain benefited from New Hampshire's electoral rules, which allow independents to vote in either party's primary Still, independents -- whose votes will be critical in the presidential race -- were not lured by anti-immigration fear mongers.

''The anti-immigrant dog barks, but it doesn't bite,'' says Frank Sharry, head of the National Immigration Forum, a Washington D.C. group that supports middle-of-the-road immigration reforms. ``Romney has invested millions of dollars to become the hero of the anti-immigrant forces, but that hasn't translated into votes in Iowa nor in New Hampshire.''...".

Posted by VisaLawyer at January 11, 2008 04:39 PM

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