Press Releases

Apr 23 2013

MYTH vs. FACT: Immigration Reform Could Lead To Democrat Bonanza Of “As Many As 11 Million New Hispanic Voters”

"Inherently speculative exercise" relies on wild assumptions, dismisses conservatism's appeal

MYTH: Passing immigration reform will “produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats and cripple Republican prospects in many states they now win easily.”

  • “The immigration proposal pending in Congress would transform the nation’s political landscape for a generation or more — pumping as many as 11 million new Hispanic voters into the electorate a decade from now in ways that, if current trends hold, would produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats and cripple Republican prospects in many states they now win easily.” (Emily Schultheis, “Immigration reform could be bonanza for Dems,” Politico, 4/22/13)
  • “[T]here are brass-tacks partisan calculations driving the thinking of lawmakers in both parties over comprehensive immigration reform, which in its current form offers a pathway to citizenship — and full voting rights — for a group of undocumented residents that roughly equals the population of Ohio, the nation’s seventh-largest state.” (Emily Schultheis, “Immigration reform could be bonanza for Dems,” Politico, 4/22/13)

FACT: Not all 11 million illegal immigrants here today will qualify to become citizens, and not all of the 11 million illegal immigrants are Hispanic. Historically, many green card holders choose not to become citizens. And, unfortunately, not all eligible voters – regardless of their backgrounds – turn out to vote. Under the immigration legislation, not all illegal immigrants currently in this country will be eligible for temporary status and, as a result, will be subject to deportation.

  • During an interview with FOX, Karl Rove dissembled Politico’s story point by point. “Well, I read the story, and I have a few quibbles with the story. It says for example, that there are 11 million illegal aliens, and it assumes that all of them are Hispanic. We know that is not true. In fact, the Pew Charitable Trust study which they base their numbers indicates that 75 percent or less are Latino, and other quarter come in from visas from France and England and Asia and Africa. So, not all of them are Hispanic. Will all the people become citizens? No. We don’t know what percentage will, but we have some pretty strong evidence that some substantial number will take advantage fact they work here, and then return to their homeland when their retirement comes. So, we don’t know how many of them are actually going to apply for citizenship. This assumes all of them vote, and look in the last election between 44 and 53 percent of Latinos who were eligible to vote, actually registered and turned out to vote. And this study assumes that they all will vote. Then, I would just remind people, past performance as they say in the investment world, is not a guarantee of future results. Because take a look at the last election: 27 percent of the Hispanic vote turned out for Romney, but in the seven battleground states with exit polling 32 percent. And in the battleground of battleground states, Ohio, 42 percent. So, a strong campaign in a battleground state like Ohio yielded Romney better than the number Republicans need in order to be competitive at the national level. And pretty close to Bush’s 44 percent that he received nationwide among at Latinos in 2004.” (FOX News, 4/23/13)
  • “About three-quarters (76%) of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population are Hispanics. The majority of undocumented immigrants (59%) are from Mexico, numbering 7 million. Significant regional sources of unauthorized immigrants include Asia (11%), Central America (11%), South America (7%), the Caribbean (4%) and the Middle East (less than 2%).” (Jeffrey Passel and D’Vera Cohn, “A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States,” Pew Research Hispanic Center, 4/14/09)
  • “5.4 million are adult legal permanent residents (LPRs) who could not vote because they have not yet become naturalized U.S. citizens. The naturalization rate among legal immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean trails that of other legal immigrants by a sizable margin—49% versus 72%, according to a Pew Hispanic analysis of the 2011 March Current Population Survey (CPS).”(Paul Taylor, Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Jeffrey Passel and Mark Hugo Lopez, “An Awakened Giant: The Hispanic Electorate is Likely to Double by 2030,” Pew Research Hispanic Center, 11/14/12)
  • “11.2 million are adults who were eligible to vote but chose not to. The estimated 44% to 53% turnout rate of eligible Hispanic voters in 2012 is in the same range as the 50% who turned out in 2008. But it still likely lags well below the turnout rate of whites and blacks this year.” (Paul Taylor, Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Jeffrey Passel and Mark Hugo Lopez, “An Awakened Giant: The Hispanic Electorate is Likely to Double by 2030,” Pew Research Hispanic Center, 11/14/12)
  • Rejecting Amnesty: No one gets amnesty. In fact, this bill will eliminate today’s de facto amnesty, in which we have 11 million undocumented immigrants here and do not know who they are, what activities they are engaged in or anything else about them. Once the first security triggers are achieved, undocumented immigrants will be able to come forward, must submit to and pass background checks, be fingerprinted, start paying $2,000 in fines, pay taxes, prove they’ve had a physical presence in the U.S. since before 2012 and going to the back of the line, among other criteria. Criminals and those illegal immigrants who do not meet these criteria will be deported.
  • Legalization is not immediate, automatic or irrevocable: Even for illegal immigrants who attain temporary status, that status can be revoked if they commit a serious crime or if they fail to comply with the employment requirement, the public charge requirement (which goes hand-in-hand with the employment requirement), their tax obligations and their physical presence obligations. They will then be subject to deportation.
  • Criminals will not be eligible and this process will help better focus resources on deporting them: Today’s situation is a de facto amnesty that allows these very individuals to game our system and avoid capture, deportation and incarceration. These are exactly the kind of people we need to deport immediately, and it is why the process of identifying who is here and figuring out what they have been doing is so critical. Since we know these are the type of people who will be the last to avail themselves of the process being set up to deal with our undocumented population, the bill’s security measures will help better focus our resources on finding and deporting these individuals. By bringing undocumented immigrants without criminal records out of the shadows, this will also encourage those individuals to cooperate with law enforcement to identify criminals who commit fraud, steal, assault others, deal in drugs, work as human traffickers, and are violent gang members.

FACT: By their own admission, Politico’s analysis was an “inherently speculative exercise”. (Emily Schultheis, “Immigration reform could be bonanza for Dems,” Politico, 4/22/13)