Congressman Mo Brooks: Republicans oppose immigration reform because “it changes the voter pool”

What is it with Republicans saying exactly what they mean these days?

Earlier today, Congressman Mo Brooks (R – AL) called on Paul Ryan to not bring comprehensive immigration reform to a vote if he becomes the next Speaker of the House, but not because such a bill is a bad idea. Rather, as he told TalkingPointsMemo, “Immigration is far and away the most important problem facing America because it changes the voter pool, thereby controlling the outcome of every single public policy challenge America faces.”

Brooks’s comments confirm what has been thus far understood but unsaid in the debate over immigration reform: It has nothing to do with the relative security of our borders and everything to do with preventing millions of Latino immigrants from taking part in the political process. As Latinos, along with all other non-white voters, favor Democratic candidates by vast margins, immigration reform that included a pathway to citizenship would be disastrous for Republicans’ political prospects.

With comments like these, it isn’t too hard to figure out why such a big gap in Latino support exists in the first place.

Mo Brooks, via Wikimedia Commons

Mo Brooks, via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, Brooks sent a letter to Ryan asking, in slightly less direct terms, that he pledge to keep immigration reform off the table as Speaker. As he wrote, “Struggling American families have lost more than 8 million job opportunities to illegal aliens. All lower and middle income American workers have suffered from suppressed wages caused by the surge in both illegal alien and lawful immigrant labor supply.”

According to Brooks, Ryan agreed and will avoid immigration under his tenure as Speaker.

It’s unclear exactly how Brooks thinks this ardent opposition to immigration reform on electoral grounds is going to play out in the long term. Blocking immigration reform may prevent millions of Latino immigrants from casting ballots in the short term, but it positively infuriates millions of Latino citizens, who constitute our nation’s largest minority group.

And while it may take a long time, sooner or later comprehensive immigration reform is going to happen. There simply isn’t any other feasible option for handling our undocumented immigrant population. Republicans can block it for as long as they hold the House, but they won’t hold the House forever — especially not if they continue to swim against our country’s demographic stream — and the longer they hold out, the more aggrieved those eventual citizens will be once they are able to exercise their voting rights.

So a tip ‘o the hat to Mo Brooks for going on record to say what everyone already knew, and a wag o’ the finger to Mo Brooks for thinking that this is in any way a moral or electorally viable strategy. All the GOP is doing is staving off the inevitable, which generally isn’t a good position for a political party to find itself in.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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13 Responses to “Congressman Mo Brooks: Republicans oppose immigration reform because “it changes the voter pool””

  1. DonHonda says:

    “You know how for so long we have thought that the racist wing of the Democratic Party called the Dixiecrats, that were based in the South were dead and replaced by Republicans? The actions of Democratic officials like gov Jay Nixon, always thought there had to be something slimey about a Democrat named Nixon, and Bill McCulloch, the vile St. Louis DA who smirked as he gave cops the green light to keep murdering young African-American males have proven that assumption wrong.

    This is where the “big tent” philosophy gets us, folks. How can we point the finger at Republican racism with so much racism in our own party? We need to drive these people out. If this party has no standards and no limits on what the people we put up for office believe and how they conduct themselves, what’s the point.”

    “So far, national Democrats haven’t discouraged Southern conservative newcomers. Congressional campaign committee heads helped Childers and Cazayoux, just as they did Heath Shuler in 2006. They helped recruit Webb and promoted him over the more conventionally liberal Harris Miller. Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel have even been willing to boost pro-life and pro-gun Democrats north of the Mason Dixon line, including Bob Casey in Pennsylvania and both Brad Ellsworth and Joe Donnelly in Indiana. Jack Davis has even run as a Pat Buchanan Democrat against Republican Congressman Tom Reynolds in New York. It may not seem like much of an innovation to run culturally conservative candidates in culturally conservative areas, but it took years for the Democrats to decide that they liked being in the majority better than imposing litmus tests.”

  2. DonHonda says:

    What is not mentioned is that Ryan will not take the Chair unless the motion to “Vacate the Chair” is struck down. So, in other words, his “promises” don’t mean a thing.

    “By any measure, fears of (Illegal) immigration are driving many white Americans to the Republican Party. And, indeed, the Republican strategy on immigration appears to have been successful. Republicans now control the House and the Senate, the governor’s office in 31 states, and two-thirds of the state legislatures. They are winning the political war.”

    “An even bigger factor is that the ties of racial and ethnic minorities to the Democratic Party are tenuous. Research by Taeku Lee and myself shows that most Latinos and Asian Americans don’t feel like they fit into either party. In national surveys, those who refuse to answer a question about party identification, those who claim that they do not think in partisan terms, and independents make up the clear majority of both groups. All told, 56 percent of Latinos and 57 percent of Asian-American identify as nonpartisans.

    Even among blacks, there are signs of ambivalence. Almost 30 percent of blacks feel
    that the Democratic Party does not work hard for black interests.”

    Most Hispanics aren’t single-issue voters when it comes to immigration. A recent Gallup poll found that among registered Latino voters, 67 percent are at least willing to support a candidate who doesn’t share their views on immigration. And 18 percent don’t consider the issue important at all.

    What’s more, many Hispanic citizens have little sympathy for immigrants who haven’t played by the rules. Especially among Latino voters born in the United States, resentment of immigrants who have entered the country illegally can run deep. Forty-two percent of American-born Hispanics disapprove of President Obama’s executive actions to prevent the deportation of illegal immigrants.

    Gee, No wonder why I fall into the Proud Independent group.

  3. Indigo says:

    Yelling doesn’t get through. I don’t know what does. If anything.

  4. BeccaM says:

    Yeah… so often I want to grab ’em by the scruff of the neck and yell, “These are the direct political descendants of those who wanted to keep YOUR ancestors out of America!”

  5. BeccaM says:

    There’s no shortage of people who will vote, unknowingly or not, against their own self-interests if the candidate in question happens to hate the same people they do.

    It’s why xenophobia and intolerance are all the rage in the GOP these days.

  6. BeccaM says:

    Oh, it matters to some degree, because for now, elections still need to be pushed to within stealing distance on the results. It may be CT of me to say so, but I still think that’s what happened in Ohio in 2004.

  7. mf_roe says:

    Who cares who votes, who counts the votes is where the decision is made.

  8. mf_roe says:

    The intelligence distribution is independent of the political distribution.

  9. BeccaM says:

    It’s been a longstanding American political tradition for the conservative establishment to attempt to restrict the vote to only those who can be counted upon to vote for them.

    This isn’t to say there haven’t been shenanigans enough to go around…but certainly ever since the 1960s, the Democratic party’s position has been that voting is an essential civil right, whereas the GOPers see no problem with attempting to suppress the likely non-GOP voters.

    If anyone was wondering what would be the Republican party’s reaction to the inevitably changing overall demographics in America, here it is: Disenfranchisement and making voting difficult or impossible for minorities, coupled with extreme computer-aided gerrymandering, and quite possibly corrupting the results by having GOP-favoring companies own the voting machine makers and tabulation servers.

  10. DetroitSam says:

    The sad thing is that there are many Latino voters who support this guy and other republicans. The same thing as many Muslim voters supporting republicans.

    This is completely baffling to me.

  11. Texon says:

    This clown is as stupid as he looks. He has no idea what democracy means but clearly understands how to gerrymander elections. Sad to see he is in congress, but it does explain why things are as screwed up as they are.

  12. JaneE says:

    When immigrants become citizens they tend to not vote for the party that decried their existence before they became citizens. There are two ways to address this problem. One is to stop hating and blaming immigrants for everything from a poor economy to crime. The other is the GOP way – just keep immigrants from becoming citizens.

  13. Indigo says:

    They said that about the Irish. The Chinese. The Italians. The Greeks. The Slavs. And on and on. In every case, it’s a bogus protest from people too ignorant or lazy to keep up.

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