An immigrant community is naturally segregated by language and custom. That’s not a racial issue. It was true in its time for Polish immigrants or Italian immigrants or Jewish immigrants. It leads to an isolated and vulnerable base that is dependent on its community leaders for access to services and for help navigating a strange new world. And the political structure is largely determined by those leaders and their contacts with the outside world. Integration removes much of that which is why it is in the interest of those leaders and their outside political allies to maintain that state of segregation.
The immigrant vote is largely shaped by their first contacts, by the political faction that first met them when they ‘came off the boat’ and took care of them. They perceive those groups as being the ones to represent their interests even when they resent them and are entirely aware of how corrupt they are.
Policies at the legislative level have a limited bearing on this perception. The political network may organize a thousand members of the group to march on City Hall to demand X, Y and Z, but any outcome of that match only reinforces the influence of the organizers, not of City Hall. Amnesty will not make the Republicans seem more likable, it will make the organizers seem more powerful for having successfully broken the Republican opposition to illegal immigration. That is all that such policy concessions accomplish.
All of this applies equally well to most immigrant and minority groups. A segregated group is largely controlled by its native power brokers who are controlled by local political power brokers. That role is not limited exclusively to the Democratic Party, the Republican Party did at one point have sizable contacts among some Eastern European, Cuban and Vietnamese immigrants. But those contacts did not move up the ladder to the national Republican Party. Nixon’s efforts in that regard largely fell by the wayside with his own fall and the Republican Party forgot most of what it knew about community organizing along the way, concentrating on media buys and push polling.
That is why the Republican Party is performing so badly among newer Asian immigrants, namely PRC Chinese and Indians, while flailing among Cubans and Vietnamese. And it’s why it has no clue at all about its hamhanded approach for trying to win the Latino vote.
Latinos, like every other group, have their own demographics. The types of immigrants that the Democrats want to bring in through legalization, poor, illiterate, unskilled and low on the totem pole in their own home countries, are ideal for their purposes and terrible for Republican purposes. Sure some of them might become the type of touching success stories that Republicans and Democrats both use as examples of American Exceptionalism, but for the most part they won’t. At least not for a while.
The Democrats know the numbers. They know that their grip loosens as immigrants begin making English their first language, stop living in close-knit communities and start looking at how high their taxes are and how little they get in exchange. That doesn’t mean that those people will magically become Republicans, mostly they will not, but some of them will. The immigration Ponzi Scheme requires that the balance be maintained on the side of controllable segregated immigrants. And the longer a group remains segregated, the more it remains a reliable source of Democratic votes.
Just as in the 2012 election, the Republicans are trying to win through displays of policy, while the Democrats rely on their keen knowledge of demographics. The Republicans are trying to win an argument, without realizing that the argument is not the point. The point is in the demographics.
The Republicans cannot win the argument with Amnesty. Amnesty is just another Get Out the Vote effort by Democrats. The Republicans cannot and will not benefit from it, in the same way that they cannot and do not benefit from any other Democratic GOTV operation.
If the Republican Party genuinely wants the Latino vote, it will dig a deep hole, toss Amnesty inside and then begin looking at different Latino groups by country of origin, by income level and by their community structures and try to see which of them it can zero in on. And then it will have to start finding community leaders who can deliver the vote in exchange for pork. It’s not very conservative, but it’s still more conservative than Amnesty, and unlike Amnesty, it can actually work.