Stance on Immigration threatens GOP Hispanic outreach, says Catholic analyst

.- With their current House immigration bill, the Republicans risk becoming an anti-immigrant party and “losing ground both with Hispanic voters and non-Hispanic Catholic voters who sympathize with their plight,” says Deal Hudson, editor of the e-magazine “The Window.”

In his March 31 column, Hudson, who is president of the Morley Institute, reported that the Hispanic vote was credited as the decisive factor in George W. Bush’s election. In 2004, Bush received 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, up significantly from 2000. (63 percent of Hispanic Protestants voted for Bush and 31 percent of Hispanic Catholics voted for Bush.)

Currently, Hispanics make up 9 percent of the electorate but are growing faster than any other group, with 29 million Hispanic Catholics outnumbering the 22 million white mainline Protestants, reports Hudson.

Aware of these demographic shifts, the Bush White House put Hispanic political outreach high on its priority list and fostered positive relations. But these positive relations may be at risk with their proposed immigration reform, which would impact Hispanic migration directly.

Among other bishops, Roger Cardinal Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, condemned the bill, which seems to criminalize the Church's social services for undocumented immigrants.

Hispanics responded by protesting in the streets of major American cities “in numbers unparalleled in our history,” says Hudson.

At the same time, however, their protests seemed to forget Bush's "guest worker" program, introduced in early 2004 as well as the bi-partisan Senate immigration bill, co-sponsored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Hudson observes.


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