Republicans Thread a Needle; Resolving Immigration Can Help Long-Term

Communications Associate

November 29, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republicans face possibly their best opportunity yet to appeal to Hispanic and Latino voters and implement workable immigration solutions.

In a U.S. News & World Report article, Republican pollster Whit Ayres homes in on voting trends and the challenges ahead for the Republican Party.

One potential opening amid continuing demographic change: immigration.

“Having run as an ardent opponent of illegal immigration, Trump has a ‘Nixon goes to China’ opportunity to resolve immigration issues that have bedeviled this country for decades,” Ayres writes. “Skeptical Americans will be far more likely to believe his assurances that the border is finally secure than they ever would those of his predecessors. That opens the door to resolving the status of law-abiding immigrants in the country without legal status who have been here for years.”

He goes on to argue that if the Republican administration and Congress work together to create an immigration process that works, they could attain greater support among Hispanic and Latino voters in the future.

Polls continue to show that a majority of Americans support immigrants in their communities, including a preference for pathways for undocumented immigrants to earn legalized status rather than face mass deportation. A Quinnipiac University poll last week indicated that 60 percent of voters across the political spectrum support a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented, the highest level of support on this topic since the group first asked the question four years ago.

“The GOP has the ball. If Republicans choose to address immigrants in ways that keep us safe, stay true to our values and help all Americans, it will only help them in future elections,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “The alternative is to ignore the majority of American voters and worsen an already unsustainable status quo.”