Thursday, July 24, 2014

Immigration has Gotten Trickier

Before the surge of children at the U.S.-Mexican border, public opinion on immigration had been mapped and looked reasonably stable.

Democrats had the advantage with a majority of the public supporting immigration reform (a path to citizenship) and a passionate minority of Republicans believing any change (or even discussing reform) was amnesty and encouraged more migration north.

The Central American surge has put Democrats on the defense. It shifted the discussion from citizenship to enforcement. Democrats are divided on welcoming the immigrants and sending them back. But, a majority of the public prefers a speedy process to send children back, which is why Colorado politicians, especially Democrats, are becoming very cautious with the issue.

Mayor Hancock is welcoming some children to stay in Denver. His constituents will be supportive. Denver is the state’s largest and one of its most liberal cities, with a significant Hispanic population. The children also come with some federal money. But, the announcement was not rushed. And, Governor Hickenlooper delayed any statement about Denver’s action, and then offered minimal support on humanitarian grounds.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and, in general, Colorado Republicans have been avoiding the immigration issue, a do no harm strategy, believing there was more to lose than gain bringing it up. But, the new environment provides them room to seek an advantage.

Some polls:
9News: Governor weighs in on bringing migrant kids to Colorado
National Journal: In Colorado, Republicans avoid talking about immigration
Denver Post: Colorado advocates say immigration reform not “a play for amnesty”

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