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Anais Arias-Aragon poses for pictures with her certificate after receiving proof of U.S. citizenship during a ceremony in San Francisco, California January 30, 2013. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that he believes it is possible to get an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system certainly by the end of the year if not the first half of 2013.  REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Immigrants want to be American, not placed in legal limbo.
As we've been discussing the last several months, the GOP faces a lose-lose proposition on immigration—they either stand in the way of reform and lose the Latino and Asian votes in perpetuity, or they work toward reform and create millions of new net Democratic voters.

Either way, they suffer short-term pain, but if they play nice, they at least earn the ability to make a long-term play for those votes.

Well, the House GOP thinks it has found a third way—stop hunting down and deporting undocumented immigrants, but prohibit them from becoming U.S. citizens, hence voting. This is a popular solution in the conservative punditry as well, thinking it'll help alleviate their electoral and demographic pain.

But it will do none of that, because the underlying premise is still bigoted and discriminatory—the notion that Latino and Asian immigrants who've come to America to build a better life can never be Americans. And if they're going to send that message, they might as well just obstruct because that's not going to win them any immigrant votes. What's worse—those legal-but-not-American immigrants will breed, and most will have family and friends who are citizens. Who vote.

Then there's the Christian Right, which has laudably jumped on the reform bandwagon.

There has also been a shift in thinking among southern conservative religious leaders, who see Hispanics as a growing part of their congregations.

"Part of it has been a real campaign for awareness of the issue and what’s at stake on the issue," Land said. "There’s also the fact that some evangelicals have figured out that these people are mostly allies when it comes to social issues and unless you drive them away by being anti-Hispanic, they are going to vote the way social conservatives would like them to."

Shhhh, no one tell them that Latinos are more negative toward capitalism than Occupy Wall Street protesters, and that in 2012 exit polling, they were far more likely than the American population at large to support a woman's right to choose and marriage equality. Older Latinos, like older everyone else, are more conservative and religious than young people. And Latinos are nothing if not young—the average age of a native-born Latino is 18.

The Christian right should support immigration reform because it's the Christian thing to do. But if they want to delude themselves into thinking they'll gain electorally from it, all the better.

Originally posted to kos on Wed Feb 06, 2013 at 02:26 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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