They’re thinking about it
(Washington Times) An effort is underway to push the Republican Party to rethink its close ties to business groups on immigration, with conservatives arguing that the way to fight immigration-reform proposals is to focus on how they would force Americans into a tougher competition for jobs.
Bolstered by recent polling that suggests voters are worried about the competition, some conservatives have argued the Republican Party should adopt a populist-style pro-worker message heading into the 2014 election, taking advantage of a renewed focus on immigration amid the surge of illegal immigrant children jumping the border.
“Jobs is the primary motivator for awakening action on immigration,” said Kellyanne Conway, founder of the Polling Company, as she presented her survey data last month at the Heritage Foundation. “Hispanics [and] even liberals pipe up [on the issue]. Independents, those making less than $40,000 a year and 85 percent of blue-collar workers agree with this. They believe that protecting American jobs is an incredibly important point of this immigration equation to them, even if it’s left out of the national conversation.”
It’s an issue that’s long divided the GOP, with then-President George W. Bush igniting a near civil war within his party over his push for immigration bills in 2006 and 2007. It reared its head again last year when a group of Senate Republicans joined with all the chamber’s Democrats to pass a bill, though it went nowhere in the House. (snip)
Usually immigration is framed as an issue of border security or a matter of morality, and in those areas it has been trending toward the legalization side. Ms. Conway’s polling, however, suggests voters could be made to see it as a jobs issue.