Immigration bill divides GOP

first_imgWASHINGTON — Some feisty Republicans are challenging a claim widely held among GOP leaders that the party must support more liberal immigration laws if it’s to be more competitive in presidential elections.These doubters say the Republican establishment has the political calculation backward. Immigration “reform,” they say, will mean millions of new Democratic-leaning voters by granting citizenship to large numbers of Hispanic immigrants now living illegally in the United States.The argument is dividing the party as it tries to reposition itself after losing the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections. It also could endanger President Barack Obama’s bid for a legacy-building rewrite of the nation’s problematic immigration laws.Many conservatives “are scared to death” that the Republican Party “is committing suicide, that we’re going to end up legalizing 9 million automatic Democrat voters,” radio host Rush Limbaugh recently told Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a leader of the bipartisan team pushing an immigration overhaul.Strategists in both parties say several factors, including income levels, would make many, and probably most, newly enfranchised immigrants pro-Democratic, at least for a time.last_img

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