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Bush trying to win hispanic vote with immigration policy


TRIBE Member
Border Politics as Bush Woos 2 Key Groups With Proposal

Published: January 8, 2004

News Analysis WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 — President Bush's sweeping proposal on Wednesday to give legal status to millions of illegal workers was a political document as well as an immigration policy and sought to re-establish his credentials as a compassionate conservative at the starting gate of an election year.

White House political advisers have long talked of the critical importance of Hispanics to Mr. Bush's re-election. But political analysts said that his latest proposal was also designed to appeal to a much larger political prize, suburban swing voters, who might see the plan as evidence of a gentler Republican Party.

"For a party that's trying to look more inclusive and welcoming, the proposal has broader thematics that show an openness to America's new immigrants," said Bill McInturff, a leading Republican pollster.

Mr. Bush's speech carefully hit the emotional notes about opening the United States' borders at a time when the administration has spent more energy securing them. "Many of you here today are Americans by choice, and you have followed in the paths of millions," the president told the crowd. Every generation of immigrants, he added, "has reaffirmed the wisdom of remaining open to the talents and dreams of the world."

Behind the poetic language, analysts said, lay a prosaic White House calculation: That it was more important to reach toward the political middle than to worry about placating Mr. Bush's conservative base. Many conservative Republicans called Mr. Bush's plan nothing more than amnesty for lawbreakers but moderate Republicans said the White House had enough political capital with the conservatives to make it worth risking their ire.

Certainly Mr. Bush's speech announcing the proposal, in the East Room of the White House, came with the kind of political noise not normally heard in the formal splendor of the executive mansion's state floor.

Hispanic leaders invited by the White House jammed the room, cheering and chanting. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Jamaica, had a front-row seat.

The real political risk to the White House, moderate Republicans said, was whether the proposals would be as welcomed by Hispanics as Mr. Bush and his political advisers expected. Many Hispanic leaders quickly heaped criticism on an immigration plan that they said did not go far enough, and asserted that the White House was cynically chasing their votes with an empty plan that would do them no good in the end.

"The notion that there is a green card at the end of this process is an illusion, and that's the crux of the matter," said Cecilia Muñoz, a vice president of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy organization. "The headlines today suggest that he's providing legal status. But the bottom line is when people learn the details of this proposal and what it does and doesn't do, it's likely to seem less appealing."

The White House left many details of the proposal vague, including a critical one at the heart of the plan. Under Mr. Bush's proposal, an illegal worker with a job in the United States could apply to be a three-year guest worker, a status that would provide full employee benefits, the ability to move freely in and out of the United States and the right to apply for a green card. In his speech, Mr. Bush said that an immigrant could renew participation in the guest worker program — but he did not say for how long, leaving it up for Congress to decide.

The tactic is one Mr. Bush has used before, most recently on the Medicare bill, which allows him, Democrats say, to take credit for proposing reforms while leaving Congress to work out the details.

For now, analysts of Hispanic voting trends said it was too early to tell how much the proposal would help Mr. Bush. His advisers have said the president needs 40 percent of the Hispanic vote to win. Mr. Bush won 35 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2000, a significant showing for a Republican. For the past three years, the White House has been aggressively trying to encroach on a traditionally Democratic and rapidly growing voting group.

"The plan is still too vague to say how it will fare among Latino organizations and the Latino community," said John A. Garcia, a political professor at the University of Arizona and the author of the book "Latino Politics in America." But at the least, Mr. Garcia said that it "puts the spotlight back on Bush and the Latinos" and gets Latinos re-engaged in a national conversation with the president and his policies.

But pollsters and political strategists said that Mr. Bush did not have to persuade every Hispanic voter of the value of his plan, and that just improving his standing on the margins could make a difference in the 2004 election.

Andrew Kohut, the director of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, noted that Republicans have been gaining significant ground with Hispanic voters in the last decade, and that Mr. Bush's immigration proposals could exploit those gains. Pew surveys in Florida in the late 1990's, Mr. Kohut said, showed that 36 percent of Hispanic voters were Democrats while 24 percent were Republicans. But surveys in more recent years showed that 30 percent of Hispanic voters were Democrats while 32 percent were Republicans.

"So think about the advantage that could be for Bush in a close election, and it gives you some indication of the potential for this proposal to help him politically," Mr. Kohut said.

John McLaughlin, a Republican pollster and a partner in Opiniones Latinas, a firm in Alexandria, Va., that conducts national surveys among Spanish-speaking adults, said that many legal Hispanics were interested in overhauling immigration laws for national security reasons, and also to make it easier for them to travel to and from the United States.

"Their family and friends, even in the legal immigration system, are running into increased barriers," Mr. McLaughlin said.
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


TRIBE Member
Good article on what Latinos think of the Bush government.

MONTERREY, Mexico When President George W. Bush joins the Summit of the Americas in Mexico on Jan. 12, he should reflect upon why good will toward the United States has diminished so dramatically in the region during his presidency.

A recent poll by Zogby International found that 87 percent of Latin American opinion-makers disapproved of Bush's policy in the region. Another, by Latinobarometro, found that nearly a third of Latin Americans had a negative image of the United States - a twofold increase since 2000.

This growing disenchantment is fueled largely by opposition to the war in Iraq, which may be the one issue that unites people across the political spectrum in Latin America today. Almost all the countries in the region refused to join the U.S.-led coalition. The two that held seats on the Security Council last March - Mexico and Chile - both withheld support for the resolution that would have authorized the invasion. Both were among the countries excluded from Pentagon contracts in Iraq.

Another source of discontent among Latin American officials has been U.S. opposition to the International Criminal Court - the one initiative for handling abusive tyrants like Saddam Hussein that does enjoy nearly universal approval in Latin America. The Bush administration has been aggressively pressing these governments to sign agreements that would prevent them from turning American suspects over to the court. It has cut off military aid and threatened to withhold humanitarian assistance to countries that refuse.

Many Latin American officials believe, correctly, that these agreements violate their international treaty obligations, as well as their domestic laws. They find themselves, as a result, forced to choose between their commitment to the rule of law and their relationships with the United States. And they report that the Bush administration has subjected them to "unbearable pressure" to choose the latter.

This is ironic given that the United States identifies the promotion of democracy and the rule of law as a top priority. In fact, at the last Summit of the Americas, in 2001, the Bush administration played an important role in elaborating an Inter-American Democratic Charter that commits governments to actively defend democracy in the region. Yet when this commitment was tested by an attempted coup in Venezuela the following year, the United States was the charter's only signatory that balked. Instead of condemning the coup, the Bush administration initially spoke out against the deposed president, Hugo Chávez, and only joined the chorus of condemnations when the de facto government was beginning to unravel.

Perhaps the most notorious example of the Bush administration's inconsistent approach to its international obligations lies in Cuba. For decades the United States has condemned the Cuban government's human rights practices, which are indeed among the worst in the region. Yet, at the same time, and on the same island, the U.S. government is now holding hundreds of detainees from the "war on terror," denying them basic legal protections provided by international law.

The double standard in Cuba helps explain why Latin Americans embrace multilateral mechanisms like the International Criminal Court and the Democratic Charter. They see them as vital tools for strengthening human rights norms in their own countries. But, at the same time, they see them as an alternative to the selective and self-serving application of these norms by governments that have the power to impose their will upon others.

When Mexico's ambassador to the United Nations observed recently that the United States treats his country as its backyard, the Bush administration denounced the statement so strenuously that the Mexican government felt compelled to fire the ambassador. Yet officials throughout Latin America believe that the observation is equally applicable to the whole region. It will take a lot of work for President Bush to convince them that they are wrong.

José Miguel Vivanco is executive director of the Americas division of Human Rights Watch. Daniel Wilkinson, a lawyer at Human Rights Watch, is author of "Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala."

Littlest Hobo

TRIBE Member


"Mexican Americans" by Cheech and Chong


Mexican Americans dont like to just get into gang fights, they like flowers and music and white girls named Deby too.

Mexican Americans are named Chata and Chella and
Chema and have a son-in-law named Jeff.

Mexican Americans dont like to get up early in the
morning but they have to so they do it real slow.

Mexican Americans love education so they go to night school and take they spanish and get a B. (Ya leave that in)

Mexican Americans love their nana's and their nono's and their nina's and their nino's

Mexican Americans dont like to go to the movies
where the dude has to where contact lenseses to make his blue eyes brown cuz dont it make my brow eyes blue.

And thats all I got how do you like it

oh ya thats good

Its like a protest tune

ya I dig that but while you were singing that I wrote another tune

oh ya

its like the same thing only different wanna hear it

ya lets hear it

its more rock n roll

alright we'll get down

i have to work more on the lyrics but its kinda like that

ya thats heavy
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Littlest Hobo

TRIBE Member
1. Bush is facilitating cheap labour for large businesses. So neo-con of him.
2. While many on the right will be pissed, they will NEVER vote Demmykrat. Bush still has their votes. On the other hand, Bushes has an in with Hispanic's, a very large and growing minority. Latino's tradionally vote Democrat.
3. This 'compassionate conservatism' play may steal votes from the Democrats. I don't know if this will is correct.
4. Congress will not let this bill pass, anyway. So Bush can now crow "At least I tried".

This action is very bizarre and I never saw it coming.

Littlest Hobo

TRIBE Member
It's a nice measure (I'm going to have a shower now, for liking something Bush did). But there's a huge problem. The workers aren't becoming citizens, just 'guest workers'. The help who call master's mansion home but can be turfed at any time.
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Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Littlest Hobo
1. Bush is facilitating cheap labour for large businesses. So neo-con of him.

not as valuable as they used to be. the US has little shortage of cheap labour, it has a shortage of good labour.

2. While many on the right will be pissed, they will NEVER vote Demmykrat. Bush still has their votes. On the other hand, Bushes has an in with Hispanic's, a very large and growing minority. Latino's tradionally vote Democrat.

yeah but this will only appeal to those who won't be citizens by the time of the ellection. Most of the families directly involved are not going to be able to vote anyway. The only hispanics directly effected who might be voters (outside of the more wealthy) are the ones who are loosing there jobs to the imported labour. I argue the more educated and wealthy are democrats anyway.

3. This 'compassionate conservatism' play may steal votes from the Democrats. I don't know if this will is correct.

Nah even that doesn't make sense, it looks good but little else.

4. Congress will not let this bill pass, anyway. So Bush can now crow "At least I tried".

No way do they really become citizens, and there won't be an amnesty or anything. I honestly can't figure this one out!!


TRIBE Member
Although undocumented workers may be allowed to become "temporary workers" they have not been given any sort of concrete status or any form of assurance. The administration has the power to revoke their status at any time without cause and the workers won't be able to do a thing about it. Another point is that people in the US who are working there illegally clearly work under some sort of anonimity. The government for obvious reasons doesn't know much about them. In order to become a temporary worker I'm sure they're forced to give up a certain amount of information that may leave them open to attack later on (i.e. deportation).


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Aeryanna
In order to become a temporary worker I'm sure they're forced to give up a certain amount of information that may leave them open to attack later on (i.e. deportation).

We need to keep track of them Mexican terrorist! Actually that's a really good point. Will they be taxed like other Americans?


Well-Known TRIBEr
Bush's Political Suicide, 2004

By AnomymousCoward
Fri Jan 9th, 2004 at 05:54:06 AM EST

There have been a number of issues during the past four years that have caused American voters to question the competency of G.W. Bush. From the war in Afghanistan to the war in Iraq, from Halliburton to Harken, the left has cried "foul" and the right has nodded its modest approval. This week, though, Bush has set himself up to alienate more Republican voters than any of his prior acts in the last four years.

The topic is immigration. At face value, a simple concept: just as people occasionally leave America to find new opportunity, a number of people would like to come to America to find new jobs, people willing to give up their existing lives for a chance at a better standard of living. The issue, as nearly all political issues tend to be, is considerably more complex.

It's nearly undisputed that the vast majority of American citizens are the products of immigration. In fact, many citizens take pride in the fact that they have gained wealth and prosperity after arriving in a new land with essentially nothing to their name. It therefore stands to reason that most Americans would welcome immigrants with open arms, bring them in by the boat or truck as fast as possible. The statistics don't necessarily disagree with this belief: American immigration quotas are at their highest levels EVER. Nevertheless, illegal immigration is also at an all-time high, with an estimated 10,000,000 illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. The case for illegal immigration is simple: the desire for change overcomes the desire for legality - and the delays associated with obtaining the proper legal authorization, and the choice is made to enter the country illegally or to stay longer than is legally allowed. The methods of illegal immigration are immaterial: in a country based on the rule of law, all illegal immigration should be treated on equal grounds. The fact that nearly ten million illegal immigrants are in the country suggests that the practice is not only common, it's ridiculously easy.

Enter the current opportunity for Bush to alienate another large group of past voters: in a desperate bid to gain favor in Florida and California, Bush has proposed1 giving 'temporary' legal status to illegal immigrant workers. The plan itself is rather simple: illegal immigrants in the United States would be able to gain legal status for an initial three-year period if they can prove they have jobs. The plan itself should not shock anyone: the two states where Bush can win or lose the 2004 election are heavily hispanic, and both contain more than a million illegal hispanic immigrants (Florida's illegal immigrant population is estimated between 1 and 3 million, California is estimated between 4 and 5 million). As Bush's original (2001) plan to grant amnesty to illegal aliens died with September 11, a newer, more conservative plan was certainly going to arise sometime before the 2004 election.

The question arises: will this really be the windfall the Bush team obviously expects? The answer, clearly, is that it will not. First and foremost, illegal immigrants can not now, and will not in 2004, be able to vote (legally). Therefore, this plan assumes that the general Hispanic community welcomes such a plan. History suggests otherwise: in the 2003 recall election, Davis' support decreased with the passing of SB 602, a California senate bill that granted a driver license to anyone and everyone who could produce a single form of government identification, regardless of the nation of origin. The passage of the bill saw opposition rise3 not only in the traditional conservative Republican ranks, in the form of groups that sought — and in hindsight, likely would have been able — to defeat the bill by referendum, but also by grassroots Hispanic groups that felt the bill delegitimized their own legal entry into the nation. Indeed, by granting legal status to those who had bypassed the legal system, SB 60 insulted and consequently alienated the legal Hispanic voters that it was designed to court.

Clearly, the fiasco in California was not confined to legal hispanic voters. Other minorities, specifically African Americans, saw the growing acceptance of illegal immigrations as unfair competition for the low skill, low wage jobs: as many illegal immigrants will work for less than minimum wage, it becomes increasingly difficult for unskilled labor to find jobs that actually pay minimum wage. Furthermore, the supply glut caused by the 4,000,000 illegal workers in the state has driven down wages to a point where even moderately skilled jobs can be filled at minimum wage, causing a decrease in the average pay scale, which manifests itself in a rise in the poverty rate and an increase in unemployment and welfare as inner city workers realize that they can make nearly as much money by accessing social programs as they can competing with the illegal labor.

Returning to the national level, it becomes clear that Bush's planned legalization of illegal labor will alienate significant numbers of voters: not only will traditional hispanic voters not be fooled, but traditional conservatives will be insulted, and - again, using California as a bellwether - non-hispanic minorities will likely feel slighted at the pandering to the specific minority group.

In the long run, expect the current pandering to contribute to Bush's resounding defeat in 2004 as traditional conservatives walk away from the struggling campaign in favor of more a candidate that isn't such a political whore.
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Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by PosTMOd

In the long run, expect the current pandering to contribute to Bush's resounding defeat in 2004 as traditional conservatives walk away from the struggling campaign in favor of more a candidate that isn't such a political whore.

aside from my never ending struggle to keep people from calling others whores when they are trying to be taken seriously. I haven't been able to see a legitimate Bush victory in over a year. regardless of CNN I just don't think anyone in the rural areas are happy with the current environment. Bush simply isn't feeding the monkey of the middle level middle class. He is ignoring almost everything and to make matters worse I think most of the money they scammed from Sept 11 (oh we all know where that aid went!!!!!) is probaby already gone.

He ca't win with such a negative image.