Immigration Reform: Republicans Require Politically Advantageous Human Rights

Have you noticed this trend? — Republicans have a nasty habit of waiting until their position is politically untenable before they shift course and adopt a specific human rights cause. They do it time and time again. And let me clarify, I’m not talking about all Republicans, I’m talking about — old school, head in the sand, my way or the highway, cling to my guns and my religion — right-wing extremists. The problem is that many Republicans and conservatives have a hard time ignoring what should be the fringe and instead cater to it. So while not all Republicans have gone AWOL on human benevolence, all Republicans are culpable for the offensive and out of touch rhetoric and policies of their party.

Republicans were late to the game on:

  • Social Security
  • Medicare
  • Civil rights
  • Universal health care

And that’s just to name a few. Oh, and when I say they are late to the game, that implies that they now embrace the above mentioned achievements. — They do not.

That brings us to immigration reform and John McCain.

John McCain - photo by Dan Bennett

There was a time when McCain was a moderate. That was until he battled for the Republican nomination in 2008 and did what many Republicans do, indulge the extreme of his party. And no, we don’t play the false equivalence game here. Democrats might toss a few juicy morsels at liberals, but there is nothing you can point to in the 2008 Democratic primary season that could be called extreme or fringe.

So yesterday John McCain shows his more moderate side by embracing immigration reform, but at least he was honest about his motivation:

Look at the last election. Look at the last election. We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours, for a variety of reasons, and we’ve got to understand that. – Senator John McCain, ABC “This Week”

Some Republicans probably knew all along that a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants was always the right thing to do. But they still allowed compassion and decency to take a back seat to political calculation. The 2012 election proved the political landscape changed, and because of that, Republicans now embrace comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship. It wasn’t human rights that caused a change of heart for Republicans, it was electoral contemplation.

photo by Dan Bennett

Election 2012Human RightsPolitics

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