The Republican strategy on immigration has failed

If you haven't yet seen it, Simon just sent this out. Be sure to keep up with NDN's work on immigration reform.

After months of extreme rhetoric, millions of dollars of ads in all regions of the country attacking Democrats for being soft on immigration, and connecting Mexican immigrants to terrorists, it is now clear that the national Republican Party's strategy of criticizing Democrats' support for comprehensive immigration reform has failed.

Their base is still unhappy, as from their perspective not enough has been done to rid the nation of the "illegals;" there is no evidence that their attacks on Democrats have succeeded anywhere in the country; and they have seriously damaged their brand among Latinos, an act that may have permanently endangered their capacity to build a 21st century electoral majority.

In all my years in politics I'm not sure I've seen a greater misreading of an important national issue by Party leaders of either side. But this should come as no great surprise, as the people behind this momentous Republican strategic blunder are named Hastert, Reynolds and Sensenbrenner, a group not particularly noted these days for their political dexterity or advocacy of sound public policy.

The Republican effort to use immigration against the Democrats has failed because the plan the national Democratic Party is supporting presents a good solution to a vexing national problem, and has broad and deep support in both parties.

On our side, the coalition behind what is called Comprehensive Immigration Reform includes Bush, McCain and many other Republicans; the Chamber of Commerce, the Catholic Church, most labor unions and immigrant advocacy groups; all 44 Senate Democrats and a strong majority of the Democrats in the House.

In a hyper-partisan era, this has been one of the most bi-partisan, "sensible center" initiatives put together in Washington, and simply did not fit their "wedge" strategy. This was simply the wrong fight to pick, and has only reinforced that the Republican Party is more concerned with their own internal politics than solving the important problems facing our country.

The Border Fence that was signed into law by the President today is just one further example. Wherever you come down on this issue, the Fence is seriously underfunded, would cover only a fraction of the border and will take years to build even if fully funded. As designed, it just isn't an important part of the solution. And, bluntly, can we really trust the people who botched the rebuilding of New Orleans and Iraq to manage the building of this thing anyway?

To track how the issue is playing out in races across America, visit Immigration 2006, a new coalition that we've helped build that will be working to make sure we have accurate data on how the immigration issue affected this year's election.

While the election is not over, and a great deal can happen in the final days, those in the NDN community should take great pride in what we have been part of this year. In the face of an extraordinary political assault, we have stood firm for a comprehensive and sound solution that will go a long way to fixing our broken immigration system. Comprehensive immigration reform is morally, politically and legislatively the right thing to do, and togther with many allies we have laid the groundwork for meaningful progress next year on one of the most important challenges facing the nation.

Also, check out the following related links... 

Learn more about NDN's work on immigration reform
"Immigration Reform: no greater example of how the GOP has lost its way" (from the NDN Blog)
Read the Fact Sheet on the Fence
Watch Frank Sharry discuss immigration reform
Watch Simon debate immigration reform on C-SPAN yesterday (Click on "Washington Journal Entire Program: 10/25/2006"; RealPlayer required)
Listen to Simon talk about immigration reform on NPR
"Latino and black voters reassessing ties to GOP" (LA Times, October 2006)
Recent NDN Political Fund poll on Hispanic voters