GOP Platform Backs Both 'Self Deportation' And Guest Workers
PHOENIX The immigration plank of the Republican Party platform, according to media outlets that reviewed the document, reflects two different attitudes within the party.
Delegates will vote on the platform at the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week.
On the one hand, the platform supports a temporary foreign guest worker program.
On the other hand, it supports tough policies intended to encourage undocumented immigrants to leave the country, or "self-deport." Those amendments include support for state-led immigration enforcement, mandatory electronic verification of workers' eligibility, and withholding federal funds from universities that offer reduced tuition rates to undocumented immigrants.
According to The Hill, a Washington-based publication, the platform reads, "State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked," and calls for the Department of Justice to drop lawsuits against states that adopted immigration laws like Arizona's.
Many of the immigration enforcement items were suggested by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped draft Arizona's immigration law, and has had ties to the Romney campaign.
Kobach is also representing a group of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who are suing the Obama Administration over new policies that spare certain immigrants from deportation.
Syndicated political columnist Ruben Navarrette says Kobach's brand of immigration policy is controversial.
"There was some conversation behind closed doors about the immigration language," Navarrette said. "There are in fact some pro-business Republicans out there who think this is a suicide mission that the GOP has been on."
Navarrette says this is the latest twist in a long-standing fight between Republicans who want an immigrant work force, and those who want to curb immigration.
He says some in the party worry a tough immigration enforcement stance is alienating key Latino votes, but that faction did not prevail in blocking those amendments from the final party platform.
"The country is becoming more Hispanic, and what good does it do to turn your brand into a toxic asset for Hispanics," Navarrette said. "That argument was had, and it was dismissed and it was overridden."
Still Navarrette says historically what really matters to voters is what the political candidates say, not what is contained in their party's platform.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney first referenced his support for "self-deportation" during his party's primary, but has since softened his remarks on immigration during the general campaign season.