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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Race To the Bottom on Immigration

In the first significant policy-oriented thrust by Fred Thompson’s meandering campaign for president, Fred has released an immigration proposal that appears likely to touch off a new immigrant-bashing competition among the various GOP contestants.
The proposal focuses on enforcement of immigration laws rather than prevention of new influxes of illegals. By embracing an “attrition” strategy of reducing current levels of undocumented workers, it supposedly avoids the draconian alternative of mass deportations, without accepting any sort of path to citizenship. More importantly in terms of the presidential race, the proposal includes withdrawal of federal grants to “sanctuary cities” like Rudy’s New York and Mitt’s Boston.
Fred’s own Senate record on immigration issues is one of indifference and occasional pro-immigrant heresy, so his sudden effort to emerge as Tom Tancredo’s saner cousin will draw a lot of fire. But it will also likely bring out the worst in a Republican Party that has begun to see immigration as the new right-wing wedge issue of the twenty-first century.

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