December 18, 2007


When Anti-Immigrant Is Anti-Business: Republican Presidential candidates, facing intense pressure to talk tough on immigration, are losing some support from the business community (Moira Herbst , 12/17/07, Business Week)

A number of business owners in the U.S.—many of them longtime Republicans—say that talk of severe crackdowns on illegal immigration and restrictions on legal immigration are pushing them away from the party. Some are even switching to actively support Democrats, including Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).

"The Republican candidates just don't get it," says Maureen Torrey, owner of Torrey Farms in Elba, N.Y. "They need to understand that immigration helps drive economic growth, and that without it a lot of industries are in trouble." Torrey, a lifelong Republican, is now backing Clinton.

These days, the Republican candidates appear to be competing for who can claim the toughest position on immigration. While Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, and Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, had both long been moderates on the issue, they are now stressing border enforcement and employer verification systems as they trade jabs about "sanctuary" for illegal immigrants. Mike Huckabee, the up-and-coming former governor of Arkansas, held back on the tough talk for months, but changed his stance in recent days and is now calling for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to register with the federal government and return to their home countries before applying to return legally. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) is the one exception to the trend.

On the positive side, the only Republican candidate who wouldn't actually liberalize immigration instead once elected is Tom Tancredo, who's a non-factor.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2007 7:29 AM

If those were long time Republican, woulddn't it be more likely that they support McCain instead of Obama or Hillary?

Posted by: ic at December 18, 2007 9:29 AM

Establishment Republicans have never understood the party, so they believe press accounts of who's winning and losing. They think McCain is finished.

Posted by: oj at December 18, 2007 10:46 AM

Maureen Torrey should be quite thankful most Republicans are afraid of bad press. A considerably more vindictive GOP leader in a different era would've sicced the ICE police on her premises.

And no, I don't think Tancredo has the huevos to do that.

Posted by: Brad S at December 18, 2007 11:14 AM