Immigrants’ Views of Proper Size of Govt

Immigrants to the U.S. from countries where the government is historically big and corrupt (Mexico) or big and communist (China) typically means that these immigrants have *very different views* about the proper role of government than past U.S. immigrants from England and France and such, where the latter have strong traditions of ‘limited government’.

As such, the immigrants from such ‘big government’ countries vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, who are, within the U.S. political system, the party of relatively big government.

For example, Pew reports that 75% of U.S. Hispanics “prefer a big government which provides more services to a small one providing fewer services. This figure is significantly lower among the public at large. By contrast, just 41% of the public at large voice support for a bigger government.”

This 75% number reflects all U.S. Hispanics (i.e., legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, and U.S. born immigrants. I would expect the number to be notably higher if one were looking just at recent immigrants, or illegal immigrants.)

So, with this in mind, this story in Politico is poignant:

The Obama administration and its allies are holding scores of events this week as part of a sweeping new initiative to nudge 8.8 million legal residents who are eligible for naturalization to become full-fledged citizens — and therefore, eligible to vote.

The not-so-secret expectation is that most of them would probably register as Democrats, given the demographics heavy on Hispanics and Asians — a fact that has not been lost on many conservatives.

We’re getting lower-income people who are coming in and taking more services, and they’re drawn to the Democrats,” said Ed Martin, president of the right-wing Eagle Forum, which raised the alarm last year in a report titled “How Mass (Legal) Immigration Dooms a Conservative Republican Party.” “That’s what Obama knows, and that’s what the Democrats know, and that’s what Republicans should know and should be fighting back against it,” Martin said.

It turns out that many Republicans consider legal immigration a more immediate and existential threat to the GOP than illegal immigration. While the total number of illegal immigrants is estimated at 11 million, there are more than 13 million permanent legal residents — and that number could grow at a clip of a million a year.

Most of those green card holders are already on a path to becoming citizens and voters, and their politics skew Democratic.

The White House’s “Stand Stronger” initiative, announced last week, aims to remove barriers for permanent residents to apply for full citizenship, including the right to vote. The White House and its partners are planning 70 outreach events in the first week alone, as well as 200 naturalization ceremonies that will induct 36,000 new citizens over the same period. The administration has also lowered other financial barriers to obtaining citizenship, including accepting credit cards to pay the fee, and it’s considering further reducing costs for those who have low incomes but make too much to have the fee waived completely…

The Eagle Forum paper cites Pew polling data showing that Asians and Hispanics tend to support “bigger government providing more services” at significantly higher rates than the general public.

Republicans can never turn liberal-leaning immigrants and their adult children into supporters of limited government faster than the current high level of legal immigration (one million a year) is bringing in new liberal voters,” the report warns.

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