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Pat Thinking on Immigration | The Nation

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Pat Thinking on Immigration

In appearances Monday on both Hardball and ScarboroughCountry, Pat Buchanan invoked the same militaristic malevolencethat characterized his infamous 1992speech to the Republican National Convention in which heproclaimed, "There is a religious war going on in our country for thesoul of America."

Some choice comments from Buchanan this week: Hedepicted immigration on Scarborough's show as "an invasion" by "the whole world. He opined on The McLaughlin Group, " This is not Ellis Island! Thisis an invasion of this country."

Buchanan joins the likes of Rep. Tom Tancredo, the Minutemen, and thenativist right in venomous immigrant-bashing that in all likelihoodwill provoke backlash at the polls--just as Governor Pete Wilson's Prop 187 sparked a backlash inCalifornia that threw Republicans out of statewide office for a decade.

Already, the draconian House bill has mobilized a nascent politicalmovement. Republican Sen. Mel Martinez noted, "This is the first issuethat, in my mind, has absolutely galvanized the Latino community inAmerica like no other."

And whether the impact is felt at the polls in 2006 or years from now,militaristic language and actions that inflame anti-immigrantsentiments will result in Republican losses. According to the New York Times, Hispanics now represent one out of every eightUS residents and about half of the nation's recent population growth. And younger Latinos--whose political allegiance is up for grabs--willsoon be registering and voting in much greater numbers.

Robert Suro, director of the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center, pointsout, "There is a big demographic wave of Hispanic kids who are nativeborn who will be turning 18 in even greater numbers over the nextthree, four and five election cycles."

So, if Pat Buchanan wishes to help the Democrats then he shouldkeep right on trying to recapture the glory days of his three ill-fatedpresidential bids. But, if he wishes to actually contribute to acomplex and emotional debate, then he should find a new way to remainrelevant.

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