Wednesday, May 26, 2010

TN GOP unity in praise of Arizona immigration bill contrasts with national party split

There is and has long been a split in the Republican party in this country on how to approach to immigrants and immigration law. In the Tennessee State Capitol, however, the GOP is of a like mind. On Monday, every State House representative with an "R" next to his or her name voted to commend Arizona on its controversial new immigration law. With all House Republicans and 18 House Democrats voting in favor of the resolution, it passed by a wide margin. There were 27 House Democrats who voted "no." (Just curious - if your representative voted the right way from your perspective, was this issue so important to you as a Republican or Democratic constituent that you sent a thank-you note or even a campaign donation to your representative? Let me know in the comments.)

The resolution now goes to the Senate, and its passage there is likely, according to

I haven't seen any media quote Raul Lopez, president of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Tennessee ("RNHA-TN") and executive committee member of the Davidson County Republican Party, on this issue. Lopez sees one of his roles to be engaging conservative voices so that they don't create Hispanic backlash, but that does not necessarily mean that he has any concerns about the Arizona law or the Tennessee resolution.

And my understanding is that even though Lt. Gov. and Senate Speaker Rom Ramsey, and also Deputy Speaker Ketron and others, have been attending RNHA-TN events and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce events, their votes in the Senate will be in favor of the Arizona resolution.

National GOP split seen as opportunity for Democrats

Memphis attorney Greg Siskind has pointed out that at the national level, Democrats are considering using immigration as a wedge issue against Republicans. The immigration issue is already causing conservatives with Latino heritage to leave the party, describing the Arizona bill as "a direct slap in the face to Hispanic-Americans," according to the Wall Street Journal. Other prominent national conservatives have also expressed serious doubts about the Arizona law.

Even the loss of the late Richard Nadler's voice for a GOP reboot on immigration has been supplanted by conservative evangelicals' call for balanced reform, led in part by Nashville's Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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