Republican voters turn against a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants
The Skinny noted last week that President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration had helped his approval rating among Latino voters.
But a new survey shows that Obama's move—using prosecutorial discretion to defer deportation of up to 4 million undocumented immigrants now in the United States—has also hardened Republican attitudes toward immigration reform.
Polling numbers from Quinnipiac University show that before Obama announced his executive action last month, 43 percent of Republicans were supportive of a path to citizenship, while 38 percent thought all undocumented immigrants should be required to leave the country. In the wake of Obama's new policy, 54 percent of Republicans now want all undocumented immigrants to leave the country, while just 27 percent believe they should be granted a path to citizenship.
The Washington Post's Aaron Blake called the polling numbers "a stunning shift."
"And if it's even close to accurate, there are very few Republicans in Congress who will be eager to vote for comprehensive reform in the 114th Congress," Blake wrote. "The fear of primary challenges was already strong enough when the party was split on citizenship and deportation; now it's probably overwhelming (at least in the minds of self-preservation-minded incumbents)."
Blake makes a good point: Republican candidates are now much less likely to stick their necks out to vote in favor of comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. But it's not like they were all that likely to support reform anyhow, at least in the House of Representatives, which sat on Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake's bipartisan immigration plan for more than a year after the Senate passed it.
But that still leaves the question of what's going to happen to the expanding Hispanic vote. Does a tougher approach by the Republican Party make it harder for GOP candidates to pick up Latino votes in the future? We'll start to learn the answer to that question in 2016—as well as the answer to whether Latino voters will start turning out in larger numbers.
But in the meantime, 20 states, led by Texas Attorney General and Gov.-elect Greg Abbott, have filed suit in federal court to block the Obama administration from moving forward with its proposed policy on immigration. The lawsuit seeks a preliminary injunction to prevent the White House from implementing the program while the legal issues are sorted out.
"The President is abdicating his responsibility to faithfully enforce laws that were duly enacted by Congress and attempting to rewrite immigration laws, which he has no authority to do—something the President himself has previously admitted more than 20 times," Abbott said in a prepared statement when he filed the legal action last week. "President Obama's actions violate the Take Care Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act, which were intended to protect against this sort of unilateral executive fiat."
Count Arizona among the 20 states that have joined the lawsuit. Gov. Jan Brewer released a statement last week saying that "our state and our citizens have had enough."
"President Obama has exceeded his power as clearly defined in the United States Constitution and federal law and deliberately ignored the will of the American people," Brewer continued. "Such federal overreach cannot stand. I believe that the courts should strike down this presidential fiat and uphold the fundamental principles upon which this country was built."
Brewer should know a thing or two about "overreach" and "exceeding power as clearly defined in the United States Constitution" on immigration issues by now. Major portions of Arizona's notorious immigration bill, SB 1070, were tossed out by the U.S. Supreme Court. And last month, a federal appeals court determined that Brewer's refusal to issue driver's licenses to DREAM Act kids who are in the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was determined to be unconstitutional.
Brewer has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to support her effort to keep DREAMers from driving legally in Arizona. Gov.-elect Doug Ducey said on the campaign trail that he'd continue Brewer's policy on the issue.
Lost in the Mail
New study shows that Tucson will take a big hit if local postal facility closes
As the United States Postal Service moves forward with its plan to shutter Tucson's mail processing center and move its operations to Phoenix, a new report suggests the closure will cost 320 jobs at the Post Office itself, with a ripple effect that could cost another 207 jobs around the community.
The Fiscal Policy Institute report, prepared at the request of American Postal Workers Union, shows that the postal service jobs that will be lost pay, on average, $54,000. That's well above the median pay of $26,400 and it will be hard for laid-off workers to find comparable jobs in the Tucson area.
In addition, because postal workers will lose their jobs, they'll have less to spend at area businesses.
"Eliminating this much in annual labor income in a small area also will have a profoundly negative effect on Pima County businesses," the report notes. "They will lose customers and some will be forced to reduce their own employment as a result. Local businesses will lose an estimated $49 million in sales, and $3.8 million in business income, plus $915,000 in proprietors' earnings. Half ($2.4 million) of this lost business income would be felt in the real estate industry, with substantial impacts also occurring in the banking, trucking, restaurant, utilities, finance, and health care industries."
The Weekly reported last month that the Postal Service has not completed the required studies related to the closure of the processing center.
Happy Birthday, Odd Hall!
A downtown landmark celebrates its centennial
One of The Skinny's favorite downtown buildings, the Odd Hall, is celebrating its 100th birthday this Saturday, Dec. 13.
The building is now home to chef Janos Wilder's Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails on the first floor and Etherton Gallery on the second floor. In addition, the co-owners of the building, photographer Tim Fuller and sculptor Barbara Grygutis, also have studios in the Odd Hall.
Wilder will be baking a big cake to share and at 4 p.m., Fuller and architect Bob Vint will talk about architect Henry Jaastad, who designed the building, and early 20th century Tucson architecture in general.
The party runs from 3 to 5 p.m. Stop by as part of your travels downtown as part of Second Saturday.
"Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel," airs every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on KGUN-9. This week's guests include Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild.