The GOP’s One, Tiny Concession to the Latino Vote
Brad Bailey stalked restroom entrances for days at the Republican National Convention before he finally met Ann Coulter. A blond, seafood restaurateur from Houston who looks like he should be ensconced in a cubicle somewhere selling life insurance, Bailey immediately started in on her. Over the next few minutes, amid a flutter of immigration literature and brochures, Bailey said the word “solution” a lot. His big pitch: Immigration policy is broken. Let’s do it how we do it down in Texas.
“As a border state, we understand the problems,” Bailey recalls telling Coulter. “Just like Arizona. But we believe in providing solutions, not complaining.” Coulter, who’s vociferously defended Arizona’s border laws including SB 1070, then did something surprising. She agreed with him. And so, it turned out, did most other delegates at RNC convention, who by a two-third votes later enshrined Baily’s “Texas solution” into the party’s platform.
First adopted by Lone Star state Republicans at their state convention last June, Baily’s plan calls for a guest-worker program. Of course, to be eligible for the program, immigrants must self-fund any participation fees, pass a full criminal background check, secure their own private health insurance, waive any public assistance, exhibit proficiency in English, complete a rather ambiguous-sounding “American civics class,” before, finally, agreeing to be biometrically tracked. “I agree the qualifiers are too strident,” Bailey sighed.
But for a party whose standard barer has called for “self deportation,” this is a considerable departure. Consider as well the distance the party platform has traveled on immigration since its 2010 version. “One nation, one flag, one language, one loyalty,” the immigration passage began, before establishing that dual-citizenship doesn’t jive with the American aesthetic. “There can be no divided allegiance. Anyone who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all.” In the new party platform there is no mention either of “illegal aliens,” a group previously juxtaposed with “potential terrorists” and “organized crime.”