California Republicans are split on possible anti-illegal immigration measure

Seema Mehta (Los Angeles Times)
December 6, 2010

A nascent California ballot measure that seeks to replicate Arizona’s controversial crackdown on illegal immigrants is dividing the state’s Republicans, with a number of prominent strategists and leaders fearing that it could further harm their party’s already fraught relationship with Latinos — the fastest-growing segment of the electorate.

It’s unclear whether the ballot’s backers will have the financial resources to gather enough signatures to place the measure on the 2012 ballot.

Several Republicans said that even the effort to do so has the potential to increase the chasm between the party’s candidates and the voting bloc whose record-breaking turnout tilted races in November and delivered a clean Democratic statewide sweep in a year in which Republicans celebrated major victories in the rest of the nation. They equated it to 1994’s Proposition 187, which would have stopped illegal immigrants from receiving any state services had it not been largely voided by the courts.

“It’s completely counterproductive to the future of the party as well as counterproductive to the immigration debate and coming to a real solution,” said Rob Stutzman, a GOP strategist who advised failed gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman. “It allows those who make a living off the demagoguing of immigrants to continue to do so.”

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