Georgia Representative Alienating more than “Illegal Aliens”

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Republican Representative Paul Broun, who is running for Senate in the GOP primary causing top Republicans concern with his fiery anti-immigration reform comments.

Broun told local news reporters “The only way Georgia is going to change is if we have all these illegal aliens in here in Georgia [and] give them the right to vote,” in response to a question regarding the changing demographics of the state. The Pew Hispanic Center in 2011 estimated that about 425,000 undocumented immigrants of all ethnicities resided in Georgia, which is one of the highest rates in the nation. Broun’s theory is that since these people have no access to most federal benefits programs is that if they become legalized they will want to access these programs and expand them, and thus support Democratic ideology and policies. Broun explains, “It only helps the Democrats if we legalize all these illegal aliens in this country who the Democrats want to put on federal welfare programs.”

This theory has become popular in conservative circles, influencing efforts to derail immigration reform in Congress that would offer paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. However, support of this very theory as well as other comments Broun has made, including indicting the Big Bang theory and evolution as “lies straight from the pit of hell,” has top Republicans concerned that Broun could not stand up to Democratic candidates in the Senate election.

This popular theory also does not stand up to basic demographic statistics. Even without immigration reform, the Republican party is still not immune to the growing Latino vote, especially if they fail to support immigration reform. According to the latest census statistics, over 9% of Georgia’s population is Hispanic. Nation-wide, there are 17.6 million Hispanic Americans under the age of 18 and 93% of them were born in the United States and are citizens by birth. These young people are about to vote no matter what. If the Latino vote stays a solid Democratic bloc the Republican party is in trouble with or without immigration reform.

Source: Sarlin, Benjy. “Georgia Republican warns ‘illegal aliens’ will turn state blue,” MSNBC. January 7, 2014.

This article was written by Rebecca Little