A big focus of the immigration debate has been how to prevent immigrants from receiving welfare. The Senate bill says undocumented workers would be blocked from getting , such as food stamps and disability andto buy health insurance under Obamacare. Some proposals went further, like preventing immigrants from getting the . Republican Sen. Jeff Sessionsonly letting immigrants who make four times the federal poverty level apply for the path to citizenship.that when people are let into the country, "Virtually no one one is being examined before they enter the country on whether or not they'll ... immediately begin to depend on government welfare." If one goal of passing immigration is to make Latinos think Republicans don't hate them and thus consider voting for the party—John McCain has pretty explicitly said this—then implying that tons of immigrants are moochers might not help the cause.
The former president's brother, Jeb Bush, sounded a similar note in aearlier this month. Jeb wrote:
Immigration is not the only issue on which Hispanics or Asians vote. But it is a gateway issue. Republicans have much in common with immigrants—beliefs in hard work, enterprise, family, education, patriotism and faith. But for their voice to penetrate the gateway, Republicans need to cease being the obstacle to immigration reform and instead point the way toward the solution.
It's interesting that Jeb Bush included Asians in his editorial. They voted for President Obama even more overwhelmingly than Latinos did. Aspoints out, that's even though wealthier people tend to vote Republican, and Asians tend to be wealthier.
Bush's remarks came just before House Republicans held a long, closed-door strategy meeting on immigration. Speaker John Boehner has said the House won't bring up the Senate's immigration bill, and the bills the House passes would likely be more conservative. Supporters of the bill held a rally outside the Capitol during the meeting (photo at right by .) Though the signs warned the GOP the future of their party was at stake, it is unlikely the lawmakers were convinced the protesters were their voters in the first place.