Immigration's Not Just About Latino Votes

A blog about business and economics.
July 1 2013 11:19 AM

For House Republicans Immigration Isn't All About Latino Votes

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven wants to know where to get a good taco near Williston.
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven wants to know where to get a good taco near Williston.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Are House Republicans going to stumble over one another to vote for a comprehensive immigration reform bill in order to woo Latino voters? Probably not. As my colleague David Weigel writes, only 24 House Republicans represent heavily Hispanic districts.

On the other hand, look at how comprehensive immigration reform got a decent chunk of Republican support in the Senate, and you'll find John Hoeven and Bob Corker playing a key role. I'm pretty sure Corker was not eyeing Tennessee's 4.7 percent Latino population as his key consideration, and I'm damn sure Hoeven is not trolling for Hispanic votes in North Dakota.


If Hoeven's thinking about local angles, he's probably thinking about the fact that the North Dakota economy would greatly benefit from a legal guest worker program. Thanks to an oil extraction boom, the unemployment rate in North Dakota is super-low. But it's hard to actually get new workers to move to North Dakota because it's cold, remote, and housing is incredibly scarce. If you could import some foreign workers to build and staff the stuff that would make North Dakota a more appealing place to live, then North Dakota could recruit even more American workers and gain much more economic momentum. I would imagine that another Hoeven consideration is the provision of funding for extra staff or facilities on America's lightly patrolled northern border, which is an appealing source of pork in rural areas. There are also lots of weird idiosyncratic issues out there.

For example, comprehensive immigration reform includes a provision to help Colorado ski resorts get work visas for ski instructors with foreign language skills. That sounds a little silly, but it's obviously quite good for the broader Colorado economy if a handful of imported ski instructors can substantially increase the volume of tourism to the state. That's something Colorado's four House Republicans should think about. Do these kinds of considerations give the bill enough juice to get a hearing in the House? I have no idea. But Latino votes alone wouldn't have had enough juice to get 68 Senate votes—the bill attracted broader support because it addresses a broader array of concerns. Those same broader concerns also exist in the House, and if a comprehensive bill passes, it'll be thanks to the larger package.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your children is perfectly legal. 

Ken Burns on Why Teddy Roosevelt Would Never Get Elected in 2014

Cops Briefly Detain Django Unchained Actress Because They Thought She Was a Prostitute

Minimalist Cocktail Posters Make Mixing Drinks a Cinch

How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest of jewels.


Rainbow Parties and Sex Bracelets

Where teenage sex rumors come from—and why they’re bad for parents and kids.


You Had to Be There

What we can learn from things that used to be funny.

Legendary Critic Greil Marcus Measures and Maps Rock History Through 10 Unlikely Songs

Catfish Creator Nev Schulman’s Book Is Just Like Him: Self-Deluded and Completely Infectious

Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 14 2014 2:37 PM When Abuse Is Not Abuse Don’t expect Adrian Peterson to go to prison. In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 13 2014 8:38 AM “You’re More Than Just a Number” Goucher College goes transcript-free in admissions.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
Brow Beat
Sept. 14 2014 7:10 PM Watch Michael Winslow Perform Every Part of “Whole Lotta Love” With Just His Voice
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?