A proposed California ballot measure that seeks to replicate Arizona’s controversial crackdown on illegal immigrants has some prominent Republicans concerned it will further harm their party’s already fraught relationship with Latinos.
Although it remains unclear if enough signatures can be gathered to put the “Support Federal Immigration Law Act” on the 2012 ballot, a number of Republican strategists and leaders 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. 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.
The debate mirrors one taking place at the national level. Several prominent GOP candidates who were successful in recent elections have taken a hard line on immigration. Party operatives and leaders who have grown worried about alienating Latinos this week announced a major outreach effort, led by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.