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July 1, 2015

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The Hispanic vote:

DePosada’s latest: Vote Democrat, just not yet, to send immigration message

The Republican who told Hispanics not to vote — or was that to demand respect when you do vote? — is further convoluting his message with one more revelation: He says he actually trusts Democrats when it comes to immigration, the issue upon which he wants all Hispanics to base their vote — or nonvote.

Roberto DePosada, who heads Latinos for Reform, on Thursday offered this logic: Democrats, because they did not deliver an immigration reform bill as promised, should be sent a clear signal in the current election: Hispanics’ votes can’t be taken for granted. The losses they suffer during the 2010 midterms will, in turn, force them to do something about immigration reform during the lame-duck period, so that in 2012, they will have something concrete to campaign on vis-a-vis Hispanics, so that eventually there will be immigration reform.

Catch all that?

It’s a perverse logic that boils down to this: Because Democrats are the only ones who can deliver on immigration reform, don’t vote for them. Not now at least. Don’t vote for them now, so you can vote for them with a clear conscience later.

“They’re going to do nothing unless this message is sent,” DePosada said, making the lame-duck Congress the only chance for immigration reform.

DePosada’s theory, though — that with little time left, Democrats will push through an immigration reform package in the lame-duck period — ignores one basic tenet of political chronology: Lame-duck periods are rarely the time to take up large, contentious bills such as immigration reform, because lawmakers want to finish the business they have to and be home for the holidays.

To be sure, a departing Republican-majority Congress did tackle immigration once during a lame duck, in 2006. But that was an enforcement-only measure — and few lawmakers are willing to say they are against immigration enforcement.

Far fewer are willing to cast a vote in favor of other component parts of comprehensive reform though, such as pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants now in the country.

Although immigration reform does not neatly cleave along party lines, those sorts of issues find more support among Democrats.

But DePosada has run out of patience with them.

“You’re basically asking Hispanics to say, ‘What do you prefer, to get stabbed in the back or clubbed in the head?’ ” DePosada said of the choice between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to immigration reform.

So why not feature both Republican Sharron Angle and Sen. Harry Reid in his latest campaign ad?

“I don’t think it would cross anyone’s mind that Hispanics would support Sharron Angle,” DePosada said, laughing at the suggestion.

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