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11/10: Special Issue: Focus on Election Results
Released 01 December 2006  By Immigration News Briefs

Special Issue: Focus on Election Results

1. Voters Reject Many Anti-Immigrant Campaigns
2. Georgia: Republicans Gain, Voters Split
3. Arizona Vote: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
4. Colorado Vote: More Ballot Initiatives
5. Election Results Elsewhere: A Mixed Bag
6. Texas Shrimp Company Charged

*1. VOTERS REJECT MANY ANTI-IMMIGRANT CAMPAIGNS

In the Nov. 7 national and state elections, voters throughout the
US tended to reject candidates who campaigned solely or primarily
on an anti-immigrant platform. In exit polls, fewer than one in
three voters considered immigration "extremely important" in
their decision; those who did consider it important only narrowly
favored Republican candidates. According to the exit polls, about
six in 10 voters said they believe undocumented immigrants
working in the US should get a chance to apply for legal status;
61% of those supporting a path to citizenship voted for
Democratic candidates. [Washington Post 11/8/06]

Exit polls also showed that more than 70% of Latinos voted
Democratic in races for House seats, while only 27% voted
Republican--an 11-percentage-point drop from the last midterm
election in 2002. [Wall Street Journal 11/8/06]

"The immigration issue upset many Hispanics--the tone of it, the
rhetoric, the reactionary solutions, the building of the wall,"
said Miami pollster Sergio Bendixen, who tracks Latino voting
trends. He called the House GOP's enforcement-heavy approach a
"very, very bad tactical mistake" that could weaken the party for
years to come. [Houston Chronicle 11/9/06]

"With respect to immigration, the Republican Party handed the
Democratic Party a gift," said Democratic activist Andrea LaRue,
co-chair of Immigration2006.org. "The GOP's mishandling of this
issue has alienated the fastest growing group of new voters in
the nation. Democrats now have a clear opportunity to realize a
demographic realignment of historic proportions and redraw the
nation's electoral map for a generation." [Immigration2006.org
Press Release 11/8/06]

However, as Roberto Lovato of New America Media noted, "The crop
of House and Senate members-elect includes many Democrats whose
positions on immigration hardly differ from the "border first"
Republicans they ousted. [www.tompaine.com from New America Media
11/9/06]

"Let's be honest: There are divisions within the Democrats; it
will have to be bipartisan," said Frank Sharry, executive
director of the National Immigration Forum, which advocates for
immigrants' rights. [Los Angeles Times 11/9/06]

Cecilia Munoz, vice president of the National Council of La Raza,
which supports a path to citizenship for out-of-status
immigrants, said she believes there will be a very different
atmosphere on Capitol Hill next year. The election results
showed, she said, "that all of the noise made by the anti-
immigrant faction in Congress is just that, noise. It doesn't
appear to have the kind of support that these Republicans thought
it would." [Orange County Register 11/9/06] "The most vitriolic
anti-immigration candidates went down in defeat," said Tamar
Jacoby, with the conservative New York think tank Manhattan
Institute. [Miami Herald 11/9/06]

*2. GEORGIA: REPUBLICANS GAIN, VOTERS SPLIT

In Georgia, Republican governor Sonny Perdue easily won
reelection, and the Republicans made gains overall in the state.
[AP 11/8/06] Last Apr. 17, Perdue signed a state law that fines
employers for hiring undocumented workers, requires companies
with state contracts to fire any employee who is not a legal
resident and requires state offices to verify an employee's
status before paying unemployment benefits or workers'
compensation. [WP 5/3/06] Perdue capitalized on his support for
that law during the campaign. Still, exit polls in Georgia show
53% of voters believe out-of-status immigrants should have a
chance to apply for legal status, while 43% said they should be
deported. The responses did not run strictly along party lines.
[AP 11/8/06]

*3. ARIZONA VOTE: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

In Arizona, Democratic governor Janet Napolitano, who has vetoed
several anti-immigrant bills passed by the state legislature,
easily won re-election. [Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) 11/8/06] Two
Arizona congressional races were defeats for anti-immigrant
candidates. Democrat Harry Mitchell, a supporter of comprehensive
immigration reform, defeated hardliner Republican incumbent J.D.
Hayworth. [Immigration2006.org Press Release 11/8/06] And
Democrat Gabrielle Giffords ended 22 years of Republican
congressional representation in Southern Arizona, handily beating
rival Randy Graf, a co-founder of the "Minutemen" vigilante group
who had focused his campaign almost exclusively on opposition to
"illegal" immigration. Graf even lost in Cochise County, where
anti-immigrant sentiment is big and he was expected to do well.
Giffords supports a path to citizenship for out-of-status
immigrants, but campaigned as tough on border issues and opposed
to "amnesty."

Still, Republican Jon Kyl was reelected to a third term in the US
Senate, defeating challenger Jim Pederson; according to an AP
exit poll, Kyl's supporters rated his hard-line stances on
immigration and anti-terrorism as the most important factors in
their decisions. [ADS 11/8/06]

And at the same time, by a nearly 3-1 margin, Arizona voters
approved four state ballot initiatives that will make life harder
for immigrants. Proposition 100 bars the release on bail of out-
of-status immigrants charged with serious felonies. Proposition
102 blocks out-of-status immigrants from being able to obtain
punitive damages in lawsuits--limiting awards to actual damages.
Proposition 103 establishes English as the official language of
Arizona. And Proposition 300 blocks undocumented immigrants from
accessing state-subsidized programs including adult education and
child care. [Arizona Republic 11/9/06] All four initiatives
passed in all of the state's 15 counties.

Elias Bermudez, president of Immigrants Without Borders in
Phoenix, said his group will organize a weeklong work stoppage
and economic boycott on Dec. 12 to protest the passage of the
ballot initiatives. He said he will also go on a hunger strike.

In Tucson, Latino voters casting ballots at a precinct were
approached by "vigilantes," according to the Mexican American
Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). MALDEF staff
attorney Diego Bernal said Latino voters were stopped as they
entered and exited the polls by three men, one carrying a
camcorder, one holding a clipboard and one a holstered gun. [ADS
11/8/06]

*4. COLORADO VOTE: MORE BALLOT INITIATIVES

Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, a national leader of anti-immigrant
Republicans in Congress, was reelected to a fifth term. [Rocky
Mountain News (Denver) 11/8/06] But Democrats Bill Ritter and
Rick Perlmutter, both advocates of comprehensive immigration
reform, handily won their races for governor and Congress,
respectively, defeating anti-immigrant hardliners.
[Immigration2006.org Press Release 11/8/06]

Colorado voters narrowly approved two ballot measures on
immigration. Referendum H, which denies a state tax credit to
employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers, got 50.8% of
the vote, according to unofficial returns. Referendum K, which
directs the state attorney general to sue the federal government
to demand enforcement of immigration laws, got 56%. [RMN 11/9/06]

*5. ELECTION RESULTS ELSEWHERE: A MIXED BAG

In Pennsylvania, Democrat Bob Casey, a supporter of comprehensive
immigration reform, defeated incumbent hardliner Republican Rick
Santorum by 18 percentage points. Santorum had attacked Casey on
immigration during the campaign, even launching a negative
website, "www.caseyforamnesty.com." [Immigration2006.org Press
Release 11/8/06] John Hostettler, the Indiana Republican who
chaired the House Immigration Subcommittee, was defeated, as were
Chris Chocola (R-IN), Anne Northup (R-KY), Melissa Hart (R-PA),
Charles Taylor (R-NC), Gil Gutknecht (R-MN) and Richard Pombo (R-
CA). Many of those defeated are members of the anti-immigrant
"Immigration Reform Caucus" headed by Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo.

In New Jersey, Republican Tom Kean Jr. lost to Democratic Sen.
Bob Menendez, a strong supporter of immigration reform. In
Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson (D) easily defeated challenger
Katherine Harris, who had attacked him for his position on
immigration. And in Delaware, Sen. Tom Carper (D) decisively
defeated challenger Jan Ting, a former immigration official.
[Immigrant Legal Resource Center 11/8/06] New Hampshire Rep.
Charlie Bass was another "enforcement-first" Republican who lost
his seat. [AR 11/9/06]

Democratic candidates for governor in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin were attacked
during their campaigns for supporting "illegal immigration," yet
they all won their races. [ILRC 11/8/06] "The myth that members
of Congress need to be afraid of immigration might have been put
to rest, because no member of Congress was punished in this
election for supporting pro-immigrant legislation," according to
Josh Bernstein, federal policy director of the National
Immigration Law Center. [LAT 11/9/06]

On the other hand, two Republican senators who had supported
immigration reform efforts were defeated: Lincoln Chafee (RI) and
Mike DeWine (OH). [ILRC 11/8/06] And several Democrats won with
anti-immigrant campaigns: Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill won
a Senate seat after campaigning as tough on immigration; and
Virginia Democrat Jim Webb unseated Republican Sen. George Allen
after accusing him of voting to allow more guest workers into the
US. In Pennsylvania, Democrats Patrick Murphy and Chris Carney
won House seats after campaigns in which they accused their
Republican opponents of being soft on immigration. [LAT 11/9/06]

*6. TEXAS SHRIMP COMPANY CHARGED

On Oct. 11, the US Attorney's office indicted Hillman Shrimp and
Oyster Company, its owner and four employees for an alleged
scheme to recruit and hire unauthorized immigrants to work at the
Houston-area supplier of Gulf Coast oysters and shrimp. Manager
Antonio Ramos Gonzalez, the company's agent in charge of
submitting applications for work visas for temporary workers from
Mexico, was charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud,
encouraging and inducing undocumented immigrants to enter and
illegally remain in the US as seasonal employees for the company,
using false identification documents and making false statements
to a federal agency. Gonzalez is also charged with three felony
counts of visa fraud relating to three of the employees.

The indictment also charges company owner Clifford Hillman and
three other employees--Steve Taylor, Wendy Taylor and Derenda
Campbell--with conspiracy to hire and recruit undocumented
workers, a misdemeanor violation, from 1999 through late June
2004. The scheme allegedly involved the use of false
identification documents and false statements to secure H2-B
visas for temporary employees doing seasonal work, and the filing
of falsely certified employment eligibility forms. [Houston
Chronicle 10/12/06]

Immigration News Briefs (INB), a weekly English-language summary of US
immigration news, is forwarded out to the email list of the Coalition for
the Human Rights of Immigrants (CHRI), average 4-5 messages a
week), write to nicajg@panix.com


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