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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Don’t buy the immigration garbage being peddled in NH

Telegraph Editorial

AUniversity of New Hampshire Survey Center poll in July found just 6 percent of state residents ranked immigration as one of their family’s top conservation points. Family finances, the economy, health care, government and education all ranked as more important.

It’s not surprising that immigration ranked so low, considering New Hampshire is a couple thousand miles away from the Mexico border and, therefore, largely insulated from the fallout of thousands of illegal immigrants steaming into the United States in search of a better life. ...

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AUniversity of New Hampshire Survey Center poll in July found just 6 percent of state residents ranked immigration as one of their family’s top conservation points. Family finances, the economy, health care, government and education all ranked as more important.

It’s not surprising that immigration ranked so low, considering New Hampshire is a couple thousand miles away from the Mexico border and, therefore, largely insulated from the fallout of thousands of illegal immigrants steaming into the United States in search of a better life.

It’s intriguing, then, that in the past few weeks two New Hampshire Republican candidates for Congress have attemped to make the issue a central part of their campaigns – Scott Brown, who is running for the Senate, and Gary Lambert, who is running for the House of Representatives.

It started late last month when Brown switched tactics from calling out incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for her support of health care reform, to criticizing her for being soft on immigration.

“Want to know why there’s lawlessness on our border? Ask Sen. Shaheen,” said Brown in a television advertisement. “She voted against border security twice and for amnesty … Thanks to the pro-amnesty policies of President Obama and Sen. Shaheen, we have an immigration crisis on our hands. We respond with compassion, but it’s time for us to secure the border once and for all.”

Last week, the latest UNH poll found the Shaheen/Brown race a dead heat when just a month earlier she had a 12-point lead. Whether the race is tightening as a direct consequence of Brown’s immigration attack or due to a more general repudiation of all things Democratic because of the president’s sinking approval ratings is debatable. What is clear is that the immigration tactic is gaining steam.

Enter Gary Lambert, who is seeking the Republican 2nd Congressional District nomination for the opportunity to face off against U.S. Rep Ann McLane Kuster in November. He recently took after chief primary rival Marilinda Garcia on the issue of … immigration.

“Obama and Garcia. Two liberals for amnesty. Too liberal for us,” states Lambert. As proof, Lambert cites Garcia’s endorsement of a resolution by the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators in support of national comprehensive immigration reform.

New Hampshire is not alone. In other congressional races in states far from the Mexico border, immigration is becoming an important issue because of the attention drawn to the tens of thousands of Central American children who have crossed illegally into the United States.

“I think people are very upset, and people have really been awakened to the immigration issue where they haven’t been before,” said first-term GOP Rep. Scott Perry of southeast Pennsylvania. “Right now at this current time, I would say immigration is the No. 1 issue on people’s minds.”

That’s saying a lot, considering that not long ago Republicans thought Obamacare was their ticket to sure-fire Election-Day success. While that may yet hold true for the general election, the more immediate question is how it will play in the state’s 2nd District, where Lambert is viewed as trailing Garcia by double digits.

Most notable about the immigration debate to date is its shallowness, which is true of a lot of campaign advertising.

All we hear is strident, superficial, inflammatory rhetoric intended to incite fear by suggesting that “they” are coming to steal our way of life.

Rather than engage in a thoughtful evaluation of how to secure our borders and fairly determine the consequences for immigrants living here unlawfully, the garbage being advanced by Brown and Lambert only pushes the public discourse further from where it ought to be.

Voters shouldn’t be taken in by such scare tactics.