As previously noted, California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is differentiating herself from her more fiery counterpart Steve Poizner in addressing issue of illegal immigration. With her recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, any cloudiness surrounding her stance on the issue should be less murky.
Emerging is a clearer picture of where she’ll lean if she wins in November. Her case and point is that immigration must be a “top priority” for state’s next governor in November. While saying that California benefits from legal immigration, Whitman seeks to portray herself as having a firm grasp of the current illegal immigration problem, neither endorsing the “status quo” nor a “full amnesty.”
In painting herself as a candidate serious about tackling illegal immigration, she acknowledged that the Feds have a responsibility to reimburse the state for funds expended in fighting the problem. What stands out in Whitman’s op-ed piece is the way in which she applies the term “immigrant,” using it to refer only to Hispanics.
Through her use of the term, other legal minorities who come to the state to contribute might be alienated, however. After all, their contributions are seemingly marginalized by Whitman in her overshadowing them with her desperately needed Hispanic voter demographic. How Whitman’s narrow use of the term will play out with other minorities at the polls in November remains to be seen.
It is quite clear that she is trying to extend a hand to the Hispanic demographic, especially with her acknowledgement of the work ethic that legal Hispanics bring to the state’s economy. Whitman brings to light the struggle that Republicans have long had to deal with; that is, in challenging her party not to appear anti-Hispanic and to effectively appeal to the traditional values many Hispanics hold.
In an effort to offset potential political fallout for her past opposition to Proposition 187, Whitman explained in the op-ed her rationale for opposing the legislation, addressing her critics on the issue. Being straightforward on the issue, she boldly acknowledged that she stands against cutting medical and education benefits for children of illegal immigrants. “I do not believe that kids should be punished for the sins of their parents,” she said in her op-ed.
While there is a yet a poll to show Whitman’s favorability with Hispanics, a possible indication surfaced at a recent meeting with Hispanic business leaders. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Whitman reached out to a group of Hispanic business leaders, stressing their vital role in the path to economic recovery in California.
According to that same article, Whitman has some Hispanic leaders considering lending their support to her in November.