Looking Forward

By Rick Oltman
Volume 23, Number 2 (Winter 2013)
Issue theme: "Moving forward"

The outcome of the presidential election was disappointing from the illegal immigration activists’ point of view. Not that Mitt Romney was a strong candidate for enforcement, and he certainly sounded like he supported a big increase in legal immigration, but because he would have been easier to convince of the need for border security. And, he had two very good policy advisors in Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the wise Bay Buchanan, who might have been in his administration working for border security and immigration and employment law enforcement.

But, Romney did not make a campaign issue of illegal immigration, and it was an issue that many, including this writer, believe would have carried him to victory. The current punditry that declares that the Republican position on illegal immigration cost them the Hispanic vote couldn’t be more wrong.

There are future political victories to be won by candidates willing to buck the conventional wisdom and be honest with the electorate about the impact that illegal immigration has had, is having, and will have on our country. Over the last eighteen years candidates and state ballot initiatives and referenda have racked up victory after victory, in spite of the conventional wisdom, mistaken interpretation and, in some cases, fraudulent reporting of demographic voter groups’ issue orientation.


The latest victory over illegal immigration on the state level is Montana’s LR-121. The election results in Montana are about as pure as one can distill them.

Legislative Referendum No. 121 was placed on the ballot by the legislature. It is a law that will deny certain services to illegal aliens. It won with 79.5 percent of the vote.http://sos.mt.gov/Elections/2012/BallotIssues/LR-121.pdf

Here is the comparison with other Montana statewide races on November 6, 2012.



With virtually no resources, LR-121 won overwhelmingly. In fact, I don’t recall a bigger win in the twenty-two year history of illegal immigration political activism in our country.

But, surprising to the point of jaw dropping speechlessness, Denny Rehberg, the Republican running for U.S. Senate did not endorse LR-121. On the Friday before the election, Rassmussen Reports had the race in a virtual dead heat. “Likely Montana Voters finds Tester with 49 percent support to 48 percent for his Republican challenger, Congressman Denny Rehberg.”


Rehberg was beseeched by immigration reform activists in Montana to endorse LR-121. He did not, and lost by four points. Does anyone seriously think Rehberg’s support of cutting off tax dollars to illegal aliens, as LR-121 does, would not have won him that election? LR-121 won with 79.5 percent of the vote, receiving almost 145,000 more votes than Testor received!

Looking ahead to 2014

In the next U.S. Senate election cycle, twenty Democrats and thirteen Republicans are up for re-election. The problems on the southern border will be worse and magnified, even in the current corrupt media, by violence, murder, and mayhem; it is inevitable.

Candidates with the courage to call for immigration law enforcement and employment law enforcement will benefit at the polls for those positions. Both Senate and House candidates can win elections on the illegal immigration issue, and some state can help them with ballot initiatives.

The best strategy would be a coordinated effort in every state possible to qualify an initiative that would make E-Verify mandatory for every government employer (state, county, and city) and all contractors with state and local governments.

Unemployment is likely to remain high for the next two years as the federal government puts its efforts behind funding benefits for the unemployed, as opposed to creating policies that encourage economic growth and increased employment.

A majority Americans are likely to vote for such an initiative thinking that if tax dollars are paying wages, those working at taxpayer funded jobs should be American Workers, defined as American citizens and legal immigrants with a work permit.







Nine of the fourteen states are west of the Mississippi River in relatively low-population states, making the qualification of the initiatives affordable.

Qualification for the ballot will put every candidate for the seats in the position of endorsing, opposing, or taking no position on the issue (as Denny Rehberg didn’t in Montana).

Texas does not have the statewide initiative process but can be put into play as it does allow initiatives at the city level. E-Verify initiatives on the ballot in one or two major media markets like Dallas and Houston would have the same effect on the candidates, requiring them to answer the support question for all Texans to hear.

States without Senate races can play a part in the national dialog, too. Washington has a good activist base eager to qualify an E-Verify initiative. And, efforts there would add to the news coverage of the issue in neighboring Oregon and Idaho. Nevada, Utah, and North Dakota can also add their voices with ballot initiatives.

Elements for victory

  1. Money
  2. Activists
  3. Candidates

Money, of course, is needed to help qualify the ballot initiative and run the political campaign. The low- population states have a low threshold for qualification.

Activists will be available from the various patriotic groups in the states, Tea Party, immigration reform activists, etc.

Candidates will be the most difficult element to procure. Denny Rehberg is only the most recent example of a candidate who avoided the winning issue of immigration enforcement and avoided a victory in the process.

In Texas, Senator-elect Ted Cruz did endorse immigration enforcement and responded to citizen requests that he visit the border and express his support for enforcement.

The myth of alienating the Hispanic voter

Hispanic voters did not desert the Republican Party on Election Day, as a multitude of political pundits have opined since November 6th. So many otherwise bright people have repeated this claim that one wonders if they are simply repeating it in the hope that this big lie is eventually believed.

Many, even conservative pundits, are now calling for amnesty for illegal aliens.

One recently opined that the Republicans lost the Cuban vote in Florida this year, (which is probably a generational thing; younger Cubans don’t have the memories or passion that their parents and grandparents have/had) and then, shockingly, suggested the way to reach them was with amnesty, which is like saying the way to get the Irish vote is to give amnesty to Hispanic illegal aliens.

The three biggest groups of Hispanics in America are Mexican Americans, Puerto Rican Americans, and Cuban Americans, and they have little in common.

In 2012, Barack Obama won overwhelming majorities of Hispanic voters in the border states:

  • CA – 70 percent (down from 2008)
  • AZ – 70 percent (up substantially from
    McCain’s candidacy)
  • NM – 64 percent (down from 2008)
  • TX – no exit poll available
  • FL – 66 percent (up from 2008, not
    including Cuban American votes)

Puerto Rican Americans (since 1917) and Cuban Americans (since Castro) are citizens or otherwise legal residents, their families are U.S. citizens, and both groups resent the Mexican illegals as competitors for jobs.
This discussion about amnesty in the media and the claim that it is how Republicans should “reach out” to Hispanics and that it will benefit the Republican Party is ludicrous because the empirical evidence is just the opposite.

The perfect example: Sen. John McCain is for amnesty, has always been for amnesty, and he wrote an amnesty bill with Ted Kennedy and everybody knows it.

In the 2008 presidential election, McCain got 31 percent of the Hispanic vote nationally. He didn’t even get 50 percent of the Hispanic vote in his own state of Arizona, where everyone knows he is for amnesty. If the claim that Hispanic Americans will vote for the guy who supports amnesty is true, why didn’t a majority of Hispanic voters support John McCain?
In 2008, Barack Obama won overwhelming Hispanic American majorities in the border states:

  • CA – 74 percent
  • AZ – 56 percent
  • NM – 69 percent
  • TX – 63 percent
  • FL – 57 percent

Why did Obama score so high with Hispanic American voters? Because of Republican “anti-immigrant rhetoric?” There was no “anti-immigrant rhetoric” in 2008, none. (Just as there was no “anti-immigrant rhetoric” this year.) But John McCain, the Pro-Amnesty presidential candidate who had authored an amnesty bill, lost the Hispanic vote.

Other examples:

In Arizona in 2004, the ballot initiativeProposition 200-Protect-Arizona-Now, which cut off taxpayer benefits to illegal aliens, won with a majority of Hispanic American votes.

The initiative was opposed by Sen. John McCain, Sen. Jon Kyl, the Arizona Republican Party, the Arizona Democratic Party, Governor Janet Napolitano, and the entire Arizona Congressional delegation, who publicly opposed Prop. 200 at the request of President Bush. (I know this because I ran the campaign to qualify the initiative and win in November. Congressman J.D. Hayworth told me personally that President Bush had asked everyone to oppose it.)

Even with all that opposition, the initiative won with 56 percent of the vote. And, more Hispanic Americans voted for Prop. 200 than voted for George Bush for President in 2004.

In 2006, an Arizona state initiative which sought to undo much of Arizona’s immigration enforcement law was defeated, and a 56 percent majority of Hispanic Americans voted to defeat it.

In 2010,Arizona Governor Jan Brewercame back from the political dead by supporting immigration enforcement. In February she was at 24 percent in the polls. After she signedSB 1070she rallied 31 points to defeat the most popular and most successful elected official in Arizona.

Many stateelections in California were wonin 2010 by candidates who endorsed SB 1070, “The Arizona Law.”

Immigration enforcement is a political winner with Americans. And, it does not alienate the Hispanic vote.


State and federal elections can be won by candidates who endorse immigration and employment law enforcement. The result will be more elected officials who understand the popularity of such laws and, more importantly, will be in a position to lead government to enforce the existing laws.

State E-Verify initiatives will help elect pro-enforcement officials and preserve local government jobs (the fastest growing sector for employment) for American Workers.

It’s a win-win-win for the states, the candidates and the country.

About the author

Rick Oltman has worked for immigration reform for almost twenty years. He has lobbied in Washington, D.C. and in dozens of state capitals for secure borders and immigration enforcement. He has been featured on the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer, MSNBC Reports, CNN, including Talk Back Live, Lou Dobbs, and Anderson Cooper 360, and the FOX Business Channel and FOX News Channel. In 1994 Rick was Chairman of the YES ON 187-SAVE OUR STATE campaign supporting Proposition 187. In 2004 Rick worked with Arizona activists to qualify Proposition
200, Arizona’s state initiative that required proof of citizenship when voting or applying for public benefits. Prop 200 won with 57 percent of the vote.