By Christine Todd Whitman
June 27, 2013

It is discouraging to read quotes from conservatives who frame the immigration debate solely from the perspective of partisanship: the fear of turning the border states into Democrat strongholds. What about the loss to the economy of not turning people into taxpayers, the young people who came here, not of their own volition, who we educated and now want to contribute? The issues at stake – to say nothing of the millions of lives that hang in the balance – are not traditionally liberal ones; they are issues of fiscal prudence.

The attacks on Sen. Marco Rubio, couched in the language of selling the party down the river based on the assumption that all illegal aliens will vote for Democrats once they become citizens, are egregious and unfounded. It would be a pity if our elected officials think so little of Republican principles that they don’t expect them to have any appeal outside of a small “intelligentsia”. The principles of individual freedom on which the Republican Party was founded are exactly the American ideals for which immigrants came to this country in the first place.

To be sure, the immigration bills remain opaque and need additional work. But as Republicans we should not write off the topic altogether for fear of creating more Democrat voters. The Republican Party’s original ideals absolutely appeal to the immigration population; it’s up to us to make sure we’re espousing them.