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July 1, 2006

The race for Utah’s 3rd district seat in the House of Representatives revealed that the fight over immigration reform is moving from the streets to the voting booths.  Immigration restrictionists, led by Tom Tancredo (R-CO), are identifying and supporting specific races where they believe they can elect a fellow immigration restrictionist to further establish their position in Congress.  Tancredo’s political action committee, TeamAmerica, spent approximately $50,000 in support of John Jacob’s unsuccessful primary campaign against fellow Republican Chris Cannon.  Not to be outdone, immigration advocates have also moved their focus from street rallies to voter registration and citizenship drives with the goals of registering one million new Hispanic voters by the fall elections and assisting some 12 million legal immigrants who would be eligible to vote in 2008 to become U.S. citizens.  If these efforts are successful, actions by House Republicans to exploit immigration reform for electoral success in the fall will have long-term political consequences, alienating the largest minority group in the country who, ironically, largely shares the values of faith, family, and entrepreneurship that conservatives espouse.