Proper Messaging On Illegal Immigration For Republicans Running For Office

Last night, I was talking with a political operative I’m friends with about an illegal immigration ad the op’s candidate is developing.

Here’s the advice I gave them: Simply talking about amnesty or border security first doesn’t work because politicians lie so much about illegal immigration. Whether you’re talking about the biggest advocates of amnesty or hard core border hawks, they will give you exactly the same spiel: They want to secure the border and oppose amnesty for illegal aliens.

Put another way, talking about illegal immigration in broad terms accomplishes very little.

So, how do you convince the voters that you’re serious about dealing with illegal immigration or that your opponent isn’t? Simple, you move from the broad to the specific and talk details.

What that means is that it’s Ok to say that you oppose amnesty and are serious about border security, but that’s not going to be enough.

Get into issues like…

* Drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens.
* Going after employers of illegal aliens.
* Allowing illegal aliens to be credited for money they paid into the Social Security while they were in the U.S. illegally
* Birthright citizenship for illegals.
* Explaining that illegals drive down wages and take jobs from Americans.

What does getting into these issues do for you that talking about amnesty and border security doesn’t?

It’s code for the voters.

They can’t tell the Tom Tancredo types from the Ted Kennedy’s based on their amnesty and border security rhetoric, but both sides tend to split on the detail issues.

Sure, everyone may tell you that they want to secure the border and oppose amnesty for illegal aliens, but if, for example, a candidate wants to give illegals drivers’ licenses and opposes going after employers, he’s not serious about securing the border and opposing amnesty either — and the American people will know it and vote accordingly.

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