Yglesias calls one of the modifications significant but still thinks Republicans are going to take a major hit among Hispanics. The lesson Chait draws is that "even the most restrictionist politicians do respond to political counter-pressure." Brownstein marks the death of pro-immigration Republicanism:
Just four years ago, 62 U.S. senators, including 23 Republicans, voted for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that included a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens....In 2007, Senate negotiators tilted the bill further to the right on issues such as border enforcement and guest workers. And yet, amid a rebellion from grassroots conservatives against anything approaching "amnesty," just 12 Senate Republicans supported the measure as it fell victim to a filibuster.
Amid drug violence in Mexico and high unemployment in the U.S., concern about controlling the borders is understandable. But the hardening GOP position also shows how the party is being tugged toward nativism as its coalition grows more monochromatic: In a nation that is more than one-third minority, nearly 90 percent of McCain's votes in the 2008 presidential election came from whites. That exclusionary posture could expose the GOP to long-term political danger. Although Hispanics are now one-sixth of the U.S. population, they constitute one-fifth of all 10-year-olds and one-fourth of 1-year-olds. The larger threat is to America's social cohesion. Democrats, with their own divisions, can't reform the immigration system alone. Either both parties will accept that responsibility or the nation will likely suffer through years of sharpening social division symbolized by the escalating battle over Arizona.