“[T]he Republican Party will make immigrants scapegoats in the 2006 election,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean predicted Tuesday in Philadelphia.

In a speech to an influential Hispanic organization, Dean said that Republican-sponsored immigration legislation and escalating rhetoric on the issue are part of the latest GOP effort to use fear as a political tactic.

Republicans tried to scare people by talking about “race quotas” instead of affirmative action in 2002 and putting ballot initiatives to ban gay marriage in several states in 2004, he said.

“In 2006, it’s going to be immigrants, you wait and see,” he told the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights organization, at its annual convention. … he doesn’t think that President Bush is a bigot but that he “doesn’t have the guts” to speak up against “the bigots in his own party.” … anti-immigrant sentiment [is] a “party-wide” problem for Republicans and that “they’re making a huge mistake.”

Dean, who peppered his speech with phrases in Spanish, said that his party will not take the Hispanic vote for granted and that 92 percent of Latino elected officials are Democrats.”

– from the Cox News Service story, via Howie Martin’s blog.

Dean’s correct. The GOP plays the race card whenever it can. And, check out Man Eegee’s great post, “Immigration Revisited.” Man Eegee writes:

President Bush has soured the debate on Immigration Reform by insisting that it’s a Homeland Security issue. By using his terrorism meme, this becomes solely about “Securing our Borders” rather than a full-fledged dialog on other issues such as economics and human rights. …

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