The Republican presidential nominee, an anti-immigrant hardliner, picked a running mate who is a born-again anti-immigrant hardliner. Paul Ryan, once at least open to listening to reason on immigration, flip-flopped over to the hard-right one the Tea Party took over the Wisconsin GOP. He even voted against something as moderate as the DREAM Act once the wing-nuts put pressure on him.
But Ryan himself is incidental in considering what this pick means for immigrants.
Mitt Romney had a chance to put the most anti-immigrant Republican primary campaign in modern history behind him. He could have picked an immigration moderate, or even a Latino politician as a running mate. This would have taken attacks on immigrants off the table in the election this fall. We know that the harsh rhetoric is followed by hate crimes against immigrants. Sadly, we can expect more of the stomach-turning distortions about immigrants that we heard for the last year.
The nomination also tells us that the Republican leadership have turned their backs on expanding the GOP base by reaching out to Latino and Asian immigrants and their children, ignoring the fastest growing groups of voters in 21st Century America. They have decided that the path to power is not through the Southwest or California, through Flushing or Hempstead, but through the whitest reaches of the Midwest.