Hispanics and illegal immigration

The good liberals at the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada have launched a voter registration drive targeting Reno's Hispanic neighborhoods.

The idea is apparently to capitalize on anger in the community over the Arizona immigration law and to intimidate Nevada lawmakers who might propose a similar measure here.

"As bad as the situation is (in Arizona), it is kind of a blessing in disguise because it brought the issue back to life," said Michael Flores of Progress Now Nevada, another lefty group involved in the voter drive. "If lawmakers are thinking about bringing that type of legislation here, maybe they will think twice about it."

Perhaps -- although given the lock that big-government Democrats have on the state Assembly, such legislation has no chance of getting out of Carson City anyway.

But the assumption undergirding this campaign seems to be that American Hispanics have a monolithic view about illegal immigration. Polls show that's far from the truth.

"Obviously, there will be some who try to capitalize on (the Arizona controversy)," Fred Lokken, a political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, told The Associated Press. "But honestly, at this stage, I don't think that will be successful. The Hispanic community itself is divided over the issue."

Meantime, while chances of an Arizona-type law may be dead at the 2011 Legislature, they most certainly remain alive when it comes to the initiative process. What Mr. Flores and his friends at PLAN hate to admit is that their political views on illegal immigration -- either ignore it or grant amnesty to those already here -- are well outside the mainstream, while Arizona's law remains popular across the country.

If a similar proposal were to qualify for the ballot in Nevada -- and opponents have already killed one effort by bankrupting and delaying it through repeated court challenges -- it will likely pass overwhelmingly, with the support of a great number of Hispanic Americans.