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Here’s a view from the conference (9:45 AM):
Update – 7:30 PM: We caught up with Ruben Navarrette after the panel and he gave us his take-away from the conference – watch the video here:
Update – 3:00 PM: Media panel ended with a flurry of disagreement on whether or not the GOP needs to simply change its “tone” on immigration, or its fundamental approach and policy. Stay tuned…
Update – 2:55 PM: Navarrette: “If you come away thinking that this is all about language and tone, you will miss the point… You are always going to be number 2… The problem is not the tone. It is the message itself—it is offensive, racist. You’ve got to fix the product. Miami is not a third world country.”
Commentator Alex Castellanos, Sr. disagrees. He appears to believe that a majority of Latinos agree with the Republican Party on immigration policy.
Helen Aguirre disagrees with Castellanos: “Jeb Bush is the only one who challenged Tom Tancredo. If the [majority of the] Republican Party disagrees but keeps quiet…”
Update – 2:50 PM: Ruben Naverrette’s comments on the GOP’s need to cool down fiery immigration rhetoric not getting the warmest reception from co-panelists, or the audience…
Update – 2:30 PM: During the panel on “Media & Messaging: Communicating Principles with Precision,” syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, Jr. gave a no-holds-barred rundown of the state of the GOP on immigration. He says that he disagrees with both sides of the aisle on immigration: “Last week I got into a fight with Lamar Smith on the Right and Rahm Emanuel on the Left.”
Navarrette argues that the GOP has a problem with offensive rhetoric on immigration:”We can’t build a house unless they give us the bricks… Republicans have compared Latino immigrants to “dogs,” “grasshoppers,” etc.”
He goes on to argue that the Republican Party:
1) Deals with immigration dishonestly
2) Caters to that ugly element of racism — “nativism/racism is in the bloodstream”
3) Offers “solutions” that ignore the problem.
Navarrette cites the fight to repeal the 14th Amendment and Arizona’s SB1070 as two examples of false solutions on immigration.
Update – 12:35 PM: Panel on Immigration & Security has ended. Look for video of the Q & A part of the discussion shortly.
Update – 11:55 AM: Senator Cornyn introduces Immigration & Security Panel:
Senator Cornyn: “Honesty, openess and candor are a sign of respect. Political posturing and pandering are not…”
Note: It’s not very clear who he is referring to…
Cornyn: “…The last time Congress debated a Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) was back in 2007…”some things haven’t changed really at all”
And he should know best because he continues to block efforts to pass CIR.
According to Cornyn, there are couple of things that have changed:
One – U.S and Mexican border security in TX, CA, AZ, and NM has “degenerated very seriously […] cartels and associated criminal gangs are recruiting immigrants…”
Two – “The economy is much worse than it was in 2007…This presents a challenge…CIR seems less urgent to many Americans now.”
Three – “The Democratic Party has been in control of Congress for four years, the White House for two years, and every time they have made a promise they don’t keep.”
Cornyn: “Easy to be skeptical on the prospects of CIR when both the WH and Congress have made promises that have not been fulfilled…immigration can’t be addressed effectively on a piecemeal basis.” “We can’t just simply kick the can down the road.”
Just like Republicans have been doing each time a pro-immigration reform bill comes up?
Cornyn: “Our broken immigration system serves neither our interest, nor our values.”