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Reince Preibus Hispanic Heritage Month Op-Ed Is More Tone-Deafness Toward Latinos

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Hispanic Heritage Month continues, and the GOP still doesn’t get it.

After a video that House Republicans released earlier this week was mocked across the internet for its vague platitudes and tone-deafness, RNC Chairman Reince Preibus is now witlessly jumping into the fray.

Earlier this year, the RNC portmortem report found that Republicans had to do better in reaching out to Latino voters and other minorities and, significantly, advocated that Congress pass immigration reform, the report’s sole policy recommendation.  But the RNC, instead of following through and meaningfully pushing for legislation that could help change preconceived notions of Republicans amongst Latinos, has dithered.  In August, it passed a resolution that failed to create a path to citizenship for immigrants.  And in yesterday’s op-ed, Preibus’ main point seemed only to be that “it’s not just about what we say” to Latino voters, “but how we say it.”

Republicans don’t seem to be working too hard on either one.  Preibus’ op-ed, like the House Republican video before it, does not mention immigration reform once, even though the issue is a key priority for Hispanics and Latino voters.  On tone, Preibus writes that if a candidate’s tone toward Latino voters “isn’t welcoming and inclusive, you’re doing it wrong.”  Yet Steve King is still allowed to roam freely, every week saying something newly disparaging about immigrants.  And until the House actually passes immigration reform legislation, King will remain the unofficial House leader on immigration policy, since Boehner gave him a vote on his amendment to deport DREAMers in June.

Yesterday, during a special order session where House Democrats talked about the economic benefits of passing immigration reform, Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) noted that the country at any given point is merely five days away from immigration reform (one day each for the introduction of a bill in the House, its vote, conference with the Senate, ratification in both houses, and signature by the President).  More than enough votes currently exist in the House to immigration with a path to citizenship.  Yet it’s been almost three months since the Senate passed S. 744, and House Republicans have taken no action except on Steve King’s anti-DREAM amendment.  It’s hard to see what kind of message they could have for Latino voters with that record.

It’s like this parody video of the House Republicans makes clear: the GOP, for whatever reason, seems to think that minimal efforts at outreach to Latinos and the immigrant community will get them somewhere.  But that’s a tall, tall order for mere words, when their actions push for things like self-deportation and immigrant criminalization.