Party of Reagan is Alienating Latino Voters with “Build the Wall” Rhetoric and Policies
As the Republican presidential primary battle starts to heat up, two recent articles analyze the Party’s positioning on immigration reform and standing with Latino voters.
- Border Security First – the “Usual Republican Crutch” on Immigration: A new Washington Post editorial notes that Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) is just the latest candidate to use “the usual Republican crutch to justify his position, insisting that the border must be made secure before reform is possible. But the border is more secure than it has been in decades — as measured by the soaring federal presence and plummeting rates of illegal crossings and crime on the frontier — and the GOP’s argument is looking increasingly threadbare.” As America’s Voice has long discussed, Republican candidates and elected officials have hyped up fears that the border is out of control, and insisted that we can’t tackle other elements of our broken immigration system until the border is secure, as an excuse for blocking comprehensive immigration reform. The reality is that the country has made major strides in tightening the border, but the missing piece is what to do about the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country today.
- Gov. Perry’s Inconsistent Immigration Record: The Post editorial also highlights the immigration inconsistencies of Governor Perry, including his support for the Texas DREAM Act and opposition to the federal DREAM Act. Wrote the Post, “Why, if it’s unfair to punish youngsters for their parents’ actions in Texas, is it not equally unfair across the United States?…Mr. Perry backed the Dream Act in Texas for the right reasons — to maximize the potential of a cohort of young people who have grown up in America, consider themselves Americans and are highly likely to spend their lives here. He also did so because Hispanics represent an important and fast-growing chunk of the electorate. Those are also the right reasons to push for a federal Dream Act. The sooner high-profile Republicans such as Mr. Perry tell that hard truth to their own party, the better it will be in the long run for the GOP, and for the country.”
Conservatives Highlight How GOP’s Immigration Stance is Alienating Latino Voters: A National Journal article assessing the Republican presidential field on immigration includes comments from conservative leaders concerned about the Party’s hard-right stance on immigration and its political implications. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a leading architect of the Tea Party movement, said, “Who in the Republican Party was the genius that said that now that we have identified the fastest-growing demographic in America, let’s go out and alienate it?” Armey also drew a contrast between the immigration stance of their supposed political hero, Ronald Reagan, and the current state of the Party on immigration, noting “Republicans have got to get off this goofiness…Ronald Reagan said, ‘Tear down that wall.’ Tom Tancredo said, ‘Build that wall.’ Who’s right?”
Evangelical Leader Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, expressed fear, in the words of National Journal, that the Republicans’ “rhetoric will alienate conservative Hispanic voters who otherwise would embrace a Republican candidate.” Said Rev. Rodriguez, “The problem with the tea party is it’s missing chips and salsa. It’s going to be very difficult to win critical swing states without engaging the Hispanic electorate.”
- America’s Voice Report on Immigration and the GOP, Including Republican 2012 Presidential Candidates
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