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Spanish Language Media Documents GOP’s Lurch to Far Right on Immigration

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Friday evening’s votes in the House of Representatives – to expedite deportations for Central American children fleeing violence and end DACA – cemented Republicans’ lurch to the far right on immigration.  Spanish language media closely monitored the proceedings and as all can see, the Republican Party’s antics are on full display.

La Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish language newspaper, delivered an editorial titled, “A Slap to Immigrants” that reads in part:

The bill that the House of Representatives passed to address the arrival of minors at the border is a slap in the face to the immigrant community and Latinos.  It is unfortunate that, after so many months of legislative paralysis with deliberately vague messages on immigration, the Republican majority got behind a bill that is embarrassing, both because of its sheer ignorance and its bad intentions…

…These bills are awful for the immigrant community, for what they do and what they are intended to do.  Extremist actions and realities are drowning out reasonable words.  The Republican Party has diverse opinions when it comes to immigration.  Unfortunately, sanity has been thrown out the window and the ones left in charge are lawmakers like Steve King, Ted Cruz, Michelle Bachmann and Jeff Sessions.  Tacitly accepting the leadership of hatred and ignorance of these individuals on the immigration issue is a huge mistake, because it tarnishes both the righteous and the sinners, projecting a collective image of disdain for the undocumented.  Actions like these make the stereotype of the anti-immigrant Republican a reality, and the GOP will pay the price for it later on at the polls.

Headlines of key Spanish language outlets’ coverage include (translated by America’s Voice): 

Telemundo’s Enfoque, a leading Spanish language Sunday show, featured Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) dissecting what happened in the lower chamber.

And a new column from America’s Voice Senior Advisor Maribel Hastings, released today, explains how the Republicans’ actions have ceded the initiative to President Obama.

Analysis from David Damore of Latino Decisions, titled “HR 5230 and HR 5270: Making a Bad Situation Worse and What It Means for November and Beyond,” also highlights the lasting political implications of last week’s House votes and the larger immigration state of play.  Writes Damore:

[B]ecause neither bill has any chance of becoming law, the House Republicans’ actions were purely symbolic, but not without consequence.  In terms of the internal divisions within the GOP, party elders and their allies in the business and faith communities who have been advocating for moderation on immigration and increased outreach to Latinos clearly lost.

Instead of opting for pragmatism, the party’s congressional leadership allowed hardliners, whose ‘solutions’ to a multi-faceted and complex policy begin and end with increased border security and more deportations, to carry the day.  Thus, Friday’s votes effectively define the party’s immigration position well to the right of mainstream public opinion and further cement the Republicans’ culpability for derailing the best prospects for comprehensive immigration reform in nearly a decade.

The unwillingness of House Republicans to address immigration reform in any meaningful manner also creates further impetus for President Obama to ‘go big’ and use his executive authority to develop some constructive policies to address an issue of great import to constituencies that are central to both parties’ electoral coalitions.  As we have argued before, among Latino voters whose political behavior is most animated by immigration, there is little downside for the president to use executive action in this manner.  Specifically, polling conducted by Latino Decisions makes clear that the behavior of House Republicans coupled with potential executive action on immigration are likely to motivate increased Latino turnout and support for Democratic candidates in November…Last Friday’s actions send yet another powerful signal to fast growing immigrant rich communities: there is no place for them or their families in today’s Republican Party.