Republican Advocacy Group Coaching GOP on How Not Sound like Racist A**holes

News & Politics
A top Hispanic Republican advocacy group co-chaired by Jeb Bush is so worried about how the GOP will respond to immigration reform that they are distributing a set of guidelines instructing congressional Republicans on how to discuss the topic without sounding like a bunch of neanderthals. The issue, according to the group, isn't really about substance. Instead, it's about using "tonally sensitive" language:
"Tone and rhetoric will be key in the days and weeks ahead as both liberals and conservatives lay out their perspectives. Please consider these tonally sensitive messaging points as you discuss immigration, regardless of your position," Hispanic Leadership Network Executive Director Jennifer Korn writes.
Before you even read word one from the memo, the fact that the group is more concerned about how congressional Republicans talk about the issue than how they vote on it is a pretty clear indication of just how backwards Republicans are on this topic. Usually in politics, advocacy groups try to achieve actual policy priorities. Here, they are just trying to stop their party from acting like assholes—and based on some of their advice, they must really think there's a lot of assholes in their party. For example, on their list of "messaging dos and don'ts for immigration reform," they say:
Don’t use phrases like “send them all back”
Don’t characterize all Hispanics as undocumented and all undocumented as Hispanics
The memo also urges congressmen to stay away from saying they want an "electric fence" and to avoid using terms like "illegals," "aliens," and "anchor babies." Altogether, that seems like pretty decent advice. But it also seems like pretty obvious advice—or at least it should be obvious advice to any congressman who doesn't hate brown people. And the fact that the pro-GOP Hispanic Leadership Network thought it was necessary to remind their party not to say offensive things like "send them all back" is a damn harsh commentary on the state of the Republican Party.

Continue below the fold for the full memo.

Here's the Hispanic Leadership Network's full guide:

Suggested Messaging Dos and Don’ts of Immigration Reform

Conservatives have always embraced the American Dream. We celebrate the fact that we are a nation of immigrants who have come to our country in search of opportunity and a chance at a better future through hard work. Those are part of the guiding principles by which we should view immigration reform, not the negative tone and harsh rhetoric that has hurt conservatives in the past. Below are some suggested tonally sensitive messaging points when discussing immigration proposals.

When engaging in conversation or doing an interview on immigration reform:

Do acknowledge that “Our current immigration system is broken and we need to fix it”

Don’t begin with “We are against amnesty”

Note: Most everyone is against amnesty and this is interpreted as being against any reform.

When talking about a solution for the millions here without documentation who could qualify to get in line first with a temporary visa, then legal residence and finally citizenship:

Do use the phrase “earned legal status”

Don’t use the phrase “pathway to citizenship”

Note: This has a different meaning and can denote getting in front of the line to get citizenship – this is not true. Most Republicans and Democrats, along with 70% of Americans, support a fair system by which those who are undocumented can come forward, register with the government, pass a background check, pay a fine, learn English and get legal status first – that is earned legal status, not automatic citizenship.

When addressing securing our borders:

Do use the wording “enforcement of our borders includes more border patrol, technology, and building a fence where it makes sense”

Don’t use phrases like “send them all back”, “electric fence”, “build a wall along the entire border”

When talking about immigrants:

Do use “undocumented immigrant” when referring to those here without documentation

Don’t use the word “illegals” or “aliens”

Don’t use the term “anchor baby”

When addressing amnesty and earned legal status:

Do acknowledge that the true meaning of amnesty is to pardon without any penalty

Don’t label earned legal status as amnesty

Don’t characterize all Hispanics as undocumented and all undocumented as Hispanics

When broadly addressing reforms:

Do acknowledge that President Obama broke his promise and failed to propose any immigration reform for five years, while using this issue as a political wedge

Do talk about the issues you support like overhauling the bureaucratic visa system, creating a viable temporary worker program, a workable e-verify system, and border security

Don’t focus on amnesty as a tenet of immigration reform

Don't use President Reagan's immigration reform as an example applicable today

Note: That legislation was true amnesty; in addition, border security, fixing our visa system, and a temporary worker program were parts of the reform which were never implemented.

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