The Right Wing

GOP Opposition to Immigration Reform Crumbles as Party Desires Hispanic Vote

After the RNC held an “autopsy” of the 2012 election, GOP leaders decide to back immigration reform.

Photo Credit: Reisinger

In the 2012 election, Obama won nearly 75 percent of the Hispanic vote. So after the Republican National Committee recently met for a post-election review, Republican lawmakers decided that if they want control of the White House and Congress, they are going to make some changes regarding their racist attitudes toward the Hispanic community.   

In the RNC’s report, titled the “Growth and Opportunity Project,” Republicans plan to spend $10 million dollars in an outreach project targeting women and minorities. The report stated that the lawmakers should not just say they care about Hispanics, but should probably enact some policies that help them as well:

We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate we care about them, too. We must recruit more candidates who come from minority communities. But it is not just tone that counts. Policy always matters.

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Republican lawmakers are now quickly following orders. On Tuesday, Senator Rand Paul became the latest Republican lawmaker to call for immigration reform, declaring to undocumented immigrants that if they desire to work in America, “then we will find a place for you.”

As the New York Times notes, Paul’s remarks are quite the turnaround from his previous pushes for an electronic fence and helicopter stations to help “secure” the U.S.-Mexico border.

Paul joins Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, and a number of other conservatives who have spoken out about the need for immigration reform.  

While this may be a sign that the party will soon support a plan that would provide undocumented immigrants with a pathway to permanent residence, it has been noted that Paul and other GOPers have avoided using the word “citizenship.” In fact, according to the New York Times,after early reports said he supported a pathway to citizenship, Paul’s staff stated, he is in favor of “a quicker path to normalization, not citizenship.”

And Paul told reporters: “The immigration debate has been trapped by two terms: pathway to citizenship and amnesty.”

Meanwhile, a recent poll found that 32 percent of Hispanics would be more likely to consider voting Republican if immigration reform was passed, while 39 percent said they would be less likely to vote for them if GOPers in the House struck down the reform efforts. With 50,000 Hispanics turning 18 years old each month, the community is a key voting demographic.

And Republicans are realizing that reforming immigration law is of the upmost importance, as their report stated:

If Hispanic Americans hear the GOP doesn't want them in the U.S.A. … they won't pay attention to our next sentence. It doesn't matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy. If Hispanics think we don't want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.

Alyssa Figueroa is an associate editor at AlterNet.