Recently, columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. wrote an intriguing piece on “How the GOP Should Talk (and Not Talk) to Latinos About Immigration.” The column, published in PJ Media, outlines six things Republicans usually do wrong, as well at outlines six they could be doing right, when talking about immigration reform. Navarrette believes that by re-working the GOP’s approach to immigration it “might help make the GOP brand less toxic among Latinos.” (ouch!)
Read the full column here – “How the GOP Should Talk (and Not Talk) to Latinos About Immigration”
While I agree with some points, I don’t agree on how he frames his suggestions. I think that the GOP’s connection with Latinos is much more diverse and complicated than a single issue. The GOP can do a lot to connect with voters in 2012 by focusing on the economy and jobs, the number one issue for Latino voters. I recently outlined on how the GOP can win the Hispanic vote.
Navarrette general point is right, when members of the GOP take on a harsh rhetoric on immigration it creates an overall negative image of Republicans within the Latino community. He is correct that we do need to stop framing the debate of “us” versus “them” and stop accepting simplistic answers to the complicated issue of immigration reform. I believe that Republicans, and all Americans, want real answers on how to fix our broken immigration system. Unfortunately the issue has become hyper-political. I do think that we all must look at the inner politics (on both sides of the aisle) of the immigration debate and how politics has overtaken policy on this issue.
What do you think about Navarrette’s column?
The column was inspired by a presentation Navarrette gave to the Lincoln Club in Orange County, California. The Republican crowd in Southern California, where immigration is a VERY hot topic, had a mixed reaction to Navarrette’s two-part presentation. Like the readers of his column, some in attendance applauded Navarrette, while others couldn’t disagree more and walked out of the event. Navarrette finishes his piece with some harsh words:
“That kind of mixed reaction is totally understandable. Not everyone in the Republican Party is ready to hear this kind of blunt and tough talk. Well, they had better get ready. Because, unless Republicans kiss and make up with Latinos over immigration — and fast — there’s a good chance their party won’t be around much longer.”