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Can the GOP Welcome Latinos and Pass CIR in Order to Survive? By Roger Algase

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If only the GOP were a party of Latinos. Then we would have no more obstacles to immigration reform. Is is a late night comedy line? Not at all, according to Geraldo L. Cadava. an assistant professor of history at Northwestern University, writing in The Atlantic last May. It would be a real possibility if the Republicans were not blinded by its own right wing's hatred of non-white minorities and could look further to see what many Latinos have in common with the GOP.

In his May 1 article: The GOP Doesn't Need Hispanic Outreach - It needs a Hispanic Takeover, Cadava writes, concerning some of the "outreach" attempts to Latinos which the Republicans were considering last spring:

"None of these superficial solutions will work, however, until and unless the GOP confronts the discrimination that exists within its ranks - and the discriminatory effects of its policies...

There's definitely something to the argument that many Latinos hold conservative views...

What's more, some Latinos - a faction led by Rep. Raul Labrador, an Idaho Republican, support restrictive immigration laws...In 2010, a CNN/Opinion Research poll found that 24 per cent of 'Hispanics', particularly men and those 50 and older, supported Arizona's notorious S.B. 1070..."


He continues:

But is any of that enough? One of my students told me recently about her Latina grandmother, who - despite her conservative views on the economy, immigration and marriage - always votes for Democratic candidates. Why? Because, she told her daughter, no matter how much she agreed with the Republicans, that party would never see her as an American.

And therein lies the Republican problem. The party's makeover will fail unless it roots out the discrimination - even racism - that's embedded within the GOP. Redistricting, housing, identification, restrictive voting and other Republican sponsored laws affect Latinos and other minorities disproportionately...

But permanent change will require acceptance of Latinos as full-fledged Americans. To get there, the GOP would have to marginalize its most fervent nativists... Arguments by conservative Latinos that America has always been a multiracial society forged by natives and immigrants alike would have to win the day
. A small minority of Latinos already supports restrictive immigration and border policies, yet to attract more Latino voters the party would need to move toward more conciliatory positions." (Emphasis added).

Cadava concludes:

"But if the Republican want to earn a majority of Latino votes, they must consider the discriminatory effects of their policies, not just changes in appearance and tone. This is something that, even in these months of soul-searching, they've seemed less eager to do. But the choice may no longer be up to their current leaders... In the same way, Latinos, as an increasingly powerful voting bloc, will transform party politics now and in the future. They will become the driving force of the Republican party, if that party is to survive."
(Emphasis added.)

Cadava's statement that the Republicans have "seemed even less eager" to consider the discriminatory effect of their policies appears ironic in retrospect, given the fact that the "fervent nativists" in their party, far from being marginalized, are now in the ascendancy with the rise of the Tea Party's power during the six months since this article appeared.

The Republican leaders may think that it is in their own short term interest of playing to their party's white base and avoiding Tea Party financed primaries to continue to pursue discriminatory policies against Latinos and other minorities, including blocking immigration reform. But before long, it will become clear that inability to overcome bigotry against Latinos and other brown people is doing great damage to their party - and America. Then, very possibly, they will begin to see how important passing CIR is to the survival of the Republican party.



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Updated 10-20-2013 at 11:04 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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