The Republican Party appears to be speaking in many tongues in supporting immigration reforms while opposing them at the same time as it courts votes from the Hispanic community. The Party hopes to take control of the U.S Senate after the November 4 mid-term elections.
In Colorado, The Denver Post reported that the Party sent a mailer to residents this week criticising state Senator Mark Udall and the Democrats in the Senate for failing to pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill even though the party once held control of both houses of the Congress. The mailer called upon the residents to vote for the Republican Party flag bearer, U.S Rep. Cory Gardner, who hopes to unseat Udall in the November 4 elections. The author of the article pointed out that even though Gardner criticized Udall, he was on record for also opposing the same bill.
The support it-oppose-it trend has proved costly for the Republican Party in recent election cycles. In 2012 President Barack Obama received 71 percent of the Hispanic vote against Republican Party challenger Mitt Romney’s 27 percent. In 2008 the party’s candidate John McCain received 31 percent against then-senator Obama’s 67 percent.
Gardner is not the only member of the Republican Party struggling to speak straight on the immigration issue. Mitt Romney encountered the same challenge during the last presidential campaigns. In a televised debate with President Obama on Jan 23, 2012 at the University of Florida at Tampa Bay, Romney said if elected president, his government would make it impossible for undocumented immigrants to find work, leading to self-deportation. He changed his mind the following year. In an interview with CBS in March of 2013, he said those who are in the U.S. illegally should get an opportunity to become citizens as long as they lined up behind those whose applications were already under review.
Prominent leaders in the Republican Party find themselves speaking in many tongues as they try to articulate their positions on this issue. Likely contenders for the 2016 Republican Party presidential nomination have come up with a formula to woo Latinos abroad, hoping that demonstrating compassion in Latin America will make up for their opposition to immigration reforms at home. NJ.com reported that Gov. Chris Christie visited the city of Puebla in Mexico in September. When asked by a reporter whether he discussed ways to help residents of Puebla living in New Jersey during his meeting with the city’s governor Rafael Moreno Valle, he said they did, but declined to provide details. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky demonstrated compassion in Guatemala when he accompanied a team of doctors from the Moran Eye Center of Utah to conduct eye surgeries in the city of Salama in August. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is reported to have requested the government of Mexico to open a consulate in his state.
According to an article in the Washington Post, there are 24 million Hispanics that are currently eligible to vote. That number is projected to increase to 40 million in 2030. If the Republican Party continues to speak in many tongues on immigration without a clear focus, its message will likely get lost in transit, resulting in clutter that may end up muffling the party’s welcoming tune to the Hispanic voting block.
Opinion by Benedicto Ateku