Can GOP Point to Latin America on a Map?

Can GOP Point to Latin America on a Map?

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With his victory in the Florida Republican presidential primary bolstered by 54% of the Latino vote, Mitt Romney is said to have won the first battle in the contest for Hispanic support. While Florida is now getting smaller in the rear view mirror, it warrants further examination.

To gain the support of Latinos at the national level, Romney and the rest of the contenders for the Republican nomination must drastically change their hard line immigration rhetoric and address bilateral ties to Latin America that extend beyond commerce. Florida gave us a glimpse into why that doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon.

Two weeks ago, both Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney interviewed with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, and began to address the Hispanic community. While the interview provided some variety, with Ramos asking Romney what he meant when he said, “God had created the United States to lead the world,” and inquiring into Gingrich’s liberal marital practices, by the time both candidates spoke at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference in Miami, their remarks were hitting all the same notes.

On foreign policy both candidates disparaged the Castro regime, reiterated their opposition to Chavez, urged for increases of trade with Latin America and acknowledged the problem of drug cartels.

But, it would have been refreshing to hear the candidates speak about the foreign policy dimension of immigration, the consequences of free trade agreements on Latin American agriculture and manufacture, the impact of the U.S. economic recession throughout the region, or the decline in Mexican immigration due to economic growth in Mexico vis-à-vis the United States.

Instead they engaged the subject as the GOP always has: as though immigrants materialize into existence only as they are about to, or succeed in crossing the U.S. border.

Using their personal twist, they each advocated for their own versions of non-comprehensive immigration reform … which, you know, includes various border walls and fences, a “reformed” visa system. When Ramos confronted each candidate with the merits of the DREAM Act, both opposed it (or in the case of Gingrich, half opposed it).

Given these similarities, why did Romney win such overwhelming support from Floridian Latinos? Several factors might have contributed to his victory. Perhaps it was slight differences in rhetoric that gave Romney an advantage. While Romney explicitly supported Puerto Rican statehood, Gingrich committed his support to the result of a referendum vote in Puerto Rico. This lack of clear resolve at the Hispanic Leadership Network conference even incited a woman in the audience to directly ask whether Gingrich supported statehood. He reiterated he would rather delegate the decision to the people of Puerto Rico and support whichever they decided.

For a political party that has praised action over reflection, and has chastised President Obama for being overly intellectual, perhaps the thought of Gingrich giving a matter careful consideration, rather than upholding an infallible opinion, was unsettling.

The candidates’ immigration reform ideas also differed.  Gingrich, perhaps seeking to cater to a traditional Latino interest, supported a “more humane” immigration enforcement approach that would grant a resident authorization to undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for over 25 years and can count on a sponsoring native family, among other requirements.

However, rather than a long held conviction, Gingrich seems to have developed this idea simply as a talking point to counteract Romney’s self-deportation scheme, which would make it impossible for undocumented immigrants to work through a stringent E-Verify program, forcing them to return home from their own accord. When Ramos pressed Gingrich on the issue, noting that 25 years or residency would leave out most undocumented Latinos, the former Speaker was unable to fully develop his idea. So, perhaps Florida Latinos perceived some nuanced superiority in Romney’s remarks.

Other theories abound. Some have claimed Romney’s business background appealed to entrepreneurial-minded Latinos, others pointed to prominent Latino leaders backing Romney. However, such attempts at clairvoyance are irrelevant. While it would be interesting to identify what allowed Romney to win in Florida, knowing such a factor would be of little value to either candidate. Florida Latinos are remarkably different from the rest of the U.S. Latino population. According the Pew Hispanic Center, about 30% of Florida’s registered Hispanic voters are Republican and roughly 38% identify as Democrats. At the national level however, the party affiliation distribution is more unequal. Since 2006, Democrats have increased their approval amongst Latinos, resulting in a 2008 Presidential election where 65% of Latino voters identified as Democrats, and only 26% were Republican.

Unless Romney and his rivals intend no content themselves with the 26% of the (Republican) Latino vote, they must change their rhetoric. The hard line immigration stances might have been less relevant in Florida, where 28% of Latinos are Puerto Rican and 32% are Cuban.

However, immigration reform will be of greater salience at the national level, where the Latino population is 59% of Mexican origin. While Romney and Gingrich can discuss the finesses of systematic deportation in Florida without much consequence, they might have to change their discourse when addressing the largest growing immigrant population, the automatic citizenship status of Puerto Ricans, and the naturalization advantages offered to Cubans seeking political asylum. While the last thing Romney needs is to change his opinion on yet another issue, he will have to move away from the clichés and discuss more substance. If he wants to become president, that is.

6 COMMENTS

  1. 2. An Amendment to the 14th Amendment will discard this irrational law, that every baby born in America has a right to citizenship. The amendment will rescind this law, instituting that only a baby born of a legal parent(S), has the status to become a citizen. With an estimated 340.000 annual illegal alien Mothers, surging into this nation by misleading the immigration authorities, this must be brought to an abrupt stop. Unfortunately the word has spread throughout the world, that if a Mother of an unborn child can pass agents at entry points, then they can claim the misguided law that says they can award their baby with all the free benefits associated with citizenship. Billions of dollars are appropriated in this way for the whole family. They are very well versed that for every child they can birth, there is a cornucopia of cash payments and public assistance programs. Under The Birthright Citizenship Bill” ( H.R.140) we can finally bring an end to these expensive deficits, laid upon every state taxpayer.

    Now with Arizona's positive draconian enforcement policing laws, illegal aliens are fleeing to the Liberal welcoming arms of California and states that have disregarded the pleading message from their populations. Two main laws must find passage by the “THE PEOPLE’S PARTY, the growing Tea Party, and all Constitutional Conservative Americans are sick and tired of supporting people who broke into this country, from every corner of the world. It is an unrelenting bombardment of dire poverty, which the courts have coerced all of us into paying for other countries desperate and poor. School fees, health care, prison cells and growing list including President Obama's agenda of food stamps for all. They slip past immigration agents at entry points as disguised tourist with hidden fetuses and immediately apply for their baby’s citizenship. That then allows them to collect all the public assistance programs and get free treatments in delivery rooms, leaving the taxpayers to carry the fees. They steal our Social Security numbers, which in itself is a felony, but under USICS (Immigration & Citizenship Services) thousands have been allowed to stay, even though they have used other people's ID. This is not a victimless crime, as unknown numbers of ordinary Americans have had their credit crippled, by this serious violation.

    I hope that California residents realize there being cheated out of billions of dollars annually? Just ask Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Andronovich of not just millions, but billions of dollars annually being collected by foreign nationals. No wonder Los Angeles County has to folk out $48.000.000 dollars in just the month of June 2009. Is there any record of what the cost would be currently, with the deluge already here and the 500.000 estimate that appear each year looking for their free handouts? Risk a few minutes of your time and find the Website “American Patrol”, and investigate the news that is suppressed by the majority Liberal Press. Also scan through NUMBERSUSA website and see the grading system for Romney, Gingrich, Santorum and Paul and their stance on enforcement of immigration laws? Call your US Senator or House Representative today or even contact your State equivalent, and insist they sponsor E-Verify and the Birthright citizenship bills and be prepared for indifference.

    Keep harassing them by calling 202-224-3121 the Washington central board at or otherwise, we will keep hemorrhaging billions of dollars. The future of a Constitutional America is in your hands, not the route of Socialized medicine and the different agenda of President Obama and his Liberal progressive Czars in Washington? If Obama is returned to office, he has promised to enact a blanket Amnesty. The cost according to “The heritage foundation” website $2.6 Trillion dollars, adding to what taxpayers have extorted from them each year; $113 Billion dollars in welfare packages for illegal aliens. Join a local TEA PARTY membership as this is likely to be the only way to save ourselves from these crazy spending culprits. Remember also the Democrats will use any means to re-appoint President Obama, including overlooking non-citizens voting in all elections.

  2. JUST COMPLAINING DOES NOTHING?

    In a new study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), The State of Arizona has efficiently reversed the influx of illegal aliens by instituting state laws intended to depress mass illegal migrants and immigrants from residing or remaining in the state. So the question is, where are they going? Is it not ‘poetic justice’ for want of a better word that unknown numbers of illegal aliens are heading for the so-called Sanctuary States of California or Nevada? Already these Border States are under the massive burden of the illegal alien invasion from South of the border. My guess is they will flee to the Liberal fortresses, mainly the bastions of Los Angeles county and San Francisco with ordinances such as "special Order 40". An Ordinance concocted by a previous Chief of Police Daryl Gates, saying in summary that local police cannot ask anybody that is under suspicion, their immigration status? Even though what the LAPD is doing is illegal, Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano, both egomaniacs have ignored immigration laws. So Californians with have to grin and bear it, unlike other states as Alabama, Georgia, Utah, Indiana, South Carolina as leaders of the anti-illegal immigration campaign to stop welfare predators and the advancement of fiscal unfunded mandates.

    California populace seems completely oblivious to the billions of dollars going out the door, forced on them by the courts, as they have in 44 other states. The Liberal politician in Sacramento need to be shown the exit door as their misguidance has brought upon Californian taxpayers a 13 billion dollar deficit. These lawmakers are being charitable with taxpayer’s money and pandering to the millions of illegal aliens squatting in the state, leaving hardly anything left for lawful residents. Can Americans be so predictably gullible, that with our own wallets strained, we must care for anybody who creeps into this country in the dead of night? Which new candidate for President is going to halt this fiasco of taking away from our own poor, our elderly, homeless, sick and appropriating it for people that should be removed forthwith? In California programs that aided our own low income, has been diverted to illegal alien families?

    THIS IS NOT ABOUT A PERSONS RACE, NATIONALITY OR IMMIGRATION STATUS THIS IS ABOUT ECONOMICS–MONEY. THIS IS STRICTLY ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF U.S. BORN CITIZENS, NATURALIZED CITIZENS AND GREEN CARD HOLDERS. AMERICANS WHO HAVE BEEN VIOLATED BY THE POLITICIANS, SPECIAL INTEREST LOBBYISTS, UNIONS, THE CHURCH AND RADICAL GROUPS THAT ARE HIGHJACKING ENTITLEMENTS NEEDED BY OUR OWN IMPOVERISHED. THESE ARE TWO IMMIGRATION LAWS THAT CAN BRING ADDED SANENESS TO ENFORCEMENT.

    THE STATE OF ARIZONA, ALABAMA, GEORGIA, UTAH, SOUTH CAROLINA OR ANYBODY ELSE WOULD NEED TO CUT DIFFERENT PROGRAMS FOR THEIR LEGAL RESIDENTS, IF THEY WERE NOT FORCED BY ACTIVIST FEDERAL JUDGES TO SUBSIDIZE ANY FOREIGN NATIONAL WHO BREECHES IMMIGRATION LAWS.

    1. DEMAND “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE” BILL, (H.R. 2885) BE PLACED BEFORE CONGRESS. Mandatory E-Verify will inflict fear into every business that hires illegal labor. Simple and straightforward that anybody business owner caught after the nationwide implementation will face strict penalties, that includes huge fines, asset confiscation and prison. Whereas President Obama has been shown currently of weakening ICE raids on companies, who use elicit workers. Mitt Romney is right—that once the job market for illegal job seekers, dries up thousands will leave. This is ATTRITION through Enforcement, with little or no dollars spent, with the deciding factor that has a right to work. The electronic Social Security program hooked onto Homeland Security data bases will reject unauthorized labor. As an addition a special monetary reward fund for informants or “Whistle Blowers” who report suspicious activity on company payrolls. Use hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, to recruit more agents for our undermanned border and begin the construction of former President Bush’s “2006 Secure Fence Act” that was dropped by the elites in the Republican Party, with assistance of the Democrats. We need the double parallel fencing from San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas.

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