GOP Backup Plan on Immigration: Deceive Latinos

GOP Trying to Etch A Sketch Away Its Record on Immigration

Two new polls out this week show the peril of the Republican Party’s vehemently anti-immigrant policies. First, Gallup reported that anti-immigration sentiment is at a historic low, with 66 percent of Americans saying immigration is a “good thing.” And then just today a Bloomberg News poll reveals that Americans overwhelmingly back the president’s new immigration policy. Just 30 percent of likely voters oppose it, while 64 percent support it — including independent voters, who back it by a 2:1 margin. Some polls have also shown President Obama leading Mitt Romney by a nearly 50-point margin among Latinos.

So has the GOP decided to moderate its stance before it permanently alienates Latinos? No, not really.

Instead, it appears that some conservatives have settled on a cynical effort to deceive Latinos about where they really stand.

Assuming Latinos Don’t Speak English?

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) tried to pull a fast one on Spanish speakers by omitting his stance on border security and illegal immigration on his campaign’s Spanish site. Both of Heller’s websites have some general information on his immigration stance, but according to his English site (and only his English site):

“Businesses who knowingly hire illegal immigrants should be held accountable. Dean also believes border patrol must also have the resources necessary to end the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States and opposes amnesty for those who enter America illegally.”

Heller is not the only Republican guilty of this kind of web editing. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is a staunch Republican who, like Heller, represents a state with a huge Spanish speaking population. On Sen. Cornyn’s English site, “Immigration” is the fourth policy listed on the “Key Issues” page — higher than “Education” and even “Homeland Security.” On the other hand, users on his Spanish site must scroll down to near the bottom of the page to learn about his immigration views.

Rep. Steve Pearce (R) from New Mexico? Look on his English site’s “issues” page and “Border Security” is the first policy explanation you’ll find. But if you switch over to his site in Spanish, “Seguridad Fronteriza” is dead last.

The GOP is also wary of communicating its immigration stance to Spanish speakers on the national scale., a recent Republican web effort to generate Latino support — which oddly enough originally used a stock photo of the wrong ethnicity — offers no explanation of Republican immigration policy at all. To be fair, neither does the English RNC website. Still, it would seem odd that a website specifically geared towards incorporating the Latino electorate would have such a glaring omission.

Shifting Blame

One of the more interesting Republican responses to the president’s new policy has been to blame him for “politicizing” the issue of immigration. For example, just this morning, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) blamed the president for making it harder to find a permanent solution to the issue, despite the fact that just two months ago Boehner himself nixed the idea of even taking it up:

“It puts everyone in a difficult position,” Boehner said of Obama’s policy change, during a scrum with reporters. “I think we all have concerns for those who are caught in this trap, who through no fault of their own are here. But the president’s actions are going to make it much more difficult for us to work in a bipartisan way to get to a permanent solution.” […]

Boehner’s charge that Obama’s move means less chance for bipartisanship in moving Dream Act legislation comes after he already squashed the idea that a Dream Act-type proposal offered by someone in his own party, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), could advance.

“The problem with this issue is that we’re operating in a very hostile political environment,” Boehner said in April. “To deal with a very difficult issue like this, I think it would be difficult at best.”

This ridiculous assertion also ignores the fact that Republicans almost unanimously opposed the DREAM Act in 2010, the last time it came up for a vote in Congress:

DREAM Act voting

Boehner also dismissed Democrats’ calls in 2010 to take up a comprehensive solution as a “cynical ploy” and of course House Republicans were responsible for killing comprehensive immigration reform during the Bush administration.

IN ONE SENTENCE: Republicans have spent years, if not decades, demonizing immigrants and a tweak to a website here and revisionist claim there isn’t going to Etch A Sketch away their extreme record on immigration.

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Advocacy Team