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Republicans Push For Immigration Reform

Derek Belle |
November 20, 2012 | 12:41 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Protestors rally for immigration reform (Elvert Barnes/Creative Commons).
Protestors rally for immigration reform (Elvert Barnes/Creative Commons).
During a call with campaign donors last week, Mitt Romney attributed his loss in the 2012 presidential election to the “gifts” Obama gave to African Americans, Hispanics and young people during his first term in office.

In response to these comments, many Republicans, including South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Carlos Gutierrez, the leader of Romney’s outreach to Latinos and former commerce secretary, have made public attempts to distance themselves from the former Republican nominee. 

Though Romney’s statement was considered insulting by some, it was not necessarily unfounded. A staggering majority of 71 percent of Latino voters supported Obama in the election and some prominent Republicans are now beginning to see the need for immigration reform to reconcile the party with alienated Latino voters.

In fact, Gutierrez, along with Charlie Spies, who cofounded the superPAC Restore Our Future in support of Romney’s campaign, is leading the creation of a new superPAC that will focus on and allocate resources to immigration reform. The PAC, Republicans for Immigration Reform, will seek to back candidates who support sweeping changes to immigration policy in the United States.

“I don’t believe that any winning coalition in immigration reform is going to come from the Republican party,” said Ali Adam Valenzuela, assistant professor in Princeton’s Department of Politics specializing in Latino politics.

He added that, although they may be able to secure votes on a reform bill from a few moderate congressmen, immigration reform measures would not enjoy broad enough support from the rest of the Republican party to pass without mobilization from Democrats and Independents.

Valenzuela also said he did not think the relatively small show of support for immigration reform will have an impact on voter’s perceptions of the Republican Party.

Reach Staff Reporter Derek Belle here.  Follow him on Twitter.



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