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Don Roach: Latinos Are The Key to the Republican Revolution

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

 

Your eyes are not deceiving you, Latinos are THE key to the Republican Revolution.

I’ve spent the past few days attending the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting (ALPFA) National Convention in Washington, D.C. This convention brings together Latino and non-Latino professionals within the Accounting and Finance fields (amongst others) to discuss ways to increase the penetration of Latinos within the workplace. This year’s thematic statement centered around the concept of “securing a seat at the table of success.”

As an organization, ALPFA partners with many of the leading accounting firms such as PWC, E&Y, and KPMG. The organization continues to extend its reach to many other industries and I believe it is attempting to become the Latino professional organization. Forgive me if I sound like I’ve drunk too much of the ALPFA Kool-aid, but I reference my time at the convention as a backdrop for what this column is all about–courting Latinos to the Republican party.

Latino voters are growing, Republicans. Embrace it!

Latino voters are growing by leaps and bounds as statistics support. What should be concerning to Republicans is the fact that Latino support for Republicans is nowhere close to that of Democrats. In a growing and more powerful demographic, Republicans cannot afford to alienate Latino voters. All we need to do is look to Mitt Romney for what happens when a candidate is unable to appeal to Latino voters. In January, I wrote:

The President has his own ideas on immigration reform after failing on his 2008 promise to make such reform a priority in his first term. Let me pause there for a minute–Obama said that immigration reform would be a priority for him during his first term. It wasn’t and still Latinos voted overwhelmingly for him in 2012? Republicans must be perceived as the boogeymen on immigration if Latinos gave the president a pass. Romney should have been all over this during the campaign.

My point then was two-fold–1) Romney should have hit on Obama’s self-admitted unfulfilled promise and 2) Romney should have made immigration reform the hallmark of his campaign. He didn’t and instead seemed to alienate Latino voters by being lumped in with other Republicans who call for deportation, stronger borders, and an almost no mercy policy towards illegal immigration.

I know I’m going to rankle some of my Republican countrymen and I hope I do. We are a nation of immigrants, heck, we aren’t a nation unless the Native Americans don’t kill us off and allow us to slowly take over their land. I won’t go into how ‘fair’ and ‘equitable’ displacing Native Americans was, but suffice to say America doesn’t have the moral high ground on that point.

To take a position that says that if someone came here illegally and thus must be deported falls flat against our history. I’m not advocating a pure amnesty system, that disrespects the people who came here legally. What I am saying is that all too often we focus on the 11+ million people here illegally and not the millions more who represent their friends and family.

America is the land of immigrants

Here’s the thing, I met a number of people at this conference who are first-generation born Americans with family members whose legal status was not always, legal. Those same people told me that their family pushed and continues to push them to better themselves and take advantage of the opportunities in this country. As Republicans, we have always valued people who work hard and take their destiny into their own hands. Why have we been so averse to support illegal immigrants who by and large came to this country to build a better life for their families?

I think we’ve lost our way in thinking that illegal immigrants exist in a vacuum and that they are here to “milk the system.” I do not believe we will be able to defeat Democrats holding to a strict “if you’re here illegally, you’ve got to be deported” strategy. More than gay marriage, more than abortion, more than gun control, and more than any other hot topic, if we take an approach that ensures illegal immigrants are able to take a path towards citizenship we will secure the Latino vote. If we secure the Latino vote, we can win nationally. And if we win nationally, we can lead the country towards the type of reform that moves the country in the right direction.

It’s not rocket science to me.

Furthermore, taking a position on immigration that leads to a path to citizenship is not at odds with Republican ideology. As I said, most immigrants of any descent are here to make a life for themselves. Making statements to the contrary is disrespectful and immigrants and their families are right to fear any party supporting such comments. Of course, no group or people are perfect but are you telling me that a majority of the 11+ million illegal immigrants are here just to collect welfare? Come on, no one is that ignorant.

Republicans, the country is changing. The Latino electorate is growing at ever increasing rates. We need to be the party to lead the country on immigration reform. In so doing, we will win the support of many more Latinos and that will allows us to commence with a true Republican Revolution to bring real and progressive (liberals don’t have the trademark on this word) change to the country.

Hagámoslo!

Don Roach can be reached at don@donroach.org.

 

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