Rep. Lamar Smith says that the GOP should go ahead and press it’s anti-immigration agenda because Hispanics support the Republican agenda and don’t really care about the issue of immigration:
“The idea that we need to listen to our liberal Democratic friends who say you have to be for amnesty if you want to get Hispanic votes, we’ve disproved that this year — and I hope we’ve laid that to rest,” he adds.
With the understanding that “Hispanics have the same values that almost every other American has,” he thinks the GOP can attract Hispanic voters by treating everybody as Americans.
“They care about education for their children, they care about jobs for their family members [and] they care about good healthcare, of course,” Smith reports. “According to the various polls they’ve been taking of Hispanic voters, immigration is number five. I think it’s in the single digits, it’s so far down the list of their priorities.”
The Texas representative goes on to point out that the Republican Party ran more new Hispanic candidates this year than Democrats, many of whom are identified “as having a pro-enforcement or anti-amnesty stance.”
He finds it interesting that “Republican Hispanics are not going with the stereotype that they have to be for amnesty, but actually that they want to enforce immigration laws.” He thinks that should also send a powerful message that “you can be respectful, you can be for law and order, you can be for the rule of law, and you can be for secure borders and opposed to amnesty and be elected, either as Hispanics or Anglos.”
Of course, this argument might be more convincing if Somos Republicans, “the largest and fastest growing Hispanic Republican Organization in the Southwest,” hadn’t recently written a letter to Reps. John Boehner and Eric Cantor begging them not to let Smith and Rep. Steve King become assume key leadership positions because of their radical anti-immigrant views and rhetoric:
As we are already looking toward the 2012 Presidential Elections, we respectfully ask you to take heed to our request out of concern for our nation. Congressmen Smith and King have repeatedly engaged in rhetoric that is aimed negatively toward Hispanics. Steve King has used defamatory language that is extremely offensive to Hispanics, which is found in numerous congressional records. We believe Steve King’s behavior is not appropriate for a high-level elected Republican who might be in charge of a committee that handles immigration rules. Steve King and Lamar Smith have adopted extreme positions on birthright citizenship, and promise legislation that would undermine the 14th amendment of the constitution, which both swore an oath to uphold.
While it is indeed the duty of the Judiciary and Immigration committees to oversee and enforce existing immigration laws, Representatives Smith and King have engaged in an ill-advised platform and rhetoric that has been perceived as insensitive with their inflammatory “immigration statements,” and this has caused an exodus of Hispanic voters to the Democratic party. We ask that you review Mr. King’s and Mr. Smith’s congressional statements desiring to “pass a bill out of the House to end the Constitution’s birthright citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants,” or what Steve King has made reference to “anchor babies.” We find both this rhetoric and this un-constitutional conduct reprehensible, insulting and a poor reflection upon Republicans because we don’t want our Party to be viewed as the Party of changing the United States Constitution.
It is our sincere belief that if representatives Smith and King were to become the Chairs of the House Judiciary and Subcommittee on Immigration, and if they indeed continue such insensitive rhetoric towards Hispanics, the conditions for a Republican presidential candidate to garner the necessary Electoral College Delegates to win the 2012 presidency will not be possible.