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GOP Talking Immigration Reform Ahead of Elections

Today, Immigration Impact, the blog of the Immigration Policy Center, reported on a shift in tactics in the immigration debate: A growing number of Republican lawmakers say the party needs to adjust its positions on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) in order to boost Latino support:

More Republicans have acknowledged that the GOP must change its tune on Latinos and immigration, especially in the lead-up to midterm elections. This week, RNC Chair Michael Steele not only agreed to a meeting with an immigration advocacy group (after the group staged a sit-in), but went a step further to say that he’s concerned with harsh GOP rhetoric on immigration…

Last week, the newly formed Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles held a panel on reclaiming CIR for conservatives. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), who says he has been working on a secret congressional working group on immigration, reiterated that President Obama failed to deliver on his promise of immigration reform in his first year. Diaz-Balart also pinned blame on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for not allowing any immigration legislation to hit the floor until health care passed, then committed his support for CIR.

Last week, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) became the second Republican senator to publicly state his efforts for reform. Cornyn told a Spanish-language news wire, just before the release of the immigration blue print, that he was committed to working toward finding “common ground” for a reform bill. He also said he had spoken to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and was ready to work out their disagreements over a proposed bill.

And while last week’s revealing poll on Latino voting power or Sunday’s rally for reform may or may not prompt bipartisan support for a reform bill, a small segment of the GOP appears to be listening to pro-immigration concerns.

From Immigration Impact:

In the months leading up to midterm elections, we will likely see more Republicans reaching out to Latinos, distancing themselves from anti-immigrant groups and criticizing the President for inaction on immigration reform. Let’s hope that if and when an immigration reform bill is on the floor, that these same critics will hold themselves accountable for their own pledges of support or risk alienating many of the voters they seek to court.

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