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RNC Tries to Distance Party from Arizona Immigration Law

As a party, Republicans want to have it both ways on immigration — to tout anti-immigration policies without alienating Latino voters. On Monday, for instance, RNC Chairman Michael Steele attempted during an interview with Univision to distance the GOP from Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law. The law was backed by Republicans from around the country, but Steele told the Spanish-language network the law should not reflect on the party:

CMF: How do you say that Hispanics are relevant (important) for your party, when you just approved a law in Arizona against immigrants?

STEELE: Well, let’s be clear. The actions of one state’s governor is not a reflection of an entire country, nor is it a reflection of an entire political party. The governor and the people of Arizona made a decision that they thought was in their best interest, and that’s the beauty of a republic, that’s who we are.

CMF [Cutaway]: For Steele, the Arizona law against immigrants is not a reflection of our nation, and it is not a reflection of the Republican Party.

STEELE: We hope, now that this debate is in full bloom, level heads will prevail and that we’ll reach a common sense solution with regards to immigration.

During recent debate over birthright citizenship, Steele and other Republican leaders also tried to draw a distinction between the party line and statements by some of its members. After Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called for changes to the 14th Amendment — and others, such as Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), went further with claims of “terror babies” — the RNC and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell couched discussion of the issue in terms of “birth tourism,” the documented practice of Chinese companies that arrange visas for pregnant women.

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