Looking back on last week’s vote, Hispanics overwhelmingly supported President Obama, with 71 percent support. Republicans need to take note of this. Hispanics are not tied to many Democratic Party’s stances. They trend conservative on many social issues. The Republicans’ poor showing among Hispanics is a self-inflicted wound that can be partially remedied with three specific stances.
First, the Republicans should embrace the DREAM ACT. It’s never made sense to deny young persons citizenship because they arrived in our nation due to their parents’ choices. The DREAM ACT is geared to reward those young Hispanics who have both assimilated and proven their worth as citizens.
Second, the Republicans need to formulate a fast-track citizenship status for illegals, individual and families, who have lived in the U.S. for a generation or longer. In other words, these Hispanics have set down roots in the U.S. They’ve lived law-abiding lives, and for lack of citizenship papers, would be U.S. citizens. The current popular conservative stance, that they should go home and get in line, is untenable due to the already ultra-long bureaucratic wait for citizenship that most Hispanics face.
Third, The Republicans should take the initiative in setting up a work-permit residence status for laborers who pursue work in the United States, working at jobs that many better-off persons avoid, such as field labor or slaughterhouses. It’s ridiculous to raid these businesses, which rely on immigrant labor, and end up splitting families.
These stances would, of course, exempt immigrants with criminal records or gang affiliations. In the past generation, ironically after an amnesty bill that Ronald Reagan oversaw, the Republicans have made enemies of Hispanics through measures, beginning with Pete Wilson’s in the 1990s, that cast illegal aliens as criminals worthy of contempt. The demographics have never justified that interpretation, and the GOP is now being punished by Hispanics for its long-term lack of compassion.