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September 19, 2013 at 11:34 AM

House Republicans’ effort to woo Latinos misses the mark

Watch the one-minute video below released by House Republicans this week and tell me what’s missing:

Notice there’s zero mention of immigration reform? Offering lip service to Latinos for their contributions to America, then refusing to address one of this fast-growing voting bloc’s chief issues makes House Republicans look out of touch.

In the Times editorial board’s Thursday editorial, we argue for three of four Washington Republican congressional members — U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane, Doc Hastings of Pasco and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas — to rally behind a comprehensive immigration reform package that includes a path to citizenship.

I emailed and called each of their offices to ask for a “yes” or “no” response on whether they support granting legal status. Hastings and Herrera Beutler did not respond. On Wednesday afternoon, McMorris Rodgers’ spokesperson Melanie Collett emailed the following statement:

The Congresswoman recognizes that the immigration system in America is broken and she is working to approach immigration piece by piece with her colleagues to fix it. She also visited with a lot of constituents in August to discuss immigration reform.

The piecemeal approach to immigration reform is short-sighted and wastes the Senate’s hard-fought efforts last June to pass a bipartisan, comprehensive deal. That measure included a 13-year path to citizenship, increasing the number of temporary work visas for low and high-skilled workers, and increased border security.

House Speaker John Boehner has said he won’t bring the bill to the floor unless a majority of his caucus supports it. (This is also known as the “Hastert Rule.” Read more about it via this Washington Post news story.) Washington’s Republican delegates should encourage him to move on the Senate bill. According to the pro-immigration reform group America’s Voice, 26 Republicans have come out to support a path to citizenship.

As U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert of Auburn argued so effectively in this August interview on KVI, the discussion must include talk of legalization because our system is broken, allowing millions of undocumented people to live in the shadows. He calls what we’re doing now — letting them work here on an undocumented basis — a form of amnesty, and he’s right.

By supporting immigration reform, McMorris Rodgers, Hastings and Herrera Beutler would not be upsetting their base.

A new statewide poll from KCTS 9, Latino Decisions and the UW’s Diversity Research Institute shows 73 percent of 800 residents surveyed support a path to citizenship for working immigrants who agree to learn english and accept penalties like paying back taxes.

Below is video of  KCTS 9 producer Enrique Cerna’s interview with the poll’s directors, Matt Barreto and Luis Fraga. Notice the interesting contrasts they draw from their interviews between Washingtonians’ positive and negative views of Latinos.

The study was done in conjunction with KCTS 9’s latest documentary produced by Cerna, “Latinos: The Changing Face of Washington.” Watch that full video at this link.



Comments | Topics: cathy mcmorris rodgers, congress, doc hastings


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