News / USA

Republican Hispanics Divided by Immigration Issue

Multimedia

Audio

Earlier this year, the Republican Party-dominated legislature of Arizona passed a law calling for police to question the immigration status of anyone they encounter in carrying out their duties who presents what is called "reasonable suspicion."  The law was signed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer, but largely blocked in July by a federal judge.  Many Hispanics are offended by the law, and that could cost the Republican Party in years ahead.

The majority of illegal immigrants entering Arizona in recent years have come from Latin America, with Mexico accounting for more than 60 percent.  Since many Hispanics in Arizona have roots in Mexico, they have sympathized with the immigrants and criticized the Arizona immigration law as racist.

Supporting SB 1070

A significant number of Hispanics, however, especially in the Republican Party, back Governor Jan Brewer and the law called SB 1070.

One of them is Jesse Hernandez, chairman of the Arizona Latino Republican Association.  "There is one thing Jan Brewer is willing to do and that is enforce SB 1070, whereas her opponent, the Democrat, will not."

Despite wording in the law designed to prevent discrimination, though, most Hispanics think they will be targeted and many of them criticize Hernandez for his stand.

"They will come out with the comment that you are a racist, you turned against your own people - the name calling, 'Coconut,' brown on the outside, white on the inside, and that just shows me how ignorant (they are) and what a lack of education they have," said Hernandez.  "Because, basically, what they are trying to say is that the Latino community does not have independent thinkers like any other culture, that we do not have differences of opinion on public policies."

Opposing the immigration law

But many Republican Hispanics oppose the immigration law and are upset with state party leaders.  Dee Dee Garcia Blase heads the group Somos Republicans, Spanish for "We are Republicans."  She said, "We are the real Republicans.  We are the real ones."

Blase is trying to rally Hispanic Republicans nationwide to her organization.  "We are socially conservative, we are proud of it, we are for less government, less taxes, but the SB 1070 is the litmus test as we continue to push and want to grow Hispanic Republicans."

Immigration attorney Jose Penalosa said his party is making a big mistake in alienating Hispanics.  "The power of the Latino vote is going to call the shot here in the next generation and the party is going to look back and realize that they have committed generational suicide, election suicide, by not reaching out to people and trying to bring them in, people who have their own values."

Mixed election outlook for support of law

Public-opinion polls show strong support for Governor Brewer and SB1070, so Republicans likely will do well in November's midterm election.  But as the Hispanic population and voter base grows, the outlook for future elections could change.

Arizona State University Political Science Professor Patrick Kenney said Republicans may be throwing away gains they made among Hispanics under the leadership of President George W. Bush.

"The Republican Party was exactly reaching out to Latinos, especially Mexicans, who are Catholic, on some of these social issues, controversial issues, like abortion, and I think they made some inroads there," said Kenney.  "But those inroads have been washed away by this hardcore position by the Republican Party."

Hispanic voters favored Democrats by around two-to-one in recent Arizona elections and, as the community and voter base grows, Democratic Party spokesperson Jennifer Johnson said her party is likely to gain.  "We have seen an increase in interest in voter registration drives, there has been a lot more activity among Latino community groups in registering voters and trying to give people an outlet for the anger or frustration they feel."

Issue is highly divisive

But many Hispanic families remain divided over the issue, and Jesse Hernandez said it all comes down to the failure of the federal government to stop illegal immigration at the border.

"For a society to be successful and to do well, you have got to have laws and when you start breaking laws when it is convenient to just one race, class or one group, then you start going down a very slippery slope."

The debate among Hispanics and in the public at large over the immigration issue is likely to continue well beyond this year's elections.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid