CPAC Immigration Panelist: ‘Latino Voters Are the Reagan Democrats of Today’

Katherine Connell, National Review, March 6, 2014

Two participants in a panel on immigration at CPAC today expressed confidence in their closing statements that Hispanic immigrants will be a source of future votes for the Republican party. “Latino voters are the Reagan Democrats of today,” said Alfonso Aguilar, the executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles. “I believe that the majority of them can actually be members of CPAC in the future,” concurred the Reverend Luis Cortés Jr.​

The panel was supposed to answer the question: “Can there be meaningful immigration reform without citizenship?”

Derrick Morgan, vice president of domestic policy at the Heritage Foundation, was the only one of four panelists to basically reject the premise of the question, saying that he wasn’t the best person to say whether legalization should include a path to citizenship since he didn’t think that Republicans should be pursuing a policy of comprehensive immigration reform at all right now: “I respectfully disagree with the policy of legalization with or without citizenship,” he said, instead favoring a piecemeal approach, beginning with enforcement. He noted that the current laws are not being enforced so “why would you trust this current administration” to implement a deal?

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Reverend Cortés declared that “immigration is the only policy matter where God agrees with God,” by which he meant, he explained, that all religious communities supported immigration reform—“even the Baha’i.”

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“The Hispanic community is about less government, it is afraid of big government,” he added.

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The reverend warned that the Hispanic community is becoming alienated by Republican rhetoric on the issue, much like “African Americans left the party of Lincoln due partly to rhetoric around civil rights.” “The Hispanic community is about less government, it is afraid of big government,” he added.

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