Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday argued that the Republican Party needs to get “beyond deportation” in order to break through to Hispanic voters.
The Kentucky Republican and likely 2016 contender argued that before the GOP can make its case to the Latino community, which voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in 2012, the party needs to make clear it is open to a more welcoming approach to immigration.
“The bottom line is, the Hispanic community, the Latino community is not going to hear us until we get beyond that issue,” he said at a conservative event. His comments came immediately following a discussion on work visas, in the context of a broader address about reaching out to that community.
“They’re not going to care whether we go to the same church or have the same values or believe in the same kind of future of our country until we get beyond that. Showing up helps, but you got to show up and you got to say something, and it has to be different from what we’ve been saying.”
That differs from the political path promoted by some of Paul’s fellow conservatives, who argue that if the GOP highlights other areas of common ground with the Hispanic community beyond immigration — shared religious and entrepreneurial values, for example — that will be sufficient to make inroads with Hispanics.
“I think that what’s happened is, there is not the perception of empathy coming from the Republican Party that we care about where they’re coming from and we care about what their problems are,” he said of minorities at a conservative gathering at the Newseum. “Until we get to that point, they’re not going to listen to any of the next message. Are there many in the Latino community who go to church, believe in tradition values, are conservative? Yes. Maybe half, maybe 60 percent … there’s enormous upside potential … but you got to get the door ajar.”
One way to open that “door” to the Hispanic community, he said, is to offer reassurances that “Mrs. Garcia’s nephew is not going to be sent home to Mexico.”
SOURCE: KATIE GLUECK