Letter No. 30: Immigration reform now! (36101)

Last week, the Republican National Committee decided it was time to go after the Latino vote and rolled out its Hispanic outreach efforts. Ironically, much like the GOP’s position on many issues of concern to Latinos, the move quickly turned into a PR nightmare.

At the launch on Tuesday, May 8, the RNC was hot to trot, showcasing their six newly hired Hispanic outreach directors as if the civil rights bill had just been inked while slamming President Barack Obama for letting down the Hispanic community by deporting families and failing to develop a plan for immigration reform.

But then Bettina Inclan, one of the directors of Hispanic outreach for the RNC, put her foot in her mouth and the PR rally turned into a PR nightmare just like that!

Asked about Mitt Romney’s stance on immigration, Inclan stated, “I think, as a candidate, to my understanding, that he’s still deciding what his position on immigration is, so I can’t talk about what his proposal is going to be.”

But minutes later, the GOP and Inclan were trying hard to do damage control. As the comment gained traction on Twitter, Democrats began weighing in.

Among them was Gabriela Domenzain, Obama for America’s director of Hispanic press, who noted, “[Romney’s] position may be inconvenient, but it has been clear. He has promised to veto the DREAM Act, thinks all undocumented immigrants should self-deport, has called the anti-immigrant Arizona law a ‘model’ for the nation and has paraded around the country with the nation’s leading anti-immigrant voices.”

Soon, RNC Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski was backpedaling so fast you could not help but think she was going to crash. She insisted, “We never said the governor is still deciding on immigration.”

And then came the famous retraction from an obviously pressured Inclan who tweeted simply, “I misspoke,” and instead offered up a link to Romney’s campaign website, where the former governor’s views on immigration include opposition to amnesty or any policy that would allow illegal immigrants to cut in line, completing a high-tech border fence and vetoing in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants.

Not that the link can help Romney, as his stance has now been clearly stated for the world and the RNC would have probably done better had they stuck to Inclan’s faux pas line: He’s still deciding what his position on immigration is.

The GOP and RNC can’t fool any immigrant voter, Latino or not! Their rhetoric and stance on immigration is clear; they are hardliners with no solution to solving the issue of illegal immigration in a country that was built on the backs of immigrants and whose economy continues to be dependent on immigrant labor–legal or illegal. Their so-called outreach to Hispanics is a joke; not even nominating Marco Rubio as veep can help them win in November.

The faux pas was not Inclan’s. The GOP’s problems with this immigrant bloc of voters go way beyond this and cannot be solved with a PR campaign, especially given the archaic views its leadership holds, the rhetoric many within the party spew, especially on immigration and its demographic makeup that fails to reflect the changing landscape of America.

The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.