Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Home news / State Latino leaders: GOP efforts on illegal immigrants won’t sway voting bloc

State Latino leaders: GOP efforts on illegal immigrants won’t sway voting bloc


Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., shown here with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, at a Nov. 27 press conference announcing the Achieve Act. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Khara Persad)

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., shown here with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, at a Nov. 27 press conference announcing the Achieve Act. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Khara Persad)

After overwhelming support from Latinos helped propel President Barack Obama to a second term, a new Republican plan would offer certain illegal immigrants legal status without a path to citizenship.

But will the legislation offered by retiring Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas appeal to the nation’s fastest-growing voting bloc?

State Rep. Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson, the House minority whip, doesn’t think so.

“The Latino community is smart and wise, and they can see through a smoke screen,” Tovar said.

Other Latino politicians who are Democrats and groups that advocate for Latinos said they see the legislation as a GOP ploy to gain votes without offering the one thing Latinos want out of comprehensive immigration reform: a route to citizenship.

“Any proposal that does not propose a pathway to citizenship is unacceptable,” said state Rep. Martin Quezada, D-Avondale.

“I think it falls short,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Phoenix, “It is not even Dream Act-like.”

Kyl and Hutchison, along with Arizona Sen. John McCain and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, took over a year to draft their version of the DREAM Act, an 11-year-old immigration reform bill that most recently failed to pass through the Senate in 2010.

The new legislation, dubbed the Achieve Act, doesn’t grant citizenship but instead provides a 10-year, three-step plan under which immigrants would receive a variety of renewable visas giving them legal status. Applicants would have to have entered the country before age 14, be 28 years old or younger or 32 years old with a college degree from a U.S. institution.

Kyl and Hutchison have said they see their bill as a good compromise to the DREAM Act and that it shows that Republicans are willing to talk about immigration reform.

Kyl didn’t return telephone messages seeking comment by Monday afternoon.

Tom Morrissey, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, said he applauds Kyl and Hutchison for taking what he called an important step in navigating a solution to immigration reform.

“Everyone has to address this issue as Americans, not as Republicans and not as Democrats,” he said.

Rodolfo Espino, an associate professor in Arizona State University’s School of Politics and Global Studies, said the announcement of the Achieve Act was a political move by the GOP.

“Republicans, seeing that the political winds have shifted and the demographics have shifted, it is not all too surprising,” Espino said.

Joseph Garcia, director of the Latino Public Policy Center at Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, said the new legislation is more about the Republican Party sending a message to its members who have taken a conservative approach to immigration reform.

“I think this is trying to bring more hardliner Republicans into line into a more moderate view,” Garcia said.

He said the Republican Party has realized that it is now necessary to attract Latino voters in order to win elections. He said Latinos have viewed Republicans with hard stances on immigration as anti-Latino and the Achieve Act is a Republican attempt to try to amend that sentiment.

“This is the first step in trying to do an extreme makeover in terms of immigration policy,” Garcia said.

Dulce Matuz, president of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, said when she first heard of the new legislation she knew it was a reaction to the increase in Latino voters this election.

“They need to understand that this is about young peoples lives,” Matuz said. “We are not going to tolerate their political strategies to score political points.”


The Achieve Act

Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas proposed a three-step, 10-year plan for immigrants brought here illegally as children to earn the right to stay in the U.S.:

Apply for a W-1 nonimmigrant visa, good for six years, to earn a degree or serve at least four years in the military. Applicants must:
• Have lived in the U.S. for five years prior to enactment;
• Have entered the country before age 14;
• Have good moral character;
• Not have committed a felony, more than one misdemeanor or a crime of moral turpitude, and must not have a final order of removal pending;
• Have knowledge of English and of American history and principles of U.S. government;
• Be 28 or younger, or 32 with a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college;
• Pay an application fee;
• Complete a medical exam and submit to a background check;
• Check in with the government every six months;
• Not accept welfare benefits;
• Not accept federal student loans;
• Not have access to a green card while here on the W-1 visa.

Apply for a W-2 work visa, good for four years, which can also be used to study toward a graduate degree. Applicant must:
• Pay an application fee;
• Continue to meet W-1 criteria.

Apply for a W-3 nonimmigrant visa, which does not provide a path to citizenship but does allow applicants to apply for a green card. A W-3 visa would be renewable every four years. Applicants must:
• Not break the law;
• Not accept welfare benefits.

One comment

  1. If anyone dare intimate that most of the illegal aliens who come here are Latino, the Latino groups immediately get their collective panties in a bunch. Yet the only issue Latino groups ever want to talk about is illegal immigration. Curious.

    This is a wakeup call for Republicans – “state Latino leaders” are saying Latinos will never vote for Republicans anyway. So capitulating to a voting bloc whose only priority is legalizing millions of law-breakers and encouraging millions more invaders will be the death knell for this country.

    Let’s face it, the two-party system is a joke, Republicans are just as stupid as Democrats. It’s too bad all people can’t look beyond party lines and realize that continuing to import poverty from south of the border is slowly destroying the country. Look at Los Angeles – quickly heading towards bankruptcy, in no small part due to the massive costs of illegal aliens here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




Check Also

Lorenzo Lopez, a history teacher at Cholla High School in Tucson and a former Mexican American Studies teacher, said the new desegregation plan in Tucson Unified School District has the potential to restore the Mexican American Studies program. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Natasha Khan)

Supporters see possibility of reviving Tucson district’s ethnic studies program

Supporters of the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies curriculum banned by a 2010 state law see potential for reviving the program or something similar in an update to a desegregation plan set for review by a federal court.

/* code for tag */