With the upcoming Presidential Election, Republican presidential hopefuls will have one eye on the primary elections and another on the general election. As is now an American tradition, the GOP will be arguing against itself in the debate over the Latino vote when it comes to their severe cases of Immigration Amnesia.
Jeb Bush has been the most consistent among the Republicans, whose main point of dissension with himself is whether or not he favors a pathway to citizenship for undocumented persons already here. While he has favored a pathway to citizenship in the past, his book, "Immigration Wars," prescribes a pathway to legal residency instead.
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Tea Party favorite and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, also now disagrees with himself, stating that he has changed his views on allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the country. Mr. Walker once supported a pathway to citizenship, but his ascension within conservative ranks no longer makes this view a tenable position if he is to continue raising money among his growing fan base.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio has reversed his position on immigration reform as well, declaring at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), that he has “learned his lesson” on immigration. Once a conservative hopeful, his rising star status fell like a rock when began taking a more humane approach towards undocumented immigrants.
Perhaps the only major presidential hopeful that has resisted the temptation to take a hard stance on immigration is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, but his recent slide in popularity among conservatives may create too much pressure on him to resist the temptation that has lured the other candidates further right.
Republican Latinos hoping to hear a different tune among their candidates during this new election cycle may be in for a long season. The little trust that existed among Latinos since Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” policy, in which he would promote an approach towards Hispanic families that would be so unbearable for members who were undocumented that they would deport themselves out of the country, would surely take another hit if the moderate Republicans are switching their stances already. Mitt Romney’s stance on immigration created the widest voting advantage among Latinos for the Democrats since reliable data was available in 1980. The GOP’s severe case of Immigration Amnesia isn’t likely to change that.