There has been a lot of talk recently after the election about how the Republican party needs to become more compassionate and open up to the concerns of other ethnic groups and in particular, Hispanics. Unfortunately, most of the talk centers on the issue of immigration as if that is the only thing Hispanics are concerned about and the discussion quickly degenerates into rancorous debate amongst conservatives that are adamantly opposed to any type if immigration reform and those that believe that some sort of immigration reform is absolutely required to bring the Hispanic voting bloc into the GOP fold. The sad part of all of this is that we Hispanics see two sides arguing about how best to get us into the GOP and all we hear above the rancor is that we or our “kin” that might be here illegally are unwelcome here and are responsible for the dire economic and unemployment conditions we are experiencing—and, no one really asking us what we want!
As a conservative Hispanic and native born citizen of this country whose family has been here since 1693, I believe that conservatives and the GOP are asking the wrong questions and offering the wrong solutions. Most Hispanics in this country, regardless of the country of origin are here legally either as natural born citizens or as legal immigrants and our concerns are exactly the same as everyone else’s—jobs, family, security, freedom, and the economy. Regardless of our cultural and ethnic heritage and our “kindred connection” to those Hispanos from the lands of our ancestors, we consider ourselves Americans first and contrary to popular belief, immigration reform is not our primary concern or priority! Yet, to hear conservatives talk, they would lump us all together categorically as either being illegal and causing the problem or at least being sympathetic to the illegal immigrants and being part of the problem and—right or wrong–that is what we are hearing from the right.