June 16, 2007


New mood from new citizens: Latino immigrants in South Florida who have traditionally registered with the GOP have felt alienated by the party, critics say. (Peter Wallsten, June 16, 2007, LA Times)

Surveys show that among Latino voters — a bloc Bush had hoped to woo into the Republican camp — negative views about the party are growing amid a bitter debate over immigration policy.

Republicans in Congress have led the fight against a controversial Senate bill that would provide a pathway for millions of illegal immigrants to eventually become citizens. All but one of the GOP's leading White House hopefuls oppose the measure.

Many Latino leaders, including Republicans, have said the tone of some critics in attacking the bill has been culturally insensitive. They say that has alienated some Latinos from the GOP.

How this eventually plays out at the voting booth remains hard to predict, and that is especially the case concerning newly naturalized Latinos. Even if they register to vote, it is uncertain how many of these new citizens would actually turn out on election day.

And although 2006 election results showed a steep drop off in Latino support for Republicans, polls suggest that there is little, if any, growing enthusiasm for Democrats.

Still, at least on Thursday in Miami Beach, even the occasional new citizen who said he or she had registered as a Republican expressed concern about the tenor of the immigration debate.

Priscilla Girasol, 36, a mother from Brazil who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said she liked Bush because of his Christian faith and the compassion he expressed for the immigrant experience. But she said she could not forget the words of one GOP presidential candidate, Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado.

Tancredo, a vocal critic of illegal immigration, late last year called Miami a "Third World country."

"It's a shame," Girasol said. "I'm sure in his life somebody from another country did something for him."

Heck, he had illegals working on his house, even if attacking them cost his party the House.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 16, 2007 11:24 AM

This is central Florida, not South Florida, but the GOP has the same anti-Latino attitude here. When I went to the local Republican party headquarters to pick up some yard signs last election, they were "out" of signs for Martinez, but you could practically see their lips curling when I mentioned his name. His website was no better. There was no reply to an email asking about campaign material.

I didn't and still don't think that Mel is the best choice for senator for reasons other than his ethnicity, but considering the alternative, old style leftie, Betty Castor, ya had to vote for him.

o/t comments sign in not working

Posted by: erp at June 17, 2007 7:26 AM