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Le Monde, France

Republicans Learn to Speak “Latino”


By Isabelle Piquer

Translated By Clare Durif

2 February 2013

Edited by Ketu­rah Hetrick


France - Le Monde - Original Article (French)

Republicans have taken to speaking “Latino” so as not to offend the sensibilities of their coveted electorate.

To encourage them with this, the Hispanic Leadership Network, a conservative Latino group, has circulated a number of recommendations to tone down the language of the more radical sections of the party: a crash course in being “políticamente correcto.”

It is, therefore, now preferable to talk of “undocumented immigrants” rather than “illegals” and to avoid “anchor baby,” a derogatory term used to describe children born in the United States to illegal immigrant parents. With regards to securing borders, expressions such as “electric fence,” “build a wall along the entire border” and “send them all back” are equally inadvisable.

Instead, to reaffirm the party’s stance, it is better to talk of “earned legal status,” which implies certain requirements and conditions, rather than of a “pathway to citizenship,” which seems to indicate preferential treatment. One final piece of advice: No reference should be made to the last immigration reforms, initiated by Ronald Reagan in 1986, because “that legislation was true amnesty” (it regularized 3 million illegal immigrants).

Even the most stubborn of Republicans seem to have understood. In any case, there is no longer any mention of “self-deportation,” the measure advocated by Mitt Romney during his campaign and which recommended living conditions for undocumented immigrants so tough as to force them to leave.

In the negotiations, which have just started, bipartisan fervor appears to have led to role reversal, with each side now employing the vocabulary of its opponent. Republican Marco Rubio speaks only of “undocumented immigrants” to show a certain empathy, while President Barack Obama, in his speech in Las Vegas, and Democratic Senator Charles Schumer unhesitatingly criticize “illegals” in order to show that they can maintain a hard line.

The Republicans remain optimistic. According to a poll by Latino Decisions, 31 percent of Hispanics would be more likely to vote for the Grand Old Party if it toned down its stance on immigration. “Republicans don’t need to win a majority of Latino votes to win,” explains analyst Gary Segura. “They just need to not get crushed,” like Mitt Romney, who won just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote.



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