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October 13, 2013

CEPEDA: Fed up with overpromises

It has been only seven months since Republicans put out a manifesto calling on the party to adjust its tone with ethnic minority voters. So far, there’s been little progress to show for it. But I wouldn’t count the GOP out yet.

Sure, Republicans have done a poor job of keeping the loonier elements from dragging their good names through the gutter — outrageous claims about drug-smuggling DREAM Act-eligible immigrants spring to mind.

And the gulf between mainstream Republican thinking and that of Hispanics keeps getting wider on the most sensitive issue — immigration.

As the economy slowly rebounds, Hispanics, nearly a third of whom believed as recently as 2010 that illegal immigration had a negative effect on U.S. Latinos, now feel less animosity on the issue, according to the Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project. Recent figures show that 45 percent of Hispanic adults say the impact of unauthorized immigration on Hispanics already living in the U.S. is positive, up 16 percentage points from 2010.

Then there are the much-publicized numbers about Hispanics’ party perceptions. The Public Religion Research Institute’s 2013 Hispanic Values survey says that only 12 percent of Hispanics believe the phrase “cares about people like you” better describes the Republican Party, while 43 percent say it better describes the Democrats.

But never underestimate the power of disappointment, disillusionment and disgust.

In Chicago, the Moratorium on Deportations Campaign (MDC), a coalition of grass-roots community organizers, has turned on immigrants’ de facto national representatives — the large, Democrat-backed advocacy organizations that get most of the money and all the attention in the debate — claiming they are misrepresenting the current consensus on reform measures to the very people who will be most impacted by any changes in the law.

Calling the mainstream immigration reform movement a “scam” wrapping itself in buzzwords such as “dignity,” “respect” and “keeping families together,” the MDC says Democrats’ efforts on immigration amount to a “giant PR campaign, a way to make false promises to immigrants, while pushing legislation benefiting corporate interests that need cheap labor, disposable people and a steady supply of prisoners.”

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