Former House Speaker and potential 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gringrich is trying hard to reach out to conservative Hispanics, while also calling for comprehensive immigration reform.“We have to design a program that is more advantageous to be legal than illegal,” he said at the Hispanic Forum Thursday, an event hosted by his Hispanic news and opinion website, The Americano. “I believe we have to have a commitment that every person in America is here legally.”
We are not going to deport 11 million people. There has to be some zone between deportation and amnesty.
The Americano was launched in September 2009 “to offer balanced news and viewpoints to the U.S. Hispanic population,” according to the website.
The two-day forum is centered around the theme of “sharing of American liberty with Hispanics around the globe,” according to the event’s website. Other speakers include former Prime Minister of Spain JosÃ© MarÃa Aznar and Mexican ambassador Arturo Sarukhan.
The Americano referred TPM to Hispanic advocate Laura Drain, who told me in a phone interview Thursday that Hispanics are natural conservatives — a topic of one of the forum events Thursday — because they are family oriented, believe in small business and are pro-life. She said, however, that conservatives have not been very good at convincing Hispanics to vote Republican.
“The point was to reach the Hispanic community and educate them about conservatism,” she said.
It remains to be seen whether Gingrich’s efforts to reach out to Hispanics will be enough to woo voters in 2012, if he should run. In 2008, 67% of Hispanics voted for Barack Obama, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
Watch Gingrich’s remarks here.
Gingrich Communications declined TPM’s request for an interview.