In a column published online Wednesday in Politico, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) implored his fellow Republicans to “avoid the immigration trap,” arguing that the issue is the “exactly the wrong subject” to make inroads with Hispanic voters.
Smith decried the idea of granting amnesty to undocumented immigrants already residing in the United States, insisting that the GOP resist “Obama/liberal Democrats’ plan to legalize every person who is in the country illegally.” The first reason, he contended, is that immigration reform does not move the needle with the growing constituency that voted overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama and Democrats in 2012.
“Republicans do need to make progress with Hispanic voters,” Smith wrote. “But immigration is exactly the wrong subject to use to attract Hispanic support.”
He continued, “First, when Hispanics themselves are asked what issues they care most about, they usually list immigration fifth. The economy and jobs both rate much higher.”