Two participants in a panel on immigration at CPAC today expressed confidence in their closing statements that Hispanic immigrants will be a source of future votes for the Republican party. “Latino voters are the Reagan Democrats of today,” said Alfonso Aguilar, the executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles. “I believe that the majority of them can actually be members of CPAC in the future,” concurred the Reverend Luis Cortés Jr.
The panel was supposed to answer the question: “Can there be meaningful immigration reform without citizenship?”
Aguilar vehemently disagreed: “Conservatives need to address immigration, and they need to do it now,” he said, adding that “our conservative base wants us to lead and legislate” on the issue. Alfonso said that in addition to immigrants doing the “jobs that Americans don’t want,” immigration “creates good-paying jobs for working-class Americans.”
Reverend Cortés declared that “immigration is the only policy matter where God agrees with God,” by which he meant, he explained, that all religious communities supported immigration reform — “even the Baha’i.”
At one point, Reverend Cortés took issue with Morgan’s use of the word “amnesty.” “If you look it up in the dictionary it means forgiveness at no cost,” he said, and it would not apply “if someone comes forward” and has to “do recompense” as he said Republicans are proposing to require of immigrants currently here illegally.
The fourth panelist, Helen Krieble of the Krieble Foundation, advocated for a large guest-worker program, and pushed for her organization’s “Red Card” solution.