Immigration Reform 2013: Republicans Singing a Different Tune But Aren't Serious About Change

Because of the president’s recent victory over his opponent, Mitt Romney, republicans find themselves trying to figure out how to regroup and adapt their party to appeal to a broader demographic.

President Obama specifically enjoyed a 44% advantage over his opponent among Hispanics, leaving the Republican Party acutely aware of an increasing tendency to marginalize themselves to an all-Caucasian constituency. But some in the Republican Party will not go gently into the good night of fading support. Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio have both called for an end to “dumbed-down conservatism” in their own ways.

Jindal has suggested that the party re-evaluate its stance on immigration. He has called for an end to pandering to people as special interest groups and says he wants to address them as individuals. This sounds promising, especially if you are one to hope for some real change to occur on the issue of immigration. Ideologically this sounds good, but that seems to be the point — merely sounding good. Jindal makes it very clear that the messaging needs to change. He has said that the party needs to “soften its tone” on sticky matters like gay rights and abortion, and on the issue of immigration reform, he has not been as forthcoming as one would hope, at least not on actual legislation.

But maybe his Republican friend Marco Rubio has a firmer stance on this issue, one with real change or at least compromise.

In fact, Rubio, much like Jindal, has also called for a change in the messaging of the Republican Party. However, according to a Fox News article, Rubio wants a more conservative version of the DREAM Act. This is the very same act that a Republican, Orrin Hatch, came up with in the first place. It was supposed to be a compromise on immigration reform and was cosponsored by Democrat Jim Matheson. Now Rubio calls for a compromise to a compromise. Again, we have someone who simply wishes to change the messaging problem and not the real, pragmatic issue.

If the Republican Party really wishes to gain votes from the Hispanic population, it needs to change for real, not simply offer lip service. The problem, however, comes in the form of extreme conservatives of the Tea Party ilk. Jindal and Rubio, even if they want to (and I have a feeling they do) cannot say out loud that they support something like the DREAM Act because this would immediately make them a target and alienate them from their party.

So no, Jindal and Rubio will not lead the party forward on this issue because they only propose changes to the message and not the action.

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Danny Keener

My name is Danny Keener, and I am an English teacher at Santa Ana College and Chaffey College. My students ask me all the time if I am a conservative or a liberal. My answer is always the same: I don't think of myself as a conservative; I don't think of myself as a liberal; I simply think of myself as thinking for myself. And I ask them to do the same.

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