A group of eight House Republicans including several key leaders appeared in an ad celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, but the ad was noticeably missing a crucial component relevant to Hispanic heritage– immigration reform. During the minute-long ad posted on Monday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) appeared alongside other House GOP leaders to speak about how Hispanics contribute to culture, society, and the American economy.
The ad begins with Boehner, Cantor, and McCarthy introducing how the nation was built on the “foundations of hard work… and the desire for a brighter future.” Six other House Republicans, two of whom spoke in Spanish, chimed in to recognize Hispanic contributions and celebrate Hispanic ties to the community:
BOEHNER: This month families and communities across the country will come together to celebrate the rich history, culture, and contributions…
CANTOR: …of Hispanic Americans as we proudly honor Hispanic Heritage Month.
McCARTHY: As a nation built on the foundations of hard work, innovation, and the desire for a brighter future…
CATHY McMORRIS RODGERS: …we are proud to recognize and celebrate the numerous contributions of Hispanics.
MARIO DIAZ-BALART [Spanish]: Every single day, our community enriches the culture and society of the United States.
BILL FLORES: Hispanics help drive the American economy. They serve in our nation’s defense.
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN [Spanish]: And possess a deep commitment to faith, family, and community.
RAUL LABRADOR: The Hispanic community has strengthened the American dream and continues to enrich our culture.
Today our country remains great because of our shared goal and vision, of an America filled with freedom, and security, economic growth, and opportunity.
At least 37.3 percent of the Hispanic population are immigrants. At least 76 percent of the 11 million undocumented population are Hispanic. And at least 67 percent of Latino registered voters personally know an undocumented immigrant. But the ad did not make any mention of the significance of immigration to Hispanic-Americans, let alone immigration reform. At a time when 52 percent of Latino voters say they would view the GOP more favorably if they helped to pass comprehensive immigration reform, the ad creators couldn’t be less attuned to what constitutes Hispanic heritage.
The House Republicans that appeared in the ad have expressed varying opinions about immigration reform, but they are all at least hesitant, if not outright opposed, to a comprehensive bill that includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants now in the United States.
Just among the top three leaders, there is considerable disagreement over granting legal status to undocumented immigrants. Boehner said that he would not touch immigration reform without a majority of Republican support. Cantor supports legalizing undocumented youths, but his tentative bill would leave out about nine million undocumented immigrants. Even after thousands of protestors rallied outside McCarthy’s Bakersfield office, McCarthy still only supports legal status for some undocumented immigrants, but stopped short of supporting citizenship.
House GOP Conference Chair McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) once advocated English as the only official language. Rep. Flores (R-TX) only supports a piecemeal approach to immigration reform that tackles enforcement policies first, whereas 81 percent of Hispanic voters would like to see a comprehensive approach. Ros- Lehtinen said that the Senate immigration bill “is not going to move in the House”. And finally, Rep. Labrador (R-ID) left the group in charge of immigration reform over a disagreement on a health care provision for undocumented immigrants.