After RNC Calls For Hispanic Outreach, Republican Governor Eliminates Latino Affairs Office

The Republican National Committee devoted much of the attention of its “autopsy” report to improving party outreach to people of color. The report noted it is “imperative that the RNC changes how it engages with Hispanic communities to welcome in new members of our Party.” Yet, if the autopsy report had any effect at all, it appears to be short-lived. Since last week, top Republicans have dodged discussing immigration reform with citizenship, while one congressman used a racial slur to describe Latinos.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s (R) contribution to this effort is to unexpectedly close the state’s Latino Affairs office, an office that normally engaged with Latino leaders on policy, offered bilingual assistance for disaster victims, and collected demographic statistics on the state’s 800,000 Latino residents.

The governor’s office said it will shift some of the office’s duties to a general office for community and constituent affairs. “We are committed to serving the needs of all of North Carolina’s citizens,” McCrory’s chief of staff said. “We don’t segment our constituents by race or cultural background, any more than we separate them by age or gender.”

But Latino advocates criticize the decision. Executive Director of Latin American Coalition in Charlotte Jess George told McClatchy, “The message from Raleigh is that Latinos in North Carolina don’t matter.”

Just before closing the Latino Affairs office, North Carolina pursued a controversial driver’s license design that would distinguish young undocumented immigrants’s licenses by a pink stripe and the words, “NO LAWFUL STATUS” printed across. The state somewhat modified the design when it faced community backlash.