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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

GOP Chair Tries To Stop Republicans From Saying More Dumb Things About Immigration

GOP Chair Tries To Stop Republicans From Saying More Dumb Things About Immigration

In an effort to reshape the debate over immigration reform, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus harshly criticized Mitt Romney’s self-deportation comments from the 2012 GOP primary while speaking to reporters on Thursday.

Republican leaders have long feared the current dialogue could doom the party with Latino voters in a repeat of the 2007 reform effort, which was shut down by a revolt by the GOP base.

“Using the word ‘self-deportation’ — it’s a horrific comment to make,” Priebus said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with our party. When someone makes those comments, obviously, it hurts us.”

“The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have legal documentation to allow them to work here,” Romney said during the Florida debate held shortly after he lost the South Carolina primary to Newt Gingrich. “And so we’re not going to round people up.”

Priebus defended the progress his party has made with Latino voters since the release of the so-called GOP autopsy. He also ripped comments by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who has continually offered comments offensive to Latino voters followed by stern defenses of those comments.

“Well, of course, it’s hurtful,” Priebus said, in reference to King’s comment that for every undocumented valedictorian there were hundreds of drug smugglers with calves the size of cantaloupes. “Of course, it hurts. … Just, not good.”

King is the public face of the war against reform, and he insists he’s speaking for many members who don’t want to come forward, a claim that makes sense as House Republicans overwhelmingly supported his recent bill to deport undocumented young people.

The congressman recently said that a “spell” has been cast over his party on the issue of immigration, which The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent sees as a positive sign for the immigration reform debate.

The Senate passed immigration reform in the spring with more than two-thirds supporting the bill. The House GOP has refused to consider the Senate’s plan and is weighing how to proceed with reform in a way that can get the support of a majority of the Republican caucus, which is Speaker John Boehner’s stated standard for bringing any legislation to the floor.

There has been relatively little backlash from the Republican base about reform over the August recess, meanwhile, several House Republicans — including Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Dan Webster (R-FL) — have made positive statements for reform that include a “path to citizenship,” which is a key demand of many reform advocates.

Passing immigration reform was the one specific policy recommendation in Priebus’ autopsy. Many of the GOP’s most prominent donors, including Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers, want reform. However, most House Republicans — who primarily come from safe, white districts — don’t seem to be feeling the pressure.

By calling out comments of his fellow Republicans, Priebus may not be able to make reform happen. But he’s hoping to keep it from getting ugly — or, at least, uglier.

CORRECTION: Originally this post said that Priebus referred to Mitt Romney’s comments as “racist.” Business Insider updated the quote, replacing “it’s racist” with “it hurts us.”

Photo: Gage Skidmore via

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6 responses to “GOP Chair Tries To Stop Republicans From Saying More Dumb Things About Immigration”

  1. gmccpa says:

    Here’s a simple idea. Have your party allow a vote on the immigration bill. You know it will pass but the GOP will do anything to stop it. No one is buying your ‘not racist’ spin. Hell, Steven King himself denies being a racist.

  2. Sand_Cat says:

    Is his nose getting longer?

  3. docb says:

    You can believe it …JUST DO NOT SAY IT!..The smell of repub hypocrisy!

    And another one…

    Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) who blasted a “physically fit”
    couple for using food stamps at a suburban Virginia grocery store, collected $370,000 dollars in federal stimulus money for his Oklahoma plumbing company. Mullin who brags about turning the plumbing company into a successful business
    never mentions the government help he received to make it thrive. He did not
    actually need stimulus money to keep it afloat. p-usa.8/16

    • Faraday_Cat says:

      That goes back to the “We built this” BS…in fact, I passed a building on the way back from vacation a couple weeks ago that had a giant “We built this, not the government!”…lo and behold, I google the company and while they have never gotten federal dollars, both the local city and county governments have provided the business with tax breaks, subsidies, and deferred waste management costs for thier first 5 years of operation. Hypocricy abounds.

      • docb says:

        Yes, thanks for showing how far down the Corporate Welfare goes…One of my IA’s struggled with this all the time…Skewing the every bond issue!

  4. Dominick Vila says:

    The biggest hurdle for the GOP to overcome on the issue of immigration reform is not Romney, Rep. King or Priebus, but its core values, its record, and the overt hatred that the Republican rank and file demonstrate time and again towards Hispanics-Latinos. It will be a very long time before ethnic minorities, people from other cultures, women and gays forget the savage attacks they have endured in recent years by the so called “conservatives”.
    The most fascinating part of this issue is that the largest influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America entered the USA when former Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush were in office, and it is now down to a trickle. Admittedly, the latter has more to do with relatively high unemployment and a climate of hostility than government policy, but you can’t help wondering why this issue has suddenly become the center piece of national discourse.

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