A conservative Tsunami swept the United States last November but stopped at California’s border.
California did not unseat one Democratic Congressperson. Furthermore, Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer and a 100% Democratic controlled State legislature won the election! The California Republican Party went down for the count. Many politicos say the Latino vote was our demise. Even though Latinos, by nature, share many of the Republicans’ conservative values, they continue to vote with the Democrats– even when it is contrary to many of their core beliefs. I have heard the Republicans’ message many times, “We need to reach out to Hispanics; we need to be inclusive!” What needs to be considered is that Hispanics translate this message to “you and your family need to get out.” Until this perception is fixed, we will continue losing the Hispanic vote in California.
I know, I know… They came here illegally; they broke the law; I get it! This has been going on for 20 years and our government has done nothing to stop it. The economic impact of deporting 15 million people would be devastating to our economy. The undocumented labor force has become an integral part of our life, and many communities depend on the labor, services and economic base that it provides. The major complaint by most is the financial drain that the illegal population places on communities at the local and state level. The challenge is to reverse the financial burden and at the same time have a legal immigration system that works and provides America with the labor force it needs. President Bush introduced immigration reform and was shot down by Democrats and Republicans alike. Since his proposal, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been reluctant to tackle this very divisive topic.
However, just like our economy, we cannot defer or delay this critical issue to another day. If we, the Republican Party, want to reach the Hispanic population and have them embrace our message of fiscal responsibility and entrepreneurship, then Hispanics have to trust us. This trust must begin with with real immigration reform. Hopefully this reform will combine tighter Border Security, raise the cap on H-1B visas, implement a guest worker program that provides proof of employment, resident address, and requires the purchase of health insurance.
Then, a biometric card would be issued so guest workers can work legally. This card could be renewed each year, providing the immigrant is still employed, has no criminal record and has filed his tax returns. If immigrants are willing to risk their lives and pay 2K to 3k dollars to cross the border, they will gladly purchase insurance plans (even if they have a high deductible). It will insure them for catastrophic emergencies and help alleviate the drain on local community hospitals. I would advocate a private sector company along with homeland security implement the new guest worker program. The private sector will be motivated by a profit, paid by the employment agencies that need the labor force– and/or a fee paid by the new worker. Either way, if the private sector implements the process, it will be much faster, user friendly and less complicated then the government. This same system could be used for the 12 to 15 million illegal’s that are here. I see this as a ‘win-win.’ This is a path to legal work status– not citizenship. Citizenship is a privilege and should not be used as a political football.
This problem can be solved. A group of community leaders here in California have come together to tackle this contentious issue. Hopefully, they can form a new policy that the Republican Party can endorse and, ultimately, that the Hispanic community can embrace.
Teresa Hernandez is a small business owner in Los Angeles, married mother of 4 and former Congressional Candidate. She currently chairs the Latino Outreach Committee for the Orange County Lincoln Club.
Source: The Americano
Posted by: Conrado Garcia Jamin
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