As part of public comments opposing the current bi-partisan Immigration Reform initiative, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) put a very dirty foot in his mouth when he asserted that Republicans should have no interest in providing a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants because they are uneducated, welfare-dependent, and wouldn’t support the GOP, anyway.
“Anyone who believes that they’re going to win over the Latino vote is grossly mistaken. The majority that are here illegally are low-skilled or may not even have a high school diploma. The Republican Party is not going to compete over who can give more social programs out. They will become Democrats because of the social programs they’ll depend on.”
Whether he realizes it or not and whether he cares, his words only alienate the greater LEGAL Hispanic community in the U.S., in addition to the undocumented population he directly insulted. And alienating the U.S. Hispanic population is NOT a goal of the GOP, no matter what some party hardliners may intimate.
GOP leadership should be VERY publicly and VERY sharply condemning Barletta’s remarks. This demonstration of ignorance and insensitivity to the issue only soils the image of the entire GOP.
It also demonstrates that Barletta has not done ONE IOTA of homework on this issue. If he had, he would realize that the current plan, drafted by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and receiving bi-partisan support, is IN NO WAY an amnesty proposal.
As Melissa Salas Blair (Founder, Puentes Research) aptly put it – “GOP gift idea: a muzzle for Barletta”.
It is only hoped that GOP leadership will agree and take action to correct this.