Republicans have little choice going forward.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: A Univision news anchor is taking matters into his own hands, urging Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner to stop stone-walling the immigration reform bill and get it passed, or they won’t win the Presidency in 2016.
Jorge Ramos, a well-respected anchor for the Spanish-language channel (which is owned and operated by NBC Universal), came to Capitol Hill to ask Boehner why he continues to stall on passing immigration reform.
When Ramos asked Boehner why he hadn’t done more to get the controversial legislation passed, Boehner said that such a statement wasn’t true, and that he had urged Congress to push the bill forward, albeit cautiously and with care that Republican provisions were met.
“There’s nobody more interested in fixing this problem than I am,” Boehner said, under criticism that it was his fault the House of Representatives had not passed the bill nearly a full year after the Democrat-controlled Senate did.
Over the last few months, some Republicans have reneged on their formerly hardline stance against the bill, even going so far as to consider amnesty measures for the millions of undocumented aliens already in the US, and providing pathways to citizenship for them.
But the Republican establishment’s main problem continues to be President Barack Obama, who they see as an untrustworthy liberal that won’t keep his promises. Boehner has repeatedly said that if he can trust Obama to implement immigration reform the right way, Republicans will back the bill more fervently.
Hispanics in the US have long been in favor of immigration reform, so it makes sense why Ramos would feel the need to come to Washington and make the case for Republicans to get it passed.
A native of Mexico City, Ramos immigrated to Los Angeles in 1983 under a student visa, graduating after studying journalism. He has held a variety of positions in Spanish-language broadcast channels throughout the US, including Telemundo and ESPN Deportes, and has interviewed figures like Obama, Hugo Chavez, and George W. Bush.
In 2008, at the age of 50 and a full 24 years after initially coming to the US, Ramos became a fully naturalized US citizen.
Speaking to Politico after the press conference, Ramos said that Republicans will need Hispanic voters if they want any shot at winning in 2016, implying that Hispanics will only look favorably upon conservative candidates if the party gets behind immigration reform.
Hispanic voters played a crucial role in getting Obama elected twice, with his appeal to lower-income and minority demographics surging him to victory in 2008 and 2012. While it’s dubious to assume that a vast multitude of Hispanic voters will suddenly love Republicans if they pass immigration reform, especially since the demographic is typically Democratic, it certainly couldn’t hurt.
And Republicans will need all the help they get, especially if the Democrats put Hillary Clinton – potentially galvanizing figure that could devastate the Republicans’ chances for victory – up for the White House.
Obama has already said that immigration reform has a tight window of two or three months before all hope is lost. Republicans, it seems, are going to have to put the impetus on getting it passed before the midterm elections take over in August, or it could be a blemish that they won’t recover from.