But the fervent religiosity and increasing support for Evangelical positions and thinking among Hispanics may be the saving grace for the GOP if they let it happen. According to the Rev. Rodriquez, half of Evangelical conversions among American Latinos occur in their home country; half take place after they enter the United States. The handwriting is clearly on the wall — traditional Catholicism is on the wane among America’s Hispanics. Can Democratic affiliation be similarly in danger?
In 2000, Gore carried America’s Hispanics by 30 points. But Bush’s ardent cultivation of the Latino vote paid off in 2004 and Kerry carried them by only 10 points. However, the best efforts of Republican congressmen like Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) succeeded only in driving Latinos back into the arms of Democrats: They voted Democratic in 2006 by 47 points.
It’s time for the Republican Party to start thinking of its future and embrace the basic tenets of immigration reform to win the inevitably increasing proportion of the U.S. vote cast by Hispanics.
It is pure folly to say that we will force 11 million people back across the border in order to obtain legal entry. Such a forced population movement would be unparalleled in American history and would be reminiscent of German-Polish-Russian forced migrations during the years right before, during, and after World War II.
Immigration reform calls for an earned path to citizenship that most Americans can and should support. If Latinos work, pay taxes, do not commit crimes, and learn English for several years, they should be able to become citizens. These requirements are not applied to any other immigrants and are due penance for illegal entry into the United States.
It’s time Republicans awakened to the political opportunities of Evangelical Hispanic conversions and got with the program.