Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Saturday told Hispanic public officials that tougher border controls as a part of comprehensive immigration reform was a human rights issue.
“We need a solution that strengthens families,” Priebus told the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference in Washington. “We need a solution that expands economic opportunity.
“And one of the reasons we need improved border security — that is not mentioned enough — is to further prevent violence and drug trafficking . . . and the brutal human trafficking and exploitation of women and girls," Priebus said, The Hill reports
He added that it was “important that Republicans are taking a lead in this policy discussion.”
The Senate on Thursday passed the immigration reform bill, 68 to 32, proposed by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators in April. Every Democrat supported the bill, along with 14 Republicans.
The vote sent the bill to an uncertain future in the House of Representatives, where GOP legislators have attacked the Senate measure as amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants and for lacking stronger border-security measures.
House Speaker John Boehner said this week that the lower chamber would not consider the Senate bill unless it had a majority of Republicans on board.
In his speech, Priebus acknowledged the GOP’s difficulty in reaching out to Hispanic voters over the years. In 2012, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote by more than 40 percent, the Hill reports.
He said the RNC was spending $10 million this year to expand its reach to minority voters.
"We’ve completely reshaped our engagement efforts at the RNC to be more community-based,” Priebus said. “We’re hiring from the community so we can get to know the community: the towns, neighborhoods, and churches.”
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