Since I began my walk across America to raise awareness of the needs of children with behavioral, emotional, and developmental disabilities, I have had the opportunity to meet hundreds of people.
It has been an extraordinary learning experience!
I have spent a great deal of time with the Latino and Hispanic community during my journey.
When you live with people you get an opportunity to know them. When you worship with people you really get to know them. When you dine with people you absolutely get to know them.
The Republican Party is missing the boat when it comes to the Latino and Hispanic community!
By not understanding the Latino and Hispanic community, the Republican Party isolates itself from perhaps it's biggest supporter.
The Latino and Hispanic community stands for the type of family values that Republicans say they cherish. This community views family differently then the Caucasian Anglo-Saxon family that has become the nuclear family of the United States that many of us have become familiar with.
Family in the Latino and Hispanic community is of primary importance. Family is the extended family. Cousins matter! Aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents matter! Distant cousins matter and are family.
So when the Republican Party talks about illegal immigration we inadvertently put a barrier between ourselves and perhaps our biggest supporter. This does not mean that I think that illegal immigration should be swept under the rug.
Instead Republicans need to frame the message differently. Republicans should emphasize the value of the family despite what has happened to many of our own nuclear families and we should accentuate the positive aspects of the Latino and Hispanic communities. We already say we do so we should mean it this time.
Our plans for dealing with the extended family and immigration should include a more comprehensive approach to allowing greater legal immigration from Latin and Hispanic countries.
The Republican Party should put forward a motion that anyone who is an illegal immigrant in United States but who has extended family in United States would be considered a candidate to have their immigration status changed to legal.
The Republican Party should Point out how the policies of the current administration actually lead to the exploitation of the illegal immigrants in the Latin and Hispanic community. If you talk to people in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas they already know it. Your source credibility will extend to the highest well when you mention what they already know.
It's very important that you understand that the illegal immigrant is paying the coyote a significant fee to get to the United States. The coyote is the person who's getting the person across the border and is typically involved in organized crime.
The illegal immigrant is frequently then exploited by the coyote and the coyotes friends upon arrival in the United States. Republican should be talking about this.
If you hope to have the Republican Party become the advocate for the Latino and Hispanic community you will find that emphasizing the family and their faith will be of primary importance. During this Easter season I was absolutely stunned at the public displays by most people in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona in their faith. That's precisely what Republicans believe and have been lobbying for or at least that's what we say we lobby for.
The only change that we need to make as Republicans in order to embrace the Latino and Hispanic community is to make absolutely certain that we make the coyote and organized crime the enemy not the illegal immigrant.
We are at a turning point in United States. The very fabric of our nation is shattered. We need to recognize that the Latino and Hispanic community is truly the allies of the Republican Party and do something meaningful to show it or we will be surrendering the entire American dream.
Family values are Hispanic and Latino values. Are they ours? Find the right fight, know the right foe, and embrace the correct ally.