Sen. Graham: 'Wall' Built Between GOP and Latinos

In a Sunday appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said he and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) plan to reignite talks over immigration reform.

"I think we have a darned good chance using this blueprint to get something done this year. The Republican Party has learned that being ... anti-immigrant doesn't work for them politically. And they know it," Schumer said.

In last week's presidential election, President Barack Obama captured 71% of Latino voters to Governor Mitt Romney's 27%. 

Sen. Graham appeared on CBS's Face the Nation and said the GOP's strident tone on immigration "built a wall between the Republican Party and the Hispanic community."  Noting that 65% of voters in exit polls said they favor a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, Sen. Graham said he is determined to pass immigration reform to build a bridge between Republicans and the growing bloc of Latino voters:

"This is an odd formula for a party to adopt: the fastest-growing demographic in the country, and we're losing votes every election cycle. And it has to stop. It's one thing to shoot yourself in the foot. Just don't reload the gun. ... I intend to tear this wall down and pass an immigration reform bill that's an American solution to an American problem."

Sen. Graham's comments echo the sentiments of conservative radio and TV host Sean Hannity who says his views on immigration have "evolved":

We've gotta get rid of the immigration issue altogether. It's simple for me to fix it. I think you control the border first, you create a pathway for those people that are here, you don't say you gotta go home. And that is a position that I've evolved on. Because you know what—it just—it's gotta be resolved. The majority of people here—if some people have criminal records you can send 'em home—but if people are here, law-abiding, participating, four years, their kids are born here ... first secure the border, pathway to citizenship ... then it's done. But you can't let the problem continue. It's gotta stop.

Latino support for Gov. Romney marks a 17-point plunge for the GOP presidential candidate from President George W. Bush's 44% showing in 2004.


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