National Pro-Immigration GOP Group: Time to Make Lemonade from Lemons

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Marshall, MN – National pro-immigration reform group Cafe Con Leche Republicans today reacted to the presidential election debacle. Bob Quasius, president, said

Yesterday’s election results show it is imperative that the Republican Party improve Latino outreach or become permanently uncompetitive in presidential and many other races. Exit and election-eve polls put Mitt Romney’s votes among Latinos at 23%, although over 60% of Latinos are center-right, according to Pew Research.

Polls consistently show a majority of Republicans support immigration reform, including a path to legalization, and a PEW Research poll from May 2011 showed that even among staunch conservatives there is a 49/49% split on immigration reform. However, due to lack of engagement and outreach and shrill rhetoric on this issue from a small minority of Republican politicians, Democrats have been successful in unfairly framing the Republican party as anti-immigrant and anti-Latino, particularly in states where there has been harsh rhetoric on immigration.

This trend started in California. Prior to proposition 187, Republicans were competitive in statewide races, but since Governor Pete Wilson jumped on the proposition 187 bandwagon, many Hispanics left the GOP and since then the GOP has not been competitive in statewide races in California.

Latino outreach improved during the Reagan/Bush years, and President Bush won over 40% of the Latino vote during his reelection campaign, proving that Latinos can be swayed to vote Republican with the right messaging and sensible solutions to issues of interest to Latinos like immigration.

However, since SB1070 and other harsh laws were passed, mass exodus of conservative Hispanics has occurred in Colorado following Tom Tancredo’s candidacy for Governor, in Arizona following SB1070, and in Nevada due to harsh rhetoric from Sharon Angle in the U.S. Senate race.

Cafe Con Leche Republicans initially supported Newt Gingrich, and one of our reasons is that Newt’s campaign recognized the importance of outreach to Latinos and a sensible stance on immigration reform, neither mass amnesty nor mass deportations but a solution that addresses our broken immigration system and seeks to strike a balance between accountability for illegal immigration, and the need to keep families together and avoid damaging our economy. Newt’s campaign reached out to us, and ultimately Cafe Con Leche Republicans provided five members of Newt’s national Hispanic leadership team.

When Newt dropped out of the race and Mitt Romney became the nominee, we decided to support Mitt Romney. Numerous attempts to connect with the Romney campaign’s Hispanic outreach proved fruitless. In our one year of existence, we’ve also had just one conversation with the RNC’s Latino outreach, and were left with the impression the RNC wasn’t interested in working with us due to our pro-immigration focus.

A common complaint among Latino Republican leaders is that RNC Latino outreach is dominated by a small clique of Latino Republicans from Washington DC and Florida, to the exclusion of others, particularly from the Southwest. We share the frustration of Latino Republican leaders from outside the DC/Florida clique that Mitt Romney received bad advice to largely ignore immigration, and some of Mitt’s rhetoric and association with immigration extremist Kris Kobach early in the campaign provided useful fodder for Democrats to frame Mitt Romney as anti-immigrant and anti-Latino, which we don’t believe is the case.

It’s time to root out the small minority of immigration extremists from the GOP. That process is already underway, for example Russell Pearce, the author of SB1070, has now twice been defeated by conservative Republicans who differed mainly by having sensible positions on immigration reform. We’d like to see Kris Kobach leave the party. Kobach is a top lieutenant to John Tanton, a notorious bigot and population control progressive, who once bragged how he manipulates Republicans. In a letter to a supporter, Tanton in 2001 stated:

The goal is to change Republicans’ perception of immigration so that when they encounter the word “immigrant,” their reaction is “Democrat.”

Our plan is to hire a lobbyist who will carry the following message to Republicans on Capitol Hill and to business leaders: Continued massive immigration will soon cost you political control of the White House and Congress, given the current, even division of the electorate, and the massive infusion of voters about to be made to the Democratic side. We are about to replay the Democratic hegemony of 1933-53, fueled back then by the massive immigration of 1890-1924.

It’s time for the GOP to recognize this pattern of manipulation, and fully embrace immigration reform based on free market principles, and not arbitrarily low quotas promoted by population control progressives like Tanton. Harsh rhetoric on immigration coupled with lack of adequate engagement with Latinos and race baiting by Democrats has resulted in very low GOP support among Latinos, and we ignore this at our own political peril.

The 2012 election served up lemons for Republicans, but with sensible changes in strategy and direction we can make lemonade instead. Already we’re hearing that party leaders have woken up and ‘smelled the coffee’ and we’re hopeful this situation can be turned around.

President Obama promised to pursue immigration reform during his second term. Due to President Obama’s history of immigration fakery and failure to put anything on the table during his first term, we have reason to doubt this promise, but he is welcome to surprise us. With the election behind us, we have put our partisan hats and boxing gloves aside, and we stand fully ready to work with President Obama and Democrats on immigration reform, which won’t happen without bipartisan support. We hope that President Obama will ‘hit the reset button’ in his relationship with Republicans in Congress, as the hyper-partisanship that has characterized the last four years has been a major stumbling block to governing our nation.


About Us – Cafe Con Leche Republicans is a national organization of Republicans who welcome “New Americans”, defined as immigrants and family of recent immigrants. Our mission is to make America and the GOP, more welcoming to “New Immigrants” through political activism, “in-reach” and education within the Republican Party, and lobbying government to adopt more immigrant friendly policies. We also seek to bring more conservative and moderate “New Americans” to the Republican Party. These efforts will strengthen the GOP, and lead more Republicans to embrace welcoming policies for immigrants and their families. We have members nationwide, with chapters in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and California. Our members and leadership are predominantly Hispanic, though we define ourselves by mission and guiding principles, not ethnicity, and we welcome all who share our goals. Our leadership is 100% Republican.


  1. DontTreadOnMe says

    Immigration Reform = Amnesty

    No Amnesty

    • Cafe Con Leche says

      Amnesty is one version of immigration reform, which we oppose as corrosive to the rule of law. Immigration reform should include:
      1. Fix legal immigration and guest worker programs to better fit the needs of our economy. Illegal immigration is more a symptom than a root cause. When we issue visas equal to less than 20% of demand for guest workers that fuels illegal immigration. The same thing has happened repeatedly throughout U.S. history. When legal immigration is disconnected from economic need, massive illegal immigration has always been the result.
      2. Enhance border security and fraud proof employment documents.
      3. Path to legalization – but not amnesty – for those already here, including fines, background checks, go to back of line, and apply criteria such as family ties, years of experience, etc. Recent arrivals with no family ties can leave, and those with criminal records must leave too.

      • Veritas Vincit says

        Round up those who have simply over-stayed their original visa and offer them a choice: deportation or paying a hefty fine based on how long over the limit they’ve stayed. Very much like a civil fine. In the case of those who’ve over-stayed their visa’s and are criminals they should be placed in detention to serve their sentence and then deported to their home country.

        By weeding out those on expired visa’s we can reduce the numbers and then focus on those with absolutely no documentation.

        • Cafe Con Leche says

          Many of those who overstayed visas obtained a tourist visa because work visas are usually unavailable due to arbitrarily low quotas, but at least they entered legally. If we made work visas available in line with economic needs we probably wouldn’t have such a problem with illegal immigration.

  2. Proud GOPer says

    When did “enforce our laws” become harsh rhetoric? Do not forget to include the word “illegal” when complaining about our sensible Republican Platform position on “illegal immigration.” Try residing in other countries illegally and watch how fast you are placed behind bars, or worse.

    • The issue is that somebody chooses which laws to enforce. In Arizona, we have chosen to go after illegal immigration, while ignoring the enforcement of drug and DUI laws, for example. We have all heard about Sherrif Joe’s immigration enforcement actions, where nearly every vehicle in a certain area is pulled over, and hundreds if arrests are made. Unfortunatley, the same level of effort is not applied to high schools, where hundreds of drug arrests could be made in a sweep, or shutting diwn Scottsdale’s entertainment district, and arresting thousands for DUI, Prostitution is another area where the laws on the books are being almost totally ignored. Instead of seeing hundreds of arrests per week, we see three or four.

      We need to enforce our laws. All of them, equally. We seem to be putting a very heavy emphasis on immigration laws, and concentrating on the illegals themselves, and not the people that hire them — resulting in a lack of prosecutions under the employment sanction laws. We are not bothering with drugs, DUI, or prostitution.

      • Cafe Con Leche says

        Law enforcement agencies all have finite resources, and in most cases there are more traffic infractions, petty crime, as well as serious crime than there are resources to combat these problems. Some jurisdictions in the U.S. (i.e. Maricopa County) place heavy emphasis on immigration enforcement, diverting resources from crime that is much more a public safety issue. Remember the 432 sex crime cases that weren’t investigated by Arpaio? Which is higher priority, child rape or a gardener or fast food restaurant chef?

        On immigration, let me give you an analogy as food for thought. Driving a car, like work, is not inherently a public safety issue. If we lowered the speed limits on our highways to 20 MPH. Now how much success do you think we’d getting motorists to comply with a 20 MPH speed limit? Now we could add vastly more enforcement to try to make such a policy work, demagogue speeders, strip their children of citizenship, etc, but chances are eventually we’d come to our senses and realize 20 MPH didn’t make sense to start with, and with sensible speed limits enforcement would again become a lot more manageable without sacrificing public safety.

        A similar process took place when we foolishly tried to prohibit alcohol, resulting in alcohol and distributing in the hands of the mafia. We struggled with enforcement for years, and the unintended consequences far exceeded any benefit from banning alcohol. Eventually we re-legalized alcohol, with sensible restrictions to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors, etc.

        We issue admit 1.7 million guest workers each year, but have another seven million ‘guest workers’ above and beyond that. Guest worker programs are subject to strict quotas and heavy bureaucracy, and every time a state has a crackdown and ‘guest workers’ who lack visas leave, segments of our economy such as agriculture experience labor shortages. All credible studies, evidence, etc. point to immigration flows reflecting actual economic needs, but remember, we have arbitrary quotas set by Congress, currently less than 20% of need!

        Overhaul legal immigration and guest worker programs combined with smart enforcement and we can create a system where legal immigration levels better match economic needs, and by offering reasonable legal channels to enter the U.S. and work re-channels guest workers away from cartels and to the front door where we want them. There will always be bad guys trying to enter the U.S., but by removing the migrant workers from the illegal border crossings we allow the border patrol to focus on the bad guys.

  3. The more we hear from Café con Leche, the more obvious it is they are, as the name implies, the snake oil salesmen of the Reconquista movement.

    “Immigration reform” = amnesty. “Path to legalization” = amnesty.

    They say “Let’s legalize these 40 – 50 million illegal aliens (oops, now they are “guest workers”) including criminals and terrorists, formalize their access to all of the US entitlement and social programs, pretend they are not bankrupting our economy (Remember Mexifornia) and the problem will just – go away (big sigh of relief).”

    They say “every time we try enforcement, the guest workers leave and there are jobs unfilled.” What about the about 16% American unemployment we are suffering? Shouldn’t Americans be filling American jobs? They say “Oh no, no, no, the guest workers will work for less, and the government can support the American non-workers.”

    What about the waves of illegals (oops, guest workers) who will continue to invade US so they can get their piece of the immigration reform pie also?

    Café con Leche = La Raza = Chicanos por La Causa = Aztlan = Reconquista

    It’s just smoke & mirrors, and it’s bad for what ails US.

    God bless America.

    • Say, here’s an idea. Problem solved.

      Why doesn’t Café con Leche and all of their Reconquista hermanos (brothers) and the LDS’rs etc, take their $$, time and efforts and go to Mexico and work with the Mexican government, the Mexican industrialists and the Mexican agrarian community to create Mexican jobs for Mexican workers. Then all of those illegals (oops, guest workers) wouldn’t have to leave their home country to find work. Why, Mexicans could work Mexican jobs and Americans could work American jobs. Nirvana.

      Why, pretty soon they’d all be complaining about the poor American illegals (oops, guest workers) sneaking south across the border, fighting against deportation back to US, just trying to get their pieces of the Mexican immigration reform pie. .Why, Mexico might even stop deporting illegal aliens (oops, guest workers) too.

      You can substitute any country you want for “Mexico” in the above model, and it still works. And we still have to focus on the criminals and terrorists from all countries who Big Sis and Cafe con Leche are now ignoring.

      God bless America.

      • Cafe Con Leche says

        I have a better idea…deport ugly Americans to Mexico. Let them find out just how bad life is for those they put down in order to feel superior.

  4. I came here from Chicago with my family when we moved from there because the schism was so bad between black/white everything was seen through a zero sum game mirror. This was in the 1980s. When we got here, there were black/white/brown and it seemed that back then, just 20 years ago, there wasn’t this hostility of group vs. group.

    I went to college with Mexicans and it never occurred to me to even ask if they were here legally. I worked beside them and again, never asked.

    Here’s where I think the problem came in: money became tight at the grade school level as new illegals crossed over and stayed here instead of moving inward toward NY and Chicago. This prompted calls for bond overrides and pushed up property taxes. Then as these kids moved through the system, they got to college and wanted in-state tuition and that’s when a lot of people started saying enough is enough. It was this combined with the curriculum that said AZ belonged to Mexico, illegal immigrants not learning to speak English, not wanting to become American citizens by going through the process which meant learning English and parts of the constitution to say the oath of citizenship, that got EVERYBODY who is an American citizen riled up!

    Now we’re at the point of what to do? 11 million illegals in the country and MANY are not from Mexico. We just happen to be by the border with that country but China sends them over in shipping boxes to ports on the West Coast and they get sucked into San Francisco or Los Angeles/Orange County. On the East Coast its Russians trafficking in women from former Soviet satellite countries who get sent here for prostitution. We’re talking a whole bunch of people that are “illegal” but for now since this is Cafe con Leche and a Hispanic GOP outreach approach how do we get more latinos/latinas to support the GOP?

    I’d like to point out that Sheriff Joe goes after drop houses where women are often sold and the men are beaten if the families back in their native countries don’t “pay up” extra money. Why isn’t this touted to the Hispanic community? Maybe Cafe con Leche needs to start a newspaper or a cable tv show where talk shows are done – like The View – and have state GOP officials on to give them a chance to connect with the people directly. Better yet, have forums in Hispanic democrat strongholds with GOP officials and take it directly to the people. Let them see that Republicans are not what is being told to them by propaganda – the same propaganda that was used in Mexico and they left because they could see it was all smoke and mirrors.

    Cafe con Leche doesn’t need to preach, it needs to do. Organize town hall meetings and get the people to see Republicans as people. When it does this? I’ll believe in them as a group who’s not just out to pontificate but to get real results. Thank you.

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