So, the Texas GOP wants to recruit Hispanics? Good luck with that.
DALLAS (KERA) - The Texas Republican Party is launching a YouTube campaign today to attract more Hispanics to the party. KERA's BJ Austin says it comes three days after an Arizona-type immigration law was put on the party's list of legislative priorities.
On YouTube, a quick succession of Texans tell why they are part of the GOP, in English and Spanish.
State party spokesman Bryan Preston says this is the first of many outreach efforts between now and the November election to engage Hispanics - appealing to conservative Hispanic values of family, faith and free enterprise.
Increasing Hispanic Republican ranks could be more difficult after the party's convention in Dallas where delegates approved several immigration-related legislative priorities. They include creation of a Class A misdemeanor offense for an illegal alien to (intentionally or knowingly) be within the State of Texas. And it would require local law enforcement to verify residency status upon arrest for another crime.
Eric Garza is vice chairman of the Latino National Republican Coalition in Texas. He does not believe "immigration issues" will sink the party's Hispanic recruiting efforts.
Garza: The Hispanic community is concerned about other issues as well. I think they're interested about health care. They're concerned about jobs, the economy and education. I think the Hispanic community is going to realize that Governor Perry and the Republican Party really do have the answers to securing our borders and taking care of our immigration policy, at least here in the state of Texas.
Governor Perry opposes an Arizona-style law for Texas. He says it would not be good for the state and would burden police. Republican Lauro Garza says the call for an Arizona-style immigration crackdown, and the talk surrounding it, are divisive and harmful.
Lauro Garza: It gives Latinos the impression that they are hated. And what is clear is that is not the Republican Party "platform". But what is clear is that there are these voices within the Republican Party. I believe they are a vocal minority. They are turning away Latinos at a higher rate than Governor Perry and myself are recruiting Latinos. And that's a big problem.
Texas Democrats responded quickly to the GOP delegate vote on immigration. Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirsten Grey says it should be "insulting to every American that values basic rights and freedom." The Democratic Party has long relied on Hispanics as a large, loyal voting base. Texas Democrats also take up immigration issues at their convention later this month.