REPUBLICANS LURE HISPANICS WITH A TWITTER ACCOUNT AND A SPANISH ONLY WEBSITE

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

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A Spanish-only Website. A Twitter account aimed at Latinos. New staff members focused uniquely on building relationships with Hispanics. It’s all part of a new quiet but emphatic effort underway by Republicans in the House of Representatives — including some of the most conservative members of Congress — to try to repair their image with Hispanics.
The campaign, unprecedented for House Republicans. When @GOPEspanol appears on Twitter, said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chairperson of the House Republican Conference.And plans for it are ambitious, said McMorris Rodgers, who embodies the change in philosophy, having come a long way since backing hawkish immigration bills years ago.

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It will include launching a Spanish-language website, providing Spanish versions of press releases, establishing ties with Spanish-language media and news organizations that target Latinos in English, meeting with leaders of Latino organizations from around the country and sending GOP members to Latino conferences and events in their home districts, she said.
“It’s a recognition that we, as Republicans, did not do as well as we hoped in the 2012 elections with a number of groups – with young people, with women, and with Hispanics,” said McMorris Rodgers, who is from the state of Washington and was the House GOP liaison to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

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The tone of a few [Republicans] has unfortunately been offensive. . .We have to build trust. – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers “It’s being aware that [Hispanics] are a growing media market, a demographic in the country. We need to be reaching them with our goals, our vision.”
It is a giant sprint for Republicans, who have been jogging gingerly, so to speak, toward policy ideas on immigration and other things — such as using Spanish in high-profile government activities — that they until recently vehemently opposed.
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RUBIO SAYS PRESIDENT’S IMMIGRATION PLAN WOULD BE “DEAD ON ARRIVAL”

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

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U.S. SenatorMarco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding new details about President Obama’simmigration plan, as first reported by USA Today:
“It’s a mistake for the White House to draft immigration legislation without seeking input from Republican members of Congress. President Obama’s leaked immigration proposal is disappointing to those of us working on a serious solution. The President’s bill repeats the failures of past legislation. It fails to follow through on previously broken promises to secure our borders, creates a special pathway that puts those who broke our immigration laws at an advantage over those who chose to do things the right way and come here legally, and does nothing to address guest workers or future flow, which serious immigration experts agree is critical to preventing future influxes of illegal immigrants.

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“Much like the President’s self-described ‘stop gap’ Deferred Action measure last year, this legislation is half-baked and seriously flawed. It would actually make our immigration problems worse, and would further undermine the American people’s confidence in Washington’s ability to enforce our immigration laws and reform our broken immigration system.
“If actually proposed, the President’s bill would be dead on arrival in Congress, leaving us with unsecured borders and a broken legal immigration system for years to come.”

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IMMIGRATION REFORM: A PATH TO RESIDENCY

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

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A draft of a White House immigration proposal obtained by USA TODAY would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years. The plan also would provide for more security funding and require business owners to check the immigration status of new hires within four years. In addition, the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants could apply for a newly created “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” visa, under the draft bill being written by the White House. If approved, they could then apply for the same provisional legal status for their spouse or children living outside the country, according to the draft.

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The bill is being developed as members in both chambers of Congress are drafting their own immigration bills. In the House, a bipartisan group of representatives has been negotiating an immigration proposal for years and are writing their own bill. Last month, four Republican senators joined with four Democratic senators to announce their agreement on the general outlines of an immigration plan.

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One of those senators, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Obama‘s bill repeats the failures of past legislation and would be “dead on arrival” in Congress. “It fails to follow through on previously broken promises to secure our borders,  (and) creates a special pathway that puts those who broke our immigration laws at an advantage over those who chose to do things the right way and come here legally,” Rubio said. “It would actually make our immigration problems worse.”

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The draft was obtained from an Obama administration official who said it was being distributed to various agencies.  The official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to release the proposal publicly. The bill mirrors many provisions of the bipartisan 2007 bill that was spearheaded by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and ultimately failed.

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In his first term, Obama often deferred to Congress on drafting and advancing major legislation, including the Affordable Care Act. He has openly supported the efforts in Congress to take the lead on immigration legislation, and just this week met with Democratic senators to discuss their proposals. But two weeks ago in Las Vegas, while outlining his immigration plans, Obama made clear that he would not wait too long for Congress to get moving. “If Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away,” he said.
White House spokesman Clark Stevens said Saturday that the administration continues to support the bipartisan efforts ongoing in Congress.
“The president has made clear the principles upon which he believes any common-sense immigration reform effort should be based,” Stevens said. “We continue to work in support of a bipartisan effort, and while the president has made clear he will move forward if Congress fails to act, progress continues to be made and the administration has not prepared a final bill to submit.”

READ MORE: USA TODAY

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LATINO HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE GRAMMYS

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

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JLO was all ‘blinged out’ at the Grammys. The “Dance Again” singer, who donned a sexy, high-slit, black gown at the 55th annual Grammys awards on Sunday, also sported $5 million worth of jewelry. E! News is reporting that Lopez wore some handcrafted pieces by Norman Silverman Jewelry, including diamond bangles and a diamond bracelet. JLO also rocked diamonds on her ring and pinky finger matching her bedazzled-out nails and 10-carat diamond earrings.

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Fellow Latinos who shined during the Grammys included folk singer Lila Downs, who won the accolade for best regional Mexican album for her record titled “Pecados y Milagros,” while Quetzal won the Grammy for best Latin rock, alternative or urban album for “Imaginaries,” and Marlow Rosado y La Riqueña won in the best tropical Latin album category.

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Mexican-American Esperanza Spalding took home two Grammys, for best Jazz vocal album (Radio Music Society) and for best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalists (“City of Roses.”)

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Colombian singer Juanes was also a showstopper at the ceremony, winning the Grammy for best pop album, which he produced with Dominican entertainer Juan Luis Guerra.
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WHY IS TEXAS SILENT ABOUT IMMIGRATION REFORM?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

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Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Republicans have been relatively silent on the renewed push to overhaul the nation’s immigration system. Despite the state’s nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants and 1,200-mile long border with Mexico, Perry and the Texas legislature have kept mum on the issue. They’re not resurrecting dozens of contentious immigration bills that roiled the statehouse in 2011. They’re not making the rounds on TV and radio to talk about President Barack Obama’s plan for legalizing immigrants. They’re not even saying the word “immigration.”

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When Perry delivered his State of the State recently — his first since his failed presidential run — glaringly absent in the 37-minute speech was any mention of the issue at all. The silence speaks to the sudden political shift in immigration since last fall’s presidential election, in which Hispanics voted Democratic by a nearly 3-to-1 margin and created a powerful incentive for Republicans to change their approach to this growing ethnic group.
r-MARCO-RUBIO-IMMIGRATION-large570In Congress, Republicans have softened their opposition to accommodating immigrants, and a bipartisan group of Senate negotiators unveiled a bill framework that includes a pathway to citizenship for those already in the U.S. so long as border security is beefed up.
But in Texas, the party has been left speechless in the Capitol. Only two years ago in his State of the State address, Perry called for punishing “sanctuary cities” that bar police officers from asking detainees about their immigration status. There’s no talk of such measures now.
“You want an answer? That tried and that failed,” said Texas Republican Party Chairman Steve Munisteri. “Responsible leadership is now focusing on things that have a chance to get passed.”
Immigration isn’t an easy subject to ignore in Texas, though. About 16 percent of the undocumented immigrants in the United States live in the state, according to a Department of Homeland Security report in 2012, and immigration leaves an outsize footprint on the state’s infrastructure.

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So red-hot was immigration for Texas Republicans in the last legislative session that state Rep. Debbie Riddle camped outside the clerk’s office to make sure her bills targeting undocumented immigrants were filed first. About 50 bills related to immigration were filed in all. This time, Riddle, who once famously warned of immigrant mothers in the U.S. giving birth to “terror babies” who would grow up to attack the country as unsuspecting citizens, has not submitted any immigration proposals.
“Establishment Republicans are trying to brand a different message,” said Maria Martinez, executive director of the Immigration and Reform Coalition of Texas that backed “sanctuary city” proposals in 2011.

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