December 1st, 2012
11:11 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney's Hispanic chairman: Economic growth depends on immigration, GOP must lead

(CNN) – As political strategists dissect the shortcomings of the GOP in this year’s election, Carlos Gutierrez, the man who led Mitt Romney's outreach to Hispanic voters, said Republicans need to lead on immigration to facilitate economic growth.

“We can’t be the party of opportunity, growth, prosperity, entrepreneurship, small businesses and upward mobility if we are not the party of immigration. And that means that we have to lead on immigration,” Gutierrez said Saturday morning on CNN.

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“The Republican Party needs to be the party of immigration and, by the way, the Democrats haven’t proven yet that they are the party of immigration,” he said, pointing to the Republican-backed STEM Jobs Act - a bill that would grant as many as 55,000 visas to non-citizens who complete advanced degrees at U.S. universities in science, technology, engineering and math. The measure passed in the House on Friday.

The GOP hailed the bill as a boon for employers and the economy, but as the bill moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate, critics say it’s a piecemeal approach at best with political motives attempting to resurrect support from the growing population of Latinos in the United States.

House passes immigration bill to keep science and technology students in U.S.

Gutierrez said the ball is in the Democrats’ court to pass the immigration initiative.

The White House earlier this week said the Obama administration opposes the bill.

The law would allow U.S.-educated workers skilled in science and math to remain in the country and help build innovation, Gutierrez said.

Ten percent of the electorate in 2012 was Hispanic, and President Obama won the group in a landslide over Romney, 71% to 27% according to exit polls. Following the Republicans’ poor showing, Gutierrez announced a new super PAC, Republicans for Immigration Reform, aimed at creating a path to legalization for undocumented workers.

During the Republican primary season Romney took a far-right approach to immigration, even suggesting that undocumented workers “self deport.” Gutierrez told CNN after the election that his candidate “made mistakes,” but attributed them to a grueling primary process.

“We’re not the party of the rich; we want everyone to be rich. That’s the dream of the Republican Party. We cannot achieve that, we can’t grow without immigration,” he said.

CNN's Gregory Wallace and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Latinos
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. bcrunner

    There is bill that has been sitting in congress for who knows how long now. Why not bring it up and pass it?? Here is a quick win win for both parties!! But we have to have drama for anything to happen in Washington. That's what the Tea Party/Republicans want...

    December 1, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    Carlos Gutierrez must be dreaming. As long as the GOP is a captive of the extreme social and anti-immigration conservatives it will never happen. As for the GOP/Tea Party goal of wanting everyone to be rich, he is preaching heresy because it sounds a lot like evil "socialism."

    December 1, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    That would be a lie. That is simply a subliminal effort to distort the truth, and gain favorable action on opening the floodgates to Mexicans entering the U.S.

    December 1, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Lance D.

    The Republican Party wants everyone to be rich - that is the strongest assertion yet - a dream never legislated much less visualiazed by the Democrats.

    December 1, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. B.

    Get real,the Republicans ,for the most part, are wealthy, mostly white, older Bigots that have no use for anyone that is not also rich!
    Romney revealed what most Republicans are all about, Contempt for 47% of Americans..

    One of the kings is Mitch McConnell and his agenda to make Obama fail at any cost to the country that includes paralyzing congress to historic proportions with use of the Filibuster!

    Racism is Still alive and well in this country.

    December 1, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  6. Sorensen

    Hey Mr. Gutierrez –
    Politics is different from selling cereal.The GOP's problem is not just immigration. It's the totality of the basic sick ideas
    of the party and it's out-of-touch old, white males.
    You have to fire the top management and all their naive little slaves, like Prairiebus, find a young intelligent leader and
    then start all over from scratch. And remember demographics.
    Then. and only then, you might lose a litlle bit less significantly the next time.

    December 1, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. Facts don't Lie

    I doubt very seriously if the Republicans want everybody to be rich.....if that were the case then there would be NOBODY to blame stuff on you know like the poor and minorities that are the takers and it would be hard to put people in certain groups. Then again if everyone was rich the far right would divide them into how rich they were with of course the least wealthy being the ones they can discriminate against.

    December 1, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. Lance D.

    The Democrat are eager to pass on "gifts" from the rich - much like passing out fish rather than fishing poles - just more "banana cheese."

    December 1, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. anonoymous

    Why are they still campaigning the elction is over and they lost? It's funny how when bills that consider the poor and middleclass ie health care jobs bill etc they are the party of no. Immigration never matters to gop until election. There's a whole lotta ways of being rich. Good health and access to good health care now that's rich. Save it were arent buying it. Start real talks on the fiscal cliff that doesnt include the health care bill and social security but does include the top earners paying their fair share and we might believe you.

    December 1, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. CanadaONE

    GOP must lead out te door...

    My perdiction is that the GOP will have lost congress in 2014 bringing the end to the GOP

    if I was as repub in congress I would be looking for another job

    the GOP will take the fall for the fiscal cliff – they set themselves up this – not oo bright!


    December 1, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Dennis Freeman

    He and the Tea Party/GOP can lead by self-deporting themselves – what a great start to solving most of our problems!!

    December 1, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Pedro M.

    Only words : "we need to be the immigration party" but they really don't know how to do it. They proposal for technicians visas is to bring more people to this country legally and to then be citizens ? we don't need that, we need a proposal for legalize the people who are already here for 5, 10, 25 years. This is what latinos are waiting for and that hope make us vote for Obama. So Republicans don't you understand?? why are you so dumb on immigration???

    December 1, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. patrick

    Well if the GOP is going to lead on the immigration issue they are going to have to dump their base first. And if the GOP dumps their base who is going to vote GOP? Grover Norquest? Billionaires?

    December 1, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. Dan

    The first step in making "everyone rich" is ensuring that you protect those already rich from becoming,"not rich". Then you start helping this folks who are almost rich... Someday they will think about the rest of us.

    December 1, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Romney's grandfather was Mexican and Romney didn't carry the Latino vote. His Latino expert is Latino and they could not carry the Latino vote. Maybe their policies are just wrong for the Latino mainstream.

    And now the Republicans are going to pretend to work to stop the fiscal cliff, when ,in reality, it is the best thing that could happen for them. Republicans are not all idiots. If the cliff happens, tax increases hit everyone including the rich, so Republicans can get needed tax increases while saying it is not their fault.Massive cuts will happen in all areas of government spending, including cuts in defense and it won't be Republicans fault. Social programs will be cut down and Republicans will say it was not my fault. There will probably be another recession and, again, not Republicans fault. The fact is it will be their fault. The main stopping point for Republicans is going back to the tax rates that were in effect for the rich when Bush took office. That is the onl;y thing stopping a solution. A few super rich families that would make Scrooge look warm and fuzzy are going to take a chance on destroying America for a few bucks they don't even need. I get all teary eyed just thinking abour it

    December 1, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. fernace

    Lead on immigration!? Hmmm, has Gutierrez not been listening to his party's platform on this issue? It's anti-immigration, like all the other "anti-..." proposals from the GOT-Party! And since they have been so entrenched in their opinion for decades, it would be a miracle to see any changes, let alone Leading, on this issue! Democrats have actually led & been very vocal in opposition to Georgia & Arizona laws, plus the DREAM act is still waiting for approval, but the GOT-Party feels they have to make up their own "dream act," instead of accepting the 1 already created! I find it greedy & arrogant to give students visa's so they can benefit the country, but no clear path to citizenship! It's almost like taking credit for another persons work! Finally, the GOT-Party promotes the "ruling class" system! They want to protect those who are already rich (like themselves), the rest of us are "peasants"! BTW, many Americans don't care if we become wealthy as long as we can have a strong Middleclass system, again!!

    December 1, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. Delmar Jackson

    Guiterrez is right. Massive unending immigration and the end of all enforcement of our immigration laws can only make our economy stronger. This is why most of the highest unemplyment in America are in cities near our southern border.

    There is no immigration problem that needs to be "fixed".

    Immigration was "fixed" in 1986 when we gave amnesty to over 3 million illegals in exchange for strict enforcement of our laws so we would never need to give another amnesty..

    The problem is not immigration, but the unwillingness by those that profit from immigration to enforce our laws.Unless you "fix" the problem of weasels refusing to enforce our laws or abide by their promises, no amount of fine words or "fixing" will ever accomplish a thing.

    As for the millions here illegally, and what will happen to them if we cut off their jobs and benefits? they will go home. There will be ranting and raving and gnashing of teeth and calling those that enforce the laws all sorts of terrible names, but they should save their drama for those that caused the problem, which are those that refused to enforce the laws and those that broke them.

    December 1, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. John the Historian

    The Republicans need to realize that being the party of the Christian Right who only want a theocracy and a full ban on all abortions even in cases of rape and incest, the party of the military-industrial complex who want a war with Iran, a country of 80 million, hell the USA couldn't handle the 29 million in Iraq, the party of the billionaires like Willard and Cheney who don't want to pay their fair share of taxes, and Wall Street who wants the bonuses to continue even when they are not making a profit or are declaring bankruptcy. So ironic the Republicans nominated Willard Romney, a mormon cult follower whose religion is based on americana folklore, freemasonry, and elements of various Christian denominations. Mormons need to disband the religion of rapists like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, gold tablets, fictional stories like polygamist Jesus Christ and Jesus preaching to the American-Indians. It never happened and Indians are not descendants of Jews. DNA proves it. Mark Twain called the book of mormon chloroform in print. Jesus will not reappear in Independence or Nauvoo, Illinois. Get rid of your magic underwear and fire the 12 apostles of mormon and go after the FLDS. Brigham and Joseph Smith were both origianlly Methodists, so give your temples to them.

    December 1, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The most important thing Republicans need to learn is "TO BE TRUSTED" and that is something found in character, so how do they rebuild character when they've got the same old white guys running the party of hate.

    December 1, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |

    They must first teach their FoxLies sheep that every Hispanic is not an illegal alien. Some of them are already citizens.

    December 1, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Vence

    Sooner or later this monster is going to bite either party!

    December 1, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Evergreen

    Don't we have American students with advance degrees from these colleges and universities? And if we don't this failure in our education system must be fixed.

    December 1, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  23. secondopinionpundits

    This is attempting to legalize illegal immigration.

    December 1, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. Name Miguel

    The Republican party needs to open up to Hispanics and show that they care for Hispanics. Also, they need to be proactive with and towards Hispanic to attract them to the party and to develop more Hispanics for running for public office. The GOP has to be Hispanic friendly

    December 1, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |