Conservative pundit Sean Hannity, host of "The Sean Hannity Show," told his radio listeners last Thursday that he's changed his mind on how Republicans should approach U.S. immigration reform, positing that undocumented immigrants should have a "pathway to citizenship."
“We've got to get rid of the immigration issue altogether,” Mr. Hannity told his radio listeners last week. “It’s simple to 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’ve got to go home. And that is a position that I’ve evolved on. Because, you know what, it’s got to be resolved. The majority of people here, if some people have criminal records you can send them home, but if people are here, law-abiding, participating for years, their kids are born here, you know, it’s first secure the border, pathway to citizenship, done, whatever little penalties you want to put in there, if you want, and it’s done.”
Ever since President Barack Obama defeated Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race, Republicans have been struggling to figure out why Governor Romney lost the election and how they can prevent a repeat of 2012 in the mid-term elections and in 2016.
Both pundits and politicians believe that the Republican Party's relationship with Latinos and the party's stance on U.S. immigration reform is partly to blame for the Michigan native's loss.
As CNN noted, Republicans need to reach out to Latinos and figure out how they can better connect with this important group of voters. Exit polls revealed that approximately 11 million Latinos voted in the 2012 presidential election. President Obama received 71 percent of the Latino vote, while Governor Romney received 29 percent. By 2050, Latinos are expected to make up 30 percent of the U.S. population.
Mr. Hannity isn't the only pundit advocating for a change in the Republican Party's stance toward U.S. immigration reform.
“Yes amnesty. Use the word. Shock and awe — full legal normalization in return for full border enforcement,” pundit Charles Krauthammer wrote Friday.
Republican Speaker John Boehner also noted that a “comprehensive approach” on the issue of U.S. immigration reform was “long overdue.”
However, the path toward changing the Republican Party's stance on U.S. immigration reform will be anything but easy.
“There’s been zero discussion of this issue within the conference, and I’m urging the Speaker to talk with House Republicans before making pledges on the national news,” Republican Congressman John Fleming said in a statement released Friday.
The Republican Party's relationship with Latinos will be a key component of the GOP's chances in the 2016 presidential election.