Republican State Senator Anthony Cannella is one of two lawmakers who travelled to Washington DC this week to press for immigration reform.
He acknowledges people may find it odd a Republican is taking up this cause. And he says his party is probably 20 years behind where it should be on the issue. But Cannella’s Central Valley district has a large Hispanic population. And he says for him immigration reform is not about politics.
“When you’ve got that many people that are living the shadows they become exploited, they become preyed upon. They don’t have people to turn to in times of crisis,” Cannella says. “And I don’t think that’s the way we should be in this country. “
GOP-friendly groups like The California Chamber of Commerce and the California Farm Bureau Federation are also urging Congress to act.
Republican Political Consultant Mike Madrid specializes in Latino voting issues. “It’s probably gonna be too little, too late,” he says.
Madrid says it’s commendable some Republicans are making an effort to be involved in the immigration debate. But he says their sudden interest may hurt their cause.
“This is something that is years and years in the making,” he says. “And I think those with credibility, especially on the Republican side, needed to be engage in this issue years ago.”
Madrid says Republicans should have taken up the issue before last year’s presidential election. He says now it may be years before they can swing more Latinos to their side.