GOP immigration positions are closely watched by Latino media

immigration seal
(image: New Mexico Independent)
On Sunday, GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul appeared on Al Punto, a Spanish-language TV news show, saying he doesn’t need a different message for Hispanic voters.

Paul said he does not want to remove all 11 million undocumented immigrants, but insisted “we must have secure borders and we must not reward people for breaking the law.”

“I don’t think people should come here and esaily become citizens who can vote and receive social benefits,” Paul said, but he added there must be a program to allow “people who want to work to come.”

Paul said there should an assimilation program, but borders remain important and that citizenship for U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants should not automatic.

Asked if the tea party is an anti-immigrant party Paul said, “I can’t tell you a thing about it because it is sort of all over the place.”

Diario Las Americas, a Miami-based Spanish-language news outlet, wrote late last week that George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism and Ronald Reagan’s “pragmatism” in immigration have been “buried by the new Republican militancy,” due to tea party pressure. The outlet says Republicans are “risking a defeat in 2012″ over the issue.

Las Americas also said that Republican presidential debates have become a competition for who is the strongest or the weakest candidate on illegal immigration. Immigration enforcement activists have said GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry’s distant second-place in the recent Florida straw poll was due to his “weak” statements on immigration.

According to Las Americas, the Republican presidential candidate will need “at least 40 percent of the Hispanic vote to win the general elections.”

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, who has steadily become a central figure in today’s Republican Party, spoke in August at the Ronald Reagan Library. His message: Americans want the nation to be free and prosperous, but also compassionate.

New York Daily News columnist Albor Ruiz wrote Sunday that “Rubio supports mandatory E-Verify, has adopted the vacuous GOP mantra ‘border security first,’ and despite past support for a Florida in-state tuition bill, now opposes the federal DREAM Act.”

“But no matter how far right he goes, Rubio will never be American enough for some crazies in the birthers movement,” Ruiz wrote.

He added:

The GOP’s Great Latino Hope could turn out not to be such a good idea after all.

A poll conducted by Latino Decisions on the eve of last November’s election found 78% of Cuban-Americans would vote for Rubio, but only 40% of non-Cuban Latinos would do the same. And this was during his moderate phase.