Barbour – GOP needs to revamp immigration policy, voter turnout operation

One need of the Republican Party moving forward is a revamped immigration policy, says Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and former governor of Mississippi.

Mitt Romney’s position, which included a call for illegal immigrants to “self-deport,” led to 71 percent of Hispanic voters choosing President Obama. Instead, the party should frame its appeal in economic terms and acknowledge that a major guest worker program for foreigners who are in good standing and already have jobs in the United States is useful, Mr. Barbour suggests. “We need immigration reform that is good economic policy,” says Barbour, who was also political director in the Reagan White House. “If we do that, the political problem will take care of itself.”

The party also needs to retool its voter-turnout operation, he says, noting that Mr. Romney got at least 1 million fewer votes than the GOP’s John McCain did in 2008. “The first thing is to be honestly and brutally frank in assessing why, and then going to work doing something about it.”

Christian Science Monitor
11/2012