Skip to main content

Ann Coulter is wrong about immigration

By Charles Garcia, Special to CNN
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pundit Ann Coulter criticized GOP leaders about their stance on immigration reform
  • Charles Garcia: It is Coulter who is out of touch with the goals of the Republican Party
  • He says the GOP is endorsing immigration reform with a newly released report
  • Garcia: Prominent Republicans see the need to reform a problem that needs repair

Editor's note: Charles Garcia, who has served in the administration of four presidents is the CEO of Garcia Trujillo, a business focused on the Hispanic market. He was named in the book "Hispanics in the USA: Making History" as one of 14 Hispanic role models for the nation. Follow him on Twitter: @charlespgarcia

(CNN) -- Amid the mish-mash of potential presidential contenders at last weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference, pundit Ann Coulter didn't disappoint her supporters by brandishing once again the language of racialist politics.

It was no surprise that she used immigration reform to inflame the right. She has depicted Latinos as "a deluge of unskilled immigrants pouring into the country," and she'll explain to anyone who will listen that immigrants are looking for little more than the next government handout. Her deep ignorance of both the American Latino community and immigration reform is shameful.

Among her fiery comments was an attack on GOP politicians Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the "endless Bushes," New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie and others who have publicly voiced support for immigration reform. Coulter alleged that Republican politicians are speaking out in favor of immigration reform because they "panicked" reacting to the lackluster voter support last November. And, she proudly announced, from now on she will be a single-issue voter against "amnesty for illegals."

Charles Garcia
Charles Garcia

But just a few days later, her remarks seem especially out of touch, given the report released Monday by the GOP entitled "Growth and Opportunity Project." As opposed to Coulter's assessment of panic in the ranks, it seems that finally Republicans are waking up and taking a clear-eyed view to how to keep their party alive.

The report prescribes an overhaul of the party, including a flat-out endorsement of immigration reform. The party, the report states, "must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform," including a recommended $10 million outreach effort that includes hiring national political directors for Hispanic, Asian-Pacific and African-American voters.

Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



For the past several years, many members of the GOP have rejected any kind of immigration package that would legalize the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. Some of those politicians (including Mitt Romney) have gone so far as to support state anti-immigrant laws that sought "self-deportation," like Arizona's SB 1070. Drawing this type of arbitrary line in the sand against any kind of legalization proposal seriously damaged the GOP's reputation among the Latino voting bloc, which overwhelmingly supported Obama for president.

Which is why the party is changing its tone. Republicans like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie are following the footsteps of Ronald Reagan in recognizing that the way to move this country forward lies in the sometimes messy, complicated task of seeking a solution to the immigration problem, not in bright-line denouncements like Coulter's sound bites.

And in a significant move on Monday, tea party favorite Sen. Rand Paul, who just won the Washington Times-CPAC presidential preference straw poll, endorsed a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Contrary to what Coulter would have the CPAC audience believe, prominent Republican leaders are not panicked; they are looking for commonsense ways to tackle the broken immigration system, and have clearly stated that they are not interested in giving anyone a free pass to legalization. They've made it clear that any possible immigration package requires additional measures to secure the border, hefty fees for undocumented immigrants and a lengthy waiting period before eligible applicants are permitted to regularize their immigration status in the United States.

Jeb Bush explains immigration position
Paul, Rubio standouts at CPAC

Along these lines, on Monday, Republican members of the Senate's Gang of Eight pushed to augment the period of time that an undocumented person would have to maintain legal permanent residency before applying for citizenship. The proposal extends the current waiting period from eight to 10 years. The negotiated time frame would permit applicants to naturalize three years after gaining legal permanent residency for a total of a 13-year path to citizenship. This proposal is on par with the current citizenship process, except that it would extend the period for permanent residency and shorten the period for naturalization.

This development underscores the fact that the GOP does not support a fast-track legalization plan for people who are unlawfully present in the country.

Despite Coulter's assurances to the contrary, the negotiated principles that Rubio and other members of the Senate's Gang of Eight have proposed are not attempts to provide "amnesty to illegals." The Republicans who support the measures are not weak or desperate. Instead, they are demonstrating leadership by looking for a smart solution to a complex problem by trying to reach a fair, yet stern, deal with Democratic politicians.

Coulter's smug rally to become "single-issue voters" smacks of panic she accuses others of experiencing. Her take on immigration is exactly the kind of ill-informed and short-sighted stance that has caused the GOP to lose supporters.

She can't be pleased with the timing of the release of her own Party's report, which proclaims in no uncertain terms that immigration reform must be embraced, not dismantled. It is Ann Coulter's views that are truly out of step with the leadership and the goals of the only Party that will have her.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Charles P. Garcia.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1538 GMT (2338 HKT)
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1525 GMT (2325 HKT)
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Ronald Reagan went horseback riding and took a vacation after the Korean Air Crash of 1983. So why does the GOP keep airbrushing history to bash Obama?
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1338 GMT (2138 HKT)
Aaron Miller says Kerry needs the cooperation of Hamas, Israel, Egypt and others if he is to succeed in his peacemaking efforts
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1251 GMT (2051 HKT)
Errol Louis says the tragic death of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD has its roots in the "broken windows" police strategy from the crime-ridden '80s.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1408 GMT (2208 HKT)
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says Texas Gov. Rick Perry is right to immediately send 1,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to the border children crisis.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1356 GMT (2156 HKT)
Ukraine's president says the downing of MH17 was a terrorist act, but Richard Barrett says it would be considered terrorism only if it was intentional
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 2015 GMT (0415 HKT)
Robert McIntyre says the loophole that lets firms avoid taxes should be closed
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
Jeronimo Saldana and Malik Burnett say Gov. Perry's plan to send National Guard to the border won't solve the escalating immigration problem.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1742 GMT (0142 HKT)
Sally Kohn: The world's fish and waters are polluted and under threat. Be very careful what fish you eat
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1242 GMT (2042 HKT)
Les Abend says threat information that pilots respond to is only as good as the intelligence from air traffic controllers. And none of it is a match for a radar-guided missile
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1235 GMT (2035 HKT)
Frida Ghitis: Anger over MH17 is growing against pro-Russia separatists. It's time for the Dutch government to lead, she writes
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says President Obama called inequality the "defining challenge" of our time but hasn't followed through.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1157 GMT (1957 HKT)
Gene Seymour says the 'Rockford Files' actor worked the persona of the principled coward, charming audiences on big and small screen for generations
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1417 GMT (2217 HKT)
Daniel Treisman says that when the Russian leader tied his fate to the Ukraine separatists, he set the stage for his current risky predicament
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1642 GMT (0042 HKT)
Andrew Kuchins says urgent diplomacy -- not sanctions -- is needed to de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine that helped lead to the downing of an airliner there.
July 19, 2014 -- Updated 0150 GMT (0950 HKT)
Jim Hall and Peter Goelz say there should be an immediate and thorough investigation into what happened to MH17.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
Pilot Bill Palmer says main defense commercial jets have against missiles is to avoid flying over conflict areas.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1755 GMT (0155 HKT)
Valerie Jarrett says that working women should not be discriminated against because they are pregnant.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1953 GMT (0353 HKT)
David Wheeler says the next time you get a difficult customer representative, think about recording the call.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1933 GMT (0333 HKT)
Newt Gingrich says the more dangerous the world becomes the more Obama hides in a fantasy world.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1011 GMT (1811 HKT)
Michael Desch: It's hard to see why anyone, including Russia and its local allies, would have intentionally targeted the Malaysian Airlines flight
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
LZ Granderson says we must remember our visceral horror at the news of children killed in an airstrike on a Gaza beach next time our politicians talk of war
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Sally Kohn says now the House GOP wants to sue Obama for not implementing a law fast enough, a law they voted down 50 times, all reason has left the room.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1214 GMT (2014 HKT)
A street sign for Wall Street
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, John McCain and others want to scale back the "too big to fail" banks that put us at risk of another financial collapse.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 2016 GMT (0416 HKT)
Newt Gingrich writes an open letter to Robert McDonald, the nominee to head the Veterans Administration.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1601 GMT (0001 HKT)
Paul Begala says Dick Cheney has caused an inordinate amount of damage yet continues in a relentless effort to revise the history of his failures.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1404 GMT (2204 HKT)
Kids who takes cell phones to bed are not sleeping, says Mel Robbins. Make them park their phones with the parents at night.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
Buzz Aldrin looked at planet Earth as he stood on talcum-like lunar dust 45 years ago. He thinks the next frontier should be Mars.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1804 GMT (0204 HKT)
Mark Zeller never thought my Afghan translator would save his life by killing two Taliban fighters who were about to kill him. The Taliban retaliated by placing him on the top of its kill list.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1518 GMT (2318 HKT)
Jeff Yang says an all-white cast of Asian characters in cartoonish costumes is racially offensive.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 0124 GMT (0924 HKT)
Gary Ginsberg says the late John F. Kennedy Jr.'s reaction to an event in 1995 summed up his character
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Meg Urry says most falling space debris lands on the planet harmlessly and with no witnesses.
ADVERTISEMENT