Ever since the election, the Republican Party has been talking about how they need to find a way to make inroads into the Latino community. They've also mentioned women and African-Americans, of course, but they seem to think that the big payoff will come from appealing to the Latino vote.
This is somewhat tricky, given that the conservative movement right now has a strong prejudice against Latinos, thinly veiled as concern over border security (in much the same way that their concern for religious freedom only applies to denying women contraception and their concern for voter fraud always seems to concentrate itself on areas with high populations of minorities.) But we are hearing about how they can't keep hammering away on "border security" and still expect to win any of the Latino vote. Republicans are talking about a "path to citizenship", and about how they need to have a proper grown-up stance on immigration reform if only because they can't win an election without it.
But when I hear this, I can't help but think that even the Republican attempts to moderate their racism are, themselves, racist. Because they assume that the primary concern of the average Latino voter is immigration, and that the party affiliation of this single-issue voting bloc will be determined by who best represents them on this issue. Which is a bit like assuming that you can win over all women by promising them birth control pills.
I would imagine that Latino voters are deeply concerned with immigration, simply because they have personal experience of the broken American immigration system (not necessarily first-hand, but personal--they know people within their community that have either had problems gaining citizenship, have been treated poorly because they are undocumented, or have been treated poorly on the assumption that they are undocumented.) But I would also imagine that they have strong concerns about improving wages and working conditions, because minority workers tend to be exploited by their employers. I would also imagine that they want a robust public school system and a sane policy on student loans because the path to success in America has always been generational--the immigrant parent ensures the future of the educated child. And yes, I would imagine that they care about birth control and family planning, because families with more children than they can care for have difficulty escaping the cycle of poverty. In other words, I would imagine that the concerns of Latinos are the same as the concerns of any other voter, because I would imagine that they are the same as any other voter. Shaped by their personal experiences, of course, but not focused entirely on a single narrow part of the political spectrum based solely on their race.
Of course, I do not speak for Latino voters. I wouldn't want to. That's why the title of this post is a question, not an answer. But I can't imagine that if I were a Latino voter and I heard the Republicans say, "No, we get it now. We heard your message loud and clear. Amnesty for immigrants, right?" that I would think anything other than, "No. You still don't get it."
I think that what Latinos want--what any minority wants--what any person wants--is to be treated like a person and not a demographic. And I don't think that treating them like a demographic to be courted is going to sound much better than treating them like a demographic to be demonized.