News Column

Berks Political Leaders Champion Latinos

Jan 30, 2013

Whether Republicans in the U.S. Senate are trying to gain favor with Latinos by reversing their stance on immigration doesn't matter as long as the result is a path to citizenship for some people living in this country illegally, Berks County Democratic Committee Chairman Tom Herman said Tuesday.

"What we saw coming out of the Senate is a move in that direction," he said. "It says the United States is still the land of opportunity. People come here looking for a better life. For us to close the door to anyone trying to provide for their families is an injustice to our own values as Americans."

Latinos are no different than the rest of the population, Herman said.

They vote based on a variety of issues, including the economy and what's important to their personal values, not just immigration, he said.

Royal Furer, chairman of the county Republican Committee, said he's not all that familiar yet with the Senate proposal.

However, local party members have been reaching out to Latinos for years, he said.

That has nothing to do with the immigration issue, but everything to do with introducing Latinos to the party and its platform, Furer said.

In 2009, the party obtained a list of the top 1,000 Latino voters and invited them to a picnic, he said.

As recently as Friday, he met with a group of Latinos to explain what the party is about, Furer said.

"We've been reaching out to Latinos," he said. "We want to help people get into the political field.

"We're certainly not opposed to immigration."

Source: (c)2013 the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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