While attending the Republican National Convention, I received several emails and messages asking why, as Hispanic, I am a Republican. This question puzzles me a bit, because there is some implied assumption that if you're Hispanic, by default you are expected to be a Democrat.
However, it seems to me that because of the values in the Hispanic community, it would seem only logical that Hispanics should actually be more aligned with the Republican Party than they would with the Democratic Party. President Ronald Reagan would say, "Hispanics are Republicans, they just don't realize it yet."
I am a Republican because I believe in conservative values and principles values such as faith, family and country; principles such as fiscal discipline, limited government and personal responsibility.
I believe most Hispanics also believe in these values. Hispanics overwhelming support the right to life, traditional marriage and parents' choice in education. They have the highest enlistment rate in the military among ethnic groups.
Hispanics also believe in the principles of hard work and self-sufficiency, not wanting a handout, but a hand up, hoping that their children can realize the American dream. For the most part, Hispanics are not waiting for government to do for them what they can do for themselves. Hispanic entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing segment of small business ownership.
Democrats talk about immigration as though it were the only, or the most important issue, for Hispanic families, when poll after poll shows that immigrations ranks consistently fifth or sixth in level importance behind such issues as jobs, the economy, education and health care. Hispanic issues are not much different than the issues that concern other Americans.
It was the Republican Reagan who brought about the last substantial immigration reform. It was also President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain, both Republicans, who proposed the last major effort to address this issue.
President Obama talks a good talk and promised to submit an immigration bill in his first 90 days in office, yet it has been over 900 days and he has done nothing to address this issue, despite having two years of overwhelming Democratic majorities in the Congress. In his first three and a half years in office, he was responsible for more deportations than any other president.
But when it impacted his poll numbers amongst Hispanics in key states, he did an about face, signing an executive order that only delays deportation, but does nothing to address the issue in a substantive manner. He is hoping that it will help him get through this election and that we are not smart enough to see through this political move.
As for our place in the GOP, although we have fewer Hispanics we are not taken for granted. That was evident at the Republican Convention, where Hispanic and black Republicans played prominent roles. Hispanics introduced both our next president and first lady, and for the first time ever, a governor of Puerto Rico addressed the convention. We also heard from two Hispanic governors, Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada.
In short, Hispanics in our party not only have a seat at the table, but are making history.
Marco Diaz is chairman of the Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly.