Former Republican House leader Dick Armey said staunch anti-immigration opponents such as Rep. Tom Tancredo are destructive to Republicans — and are alienating a “natural” constituency that could help the party win elections.
“Who in the Republican Party was the genius that said that now that we have identified the fastest-growing voting demographic in America, let’s go out and alienate them?” Armey said, referencing Hispanics, during a luncheon in Washington at the National Press Club.
“When I was the majority leader, I saw to it that Tom Tancredo did not get on the stage because I saw how destructive he was,” Armey said of the Colorado congressman and 2008 Republican presidential candidate known for his opposition to illegal immigration.
Armey said “this is a nation of immigrants” and “if you love America, love freedom” and if you will work and pay taxes, you should be welcome in the country.
The former majority leader, who is now chairman of FreedomWorks and heavily involved in the Tea Party movement, said the INS is “deformed” and “dysfunctional.”
“They way they treat these folks is unbelievably rude and callous and cruel. Fix that agency, make it do its job, make it do its job in a humane … fashion and then you can control the borders,” he said.
Armey also said “the Republican Party is the most naturally talented party at losing its natural constituents in the history of the world.”
“This party was born with the emancipation proclamation and can’t get a black vote to safe its life. How do they do that?”