Can Latinos be persuaded to join the Republican party?

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)  reacts


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 14, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Impact Segment" tonight. As you may know, President Obama largely won the election because Hispanic-American voters broke big for him by a whopping 71 percent.

However, many republicans believe Hispanics are not, not a liberal voting block.


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Hispanics are not inherently liberal. Hispanics, you know, they're tight family. They have -- you know, they're religious Catholic, they're socially-conservative, especially on abortion.

These are a national constituency. They are a striving immigrant group and that is a natural conservative constituency.


O'REILLY: Joining us now from Washington to react is Democratic Congressman, Luis Gutierrez. So, what do you think about Charles' analysis that the Hispanic-American voting block -- I mean, obviously, talking generally here, could be persuaded to come into the Republican Party. What do you think about that.

LUIS GUTIERREZ, CONGRESSMAN, ILLINOIS (D): I think, if you make -- I mean, Charles makes an argument that has some truth to it. There are 52 million Latinos in the United States. It's a little broad.

I think, you're reducing it to "that they're more persuadable ones." I think, absolutely, I think the problem that the Republican Party has is when they begin the conversation, they begin the conversation with self- deportation.

They begin the conversation by embracing Governor Brewer of Arizona and 1070. Or they go to Iowa and say, "Well, you know, we control livestock with electricity. Maybe that's the way we should control immigrants on the border."

When you have -- when you begin a conversation like that, you don't hear very much else.

O'REILLY: OK. I thought that Mitt Romney's statement during the primaries that the self-deportation was what he wanted to do, hurt him. And, I think, you agree that that got a lot of currency in Hispanic communities.

It wasn't explained what that was all about. But here's something that I'm not sure about. Do you think that most Hispanic-Americans born in the U.S.A., not immigrants -- recent immigrants, born here, all right, want immigration controls.

Do they want to stop the mass influx across the southern border. Do they want to stop it.

GUTIERREZ: First of all, as you and I have discussed before, we know that four out of every 10 undocumented immigrants don't cross that border.

They come legally to the United States. And there are others that come through other avenues. So, I think, what -- the ones that are -- those of us like me that were born here in this country, I think what happens is that we see the other -- our fellow Latinos as our cousins, brothers, grandparents.

And so, we see them as part of an extended family. I think what is simplistic about this is to try to make this clear distinction between Latinos born in the United States and those who arrived from Latin American countries.

It just doesn't work that way. So what we have is, we have, for example, 4 million American citizen children, parents don't have papers.

We have hundreds of thousands of American citizens, husbands whose wives don't have papers. And, in other words, it's a very mixed community --

O'REILLY: All right. But the reason I bring this up is, there's never going to be an acceptance of the Republican Party by Hispanics who want open immigration, everybody comes, all right.

Because the Republican Party is never going to do that.

GUTIERREZ: But that's not -- OK. But you and I, Bill, you and I both know I can come over to New York, we can have lunch. And given our previous conversations and statements that you have made about immigration policy, we can figure this out. And we can secure our borders --

O'REILLY: Listen. I agree it's definitely --

GUTIERREZ: -- And we, definitely, can do it without opening them up.

O'REILLY: But I want to know if most Hispanic-Americans are going to support it because what it's going to entail is a very strict border.

You're going to have, "You can't come here unless you go through the process." And the people already here, I agree with you, that can be dealt with.

But you cannot have a lenient, civil-like border. And I don't know if most Americans -- Hispanic-Americans are going to support that.

GUTIERREZ: And so -- no, they won't. America won't support that. That cannot be the foundation upon which we fix our broken immigration system.

The foundation upon which we fix our immigration system is exactly what you alluded to. It's finding a way. Listen, in 2001 --

O'REILLY: So, what about stopping future immigration. That's the key.

GUTIERREZ: Abso -- I think it is critical and essential. And so, when I, with Nelson in 2004, introduced Comprehensive Immigration Reform -- remember Kennedy and McCain, the first 600 of 800 pages of our legislation was enforcement and securing the border.

O'REILLY: All right. Because, I think, if that happens and the President promised it would again, but again, he promised it four years ago and it didn't happen.

But, I think, if that gets in, then the Republican Party is going to be in a better place to try to persuade some Hispanics. Remember, 45 percent of Hispanic-Americans voted for President Bush.

GUTIERREZ: And you want to know something. If the same number of Hispanics voted for Romney, had voted -- that voted for McCain had voted for Romney, we might be having a different conversation.

But the fact is, I have many republican colleagues, good men and women. Because we have good Americans on both sides of the aisle.

And you know what they've been telling me, they said, "Luis, let's take this off the table. Let's take it off the table once and for all or you're going to run the tables on us."

We understand that. And you know what, whether you're doing it for political purposes so that your party can have a future, or you're doing it as I and others, because it makes America a better, more decent place to live, let's get it done.

O'REILLY: Yes, let's get it done. I'm with you. I don't think the McCain thing -- McCain got -- Obama got 67 percent with Latinos. It was only four points up with Romney.

I don't think that would have done it. But if they could have gotten it to 60/40, then Mitt Romney would have been president. Congressman, always a pleasure.

GUTIERREZ: Absolutely, Bush did it.

O'REILLY: Right.

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