A new battle has flared inside the Republican Party in recent days as supporters of more-liberal immigration laws wage a behind-the-scenes campaign to discredit the influential advocacy groups that have long powered the GOP’s hard-line stance on the issue.
The campaign, largely waged in closed-door meetings with lawmakers and privately circulated documents, is another sign of how seriously many establishment Republicans are pursuing an immigration overhaul in the wake of last year’s elections, in which the GOP lost Hispanic voters by an overwhelming margin to President Obama….
(Sen. Marco) Rubio’s aides last week brought one of the organizers of the effort to undermine the groups, Mario H. Lopez, a party strategist on Hispanic politics, to a regular meeting of GOP Senate staffers, at which Lopez distributed literature about the groups’ backgrounds and connections. Rubio also raised concerns about the groups’ leanings during a recent conference call on immigration with conservative activists.
Rubio’s spokesman, Alex Conant, said the senator “has argued that some groups that oppose legal immigration should not be considered part of the conservative coalition,”