Governor Pat McCrory closed the Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs:
“We are committed to serving the needs of all of North Carolina’s citizens,” Thomas Stith, the governor’s chief of staff, said in a statement. “We don’t segment our constituents by race or cultural background any more than we separate them by age or gender. In addition, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs is a valuable resource to help us address culturally sensitive issues.”
But advocates such as Jess George, executive director of Latin American Coalition in Charlotte, sees the move as a contradiction to national efforts by the Republican Party to appear more welcoming to Latinos. Those efforts include officially supporting calls to legalize the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants.The governor appears to be intentionally tone deaf when it comes to Latinos. This comes on the heels of taking a while to back off the pink licenses for undocumented immigrants whose deportation was deferred under the new federal program. It was hard to see the original proposal as anything but vindictive.
As Charlotte's mayor, McCrory was commonly viewed as moderate, but has veered sharply to the right (see my last post on higher education). From an electoral perspective, as I've written many times, Latinos in North Carolina represent only a tiny fraction. So it is politically safe for McCrory to do this. But it will hurt the Republican Party a lot in the long run, since the Latino population has been growing so much and before long will be a nontrivial chunk of the electorate.