Hispanic Republicans tone down immigration talk

February 2, 2011 5:01:44 AM PST
As a Republican, state Rep. Aaron Pena is expected to take a hard line on immigration. But as a Latino who represents a heavily Hispanic district along the U.S.-Mexico border, the South Texas lawyer finds some of the anti-immigrant proposals in the Legislature to be unfair and unnecessarily harsh.

He's among a handful of new Latino Republican lawmakers in Texas who plan to meet Wednesday with Attorney General Greg Abbott. The lawmakers know they must carefully maneuver hot-button immigration and cultural wedge issues this year that are expected to spark debate, and possibly legal reforms, in the Texas Legislature.

Hispanic Republicans are generally more moderate on such issues and are challenging the GOP to think differently. And Abbott's advice on the legality of some of immigration bills could be key.