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Guthrie Says Republicans Should Be the Party Backed by the Nation's Immigrants

Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s Second District Congressman says his party needs to tone down some of its rhetoric about illegal immigration, and better explain how its economic policies could help those coming to the country legally.

Bowling Green Republican Brett Guthrie told WKU Public Radio Monday that the GOP is missing opportunities to appeal to immigrants who arrived in America legally in search of jobs and a better life.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the U.S., and has called for a wall to be built between the U.S. and Mexico. Guthrie says Republicans can’t afford to be painted as a party unwelcoming to immigrants.

“We as a party can’t look like we’re against people coming here legally,” Guthrie said. Instead, the Warren County lawmaker said Republicans need to reach out to immigrants wanting to “invest in the American Dream and the American future. Guthrie said he thought “some of the rhetoric gets hot,” leaving some voters with a negative impression of the party.

Guthrie believes that “hot” rhetoric often prevents the GOP from explaining to immigrants its economic policies that Guthrie says would appeal to the country’s recent arrivals. The Bowling Green native says the platform recently adopted at the Republican National Convention would help “small businesses, capital formation, letting you flourish so your kids could have a better life—the very reasons that they come here are a lot of the planks we have in our platform.”

Guthrie says immigrants and refugees have made tremendous contributions to parts of Kentucky, including the many Bosnian and Southeast Asian immigrants living in Bowling Green.

Guthrie is running unopposed this fall for a fifth term in the U.S. House.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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