- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

High-ranking Democratic Party officials say Republicans will undo any good will they build up with Hispanics on immigration if they try to block Thomas E. Perez, an Hispanic lawyer whom President Obama nominated this week to run the Labor Department.

“This morning: RNC autopsy warmed GOP to improve Hispanic outreach. This afternoon: Senate Rs fight Hispanic nominees,” said one tweet from Sen. Harry Reid’s office, as reported by The Daily Caller.

And another, from Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee: “This is why GOP does so poorly with Latinos. Perez deserves better.”

Monday morning the Republican National Committee released a 98-page report detailing how it went wrong in the 2012 elections, and laid much of the blame at the party’s anti-Hispanic image, captured chiefly in presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s immigration crackdown stance.

But hours later, some Republican senators said they would oppose Mr. Perez over a host of concerns ranging from his time as a top lawyer at the Justice Department to his immigration stances.

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions criticized Mr. Perez in Reuters as being overly aggressive in helping illegal immigrants obtain employment, and said that he is “the wrong man for this job.”

Hispanic advocacy groups, meanwhile, are turning Mr. Perez’s nomination into a litmus test for support for the Latino community. Several high-profile groups sent out statements calling for quick Senate approval of Mr. Perez.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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