North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) suddenly closed the state's Latino affairs office, according to an article published in the Charlotte Observer Friday.
“We are committed to serving the needs of all of North Carolina’s citizens,” said Thomas Stith, the governor’s chief of staff, 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.”
The closing of the office comes as the Republican Party is trying to revamp its efforts to reach out to Latinos following the 2012 election, when, according to exit polls, 71 percent of Latinos voted for President Barack Obama. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said that he would talk regularly with minority groups and "spend time in their communities."
"The RNC cannot and will not write off any demographic or community or region of this country," wrote Priebus in the GOP's post-mortem.
The Office of Hispanic/Latino Affairs was created in 1998, and had one full-time staff member and a volunteer, and coordinated programs geared towards the Latino community.
McCrory supported a plan to allow some young undocumented immigrants apply for driver's licenses that would have had a pink stripe on them and the words "no lawful status" in red. Immigrant advocates protested that the licenses amounted to discrimination. The Division of Motor Vehicles dropped the stripe and licenses will have "legal presence" and "no lawful status" printed on them.