For nearly all his life, Mario Rodriguez has been a champion of the Hispanic immigrant community: He’s in support of legalizing the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. He speaks out against deportation, which he says breaks up families and causes unnecessary psychological trauma. And he started a non-profit organization to match mentors with young Hispanic kids.
Just don’t call him a Democrat.
Rodriguez believes that the Republican Party better represents the interests of the business-minded Hispanic community. “I felt there were a lot of Democrats who were too left wing and weren’t speaking for us,” says Rodriguez, who works as a real estate business consultant. “Many business owners were frustrated with the business climate in California.” His disdain for too many taxes and regulations prompted Rodriguez and four colleagues to found the political action committee Hispanic 100 in 2004 to identify pro-business political candidates.
Everyone has complained about immigration for years, but something needs to done once and for all to fix it.
Part of the organization’s mission is to make the case that immigration reform, which is often thought of as a Democratic cause, is a Republican issue because it’s good for American business. Most recently, Rodriguez’s work on the issue earned him a spot on the National Hispanic Advisory Committee for Trump, a group that advised President Donald Trump during the election. “Everyone has complained about immigration for years, but something needs to done once and for all to fix it,” says Rodriguez, who served as the regional chairman for the re-election campaign for Former President George W. Bush in 2004. In addition to stopping unauthorized immigration by securing the border, Rodriguez would like to help those living here without authorization to become permanent residents and assimilate into American society by taking a mandatory English test. Finally, he supports implementing tough rules against employers who hire workers without permits. “There will be no reason for business owners to hire undocumented workers because they’ll have an available labor pool,” he says. “You know this isn’t rocket science.”
Immigration reform makes smart business sense, but it’s also the right thing to do for humanitarian reasons, Rodriguez says. “The majority of people come here to better their lives,” he says. “I believe in giving opportunity to people.”