While most of the country was making plans for the Super Bowl, W. Kamau Bell said, both major political parties were engaged in a contest of their own: “Who Loves Mexicans More?”
The race to lure more of the Latino vote pit Republican Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) — “He speaks Spanish, he’s Cuban, but to leaders of the GOP, that’s Mexican enough,” Bell said — against “two-time returning champion and accused immigrant” President Barack Obama.
That half of the lawmakers who brought out a set of immigration proposals this week were Republicans was surprising, Bell said, given their party’s history of inconsiderate remarks against immigrants, like Rep. Steve King comparing immigrants to hunting dogs.
What changed their minds, he said, was getting trounced by Obama in polls of Latino voters in the presidential elections last year.
“Before the election, Republicans were like, ‘There are too many Latinos in this country.’ Then when they were trying to figure out how they lost, they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, there’s too many Latinos in this country,'” Bell said. “Now they’re like, ‘Send in the Latinos, and hand me my Chapstick — I’ve got a lot of ass to kiss.'”
Bell also noted the recent memo circulated by a conservative Latino group urging Republicans to abandon phrases like “send them all back,” “build a wall along the entire border” and “electric fence.”
“I can’t believe they actually had to tell them not to use the phrase, ‘electric fence,'” Bell marveled. “You know, it’s really hard to capture the hearts and minds of the people when you’re trying to electrocute the hearts and minds of the people.”
Not to be outdone, Bell said, Obama’s administration had deported a record number of people in his first term — about 1.4 million people, which would be like getting rid of the city of Dallas, Texas. (“Actually, can we do that?” he asked the audience. “I hate the Cowboys.”)
But Obama has also signaled a more immigrant-friendly second term, with his own proposed reforms, which he endorsed by saying, “Unless you were one of the first Americans, a Native American, you came from some place else. Somebody brought you.”
“In response, Native Americans said, ‘Oh, wait, you can make people leave?'” Bell joked. “‘Well then get the hell out of here! Show us your papers!'”
Bell also offered up his own proposal: if you can make it into America, you can stay.
“Right now there’s 11 million hard-working immigrants who really want to be here,” he said. “And if you don’t think there’s room for them, let’s get rid of some of the people we don’t need. I’d rather have millions of people who need ESL than anybody on TLC.”
Watch Bell sum up this week’s immigration conversation, aired Thursday on FX, below.