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GOP Senators propose alternative to Dream Act

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Political analysts and immigration reform activists say this is a critical time for the Republican Party to build a new relationship with Hispanic voters. But there seems to be a battle within the GOP between those who want to mend fences and those who do not want to compromise.

"This is going to be awkward and uncomfortable to watch. This is the fat guy trying to date the homecoming queen. His intentions are good, he knows what he wants but he just doesn't know how to get there," said political analyst Chuck McDonald.

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has cosponsored legislation called the Achieve Act. If passed it would give undocumented immigrations a legal status but not citizenship. Immigration reform advocates dismiss the Achieve Act as a watered down version of the proposed Dream Act. McDonald believes this effort will require a difficult balancing act.

"Republicans have a real problem, and they don't know how to reach out to Hispanics without alienating their base," said McDonald.

Failing to find a plan that works could trigger a political backlash, according to Brian Smith with St. Edwards University.

"If the Republicans go hard core on immigration they open the door for anybody in the Democratic Party to have a great issue to run on," warned Smith.

According to the Pew Research Center, President Obama received more than 70 percent of the Hispanic vote earlier this month. As more Hispanics reach voting age the voting block will become a bigger player in national and local politics.

"They keep talking about the sleeping giant at the polls, and one day it's going to wake up," said Smith.

A great example of the conflict within the GOP, according to Smith and McDonald, is what happened to Governor Rick Perry just a few months ago. The key moment in his failed Presidential bid may not been his forgetful debate "oops" or being silly with a bottle of New Hampshire syrup.

His defense of the Texas Dream Act, which he signed in 2001, was used by his rivals to paint him as being soft on immigration. It was a label Perry was not able to shake in the primaries and an attack that clearly cost the party at the ballot box.

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