House Republicans claim they see no urgency whatsoever about acting this summer on immigration reform, and just might get around to it some time this fall. And it’s probably true, as many have already noted, that individual House Republicans — tucked away in safe conservative districts — won’t feel any pressure to act on reform.

But there’s one potential downside for the party in this strategy: it could mean the GOP gets hammered in the Hispanic media for months.

Democrats plan to closely monitor the Spanish-language media for signs of how the immigration debate is playing there, now that the House GOP appears to have cast its lot with delay and inaction. One Dem points to Tweets from major Hispanic media figures who have already signaled anger with Republicans. There’s Univision’s Jorge Ramos, who has been called the “Walter Cronkite of Hispanic news” and is hugely influential, who tweeted:

Boehner uses words like “flawed”and “rushed”to describe the Senate’s immigration bill.Does he understand its something urgent and necessary?

There’s also this one from Ramos (translated from Spanish):

Very disconcerting position of Republicans on immigration. Seems to want to kill reform and his party…

And this one from Ramos urging followers to call John Boehner and demand action. Meanwhile, influential radio host Fernando Espuelas is accusing Boehner of threatening to scuttle reform.

The word is that House Republicans believe the GOP elite’s concerns about the need to repair relations among Latinos, and the potential consequences failure to do this could have for the party, are “overblown.”

But Democrats are planning a concerted push to make Republicans pay for failure to support reform in the Latino media. Obama himself is planning a series of interviews with Spanish-language media, where he’ll no doubt call on Republicans to get behind comprehensive reform without delay.

You can bet Dems are also going to be carefully monitoring public statements from GOP officials for example of rhetorical overreach amid the immigration debate, which can then be highlighted as evidence of GOP hostility towards Latinos, just as Dems have pounced on inflammatory anti-abortion rhetoric. Obviously if this drags on for weeks or months that creates more of an opportunity for rhetorical excess. Even some Republicans are worried about this. As one Dem points out, Karl Rove recently warning about the immigration debate: “Republicans must consider the impressions they will create by what they say.” Remember the damage done by “self deportation” and other doozies from the 2012 GOP primary?

At any rate, if the GOP does take a beating in the Latino media, individual Republicans may have nothing to worry about, but surely it won’t help much with that Latino outreach party leaders were once said to see as necessary. If memory serves, the RNC produced some kind of document a while ago proclaiming an urgent need for the party to develop a more inclusive and tolerant aura, particularly among Latinos. Anyone recall anything like that?


UPDATE:  Political scientist John Sides, a careful analyst, has more on the importance of Latino media and opinion-leaders and what their reaction to the immigration debate could mean for the GOP over the long term.