WASHINGTON — Over strong objections from some conservative leaders, the Republican National Committee formally endorsed immigration law changes on Monday and outlined plans for a $10 million outreach to minority groups — gay voters among them.
The moves are part of a strategy to make the GOP more ‘‘welcoming and inclusive’’ for voters who overwhelmingly supported Democrats in 2012.
In a report released Monday, the RNC said that the way the party communicates its principles isn’t resonating widely enough and that focus groups perceive the party as ‘‘narrow minded,’’ “out of touch’’ and ‘‘stuffy old men.’’
‘‘The perception that we’re the party of the rich unfortunately continues to grow,’’ Reince Priebus, the RNC chairman, said Monday.
To broaden its appeal, the party must reach out to minority voters and others, according to one recommendation in the report: ‘‘We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our party’s appeal will continue to shrink,’’ it said.
Acknowledging the tough road ahead for some type of immigration overhaul in a divided GOP, Priebus after the speech refused to say whether ‘‘comprehensive immigration reform’’ should include a pathway to citizenship and distanced himself from some of the report’s recommendations. ‘‘Remember these are recommendations made to the RNC. This is not my report,’’ he said.
Party leaders have crafted dozens of recommendations following a months-long self-examination prompted by last year’s painful election losses. Yet, the National Committee’s shift on minority outreach may be the most visible change in the coming months.
Priebus plans to dispatch hundreds of workers into Hispanic, black, and Asian communities across the nation by the end of the summer, a $10 million effort meant to rival President Obama’s national political machine.
The RNC will also push for a tone of ‘‘tolerance and respect’’ in the immigration debate and create ‘‘senior level advisory councils’ focused on minority groups.