SHOULD LATINOS BE REPUBLICAN?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Mitt Romney‘s presidential chances are caught between the agenda of the conservative Tea Party wing and the demands of the Latino electorate which is increasingly alienated by The Republican Party’s stance on immigration, writes the ABC’s Michael Brissenden. Among the bowls full of unguarded truth spoken by Mitt Romney at that now infamous $50,000-a-plate dinner in Florida is a glaring recognition of a significant threat to the long-term survival of the Republican Party. Don’t worry about all the bon mots that will be reheated from that night and put into play for this election cycle, Mitt Romney might be caviar-coated toast but even he recognizes that his party has a structural problem which if not addressed soon could keep them out of the White House forever.
Since that video was aired much of the media discussion has focused on Mitt Romney’s declaration that it wasn’t his job to worry about the 47 per cent of voters who don’t pay tax and who believe they are victims with an overblown sense of entitlement to government support. But not much has been said about that other percentage of voter that neither he nor his republican Republican stable mates appear to be worrying about at this stage – Latinos. This is despite the fact that Mitt Romney himself acknowledges the growing increasing political significance of the US’s fastest-growing demographic.

As the waiters (who may or may not have been Latino but were likely in the 47 per cent bracket referred to) looked on, Mitt told the gathering of wealthy donors that his father was born in Mexico but that unfortunately he had been born of American parents who just happened to be living in Mexico. If, however, he had been born of Mexican parents then he said, “I’d have a better shot of winning this … I say that jokingly, but it’d be helpful if they’d been Latino.”

And he knows it would be helpful because the Latino vote is becoming so important. Many Republicans admit it’s the reason why some of the swing states like Nevada and Colorado are no longer looking as much like swing states: because Latinos there, and all across the country, are overwhelmingly voting for the Democrats.

Even Florida has shifted – a state that because of the older generation of Cuban immigrants had been solidly posting broad Latino support for the Republican Party. Now the younger generation of Cubans are voting for the Democrats and the new influx of Latinos from elsewhere in Latin America are voting that way too.

What next? Texas? It was Ronald Reagan who famously said “Latinos are Republican. They just don’t know it yet.” way back the 1980s. He also granted a partial amnesty for illegal immigrants during his term, a position that at the moment is a world away from the sort of immigration policy that is championed by a party increasingly influenced by Tea Party wing.

To win the nomination Romney has had to bend ever further to their agenda. He denounced the Dream Act (a bill Bill that would give conditional permanent residency to those brought to this country by their parents when they were children). He supported Arizona’s controversial tough law (SB 1070) that allows police to check a person’s immigration status at will. He also declared that ‘self deportation’ was the best way of dealing with undocumented immigrants.Romney says what the country US needs is a permanent fix to problems posed by and faced by the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now in the country but he has so far been vague on what that permanent fix might be.

IN THIS VIDEO ARE CLIPS OF BOTH PRESIDENT OBAMA AND MITT ROMNEY BEING INTERVIEWED ON IMMIGRATION

As the Reagan quote suggests Latinos should be natural Republicans. Most are conservative, Catholic and entrepreneurial, they are here in the US because they believe in the transformational potential of the American dream, but almost every one of them has a relative, or knows someone who has a relative, who is in the country illegally. Immigration policy is a big deal in the Latino community and most sensible republicans Republicans know it. Many Republicans say privately that this is the last time they’ll be able to go to an election with their current immigration platform. They accept that they it is time to stop using terms such as “illegal aliens” and instead start talking about “opportunity”. Supporting the Dream Act is the first step.

Read More: ABC News

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DID OBAMA AND ROMNEY BOTH COME OUT AS WINNERS AT THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ELECTED OFFICIALS CONFERENCE?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

A high-profile gathering of Latino public officials turned out to be a win-win for President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, according to interviews with those who attended. Democrats did not take Obama to task for waiting so long to stop deportations of young illegal immigrants, and Republicans expressed relief at Romney’s presence and softer tone.

“I think people are ready to give both of them, really both of them some pass,” said Ron Garcia, a Republican from Southern California and a member of the board of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. “There’s some time now to digest what the two candidates have to offer.”

photo source: CBS News

The fast-growing Latino community is a pivotal voting bloc in several battleground states, including Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, North Carolina and Arizona. Obama won two-thirds of the Latino vote in 2008 and is doing even better than that in some polls this year. Analysts estimate that Romney needs to win as much as 40 percent of the Latino vote to win the White House, a goal he is not reaching in several states and one made harder by the tough immigration rhetoric he and other Republican candidates employed during the primaries.

Watch President Obama’s remarks at NALEO.

Obama’s standing with Latinos was reflected in the enthusiastic cheers and multiple standing ovations he received at NALEO. Better yet for him: the only subject that came close to generating as much fervor as his new policy on undocumented youth was his mention of the Affordable Care Act, a toxic subject in much of the country.

President Barack Obama greets supporters at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials conference, Friday, June 22, 2012, at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. President Obama was scheduled to address the crowd later in the day. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

“I was very moved by it,” said Mary Rose Wilcox, a Maricopa County supervisor from Phoenix, Ariz. “I saw a toughness that I had not seen the last time he came to NALEO and I like that a lot, because he has done so much — in terms of not only what he did with the executive decision (on young immigrants) but also with the economy.”

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, holds a baby as he greets attendees at the NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) conference in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

While Obama had a natural advantage at the conference, Romney benefited from offering his own ideas for immigration reform in front of a polite audience. His proposals, aimed in part at keeping families together and highly educated foreign students in the United States, allowed him to move away from his much-scorned “self-deportation” language and reintroduce himself as a general-election nominee sympathetic to the concerns of Latino voters.

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, holds a baby as he greets attendees at the NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) conference in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

“I was a little upset with him over some of the harshness with respect to immigration in the past, but what he said today was something I find appealing,” said Juan Zapata, a self-described moderate Republican who chairs the NALEO Education fund. “Softening that rhetoric with regards to immigration will definitely go a long way towards helping Republicans.”
Watch Romney’s remarks in the video (skip to 4:30).
If Romney’s speech was part of the learning process of how to speak to Hispanic voters, “he’s on the right track,” said Longwood, Fla., city councilman Bob Cortes, who is a Republican.
Key to the satisfaction of several Republicans at the conference was a sense that Romney did not outright reject the ideas behind the DREAM Act, legislation that would create a path to citizenship to people brought to the United States illegally as children, if they pursue a college education or military service.

Activists from the Student Immigrant Movement march in support of the DREAM Act. | AP Photo

However, several Democrats — including Obama — pointed to Romney’s emphatic opposition to the DREAM Act during the primary campaign. Many called Romney’s ideas vague and accused him of deliberately avoiding saying whether he would overturn Obama’s new policy of letting young undocumented immigrants apply for temporary deportation reprieves and work permits (Romney said in his speech he would propose comprehensive reform that would “supersede” Obama’s order).

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks at the NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) conference in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (AP2012)

Many gave Romney credit for appearing at the conference even with the knowledge that the crowd would be largely comprised of Democrats supportive of Obama. “I think he basically showed them that he did care one way or another, he did believe in the Latino vote and that he did believe that immigration is an issue,” said Republican political consultant Esteban Ferreiro. “I think he did what he needed to do within his beliefs.”

Even Democrats like Utah State Senate minority leader Ross Romero said Romney’s intentions seemed sincere, even if his policy proposals were too general. “The fact that he spent 20 minutes, 30 minutes walking the rope line after his speech said to me that he knew he had work to do, he knew that he needed to make those one-on-one connections, and the fact that we were respectful when he was speaking lent for that opportunity,” Romero said.

Read More: CBS News

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OBAMA SAYS “NO” IS NOT AN OPTION FOR THE DREAM ACT: THE DREAM OF OPPORTUNITY IS STILL ALIVE IN OUR TIME

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

(AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama greets guests during a Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden at the White House on May 3, 2012 in Washington, D.C. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla between Mexico and France in 1862.
(May 2, 2012 – Source: Pool/Getty Images North America)

THE DREAM OF OPPORTUNITY IS STILL ALIVE IN OUR TIME – LOOKING BACK AT MAY 4, 2009

“While geography has made us neighbors, tradition has made us friends, economics has made us partners and necessity has made us allies, two great and independent nations united by hope instead of fear. Visiting Mexico, I was greeted by children on both our nations waving flags. A powerful reminder that everything we do is to secure a better future for our children and for our grandchildren. And while I was there, I found it impossible not to be touched by the warmth and vigor and the forceful vitality of the Mexican people. The love of life I’ve seen in Mexican American communities throughout this nation, and that’s what we’ll celebrate tomorrow, that’s what we’ll celebrate tonight, and that’s what we’ll celebrate in the future. Feliz Cinco de Mayo.” -President Obama

President Obama told a largely Hispanic audience today that he is ready to sign the DREAM Act and blamed Republicans for the failure of the legislation that would grant illegal immigrant students a path to citizenship.

photo source: AP

“We’re going to keep fighting for this common-sense reform — not just because hundreds of thousands of talented young students depend on it, but because ultimately America depends on it,” the president said at the annual Cinco de Mayo reception at the White House. “‘No’ is not an option. I want to sign the DREAM Act into law. I’ve got the pens all ready. I’m willing to work with anybody who is serious to get this done, and to achieve bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform that solves this challenge once and for all.”

Dancers from Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Georgetown perform at a Cinco de Mayo reception at the White House in Washington, May 3, 2012. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Read more: IB Times

Today’s election-year celebration comes as the president courts Latino voters in the run-up to November.

(AFP OUT) Guests take pictures during a Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2012.. Photo by Olivier Douliery/ABACAUSA.com
(May 2, 2012 – Source: Pool/Getty Images North America)

“We know that securing our future depends on making sure that all Americans have the opportunity to reach their potential. And that’s why we’ve worked hard over the last three and a half years to create jobs; to make sure you get the care you need when you get sick; to make college affordable for everybody; to ensure that no matter where you are, where you come from, what you look like, what your last name is — even if it’s Obama– you can make it if you try,” the president said to applause.

(AFP OUT) The Ballet Folklorico Mexicano performs during a Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden at the White House on May 3, 2012 in Washington, D.C. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla between Mexico and France in 1862.
(May 2, 2012 – Source: Pool/Getty Images North America)

In his brief remarks, Obama welcomed everyone to celebrate the “tres de Mayo” at this year’s party. The president will spend the real Cinco de Mayo this Saturday campaigning in Ohio and Virginia. “We just like to get the fiesta started early around here,” he joked. This year’s “fiesta” included dance performances by Georgetown University’s Ballet Folklórico and traditional Mexican music. Guests mingled in the Rose Garden, sipping champagne and, of course, margaritas.

Read More: ABC News

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HOW HAS CONGRESS DEALT WITH IMMIGRATION IN THE PAST 25 YEARS?

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

photo source: AP

1986: The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 both tightens controls on illegal immigration and extends amnesty for many illegal immigrants. It requires that employers attest to employees’ immigration status and make it illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants. It also grants amnesty to some seasonal agricultural workers and to illegal immigrants who entered the United States prior to 1982 and have lived in the country continuously.

President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which provided amnesty to illegal immigrants who qualified.

1990: The Immigration Act of 1990 created a lottery program that randomly assigned a number of visas, and increased the number of immigrants allowed into the country each year. The law also included exceptions for the English-language portion of the naturalization test.

The green card lottery is held annually to randomly select 50,000 applicants to be awarded with green cards.

1996: Under President Bill Clinton, several pieces of legislation are enacted that crack down on various facets of immigration. Specifically, there is a sharp increase in the categories of criminal activity for which immigrants, including permanent residents, can be deported. The laws also impose mandatory detention for certain types of deportation cases, and as a result deportation rates skyrocket.

Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Sept. 11, 2001: Terrorists attack New York and Washington, D.C., killing nearly 3,000 people. The events put immigration under a microscope because the attackers were foreigners, and change the way many politicians and Americans view immigration. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox goes so far as to say that if it were not for the attacks, Congress would have passed reform legislation that benefited Mexican emigration to America.

President George W. Bush walks with Mexico President Vicente Fox, left, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin upon their arrival Wednesday, March 23, 2005, at the Bill Daniels Activity Center at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. White House photo by Eric Draper

2003: The Supreme Court upholds mandatory detention regardless of flight risk for any immigrant offender, even permanent residents.

2005: In 2005 and 2006, Congress holds field hearings on immigration and border security across the country. The Senate introduces a significant bipartisan effort to create a path for legalization for many illegal immigrants.

Pullman Daily News photo: Dean Hare

December 2005: The House passes a bill criminalizing illegal immigrants, sparking massive pro-immigrant protests nationwide. The Senate refuses to take it up.

photo source AP

May 2006: Instead of the House bill, the Senate passes a tougher version of a bill crafted by Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., which includes a path to legal residency for many illegal immigrants.

October 2006: The fiscal year 2007 budget boosts funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement by more than 20 percent, about $1 billion more than President George Bush requested, mostly for detention and transport of immigrants.

Thousands of immigrant rights advocates pack the National Mall during an immigration reform rally in Washington, Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo)

November 2008: President Barack Obama is elected, and Democrats sweep both chambers of Congress, giving hope that a major immigration reform bill will be enacted. Obama had signaled interest in reform that included enhanced border enforcement, crackdowns on people who overstay their visa and employers who hire illegal immigrants and a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants.

Body language experts interpret that a hand placed over the mouth, as Obama is pictured doing, indicates negative impulses and disapproval. photo source: AP

2009: A comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced in the House fails despite efforts by the Obama administration to get it traction.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs SB 1070 in April 2010. (Photo courtesy of the Arizona Office of the Governor)

April 2010: Saying the Congress had failed to enforce U.S. immigration laws, Arizona passes a law to crack down on various facets of illegal immigration. Most controversial is that the law directs police to ask for immigration papers from anyone they stop or arrest who they suspect may be in the country illegally.

Sep 20, 2010 – Los Angeles, California, USA – Los Angeles Mayor ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA during a rally that supports the Dream Act which allows temporary legal status for immigrant students.
(Credit Image: © Mark Samala/ZUMApress.com)

December 2010: The so-called Dream Act, which would allow illegal immigrant students a path to citizenship, passes the House in the lame duck session. The Senate GOP filibusters, effectively killing the bill.

Hundreds of immigrant rights activists rallied outside the Supreme Court building Wednesday as did several dozen supporters of Arizona’s law. Photo: Creative Commons/Talk Radio News Service

April 2012: The Supreme Court takes up the Arizona law. While a decision isn’t expected until June, during initial arguments the justices appear to have little issue with provisions requiring police to check the legal status of people they stop for other reasons.

Courtesy of the AP to Read More: Washington Post

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RUBIO HAS A DREAM

THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Hoping to defuse an issue hurting Republicans among Hispanic voters, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is working on a compromise alternative to the DREAM Act, a proposal backed strongly by Democrats and Hispanics to offer a normal life to children of illegal immigrant families.

But Rubio is taking a risk that his compromise will please neither side. It could anger tea party-style Republicans while failing to satisfy many of his own Hispanic constituents. So far, he hasn’t persuaded even leaders of his own party, including presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney and House Speaker John Boehner, to get in line.

According to teaparty.org if the Tea Party wins so does America…

“It’s a significant risk,” said retired University of South Florida political scientist Darryl Paulson, a Republican. “The primary thing any political candidate wants to do is solidify his base, and this could fracture that base.” 
Rubio has been accused of using the issue as an election-year ploy, but his spokesman Alex Conant said, “There’s just as much political peril as there is potential benefit in doing anything like this.”
Originally proposed by members of both parties 10 years ago, the original DREAM Act would allow a path to citizenship for young people brought here as children when their families illegally immigrated, if they attend college or serve in the military. The name is an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. Such young people, not having known any other home, often are prevented from going to college because of their undocumented status, even after serving in the military. The DREAM Act would allow student loans and work-study jobs but not federal higher education grants for the students.

Daniela Pelaez/ Photo by Bill Clark/Roll Call

One recent case involved the valedictorian of North Miami High School, Daniela Pelaez, an aspiring surgeon. Admitted to the University of Florida and Dartmouth College, she instead faced deportation because her family came here illegally from Colombia when she was 4 years old. Pelaez got a respite from deportation last month after her case made headlines and sparked demonstrations by fellow students.

Daniela Pelaez 18, Alberto Carvalho, superintendent for Miami-Dade Public Schools, and Dayana Pelaez 26, at press conference, where over twenty-five hundred students protest the possible deportation of student Daniela Pelaez 18, this Friday morning, March 2, 2012, at the North Miami Senior High School. Walter Michot / Miami Herald

Rubio recently told The Huffington Post he wants “a bipartisan solution … that does not reward or encourage illegal immigration by granting amnesty, but helps accommodate talented young people like Daniela, who find themselves undocumented through no fault of their own.” Throughout his career, Rubio has had to thread the needle on immigration issues, trying on the one hand to please his conservative base, but also satisfy his Hispanic constituency. That has led him to compromise or to take ambivalent positions on issues, including official English and tough state anti-illegal immigrant laws. The son of a Cuban immigrant family, Rubio has said the original DREAM Act is flawed because allowing a path to citizenship could lead to “chain migration,” in which family members sponsor each other.

His proposal, which he hopes will be considered this summer, will include a temporary student visa rather than citizenship or legal resident status for students. But it likely would allow the students eventually to apply for legal residency without returning to their parents’ home countries. Those honorably discharged from the military, Conant said, also would be able to seek legal residency or citizenship.

Getty Images

Democrats who back the original DREAM Act, a 10-year-old proposal that passed in the House last year but failed in the Senate, decry Rubio’s idea as creating a permanent underclass of “bracero” non-citizen workers.

Rodolfo De La Garza CU Political Scientist/ Columbia Talk Radio

“It makes a very limited offer to a small segment of the population,” said Rodolfo de la Garza, a Columbia University political scientist who specializes in Hispanic voters. “I think what most Latinos are going to pick up on is what I have to characterize as either a political ploy or profound disingenuousness to the point of deceit on Rubio’s part.” He called the DREAM Act “the one issue on which there is a clear Latino position — they are 75-80 percent in favor of it in numerous polls.”
Conant called the bracero allegation “nonsense.” “Nothing is in this proposal that would prohibit these kids from someday seeking permanent residence or citizenship.”

Immigrants chant slogans during a rally Monday, May 1, 2006, in Miami. Hundreds of thousands of mostly Hispanic immigrants skipped work and took to the streets Monday, flexing their newfound political muscle in a nationwide boycott that succeeded in slowing or shutting many farms, factories, markets and restaurants. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

In a national poll of Hispanic voters in January by Univision, ABC and Latino Decisions, respondents cited “immigration reform/DREAM Act” as tied with the economy and jobs as the top issue in their voting decisions for the November election. In Florida, where large numbers of Hispanics are either Cuban refugees, who automatically receive resident status, or Puerto Ricans who are citizens, immigration and the DREAM Act were still in second place, with 17 percent, to 23 percent for the economy. Despite that, Romney said during the primary campaign that he would veto the DREAM Act, although he favored the idea for illegal immigrants who serve in the military.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shakes hands with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) after Romney was introduced by Rubio during a town-hall-style meeting in Aston, Pa.
Jae C. Hong / AP

Earlier this week, Romney declined to endorse Rubio’s compromise, even though he was standing next to Rubio in a joint news conference in Pennsylvania at the time. “It has many features to commend it,” Romney said, “but it’s something that we’re studying.” He said he expects to lay out immigration proposals before the November election, but added, “Obviously our first priority is to secure the border.”
Also this week, Boehner said it is unlikely Rubio’s proposal could pass the House this year, citing “a very hostile political environment.” “To deal with a very difficult issue like this, I think it would be difficult at best,” he said. Conant called Romney’s reluctance “totally understandable, that he would want to see the plan’s details before endorsing the plan. But the idea isn’t likely to be popular with the tea party Republicans to whom Romney and Boehner must appeal. 

Boehner To Rubio: DREAM On, Dude! photo by Jeff Malet

“It’s an amnesty bill — it rewards lawbreaking,” said Bob Dane, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an anti-illegal immigration advocacy group. “Rubio is marching off into McCain-land” — a reference to Ariz. Sen. JohnMcCain’s support for an immigration reform bill that would have allowed a path to citizenship. “Whatever support he’s going to pick up from Hispanics is probably going to be far outweighed by what he loses from his conservative base.” he said. Rubio’s idea may get a better reception, but still not unanimous approval, from tea partiers in his home state, who consider him a hero.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah waits to speak during a Tea Party Express town hall meeting at the National Press Club in Washington Tuesday.
Cliff Owen/AP

“Some people draw the hard line, absolutely no amnesty, but some tea party groups understand you’re trying to address a difficult issue,” said tea party leader Karin Hoffman, who said she formed her opinion from online forums and message boards. “They acknowledge you’re providing a way for them (young illegal immigrants) to be a contributing member of society, and it’s not blanket amnesty — it’s for the individual alone.”

Read More: Tampa Bay Online

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