SENATOR MENENDEZ, REID AND RUBIO URGE SUPPORT FOR THE CREATION OF THE SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN LATINO MUSEUM

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

Bipartisan group of Senators call on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee to include language supporting the creation of a future Smithsonian American in the Fiscal Year 2013 Interior Appropriations Bill

photo source AP
US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a bipartisan letter today to the Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies requesting that the Committee include language in their Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations bill supporting the creation of a Smithsonian American Latino Museum, Latino programming and outreach through the Smithsonian’s Latino Center, as well as the recommendations ofNational Museum of the American Latino Commission.  The letter signed by 8 members overall, including Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Dean Heller (R-NV), was spearheaded by Senator Menendez (D-NJ), Chair of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force.
“Acknowledging the need for a Smithsonian American Latino Museum is an important step to its creation in the future. It is time for that we officially recognize that the success of this nation could not have been had without the social, economic, political and cultural contributions of Hispanic-Americans. That is why we must not only support the Smithsonian’s Latino Center, but lay the groundwork for a future Smithsonian American Latino Museum that has strong, bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.”

photo source AP

“For centuries, Hispanic-Americans have helped shape the history of Nevada and the country. Latinos have contributed to every facet of our lives and culture, they have spurred progress in our laboratories, playing fields, halls of justice, art, literature and the economy,” Reid said. “It is time for the country to build a place where we can honor a culture and people that are such an integral part of our national identity. Senator Menendez and I are working hard to make the Latino museum a reality.”

                                                                                                        photo source AP

“This will be an enduring monument to people who have found opportunity and refuge in America and strengthened her in return, while also serving as a tribute to this exceptional country which welcomes people and helps them realize their dreams like no other place has ever done in all of human history. With our nation facing major economic and fiscal challenges, it’s important that we also continue encouraging private fundraising efforts to make it a reality.” Said Senator Rubio. photo source AP

In November 2011, US Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Majority Leader Reid (D-NV), US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), US Representative Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced bipartisan legislation in the Senate and House of Representatives to authorize the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries building on the National Mall as the designated location of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum. The authorization of the museum follows the recommendations of the May 2011 report of the bipartisan Commission to Study the Potential Creation of the National Museum of American Latino, a Commission that was established by law in 2008.

CLICK HERE FOR PDF OF SIGNED LETTER 

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WHAT IS THE GOP BACKED DREAM ACT?

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

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has made it clear he wants to push for a GOP-backed DREAM Act that would give undocumented students legal status — but not citizenship — and now Republicans hope to use this watered-down version of the bill to win support from Latino voters. Sens. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) are also working on a bill like this, which is being kept under wraps and is expected to be unveiled if or when Mitt Romney wins the GOP presidential nomination.

Rubio told The Hill that he has nothing to announce about a non-citizenship DREAM Act, but said, “We’re working toward that and hopefully very soon.” While Rubio, Kyl, and Hutchinson are supposedly prepping a Republican plan, it’s worth noting that the original DREAM Act — to provide citizenship to undocumented students if they meet certain requirements — was a bipartisan plan that had support from GOP Sens. Orrin Hatch (UT) and John McCain (AZ).

Now if Rubio introduces the legal-status-only plan, it will likely be little more than posturing and doubtful to make it far because Republicans like Rep. Lamar Smith (TX), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, are categorically opposed to the DREAM Act and it is doubtful Democrats would support creating a permanent underclass of immigrants. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pointed out that Republicans have already opposed this measure too, which would impose a class system for immigrants:

At an event on Capitol Hill, Reid cautioned that if Republicans offer a new DREAM Act, it will be a watered-down version of the bill most Republicans opposed when it came up for a vote last year. […]

[G]roups that advocate for immigrants are skeptical of reforms that fail to grant a path to citizenship.

“Any proposal that is put on the table as to the fate of these children, who are in all consideration American, should be measured by what place they’re going to have in our society,” said Clarissa Martinez, director of immigration at the National Council of La Raza.

Martinez said creating “a class of nation-less people” would not be good for the country.

Earlier this month in an interview with Geraldo Rivera, Rubio teetered between his opposition to the current DREAM Act, which would provide citizenship, and trying to lay out a plan that would appeal to Latinos. “You can legalize someone’s status in this country with a significant amount of certainty about their future without placing them on a path toward citizenship,” he argued.

But his plan would force potentially millions of undocumented students to become non-voting residents of their home country if they were only given legal status in the U.S. After the extremely anti-immigrant views that the Republican presidential candidates have staked out during the primaries, a plan to create a system of second-class citizenship is not likely to be what Latino voters are looking for from the Republican party.

READ MORE: THINK PROGRESS

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WHAT IS HARRY REID SAYING ABOUT HISPANICS?

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Conservative Latino leader knocks Harry Reid

photo by the Associate Press

Alfonso Aguilar, a former Bush administration official who now heads the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles think tank, said he was especially offended by Reid’s suggestion that Rubio was “supposedly” representing all Hispanics – and therefore should have backed Aponte from the start.

“It’s appalling for the Senate Majority Leader and Obama surrogates to question Sen. Rubio’s commitment to the Latino community, and more specifically the Puerto Rican community,” Aguilar wrote in an email. “This blatant attempt at racial identity politics is offensive and condescending to all Latinos.”

“Sen. Reid, based on Sen. Rubio’s initial opposition to the confirmation of Aponte, questions whether Senator is defending ‘Hispanic issues.’ The hypocrisy cannot be more shocking. Wasn’t Reid the man who helped lead the Democrats‘ filibuster of Bush nominee to the federal bench, Miguel Estrada, a Harvard trained and extremely experienced attorney, who was also a Honduran immigrant? Was Reid working against ‘Hispanic issues’ then?” he wrote.

Read More: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/02/conservative-latino-leader-knocks-harry-reid-114728.html

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