Republicans to Latinos: ‘We don’t care about you’

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

During his press conference last week, President Obama spoke eloquently of his disappointment over the failure of the Senate to pass the DREAM Act — due to the betrayal by five conservadem senators who voted against cloture — the votes were there for final passage of the bill.

After the press conference, Republicans said in interviews that their concerns about the measure remain strong, and both House and Senate GOP leaders said they would fight any attempt to legalize any of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country before the administration secured the nation's southern border with Mexico. Next Congress unlikely to pass DREAM Act, Republicans say:

"It is pointless to talk about any new immigration bills that grant amnesty until we secure the border, since such bills will only encourage more illegal immigration," incoming House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) said in a statement.

In an interview, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), the ranking Republican on the House immigration subcommittee, accused Obama of playing politics with immigration and toying with Latino voters.

"It is extraordinarily unlikely that any version of comprehensive immigration reform that includes amnesty will go through the House of Representatives," he said.

Republicans are having it both ways. They incessantly whine that the federal government has failed to address comprehensive immigration reform, and at the same time they are promising that comprehensive immigration reform will never pass Congress. It was Republicans who torpedoed the last serious attempt at comprehensive immigration reform, a policy initiative of the Bush administration, under a Republican-controled Congress.

The Republican Party has increasingly become the modern-day equivalent of the anti-immigrant Know-Nothing Party, having been hijacked by the descendants of nativists and racists as a result of the GOP's decades-old "Southern Strategy" to use race as a wedge issue to appeal to white voters.

So it should come as no surprise that the anticipated GOP presidential hopefuls who pander to this nativist base have declined to attend the first Hispanic Leadership Network conference next month in Miami. 2012 hopefuls to skip Hispanic forum – POLITICO.com:

It was billed, in part, as a forum for the 2012 Republican presidential field to speak directly to Hispanics — a replica of the vaunted Conservative Political Action Conference, but tailored to the fastest-growing slice of the electorate.

Yet, when former Gov. Jeb Bush, former Sen. Norm Coleman and former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez open the first Hispanic Leadership Network conference next month… the only potential presidential candidate confirmed to attend — so far — is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

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A poor showing could raise doubts about the commitment of Republicans to court Hispanics, one of the open-ended questions of the 2012 presidential cycle.

* * *

[T]he conference seemed like a safe, but strategic, opportunity for Republicans: A forum co-hosted by Jeb Bush and attended by moderates and conservatives in a battleground state where a majority of Latinos backed the GOP nominees for governor and senator in 2010.

“This is a free throw,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, which supports comprehensive immigration reform.

Well, there's the problem, Frank.

Where will Republicans be next month? Arizona's "shadow governor" Sen. Russell Pearce will be joined by numerous other Republicans when he unveils his birthright citizenship bill during the first week of January in Washington, D.C. [January 5th]. Pearce, allies will ring in the New Year with birthright citizenship bill:

The model legislation will serve as a template for lawmakers in 14 states, including Arizona, who hope to force a U.S. Supreme Court case that would challenge the longstanding interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment and end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens.

Republicans are sending a clear message to Latinos: "we don't care about you." It may have short-term political benefits for Republicans, but it has long-term consequences: it is sowing the seeds of the eventual demise of the Republican Party, like its Know-Nothing Party predecessor. Demographic changes in the population of the U.S. will soon render the GOP a fringe party. We should do our best to hasten the process.

UPDATE: Suzanne Gamboa of the AP reports today Immigrant issue faces harder line in GOP's House:

The end of the year means a turnover of House control from Democratic to Republican and, with it, Congress' approach to immigration.

In a matter of weeks, Congress will go from trying to help young illegal immigrants become legal to debating whether children born to parents who are in the country illegally should continue to enjoy automatic U.S. citizenship.

Such a hardened approach – and the rhetoric certain to accompany it – should resonate with the GOP faithful who helped swing the House in Republicans' favor. But it also could further hurt the GOP in its endeavor to grab a large enough share of the growing Latino vote to win the White House and the Senate majority in 2012.

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