My colleague, Van Le, is at the Republican National Convention in Tampa this week, and she’s live-streaming the Arpaio press conference. Tune in! —
Live-Stream of Arpaio at the Republican National Convention by Mahwish Khan on 08/29/12 at 11:09 am
Texas GOP Sen. Candidate Ted Cruz: Romney Should End Deferred Action for DREAMers by Mahwish Khan on 08/28/12 at 2:35 pm
Mitt Romney won’t give an answer as to what he’ll do about the deferred action policy for DREAMers if he wins, but Texas GOP Senate candidate Ted Cruz isn’t afraid to say what he thinks. Cruz wants Romney to end it.
Ted Cruz, a Republican senatorial candidate from Texas, said Monday he thinks presidential candidate Mitt Romney should end President Barack Obama’s deferred action policy, going beyond Romney’s line that he doesn’t need to because he’ll fix the problem quickly through Congress.
Asked by Telemundo whether Romney should reinstate deportations of young people granted deferred action, Cruz said, “I do.”
“I think it is without authority, and we’re a nation of rule of law, and it is not defending anyone’s freedom to be undermining rule of law,” he said of President Obama’s June announcement that his administration would grant workauthorizations and deferred action — reprieve from deportation concerns for two years — to some undocumented young people.
Cruz is one of several Latinos speaking at the Republican National Convention. His father immigrated to the United States from Cuba.
Cruz wants to deport DREAMers and he’s apparently now part of Romney’s Latino outreach. In a battleground state poll release in June, Latino Decisions found “Latino registered voters are very enthusiastic about President Obama’s recent announcement and action on immigration policy that will halt deportations and provide temporary work permits to some young undocumented immigrants.”
Also, the Immigration Policy Center reported that 226,700 DREAMers in Texas could qualify for deferred action. That state has the second largest population of DREAMers after California. Those are 226,700 Texas DREAMers who Ted Cruz would deport.
Kris Kobach already wrote the GOP’s anti-immigrant platform. Is Romney letting Ted Cruz set the policy on deferred action?
Sounds Like John Boehner Doesn’t Really Want Latinos and African-Americans to Vote by Mahwish Khan on 08/28/12 at 1:22 pm
Our colleagues, Maribel Hastings and Van Le, are in Tampa covering immigration news at the Republican National Convention. Today, the Republican Party will unveil its 2012 platform, which is chock full of anti-immigrant language. Under the leadership of Kris Kobach, the GOP is doing its best to turn away Latino voters. As the poll of Latino voters from Latino Decisions and impreMedia showed, Romney is losing to Obama by a very wide margin among Latino voters: 65% – 26%.
So, what’s the solution? According to Speaker John Boehner, the GOP’s best hope is if Latinos and African-Americans don’t vote.
House Speaker John Boehner is the most prominent Republican to admit, out loud, that his party’s strategy for winning in November doesn’t suppose that the GOP can win over some black and Latino voters, but hopes they won’t vote at all. Boehner wasn’t talking about voter I.D. laws, which are being pushed by Republicans and criticized as disenfranchising minority and poor voters, he did tell a luncheon hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in Tampa Monday that the Republican Party was counting on apathy from the Latinos and blacks who are choosing Democrats over Republicans by record margins in recent polls. As Talking Point Memo’s Benjy Sarlin reports, Boehner said:
“This election is about economics… These groups have been hit the hardest. They may not show up and vote for our candidate but I’d suggest to you they won’t show up and vote for the president either.”
Perhaps he meant those groups would vote third-party, but it doesn’t seem all that likely. Less prominent Republicans have made essentially the same case in other terms.
That’s the best Republicans have when the GOP platform calls for self-deportation and their immigration strategy is dictated by Kris Kobach and Jan Brewer.
More Voices Slam GOP’s Approach to Immigration by Pili Tobar on 08/28/12 at 12:54 pm
Another day, another group of prominent voices criticizing Mitt Romney and the Republican Party’s hardline drift on immigration, and the Party’s subsequent hemorrhaging of Latino support. As the following excerpts make clear, the consensus of an increasing number of observers is that Republican Party’s immigration strategy is not only bad policy, but bad politics. Here’s the round-up:
The Washington Post editorializes, “The Republican Party’s incoherence on illegal immigration was on vivid display last week in Tampa, where delegates gathered to draft their party’s official platform. The platform amounts to a declaration of war on the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. It embraces laws like those in Arizona and Alabama that are intended to make life so miserable for undocumented workers that they will “self-deport,” in Mitt Romney’s memorable phrase, and it slams the Obama administration for trying to block those measures. The Republican Party would punish cities that look the other way on immigration enforcement and universities that grant in-state tuition rates to undocumented students, in both cases by withholding federal funds. In addition, the party of free enterprise and small government would force every employer in the country — in many cases against its will — to electronically verify the immigration status of job applicants. At a time when illegal border-crossing from Mexico is at a 40-year low, the GOP would complete the 2,000-mile border fence, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The Wall Street Journal editorializes, “What is the biggest danger to this new GOP?…The real threat to a GOP return to power is its failure to reach out to minority voters, especially Hispanics. Even if they win 60% of white voters this year, Republicans won’t retain a governing majority for long unless they find a way to appeal to minority voters who are growing as a share of the electorate. This means fielding more diverse candidates, which the party is beginning to do. But it also means adjusting its rhetoric and policies on immigration. A cranky, crabbed view of immigration sends a cultural message that the GOP doesn’t welcome minority voters, and it contradicts the themes of optimism and growth that appeal to most voters.”
USA Today writes in an editorial that, “Hispanic voters represent one of the biggest opportunities for the Republican Party in winning the White House. They skew conservative on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. They value hard work and have shown, in the case of former president George W. Bush, a willingness to support Republican candidates. But today’s GOP is in the clutches of illegal-immigration hawks, the same people who helped torpedo Bush’s efforts at comprehensive reform and who have pushed stringent laws in a number of states under GOP control. Their dominance in the party is hampering one of its best opportunities to expand its base and position itself for the future.
As the Tampa Times reports, Republican strategist Karl Rove told a POLITICO/Tampa Bay Times forum yesterday, “I’m concerned about the Hispanic vote long term…The Republican Party can’t do with a dynamic, growing part of the electorate what it’s done with African-Americans or we might find ourselves at a point where we get 5 percent and we consider ourselves fortunate, where we’re thrilled if we get 10 percent, and we’re ecstatic if we get 13 or 14 percent.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley writes in a column that, “The good news is that the Republican National Committee’s 2012 platform will include language supporting a new guest-worker program for foreign nationals. The bad news is that it will also include gratuitously harsh language on border enforcement. Apparently, some Republicans believe that President Obama’s 35-point lead among Latino voters is too narrow. Since effectively wrapping up the GOP presidential nomination, Mitt Romney hasn’t had much to say about immigration. But Romney campaign advisers, such as Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, are filling the void… Mr. Romney campaigned recently in New Mexico, a state where Hispanics make up a nation-leading 46% of the population. In 2004 President Bush carried not only New Mexico but other swing states with surging Latino populations such as Colorado and Nevada on his way to winning more than 40 percent of the Hispanic vote. Republicans who think that President Bush’s electoral success with Latinos had nothing to do with his welcoming message are kidding themselves and hurting their party.”
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (R) stated of the Republican Party’s immigration stance in an interview with Salon, “It’s anti-immigration. It borders on racist. Which is especially insane to me because the GOP spent years trying genuinely hard to reach out to Hispanics. And then they just sort of let the Nativists take over. I mean, this is something that I witnessed out on the campaign trail for three years, which is that there is a total disconnect between the rhetoric regarding immigration and the reality. And I’m speaking as a border state…They’re pandering to a very small group that is just flaming unfounded fears.”
Ana Navarro, a pro-immigration reform Republican strategist, gave her unvarnished thoughts to Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman She told Finema “that Mitt Romney’s campaign was in much worse shape with Latinos than McCain was in ’08 – a view that many other Republicans, even some inside the Romney campaign itself, worriedly admit.” Said Navarro, “Whatever the Romney campaign is doing isn’t visible to the naked eye…They don’t know the community – and what they do know, they don’t seem to like.”
In The New Republic, John Judis writes in a piece entitled “Romney’s Losing Strategy,” that “Republicans should consider not just whether they can win back the presidency in November, but whether they can create a viable majority that can endure past an election cycle. But they won’t. Mitt Romney and his party are oblivious to their longer term prospects. They are committed to a strategy that may win this year, but will lead to another Democratic landslide in two or four years… Bush and Rove understood that majority coalitions have never been built on strict consensus. Instead, successful coalitions are heterogeneous…But Romney, perhaps because he is not really a Republican conservative, has sought to be all things to all parts of the Republican base—from the Tea Party opponents of any social spending to the nativists worried about a Mexican takeover of America to religious conservatives wanting to ban all abortions. As a result, Romney has closed off opportunities to pick off parts of the Democratic coalition.”
Republican National Convention: Day 1 by Van Le on 08/28/12 at 10:23 am
I’m in Tampa with my colleague, Maribel Hastings covering the Republican National Convention. Here’s our roundup of what happened in immigration yesterday — the sort-of-official-but-mostly-cancelled first day of the RNC:
Protesters from Occupy Wall Street, labor, and immigrant groups joined together despite the inclement weather to rally outside the convention:
Despite the reduced numbers from what was expected, they managed to articulate opposition to a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from corporate greed, to funding education, from defending women’s rights to union, student, and workers’ rights….
Among the more interesting signs, “Romney. Great for ‘68” and “If Liberals Hated America, We’d Vote Republican.”
Craig Romney, Mitt Romney’s Spanish-speaking son and one of his very few claims to the Latino vote, released a Spanish-language radio ad playing up the fact that Mitt Romney’s father was born in Mexico. Seems a pretty weak way to try and win a sliver of the Latino vote. Here’s the translation of the ad, courtesy of Talking Points Memo:
Hello. I’m Craig Romney. I want to tell you about my father, Mitt Romney. He is a man of great convictions. He has been married to my mom for more than 40 years. Together they have five sons and 18 grandchildren. My father loves our country greatly. What he has achieved in life, he has done so by working hard. And it is with that same dedication that he will fight to put our country back on track and create jobs. He greatly values that we are a nation of immigrants. My grandfather George was born in Mexico. For my family, the greatness of America is how we all respect each other and help one another. It is the dedication, the sacrifice, and the hard work of those who struggle to achieve that dream for their families. But on the path our country is on, each day it’s harder to achieve. My father knows how to revive the American Dream and he needs your help to do it. I invite you to get to know him and listen to his ideas.
Could the pandering be because Mitt Romney needs to win such a high percentage of the white vote—61%, among the highest a Republican challenger has ever won with that demographic—that he’s desperate to peel off any amount of Latino numbers away from President Obama? That would also explain the need for the Romney campaign to be insanely optimistic about how it will do with Latino voters in the fall:
Jose Fuentes, a co-chairman of Romney’s Hispanic leadership team, told the Hill the campaign’s target number is 38 percent, roughly consistent with 2008 nominee Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) results with Latinos. That could be a harder target for Romney, though, given his views on immigration and other issues. While McCain was a supporter of immigration reform — a position he backed away from, but didn’t drop, during the election — Romney opposes paths to citizenship and the Dream Act, which a strong majority of Latinos support.
Thirty-eight percent is pretty far away. Nearly every poll puts Romney far behind President Barack Obama among Latino voters, 63 percent of whom support the president, according to the poll released Wednesday. That gap hasn’t closed since Romney selected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate.
Which further explains the need for Jose Fuentes to cite a bit of revisionist history yesterday during a Hispanic press briefing. Here he is claiming that the 2010 DREAM Act failed in the Senate not because of Republican opposition, but because of Democratic obstructionism:
Mmm, yeah. Media Matters and FactCheck.org are going to have to call you out on that:
Obama supported and lobbied for the DREAM Act, which would have created a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. The bill passed the House in December 2010, but failed in the Senate largely because of Republican opposition.
Kris Kobach Continues to set the Immigration Agenda for the GOP, Despite Concerns from Prominent Republicans by Mahwish Khan on 08/27/12 at 1:11 pm
Apparent by its party platform, the reins of the Republican Party’s immigration policy are in the hands of hardliners, led by anti-immigrant legal architect Kris Kobach. Ahead of this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, some prominent Republican politicians, Party strategists, and conservative observers spoke out against the GOP’s hardline drift on immigration, recognizing the issue’s role in the GOP’s current low standing with Latino voters.
However, despite the words and warnings of these important voices, encapsulated below, Kobach continues to drive the Party’s immigration agenda. In addition to his role as the Romney advisor who persuaded the candidate to infamously embrace the concept of “self-deportation” and his successful push for the RNC’s 2012 platform to include a Draconian set of immigration proposals, Kobach last week filed a lawsuit seeking to block the implementation of the DREAMer deferred action program that will allow hundreds of thousands of young aspiring citizens to get a temporary work permit and continue achieving their goals.
Given the influence of Kobach, it’s little wonder that Romney and the Republicans continue to struggle with Latino voters. The first installment of a weekly tracking poll from Latino Decisions/impreMedia finds that President Obama leads Mitt Romney by a 65%-26% margin among Latino voters nationwide and that “more than half of Latinos (56%) think the Republicans are ignoring or do not care about Latinos and 21% consider them downright hostile towards them. This includes 57% of Latino Republicans, who think their party is not doing a good job in attracting them because they do not care.” Additionally, Spanish language media outlets have been paying close attention, highlighting the hardline immigration stances adopted by Romney and the Republicans and making it unlikely that the upcoming convention will allow the Romney campaign to push the reset button with Latino voters.
Below are some of the Republican and conservative voices speaking out against the GOP’s embrace of hardline immigration stances. Unfortunately, judging by measures of influence, Kobach’s vision continues to reign supreme:
- Jeb Bush Offers Warning on Immigration: Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” former Florida Governor Bush stated in regards to Latino voters and immigration, “My personal view is that we need to get beyond where we are…You can’t ask people to join your cause and then send a signal that you’re really not wanted. It just doesn’t work…We need young, aspirational people to come to our country so that we can grow over a sustained period of time at a high rate that will allow us to create jobs without raising taxes, balance the budget, do all the things that we want to do…So changing the debate to those issues is, I think, [what] the majority of Americans wants. Now…is it a useful tool politically for some Republicans to stay focused on the political issue, the wedge issue? It might be, I don’t know, but I don’t think that’s right for our country.”
- Jon Huntsman on Republican Need to Get Right on Immigration: Writing in the Wall Street Journal, former Utah Governor and Republican presidential contender Huntsman writes, “The party should champion a plank that will enhance economic growth by embracing immigrants. The situation has changed radically from 2007, when President George W. Bush’s effort to reform our immigration laws collapsed in Congress. People aren’t crossing our borders—legally or illegally—as they once were, because there are fewer jobs available. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Mexican immigration may have actually reversed in 2011, with outflows surpassing immigration to the U.S. While lack of opportunity is reducing the low-skilled illegal population, those who are already here need to be brought out of the shadows of a nation they are already a part of. Most important, the debate must move away from illegal immigration toward immigration as a cornerstone of economic vitality.”
- Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff Calls for Romney and GOP to Distance from Kris Kobach: According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah’s Attorney General and Republican delegate Mark Shurtleff said of the RNC platform on immigration, “We all know how important the Latino vote…This kind of thing does so much harm to the party.” Referring to Kris Kobach, AG Shurtleff said, “He shouldn’t be kept around…They need to distance themselves from him.”
- Former GOP Strategist Dan Schnur on California’s Cautionary Tale for National Republicans: Dan Schnur, former Republican political strategist and current head of the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, said to the Los Angeles Times, “National Republicans have made a calculated decision, for about 20 years now, that it’s worth writing off states like California in exchange for a secure base of support in the South and in the near West [Great Plains and Rocky Mountain states]. But California’s demographic makeup isn’t nearly as unique as it was in the 1990s…Romney’s advisers make the case that Latinos are much more interested in the economy than in immigration. That may be true. But if voters don’t think that you respect them as human beings, they’re not going to listen to what you have to say about the capital gains tax or start-up loans for small business.”
- Conservative Columnist Ruben Navarrette on Republicans’ Missed Opportunity with Latinos: Navarrette takes notice of the prominence of anti-immigrant leaders and candidates like Kris Kobach, Joe Arpaio, Pete Wilson, and Meg Whitman at the RNC and writes how these associations overshadow the prominence of Hispanic speakers at the RNC: “And just when it appears as if Republicans might actually have a shot at reaching Mitt Romney’s stated goal of getting the support of 38 percent of Hispanics — which would probably be enough to win the White House — because of President Obama’s heavy-handed immigration policies, the party of Lincoln fails to take advantage of an opponent’s weakness and once again snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. The GOP brand is contaminated in the Southwest with naturalized Mexicans and native-born Mexican-Americans who represent the lion’s share of the Latino vote. And by bolting to the right during the Republican primary season, Romney made things worse…For a while, it looked like Romney could mend some fences by presiding over a convention that has been loaded up with prominent Hispanic conservatives…This makes the party look inclusive. But with Republicans, it’s always one step up, and four steps back. In this case, the four steps are represented by four other people were also given important roles at the convention — despite the fact that all four are personae non gratae in the Latino community.”
Maribel Hastings: A convention for forgetful elephants by Maribel Hastings on 08/27/12 at 11:55 am
Maribel Hastings is a senior adviser to America’s Voice:
TAMPA, Florida – Hurricane Isaac shouldn’t be the only thing on Republicans’ minds as they congregate in Tampa this week for the Republican National Convention, which is expected to officially crown Mitt Romney as the party’s candidate for President of the United States on Thursday.
What they should be worried about—very worried—is that their party has turned into a virtual monolith, where other ideas and groups aren’t exactly welcome. They should be worried about ignoring the demographic reality of this country, the importance of minority voters—particularly Hispanics—to their political survival. They’ve given speaking slots to a token number of Latino figures, hoping they’ll serve as ambassadors, but these don’t erase reality. Their party’s platform–and the politicians who defend, promote or stay silent about it—tell the real story: the Republican Party is an island unto itself, sustained entirely on the support of its conservative base, and turning a hostile face toward the largest minority group in the country and the issues that concern us, like immigration.
An island that allies itself with some of the leading anti-immigrant figures in the country. Let me give you an example.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the architect of the toughest anti-immigrant laws in the nation (SB 1070 in Arizona and HB 56 in Alabama) and the “brains” of the anti-immigrant movement, is an advisor to the Romney campaign, and the force behind the hard-line immigration position soon to be enshrined in the Republican platform.
And while there’s always a debate over whether party platforms have any real importance, they do reflect a consensus among the party’s leaders—Romney among them—and interest groups about their vision of the issues.
In this case, the platform proposes a guest-worker program as a sugar coating for a series of positions that confirm its hostility to immigrants: a border wall, mandatory E-Verify, opposition to “sanctuary cities,” and withdrawing Department of Justice lawsuits against states that have passed anti-immigrant laws, among others.
Republicans continue to answer the central question of immigration policy—what to do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country—as Romney did in the primaries: self-deportation, or, as the platform draft puts it, “humane procedures to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily.”
There’s no mention of the deferred action policy which will allow almost 2 million undocumented youth, known as DREAMers, to obtain temporary protection from deportation and work permits. It doesn’t say—as Romney himself hasn’t said—what will happen to deferred action if Romney is elected president. Will he revoke it? Romney did promise to veto the DREAM Act, which would legalize these young people, and has said that he will offer a “permanent solution” but hasn’t clarified what that solution is.
In the midst of that uncertainty, a development Thursday was revealing: agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the group NumbersUSA, which advocates a moratorium on all immigration, sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE to stop deferred action from going into effect. And who is the lawyer representing the ICE agents and NumbersUSA? Why, Kris Kobach. As the saying goes, “Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres”—tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are.
And so Romney and the Republicans come to the event that will mark the starting gun of an obstacle course that ends on Tuesday, November 6th with an obvious “Hispanic problem,” underlined by poll after poll showing Romney’s level of support among Latinos at less than 30%–and yet hoping to capitalize on the lack of enthusiasm many Latino voters currently feel.
His, and their, strategy isn’t to propose policies that might attract Latinos, but to erode Obama’s level of Latino support.
I thought elephants were supposed to have excellent memories.
This case appears to be the exception, because the elephants meeting in Tampa have forgotten and discarded, in their prejudice, the gains made by figures like George W. Bush who understood the importance of the Latino vote to their future as a party. And among those who have rejected that legacy include, regrettably, Republican Hispanic leaders who once stood shoulder to shoulder with Bush and now find themselves robotically defending a candidate who’s perpetuated Republicans’ anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic image.
This week, Tampa hosts a convention for the forgetful elephants.
Californians to Rally in Support of Trust Act, Ask Governor Brown to Sign Common Sense Immigration Measure by Mahwish Khan on 08/27/12 at 11:47 am
Briefly, the Trust Act is the opposite of anti-immigrant legislation that is currently plaguing the country, and is a clear alternative to the Secure Communities enforcement program (which costs taxpayers in the state upto $65 million/year, according to a report by Justice Strategies) that is implemented in the California. Here’s more:
Under the TRUST Act, local law enforcement would have clear guidelines on when not to submit to immigration hold requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), while allowing holds for those convicted or charged with serious or violent felonies.
These requests, clearly optional under federal law, are the mechanism by which the controversial Federal “Secure” Communities program had deported over 76,000 Californians as of June 30 of this year – seven out of ten of whom either had no convictions or minor offenses.
The TRUST Act now goes to Governor Jerry Brown, who has two options: he could sign the bill into law and protect Californians, or he could veto the bill and maintain the status quo – one that puts many Californians at risk. In a country where too many extremist politicians like Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer are signing hateful anti-immigrant laws like SB 1070, Gov. Brown has the opportunity to steer California in a different direction, and we’re asking supporters in California to tell him to do the right thing and sign the bill.
Tomorrow, hundreds of community supporters from throughout California will march and rally in Sacramento to call for the measure to be signed into law, where groups like CREDO Mobile and NDLON will deliver over 14,000 petitions that have been signed by immigrant rights supporters (including America’s Voice activists).
Community supporters will be marching with Assembly member Tom Ammiano — the Trust Act’s champion — and people directly harmed by unjust immigration detentions in local jails, including: Juana Reyes, mom and tamale vendor who was arrested and nearly deported (Sacramento); Duncan Roy, film director (Los Angeles); Pancho Ramos-Stierle, spiritual activist, meditating protestor (Oakland); “Ivone,” mom whose husband was detained following minor traffic stop (Oakland).
Following is where and when they’ll be marching:
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
- 10:00 AM at 7th and G Streets, Sacramento Sheriff’s Headquarters: Gathering, interview availability
- 10:15 AM: 7thand G Streets: March expected to depart
- 10:45 AM: North Steps of Capitol, near 11th and L streets: March arrives
If you’re in California and can make the trip, please attend and show your support for this common-sense immigration legislation.