The same day that Karl Rove published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal warning Republicans about the need to better shape Latino perceptions of the GOP, and the same day that John Boehner penned a Spanish-language op-ed in La Opinion entitled “Protecting the American Dream,” almost every House Republican voted with Steve King and in favor of deporting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants.
How toxic was King’s amendment this morning? The Heritage Foundation supported it—you may remember them as the organization that recently released a report co-authored by Jason Richwine, a guy who thinks that Hispanics inherently have low IQs. Heritage encouraged lawmakers to vote “yes” on the King amendment and even announced that that the vote would be counted on their legislative scorecards.
The vote this morning was mostly a symbolic gesture, since there’s no chance the House bill as it is will be passed by the Democratic-led Senate. But since this morning’s vote, immigration reform advocates have been livid over the Republicans’ decision to side with Steve King and against DREAMers, while Democrats remain astounded that the GOP could have taken such a Latino-alienating vote.
After the vote, the Democratic National Committee sent out a shot/chaser contrasting Boehner’s op-ed in La Opinion with his caucus’ anti-immigrant vote. As the statement said:
John Boehner’s position may be Speaker of the House, but it’s clear that the Tea Party Republicans are the ones calling the shots in the House of Representatives. Hours after Boehner penned a Spanish-language op-ed reaching out to Hispanic voters, his caucus passed an amendment that sought to restart a program deporting an estimated 800,000 DREAM Act-eligible young people.
Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer took to Twitter this morning to point out:
Nearly the entire House GOP just voted to deport the Dreamers, a position to the right of Romney. Is Self-Deportation still the GOP plan?
— Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44) June 6, 2013
While Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) tweeted:
The House GOP is unbelievably passing a King amendment to defund Obama’s relief for DREAMERs. So much for the rebranding. Appalling.
— Jim Himes (@jahimes) June 6, 2013
This afternoon, the White House released this statement condemning the vote:
As the Senate prepares to debate bipartisan commonsense immigration reform next week, House Republicans chose to spend today passing an extreme amendment to strip protections from “Dreamers.” These are productive members of society who were brought here as young children, grew up in our communities, and became American in every way but on paper. This amendment, sponsored by Representative Steve King, runs contrary to our most deeply-held values as Americans. It asks law enforcement to treat these Dreamers the same way as they would violent criminals. It’s wrong. It’s not who we are. And it will not become law.
United We DREAM and their Managing Director Cristina Jimenez, called the vote “an outrage and the exact opposite of what our country needs from its political leaders”:
Does Speaker Boehner want to follow Rep. Steve King’s lead and seal his party’s fate as an out-of-touch, extremist party that has forever marginalized the immigrant and Latino community? Or will the House take a new direction and pass immigration reform that not only stops the deportations of DREAMers and our families but also creates a clear path to citizenship? It’s up to them. DREAMers will not let politicians get away with this.
As the House Hispanic Caucus explained the vote:
House Republicans just voted to treat DREAMers and undocumented spouses of servicemembers in the same way as violent criminals.
Also watch Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)’s passionate against the King amendment when it was introduced Wednesday night:
The King amendment vote this morning is just the latest salvo in a series of Republican moves this week that are seriously undermining their supposed effort to reach out to Latino voters. Marco Rubio announced this week that he was considering walking away from immigration reform, while John Cornyn has announced plans to introduce a “sweeping amendment” to the immigration bill. Greg Sargent at the Washington Post today wrote a post on how some House Republicans apparently think that immigrants who seek emergency room health care should face deportation, and Republican leaders in the House today introduced the “Safe Act,” which the National Day Laborer Organizing Network called a “reckless Arizonification of the US.”
It’s no wonder that a new Latino Decisions poll released today found that 87% of Latino voters would blame Republicans in whole or in part if immigration reform goes down.