In the Senate, a deal to pass an unemployment insurance extension seems to have fallen apart, but one of the amendments proposed in the process may continue to haunt Republicans.
The GOP is supposed to be reaching out to Latino voters, not that anyone would be able to tell from how House Republicans have stalled on immigration reform and done nothing except give Steve King a vote on his amendment to deport DREAMers. This week, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) proposed to offset the unemployment insurance extension by eliminating the child tax credit for certain immigrant families, a move that would punish millions of US citizen children who happen to have undocumented parents.
This has not gone over well with Latino political observers and Spanish-language media who view the move as an attack. And that could mean continuing animosity for Sen. Ayotte and the Republican brand.
As Lia Parada, legislative director here at America’s Voice, explained to Roll Call yesterday:
“A senator, like Sen. Ayotte, who is looking at the future … even the proposal of this amendment is going to follow her everywhere,” said Lia Parada, legislative director for America’s Voice.
Parada pointed to Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee who lost the 2012 presidential election, and language he used in the GOP primary backing the idea of making the United States so inhospitable to illegal immigrants that they would self-deport. The move hurt Romney in the general election in competitive states with large Latino voters.
“Latino voters flatly rejected Mitt Romney’s self-deportation tragedy,” Parada said, adding that “any time Ayotte is mentioned and Latino voters brought up, this will follow her everywhere and will be damaging”…
Parada said that Ayotte’s amendment is the latest in a record the GOP is building on the immigration issue and it is contrary to a Republican National Committee effort, following the 2012 election, to try to reach out to the Hispanic community.
The Ayotte amendment comes after the House passed an amendment offered by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, that would prohibit implementation of a White House 2012 order protecting from deportation young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children, provided they met certain requirements, akin to the Dream Act legislation long sought by the Obama administration.
“This [Ayotte] amendment is incredibly damaging to the Republican brand,” Parada said. “First in the House we saw the Steve King amendment come up for a vote to deport Dreamers … now we have the Ayotte amendment that attacks working families and immigrant children.
“The tally is adding up,” Parada said.
The issue has also been taken up by Hispanic media, which has covered the amendment intensely. For example, Fernando Espuelas, who has a nationally broadcast radio talk show on Univision, wrote Sunday in the Huffington Post about the amendment, arguing that it would hurt the children of immigrants, many whom are American citizens.
“The idea that you would inflate taxes for millions of poor kids living on the margins in order to pay for unemployment insurance for laid-off workers sent out in the cold by Republican ideological intransigence is nothing short of an immoral act by a political party being slowly strangled by far-right radicals hell-bent on destroying the American social contract,” Espuelas wrote.
Parada said that there “are more than 4 million children in the U.S. that are children of undocumented immigrants — what is she going to say to them? It’s not just broad tax policy; it affects real working people. These children will be voters, and they are paying attention; they are as engaged as anyone.”