Looks like the Republican Party still has some more tweaking to do when it comes to that whole Latino outreach thing.
Yesterday, Nebraska State Senator Bill Kintner used the racial slur “wetback” during ongoing debate over a bill that would finally grant driver’s licenses to Nebraska’s DREAMers.
Considering a good number of those DREAMers are probably Latino, not tone-deaf at all, Senator.
Kintner said an example of an effective federal immigration program would be “Operation Wetback,” the name given to a federal crackdown on illegal border crossings in 1954. Kintner emphasized that the term, which many consider a slur, is no longer used.
But Kintner’s rant didn’t stop there, then claiming the bill was part of a liberal plan to take over Nebraska:
“The progressives have attempted to take our state and make it like California, make it like New York, make it like all the progressive, leftist states: soft on illegal immigration, driver’s license for illegals,” he complained. “Gay rights. Of course Medicaid expansion was a few weeks ago. These are all the things they seek to do to our state to make us like the liberal states, the blue states like California.”
The Omaha World-Herald reported that at the time Kintner used his choice wording, the chamber was filled with a group of fourth-graders listening to the legislature’s debate.
We’re sure Sen. Kintner made for an interesting discussion in class the next day.
Some of Kintner’s colleagues in the Legislature rightfully expressed outrage, with “Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln [saying] Kinter’s decision to use the term was disgusting.”
Currently, Nebraska remains the lone state in the nation to still not grant DACA recipients driver’s licenses.
Earlier today, the legislature voted 37-8 to advance the bill, and though Gov. Pete Ricketts has said he opposes “giving taxpayer benefits to illegal immigrants,” he has not indicated if he’ll veto the bill.
If the Nebraska Legislature does manage to override a veto from Gov. Ricketts, it’ll be a proving testament to the power of immigrant youth mobilization across the nation.
Even Arizona, which for years spitefully fought against DREAMers under Jan Brewer’s leadership, now grants DACA recipients driver’s licenses after a judge’s order.
Still, Kintner and other old-guard members of Steve King’s GOP wing seemed determined on inheriting that “Most Anti-Immigrant State” sash from Arizona.