Jorge Ramos–Univision’s news anchor and a man who has been called the “Walter Cronkite of Spanish-language news” has an op-ed today at ABC News/Univision blasting the Republican Party for its intransigence on immigration reform.
Ramos notes that a couple weeks ago–before Steve King’s latest comments about DREAMers being drug runners with “calves the size of cantaloupes” went viral–King was on Ramos’ Sunday show talking about another controversial moment when King compared immigrants to dogs. As Ramos pointed out, the remark was too evocative of a time in the past when businesses would hang up signs saying “No dogs or Mexicans allowed.”
As Ramos writes:
Given the fact that immigrants have been equated with dogs in this country’s past, it is understandable that many people considered his comments to be offensive, and even racist. And it certainly doesn’t help the Republican Party to win over Hispanic voters when one of its members is fending off such accusations. Republicans should be making headlines by expressing their support for immigration reform, but instead they are stuck on the defensive – especially many Republican members of the House of Representatives, who oppose a comprehensive plan like the one recently approved by the Senate.
As he has noted before, Republicans have a serious problem when it comes to trashing immigration reform and alienating Latino voters. Latinos will not vote for a party that marginalizes their immigrant brothers and sisters and family members, and that does not bode well for the GOP’s electoral future:
House Republicans are either unable or unwilling to understand how important the immigration issue is to Hispanics. For us, it’s personal, and the polls show that in our community, support for immigration reform is almost universal. The 16 million Hispanic voters who are expected to cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election will not choose the party that opposed integrating the United States’ 11 million undocumented residents.For a while, the lack of immigration legislation was blamed on President Barack Obama, who failed to deliver on a campaign promise he made in 2008 that he would bring a bill before Congress during his first term. But Obama and the Democratic Party have made good on that promise, so the blame for stalled progress is now falling on the Republicans and House Speaker John Boehner.
King’s remarks are indicative of the discrimination that persists in this country; a path to legalization would be a big step toward changing that. He is hardly his party’s only problem, and this is not an isolated incident. Let’s not forget Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s hunting for undocumented immigrants based on the way they look (according to accusations from the Justice Department); Gov. Jan Brewer’s refusal to issue Arizona driver’s licenses to Dreamers; Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s idea that immigrants would self-deport; and most recently, Boehner’s refusal to put the Senate’s immigration bill up for a vote in the House. The Republican Party has a problem with Hispanics, and unless it starts working on finding solutions to the immigration issue, the GOP will not win another national election.
Maybe those signs barring dogs and immigrants are long gone, but too many Republican lawmakers insist on keeping the door closed.