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The GOP’s Latest Latino Outreach Strategy? Making Their Children Cry

 

flores_headerLooks like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s outreach to Latinos and immigrants is to make their young children weep at the prospect of deportation.

During a stop in Iowa on Sunday, Jose, an undocumented dad, and his two U.S. citizen children confronted Walker about the bogus lawsuit Wisconsin and 25 other states filed last year to block DAPA and DACA+, which would protect millions of immigrant families from separation and deportation.

Bursting into tears, seven-year-old Louis bravely told Walker about what is perhaps the most terrifying fear in the heart of every child with undocumented parents: Coming home from school to find their parents gone.

But, rather than express an ounce of compassion or a simple understanding that his lawsuit will tear families like Louis’s apart, the “family values” candidate directed a GOP talking point about a lawless President at the child.

Esther Lee of ThinkProgress describes the extended encounter between the emotional family members and Walker:

Before breaking out into tears, Louis asked Walker, “Do you want me to like come home and come from school and my dad get deported?”

Walker sidestepped, stating that he had two nieces who go to school in Waukesha, but that his point was “in America nobody’s above the law.” Instead of addressing the topic of deportation, Walker stated that he hoped kids like Louis would learn in school that “the President and the Congress have to work together.”

When Jose jumped in later, asking if Wisconsin could be dropped from the lawsuit, Walker stated, “I agree with it, I support the lawsuit because the President can’t be above the law.”

But, that’s not what Walker had originally claimed just an hour before to the family.

When the family first tried to confront Walker over his opposition to DAPA earlier that day, he claimed, “I’m a Governor, I don’t have anything to do with it,” before rushing away with aides.

But when the Republican Governors and Attorneys General filed their lawsuit in December 2014, Walker issued a statement in support of blocking the President’s immigration actions, saying “the immigration system is broken, but this is an issue that should be addressed through collaborative federal action, not unilateral action by the President.”

It appears that now that he’s running for the Republican nomination for President, Walker’s immigration amnesia has been on full-blast.

In 2001, when Walker was a State Assemblyman, he signed a bill supporting in-state tuition for undocumented students. In 2006 as a Milwaukee County Executive, he signed a resolution supporting the McCain-Kennedy immigration reform bill. And in 2013, he briefly appeared to support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, saying:

“It’s all is about the 11 million [undocumented immigrants]. You hear some people talk about border security and a wall and all that. To me, I don’t know that you need any of that if you had a better, saner way to let people into the country in the first place.”

But by April 2015 (and three months before his Presidential announcement), Walker had drastically changed his tune, allying himself with Jeff Sessions and the radical idea of limiting even legal immigration, going to the right of 2012 Republican Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

This lawsuit blocking DAPA and DACA+ may a politically-motivated stunt to benefit Republicans seeking higher office, but it’s personal for millions of Latinos and immigrant families across the nation.

In Wisconsin alone, 25,000 undocumented immigrants — like Jose — are eligible for DAPA. And according to Latino Decisions polling, 63% of registered Latino voters know someone who is undocumented, making immigration a gateway issue for Latino and immigrant voters.

Republicans think the topic of immigration affects only undocumented immigrants, but it’s stories like Louis’s that repel Latino voters from the GOP’s so-called big tent.

Now with new polling from Latino Decisions showing that Republicans will need 47% support from Latino voters nationwide in order to win the majority of the popular vote, Republicans face an uphill battle when even the pleas from U.S. citizen children go ignored at the hands of GOP candidates like Scott Walker.

Jose and his family initially confronting Gov. Walker.

Extended clip of Jose and his family confronting Gov. Walker about his opposition to DAPA and DACA+.