In Florida, Crist Defends Dreamers from GOP Attack Ad
Washington, DC – A Republican Party of Florida ad attacking Democratic nominee for Gov. Charlie Crist’s support for Dreamers – and the strong pushback from the Crist campaign – is a notable development in the world of immigration politics. As Florida Politics writes:
“Charlie Crist’s campaign is slamming a new ad from the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) that the Crist campaign calls ‘disgusting’ and says equates immigrants who came here as children with ‘criminals and drug dealers’ …
‘Crist voted to support Biden’s open border policies,’ the narrator says as the frame moves in for a close-up of Biden and Crist grinning as they hug. ‘Criminals, gangs and drugs are pouring in and fentanyl is killing Americans at record levels.’ The lower, right hand corner, the ad’s small print cites H.R. 6. But that bill, passed in the House in March 2021 and still awaiting Senate approval, would confer permanent resident status on those who entered the country as children, known as DREAMers, which stands for ‘Development, Relief and education for Alien Minors.’
That’s drawing a sharp retort from the Crist campaign. ‘The GOP’s latest ad is a disgusting attack on innocent immigrant children whose families brought them to the U.S. in search for a better life,’ Crist spokeswoman Samantha Ramirez said. ‘Charlie Crist proudly supports a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, that’s why he voted for the American Dream and Promise Act … DeSantis needs to answer for his vile comparison of children, college students, and members of our military to drug smugglers.’”
The GOP ad and strong counterattack from the Crist campaign are notable from several immigration perspectives:
- Ad is another reminder of GOP hostility to Dreamers: That Republicans are using support for the H.R.6 legislation that would provide citizenship to Dreamers as fodder for attacks fits into the GOP’s larger hostility to Dreamers and immigrants more broadly. Remember that Republican states are seeking to end DACA in the courts, with a pending ruling from the conservative Fifth Circuit forthcoming. Meanwhile, they have obstructed a legislative fix in Congress and promised to forestall any legislation if they take control of Congress.
- Crist campaign shows how Democrats can lean into DACA: The Crist campaign is modeling how Democrats can go on offense on an extraordinarily popular immigration subject while fighting for an essential legislative breakthrough at the same time – especially as a Trump-packed Fifth Circuit prepares to rule DACA unlawful.
- Is the Florida GOP attacking three South Florida Republicans, too? Florida Republicans Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27), Carlos A. Gimenez (FL-26) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) voted in favor of the same pathway to citizenship for Dreamers bill (HR 6) that the Florida Republican party is now absurdly attacking as “Biden’s open borders policies.” And how do these Republicans feel about Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s pledge of “no amnesty” and do they intend to vote for him to be Speaker if the GOP takes the House? Somebody has some explaining to do.
According to Zachary Mueller, Political Director of America’s Voice:
“Republicans are demonstrating their hostility towards Dreamers. They have been relentless for a decade in their pursuit of stripping the ability of young people who are American in all but paperwork to work and live in the nation they grew up in. Good on the Crist campaign for recognizing how far out of touch this attack is from the wishes of most Florida voters and Americans all across the country.
The Florida Republican party ad is the latest example of the GOP’s electoral strategy built on lies, racist fearmongering, and extremism. Despite what their ad claims, the borders are not open, nor are Dreamers equivalent to criminals and drug dealers. Republicans are showing us exactly who they are and what they want to do and voters should be clear about what Republicans will do if they control the majority in Congress. ”