A project of the Center for Community Change

latino vote

Keeping Families Together in our Fight for Immigration Reform

This year has been a huge one for DREAMers who earlier this year were granted deferred action status. But the fight for DREAMers is not over. Although they now have the ability to stay in the U.S. without fear, their parents and other family members do not live with same sense of security.   Keeping families together is why immigration reform leaders are meeting in D.C.

Immigrant families have contributed to our economy and are an integral piece in the framework of our American society. A coalition of grassroots organizations and The Campaign for Community Change are organizing to launch the, Keeping Families Together campaign tour. The tour will stop in New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., among others. Family stories will be told at campaign rallies, vigils, community dinners, and will be recorded and shared with policymakers.

Our families want citizenship, which is a real solution that upholds our nation’s values, and moves us forward together.  Our current immigration system is badly broken. What people don’t understand is that there is literally no way for some undocumented immigrants to become legal, including people who were here as young children. And unscrupulous employers can prey on workers and pay low wages. A path to citizenship will give immigrants an opportunity to become legal, pay taxes, and participate fully in American society.

So DREAMers and their families will continue to work toward comprehensive immigration reform, and the Keeping Families Together summit will help us achieve it.

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GOP: This is Your Future Calling (and Sorry, It’s Brown)

This week, the GOP launched their new website and it was like a little gift to the progressive blogosphere. The site was riddled with bugs, went down almost immediately and had some interesting (if not wholly factual) content.

I’ve been thinking about blogging about it, but America’s Voice beat me to the punch. They did such a good job I’m just going to cross-post here (with their permission).

Yesterday the GOP launched a trendy, new website at www.GOP.com.

Only one problem: the GOP, according to the Politico’s Ben Smith, completely forgot about its future.

Smith reports:

This is, a youngish Republican points out to me this morning, a bit of an unfortunate place for an empty page on the Republican National Committee’s nifty new website.

That would be the “Future Leaders” page.

Liberal bloggers had a field day with the news—so much so that the page was updated that same day to include an interactive, “Who are the future leaders of the Republican Party?” section.

So, who/what is the future of the GOP—a great question as we brace ourselves for the crucial next leg of a national immigration reform debate.  Coincidentally, that debate started in earnest yesterday, too, with a rally at the U.S. Capitol where Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) laid out the principles for real reform.

As we’ve argued consistently at America’s Voice, Republican politicians have been guilty of using immigrants as a wedge issue for so long that they are in real danger of sacrificing their future with Latino, minority, and swing voters. With Representative Gutierrez and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) laying the groundwork to move forward on real immigration reform in the weeks and months ahead, the question takes on renewed importance.

GOP leaders have used the “ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT” bogeyman to derail progress on a number of critical issues, from health care, to the flu pandemic, to economic recovery, but they’ve mainly succeeded in further marginalizing themselves among Latino voters and other swing demographics who want policymakers to solve tough problems — not pander with cheap scare tactics.

Florida’s Republican Senator Mel Martinez, who retired in August, consistently argued that the GOP must change course if it cares at all about the future:

“Republicans risk their political future since Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the US.”

As George W. Bush’s former speechwriter, Michael Gerson, pointed out in  “Suicidal Policy:”

Now hearings are beginning on another immigration reform bill, with a legislative debate likely to ripen in 2010. For Democrats — pledged to comprehensive reform but weighing union opposition to a temporary worker program — the debate will be difficult. For Republicans, it may be an invitation to political suicide.

Some conservatives dismiss electoral considerations as soiled and cynical. They will make their case, even if that means sacrificing Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and . . . Indiana. Yes, Indiana, which had supported Republican presidential candidates for 40 years before Obama captured it on the strength of Hispanic votes. This is a good definition of extremism — the assumption that irrelevance is evidence of integrity. In fact, it is a moral achievement of democracy that it eventually forces political parties to appeal to minorities and outsiders instead of demonizing them. The scramble for votes, in the long run, requires inclusion.

The political cost of losing Latino and minority support in exchange for short-sighted, dog-whistle rhetoric could mean a very, very empty “future leaders” section for decades—and elections— to come.  Over the next few months, we’ll see which path they choose.

Cross-Posted at Huffington Post.

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GOP continues its anti-Latino downward spiral

Remember last year, when the Latino and New American voters helped swing the election for Obama? And all those GOP candidates that ran on anti-immigrant platforms lost? And the GOP tried to re-group and began to “court” the Latino population?

I’m glad you remember, because the Republican party seems to have forgotten. Last week, during the vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, Republicans yet again showed their true colors. What does this mean for the Grand Old Party’s approval rating among Latinos?

From DailyKos:

The first column is the week that Justice Souter retired, which was soon followed by speculation of Sotomayor’s nomination (she was the frontrunner). That is the reference week. The second is [last] week.

Republican Party approval rating among Latinos

         April 27-30  August 3-6

Favorable       14        3
Unfavorable     73       86
No Opinion      13       11

Republicans were already lagging badly with Latinos, yet somehow, they managed to lose a net 24 favorability points over the course of three months. And for what? To keep the dying 1950s Pat Buchanan-wing of the party happy? Great call, there.

So, Republicans continue to alienate Latinos, digging their own political grave. I, for one, I’m not too bothered by this, but the GOP should be busy scrambling to counter the hate at the Town Halls across the country if they even think they have a chance at winning back portions of this population.

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