No one can blame hispanic voters for feeling politically isolated, or for
fueling the perception that we exist as a nation within a nation. Both
Democrats and Republicans have failed to connect with us. Twelve million
Latino voters are in search of a candidato but, so far, there is none to be found.
Barack Obama broke a key campaign promise. But Republicans are making an
extraordinary effort to lose the Hispanic vote. If Republicans can¹t get
at least 33% of the Hispanic vote, they won¹t win the presidency back.
Since Ronald Reagan, every single Republican candidate who got more than
a third of the Hispanic vote won the election. And all polls suggest that
Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich won¹t get close to that
number by November.
Republicans seem set on losing the general election because they reject
every reasonable immigration reform proposal that comes their way. For
the first time in a generation, the GOP will have a presidential
candidate who does not support a path to citizenship. Reagan, Bush I,
Bush II and McCain all did. Republicans refusal to even consider the
Dream Act for students, let alone comprehensive immigration reform, is a
sure way to lose the fastest-growing voting bloc.
And yet believe it or not, immigration is not the most important issue
for Latinos. They are more concerned about jobs, education, and
affordable access to quality health care.
Still, the issues concerning undocumented immigrants are very, very personal.
If you attack them, you attack us all. They are our neighbors and
co-workers, their kids go to school with our kids, they serve in battle
next to our sons, they take jobs no one else wants, they pay taxes and,
overwhelmingly, make America a better country.
But lets start with the basics- some unsolicited advice for the candidates.
First of all, don¹t call them “illegals:. Nobody is an “illegal” human
being, and referring to them as illegal shows a double standard. You
don’t call the American companies that hire them “illegals”. It¹s wrong.
Second, nobody is buying Republican¹s speeches about securing the border.
The number of undocumented immigrants has decreased from 12 to 11
million, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Cities and towns along the
Mexican border are among the safest in the country. And who needs high
fences when 4 out of ten undocumented immigrants come by plane and
simply overstay their visas?
And third, if your plan is to make America an inhospitable place for
immigrants, as new laws have made Alabama and Arizona, wave goodbye to
the Hispanic vote for good.
Republicans are missing a historic opportunity to get the Hispanic vote
back. Latinos are very disillusioned with Barack Obama because he broke a
campaign promise. “What I can guarantee is that we will have, in the
first year, an immigration bill that I strongly support”, he told me in
Denver on May 28, 2008. But he didn’t deliver. Latinos call it La Promesa
de Obama. He didn’t keep his word.
Besides that, the Obama Administration is responsible for the separation
of thousands of families with children who are U.S. citizens. Obama has
deported more immigrants -over 1.2 million- than any other president in
history. Even though his policies have recently concentrated on deporting
criminals, his Secure Communities program has unjustly targeted workers
with no criminal record.
”Latinos”, Ronald Reagan used to say, “are Republicans, but they just don’t know it yet”. Latinos do share many values with Republicans; their stance against abortion, their distrust of big government and their traditional values on family and religion. Republicans could have used these similarities‹along with Obama¹s contradictory immigration policies to build a new alliance with Latinos. But they blew it.
Latinos are under-represented politically; we should have at least 15
Senators but we only have two. With 50 million of us and counting,
Latinos will very soon elect a president of our own. El Primer Presidente
Meanwhile, we have the difficult choice of either voting for a president who broke a major promise, or for a Republican candidate who doesn¹t respect them. It was not supposed to be this way; 2012 was supposed to be the year of the Hispanic hope.
Jorge Ramos is an Emmy-award winnning anchor for Univision News and the author of 11 books, including a Country fro All: An Immigrant Manifesto and Dying to Cross.
By Jorge Ramos Avalos
© 2011 Jorge Ramos
(March 05, 2012)