One year after the Arizona’s SB 1070 – A Tequila Party Movement is born.
By DeeDee Garcia Blase
The day after tax day, I was looking for answers. We’re approaching the one year anniversary date when Governor Jan Brewer signed the SB 1070 harsh anti-immigrant law notorious for destroying Arizona’s economy and forcing thousands of families apart. It was not uncommon to hear of parents getting deported while their American-born children were left behind.
Little did the Arizona Governor know of her unintended consequences that would cause small Arizona business owners to suffer an immediate 40% loss in sales. We lost millions upon millions of dollars in tourism as people cancelled conventions and boycotted our state for the bigotry-related law. Home foreclosures skyrocketed as families departed the state. The agricultural industry experienced a labor shortage in which crops and lettuce did not get picked because nobody was there to pick it under the scorching sun leaving grocery stores to import their crops while raising our prices. SB 1070 was an economic disaster.
The federal government sued the State of Arizona because Brewer signed a bill that was unconstitutional. Recently the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Arizona Federal Judge Susan Bolten’s ruling which reinforced our belief that the harsh Arizona law was in fact unconstitutional.
Within the past year, President Obama and U.S. senators voted for millions and millions more into protecting our borders. A Department of Homeland Security report revealed that Obama had deported more undocumented immigrants than George W. Bush.
Out of crisis, SOMOS REPUBLICANS became the largest Latino GOP organization in the nation. Our leadership became strong because we had a unifying immigration litmus test. The rapport amongst all of us strengthened as we all fought together to fight against anti-immigrant laws and bills that were sweeping our nation. We could not believe that members of our own Party wanted to change the 14th amendment of the Constitution. We detested the tone of our own fellow GOPers when they referred to babies as “anchor babies”. Weren’t we supposed to be pro life, and aren’t we supposed to view babies as precious gifts from God?
I have been called a RINO (Republican in Name Only) several times because of my stance on immigration. Yet I know these individuals would have called Ronald Reagan one if he were still alive because he gave amnesty. Dozens of Republican leaders attacked me for being vocal against Republican lawmakers when they embraced harsh anti-immigrant laws. What do they expect? I’m Latina. My people are suffering and it is no different than when Moses pled for mercy with regard to his own Israelites.
Next Arizona legislator Russell Pearce sought to strip American-born babies from their rights. The day the 14th amendment hearings were being heard in Arizona, I took matters into my own hands as I decided to file paperwork to recall Russell Pearce. A second group followed suit but their recall was not immigration related.
The recall Russell Pearce effort was a stepping stone to a greater picture because the recall forced me to work with Libertarians, Democrats, Independents and Republicans. Little did I know this would be the training ground for something much larger – The Tequila Party Movement.
I met a business woman from Tucson who became part of the recall Russell Pearce efforts. We went for the jugular. Knowing Pearce was a Mormon, we conducted a FIRESIDE ON IMMIGRATION lecture where a devout member of the Latter Day Saints Church would inform his fellow brethren the recent compassionate immigration decisions by LDS leadership in Utah. It was successful and later that night she told me we could really make something of a “Tequila Party Movement” with our national network.
I researched Tequila Party on the net and discovered a Nevada man, Fernando Romero, was swirling around the Tequila Party idea in November 2010. However, the idea has not begun yet and we don’t have a whole lot of time before 2012 elections. Then I remembered Congressman Luis Gutierrez promising to divorce the Democratic Party if the DREAM Act was not passed. What is he waiting for and why hasn’t he done it?
Do organizations with Democratic leaning leaders dare anger the Democratic Party? Probably not, but since we already have a record of angering several Republicans for painting all immigrants with a negative broad brush – we may as well use the national network we have and get to work on a separate project. Using our national framework, we will work on a non-partisan project as we make an official announcement of the Tequila Party Tour on the eve of the one year SB 1070 anniversary.
No I am not divorcing the Republican Party, however, I have to do something independent of the Party and focus on what is truly important – a massive Latino Get Out the Vote in preparation of the 2012 elections. That’s what the Tequila Party is going to be about – motivating Latinos to participate in the early ballot system and to vote in the primary elections as well as the general elections. All are welcome regardless of Party affiliation.
Move over Tea Party people, the Tequila Party Movement is here. This time you won’t see a bunch of “angry at Obama” people in a rally. Nay, this time you will see fiestas, celebration of cultura and a massive Latino Get Out the Vote Drive that will kick off in Arizona this year.