No President has aggressively implemented pro-immigrant policies during their 1st term as President recentlyby Dee Dee Garcia Blase on Apr. 23, 2012, under 2012 Presidential elections
Many of us liked Ronald Reagan and some of the policies he implemented regarding immigration … but we are now coming to a time during the contentious Presidential election cycle where we have to evaluate the history of American Presidents and their immigrant-friendly stances.
Ronald Reagan was a President that Latinos warmed up to because he gave amnesty; however, the Republican Party (no thanks to the likes of Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio and Mitt Romney) has veered off into a protectionist, isolationist and Dixiecrat direction that is contrary to a pro growth and pro business solution. I especially have a bone to pick with Mitt Romney because I systematically watched him move Senator John McCain far to the right on matters affecting immigration during the 2008 GOP Presidential Republican primaries. If it had not been for Mitt Romney, Latinos may have felt more comfortable in voting for John McCain. Romney’s divisiveness during 2007 and 2008 was a time in which he pulled out all stops. Mitt Romney is NO Ronald Reagan. At least Reagan was candid and spoke with fortitude. On the other hand, one can never predict Romney and his power-hungry agenda as he seems to embrace the epitome of crony Capitalism. Of course it does not help Romney with Latinos when he decided to align himself with Kris Kobach who is the architect of anti-immigrant legislation across the United States.
If the Republican Party plays the short-sighted card and if they continue to push Romney — the unintended consequences will be quite transparent. Everyone will know that Romney was supported not because of principle but because he was the one with the most money to run against Obama. The GOP will be recognized for bowing down to the almighty dollar while ignoring the fact that it was RomneyCare who laid the foundation for ObamaCare. In other words — the GOP will look like complete hypocrites.
The last pro immigrant friendly Republican President that took bold immigrant steps (before Ronald Reagan) via Ellis Island was former President Benjamin Harrison (our 23rd President of the United States). President Harrison is also recognized for the advocating for federal education funding and legislation to protect voting rights for African Americans. He also saw the admittance of six states into the Union. These days Republican lawmakers seem to be for doing away with the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution which is a significant contrast to the efforts of President Harrison when he designated Ellis Island as the site of the first Federal immigration station in 1890.
According to the Statue of Liberty — Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.:
Prior to 1890, the individual states (rather than the Federal government) regulated immigration into the United States. Castle Garden in the Battery (originally known as Castle Clinton) served as the New York State immigration station from 1855 to 1890 and approximately eight million immigrants, mostly from Northern and Western Europe, passed through its doors. These early immigrants came from nations such as England, Ireland, Germany and the Scandinavian countries and constituted the first large wave of immigrants that settled and populated the United States. Throughout the 1800′s and intensifying in the latter half of the 19th century, ensuing political instability, restrictive religious laws and deteriorating economic conditions in Europe began to fuel the largest mass human migration in the history of the world. It soon became apparent that Castle Garden was ill-equipped and unprepared to handle the growing numbers of immigrants arriving yearly. Unfortunately compounding the problems of the small facility were the corruption and incompetence found to be commonplace at Castle Garden. The Federal government intervened and constructed a new Federally-operated immigration station on Ellis Island. While the new immigration station on Ellis Island was under construction, the Barge Office at the Battery was used for the processing of immigrants. The new structure on Ellis Island, built of “Georgia pine” opened on January 1, 1892; Annie Moore, a 15 year-old Irish girl, accompanied by her two brothers entered history and a new country as she was the very first immigrant to be processed at Ellis Island on January 2. Over the next 62 years, more than 12 million were to follow through this port of entry.
The Republican Party has indeed changed from the Party of Abraham Lincoln, the Party of Ronald Reagan and certainly from the Party of Harrison.
Where will Latinos place their “chips” during the 2012 Presidential election cycle? Do you believe they will vote for a second term President? Or do you think the majority of Latinos will gamble away their vote on someone like Mitt Romney who made a deal with the anti-immigrant devil via Kris Kobach as he attempts to enter his first term?
People say we can learn from American history. The last President I am aware of that promoted immigration efforts was Benjamin Harrison and he did not get re-elected. Ronald Reagan did not address immigrant amnesty until he won his second term as President, and finally … even President George W. Bush waited until after he was re-elected before attempting to change immigration. Bush’s “Secure Fence Act” succeeded, but his CIR plans did not come into fruition.
In the event that Mitt Romney become the official GOP nominee — I sense Latinos will hold their noses and vote for Obama.