As an immigration activist living in Arizona, I wrote the following opinon with regard to the upcoming SB1070 hearing that will be heard in the Supreme Court.
The GOP Cannot Hide the Arizona SB 1070 ‘Large Elephant’ in the Room
By DeeDee Garcia Blase
The Supreme Court hearing regarding Arizona’s SB1070 will be a vote mover in the southwestern part of the United States. The scab of an old wound will be ripped off and exposed once again within our community as the issue comes to the forefront again. Instead of hanging out at the courthouse protesting against SB1070, we will protest via our vote during the upcoming 2012 Presidential elections. We must identify in a realistic manner what the best option will be for us that is directly hurting and affecting our community.
According to ABC News:
Kris Kobach, a key drafter of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, will be in Washington on Wednesday to hear the Supreme Court discuss the legality of the tough state measure that empowers local police to enforce federal immigration laws. Kobach, who worked closely with former Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce in crafting the 2010 law, said he stays in close touch with the Mitt Romney campaign.
These days, we are witnessing multiple-choice Mitt Romney make moves as he tries to disassociate himself from Kris Kobach. Many within our Latino community believe it is too little and too late – specifically in the southwestern part of our Country where most of the Mexican-American population resides.
Unfortunately for Romney, he has made too many damning statements when he chose to align himself with Pete Wilson and Kris Kobach. Other known extremists such as the Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and the ousted former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce have also gotten behind him. This does not come as a surprise to us since we witnessed nativist and former Congressman Tom Tancredo endorse Romney in 2007. In fact, Romney designated controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio as his Arizona Chair when he ran against Senator John McCain during the 2008 GOP primaries.
We now live in an Information Age where Americans receive their news via YouTube, the internet and social networking – and as a result of the digital footprint now made available to us, the Karl Rovian way is becoming more of an ineffective antiquated strategy. We are now able to file away and organize flip-flops when it comes to stances politicians have taken regarding government policy.
Elis Foley with the Huffington Post writes:
Romney has said repeatedly that he supports the Arizona’s right to pass such a law and would drop a federal lawsuit against it were he elected — perhaps not an explicit endorsement, but one that implies he supports the law, at least for Arizona.
Romney also has advocated for what he called “self-deportation,” or making things difficult for undocumented immigrants until they decide to leave, one of the central tenets of the Arizona law. One of his informal advisers on immigration, SB 1070 architect and Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach, supports the law as a model for nationwide enforcement.
“[Self-deportation] is in SB 1070,” Pearce said.
As the GOP scrambles desperately for an effort to woo the Latino vote in light of an election cycle, many of us will remember that no leading Republican
organizations stood strong against SB1070 in 2010 when the immigration issue reached a fevered pitch except for one – SOMOS REPUBLICANS. SOMOS was widely known for being the only Republican organization in the nation that stood against the anti-immigrant SB 1070 law when Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill into action. Latinos were ultimately left to fend for themselves in Arizona. Several conservative leaning groups (including Hispanic Republican groups) supported the Arizona governor. We were dismayed when we heard Senator Marco Rubio’s support of the Arizona harsh anti-immigrant law.
The Republican Party lacked foresight and leadership with regard to an issue near and dear to Latinos, and now they must face the music and become the Party of personal responsibility. The RNC turned a blind eye to several Republican lawmakers who supported anti-immigrant policies. They also turned a blind eye to the many hostile remarks regarding the treatment of immigrants. RNC leadership was nowhere to be found, until now because now they want our vote.
While it is true that President Obama did not give us immigration reform during his first year as President, Latinos must go back in American history and figure out why. We need to remind ourselves that there have been no recent American Presidents who tackled comprehensive immigration reform within their first term. Former President Ronald Reagan did not give immigrant amnesty until he was re-elected as President. Former President George W. Bush did not address comprehensive immigration reform until his second term because he did not believe there was an immigration problem to begin with. The only President that supported immigrant-friendly policies during his first term as President was Benjamin Harrison and he did not get re-elected for a second term.
Should it be a complete surprise to us that President Obama has not confronted immigration during his first term? The immigration issue has become one of the most toxic issues in our time since the Republican Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo launched his restrictionist Immigration Reform Caucus. Meanwhile, myth-maker (R-TX) Congressman Lamar Smith has been busy writing opinion after opinion falsely accusing President Obama as a supporter of amnesty even though he knows Obama has deported more immigrants than Bush. The anti-immigrant sentiment continued to mount when Florida’s Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio stated Ronald Reagan erred in supporting the 1986 amnesty for immigrants (despite the Cuban amnesty afforded to his own family).
So what options are Latinos left with as we revisit the painful wounds of SB 1070 during 2012?
Here are some options:
1) We can take our chances with a President who is going to enter his second term as President because he no longer has to worry about getting re-elected
2) Or, we could gamble away our vote with a candidate who has solid ties to Kris Kobach, (the architect behind many of these anti-immigrant and DREAM Act laws), Pete Wilson, Jan Brewer, and Russell Pearce who are all promoters of the infamous self-deportation law via SB 1070.
Unless there is a brokered GOP Convention, there really is no third option for Latinos.
Let us be honest – I do not believe a President will ever address immigration reform within his first term. Just the same, I do not believe Latinos are willing to gamble with a candidate that has made deals with devils via Pete Wilson, Kris Kobach, Joe Arpaio’s posse, and the vast majority of the Archie Bunker wing.