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Letter No. 52: Immigration reform now!

Felicia Persaud | 11/14/2013, 1:53 p.m.
The big question now is whether the loss by the tea party-anointed Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia will force the Republican ...
Felicia Persaud

Dear Mr. President,

The big question now is whether the loss by the tea party-anointed Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia will force the Republican Party to face reality and help bring about the much awaited and needed vote on immigration reform to the House floor?

The reality is Cuccinelli lost his push to become governor of Virginia simply because Latino and minority voters decided to punish him for ignoring them, as well as his anti-immigration stance, instead choosing to hand Terry McAuliffe a win.

Contrast that with New Jersey, where the middle-of-the-road Republican Gov. Chris Christie embraced immigration reform and the Latino community. They in turn reciprocated and handed him a win on Nov. 5 over his Democratic opponent.

This proves that contrary to what conservative Republicans think, the immigrant voting bloc is strong and can swing on issues of importance to them way beyond party line. And so Cuccinelli, who once sponsored a resolution urging Congress to amend the Constitution to deny citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants and voted against an in-state tuition bill for Virginia, is crying while Christie celebrates and embraces his newfound Latino support.

What is the lesson here? It is simple and one that many Republicans with a brain, like Sen. John McCain, have been trying to teach since the loss of the GOP in November last year. Remember that?

Seems like eons ago already, but that same reality came back to slap the Republicans in the face in Virginia on the evening of Nov. 5. America and so-called red states are no longer controlled by old white male voters, and racism hidden behind the cloak of conservatism will no longer win elections in the diverse nation that is the United States of America.

Now it’s up to House Speaker John Boehner. Will he let the nuts like Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Steve Israel scare him off of bringing immigration reform to a vote on the House floor, or will he stand as a proud American and do what is right for his party and the country?

Given Boehner’s record of flip-flopping on the issue—much like Mitt Romney, who lost the election to the White House and any chance the GOP might have to winning it back anytime soon—it seems unlikely the issue will come up for a vote this year, especially now that Israel says he will try to oust Boehner should he bring immigration reform to the House floor. But the entire GOP Party had better heed Virginia’s lesson, and those with any brain cells left should tell the so-called speaker to move or lose.

For election night, Nov. 5, 2013, will be repeated many times over in various parts of this country before 2016 and, of course, then it will slap the GOP and its tea party mad hatters into oblivion. Maybe, Mr. President, Boehner will finally wake up from his tea-stupor and heed the lessons of Nov. 5, 2013. Moderates are welcome, mad hatters can get lost!

Respectfully,

Felicia Persaud

The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.