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Letter No. 71: Immigration reform now!

Immigration Korner

Felicia Persaud | 3/27/2014, 6 a.m.
The Republican National Party has some nerve, spending $10 million to ramp up Hispanic field operations in key states and ...
Felicia Persaud

Dear Mr. President,

The Republican National Party has some nerve, spending $10 million to ramp up Hispanic field operations in key states and flood Spanish-language news media with advertisements opposing the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, House Republicans, led by “Speaker-in-Chief” John Boehner, are keeping immigration reform at a standstill and millions of lives in limbo.

Does the GOP really think Latinos are stupid, especially because it seems top GOP officials want to talk about almost anything but immigration when they make their pitch to Latinos?

While they try to get the Hispanic vote, the House Judiciary Committee voted to eliminate the public advocate for immigrants who face hearings at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and House GOP members overwhelmingly supported the Enforce Act, which would limit your use of “prosecutorial discretion.”

As one brave young woman—who, for the second time in five months, was among a group that interrupted Boehner’s breakfast—said: “Speaker Boehner, I just want to ask you why you want to break the dream of the Dreamers.”

Boehner’s response: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, that is not very nice,” according to the exchange caught on video by activists from the Fair Immigration Reform Movement. Not a very good response from someone who is supposed to be a leader, but then again, what did you expect?

This, of course, comes as the Republican National Committee (RNC) says it has launched “Hispanic engagement field teams” in nine states with 20 paid staff members on the ground. Most interestingly, out of the 53 million Latinos nationally, the RNC says it has “made contact” with 27,000 and also attended the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in Orlando for the first time.

Whoop, whoop! What a major feat, RNC!

The reality is that while the RNC is touting the victories of Republican David Jolly in a special congressional election in Florida and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election, the two races are a far cry from the national elections that have consistently shown Latinos turning away en masse from the GOP, mainly because of their rhetoric regarding immigration and their enforcement-only approach.

The facts speak for themselves. Seventy percent of the Hispanic population has stated that they felt that it is extremely or very important to pass immigration legislation, according to a February Pew Research Center survey, while nine in 10 said that undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally. Boehner and the GOP would be wise to listen and do something now.

Mr. President, it is important that you keep up the pressure on the House and show the immigrant voting bloc the hypocrisy of the GOP that refuses to pass immigration reform out of hate for you and the Black and Brown immigrants who they claim are taking over America. Time for a push back from the White House; time for a humane deportation policy and executive action that uses prosecutorial discretion.

Respectfully,

Felicia Persaud

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