Last night's Republican debate will be known for the showdown between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, Ponzi Schemes and 999 Plans (what the hell is that, Mr. Cain?). However, for most US Latinos who watched the debate (all 300 of them), it will also be a QUÉ VERGÜENZA moment.
As The Colbert Report coined a few months back, the Latino Panderfiesta is alive and well, and last night we welcomed media giants NBC and Telemundo (part of the NBC family) for rolling out anchor José Díaz-Balart (of the famous Cuban American Republican Díaz-Balart family) to ask the candidates questions about illegal immigration.
Although we think that Díaz-Balart did a very admirable job in pushing the candidates to clarify their position about illegal immigration (who thought that New Gingrich actually BELIVES in Comprehensive Immigration Reform), this was one classic clase of Panderfiesta.
We are wondering if next week's debate would involve Juan Carlos Williams asking candidates about the Civil War or Bernard Goldberg asking questions about Israel. Quite frankly, this move by NBC and Telemundo was a major failure in understanding US Latino voters, who are not one monolithic voting bloc. As Americans stuggle in this economy, Latinos form one of the largest unemployed groups in the country.
Nonetheless, Diaz-Balart did get Perry and Romney to go on record about illegal immigration. Here is what they said:
The first thing you need to do is have boots on the ground. We've had a request in to this administration since June — or January of 2009 for 1,000 border patrol agents or National Guard troops, and working towards 3,000 border patrol. That's just on the Texas border.
There's another 50 percent more for the entire Mexican border. So you can secure the border, but it requires a commitment of the federal government of putting those boots on the ground, the aviation assets in the air.
We think predator drones could be flown, that real-time information coming down to the local and the state and the federal law enforcement. And you can secure the border. And at that particular point in time, then you can have an intellectually appropriate discussion about immigration reform.
MITT ROMNEY ON A NEW SOUTHERN FENCE
Yes. We got to — we got to have a fence, or the technologically approved system to make sure that we know who's coming into the country, number one.
Number two, we ought to have enough agents to secure that fence and to make sure that people are coming over are caught.
They can always get a ladder to go over the fence. And people will always run to the country. The reason they come in such great numbers is because we've left the magnet on.
And I said, what do you mean, the magnet? And they said, when employers are willing to hire people who are here illegally, that's a magnet, and it draws them in. And we went in and talked about sanctuary cities, giving tuition breaks to the kids of illegal aliens, employers that, employers that knowingly hire people who are here illegally. Those things also have to be stopped.