#NoMames: Congressman Says No to Immigration Reform Because Most Latinos Are “Illegal” and “Low-Skilled”

And the hits keep on coming.

220px-Lou_Barletta,_Official_Portrait,_112th_Congress_(2)

In response to the news of a bipartisan immigration reform framework, Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta told a local paper the following:

It’s amnesty that America can’t afford. We have to stop people from coming in illegally. This will be a green light for anyone who wants to come to America illegally and then be granted citizenship one day. I hope politics is not at the root of why we’re rushing to pass a bill. Anyone who believes that they’re going to win over the Latino vote is grossly mistaken. The majority that are here illegally are low-skilled or may not even have a high school diploma. The Republican Party is not going to compete over who can give more social programs out. They will become Democrats because of the social programs they’ll depend on.

We are confused. Does Barletta mean that most U.S. Latinos are “illegal” and “low-skilled,” or is he saying that because the majority of the undocumented who happen to be Latino are “low-skilled” and uneducated? Whatever he meant, he needs to stop talking Hit it, Gollum.

The “White Hispanic” Label: Yes, People, Racism Is a Latino Thing, Too

Over the past few weeks, we have read A LOT about the fact that George Zimmerman is not "white" but that he is "Hispanic" (even though when initial media reports of his February 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin called him "white"). It started when Zimmerman's father, Bob Zimmerman, shared this information in a letter to the Orlando Sentinel, and within hours, bloggers (mostly conservative ones) were quick to emphasize that Zimmerman's Hispanicity: You see, race baiters, he is NOT white? He is Hispanic! Shame on you, liberal mainstream media! You were quick to play the race card. White people are not racists!

Then, when that all died out (well, except for on forums that still have some choice words for Zimmerman's and ethnic background), we started reading mainstream reports calling Zimmerman a "white Hispanic." Yes, you New York Times, and others. And then FOX NEWS' Bernard Goldberg went off.

We asked ourselves: why? Why the change and why was the label used? Why even describe Zimmerman's ethnicity? What does it matter? Why is Goldberg a tool who has no clue about Latinos? Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin. He had a record of paranoia with "suspicious" (code word: Black) people. He is of Peruvian descent. So what.

Because, conservative bloggers and mainstream media outlets: Hispanics can be racist, too.

In fact, the basic social and economic tenets of Colonial Latin America were based on race. And classism in Latin American is still racially charged. Many tell the story of 'knowing your place," and it is one of Latin America's ugliest secrets, one that recently has started to be discussed with more honesty.

But back to Zimmerman, the White Hispanic. We scratched our heads about this and kept asking ourselves why do members of the mainstream media insist on using this term when reporting in Zimmerman and why did people like Goldberg felt the need to "attack" the liberal media?

CNN contributor Ruben Navarrette Jr. offered his take, and quite frankly, his concluding paragraph should have stopped after word Hispanic, because after starting strong with his reason as to WHY the term was used, he failed miserably at the end:

…I think [the mainstream media] were looking for a way to avoid what would have been an embarrassing about-face. They didn't want to stand up and say: "We were wrong. Without having all the facts, we made certain assumptions about the suspect. And now it turns out that it's not simple, that this story is more complicated than we thought and that this suspect is both white and Hispanic." So they turned to the term white Hispanic.

It is also possible that some in the media are afraid to frame the story as Hispanic versus African-American. I understand that. Relations between the nation's largest minority and the group that used to hold that title are tense enough without adding fuel to the fire.

Whatever the reason for using this term, I don't like it. And I don't have any use for it. Are we now going to refer to people as white Hispanics and black Hispanics? Given that my complexion is a shade lighter than brown, should I be referred to as beige Hispanic? Where does this end?

Americans need to discuss race and ethnicity in serious ways. The tragic death of a young person is a serious issue. Everything about this story must be taken seriously. Distorting the language shows we're not serious people.

So, Ruben, call out the media for goofing up but then say that they didn't want to frame the story as Hispanic vs. African-American? So, when stories like this one out of Pasadena happen (and this one is awful), the media can't talk about the fact that the 911 caller who lied to police which lead to the death of an unarmed Black teen in Pasadena was Hispanic? As for Navarrette's comment about white Hispanics and black Hispanics, well, isn't that accurate to some? Race is part of the greater cultural complexity of what it is to be Latino in the United States. As for being afraid that you will be called a "beige Hispanic" (kind of a silly overreaction), Navarrette can use "mestizo" or "throwback" or whatever else he wants to use.

Come on, we even have a case of a Black Hispanic becoming a White Hispanic. Exhibit A right here:

The point is: race and culture are interwoven in Hispanic/Latino communities, and it has never been a harmonious fit. To deny that reality is to deny that we as Latinos can be our own worst enemy when it comes to racism. If we aren't bombarded with Univision and Telemundo shows with White, more light-skinned actors living the lap of luxury, all we need to do is look at popular culture: Latinos promote whiteness more than ever. They sell a world of whiteness, and have done so for decades. And that is wrong.

So, yes, Navarrette's argument fails at the end of his column and Goldberg is on another planet (don't you just love when media experts try to lecture others about Latinos?), and since we still didn't feel satisfied, we just asked our readers and community members. Here are just a few of their responses:

White Hispanic is the appropriate census jargon. Culturally, it's offensive to socially conscious Latinos, but the context is accurate.

The irony here is that those of us who fall on the Caucasian end of the Latino color spectrum are not considered white by non-Latino/Hispanic whites.

Media manipulating society – if they can divide us against each other, it's easier to control us. Interesting how this phrase has the potential to divide people more. "White" Hispanic vs "Black" Hispanic or just plain Hispanic? Or the addition of Hispanic, just to remind everyone he is not really white?

I'm not a big fan of the term Hispanic because it's a census term and label; NOT a culture… Our combined, tapestry of cultures, IMHO, falls under the beautiful, vast umbrella of us all being 'Latinos.' To me, the word 'Latino' implies diversity and unity, whereas the term 'Hispanic' screams government labeling.

To other folks I am perceived as Italian, Portuguese, Mexican, South America, never of Puerto Rican antecedents, and never told I am a White Hispanic. My birth certificate says White under Race. I am la Trigueña in my immediate family.

My husband is Caucasian and I'm Peruvian, so would that term be appropriate for my two kids since they are half and half. I mean I always check the Hispanic/Latino box for ethnicity for them and white for race for them also. Also to me, they should celebrate both cultures equally. Does that make me a sellout of sorts? I don't understand what the appropriate term would be for them. I would take that as a description of my beautiful daughter who is Half Mexican and half Irish. I don't take offense. The way we are so mixed these days. I believe the more we mix, the more beautiful and smarter our children are. :) It would be nice if the media would not. Say the person's race race has nothing to do with the crime you commit there's racism even with our own race people that dislike what they are very sad. But I do remember the days that when a minority committed a crime you would just hear black man Hispanic man full description and when a white person conifer a crime they would run it by so fast with no description the media has a lot to do with how America sees us.

The media insists on slapping racial (and racist) labels on people, plain and simple. It doesn't matter what "race" Zimmerman is…an idiot is an idiot. What was a Neighborhood Watch Volunteer doing with a gun in the first place? But I digress…What will the media do next? Perhaps label Mr. Zimmerman as "A descendant of Sephardic Jews"? Anything to bulk up a word count or cater to the lowest common denominator.

For me it doesn't make a difference to be a Spanish white man from Spain, who cares? racism is racism, and black, brown or white Spanish doesn't matter, if anyone wants to make a difference, we are a culture all Spanish people, have to make the difference, because white America, will do anything to divide us. They will say, you are from Spain and you are better than Mexicans or Puerto Ricans or the other way around. This is the time, regardless of our ideas, when we have to stand together, because if we don't, tomorrow may be your son, brother etc, just remember, they divide you today, tomorrow it won't matter if you are better or not, you are just that, Spanish or Latino

‎"White Hispanic" – a person who is able to change a Latino surname in exchange for a 'proper' English one to avoid discrimination and is able through his or her physical appearance to assimilate into the politically dominant culture -white.

The real issue is this: labels do nothing to help us dissect a tragedy. But we can still have serious discussions about race in America, because no matter who you who are and with whom you identify with, racism affects us all, and for some, it can lead to tragic consequences.

Open Letter to Governor Mitt Romney from Latino GOP Leaders

January 26, 2012

Dear Governor Romney:

We are a group of Latino Republicans invested in the growth of the economy and the support of Hispanic communities. Some of us have supported Newt Gingrich from the beginning of his campaign, and others of us have supported you. Our purpose here is to advise you that those of us who have stood by you are now withdrawing our backing in favor of Newt Gingrich. We've come to our decision based on our belief that your support of the Hispanic community is not a clear representation of what we need.

For example, in Iowa you stated that you would immediately veto the Dream Act. Mr. Gingrich proposes to push an essential part of the Dream Act which offers citizenship to those young men and women who serve in military. Last Tuesday in Florida, you openly agreed with Newt on a partial acceptance of the Dream Act, reversing your original stance on the matter.

It appears you find it "dishonest" to consider yourself Mexican-American, even though your father was born in Mexico. Under that same pretense, would those of us born in the United States, but have parental ancestry from Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia, Cuba, and other Latin American countries, be dishonest in claiming ourselves as Americans?

It is clear to us that you have not provided a real solution on behalf of the 12+ million immigrants who live in the shadows of the American communities. You fail to dignify the economic refugees who reside, work, pay taxes, and are otherwise productive citizens in this country. In stark contrast, Mr. Gingrich has a true history of supporting our community. He says we he means, and means what he says.

As examples:

  • As Speaker, he pushed through the Cuban LIBERTAD Act, which codified the embargo on Cuba, authorized aid to dissidents, and set the framework for principled engagement to support a genuine transition to democracy.
  • Newt Gingrich pushed humane immigration laws, including the NACARA act (authored by former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart) to ensure that we kept our pledge to those who fled the Sandinistas in the 1970's.
  • Newt Gingrich is the only candidate that has offered a humane approach to our immigration problem. He understands how inhumane and unrealistic it is to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants. He proposes to secure the border, deport criminals, and recognize the remainder through temporary work permits, and through establishing legal status for those with American sponsorship and deep ties to their communities.
  • Newt Gingrich proposes to push an essential part of the Dream Act which offers citizenship to those young men and women who serve in the military.
  • Newt supports a referendum for the people of Puerto Rico to decide between independence, statehood and continued commonwealth status.
  • Newt Gingrich has for years shown active support by reaching out to us, our organizations and our community to better understand the real concerns of American Hispanics. His interest in us did not begin last Tuesday in a Florida debate.
  • Mr. Gingrich has showed active support for the Hispanic community by reaching out to us, our organizations, and our communities to better understand the real concerns of American Hispanics. This is a quality that we respect, value, and appreciate.

Mr. Romney, without an open dialogue with us you are unable to understand issues important to the Latino community. Due to this absence, we are unable to support you. 


Sincerely,

Rosario Marin – Former US Treasurer, California

Mario Rodriguez – Hispanic 100 Chair, California

Massey Villarreal – Former National Chair of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Texas

Vinicio Madrigal, MD – Former Chair Louisiana Republican Hispanic Assembly, Louisiana

Theresa Speake – Former National Secretary of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Virginia

Al Zapanta – President & CEO, U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Texas

Lionel Sosa – President of Bromley Communications, Texas

Miguel Orozco – Immigration lawyer, California; Outstanding Americans by Choice Recipient; Actor & Producer

Elizabeth Orozco – Business Executive

Eduardo Verástegui – Pro-life activist, actor, singer. California

Joe Galvan – Former regional director HUD, Former chair RNHA. Illinois    

Teresa Hernandez – Restaurateur

Saul Delgado – President of Caboraca

Fortino Rivera – CEO

Bertha Rivera – Business Executive

Nancy C. Acevedo – Chair National Republican Hispanic Alliance Florida

Robbie G. Munoz – Hispanic 100 Youth Chair, California

Julio Gudino – President, Gudino Financial & Insurance Services, Inc.

KV Kumar – Nat'l Vice Chairman, Asian American & Pacific Islanders Nat'l Republican Assembly

Los Hollywood Bring Califas Back to Chicago

“Todo el tiempo andamos mezclando de español a ingles and that’s how we talk, that’s how we think and that’s the music we write.”-Gustavo Mojica

 

 

San Diego-based band, Los Hollywood, have had an exciting life since winning the MySpace Latino Battle of the Bands competition in 2008. Playing at the Latin Alternative Music Conference, traveling to Tijuana and staying close to home in San Diego and Los Angeles, this band has been working on new music and will be playing at the Cubby Bear in Chicago on Thursday night for the grand opening of Noches de Rock. This will be their second time in Chicago.

Ide Flores has a voice that has been compared to Gwen Stefani, of all people, but has been known to sing every type of genre, including Mariachi. The bilingual band that includes Gustavo Mojica on drums and Marcos Mondregon on bass and guitar, will surely put on an awesome show. 

Just wait for the review. We love the band and we're not afraid to tell you about them. 

Check out their first video ever, No Te Aguites, from their first EP and then tell us you don't want to see them live. 

Charlotte’s First Baby of 2012 Causes Anti-Latino Hate to Flow

Seems that nothing is sacred any more. COLORLINES posted a piece today about how some readers of The Charlotte Observer would rather spew anti-Latino hate than celebrate the birth of a child.

Here is what COLORLINES had to say:

 

Here’s what happened. A photo of new mom Lucero Arias, 19, and baby Tommy, was published along with the article, which did not reference Ms. Arias’ immigration status, or national origin. The piece, however, did mention that Tommy’s grandfather called from Mexico City. That was enough for the comments section to fill up with anti-Latino, anti-immigrant rants, causing the Observer to shut down commenting for the article. The paper also added this note: “Comments have been disabled because of repeated violations of site policies. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.” 

According to Observer readers and Drop the I-Word supporters, the attacks included the derogatory i-word and “anchor baby” slur. Jess George, the Executive Director of The Latin American Coalition, wrote the Observer asking them to Drop the I-Word. They didn’t drop it, but they published the letter, which also sparked hateful reader comments, including these:

” … When kids see lawbreakers get away with their crimes they think they can as well and kids know what illegals are. There IS a difference between Human Rights and US Citizens Rights … “

“Thats right. When an illegal takes a job, he displaces a citizen. When the citizen collects unemployment and goes on food stamps, we pay. This is just one hidden cost of employing illegals.”

“… The way to stop “stereotyping” is to have no illegals here, only legal Latinos. Where could any U.S. citizen sneak over a foreign border and expect a free ride?”

The incomprehensible reaction to the birth of a beautiful Latino baby is precisely why we so value the work of United 4 the Dream (U4TD), the youth group of the Latin American Coalition in Charlotte. We joined them last year in launching a letter-writing campaign asking the Observer to Drop the I-Word, and they followed up with a week of protests in December. They have written the Observer about the baby announcement incident and dropping the term “illegal immigrant” and still there has not been a response.

The incident is worrisome, as Charlotte, the city with the largest Latino population in the state, and host for this year’s Democratic National Convention, has also seen a rise in anti-immigrant, ant-Latino bullying. In a span of two weeks at the end of 2011, at least seven cases of anti-Latino bullying in Charlotte public schools were reported to the Latin American Coalition. 

COLORLINES continues with a few points that speak to a changing America and how it is not an image some in the US just don't find appealing:

 

The nativist language is sadly also tied to violence and this country’s history of racism. In Long Island in 2008, before Marcelo Lucero was stabbed to death, one of the teens who attacked him said, “‘Hey, fucking nigger; fucking Mexican; fucking illegals, you come to this country to take our money.”

The term “illegal immigrant,” which many journalists are having a hard time giving up, is not too far of a stretch from describing people simply as “illegals,” which the Associated Press, New York Times, and the Observer itself have deemed pejorative. Both terms are dehumanizing and further the concept that a person’s being can be illicit. “Illegal immigrant” is not even legal terminology; the Board of Immigration Appeals does not use it, and neither does the Supreme Court. It’s not constitutional or precise language not only because the term convicts people, denying due process. But also because people are never found by courts to be “illegal.”

Sometimes inaccurate terms are repeated so much that they start sounding normal. It happens all the time. But if it’s established that a term is inaccurate, nativist, rejected by the people it’s used to describe/attack and legally incoherent, how can it be considered professional journalistic language? That is the question facing the Charlotte Observer and journalists at news outlets across the country. The community is asking them to do the right thing.

 

Historic National Gathering of Dominicans and Latinos on the National Mall in Washington, DC

FROM THE DOMINICAN AMERICAN NATIONAL ROUNDTABLE

Washington, DC (January 4, 2012).– For the first time, thousands of like-minded Dominicans and Dominican Americans, their families, friends and supporters from the U.S. Latino diverse communities will join DANR, the National Dominican American Council, hundreds of local organizations and leaders on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for a massive national gathering to celebrate Dominican contribution, accomplishments and over fifty years of continuous presence in the United States of America.

 

This historic national gathering is slated to take place on Saturday, July 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM on the Washington Monument.

Organizers advise to make early transportation and lodging arrangements.

Those who prefer traveling in groups are encouraged to sign up for affordable bus ride to Washington, DC.  Reserve your bus round trip by sending an e-mail to [email protected].

The program will feature a comprehensive report about the State of Dominicans in the US, a wide variety of speakers, including scholars, dignitaries, leaders and students, special audio visual presentations, music and well-known entertainers.

To register visit www.danr.org or click here.

For more information contact 202-238-0097 or via e-mail at [email protected]

Lessons for Latinos from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today we pay tribute to a legendary human being who fought courageously for human rights in America.  Born in Georgia on January the 15th known to the world as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  He stood for non violent activism in the civil rights moment.  His courage in the face of violent racism changed the world.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a skillful orator who gave many eloquent and inspiring speeches.  The following is an excerpt of one of my favorite speeches.  In it Dr. King calls on his community to change the way they think of themselves. 

In a time when Latinos are persecuted and reputations attacked on a daily basis across all platforms of media his words are so relevant.  When media has so many potential paths to access our children's fragile developing minds I find his message of the utmost importance.  An industry which Latinos are still kept out of.

In an age where Latinos are kept separate to their own TV channels on Spanish stations owned by American media corporations it has given the segregator a false sense of superiority and it has left the segregated with a false sense of inferiority.

Dr. Kings words are a beautiful message to be considered thoughtfully.

 

"Believe in yourself.  Believe you are somebody. Nobody else can do this for us.  We must move into our inner soul and sign our own emancipation proclamation.   Be proud of your heritage.  We don't have anything to be ashamed of. Somebody told a lie one day and made everything Black ugly and evil … something degrading or sinister.  Let's get the language right so everyone here may cry out: 'Yes I'm black and I'm proud and beautiful'.

Thirty two years after Dr. King's passing equality for all people is long overdue.  Now is the time to end all discrimination.  As did Dr. King, I also have a dream that children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin nor the by country of their ancestors origin but by the content of their character. 

Change cannot happen until you make it happen.  Use your voice to let the world know who Latinos truly are.  Latinos are not one country but many.  Latinos did not arrive yesterday but have built this country for centuries.  No one else can accomplish this.  The Latino story must be told by Latinos using Latino words.  Use your voice.

Stop the Deportation of José Pedro Mejía

This is one deportation case where being humane should trump anything else. If you are not moved by this woman's story and her love of her husband, then this country is clearly in trouble. Please take a moment to click here and sign the petition. This one is special to us.

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

 

My hubby José Pedro Mejía (A# 087-042-687) and I have been married 11 years. Jose has been in the US for 13 years. He came here from his tiny village in Mexico, where he was mired in poverty and was unable to find work. Shortly after we were married I became ill and was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. November 2007 they determined that I had approximately 6 months to live – I needed a double-lung transplant. 

After agonizing back and forth with doctors about whether I qualified for the surgery, I was notified one morning that I was to be listed on the organ necessity list at about 9am. Three hours later the nurse informed me i was #1 on the list and to get to the hospital immediately, there was a match. January 9, 2008 I was transplanted. My recovery has been horrible. I take 30 meds a day. My sternum had to be broken for access to my lungs and has not healed. Through this all my husband has honored his promised "in sickness and in health." My husband makes sure I eat and take my meds. He cleans, cooks, does laundry and helps me bathe when necessary. I have blackout periods where I appear awake but have no memory of certain blocks of time. Without him to care for me I hate to think where I'd be. 

 

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

I offered to divorce him so he could find someone young and healthy like him. But his support has never wavered. But now, he could be taken away from me because of his immigration status. We have applied numerous times for an adjustment of his status, all denied. We filed an appeal June 2010. Also denied. Recently my husband received a notice to appear for a hearing at immigration court for removal proceedings. I'm doing all I can to keep him here. 

My husband is the perfect example of what the Morton memo describes as meeting prosecutorial discretion. For all they have put ME through, a US citizen, I want him to be approved legal permanent status and eventually we will work towards citizenship.

Please tell USCIS: stop the deportation of my husband and allow him to file for legal permanent residency. 

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

National GOP Group Calls on Rick Perry to Quit Race for President

 

This release was sent to us by Café Con Leche Republicans.
 

 For Immediate Release

1 December 2011

Marshall, Minnesota – Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has received the endorsement of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arpaio is already campaigning for Rick Perry.

Before this endorsement, Perry’s campaign was already flailing with support levels in single digits. The latest Gallup poll shows Perry in fifth place with just eight percent of likely Republican voters supporting Perry. We believe the Arpaio endorsement is a colossal blunder from which Rick Perry will never recover, and we call on Rick Perry to leave the presidential race.

Joe Arpaio is widely detested among Hispanics, and news stories about racial profiling, prisoner abuse, etc. are staples in the Hispanic media. For example, a pregnant immigrant was forced to give birth in shackles, and Arpaio is notorious for racial profiling and for his neighborhood sweeps of Hispanic neighborhoods. Most experts believe that the successful GOP nominee will need Hispanic support in the 40% range, as received by George Bush in 2004. Hispanics are now 16% of the U.S. population.

Obama has already stated: "We may just run clips of the Republican debates verbatim. We won't even comment on them, we'll just run those in a loop on Univision and Telemundo, and people can make up their own minds." With Rick Perry and Joe Arpaio planning to campaign together, Arpaio’s negative image among Hispanics will become Rick Perry’s negative image as well.

Obama received 67% of the Hispanic vote in the 2008 election. Despite Obama’s record as the “deporter-in-chief” who has utterly failed to honor his campaign promises on immigration reform, we foresee support for Obama at 2008 levels or better if the eventual GOP nominee is perceived as hostile towards immigrants. If Rick Perry were somehow able to revive his campaign and win the nomination, in the general election Obama need only tie Perry to Arpaio to insure continued Hispanic support.

Arpaio’s support in the GOP primaries may not even help Perry. Despite the perception that Republicans strongly support enforcement only solutions espoused by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, in reality Republicans are deeply divided over immigration strategy with a slight majority supporting reform. According to a recent PEW Research poll, a majority of Republicans “favor providing a way for illegal immigrants in the U.S. to gain citizenship, if they pass background checks, pay fines and have jobs.” Among three predominately GOP ideological groupings, “staunch conservatives” split 49%/49% on immigration reform, while “main street republicans” favor reform 58%/39%, and “Libertarians” favor reform 66%/32%.

A recent Univisión sponsored poll found that not only are Latinos alienated by anti-immigrant rhetoric, so are Americans in general. By hitching his star to Joe Arpaio, Rick Perry has effectively torpedoed his campaign, and we respectfully ask Rick Perry to exit the race as he cannot win against Obama. We believe it is critical that the GOP nominee be a credible candidate, not only among Republicans but the general electorate, in order to defeat Obama in the general election.

 

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About Us – Cafe Con Leche Republicans is a national organization of Republicans who welcome “New Americans”, defined as immigrants and descendants of recent immigrants who are going through the process of acculturation. Our mission is to make America and particularly the GOP, more welcoming to “New Immigrants” through political activism, “in-reach” and education within the Republican Party, and lobbying government to adopt more immigrant friendly policies. We also seek to bring more conservative and moderate “New Americans” to the Republican Party. This combination of efforts will strengthen the Republican Party, and lead more Republicans to embrace more welcoming policies for immigrants and their families. Cafe Con Leche Republicans has chapters in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.
 

President Obama on GOP Debates: “We’ll Just Run Those in a Loop on Univision and Telemundo”

In a roundtable session for selected members of the US Latino media this week, President Obama acknowledged that the current tone of recent GOP debates is helping the President's 2012 reelection bid.

As reported on Univision News, President Obama discussed how best he could win the Latino vote next year. Even with unprecendented support for his 2008 victory from US Latinos, the President has lost some of the Latino electoral love the last few years, especially in the area of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). President Obama had promised in 2008 that he would make CIR a top priority of his Administration. Currently, the idea of a new CIR law passing in Congress is but a pipe dream.

Add to the fact that current GOP candidates won't even mention CIR at the risk of being labeled a "Amnestyialist" and their immigration rhetoric has turned off many Latino voters who were seriously looking for an alternative to President Obama, it is clear that the US Latino vote is still very much up for grabs—so much so, that this growing group could be the difference maker in 2012.

“I don’t think it requires us to go negative in the sense of us running a bunch of ads that are false, or character assassinations,” Obama told Univision News. “It will be based on facts … We may just run clips of the Republican debates verbatim. We won’t even comment on them, we’ll just run those in a loop on Univision and Telemundo, and people can make up their own minds.”

Obama's comments seem a bit strange to us, since it speaks to a lack of understanding of the complex US Latino vote. The President showed a little lack of education when it comes to US Latinos, so we would like to offer him a few points:

  • Latinos actually watch other channels besides Univision and Telemundo. They actually watch English-language shows and read English-language newspapers, too. In fact, you would think the President would kind of gotten that, given the fact that Univision News is Univision's English-language news site.
  • Replace "Univision and Telemundo" with "BET" and replace Obama with, well, any GOP candidate. Do you think a comment like that would not have been pounced upon by the mainstream media for its suggestion of being stereotypical and insensitive? Why does the President not face the same criticism?

So, Mr. President, we understand what you were trying to say, but the next time, remember that of the estimated 54 million US Latinos, not all of us speak Spanish, not all of us are bilingual, and not all of us speak English. It might be better to remind yourself that the US Latino is complex and not monolithic. Kind of like the rest of the United States.