Too Bad It’s All Smoke and Mirrors
There was magic at the recent Republican and Democratic National conventions. But don’t get too excited, it was just an act.
If you watched, you might have been tempted to think Latinos had, at long last, arrived politically. After all, both Florida Senator Marco Rubio and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro were foregrounded as primetime speakers.
They may well be the future of their parties — Rubio, the Cuban-American Republican, is 41; Castro, the Mexican-American Democrat, 37. In their speeches — hyped relentlessly before and after the fact — they drew on stories of their immigrant families. They spoke lovingly about grandparents who overcame great difficulties to come to an America full of possibilities. They spoke of parents who taught them about hard work and perseverance and responsibility. There was real magic in their words and stories, and their ability to reach right through the television screen and make you believe.
This is the reality of the magic act we saw: both parties are trying to claim the hearts of Latino voters.
This is the deception behind the magic: both parties are breaking Latino hearts when it comes to immigration.
The Republican Party’s platform makes no pretense of reflecting the immigration views of the majority of Latino citizens across the nation. Quite the contrary, it baldly proposes to:
• Authorize indefinite detentions by DHS
• Mandatory use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (S.A.V.E.) program
• Use of the deeply flawed E-verify program
• Encourage self-deportation
• Strengthen 287g initiatives to engage local police in immigration enforcement
• Deny funding to universities that allow DREAM-Act eligible students to pay in-state tuition
• Fine or deny funding to Santuary cities
• Finish wall along border
• Dismiss Department of Justice suits blocking anti-immigrant laws in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina
• Make English as the official language
About the only proposal in the GOP immigration plank that doesn’t involve some punitive action is the proposed institution of a guest worker program.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party platform, while much more positive, engages in some misdirection.
• DHS “is prioritizing the deportation of criminals who endanger our communities over the deportation of immigrants who do not pose a threat.” Actually, not. Or, at least, not effectively. Noncriminal mothers and fathers of citizen children are still routinely picked up, detained and deported. And Latinos cannot ignore that President Barack Obama, despite his pretty language, has a deportation rate roughly double that of his Republican predecessor.
• “President Obama and the Democrats fought for the DREAM Act legislation.” Well, not so fast. The DREAM-Act came to a vote in a Democratic majority Congress. And failed in the Senate because, in fact, a number of Democrats voted against it.
• The Deferred Action for DREAM-Act eligible students is mentioned in past tense in the platform because, hey, it’s all of half a month old. Little. Late. Not an executive order — which could have been issued at any time during the past four years.
Magic acts are showy. They have handsome and skillfull frontmen. But despite all the Latino faces behind the podium, when it comes to Latinos, neither political party gave us anything real to cheer about.
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