Latino advocacy group Somos Republicans is calling on GOP Senators to support the youth-immigrant DREAM Act when it comes up for vote Thursday and warns lawmakers that voting against the bill will have electoral consequences. The group points out that Florida’s Cuban population led the charge to defeat Al Gore in 2000 based on what they saw as his mishandling of the flashpoint Elian Gonzalez affair that year. The group writes that the DREAM Act is a similarly defining issue for Latino voters.
“As one of the most prominent and largest Hispanic Republican organizations in the nation, we are left with no choice but to answer to our base by keeping track of every single political vote that is viewed as friendly or un-friendly to Hispanics…” the group said in a release. “Like the Cubans during 2000, our Political Action Committee will actively work against 2012 political candidates who are un-friendly to our community.”
The DREAM Act passed in the House of Representatives Wednesday on a close vote. The Act would grant citizenship to undocumented youth raised in the U.S. provided they attend university and/or serve in the military. The bill has been broken off from larger immigration reform efforts because it is seen as less controversial and began its life as a Republican proposal. Defense leaders support the bill but heated immigration politics this year have led GOP leaders to back away and seek to postpone action on the bill.
The full Somos Republicans release:
Phoenix, AZ – Hispanic Republicans would like to thank President Obama for supporting the Bush Tax cuts, however, we believe President Obama should have negotiated DREAM Act support along with the those cuts. We were also glad to see strong Republican support for the cuts when they told Democrats “they would not go forward with any legislative item until Obama supported the tax cuts…” Now that Obama has stated his support, we would like to see the GOP Senate leaders move forward in support of the DREAM Act.
Of great importance, we witnessed every single Congressional Cuban Republican vote in support of the DREAM Act; in fact, they all spoke in favor of it on the floor. We are deeply indebted to them, and the Hispanic community will forever remember their actions. Not long ago, the entire Hispanic community was with the Cuban community in spirit when the battle of Elian Gonzalez drove Cuban Americans back to the Republican Party in Florida. Within one decade we have watched some in the GOP transform on the issue of children, families, immigration and deportation. In 1996, Bill Clinton and Al Gore won Florida, however, during the 2000 Presidential Election, the Cuban American National Foundation said they would actively work against Gore because of his badly chosen handling of Elian’s deportation that eventually cost him the elections.
Thanks to the Cuban Republicans who showed strong support of the DREAM Act, there is hope in Florida. Unfortunately, we fear a political shifting and repositioning of the entire Southwest and some Midwestern states if GOP Senators will not take heed to issues that are very important to Hispanics. We know that Senators LeMieux, Hutchison, Kyl, Ensign and Hatch are all up for 2012 elections.
It is now up to the GOP Senators to save the Southwest and prevent it from further political shifting. As one of the most prominent and largest Hispanic Republican organizations in the nation, we are left with no choice but to answer to our base by keeping track of every single political vote that is viewed as friendly or un-friendly to Hispanics – especially with regard to our related youth who should not be punished for the sins of their mother or father. Like the Cubans during 2000, our Political Action Committee will actively work against 2012 political candidates who are un-friendly to our community.
Remember the Elian Gonzalez incident of 2000!
Remember the deported Hispanic child that cost Mr. Gore the Presidential elections!