Immigration

DeMint: Democrats Want Immigration Reform to Recruit 'New Voters and Union Members'

Former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, the incoming president of the Heritage Foundation, spoke with Janet Mefferd yesterday about immigration reform and the future of the GOP.

DeMint was unhappy with President Obama’s immigration proposal and the bipartisan framework presented this week in the Senate, both of which include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Democrats, he claimed, “are much more interested in new voters and union members than they are in fixing the system and honoring our heritage of immigration.”

Unfortunately, and I’ve worked with the folks who are advocating for this for a number of years and it appears the Democrats are much more interested in new voters and union members than they are in fixing the system and honoring our heritage of immigration. I don’t think we can help our naturalized American citizens by tearing down those things that create the opportunity in our country, and border sovereignty, rule of law, those things create the freedom and opportunity that immigrants come here for. And if we change the things that make us successful then we hurt the very people that we’re saying we want to help. So this is an irrational approach in my mind. I know there’s some people involved with this who want to do the right thing and solve the problem. But I’m afraid the people driving this, like the president, are just more interested in the citizenship track than they really are fixing our system.

DeMint, the architect of the 2010 Tea Party takeover, also denied that the GOP needs to moderate its positions to appeal to more voters after its drubbing among women, young people, African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans in 2012. “We’re just not telling our story well and we’re not doing a good job of showing the victims of progressive liberal policies,” DeMint said. “And there are a lot of them around the country and minorities are the biggest victims of these policies.”

We have ideas that we want people to embrace because those ideas make our country better and lives better for Americans. So it’s easier for Obama, who just finds out what people want to hear and he tells them that. He doesn’t have to deliver any particular policy or laws. We do. But we have success stories all over. We have fantastic job creation where energy is being developed in states. We have job creation where you have freedom in the workplace not to join a union, that’s why Boeing is in South Carolina. We’re just not telling our story well and we’re not doing a good job of showing the victims of progressive liberal policies. And there are a lot of them around the country and minorities are the biggest victims of these policies. I’d say Republicans have done a miserable job of communicating. And that’s why I left the Senate. We need to take our message directly to the American people and make those ideas so winsome that candidates have to embrace them.
 

PFAW Applauds President’s Inclusion of LGBT Families in Immigration Reform Proposal

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today applauded President Obama’s proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, which includes equal rights for same-sex couples.

“The president has proposed a common-sense and necessary approach to immigration reform, which includes protections for LGBT families,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Any effective immigration reform must include equal rights for LGBT people. Our immigration policies must place a priority on keeping families together, including LGBT families. Too many bi-national, same-sex couples have seen their families torn apart by a federal government that refuses to recognize their relationships. That policy runs counter to our values and weakens us as a nation.”

“We are glad that President Obama recognizes the need to protect LGBT families,” added Keegan. “We will fight to make sure that all families are recognized in the final law.”

Yesterday, PFAW called a bipartisan immigration proposal from Senate, which includes a path to citizenship, "an important step in the right direction."
 

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PFAW: Senate Immigration Framework an Important Step in the Right Direction

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way praised the bipartisan immigration reform framework presented today in the Senate, which includes a path toward citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“This bipartisan framework is a hugely important step toward reforming our immigration system in a way that reflects our values and also bolsters our economy,” said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way. “For too long, extreme voices on the Right have kept us from meaningful, necessary immigration reform. The framework presented today rightly includes a path to citizenship, recognizing and enhancing the contributions of millions of American workers.”

“This framework sets the right course for meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform,” added Keegan. “We must make sure that as the details of the bill are filled in, that its original purpose and values are preserved. There will be extremist voices attempting to stop or dilute these reforms at every turn. We must remain vigilant to ensure that we achieve common-sense, constructive reform.”

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African American Ministers in Action Praise Inclusion of Path to Citizenship in Bipartisan Senate Immigration Proposal

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action today praised the bipartisan immigration framework unveiled today in the Senate, which includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and their children.

“For too long, inadequate and inhumane immigration laws have hurt our immigrants and held all Americans back,” said Reverend Timothy F. McDonald, III, chairman of African American Ministers in Action. “Today’s proposal is an important step forward as we strive for an immigration system that helps our country thrive while treating all people with humanity and respect. Our brothers and sisters who come to this country for a better life – from Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean and around the world – are as deserving of the opportunity for full citizenship as any of the millions of men, women and children who have come to this country throughout our history.  We join others in the faith and progressive communities in expressing our thankfulness to lawmakers of both parties who are keeping this basic principle in mind as they strengthen our immigration laws.”

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Gheen: 'Obama is Arming Illegal Aliens'

William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC today issued a press release warning that President Obama is “eager to act as a dictator” in his attempt “to destroy ‘gun equality’ for American citizens.” He also lashed out at voters for electing a “dictator who is arming illegal alien insurgents” and who wants to “reward them with Amnesty while attempting to disarm American citizens.” Gheen previously maintained that Obama is stoking a “conflict with White America” that may require an “illegal and violent” response and floated the idea of the “military coming in or somebody just coming in taking [Obama] into some form of arrest.”

"There's only one group of guns in America that Barack Obama should be working to take off the streets and they are the Fast and Furious Gunwalker scandal guns that his administration used multiple federal agencies to buy for Mexican gangs," said William Gheen, President of ALIPAC. "Obama's Fast and Furious assault rifles are currently pointed at American citizens and law enforcement that would dare to stand against the importation of addictive drugs and illegal aliens."

ALIPAC is sounding the alarm because Obama is arming illegal aliens and moving to reward them with Amnesty while attempting to disarm American citizens. Obama is targeting American Defense Rifles in order to destroy "gun equality" for American citizens.



Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is greatly concerned that the Obama administration is currently pushing to institute Amnesty for illegal aliens using unconstitutional dictates instead of legislation though [sic] Congress after being caught arming murderous illegal alien gangs and attempting to disarm Americans!

"As Americans we would be utter fools to allow ourselves to be deprived of gun rights and gun equality with gangs and government by an elected dictator who is arming illegal alien insurgents," said William Gheen. "It is improper for any president to seek to infringe upon any American Constitutional rights, but especially so for a president eager to act as a dictator. Obama is arming illegal aliens and moving to reward them with Amnesty while attempting to disarm American citizens."

William Gheen Exposes Immigrant Plot to Collapse Economy, Break America Apart

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC president William Gheen stopped by Crosstalk on VCY America yesterday where he warned that undocumented immigrants are playing the long game in their supposed plan to destabilize the U.S. The anti-immigrant zealot maintained that undocumented immigrants want voting rights so they can form a powerful voting bloc that displaces conservative voters and forces taxpayers “to pay reparations” to them. Gheen predicts that such reparations are designed to bring about an economic collapse, which he says is all according to their plan to “become more separatist and say, ‘well we need to have these lands in the Southwest back’” and realize the Reconquista.

If they lift the current penalties against illegal immigrants, allowing them to stay even if Congress does not convey full citizenship rights, that will immediately become the next battle. They will get the voting rights and they will have enough—a new illegal alien voting bloc in this country, millions strong. You will have the Democrats, the Republicans and the illegal aliens, and they are going to probably displace somewhere around 6-9 million American conservative or center-right voters that will no longer matter in American politics. They will have enough people to do whatever they want, if they want higher taxes for you to pay reparations.

We believe there are three phases. The legalization phase, which we’re fighting against now, if we lose that battle the illegal immigrants and their supporters will move to the reparations phase, where they will demand every—they’re already receiving over 57 percent of the illegal immigrants from Mexico in the country are already receiving some form of welfare according to the Center for Immigration Studies—so then they’ll try to milk the system for everything that they feel they’re owed. Then once the United States government finally stops printing money or it collapses or whatever the end game may be to this financial fiasco that we’re witnessing on a weekly basis, then we think they’ll become more separatist and say, ‘well we need to have these lands in the Southwest back.’

He also asserted that the left will want President Obama to stay in office indefinitely: “We know very clearly that there is a cult of support out there for Obama that treats him like a deity, treats him like a black Jesus,” Gheen claimed. “They’re basically trying to get him to where he’s in office for forever more until the emperor wants to leave.

Gheen, who has floated the possibility of violence and even a coup to “remove [Obama] from office,” later told a caller that he recommends that people purchase a gun to defend themselves from immigrants…but “to stay cool here because the Department of Homeland Security would love to have an excuse for Janet Napolitano and Obama to do their thing on a larger scale.”

Caller: I tell you what, with the federal government lying to us constantly like this, is it any wonder that people are arming themselves en masse?

Gheen: Well that’s approaching a line that we don’t deal with, we basically deal with the lobbying and the elections but we have to acknowledge the frustration at this point. You know, we’re asking people to continue working in elections, continue lobbying Congress, continue to use the civic, civil, peaceful processes here, but we know that people are getting fed up out there because they’ve seen all of those systems corrupted to a point where they’re not working. Congress is getting asked to rubberstamp things that have already be done and from what we can tell what Obama’s doing is not very much different than what John McCain or George Bush would’ve done. So we’ve got a situation where the American people are feeling very cornered and un-empowered. I would just caution everybody to stay cool here because the Department of Homeland Security would love to have an excuse for Janet Napolitano and Obama to do their thing on a larger scale. So we’ve got to keep it politically focused, keep it civic minded. And what people need to do to take care and protect their own family and friends, especially since illegal immigrants with criminal records are being allowed to roam freely around the country harming our citizens, within the law I’ve actually come to the point where I’ve told people, if you’re law-abiding, if you’re one of the good people, I support gun ownership and now would be a good time to own one if you don’t already.

How Not to Lobby Legislators on Immigration

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) is urging activists to contact members of the Illinois State Senate to oppose legislation that will allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. But ALIPAC’s strategy may not be the best, as it is telling members to “yell” at Illinois officials and begin “asking them if they have lost their minds.” “Be careful with your wording and be prepared for a liberal illegal alien supporter to claim you were too threatening,” the group noted. Maybe this isn’t so much a surprise from a group whose head floated the possibility of armed revolution and an anti-Obama coup.

You need to yell at these politicians today before they do something stupid The Illinois State Senate is poised to pass a bill granting a new form of drivers' licenses to approximately 250,000 illegal aliens!

77% of American adults are opposed to making drivers' licenses available to people who are in the country illegally, according to Rasmussen polls conducted in November of 2007. A local group called Safer Families Coalition is protesting at the Illinois legislature today against this bill and they need our support.

Regular calls are not enough. We need you to make emphatic calls, raise your voice a little, don't go over the top, but start calling as many of these numbers and asking them if they have lost their minds. Call as many as you can to make a big impact today!

Sample messages

"Have Illinois state lawmakers lost their minds? Why in the world would you even be considering a bill that does something 77% of Americans oppose like giving aid and licenses to illegal aliens? Why are you focused on helping illegal aliens instead of helping the Americans you are supposed to serve?"

"I just read that you are considering a bill to give licenses to illegal aliens, is that true? I want to know if Senator _________ supports giving licenses to illegal aliens to help them work jobs it is illegal for them to steal from Americans? What other taxpayer benefits for illegal aliens does Senator _____ support? Is Senator _____ aware that three out of four of his/her constituents oppose licenses for illegal aliens?"

We need to really let them have it today. By this afternoon, we need the Illinois Senate offices grumbling and complaining about the large volume of angry calls they received opposing licenses for illegal aliens.

Be careful with your wording and be prepared for a liberal illegal alien supporter to claim you were too threatening.

UPDATE: Apparently all that yelling did not work, as the State Senate approved the measure by a 41-14 vote, making ALIPAC even angrier:

GOP lawmakers in Illinois caved. The biased media and Associated Press are using two major lies to advance the invasion. They are making the false claim that most Americans support a path to citizenship for illegals to justify giving illegals licenses. We know from accurate polling data that at least 66% of Americans wisely oppose a path to citizenship for illegals and more than 77% oppose licenses for illegal aliens.

The other thing that is allowing the invasion to succeed is American apathy and those who failed to take just a few minutes to call the Illinois Senate yesterday despite the best efforts of those of us who were fighting contributed to the loss.

We need all of you to pick up the nearest phone RIGHT NOW and click on this link to pull up the contact numbers for the IL State House...

Make a commitment to call a minimum of 5 numbers at random. Call more if you can spare the time.

Call and tell staff or leave voice messages modeled after our sample message....

"I just heard the ridiculous news that the IL Senate is trying to give licenses to illegal aliens even though 77% of your constituents oppose such a measure. Please argue against and defeat this bill to give licenses to illegal aliens. Giving licenses to illegal aliens will help them to break other laws, take American jobs, take taxpayer resources all to remain in the US unlawfully. Don't let Illinois become the first state in America to grant licenses to illegal aliens when 46 other states have all acted to STOP illegals from getting licenses!"

Steve King: Democrats will Never Lose the Hispanic Vote because they Promise Immigrants a 'Great Big Check'

Steve King stopped by The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday where he dismissed claims that a major reason Mitt Romney lost is due to his lopsided defeat among Latinos. According to King, it wasn’t that Romney did a poor job in winning over Latino voters; it’s that he wasn’t able to turn out enough conservatives to the polls.

King: John McCain got 31 percent of the Hispanic vote and Mitt Romney got 27 percent, so it dropped off four points between McCain and Romney. Romney didn’t reach the low water point; the low water point was 1996 with Bob Dole who got only 21 percent of the Hispanic vote. So when you look at the balance of this and you think, why didn’t Mitt Romney win the election? There are a whole number of other things. A lot of Republicans and conservatives didn’t turn out. Just plain constitutional conservative were not motivated in numbers as one would’ve expected, even compared to the McCain race.

So King thinks that Romney lost because dedicated conservatives didn’t bother to show up in a presidential election in which right-wing leaders put anti-Obama hysteria into overdrive and warned that Obama’s re-election will literally destroy America?

Let’s see.

According to exit polls from this election, 35 percent of voters identified themselves as conservatives. That number was 34 percent in 2008 and in 2004. While the percentage of self-described conservatives who turn out for presidential elections is rather stable, Latinos have steadily increased their share of the electorate as their population continues to grow.

King and Mefferd later agreed that working on immigration reform with Democrats is pointless as it won’t help the GOP win any votes because, in King’s words, “Democrats will find a way to hand deliver citizenship papers along with a great big check.”

Mefferd: How in the world do you out-left the left anyway? If we go to the left on amnesty, do you think the Democrats are going to sit still and just go ‘oh I guess that they’re more caring than we are’? It’s a zero-sum game. I don’t know how in the world the Republicans expect to get votes when the Democrats are already farther along than we are.

King: There’s no possible way. Whatever we might say we are going to do, reduce the enforcement of the rule of law, waive the rule of law, Democrats will find a way to hand deliver citizenship papers along with a great big check from money borrowed from the Chinese.

If King really thinks it is best for the GOP to maintain their hard line stance against immigration, he may want to ask his fellow Republicans in California how that worked out for them.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Supports LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform

CHC says that it will “protec[t] the unity and sanctity of the family, including the families of bi-national, same-sex couples, by reducing the family backlogs and keeping spouses, parents, and children together.”
PFAW

Fischer: 'If the Republican Party Comes Down for Amnesty, It's Done'

Last week, Bryan Fischer said that Republicans need to "clamp down" on immigration because Hispanics are "are socialists by nature" and tend to vote Democratic. But as leading voices in the Republican Party and conservative movement continue to work to soften the GOP's traditionally hardline approach to the issue of immigration, Fischer is warning that how the party comes down on this issue will determine whether it survives because "if the Republican Party comes down for amnesty, it's done":  

Is That Bryan Fischer or Mitt Romney?

Earlier this week, PFAW’s Right Wing Watch caught this rant by American Family spokesman and all-purpose bigot Bryan Fischer, who declared on his radio program that American Latinos voted Democratic in record numbers this year because “they want big government goodies.”

 Hispanics are not Democrats, don’t vote Democrat, because of immigration. That’s not the main reason why they vote for Democrats. It doesn’t have anything to do with lax immigration policy. It has to do with the fact that they are socialists by nature. They come from Mexico, which is a socialist country. They want big government intervention. They want big government goodies. It’s primarily about that.

Now, they want open borders, make no mistake, because they’ve got family and friends that they want to come up and be able to benefit from the plunder of the wealth of the United States just as they have been willing to do. Republicans can pander all they want to Hispanics, to immigrants, and it will not work. There is no way on Earth you’re going to get them to leave the Democratic party, it’s one reason we’ve got to clamp down on immigration.

Fischer’s racist diatribe echoes generations of right-wing innuendo about “handouts” for minorities. It also, as it happens, lines up pretty closely with the worldview of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. In a call with donors today, Romney blamed his presidential loss on the “gifts” President Obama offered to African Americans, Latinos, women and young people. What “gifts” did he mean? Universal health care, contraception coverage, college loans and the DREAM Act.

The New York Times reported on the call:

A week after losing the presidential election to President Obama, Mitt Romney blamed his overwhelming electoral loss on what he said were big “gifts” that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies — including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.

In a conference call on Wednesday afternoon with his national finance committee, Mr. Romney said that the president had followed the “old playbook” of wooing specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people,” Mr. Romney explained — with targeted gifts and initiatives.

“In each case they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said.

“With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift,” he said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.”

….

“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge,” he said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”

Sure, Bryan Fischer is more willing than Mitt Romney to say outright racist things. But the content of what they’re saying is pretty much the same. Bill O’Reilly put it even more clearly when he opined that “traditional America” was being lost to people of color who “want stuff.”

I have to guess this is not going to be the way for Republicans to win back non-white voters, women and young people, all of whom have been fleeing their party in droves.

PFAW

Fischer: We've Got to 'Clamp Down on Immigration' Because 'Socialist' Hispanics Vote Democratic

In the wake of last week's devastating election losses, Republican leaders and conservative activists are beginning to rethink the party's traditional hardline stance on the issue of immigration.  Sensing that the GOP can no longer win national elections by just appealing to white male voters, conservative leaders have started to suggest that taking a more moderate stance on immigration might help the party make inroads with Latino voters ... but Bryan Fischer is having none of it. 

On Friday's program, Fischer said that America never had a problem with immigration when the bulk of the immigrants came from Europe because they shared our heritage, values, and worldview. But recently, most immigration has been coming from non-European third-world countries where people do not possess the Protestant Work Ethic and expect the government to take care of them. 

In fact, said Fischer, Hispanics do not vote Democratic because of the issue of immigration but rather because "they are socialists by nature" who want open borders simply so that they can bring in their families to "benefit from the plunder of the wealth of the United States."  

As Fischer sees it, there is nothing the Republican can do to ever woo Hispanics away from the Democratic Party ... and that is "one of the reasons why we've got to clamp down on immigration": 

Election Is Mandate for Policies Grounded in Progressive American Values

The American people have made their choice -- a resounding victory for President Obama and Vice President Biden and a mandate for their policy agenda.
PFAW

Memo: PFAW and the Latino Vote

To: Interested Parties
From: Michael Keegan, President, People For the American Way
Date: November 7, 2012
Re: PFAW and the Latino Vote

It was always clear that Latino voters would be a crucial voting bloc in this year’s campaign. Yet many pundits, analysts and Republican politicians continually downplayed and undersold the potential impact of Latino voters using a variety of excuses: turnout will be low; Latinos will come around to Republican ideas on job creation; Latinos weren't paying attention to the Republican primary debates; maybe right-wing social issues might somehow become appealing by November. While we’re still poring over the election returns, it’s clear that, if anything, the impact of Latino voters’ support for progressive candidates exceeded almost everyone's expectations.

With an eye towards expanding the progressive base as well as immediate electoral impact, this year People For the American Way undertook a first of its kind, comprehensive plan to get out the vote and communicate with Latino voters in six key swing states about Mitt Romney’s dangerous agenda, as well as the GOP’s extreme and offensive rhetoric about the Latino community. With a combination of Spanish language television ads, Spanish language radio ads, internet ads and direct mail in both English and Spanish (see links below), we reached out to voters in two states with large Latino populations--Nevada and Colorado--as well as four other states where rapid population growth has put Latinos in a position to play kingmaker in a close race--Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Virginia.

These states represented crucial battlegrounds in the presidential election and in some cases (Ohio, Nevada, Wisconsin and Virginia) were also home to important Senate races.

The results were easy to see. In Colorado, where PFAW’s program had a significant footprint, 74% of Latinos supported the President, compared to only 61% four years ago. That increase offset a sizable decline in support from Anglo voters. Nationwide, Latino turnout also increased, with important increases in key states like Nevada, where the Latino share of the electorate increased four points—with a 45 point margin, 69 to 24%, for President Obama.

In states with smaller Latino populations, Latinos routinely delivered lopsided support to the President. In Virginia, the President won the Latino vote by 32 points (64-33%), in North Carolina by 31 (65-34%), and in Wisconsin by 37 (67-30%). In Virginia and Wisconsin in particular, Latino support also propelled Democratic Senate Candidates to victory—Tammy Baldwin won Latinos by 29 points (63-34%) while Tim Kaine won by 24 (62-38%).

The impact of the Latino vote, however, can’t be measured only in the results it yields in a single election, and history has shown that when Republicans alienate Latino voters they suffer the consequences for years. In 1994, California Governor Pete Wilson hitched his reelection campaign to the controversial, anti-immigrant Proposition 187. His gambit was successful in the short term—the governor was reelected and the initiative passed—but disastrous in the long run. By demonizing Latinos repeatedly on the campaign trail, Wilson permanently alienated the state’s fastest growing group. Since that time, Republicans have been rendered for the foreseeable future a permanent minority party in the state. In 1996 the first election after 187, Bill Clinton became the first Democratic presidential nominee in decades to win a clear majority in the state, and since then no other Democratic nominee has failed to do the same. Wilson’s exploitation effectively destroyed the GOP’s future in California.

In many key swing states, the Latino population is growing at a stunning pace, turning GOP bastions into swing states and swing states eventually into solid blue states. In Virginia, for instance, Latinos currently account for 7.9% of the population but have grown 91% in the last decade. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that in 2008 Virginia supported a Democrat for President for the first time since 1964 and did the same yesterday. In Wisconsin, Latinos account for 5.9% of the population, but have grown 74% in the same period. Perhaps most impressively, Latinos make up 8.4% of North Carolina’s population, but have grown a stunning 111% in ten years. None of these trends are likely to slow any time soon. If Latino power is the leading demographic story of 2012, it’s only a precursor to the impacts the nation will see in four, eight or twelve years.

This doesn’t bode well for Republican candidates in the future, nor can the GOP sidestep this challenge simply by toning down the rhetoric, focusing on social issues they hope will divide or reversing the party’s rigid opposition to meaningful immigration reform. It’s clear that the Republican dogma that any government action constitutes a giveaway that need to be eliminated runs counter to many of the concerns of the Latino community.

Until Republicans rethink their approach to government from the ground up and overcome their temptation to demonize Latinos and immigrants for short term gain, this toxic mix will lead the GOP to many future deserved defeats at the polls.

You can see samples of PFAW’s work below.


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People For the American Way Expands Latino Vote Campaign, Buying More Air Time in Colorado

Washington, DC – People For the American Way today expanded its Spanish-language TV ad buy in Colorado, where Latino voters could determine the outcome of the presidential election. PFAW’s Spanish-language buy in Colorado now exceeds that of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS. The ads in Colorado are part of a six-state, $1.5 million campaign to remind Latino voters of Mitt Romney's positions and the damage a Mitt Romney presidency could do.

“Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have said that this election hinges on Latino voters,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Nowhere is that more true than in Colorado. Latino voters understand that Mitt Romney is catering to the anti-Latino far right, while President Obama offers real solutions. We’re committed to reminding Latino voters of the dangers of a Romney presidency.”

Also this week, PFAW launched its fourth Spanish-language TV ad. The new ad, “Not For Us,” can be viewed here.

Keegan further explained the strategy behind PFAW’s campaign in the Huffington Post this week.

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The GOP Pays the Big Price for Bashing Latinos

 

Losing the Latino vote "spells doom for us." - Mitt Romney, April 15, 2012

"Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community." - President Obama, October 26, 201 2

At last, bipartisan agreement! You don't need a degree in political science to know this: demonizing and alienating the fastest-growing group in the country is no way to build long-term political success. Pair that with the fact that demonizing any group of Americans is un-American and just plain wrong. But in recent years, Republicans, and especially party standard-bearer Mitt Romney, just haven't been able to help themselves. In an effort to win over a shrinking and increasingly extreme base, Romney and team have sold their souls to get the Republican presidential nomination. And they went so far to do it that even their famous etch-a-sketch won't be able to erase their positions.

As Mitt Romney knows, the slipping support of the GOP among Latinos is no mystery. We've seen this movie before, in 1994, when Republican California Gov. Pete Wilson pushed anti-immigrant smears to promote California's anti-immigrant Prop 187 which in turn buoyed his own tough re-election campaign. It worked in the short term - both the ballot measure and Gov. Wilson won handily - but what a long term price to pay as California became solidly blue for the foreseeable future.

We're now seeing what happened in California at a national scale. Harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric helped Romney win the Republican primary. But in the general election, it may well be his downfall.

In case you tuned out Romney's appeals to the anti-immigrant Right during the primaries, here's a quick recap. He ran ads specifically criticizing Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court justice. He says he'd veto the DREAM Act , a rare immigration provision with overwhelming bipartisan support. He took on anti-immigrant leader Kris Kobach, architect of the draconian anti-immigrant measures in Arizona and Alabama as an adviser , then said his immigration plan was to force undocumented immigrants to"self-deport." He even endorsed Iowa Rep. Steve King, who suggested building an electric fence at the Mexican border, comparing immigrants to "livestock" and "dogs." Romney's new attempts to appeal to Latino voters are clearly empty - he's already promised the Right that he will use their anti-immigrant rhetoric whenever it's convenient and shut down any reasonable attempts at immigration reform.

If President Obama wins reelection, however, we have a real chance for real immigration reform. He told the Des Moines Register last week that if reelected he will work to achieve immigration reform next year. Beyond incremental steps like his institution of part of the DREAM Act by executive order, real comprehensive immigration reform would finally ease the uncertainty of millions of immigrants and the businesses that hire them. It's something that George W. Bush and John McCain wanted before it was thwarted by extremists in their own party. It's something that Mitt Romney clearly won't even try.

If President Obama wins, and especially when he wins with the help of Latino voters turned off by the GOP's anti-immigrant politics, he will have a strong mandate to create clear and lasting immigration reform. And Republicans will have to think twice before hitching their futures on the politics of demonization and exclusion. Whereas George W. Bush won 44 percent of the Latino vote in 2004 and John McCain 31 percent in 2008, Mitt Romney is polling at just 21 percent among Latinos. That's no coincidence.

My group, People For the American Way, has been working to make sure that the GOP's anti-Latino policies and rhetoric are front and center during the presidential election. We're running a comprehensive campaign aimed at the large Latino populations in Nevada and Colorado and the rapidly growing Latino populations in Iowa, Wisconsin, Virginia, and North Carolina. In each of those states, we're strategically targeting Latino voters with TV and radio ads, direct mail, internet ads and phone banking to make sure they hear the GOP's message about their community. In Colorado, we're going up against Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS , which knows just as well as Romney that the loss of Latino voters "spells doom" for Republicans. In all of these states, higher turnout among Latinos motivated by Mitt Romney's attacks could swing critical electoral votes.

This is a battle where the right thing to do and the politically smart thing to do are one and the same. Republicans have embraced racially-charged attacks against Latinos, pushing English-only laws,attempting to legalize racial profiling by immigration enforcement, dehumanizing immigrants, and even attacking the first Latina Supreme Court justice for talking about her heritage. They deserve to lose the votes of Latinos and others for it. This presidential election is a choice between right-wing scare tactics-- the last resort of those fighting to return to an imaginary America of the past-- and policies that embrace and celebrate our growing Latino population as an integral part of what is the real America.

This post originally appeared at the Huffington Post.

PFAW

People For the American Way Expands Latino Vote Campaign to Colorado

Washington, DC -- With a week to go before Election Day, People For the American Way has announced that it is expanding its national Latino voter campaign to run Spanish-language TV ads in Colorado, where the presidential race remains tight and the votes of Latinos will be critical. PFAW's message will counter that of Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, which recently began running Spanish-language TV ads in Colorado. 

"Karl Rove is telling lies to Latinos in Colorado, trying to hide Mitt Romney's extreme anti-immigrant record," said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. "We're making sure Latino voters in Colorado know the truth about Mitt Romney. He said he would veto the DREAM Act, if given the chance. His immigration plan is to copy the extreme anti-immigrant policies of Arizona and Alabama, attempting to force undocumented immigrants to 'self-deport.' He has embraced his party's anti-immigrant extremists, taking on Kris Kobach as an adviser. Romney's plans aren't real solutions -- they are dangerous gifts to the anti-immigrant Right."

The PFAW ad running in Colorado, "DREAM Act," can be viewed here.

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PFAW Ad Campaign Reaches out to Latino Voters

This week, the White House made public President Obama’s endorsement interview with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board. In the interview, the president is frank about what he thinks could be the deciding factor in this election – the votes of Latinos:

The second thing I’m confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform. And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon. George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they’re going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it’s the right thing to do and I've cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008.

The president is right that as the United States’ Latino population has grown in recent years, the GOP has increasingly pushed Latinos aside. While John McCain and George W. Bush both to some extent supported bipartisan efforts at comprehensive immigration reform, Mitt Romney has embraced some of his party’s most extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. He touted the endorsement of Kris Kobach, the man behind draconian anti-immigrant measures in Arizona and Alabama, then took Kobach on as an adviser. He said he would veto the DREAM Act if it were to be passed by Congress. He says his immigration strategy is to make the lives of immigrants so miserable that they are forced to “self-deport.” He endorsed Steve King, the Iowa congressman who has compared immigrants to “cattle” and “dogs.”

Unsurprisingly, Latino voters haven’t been responding well to Romney’s record. Bush won 40 percent of the Latino vote in 2004, and McCain won 31 percent in 2008. Romney is currently polling at 20 -25 percent among Latinos.

Earlier this month People For the American Way launched a 5-week, $1.2 million campaign to remind Latino voters about Mitt Romney’s policies. We’re running TV ads in four states (Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia and Nevada), radio ads in five (with the addition of North Carolina), and operating a direct mail program. Here are the three of the TV ads that we’ve run so far. English translations are available in the description of each video on YouTube.

“Somos El 47%”
 

“DREAM Act”
 

“Taxes”
 

UPDATE: On October 29, we expanded the campaign to Colorado.

PFAW

Anti-Immigrant Leader Kris Kobach Levels Dishonest Attacks on Obama Immigration Directive

Kansas Secretary of State and SB 1070 architect Kris Kobach spoke to Janet Mefferd today about a new lawsuit contesting the recent executive order blocking deportation of some younger undocumented immigrants. According to the executive order, young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children can apply for “deferred action,” giving them protection from deportation, as long as they have no criminal background and either have served in the military or received a high school diploma or GED. Kobach told Mefferd that the “shocking” decision has no precedent.

However, this is not the first time prosecutorial discretion has been used in immigration cases. As the Immigration Policy Center notes, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “exercised its prosecutorial discretion when it adopted a new policy establishing a procedure for surviving spouses and children of deceased U.S. citizens, who were no longer eligible to apply for permanent residence, to apply for deferred action.” Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority opinion in Arizona v. United States (2012) also affirmed the right of the federal government to exercise such discretion:

“A principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of the opinion. “Federal officials, as an initial matter, must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all.”

“Discretion in the enforcement of immigration law em¬braces immediate human concerns. Unauthorized workers trying to support their families, for example, likely pose less danger than alien smugglers or aliens who com¬mit a serious crime,” Kennedy’s majority decision continued. “The equities of an individual case may turn on many factors, including whether the alien has children born in the United States, long ties to the community, or a record of distinguished military service.”

Later in the interview, Kobach suggested that undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. on no fault of their own should leave the U.S. and return to their country of origin once they become adults and even falsely claimed that immigrants who commit crimes in the U.S. are eligible for deferred action.

Kobach: This order by Napolitano orders the ICE agents to break the law, regardless of what federal law says, we’re telling you to let them go. So it’s a clear violation of federal law, also it’s a usurpation of the legislative power of Congress. The DREAM Act has been proposed in Congress 24 times in the last 11 years, it never passed and yet this administration thinks it can just circumvent Congress and that violates our constitutional separation of powers.

Mefferd: Boy, because one of the things you state in the lawsuit is the directive commands ICE officers to violate their oaths to uphold and support federal law. In other words, Obama by issuing this executive order somehow thinks he can just make people do things but these ICE agents feel, actually it’s not just a feeling it’s actually what the truth is, they have an obligation to uphold federal law and he’s undermining it.

Kobach: That’s absolutely right. I think we have to just step back here and think how shocking this is. Prior to the Obama administration, if you asked me ‘could you give me an example of where a president has ordered federal law enforcement agents either to break the law or to look the other way when the law is being broken’ I would say no, I don’t think I can give you examples.



Kobach: Under our laws and under the laws of most countries in the world once you hit the age of 18 you can no longer blame your parents for your situation. So if you are in this country 13 years after you turned 18, you’ve been illegal all that time and you’ve been responsible for your own behavior. To say that you are somehow inculpable or just a victim of circumstance is just ridiculous. These cases are not you know college valedictorians and top of their class, these are people of all different stripes who are committing crimes some very serious crimes, some not committing crimes, but the bottom line is they are in the country illegally as adults and the President is trying to claim that they somehow have a moral right or a legal right to stay and they do not.

Samuel Rodriguez to Join 'Xenophobic' Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the Republican National Convention

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference’s Samuel Rodriguez has been trying to push Latino voters to join the Republican Party while also begging the GOP to soften its hardline stance on immigration reform. But acting as a self-styled champion of immigrant rights while also boosting a party that is vociferously opposed to them ultimately creations tensions. It appears that for Rodriguez, helping the GOP is more important than opposing anti-immigrant policies and activists. Rodriguez is scheduled to share the spotlight at the Republican National Convention with none other than Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Rodriguez has previously described Arpaio as a “xenophobic person” and in February tweeted that “any candidate that seeks the endorsement of Sheriff Arpaio also seeks the rejection of the Hispanic community.”

Rodriguez also blasted SB 1070, Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant law backed by Arpaio, as “xenophobic and nativist,” calling for a fast to protest the law and the creation of “a multi-ethnic firewall against the extremists in our nation.” “The Arizona Law stands as evidence that in 21st Century America, we may no longer be in the Desert of Segregation or the Egypt of Slavery but we just discovered there are Giants to be slain in the land of Promise,” his group proclaimed in a statement. “The Arizona Law is without a doubt, anti-Latino, anti-family, anti-immigrant, anti-Christian and unconstitutional.”

He later said that the Supreme Court didn’t go far enough in striking down the law’s “draconian measures” that “polarize and segregate our communities.”

Arpaio, who is being sued by the Justice Department for violating the civil rights of Hispanics (just one of his many scandals), will address an invitation-only audience at the Republican National Convention days after Rodriguez delivers a benediction.

Of course, Arpaio’s involvement in the convention should come as no surprise, as Arpaio was the co-chair of Mitt Romney’s 2008 Arizona campaign and served as a Romney surrogate. At the time, Romney said Arpaio was one of his “strong surrogates for our optimistic message of a stronger and safer Amreica” and was “gratified” to have his support.

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