Monday, January 09, 2012
Romney’s immigration stance will hurt him
Guest essay by Álvaro Huerta
Mitt Romney may well be on his way to the Republican nomination, but he’ll have a hard time getting further than that because of his position on immigration.
Romney’s hostile stance against even immigrant children who arrived here when they were very young does not sit well with Latinos, to say the least.
Like all voting groups, Latino registered voters represent a heterogeneous bunch of individuals with diverse political viewpoints and backgrounds, from liberal to moderate to conservative. This includes Chicanos from East Los Angeles, Puerto Ricans from the Bronx and Cubans from “Little Havana” in Miami.
However, as a voting bloc, Latino voters tend to support the rights of undocumented immigrants and vote Democrat at a higher rate compared to all registered voters. For instance, according to a recent poll from the Pew Hispanic Center, while 42 percent of all Latino registered voters favor a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, only 24 percent of all registered voters support this position. Also, in a hypothetical matchup between President Obama and Romney for the 2012 election, an overwhelming 68 percent of all Latino voters favor Obama, while only 23 percent support Romney.
Obama gave Romney an opening with Latinos, as 59 percent of Latinos disapprove of Obama’s inhumane deportation policy of breaking up families. But Romney didn’t take it.
Instead, he has tacked to the right on the immigration issue. He has denounced Texas Gov. Rick Perry for approving in-state tuition for immigrant students, claiming this represents a magnet for illegal immigration. He recently vowed to veto the DREAM Act, which would enable children of undocumented immigrants to become citizens if they go to college or serve in the military. And he opposes any amnesty for undocumented immigrants, despite their daily contributions to this country.
All undocumented immigrants, Romney says, should return to their country of birth and then get in the back of the line if they want to re-enter the United States legally.
These views do not endear Romney to Latinos, who represent a growing — and perhaps pivotal — voter bloc.
Romney’s anti-immigrant stance may be helping him win the Republican nomination but is spoiling his chance to win the White House. He may have plenty of time on his hands, after November, to ponder that irony.
[Álvaro Huerta, Ph.D., is a visiting scholar at UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This essay first appeared in The Progressive.]
OTHER NEWS FOR LA BLOGA READERS...
◙ Click here to read Marcela Landres, former editor of Simon and Schuster, answer La Bloga readers' questions related to the publishing of Latino writing.
◙ Come join artist Salomón Huerta for the book launch of Let Everything Else Burn, at the REDCAT, 631 West 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, on January 15th, 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. This first edition artist publication chronicles the life of Los Angeles based artist Salomón Huerta through a collection of short autobiographical texts that debuted on Facebook in 2009. Filled with humor, whimsy and a bit of shock and awe, these brief memoirs capture life growing up in the projects, the hidden dynamics of the art world and becoming a celebrated artist. For more information, click here.
◙ If you missed Sunday’s literary radio show, Words on a Wire on El Paso’s NPR station KTEP, not to worry...click here. The show is hosted by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and Daniel Chacón. In this week’s show, I have a chance to speak my mind on the show’s freewheeling segment, Poetic License, where I talk about reading Chicano literature to non-Chicano audiences.