LOS ANGELES — Democrats seem to have an important weapon when it comes to campaigning among Latinos in the 2012 election— statements by Republican candidates pejoratively calling any reform that legalizes the undocumented an “amnesty,” opposing the DREAM Act and pushing for more deportations.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and President Obama’s re-election campaign have ignored almost all of the Republican candidates. Mitt Romney is the only one they seem interested in running against at this point.
Recently, the DNC and Los Angeles Congressman Xavier Becerra released a Web video called “This is what Mitt Romney says when he thinks we’re not listening,” which featured two segments of debates where Romney said he was against legalization and the DREAM Act. His words are translated into Spanish with subtitles across the bottom.
“Mitt Romney used to say he supported comprehensive immigration reform, but now he’s obsessed with separating communities,” said Becerra during a teleconference. “His vision is now based on separating families without making any distinctions, kicking out of the country grandparents and families that have been in the United States for an entire generation.”
Romney’s campaign ignored this attack, although during a recent interview in Fox News, he declared, “Those people who are here illegally today should have the opportunity to register and to have their status identified… They should instead go [to] the back of the line,” a position he did not clarify despite repeated questions from the interviewer.
Immigration continues to be a hot issue in the Republican primaries. A group of Republican Latinos, “Café con Leche Republicans” asked candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry to pull out of the race, after Perry obtained the support of Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona.
“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,” wrote the group in a press release. “Joe Arpaio is widely detested among Hispanics, and news stories about racial profiling, prisoner abuse, etc. are staples in the Hispanic media. Arpaio’s support in the GOP primaries may not even help Perry.”
Bob Quasius, an activist and the group’s founder, said that although Perry is currently very low in the polls, Arpaio’s presence in the campaign “damages the GOP, which in reality is more divided than people think on how to resolve the immigration issue.”