Is immigration reform the issue to rip the GOP apart?

LatinaLista — The cracks in the unified front the Republican party has striven to project when denouncing immigration reform has been deepening over time. From Jeb Bush cautioning his colleagues to tone down their anti-immigrant rhetoric to more and more Latino Republicans openly challenging their leadership’s official stance on the issue to Marco Rubio’s surprise passage about undocumented immigration appearing in his new book “An American Son.”

Marco Rubio. (Alan Diaz/AP)

Rubio wrote:

“Many people who come here illegally are doing exactly what we would do if we lived in a country where we couldn’t feed our families,” Rubio writes in his book, which went on sale Tuesday. “If my kids went to sleep hungry every night and my country didn’t give me an opportunity to feed them, there isn’t a law, no matter how restrictive, that would prevent me from coming here.”

Rubio’s statement is clearly something his fellow Republicans could have lived without and which some wholeheartedly disagree.

The latest example of how deep the rift is in the GOP comes courtesy of Texas US Rep. Blake Farenthold. In a CNN interview with Soledad O’Brien about the deferred deportation policy for undocumented youth, Farenthold claimed that those young people who were 16 could have chosen to stay behind rather than accompany their parents to the US.

Farenthold says, “You’re also talking about people that came over at sixteen years of age. At that point [they] had a say in it. And that looks kind of more like amnesty.”

The notion that these parents would allow their teenage son or daughter to be separated from them when making such a journey, as Farenthold suggests, is offensive and insulting. His remarks clearly show how little he thinks of the humanity of immigrants — and that is the problem that just may tear the GOP apart.

Because how can members like Rubio and other Latino Republicans ally themselves with a party that sees undocumented immigrants as less than human when the only difference between Latinos on this side of the border versus the other is the set of circumstances of how each arrived?

This is much more than a simple difference of opinion with the Republican party — it’s a difference in defining humanity.

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