LatinaLista — It’s absurd to think that Latino voters would want or expect anything different from a presidential candidate than any other American voter — jobs, affordable health care, access to a good education, a secure country and a stable economy — to name a few.
It’s not that Latino voters want anything different, it’s just that most (not all) want one more thing — stop vilifying undocumented immigrants and DREAM Act students.
It wouldn’t be entirely true to say that all Latinos embrace undocumented immigrants and believe DREAM Act students deserve to be here. We have only to look at such conservative politicians as Florida’s Marco Rubio or New Mexico’s Gov. Susan Martinez to see otherwise.
However, the average Latino in the neighborhood understands that undocumented immigrants are a part of the larger Latino community and if given the opportunity can follow in the footsteps of those Latino immigrants who came before them. In city after city, it’s the Latino immigrants who are the ones who have successful taquerias and restaurants or operate landscaping businesses or run reliable cleaning services, etc.
The average Latino doesn’t begrudge DREAM Act students for being here because, regardless of citizenship, all Latinos understand the importance of family, and especially the importance of our children.
And for most of us, who have been so turned off by the Republican rhetoric against Latino immigrants during the start of this presidential campaigning, there has been one candidate who has made these debates bearable to watch — Rick Perry.
An unlikely defender of undocumented immigrants, Perry has consistently come out in defense of DREAM Act students. The truth is he can’t deny it because the fact that Texas grants in-state tuition to these students is a matter of record.
Yet, with every defense of DREAM Act students, Perry’s popularity erodes and it’s fodder for his competition.
In a fundraising email to her supporters, candidate Michele Bachmann recently wrote:
If you oppose illegal immigration and don’t believe illegal immigrants should be given taxpayer subsidized tuition benefits over American’s children… than (sic) according to Rick Perry you don’t have a heart.
You see, Rick Perry was the first governor in America to give in-state tuition benefits to illegal immigrants and said to America that if you disagree… You don’t have a heart.
XXXX, our nation is trillions of dollars in debt, millions of Americans are without a job, yet Rick Perry sees it fit to offer in-state tuition benefits to people who are not here legally…It just doesn’t add up.
Immigration is one of the most important issues facing the United States, and we need a president who will enforce our laws and our borders. For too long, Washington has turned a blind eye to immigration and as President I will put an end to that.
It’s this kind of irresponsible talk that should make all Latinos angry.
It boils down to a question that is as much a riddle as a fact:
How do you tell the difference between an undocumented Latino and a Latino citizen?
The answer is: No one can.
Yet, Republican candidates for president see nothing wrong with racially profiling all Latinos or holding all Latinos under suspicion while legal residency is determined.
Perry is right when he said people who would deny young people, who grew up in the US, to attend college at affordable rates don’t have a heart.
Unfortunately, Bachmann’s response shows that in absence of a heart, there’s no brain either.
A president with no brain nor heart is probably the scariest combination for any country and its people.