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When it comes to Latino issues, the Tea Party’s actions are less about civics

LatinaLista — When former NPR fund-raiser, Ronald Schiller, was covertly captured on video allegedly pronouncing Tea Party supporters were “seriously racist” and that NPR would be better off without federal money even though many stations would “go dark,” the shock and voluntarily rolled heads that followed were way overblown for stating the truth.


While I have met some Tea Party members who really are only concerned about getting this country back on track with the economy and jobs, they are a minority within their own group. I have met and read of way too many more who are exactly what Mr. Schiller described — racist.

Everyday, there is evidence of how Tea Party-backed state legislators are trying to transform their states to make life miserable for “undocumented” Latinos — and less safe for the general population and the most vulnerable of the undocumented.

For example, in Florida, a state with one of the largest international populations, there are a series of anti-immigrant bills trying to be pushed through by the Tea Party-backed Republican Caucus.

The bills cover three main points: 1. Every employer in Florida would participate in the federal e-verify database; 2. County sheriffs would be authorized to enforce federal immigration laws and; 3. Required participation in the Secure Communities program, a program documented as abusing its original intent of identifying and detaining high-level undocumented criminals but instead, is capturing and deporting undocumented immigrants with no criminal history.

If these bills should pass in Florida, while they probably will result in netting undocumented immigrants, they will also put the lives of undocumented victims of domestic violence at risk as well.

“This is a disaster,” said Reina Fernandez of Sisterhood of Survivors, referring to the laws’ potential effects for immigrant women suffering domestic abuse. “A lot of victims won’t call police for fear of being arrested,” she said. “They end up going to jail, not the perpetrator. Which women will call the police now?”

Consequently, Florida taxpayers would pay more to fund the mandates of a law that would make women less safe and neighborhoods more dangerous, opponents note.

Passing laws that adversely endanger a sizable portion of a state’s residents doesn’t make sense. Once again, the authors of these bills would rather be seduced by a mindset that is unforgiving, narrow-minded and sees today’s world through an unrealistic lens.

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