There have been many groups that have felt the sting of Republican rhetoric and policy, from the “lazy people” that get hardworking patriot’s money in the form of welfare, to the “parasitic” teacher’s, police and firemen unions, to the women who feel that Republicans are insensitive to rape victims and domestic abuse victims because they fought against reproductive rights and the Violence against Women Act, called Sandra Fluke a “slut” and feel that the Republican party has outright ran an entire campaign against women’s liberation this year. The Latino community has been affected as drastically as any, and will be showing up to the Republican National Convention en masse.
The majority of Americans agree with the DREAM Act and deferred action, which is why Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has a 64% approval rating according to a recent Bloomberg poll. This is ignored by Romney, as he chooses to stick to his “self-deportation” immigration strategy, pushes SB 1070 as a “model” for the nation and surrounds himself with advisors like Kris Kobach, co-author of SB 1070. The rank and file of the Republican Party hasn’t been much kinder, with the divide on immigration issues between the parties being made crystal clear when Republican Governors like Jan Brewer block driver’s licenses offered by the Obama Administration and pal around with Joe Arpaio.
Beyond just the policies, the rhetoric on undocumented immigration has been harsh enough to completely turn off the Latino community. They often feel that they could very easily be in the same situation as their cousins, stuck rotting in a deportation center. No matter how many times Mitt Romney tried to work the words “legal immigration” into a speech or interview, anyone familiar with immigration issues knows he was referencing DREAMers. His deportation policy was even rightly pointed out by Newt Gingrich (who called Spanish the “language of the ghetto”) as having no empathy. Whenever he says “legal immigration,” whether it’s to Jorge Ramos or a large crowd, Latinos know that he’s just tiptoeing around an issue, what to do with undocumented students and young professionals, that he can’t possibly win on.
All of this has not gone unnoticed by organizers, however. In response to the policies and rhetoric, local organizations like the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition have organized DREAMers and come out hard at events like the final GOP primary debate in Arizona, where Dolores Huerta spoke through the megaphone to a large crowd of Latino demonstrators and cameras. There are dozens of large, local organizations like this up to nearby Romney rallies, in addition to national organizations.
Having travelled from state to state, New Hampshire to New York, California to Arizona, Florida to Alabama and many more, the DREAMers are the only group I’ve never failed to see, and are the only organization that I have consistently seen since Occupy weakened and Ron Paul’s demonstrators gave up. Nationally, groups like DRM Capitol Group and United We Dream have come into focus in the media, sharing DREAMer stories and helping to organize the large number of people who wish to voice their discontent with the U.S. immigration policy.
Busses organized by DRM were driven through Alabama and Florida, picking up passengers as they made their way to Tampa for the Republican National Convention. Another bus run by United We Dream walked its way across the country to the Democratic National Convention. The busses hold DREAMer stories, as well as the undeniable proof that Republicans have been deaf to the pleas of a sympathetic, politically influential group.