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Fernando Espuelas Headshot

The GOP's Latino Suicide Watch

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The Republican Party is killing the dream - again.

The 42 Republican U.S. Senators have signed a pledge to filibuster all pending bills, except those dealing with spending and taxes, during the lame duck session of Congress.

Harry Reid and the Democratic leadership, with support from the White House, have been planning to vote on the DREAM Act. But without at least two Republican Senators to get to the super-majority that breaks filibusters, the bill is effectively dead.

Of course, this is not exactly a surprise. Even before the GOP's newest Pledge of No, Congressional Republicans had created a set of talking points - strategic framing of the DREAM Act that you will hear repeated and repeated again on cable news, right-wing radio and, of course, in the blogosphere.

The purpose of this collection of xenophobic fantasies is to turn the DREAM Act into some abomination against God, Motherhood and the Flag.

Unfortunately for anyone wanting to have a fact-based debate on this issue, the GOP talking points are largely distortions - starting with the supposed name of the bill, the "Obama-Reid Amnesty Plan." Via Politico, here's the GOP's script.

Ironically, the DREAM Act was seen as a possible bridge between the Democrats and Republicans. This bill would give a path to earned citizenship to the children of undocumented workers - kids who were brought to this country as minors, kids that have grown up as Americans, and have succeeded in spite of the odds.

When it was first introduced in 2007, the bill garnered the public support of 10 Republican Senators, including Orrin Hatch (UT), Olympia Snowe (ME), Sam Brownback (KS), Bob Bennett (UT), Susan Collins (ME), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), and Richard Lugar (IN).

Now this very same group of Republican senators are killing the DREAM Act.

This latest action by the GOP aimed at Latinos will not be forgotten by the millions of Latino-Americans who fervently support this important reform.

Latino voters across this country, the fastest growing part of the American electorate, will think deeply about the values of these Republican leaders.  What do their actions and words say about their integrity? 

How will they help advance our country when they are captured by an inflexible ideology that keeps them from doing the logical, right thing and voting to approve the DREAM Act? 

Will Republicans actually support policies that are more likely to lead to a greater good for the greatest number of people - or do they simply represent a collection of highly-ideological special interests like the nativist zealots who ride so very close to the lunatic fringe?

Latinos are acutely conscious that beyond individual candidates (remember George W. Bush's successful courting of the Latino vote in 2004?), there are significant differences among the two parties. 

We should not forget that the Arizona anti-Latino law is the product of the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party. 

What does Arizona's law say about an organization that supports policies attacking the civil rights of American Latinos?  This is not a minor matter.  If Republicans as a national institution think that attacking Latinos is a good way to get elected, they they will do it.  (In the same way that the old southern Democratic Party attacked African Americans in order to maintain itself in power for decades.)

Rational national self-interest is the overarching reason for supporting the DREAM Act.  But there is, perhaps, an even more powerful argument for enacting this bill. The DREAM Act is a quintessentially American idea. Fairness, common sense and logic drive it. It connects to the fundamental American zeitgeist.

So Republicans, you have been warned. The future of your party is at stake. Your unrelenting attacks against American Latinos are the path to ruin. Will you change course in time or will you be crushed by the demographic certainty that Latinos, as they recently demonstrated in the Democratic electoral sweep in California, will increasingly decide elections in key states?

American Latinos are closely watching what GOP and its actions - and Republican hostility to Latinos will determine elections for generations.