When GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressed Latino elected officials in June, he courted us with promises of an agenda that would “strengthen the middle-class” and “create sustained prosperity.”
He plied us with the teaser that “immigration reform is not just a moral imperative, but an economic necessity as well.”
Romney flirted with our dreams, telling us that he would ensure that America remained a land of opportunity for “those who were born here and for those who share our values, respect our laws and want to come to our shores.”
Apparently the romance is over.
It’s come to an abrupt end with the choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate.
Paul Ryan’s detailed agenda for America is one at odds with nearly everything our community cares about.
For middle class and working Latinos, Ryan has a slash and burn plan for essential programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Ryan’s plan also advocates tax cuts for the wealthiest while it simultaneously raises taxes for the rest of Americans who aren't millionaires.
Latinos need a plan that will not only work for us, but for the entire middle class; a plan that respects hard work and recognizes that our government can play a valuable role in our lives; a plan that believes that we all can share in our country’s prosperity.
The plan, prosperity economics, is the best path forward for Latinos and all Americans (except, perhaps, for the wealthiest 1 percent). Ryan and Romney have a different plan. A plan that would be disastrous for Latinos.
Poll after poll show that Latinos overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, which is at the center of Ryan’s budget proposal.
Since Latino families tend to be of lower income than white families, Social Security is relied on heavily as a source of income. With Ryan’s proposed drastic cuts to these entitlement programs, he proposes abandoning the most vulnerable in our community.
And that’s just Ryan’s disastrous economic policies.
On immigration, Ryan voted against the DREAM Act, which would put millions of young undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship, calling it amnesty and unconstitutional. He’s repeatedly bragged that he would vote against it again.
At a town hall meeting last year, Ryan nodded sympathetically when a man used the term “anchor babies,” an extremely derogatory and racist term. And Ryan agrees with Romney that a fence should be built at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In 2005, Ryan voted in favor of the infamous Sensenbrenner bill that would have made immigration violations felonies, including a provision that called for criminal charges against anyone who assisted an undocumented immigrant.
This would have imprisoned hundreds, priests and other clergy members who assist immigrants as part of their faith calling.
This bill also would have cut federal funding to cities and municipalities that had sanctuary laws protecting undocumented immigrants.
While the bill thankfully died in the Senate due to massive protests by immigrants and Latinos, it would have been one of the toughest anti-immigration bills of Congress and huge black mark on the civil rights history of the nation
Ryan’s selection is Romney’s clear signal to Latinos that they don’t matter in his campaign or his agenda. Latino-Americans are a vibrant part of the United States, but under a Romney-Ryan administration, our voices will not be heard.
Rudy Lopez is Senior Organizer at the Fair Immigration Reform Movement and participated in Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform & Citizenship.