U.S. Sen. Dean Heller waded into unfriendly territory today, speaking to a breakfast meeting of Hispanics in Politics and facing tough questions about his stances on immigration. [...]
Expectations were high for the meeting, after an incident last year in which Heller literally turned around while on his way to a meeting with the Latin Chamber of Commerce. Heller’s staff objected to the presence of a staffer for his Senate rival, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley, and a camera at the chamber event.
But Heller stood his ground and sought to identify commonalities with his Hispanic audience Friday morning, promising Latin Chamber President Otto Merida that he’d sit down to discuss an acceptable immigration reform bill.
No, he really doesn't.
He opposes the Dream Act, which, according to The New York Times, “would provide legal status and a path to citizenship to young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children and receive a college education or want to enter the military. Under the bill, students who came to the United States when they were 15 or under, have been in the country continually at least five years, present ‘good moral character,’ graduate from high school or obtain a G.E.D., and complete two years of college or military service in good standing would qualify.” [...]
Heller opposes it. Why? Because the Republican base hates it. Well, that’s not what he said. He said he doesn’t believe American citizens should be denied benefits accrued to noncitizens.
What on earth does he mean by that? During a news conference after the breakfast, he said that under the Dream Act a Nevadan who qualifies for such benefits could go to Nevada state universities and pay in-state tuition, while an American citizen living in Utah would have to pay out-of-state tuition at Nevada state universities.
Are you for real?
Then there’s the dreaded “anchor babies.” Heller signed on to legislation that would end automatic citizenship for babies born in the United States, instead requiring that to qualify for citizenship one parent must already be a citizen.
You can imagine how this utterly un-American policy might offend Hispanics. It offends me because more than likely my ancestors would have been disqualified for citizenship. They came over on a boat from Ireland and had a lot of babies.
I know I've sometimes had spirited disagreements with Patrick Coolican before, but this time he's on the money. Heller is being completely disingenuous... As usual.
We're supposed to applaud Heller for chiding Mitt Romney's disgusting characterization of the DREAM Act as a "handout"... And ignore that Heller is just as cravenly opposed to the DREAM Act as Romney and the rest of the G-O-TEA buffoons?
Does Dean Heller really think Latin@ voters are that stupid? He claims he will work with fellow Republican and Latin Chamber of Commerce President Otto Merida to craft a "mutually agreeable reform bill". Ummm... Hello, Dean Heller! That "mutually agreeable reform bill" would be the same comprehensive immigration legislation that Republicans like recent Republican standard bearers George W. Bush and John McCain supported!
Of course, this isn't new for Dean Heller. He's regularly scapegoated Latinos for basically every perceived moral wrong one can think of! He's regularly twisted the facts and engaged in disgusting demagoguery to win the hearts and minds of paranoid teabaggers. But now that he's managed to show up at Hispanics in Politics and spew out a bunch of "moderate" hot air, we're supposed to forget about what he's actually done in Congress to block progress on comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act?
Oh, and by the way, Latin@s care about more than just immigration. They want health care. They want education. They want opportunities to succeed just as much as the rest of us. So how on earth are they supposed to cheer on Dean Heller cheering on Wall Street robber barons as he proposes more painful, job killing, and all in all economically destructive "austerity" on all of us in the other 99%?
Coolican rightly pointed out today that Heller's "civility" at Hispanics in Politics does absolutely nothing to make up for his cowardly pandering to xenophobic teabaggers. If Heller really cared about Latin@ Nevadans, he'd actually match his "civil" words with real actions.
Oh, and by the way, this is why Ralston is probably wrong on his predictions for this year. Latin@ voters proved to be the key to Democratic wins here in Nevada in 2008 and 2010. And as long as Heller and his G-O-TEA buddies continue to fart in Latin@ Nevadans' faces, it won't be that hard for Shelley Berkley to prove Ralston and the other pundits wrong. Mark my words... And take note of the last R-J/8 News poll.