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Republican Business & Professional Women Group Invite Notorious Immigrant Hater to Speak
Photo: anti-immigrant Arizona
An open Letter To DeeDee Kelly, President
Republican Business & Professional Women
I was utterly dismayed to learn that the Republican Business & Professional Women has invited Nebraska’s most notorious immigrant hater, Susan Smith, to speak at your dinner meeting on January 16, 2012. Susan Smith is the leader of the Nebraska Advisory Group on Illegal Immigration, the Nebraska affiliate for the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform. I have seen news video of Susan Smith screaming at family members of detained immigrants at a candlelight vigil, telling them they would all be deported, and have seen her shrill testimony in front of a legislative committee at the Nebraska legislature. In my opinion, Susan Smith is an immigrant hater.
While your organization certainly has the first amendment right to invite whomever you choose to speak, a right which I would defend to my last breath, as a Republican organization you should consider how others perceive ‘sharing the podium’ with an immigrant hater, especially among New Americans such as a majority of Latino voters.
Hispanics are Nebraska’s fastest growing demographic and represent over 9% of Nebraskans. 62% of Hispanics were born in the U.S. but mostly from recent generation immigrants, and so immigration is a sensitive topic. Most Latinos are looking for constructive solutions to our immigration morass. Many have seen families ripped apart, while others go through endless delays with decades of backlogs and red tape, and recognize the current ‘enforcement on steroids’ approach will not fix a fundamentally broken system.
I have blogged on this topic extensively, defending our party against those who accuse us of being hijacked by Nativists. A very small minority of Republicans are Nativists and it’s unfair to misrepresent the GOP as anti-immigrant, especially when a majority of Republicans support immigration reform, hardly evidence of anti-immigrant bias. It is imperative that we distance ourselves from those who hate, and giving a podium at a GOP function to a hater only helps our opposition unfairly portray us as anti-immigrant.
Sadly, this small shrill minority give our party a bad name and hurts us at election time. We narrowly lost to Obama in the second congressional district in 2008, and anti-immigrant rhetoric may well have cost us that electoral vote. According to PEW Research, every year that the GOP, under president Bush’s leadership, engaged with Latinos and made a serious effort at immigration reform, our support among registered Latino voters rose every year from 1999 to 2006, reaching a peak of 40% plus during Bush’s reelection.
However, with extreme rhetoric from Tom Tancredo and others, and the failure of immigration reform, our support has dropped precipitously, and a recent poll by Latino Decisions puts GOP support among registered Latino voters in the 15% range, when we need 35-40% of the Latino vote to win the upcoming presidential elections. 60% of Latinos are either moderate or conservative, which highlights the opportunity for our party.
The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, of compassionate conservatism, life, and liberty. Our party is not the party of John Tanton, the founder of FAIR and 20+ other anti-immigrant organizations, who is a population control progressive with deep ties to Planned Parenthood, Zero Population Growth, and various environmental and conservation groups. FAIR not only wants strict enforcement of immigration laws, but drastic reductions in LEGAL immigration, following a time-out of no immigration at all.
It’s not surprising that Tanton has sought to drive a wedge between Republicans and Latinos, and this 2001 ‘smoking gun memo’ shows Tanton wants us to believe that immigrants invariably vote Democrat, when in fact immigrants tend to be more conservative than Americans in general.
Tanton has written extensively about eugenics and repeatedly demonstrated bigotry towards Latinos. In 1997 John Tanton compared immigrants to bacteria in a culture plate, growing ‘until it finally fills the whole plate… crashes and dies.’ Dan Stein, FAIR’s current president who regards Tanton as his ‘hero,’ has characterized Hispanics and Asians as involved in ‘competitive breeding.’ Donald Mann, on FAIR’s Board of Advisors, argues we should ‘give incentives to low-income people who agree to sterilization’ and ‘make available free abortion to low-income people on demand.’
Abraham Lincoln, the founder of our party, also had problems with Nativists. The infamous “know nothings”, a Nativist party, folded about the time the Republican Party formed, and many former “know nothings” with their extreme anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic views joined the GOP. Lincoln wisely ignored them and instead reached out to German immigrants, even buying a German language newspaper so he could better reach out to them. German immigrants, who had previously voted Democrat, contributed heavily to both of Lincoln’s election victories.
The Tanton network of organizations are progressives, environuts, and bigots. As Republicans we need to keep them at arms length, not embrace them. I urge you to uninvite Susan Smith to avoid lending her any credibility.
Bob Quasius, Sr.
Cafe Con Leche Republicans