By Adam Cook
ABOUT THIS STORY
UMass Communication students are reporting on a variety of Latina/o issues as part of a Spanish-language and Latino Media class.
Mitt Romney is being called the imminent GOP nominee for president in the 2012 presidential election, with Rick Santorum still gunning for the nomination. However, for Latinos, neither candidate is someone they will likely support for president come election day.
It seems both candidates decided to avoid pursuing votes from the largest growing population, and the largest ethnic minority in the United States. At 16.3% of the general US population, Latino voters will likely vote for President Barack Obama come November versus either candidate who have, not only alienated themselves from Latinos, but at times have offended many. Looking at where these candidates stand on issues important to Latinos, it is clear that neither candidate shares views similar the greater Latino community.
Romney has said repeatedly should he win the election in 2012 that upon its arrival to the White House he will veto the DREAM Act, a bill which offers a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrant college students and service members. This act is something Latinos have rallied behind at nearly 91% of Hispanics supporting it.
He criticized then-candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry for enacting a law in Texas that allowed undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at state universities. On the issue of security Romney has said he wants to construct a fence along the border and put “more boots on the ground” citing that anti-American groups like al-Queda and Hezbollah are working in Latin and Central America to compromise the security of the United States. By saying this he has attached immigration issues with terrorism. He has also attacked Santorum for his almost 15-year-old vote to appoint Sonia Sotomayor as a New York judge, which later led to her appointment as the Supreme Court’s first Hispanic judge.
Rick Santorum has fared no better with the Latino community and has made more than a few mistakes thus far.
In a September televised debate Santorum said about Perry, “What Gov. Perry’s done is he provided in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Maybe that was an attempt to attract the illegal vote – I mean, the Latino voters.” When asked about statehood for Puerto Rico he said that Puerto Ricans would have to learn English. However, the Constitution does not designate an official language or say that a territory must adopt English as its primary language in order to become a state. Statements like these give Latino and non-Latino voters an idea of the inner thoughts of the candidate.
Santorum is also in favor of establishing English as the nation’s official language. Like Romney, Santorum would like to construct a fence along the border. However, he is not clear on where he stands on undocumented immigrants already in the US. He offers no conversation to this topic and says “we’ll have that discussion” after the border is secure.