In the last couple of days, there were some interesting developments in the frantic race towards the Republican candidacy for the Presidency of the United States. While Rick Santorum decided to finally retreat and return home, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are at each other´s throats on every topic – including immigration.
The few arguments regarding what either of these gentlemen would do to fix the more-than-broken immigration system in this country are leaving the American public more dumbfounded and confused than ever. Immigration is certainly a difficult topic, but one that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Deportation of parents — and even grandparents — has left thousands of children at the mercy of the system — and at the expense of us, the long-suffering taxpayers.
So, what do the Republican finalists propose?
After publicly declaring in 2007 that “Spanish was a language of the ghetto”, Newt Gingrich later apologized for his comment, and this year even went so far as to campaign in “ghetto language” (sorry, Spanish!) to lure Floridians to his political web. Also, between angry remarks and accusations against his rivals, he tried to ingratiate the people in Florida by promising a permanent new station on the moon “by the end of this second term” [as President?]. Where will the money come from to accomplish this grandiose deed? Nobody knows. But the billions of dollars necessary to open shop on the moon could be put to far better use by helping hard-working immigrants return to work (legally this time) for small farmers in the US who are losing their crops due to lack of labor.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has kept almost too quiet regarding the fact that his father and grandfather sought asylum in Mexico, where they lived for decades practicing their faith as they pleased. And yes, they spoke “the ghetto language”, as many members of the Romney clan who continue to live in Mexico still do.
Romney and Gingrich verbally attacked each other — in Spanish — on the radio in Florida. Their interview by Jorge Ramos, the Mexican news anchor winner of eight Emmy Awards, during the “Meet the Candidate” program, was a true eye opener. One cannot help but wonder if Gingrich´s and Romney´s efforts towards bilingualism will extend to the rest of the Republican Party. If we are to see something good come out of this situation, it is the fact that through their actions, both politicians have inadvertently confirmed what has become obvious in the last few years: That Spanish language skills are today an essential tool for the development of this nation. If not, why are so many politicians (from George Bush and Bill and Hillary Clinton, to John Edwards, Bill Richardson, and today New Gingrich and Mitt Romney) campaigning – and even debating — in Spanish?
Immigration reform is vitally important to this country, from Florida to Michigan, and from Arizona to New York. Hotels, restaurants, farms, meat-processing plants, and the packing industry are suffering the consequences of the lack of sound and effective immigration reform. In the United States, there are companies that desperately need workers, and workers that desperately need to work, so why isn’t immigration reform a top priority for those who seek to occupy the presidential office in the US?
This year’s presidential elections will be tough. We will all have to think very carefully before we vote as to what are this country’s true priorities. Do we want an angry president, who publicly shows his anti-immigrant views? Someone who speaks before he thinks? Someone who promised the moon, but could not deliver? (By the way, bravo for Sen. Marco Rubio!) Isn’t our economy our Number One priority?
While Romney wants to cut 20% in government spending (without further explanation as to what the consequences would be), Gingrich wants to spend billions on day trips to the moon. (Danger, Will Robinson!)
What is this?
All this shows is that neither man is truly in touch with today´s economic reality — or any reality –and especially with the needs of the American people.