GOP: Tough Love for Latinos.

Republicans say they love Latinos, but they sure have a funny way of showing it.

Recently, the Senate killed the controversial Vitter Amendment, which would have required that the 2010 Census questionnaire be changed to include an unprecedented question regarding citizenship status. Crafted by Republican Senator David Vitter (Louisiana), the amendment was widely seen as a GOP tactic to discourage immigrants and Latinos from participating in the Census, which has always counted “persons” rather than “citizens.”

Following the vote, immigrant activist Jorge-Mario Cabrera of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles expressed relief, assuring me that: “The Vitter amendment was nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt at scaring immigrants from participating in the Census.”


Texas Hispanics Might Lose if Opt-Out Public Option Wins.

You win some and you lose some. So it might go for Texas if Congress ends up approving health care reform including an “opt-out” public option. But this is a life and death battle Texas Hispanics simply can’t afford to lose.

Earlier this week, the Senate’s Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-Nevada), stated his intent to craft a bill that incorporates a government-administered public option while permitting individual states to opt out. The details of how such states could opt out are still unclear. It is most likely, however, that states would initially be included in the reform. Legislatures could then vote to opt out, requiring final gubernatorial approval.

While many in the media have seen this development as a victory for liberal Democrats, I see it as a cop out designed to secure the votes needed in the Senate to avoid a filibuster while potentially sacrificing the needs of some of the neediest populations in our country when it comes to health coverage and health disparities.