Last night, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Massachusetts victory rally speech was marked by an interruption. Undocumented youth attending the event held up posters, which said, "Veto Romney, Not the DREAM Act," and before the night was over, they cut the Republican off once more with an important question.
The DREAM Act was legislation meant to provide residency for the undocumented, on the grounds that they arrived in the U.S. before they turned 18, and that they graduated from a U.S. high school. Congress has periodically obstructed the bill. Romney has said publically that, as president, he would veto the Dream Act.
When Romney paused during a sentence, one of the pro-DREAM Act youth in attendance demanded, "Why would you veto the DREAM Act, sir?" He and his friends then proceeded to shout, "We love this country. We want to serve this country."
After initial bewilderment on the part of Romney's staff, security proceeded aggressively to rip the protesters' posters from their hands. Romney, meanwhile, hesitated for a moment, listening to the shouts.
Self-proclaimed "DREAMer" Lucy Allain, who came out as undocumented, recalled encountering Romney and getting a frosty response from the GOP hopeful when she told him about her residency status.
That came as no surprise to other DREAMers; Romney has consistently displayed anti-Latino sentiment, and drawn outrage with his proposed self-deportation policy, which is based, in short, on the arrogant and discriminatory idea that if the government makes things miserable enough for the undocumented they will simply go 'home.'
Though Romney last night spoke about "American promises" and "the need to fix the economy," issues that are important to Latinos, as well as all Americans, his stands on immigration have helped push Latinos further and further away from the Republican Party. Polls show the voters overwhelmingly favoring Democrats.
Many in the Latino communities see resent what they see as the increasingly racist and anti-immigrant stands taken by Republicans.
Latino support for the GOP is falling far below the 44 percent level it was at when George Bush was first elected President. A party that abandons them can only expect to lose their support, they say.
A new poll, reported Politico, shows President Obama carrying the support of Latinos by a rate of six to one. That record will make a powerful difference in many states, despite the fact that the Massachusetts Latino population is only 9.6 percent.
Photo: Students Emmanuel Catalan (left) and Jean Cocco protest Romney's position on the DREAM Act. Charles Dharapak/AP Photos