National Council of La Raza (NCLR) President Janet Murguía ripped the Republican Party apart this week with harsh criticism over their unchristian and un-American attacks towards child refugees seeking shelter in our country. While in Los Angeles during the NCLR's annual conference, Murguía publicly shamed numerous politicians for their outrages remarks concerning these kids — warning they carried third world diseases and plagues.
Murguía did not forget to mention Gov. Rick Perry, criticizing his recent theatrical attempt of sending troops to the border in order to garnish points for a future 2016 presidential run.
“Soldiers with guns confronting children seeking refuge,” said Murguía. “What is wrong with these people? How can they talk about children like this? Who treats children this way? Every one of the elected officials I just quoted consider themselves people of faith, but there is nothing godly in their words. It is disgraceful.”
Murguía sent a very clear message to Republicans: Latino voters are watching how you treat these small, defenseless members of our community at large. And we won't forget come election time.
More below the jump.“The plight of these child refugees has sadly brought out the worst in a lot of people,” Murguía told an audience of hundreds attending the conference. “I was sickened by the sight of angry protesters this month in Murrieta, California, blocking busloads of refugee children and shouting 'Go back to where you come from!' and 'No illegals!' … When they cloak their hatred in patriotism, shouting 'USA! USA!' it made me angry.”
It was obvious to Murguía, like it is to many of us, this is no form of patriotism or “compassion” as most claim.
“In fact, I was outraged,” Murguía continued. “There is nothing more un-American than denying compassion and decency towards a group of young children in need. There is nothing more un-American than deliberately frightening an already traumatized group of kids — some of them were still in diapers. There's nothing more un-American than a mob taking the law into their own hands and preventing authorities from doing their job processing these refugees. What we saw in Murrieta is not patriotism. It is ugly, divisive and yet another low in a debate that I thought could not get much lower.”
More than just un-American, these attacks are a reflection of the disturbing xenophobic and fascist attitudes many conservatives have towards others.
Even though these hostile attitudes may be directed towards minorities, the entire world is watching us and judging our nation based on these small-minded, prejudice individuals. Once, we turned our backs to Jewish refugees fleeing certain death from Nazi Germany during WWII, and history has never let us forget. We have learned nothing if we repeat the same mistake again.
“We will not let the faces of hate define America to the rest of the world on how we address this emergency,” Murguía said. “We will uphold and we will live our values when it comes to these children. That is our promise.”
With this promise, Murguía called on Latinos to hold elected officials accountable this November and again in 2016 — when Republicans will be desperately (and hypocritically) seeking our community's support once more. Republicans, in Texas and across the country, cannot expect to win office without the support of Latinos. Certainty, not as our population size and demographics continues to blossom. Not while their voting base diminishes due to age. The Republican Party's end will come if they mobilize Hispanics against them.
The refugee crisis and immigration reform may be only two issues Latinos care about that Republicans adamantly oppose. But, in the larger scheme of things, Republicans' refusal to solve these problems only reflects the party's long-time hostility against Hispanics. If even the innocent lives of these young children were not able to move the hearts of Republicans — what feelings can they possible hold against our community that prevents them from longing to help others in struggle?
If this is what they think of these small children, what can they possible think of the rest of us? This is what every member in our community must ask ourselves — particularly, when we head towards the voting booths during election time.
“I promise you this,” said Murguía to an energized crowd. “The road to the White House runs right through the Hispanic community, and you will not see a Republican become president without it.”
Follow Omar on Twitter at @AraizaTX.