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January 21, 2012 01:00 AM UTC

Ramirez Flakes On Immigrant Tuition Promises

  • by: Colorado Pols

We consider this quite significant–last year, after the failure of the ASSET legislation to allow the children of undocumented immigrants to attend Colorado colleges at in-state rates, GOP Rep. Robert Ramirez expressed some remorse. The Colorado Independent reported at the time:

The Republican committee killed the bill on a party-line 7-6 vote. Democrats had thought they might be able to sway one Republican vote. Despite Republican amendments and a room full of undocumented children concerned about their futures, Democrats were wrong. However, they did see some hope as one Republican who voted no Monday, said he could very well be a “yes” next time.

“It breaks my heart to have to do it, today,” Ramirez told the Colorado Independent about his “no” vote on the legislation. [Pols emphasis] “But hopefully in the near future we will be able to make some changes.”

…Ramirez further said he planned to work over the summer to bring a bill similar to ASSET that would be more palatable to both Republicans and the voters.

In October, Rep. Ramirez was quoted in a high-profile New York Times story about GOP efforts in Colorado to “reach out” to the Hispanic community, saying, “we can’t pretend the Latino vote doesn’t exist.” But folks, sometime between then and this week, we’re sorry to report that Ramirez has changed his tune. KJCT reports:

Republican State Representative, Robert Ramirez says, “I have not seen the new bill, I just have heard what the changes are but they’re so minimal that I don’t think they’ll make a difference.”

Ramirez voted no on the tuition bill in 2011.

“After I voted on it, I had 200 emails from people who were immigrants to this country thanking me because they had gone through the process the correct way.”

He says that even though his heritage is Hispanic, giving in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants is not the right choice for Colorado.

“The actual bill is giving a right of a citizen to a non citizen,” Ramirez said.

So what happened here, folks? How do you go from “it breaks my heart” to vote against this and vows to work with proponents to pass it this year, to categorical rejection of “giving a right of a citizen to a noncitizen?” If Ramirez claims to dislike the new bill, what happened to his promise to work with proponents on a better bill that he could support?

If it sounds like we’re a little surprised to you, that’s because we are surprised. We’ve warned for years that Republican obsession with demonizing immigrants would result in long-term demographic disaster as they alienate the fastest-growing bloc of voters in America. And we honestly thought that Ramirez’s introspection last year might have been a sign of smarter politics from some Republicans this year. Maybe not from all of them, but perhaps enough to begin to walk back their highly unfavorable Tom Tancredo reputations.

If this faithless shrug is any indicator, we’re going to be be disappointed. Yet again.


3 thoughts on “Ramirez Flakes On Immigrant Tuition Promises

  1. It breaks his heart? Yeah, and Romney is a “common guy.”

    Here’s a bill for minors, who are here illegally through no fault of their own, that could help them achieve their potential and benefit society, all for very little cost.

    It’s a win-win, unless you’re a Republican legislator worried about getting primaried by a TPer.

    1. Thanks, JeffcoBlue!

      And I like the message of doing “the right thing” which is pretty plain and clear in this context.

      While it may be politically pragmatic to try to work for the attention of the “fastest growing bloc of voters in America” as described in the diary article, I believe that working for equality is an end to itself.

      OH, and working against faithless opportunists like Rep. Ramirez is a side benefit of working for equality, so that works as an additional benefit, too.

      Yes, I donated to his opponent.  

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