Somos Republicans, a group of Hispanic Republicans that was organized in response to Arizona’s SB 1070, is taking on its party’s Congressional leadership and urging them not to appoint Reps. Lamar Smith (TX) and Steven King (IA) to positions where they will oversee immigration legislation.
DeeDee Blase, an Arizona Latina, is the founder of the grassroots GOP organization that seeks to recruit Latino voters to the Republican Party. She has expressed her disappointment with the Obama Administation for not tackling immigration reform and believes her party has much to offer the Hispanic community.
Blase has distanced herself from the state’s Republican leadership after the fight over SB 1070 which was championed by Republican state Senator Russell Pearce and signed into law by Republican Governor Jan Brewer. According to the group’s website, they “are against SB 1070 type of laws which are in violation of the Constitution of the United States.”
Now, Somos, which boasts of chapters in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Utah and Virginia, has written to the incoming leadership of the US House of Representatives asking that they not allow Rep. Smith to become Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and Rep. King to assume the chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration.
Both members are currently ranking on their respective committees and according to House protocol are expected to become chairs when the Republicans assume the majority leadership in January.
La Plaza has previously reported on the controversial statements of King in which he has, amongst other things, endorsed racial profiling and argued that one can identify undocumented by “grooming” and with a “sixth sense.” The Iowa lawmaker says he opposes the Dream Act and will do what he can to kill the legislation.
Smith is equally well known for not mincing words when it comes to his opinion on immigration. Following the Dept. of Justice’s decision to file suit against the state of Arizona over provisions of SB 1070, Smith, on Lou Dobbs’ radio program, said he agreed with Dobbs’ allegation, ” that President Obama is ‘awfully close to violating his oath to protect the Constitution of the United States’ by not completely securing the border.” Violation of the presidential oath is grounds for impeachment.
Last week’s mid-term elections saw at four, a record number of Hispanic Republicans elected to Congress. It is unclear as of yet where they or their party will come down on the immigration reform issue. Blase argues that the hard-right, anti-immigration position that many in her party took is scaring Latino voters away at a time when they continue to constitute more and more of the electorate.