Last year, three House Republicans from Florida were among the nine Republicans overall who joined 219 House Democrats to pass a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. This type of legislation is, without dispute, overwhelmingly popular among voters.
But the legislation is now under attack by the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), which has released a political ad loaded with anti-immigrant bullshit. Of course, none of the three Florida Republicans who voted for the bill—Maria Elvira Salazar, Carlos Gimenez, and Mario Diaz-Balart—happened to be mentioned in the clip. Instead, the ad rails on Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, who voted for the bill and is now challenging fascist Ron DeSantis for governor.
RELATED STORY: House passes path to citizenship for DACA recipients, temporary status holders, and farmworkers
RPOF’s political ad regurgitates the usual GOP lies, tropes, and misconceptions, from “open borders” to immigrant “criminals” (fun fact, undocumented immigrants are less likely than U.S.-born Americans to commit crime) to the completely made-up connection between migrants and fentanyl. Once again, it’s overwhelmingly U.S. citizens who are getting caught (key word: caught) smuggling drugs across the border. This is happening at ports of entry, not in between.
But Florida Republicans want to take their anti-immigrant hostility even further by tying these lies and racist tropes to young undocumented immigrants, who, through their own storytelling and advocacy, have won support from most Americans. Florida Politics notes that the political ad, in small print, cites the Dream and Promise Act, the same bill supported by Salazar, Gimenez, and Diaz-Balart.
Florida Politics says, and immigrant rights advocacy organization America’s Voice notes, that the Crist campaign is forcibly pushing back on this GOP attack.
“The GOP’s latest ad is a disgusting attack on innocent immigrant children whose families brought them to the U.S. in search for a better life,” Crist spokesperson Samantha Ramirez said in the report. “Charlie Crist proudly supports a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, that’s why he voted for the American Dream and Promise Act.”
So did Salazar, Gimenez, and Diaz-Balart, and America’s Voice raises an important question: Are Florida Republicans going to attack them too? “And how do these Republicans feel about Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s pledge of ‘no amnesty’ and do they intend to vote for him to be Speaker if the GOP takes the House? Somebody has some explaining to do.”
“Republicans are demonstrating their hostility towards Dreamers,” said Zachary Mueller, political director of America’s Voice. “They have been relentless for a decade in their pursuit of stripping the ability of young people who are American in all but paperwork to work and live in the nation they grew up in. Good on the Crist campaign for recognizing how far out of touch this attack is from the wishes of most Florida voters and Americans all across the country.”
The Crist campaign has also condemned Florida Republicans’ idea to transport Cuban migrants out of state, which Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez enthusiastically supported until she was forced to walk back her remarks. Even then, she said other migrants should still be targeted. Democratic State Sen. Annette Taddeo, who is challenging Salazar in Congress, noted during a recent interview that Florida Republicans “love to talk about freedom and democracy, but somehow are not fighting for freedom and democracy right here on U.S. soil.” No lies detected.
“Gov. DeSantis's proposal to forcibly transport Cuban refugees out of Florida is reckless, inhumane and a betrayal of our deepest values as Americans,” Crist tweeted. “They deserve better than to be treated as his political pawns to curry favor with the extremist base of the Republican Party.”
While Republicans try to overturn elections and make it harder to vote, volunteer to help save democracy by encouraging people to cast their ballots. Click here to view hundreds of local and national Get Out the Vote opportunities on the Daily Kos Mobilize feed, and sign up to volunteer on a national campaign or one near you.
Florida voices call Crist's selection of Karla Hernández-Mats as running mate 'extraordinary pick'
Florida Republicans, anti-LGBTQ harassment account push smear about Crist running mate
Florida Republican walks back anti-Cuban migrant remarks, says she meant to attack other migrants