My parents were just a young couple when they came to the United States from Havana, immigrating to a land that promised opportunity and freedom. This was the country where anyone could enter the middle class, a country that would soon make sure no elderly person went without health care, an inclusive nation that welcomes the world’s people with open arms.
Today, Mitt Romney will appear on Univision and try to make the case that under his policies, this America would be able to prosper. He’ll attempt to re-write his record like he’s tried to do so many times before by claiming his values are aligned with those of the Hispanic community.
But it will all be too little too late.
Over the past year, Governor Romney has proven time and again that he is on the wrong side of issues important to our families. More than that, he’s on the wrong side of history. A Romney-Ryan administration would undermine job security for the middle class and health security for seniors. And on immigration, Mitt Romney is the most extreme nominee in modern history.
While many families continue to struggle, Romney would do nothing to create jobs or opportunity for the middle class. His plans are a rehash of the same failed economic policies that brought our economy to the brink of collapse.
What is the Romney-Ryan answer to the millions of homeowners suffering from foreclosures? To let the housing market “hit bottom.” And, they’d raise taxes on the average middle class family with kids by $2,000 to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
Romney’s dishonesty on health care is shocking. He’s blanketed Florida’s airwaves with false claims that President Obama has cut Medicare. At the same time, he and Ryan would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program, pushing seniors to private insurance companies. If that voucher doesn’t cover your needs, Romney and Ryan say: too bad, you’re on your own.
As someone who has worked his entire career to protect a middle class my parents fought so hard for us to become part of, I know this plan doesn’t reflect the Hispanic community’s values or those of the larger American community.
Romney’s immigration positions would destroy families and communities. He vowed to veto the DREAM Act, calling it a “handout,” said Arizona’s extreme immigration law was a “model” for the nation and supports making life so unbearable for millions who came here searching for opportunity that they “self-deport.” And just last week, he endorsed Iowa Rep. Steve King, a man who has compared immigrants to dogs and suggested we build an electric fence on the border.
While Romney and Ryan want to dismantle Medicare and raise taxes on the middle class so they can cut taxes for the most wealthy, President Obama understands that our number one job must be to put people back to work and grow our middle class.
When President Obama took office, our country was losing more than 800,000 jobs a month. But in the last 30 months, American businesses have created 4.6 million new jobs and Hispanic unemployment has gone down.
The Affordable Care Act’s health reforms, which I proudly supported, will give Hispanics more economic security as well. They’ve already allowed more than 900,000 young Hispanics stay on their parents’ plans and, when fully implemented, millions of Hispanics nationwide will be able to buy insurance they couldn’t previously afford.
Unlike Romney and Ryan, the President will never break the promise we’ve made to our seniors by turning Medicare into a voucher program. In fact, he’s already strengthened and protected Medicare by lowering prescription drug prices and extending the program’s life.
I know President Obama is determined to enact comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders, holds employers accountable, and encourages hard work and responsibility – and when I’m re-elected I look forward to working with him in the Senate to make it happen.
He too shares my commitment to getting the DREAM Act passed so young people who were brought here by their parents and are American in every way but on paper can finally contribute to the only country they’ve ever called home. And until Republicans in Congress are willing to come to the table and work with us, the Obama administration has given these DREAMers the opportunity to pursue their aspirations in the open, not in the shadows.
Mitt Romney will offer a lot of sound bites and empty promises on TV tomorrow, but we must hold him accountable. He doesn’t share our priorities or our values, and there’s too much at stake to let him take us backward.
Senator Menendez serves on the U.S. Senate Committees on Finance; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and Foreign Relations. Bob is also the Chairman of the Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development; and the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Global Narcotics Affairs.