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Hispanic Heritage Month Perfect Backdrop For GOP Debate, Latino Congressman Becerra Says

First Posted: Sep 15, 2015 04:47 PM EDT
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Xavier Becerra

Photo : Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

For one Latino congressman, Hispanic Heritage Month provides a perfect backdrop for the second Republican presidential debate.

Hispanic Heritage Month started on Sept. 15, on the eve of the second GOP debate. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) Hispanic Media Director Pablo Manriquez and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., assessed some of the GOP candidates and what Latinos should consider.

According to Manriquez, during the press call, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the vast contributions that Latinos have made, but GOP presidential candidates have shown poor outreach efforts. He identified immigration as an issue that has the most effect on Hispanic pride. Latinos also consider education, health care and economic opportunities as top priorities, but Manriquez said the GOP is "out of date" and aim to decrease opportunities for families to achieve the American dream.

Becerra said it is fitting that the Hispanic Heritage Month starts with the GOP debate and will occur in California, where Latinos are the majority since they surpassed the white population earlier this year.

As the son of immigrants, Becerra said he will be listening if candidates speak "frankly" and in an "aspirational" way. According to Becerra, Latinos want to know about the economy, helping kids graduate high school and obtain higher education degrees without mounting debt. Becerra also acknowledged California's wildfires and drought effects, relating it to climate change.

"These issues are at the forefront of voters' minds," Becerra said on Tuesday afternoon.

On immigration, Becerra said spectators should see if the "Trump Circus" continues. The Latino congressman, who serves as chairman for the House Democratic Caucus, said if the Republican candidates respect the U.S.' immigrant routes, they should not talk about building walls, deny children U.S. citizenship and use the term "anchor babies." Becerra said it should be interesting to see how the candidates address immigration reform, perhaps Marco Rubio "won't run away" and Trump may answer why he disparages Latinos.

Becerra said California is state suffering more than any other by climate change, as evident with the droughts and wildfires, but hopefully Republicans "will admit what scientists have been telling us" and state that humans have been changing the climate. He challenged Republicans to look at the areas that have been decimated, people who have lost their jobs, communities who no longer have drinking water and the Latino children who are more likely to suffer from chronic respiratory disease.

The House Democratic Caucus chairman said it is "fascinating" watching the Republican campaign, "but it's not what I thought where this country will be in the 21st century." He had expected Rubio and Jeb Bush to be more supportive of Latinos but are instead showing the community a "Trump-like" approach.

Latin Post contacted the Republican National Committee for a comment, but a response was not immediately returned. An update to this post will occur if the RNC responds.

The second Republican presidential debate will start at 6 p.m. EDT with four low-polling presidential candidates, followed by the 8 p.m. EDT debate featuring the top 11 candidates, including Trump, Bush and Rubio. Both debates will broadcast on CNN.

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For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Politics Editor Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: m.oleaga@latinpost.com.

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