GOP Hispanic Heritage Month Video Draws Criticism From Activists

Immigration reform proponents say they’d prefer a vote to a video

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Jacquelyn Martin / AP

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, arrive to a second Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 1, 2013.

After a summer in which immigration reform, despite widespread bipartisan support, all but withered on the vine, a new GOP video celebrating Hispanic Heritage month is drawing criticism from some activists.

The GOP’s “House Republicans Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month” video features a lineup of high-profile congressional Republicans paying homage to the contributions of Hispanics to American society. The cast includes John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID).

Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform launched an all-out offensive this summer and, with polls showing support among voters, including a majority of Republicans, it seemed the wind was at their back. But, as Alex Altman has written in TIME, the number of events held and headlines generated does not an act of congress make. Now, immigration reform activists at America’s Voices are asking for some action to back up the talk.

“Instead of a video celebrating Hispanic Heritage month, how about a vote? Speaker Boehner and House leadership just don’t get it,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voices in a statement. In a press release on the issue, the group said “some of the people featured in the video are directly responsible for the fact that Congress has yet to pass immigration reform despite a strong bipartisan showing in the Senate.”

Of course, Facebook-founder and reform-advocate Mark Zuckerberg’s meeting with House Speaker Boehner isn’t scheduled to take place until later this week. Maybe the Zuck will help move the needle and appease the activists.