Cesar Chavez resolution blocked by GOP

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Republicans on Monday refused to allow the Senate to honor Cesar Chavez, drawing a stern rebuke from Democrats who questioned the GOP’s motives.

Republicans said they would have allowed a resolution to pass if Democrats had accepted additional language that recognized Chavez supported strict enforcement of immigration laws in order to help protect American workers’ wages. But Democrats refused to agree to those additions, leaving both sides at a stalemate.

“It is an injustice to his memory,” said Sen. Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who tried to force a vote and who said Republicans were trying to mix the immigration debate with a commemorative resolution.

Mr. Menendez said it was the eighth year in a row that Republicans have blocked such a resolution on Chavez’s birthday, March 31.

Mr. Menendez said this year he came to the Senate floor to deliver a speech and force Republicans to object out loud.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, did just that, arguing that Democrats were whitewashing Chavez’s stances, which backed strict enforcement of immigration laws and regularly protested farmers’ use of illegal immigrants in their fields.

Chavez helped form the United Farm Workers labor union, which organized agriculture workers.

Chavez has become a hero to many Hispanics in the U.S., and to labor union leaders. He died in 1993.

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