But in the Bronx, where 34 percent of the population is foreign-born, Cruz’s support for deporting undocumented immigrants, eliminating some visa programs, ending birthright citizenship, and most recently, conducting surveillance in Muslim neighborhoods do not go over well.
Neither does his approach to the environment. After President Obama unveiled his Clean Power Plan, Cruz condemned the plan as a “lawless and radical attempt to destabilize the nation’s energy system.” But here in the Bronx, high levels of air pollution have caused children to contract asthma at roughly twice the rate of children in other parts of the city. The situation is so grim, in fact, that some have referred to parts of the South Bronx as “asthma alley.”
Add to that the fact that the South Bronx is predominantly Latino and black, while exit polls show Republican primary voters are predominantly white, and the South Bronx seems an even odder choice for a Republican candidate just weeks away from the New York City primary to campaign.
Cruz appeared alongside Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., a Democratic New York state senator and minister, who is deeply controversial for his opposition to abortion and gay marriage. Earlier in the day, Diaz’s son and Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz Jr., denounced Cruz as a “hypocrite.” Diaz Jr. acknowledged his father’s meeting with the Republican candidate, saying, “Like many sons and daughters, I dare say that our parents aren’t always right. They quite often get it wrong.”
It's hard to imagine a more virulently anti-gay God-botherer than Diaz, who, once a year, hires out his flock to National Organization for Marriage:
Reverend State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. has represented the Bronx's 32nd District for some eleven years now, and on one point, he's always been consistent: the gays. Diaz, a Pentecostal minister as well as a Democrat, has remained implacable in his distaste for LGBT people, even when his lesbian granddaughter is leading a counter-protest directly across from his anti-same sex marriage rally. Even in light of the fact that two of his brothers were also gay. Even when the LGBT people in question are teens trying to attend the Harvey Milk School, which Diaz tried to put a stop to in 2003 by suing the city on the grounds that it discriminated against straight students.
So it's perhaps not surprising that Diaz promised he would bring 5,000 people to the National Organization for Marriage's second annual March for Marriage in Washington D.C. yesterday, even though it was the last day then senate was in session, and perhaps he had some other work to attend to. The buses were paid for by NOM themselves, and Diaz said he and more than 100 other Hispanic ministers would attend with their congregations.NOM is still fundraising for its 2015 rally, held last April 25.