Mitt Romney's selection of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate is additional proof of the "disconnection" of Republicans with the reality of the majority of Hispanics in the United States, several pro-immigrant groups said Monday.

The Romney-Ryan ticket, presented officially on Saturday at a campaign rally in Norfolk, Virginia, has injected new energy into both the conservative base of the Republican Party, which views it as a winning combination, as well as into the Democrats, who see it as a return to the "failed" policies of the past.

The major concern among progressive groups consulted by Efe is that Ryan, 42, has defended anti-immigrant measures and is the architect of a budget proposal that emphasizes cuts to social spending.

That plan, approved by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives but which did not prosper in the Senate, recommends drastic changes to Medicare and Social Security.

Ryan, who was boosted politically by the Tea Party movement, defends his work in pursuit of "an agenda of economic growth, fiscal discipline and job creation."

However, activists say that in his 14 years in the House, Ryan has prescribed ideological measures that hurt the middle class and favored the wealthy.

His presence on the ticket with Romney consolidates the image of the Republican Party as one that "promotes anti-immigrant measures (and) fiscal proposals that run counter to the interests of the Latino community," Maribel Hastings, executive advisor to the pro-reform group America's Voice, told Efe.

In her judgment, Romney "is giving up the Latino vote for lost," if one takes into account that, on the subject of immigration, "Ryan's presence does not offer any balance to the extreme stances Romney has outlined during the course of the electoral process."

Hastings referred to the fact that Ryan in December 2010 was among those who voted against the DREAM Act to legalize the presence of undocumented students in this country and, in 2005, supported a bill to criminalize unauthorized immigration.

In April 2011, during a budget forum on YouTube, Ryan listened to complaints of conservatives that the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants are a public burden and don't deserve to receive automatic citizenship.

Ryan replied that that would require a constitutional amendment and that, in any case, the ways to combat illegal immigration were to strengthen border security and "correct the legal immigration system."

Other national groups, among them LULAC, the Hispanic Federation and the National Association for Hispanic Elderly, are warning that the budget cuts Ryan is promoting would harm the Latino community.

An editorial in the Spanish-language daily La Opinion criticized Romney's VP choice as being "partisan extremism," and it said that "the designation of one of the most radical, polarizing and obstructionist figures in Congress does not help to attract the vote of minorities and moderates."

But Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the most prominent Hispanic Republican, has come out defending Ryan as a "courageous reformer." Others believe he could help bring the kind of economic reform the country needs. 

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