Category Archives: Sensible Immigration Reform

Administrative Relief Information Sessions – Houston

And the work begins on making sure people are given the right information, as well as some great initial advice. Thanks to Neighborhood Centers and United We Dream for hosting these events.

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Executive Action/Admin Relief Watch Parties – Houston

 
November 20, 2014
 
Own The DREAM Admin Relief Watch Party
1900 Kane St., Houston, TX 77007
6pm
 
Mi Familia Vota’s Immigration Action Watch Party
4124 Telephone Road, Houston, TX 77087
6PM
 
FIEL Watch Party
6610 Harwin, Houston, TX 77036
6PM
 
Also…
 
Neighborhood Centers Inc. will be hosting two live watch parties. One at our Leonel Castillo Community Center (2101 South St, 77009), and another at our Baker – Ripley Neighborhood Center (6500 Rookin, 77074).
 
 

 

Executive Action Will Be Announced Thursday; What Should We Expect?

president_signingWell, everyone seems to be guessing, but the overall prediction is that President Obama will act to defer deportations for a few million undocumented folks and he will announce his plan on Thursday. Which undocumented folks from the 11 million, you ask? There’s nothing official, but most outlets are stating the following:

Administration officials say a key part of the announcement will be allowing the parents of American citizens, who are undocumented immigrants themselves, to remain in the United States without the threat of deportation. That would include the parents of legal residents, but not the parents of children eligible for delayed deportation under a rule Obama enacted in 2012.

Up to 3.6 million people would be affected by that change, according to an estimate from the Migration Policy Institute, though the figures are smaller if Obama’s announcement includes a minimum number of years spent in the country.

Mandating parents live in the U.S. for at least 5 years before becoming eligible would bring the number affected to 3.3 million; a 10-year minimum would bring it down further to an estimated 2.5 million people.

In other words, in this scenario, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals would not be offered to the parents of DACA beneficiaries. On the other hand, undocumented parents of legal residents  will be offered deferred deportation. I figure this much has been said in order to lower expectations, although, this blogger has supported including parents of DACA beneficiaries as a means of keeping families united. Over 500,000 have benefited from DACA since 2012.

In regards to DACA, though, it could be the case that President Obama will increase the age cut-off to offer more deferrals under that program.

Officials also said the plan could include a stronger focus on deporting criminals who are undocumented immigrants and an expansion of worker visas in areas like technology.

Obviously, the tech work visas will make Silicon Valley happy, but putting the focus on the original intent of deportation programs, such as Secure Communities, is long overdue. It is said that a huge portion–some say over half–of the Obama administration’s deportations in the last six years have been of people who did not have a criminal record. President Obama recently stated that the United States has been deporting people who shouldn’t be deported.

It should be noted that whatever is announced will not affect a person’s immigration status. It is by no means “amnesty,” since beneficiaries will not have the vast majority of rights as legal residents or citizens.

Obviously, we will not know until the announcement is made. I’ve kept my  expectations low.  Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has stated as much that this announcement will include “border security” efforts.

Above all, the legislative battles will continue; the Republican vitriol will surely increase; and there will surely be some confusion along the way. The best source will ultimately be the White House and Jeh Johnson’s people, since the media will likely be less of an informational source for those who need the information. Or, they could try to prove me wrong.

We still need a permanent solution that includes those basic tenets as family unification, deportation reform, and end to family detention, and a fix to the “legal” immigration system.

The President announces on Thursday, November 20, at 7PM.

 

Is This The Week for Executive Action?

The “will he or won’t he” question is yet to be officially answered, although, there is movement toward President Obama signing executive action to provide deportation relief. Even his Homeland Security guy, Jeh Johnson, is telling us as much, and, as always, “by the end of the year.”

A major hurdle to making any executive action work is in the discussion and getting hotter. Much like Republicans have tried to de-fund Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Republicans are threatening to do the same to anything the President signs through a budget tactic.

What might be held hostage is a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond the upcoming December 11 deadline.

Conservative members in both chambers want to pass a continuing resolution to fund the whole government with language that expressly prohibits using federal funds to enable any executive action on immigration policy, blocking funding, for instance, of work-authorization documents for illegal immigrants.

Even our own Senate minority leader Harry Reid has encouraged the President to not sign anything until Congress passes the “CR.” Of course, there will also be some Senate Democrats who went down in flames in 2014 even after the President delayed signing executive action for them who will likely side with the Republicans because they have this illusion that they will make a comeback in the future. Also, Claire McCaskill is sounding like her usual anti-immigrant self, although she did vote for the DREAM Act in 2010 after much arm-twisting and narrowing of the proposal.

One scenario mentioned in the National Review article cited above is if the President decides to wait until after the December 11 deadline to sign executive action, the Republicans will pass a short-term CR before the December 11 deadline to keep the government funded  until the new Congress comes in, then, the new Congress can put in the anti-immigrant language into a longer-term CR that de-funds Obama’s action. Whether the President would sign such a CR and, along with the anti-immigration Republicans, shut down the government is the bigger question.

Either way, Republican pettiness will seem obvious, as the President has the legal standing to sign whatever he wants. That the Republicans would hold the American government hostage says a lot more about their feelings toward immigrants, the vast majority being Latino.

With the understanding of the politics behind the continuing resolution, do we want the President to wait until after December 11? Or do we want the fight to begin later this week?

 

 

Luis Gutierrez: David Axelrod Has No Sense of Urgency

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez gave former Obama adviser David Axelrod a good smack for telling Obama to not sign executive action, and then he said a lot more! Check it out! 5 minutes of awesome.

Fox News Announces Executive Order?

president_signingEarlier in the day, I started seeing some chisme going around that an announcement by the Obama Administration was forthcoming about an expansive executive order on immigration and deportation. By the time I got home, I found out that it was being announced by Fox News.

a source close to the White House told Fox News

and

The president’s plans were contained in a draft proposal from a U.S. government agency.

Well, that’s like hearing reasons why a campaign may have lost in 2014 based on information from fired consultants.

As reported by Fox, it’s pretty much what activists have been requesting from the President:  Deferred deportation, expanding what is known as DACA to parents and family members. It also includes reforming Secure Communities so that it does what it is supposed to do–arrest and deport dangerous criminals; far from what it is doing now. The awkward one was raises for ICE officers for morale purposes.

I can’t say I’m holding my breath, given the source. Whomever leaked it, while the President isn’t even in the country, is showing some lax discipline, but being that it was given to Fox News, perhaps that person wants to kill it. Or worse, rile up the right-wing and then propose a lesser executive order.

Who knows? Too many people are thinking, now. Some are overexcited. I’m taking a wait and see approach.

Given that President Obama is still the truth-teller of the week when he told Face The Nation that “we’re deporting people who shouldn’t be deported,” I’ll wait for it to come from his lips with all the pomp and circumstance it deserves.

Update:  The mainstream news channels are reporting that a “senior White House” person is denying the accuracy of the Fox news item.

It’s Not Just About the Delay on Executive Action

News agencies and pundits have been writing a lot about the failed tactic by President Obama to hold off on executive action on immigration to help a few Democrats win in tough states as the reason Latinos stayed home. I’m sure it’s just one of many reasons.

That said, anti-immigrant Democrats like Kay Hagan pushed the President to not sign anything while they were running to be re-elected so as not to piss off supporters that apparently weren’t even there. The resulting move to the far-right by these Democrats, evidenced in their ads, didn’t work, obviously.

So, now, news people are more than willing to say that Latino turnout may have been affected by the delay. They’re only partially correct. Latino Decisions’ poll stated that immigration became the most important issue for Latinos, nationally, but the delay was more than likely the straw that broke the donkey’s back.

ropemDemocratic activists, candidates, and the White House have been too willing to merrily go on portraying themselves as “pro-immigrant” while the Obama administration has deported over 2,000,000 mostly non-criminal immigrants, warehoused tens of thousands more, and used Central American children escaping poverty and violence as a political piñata for their own (and Republicans’ own) benefit. Six years of punitive policies can wear a group of people down, including citizen-Latinos who vote and who have grown tired of being included in the vitriol (mostly from Republicans, but recently by the likes of Hagan, Landrieu, and Alison Grimes) simply for being the easiest scapegoat.

Of course, all of this is based on a 2007-08 promise by candidate Obama to get this done in year 1 of term 1. Obamacare took precedence, obviously, and a DREAM Act loss in 2010 because of 5 anti-immigrant Democrats looking to get re-elected started the whole questioning of Obama’s direction. Then after DACA energized Latinos in 2012, the second term started with a failed gun control effort taking precedence, thus, wasting political capital that should have been used on immigration reform. Then, we know how the whole bipartisan thing went.

Sure, the Republicans are awful, but as I’ve always said (and made Obama supporters cringe) it is the President who holds the keys to the deportation buses. And it is the President who has held off on immigration reform and executive action for six years, in favor of other legislation, and opting for the illusion that a few political and legislative victories would give him more positive press and polling. Or, perhaps some political capital.

And, now, the Republicans are in charge of some of the governing, as of January 1. President Obama indicates that he will take executive action “by the end of the year” if he doesn’t see an indication by the lame-duck Congress or the incoming leadership to do something. Boehner today warned Obama not to do it, while also stating that the House would not vote on S.744.

It shouldn’t be shocking that the Republicans are talking about immigration reform after winning. They are more than willing to vote on something that is punitive, wastes more tax money on the border, builds more prisons to warehouse humans (as long as it’s Obama that sends them there) and sends profits to their private prison buddies, and that will include a no-citizenship, no-worker rights, just work and be quiet, type of amnesty. Of course, they won’t call it amnesty. The big question is:  When will they do it? Or is it just talk with the option of blaming Obama and Democrats for gridlock when they talk down a very bad GOP proposal?

So, executive action may well be a very temporary thing if it pushes the Republican leadership to supercede the President with their own bill in 2015. Some Democrats, now that they’ve lost everything, are saying Obama should be bold and force Republicans to bash and rescind executive action so Latinos will be anti-Republican in 2016.

Frankly, playing politics with human lives is not my idea of good politics, even for a political victory. There have been smarter ways of achieving political victories by just being bold, but there is no doubt that the President’s clock to be effectively bold is ticking to a stopping point. And fast.

But, no, it wasn’t just about the delay.

President Obama needs to the sign the boldest of executive actions that will stop his family-separating deportation machine and expand DACA to cover more families if he wants to be politically and legislatively effective. It all depends on what kind of legacy he really wants to leave. At least in the eyes of Latinos who gave him 70+% of their votes.

Still, I can’t help but chuckle when asked by Anglo Dems:  How do we get Latinos to vote? And I want to ask:  How do we stop Anglos from giving 80% of their vote to bigoted Republicans? But that may open up a whole other bushel of jalapeños.

 

Latino Decisions Releases Poll on E-Day

Latino Decisions released a poll today detailing how Tejanos (Texas Latinos) feel about various issues. The most important poll, though, is at your polling location. Find yours and go vote!

 

Here are the highlights:

Most Important Issues

  • Jobs/Economy – 28%
  • Immigration – 43%
  • Health Care/Medicaid – 17%
  • Education/Schools – 22%

I’m voting in 2014 because…

  • I wanted to support the Democratic candidate – 40%
  • I wanted to support the Republican candidate – 16%
  • I wanted to support and represent the Latino community – 34%

How important is the issue of immigration in your decision to vote, and who to vote for.

  • Most important – 33%
  • One of the most important – 36%
  • Somewhat important – 17%

60% of Texas Latinos know someone who is undocumented, according to the poll.

Well, there you have it. By the looks of it, Republicans don’t have a shot at much of the Latino vote. But it is all about turnout today. So, go vote!

IN OTHER STATES

There are some states that were the cause for President Obama’s delay on executive action, such as North Carolina. In North Carolina, immigration was the most important issue for Latinos at 57%. 45% in Colorado. 57% in Georgia. Just food for thought as we await tonight’s results.

 

 

When Does Obama’s PR Campaign on Immigration Begin?

Remember when President Barack Obama said he was delaying executive action on immigration so that he could run some sort of public relations campaign to convince voters that it was the right thing to do?

So, when does that begin? I mean, not that 438,000 deportations in 2013 is helping that cause any, or the continued deportation program.
alisonOur friends at Latino Rebels tell us that the current campaign to elect anti-immigrant Democrats is going strong. Case in point:  Alison Grimes of Kentucky who says she’d never support “amnesty,” like her right-wing opponent Mitch McConnell did in, yes, 1986.

Mary Landrieu in Louisiana is running her own “border security” ad, and we all know how Kay Hagan in North Carolina feels about brown folks from 6 years ago. Reminder:  These are two of the Dumbocrats for which executive action was delayed. If only they could be more like the independent guy in Kansas, Greg Orman, who knows how to play to both sides on the sucky S.744.

This definitely reminds me of when Democrats were running dumb anti-immigrant ads back in 2006. Remember when the DSCC was running that ad called “Secure”? Remember the backlash?

And what is President Obama (and Bill and Hillary Clinton) going to say about Grimes’ anti-immigrant ads? Note to Prez:  Alison Grimes may not be the best spokesperson for that PR campaign.

Frankly, I’m sick of this crap. It doesn’t help Democrats win. Just ask people like Nick Lampson or Chet Edwards how their anti-immigrant ads helped them win. We’ve got some good Democrats to elect here in Texas, and it’s time we start ignoring races in other states, especially when we’re running nativists for these positions; all for an ineffective scorecard majority that gives us nothing.

I’ve said I’m not a single issue voter, but it has become way too easy for Democrats to stomp all over Latinos and immigrants just to gain a vote. We certainly don’t need apologists for nativists in the Party.

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9/13/14 ~ Own The Dream’s DACA Clinic

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