Category Archives: U.S. Capitol

Heroes and Photo Ops

Real Texas Heroes.

I’ve been against Rick Perry’s DPS Surge because the minute I heard about it, I knew he’d use it for propaganda and photo ops. Obviously, in the pic below, Rick Perry is more interested in scaring children with paramilitary uniforms and high-powered weapons. It doesn’t give me the image of “heroes.” I still believe Democrats should stay away from the surge other than to say how much of a waste of tax dollars this is.

 

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Look Who’s Running for the Border, Again

Well, it was bound to happen. Domestic terrorists say they are headed for the border to fight brown people.

The mainstream media will call them “anti-government citizen militia groups,” but let’s face it, we know what they really are:  Domestic terrorists. Given their rhetoric, vigilante isn’t even a proper term for them.

These are the same kind of groups as the guy who blew up the Murrah Building in OKC, and the same kind as the Minutemen who are also planning a return to the border. They are the same kind of people I wrote about in 2007 who were into eugenics and promotion of hate, too. And now, it seems, that Rick Perry is willing to act just like them with his deranged conspiracies.

“We’re tired of those SOB’s in Washington D.C. bringing all these illegals into our country and just spreading ‘em out with all their diseases all over the place,” said YouTube user 1HellonHeels, explaining why she is joining “Operation Secure Our Border”, which uses the hashtag #OpSOB on Facebook.

Davis said the “influx of illegal immigrants is bringing bad elements” to the country such as “sickness.”

On Sunday, Governor Rick Perry suggested that President Barack Obama could be leading a conspiracy to bring immigrants into the country.

From USA Today

I would say this would actually give the $1.3 million a week “DPS surge” some actual law enforcement duties, but since they answer to Rick Perry, who knows?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exclusive: DC Responds to POTUS Immigration Speech

My initial reaction.

Really?

Wendy Davis Called Out on Deportations and DPS Support

Wendy Davis has been called out for supporting Rick Perry’s idiotic and costly DPS trooper build-up on the border and for her own call for more immigration judges and continued detention of refugee children.

One of the largest and most influential activist groups in the Rio Grande Valley, LUPE, has taken to the internet calling for a Facebook bomb of Wendy Davis’ FB account asking supporters to steer her in the right direction on the issue of the refugee kids being warehoused until deported.

As I pointed out, Wendy Davis basically tried to split the difference by supporting the DPS build-up and calling for a special session to concentrate on the human factor. Reading deeper into the letter sent to Rick Perry (as I and all Davis supporters should have), she also called for more immigration judges to basically speed up deportations of these refugee children. Furthermore, the letter states in plain English that these children should be kept in these human warehouses:

(In the context of more immigration judges to deport refugees:  “…I believe that this is the best approach, rather than releasing these individuals and their families at the local bus stop with a hearing set several months in the future.”

There is already a backlog of going on 400,000 cases in the 59 different immigration courts across the country with an average wait of almost 600 days. Keeping a child locked up in a freezing warehouse for two years is just plain inhumane.

So how bad are the waits? Over the years, U.S. has ramped up its spending on immigration enforcementoverall, a 300 percent increase since 2002. Meanwhile, the budget for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (which oversees the courts) grew only 70 percent. A Washington Post profile of one immigration judge showed he had less than 7 minutes to decide each case, no matter the complexity of the law.

Should Davis even be venturing into the federal immigration court process by calling for more judges for the purpose of deporting the refugee children given this fact? Either there is a lack of understanding of an issue that has been allowed to fester for years, or this is just another case of politicians playing politics.

There are a lot of influential, yet disappointed, Latin@s and other progressive/liberal activists right now. This is not an issue on which to play politics. Lives are actually at stake if some of these refugees are returned to their home countries. And pissing off a constituency with very vocal activists is never good for Republicans, and even worse so for Democrats.

Given Hillary Clinton’s recent hardline comments, the Obama administrations tanking numbers on immigration reform, and the Republicans continued blame game of everyone but themselves, we are in dire need of sensible leadership on immigration and Latin American affairs.

 

 

 

Obama: I’ll See Your Surge

While the Republicans in DC are talking and talking and talking about immigration, it is President Obama who has called for a border surge. I guess he didn’t want to get outdone by Rick Perry’s $1.3 million per week surge. But this whole game of “quien es mas anti-immigrant” is enough to make one ill–and quite cynical about the offerings of both political parties. The “surge” part is mostly about judges to speed up deportations, since the Border Patrol seems to be catching all these kids; although, Republicans blame Obama’s DACA for the surge, which is a bunch of BS, but great stuff for the TV talking heads.

As children from Central America keep pouring across the nation’s southwest border, the Obama administration announced Friday that it will respond with a “surge” of immigration judges and U.S. attorneys to speed up the deportation of some undocumented immigrants.

The other part of the “surge,” basically, has the President throwing money to Central American countries considered “friendly,” yet whose problems have long been simmering and cause for the influx of these Central American children.

• A $9.6 million grant to the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to build and improve their “repatriation centers,” where deported immigrants are received after they’ve been flown back home.

• The creation of a $40 million program run by the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, to improve citizen security in Guatemala. Administration officials say the violence in Central America is one of the main reasons so many kids are racing to the U.S.

• A new $25 million USAID program to curb violence in El Salvador.

• An $18.5 million grant to Honduras to help community policing and gang-prevention programs there.

That first dot means that kids and their parents will be deported. The grant programs mean that as long as these countries’ leaders stay in place and do as told by the U.S., they’ll keep getting these dollars. Or, at least that’s how “aid” money is usually doled out. How effective this cash will be is up in the air, obviously.

Elise Foley at HuffPost has more information on the “surge,” which includes opening more “family” prisons, like that God-awful one in Taylor, TX.

Family detention of undocumented immigrants was widely criticized when it was used more commonly. The T. Don Hutto facility in Texas hosted families and wasdescribed in 2007 as prison-like, with few services like education or recreation for children. The government announced in 2009 that families will no longer be housed there.

Immigrant advocates argue that the government should not detain families, and instead should use alternatives to detention, until their deportation cases are settled.

“It’s a real step backwards for immigration policy,” said Bob Libal, the executive director of Grassroots Leadership, which advocates for alternatives to detention. “Detention should always be used as a last option … the harm that comes from children from being detained is well-documented, and if we don’t have to do this, we shouldn’t be doing it.”

Just because Dubya Bush isn’t running ICE doesn’t make these new concentration camps, I mean “family” centers, kinder and gentler.

It is safe to say that as we move toward November, 2014, both political parties are in a political crisis when it comes to immigration reform and Latin American affairs. It doesn’t help for 2016, either.

 

 

 

Latino Victory Project Launches; Endorses Gallego in TX-23

Just got this in the inbox.. For folks in my former CD-23 neck of the mesquite, this is a must-read.

Moments ago at a press conference in D.C., Eva Longoria and Henry B. Munoz III announced the launch of the Latino Victory Project. The LVP is an ambitious, non-partisan effort to build political power within the Latino community to ensure the voices of Latinos are reflected at every level of government and in the policies that drive our nation.The political arm of LVP is Latino Victory PAC, intended to engage Latinos and develop a pipeline of Latino candidates at every level of government.

In addition to launching the LVP, a slate of PAC-endorsed candidates was also announced including Congressman Pete Gallego (TX-23).

Cristobal Alex, President of Latino Victory Project PAC said, “Pete Gallego has distinguished himself as an outstanding public servant. From his passion for helping veterans and military families, to his push for immigration reform, and down to his cowboy boots – Pete Gallego is truly representative of Texas’ 23rd district. The 23rd district could have no better representation than Pete Gallego.”

Congressman Pete Gallego added, “When Latinos do well, our country does well. It is always an honor to be supported by Texans – and I thank Eva Longoria for spearheading this bold, and much-needed initiative. The Latino Victory Project works to make our country stronger by ensuring that our government is truly representative of its people. As someone who went from being a young Latino in a tiny West Texas town to the United States Congress, the subject of Latino political empowerment is near to my heart.  I am humbled by the support of this outstanding organization, value their vote of confidence, and will continue to work to be the best voice for every constituent in Texas’ 23rd district.”

More info on Latino Victory Project at www.LatinoVictory.us.

Tweet del Dia: No Latino Love for Ted

Republicans Block Chavez Resolution Because of Immigration

Unsurprisingly, the Republicans in the US Senate blocked a resolution honoring late labor and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez. Why? Because the Republicans wanted to honor Chavez’s anti-immigrant work.

But Republicans blocked it after Democrats refused their demand that they also include in the resolution mention of how Chavez pushed for tighter border security and saw undocumented immigrants as detrimental to U.S. workers.

I mentioned this particular fact about Chavez’s life in the review of movie last week, and it is a part of his life that Republicans have tried to exploit for their own benefit, much like they attempt to co-opt Martin Luther King’s Republican past.

Much like most labor unions, the United Farm Workers were opposed to immigrant labor because of how easy it was to exploit this source of cheap labor, thus making it easier to end the labor movement. While Chavez and the Union wanted fair labor practices and fair pay for what were mostly American citizen workers, it was people like Ronald Reagan and other Republicans who would have none of that and supported strike-breaking in the form of immigrant exploitation. Some things never change, much like the corporations that want to exploit immigrants today in order to avoid benefits like health insurance, equal pay, and simple worker protections. It really is an old Republican strategy of “divide and conquer.”

Ultimately, Cesar Chavez changed course on immigrant rights as the Chicano civil rights movement took on a more global view of labor, civil and human rights. Plus, the Union was in need of membership. Obviously, Republicans have never supported civil and human rights for anyone, much less labor rights.

Frankly, I’m not much into empty resolutions when Congress isn’t getting any real work done. I want public policy, like, I don’t know, immigration reform, equal pay, jobs creation, health care reform/single payer, education funding, stuff like that. But it’s not like the Republicans will ever support anything of value to a majority of this country.

 

GOPtinos 2.0?

Looks like they’re at it again. The Republicans are courting Latinos by hiring Latinos and then sending a press release about it.

Quick! Point me to the nearest polling location! I’ve been convinced that the GOP likes us!

It seems the Republicans are still lying to themselves. Still far from supporting a path to citizenship, which over 80% of Latinos support, their efforts on immigration reform have stalled to the point of indifference. They have convinced themselves that immigration is not a top issue for Latinos, although thousands showed up in Washington, DC to demand Congress wake up and pass some sort of reform a couple of days ago. The right-wing “Caller” rag called them “illegals.” But that’s not the entire Latino message for the GOP.

Here in Texas, Greg Abbott is already attacking Wendy Davis on driver’s licenses for immigrants, and is on record supporting racial profiling as a means of state-sanctioned immigration enforcement. Right-winger for state comptroller Glenn Hegar just started a poll asking his supporters if the comptroller should do a study about the “impact of illegal immigration.” The title alone tells us what his intent really is. Even Carol Strayhorn used the term, “undocumented” in her report. Mostly, Hegar is also on record as saying he supports voter ID because “illegals” vote illegally in record numbers–a downright lie.

And I’ll also mention that voter suppression through voter photo ID and gerrymandering sent Latinos a clear message:  No representation for you!

What do I usually tell Latinos who may be buying into GOPtino outreach window dressing?

It’s the policies, ¡pende**s!

And Latinos are on record as being overwhelmingly in support of more progressive policy stances on jobs and the economy, health care, immigration reform, and education. Any other issues, particularly the cultural ones the GOP seems to stick to, are far from priorities for Latinos. Just read any poll by Latino Decisions or the Pew Hispanic Institute.

As always, I’ll tell Democrats and Democratic candidates–stay strong and progressive on these issues; defend against right-wing attacks; and don’t give in.

Ted Poe Gets Double Dose of CIR Push

Today at the University of St. Thomas, faith and community leaders held a panel discussion to discuss the urgency of passing comprehensive immigration reform. Moreover, the target of the discussion was Congressman Ted Poe and other Texas delegation members.

Dr. Robert Ivany, President of the University of St. Thomas, spoke to our individual obligations as engaged citizens and the university’s obligation as a Catholic institution. 

“Here in Houston, the lack of comprehensive immigration reform confronts us daily. We are honored to host this forum to address our duty as responsible citizens and as faithful Catholics who are committed to the fair and just treatment of our community.” 

Scott Braddock, known for dynamic interviews with politicians and activists from across the political spectrum, moderated the discussion and urged the diverse set of panelists to describe the impact of America’s broken immigration system on Houston and the costs of Congress’ current inaction.

“A sensible immigration bill is vital for our city, state, and nation,” said Stan Marek, a leading figure in Houston’s business community and President and CEO of the Marek Family of Companies. “An estimated 2.1 million undocumented reside within our Texas borders and it’s time they were brought out of the shadows. Too many are working in low paying jobs and in a sense being held hostage because of their status. We need to demand now that our members in the House take seriously their obligation to pass a bill into the Conference Committee.” 

Bringing to bear the teachings of their respective faith traditions, prominent pastors from diverse backgrounds echoed the call for comprehensive immigration reform and demanded an end to the exploitation of aspiring Americans. 

“Every day, Houston pastors encounter children and young adults whose families have been torn apart by America’s failed immigration system,” said  Senior Pastor Tim Moore of Walk Worthy Baptist Church. “We will not be silent while these anti-family policies wreak havoc in our communities. We urge Rep. Poe and fellow members of Texas’ Congressional delegation to examine the tenets of their faith and give us a vote on comprehensive immigration reform with an earned pathway to citizenship.” 

Seeing firsthand the impact of Houston’s broken immigration system on local families and parishioners, Pastor Diane McGehee , Director of the Center for Missional Excellence at Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, said  “We need Congress to pass immigration reform right now that protects immigrant families and workers, and includes a path to citizenship. The system we have right now is broken, hopelessly complex, and devastates hard working immigrants who come here to build a better life for themselves and their families. Even I, a licensed attorney, can’t navigate it without help and great expense. We can and must do better. How we treat our fellow human beings as made in the image of God is central to our faith as Christians.”

Bob Price, a well-known political commentator and blogger for TexasGOPVote, said “Immigration reform can no longer be ignored by our government. If we are to be a nation of laws, our laws must be just, and they must serve the needs of our people, our families and our communities.  This is the right time for us to move forward on this issue and solve a problem that has been haunting us for many years.” 

As the immigration reform movement continues to gain steam in Houston and across the United States, Members of Congress need to act now to reform our broken system. Eleven million aspiring American citizens must not be trapped in the shadows any longer, and immigrant families must be freed from the constant threat of being torn apart. The faith, business, labor and law enforcement communities stand united and will not rest until our neighbors, parishioners, customers, students, and friends are brought out of the shadows and given the opportunity to fully engage in America’s economy and democracy. 

Given that Ted Poe has been under pressure from both sides of the issue after a FoxLatino.com article mentioned Poe had “softened” on the issue, perhaps even being open to supporting a path to citizenship, the Chron continued adding to the storyline with an article by Rob Paral.

A new analysis of immigration trends and demographic composition of U.S. House districts shows that many Republican congressional districts have emerging electorates that care deeply about immigration reform.

Many Republican representatives will see their constituency profiles evolve in the coming years. Asian and Latino youth and newly naturalized U.S. citizens will make up 34 percent of newly eligible voters in 55 Republican-held congressional districts.

Take for example Republican Rep. Ted Poe, of Texas’ 2nd Congressional District. The district, which includes parts of Houston and eastern and northern suburbs, is more than half white. But come time for the 2014 elections, nearly 51 percent of all the newly eligible voters in his district will be either recently naturalized immigrants or Asian or Latino youth who turned 18 before the election and will be eligible to cast a ballot.

The political realities of 2012 are hitting many Republicans in the face, as of late. While some on the “blue” side of things have been awaiting the demographic changes to come through to effect victories, Paral seems to think that once this occurs, the effects will not stop.

This is not a one-time event. The impact stretches across future election cycles and its influence grows over time.

Like I’ve stated, I’m not a fan of S.744 or the Border Militarization. Much of what is in the bill has been written to appease Republicans like Ted Poe and others who are beginning to see the realities of the future of Texas. Unfortunately, I’m thinking that the GOP is just too damn pig-headed to even support a bad bill like S.744 just for face-saving purposes.