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Executive Action Fact Sheet

From the White House:

FACT SHEET: Immigration Accountability Executive Action

The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable, and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.  Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking an important step to fix our broken immigration system.

These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

These are common sense steps, but only Congress can finish the job. As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill—like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago—that can replace these actions and fix the whole system.

Three critical elements of the President’s executive actions are:

  •  Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border:  The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back.  Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security command-and-control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration.
  • Deporting Felons, Not Families: The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.
  •  Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes:  The President is also acting to hold accountable those undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents.  By registering and passing criminal and national security background checks, millions of undocumented immigrants will start paying their fair share of taxes and temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation for three years at a time.

The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and will promote naturalization for those who qualify.

For more than a half century, every president—Democratic or Republican—has used his legal authority to act on immigration.  President Obama is now taking another commonsense step.  As the Administration implements these executive actions, Congress should finish the job by passing a bill like the bipartisan Senate bill that: continues to strengthen border security by adding 20,000 more Border Patrol agents; cracks down on companies who hire undocumented workers; creates an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pay a fine and taxes, pass a background check, learn English and go to the back of the line; and boosts our economy and keeps families together by cutting red tape to simplify our legal immigration process.

Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border

Under the Obama Administration, the resources that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) dedicates to security at the Southwest border are at an all-time high.  Today, there are 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents along the Southwest Border and our border fencing, unmanned aircraft surveillance systems, and ground surveillance systems have more than doubled since 2008. Taken as a whole, the additional boots on the ground, technology, and resources provided in the last six years represent the most serious and sustained effort to secure our border in our Nation’s history, cutting illegal border crossings by more than half.

And this effort is producing results. From 1990 to 2007, the population of undocumented individuals in the United States grew from 3.5 million to 11 million people.  Since then, the size of the undocumented population has stopped growing for the first time in decades. Border apprehensions—a key indicator of border security— are at their lowest level since the 1970s.  This past summer, the President and the entire Administration responded to the influx of unaccompanied children with an aggressive, coordinated Federal response focused on heightened deterrence, enhanced enforcement, stronger foreign cooperation, and greater capacity for Federal agencies to ensure that our border remains secure.  As a result, the number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the Southwest border has declined precipitously, and the Administration continues to focus its resources to prevent a similar situation from developing in the future.

To build on these efforts and to ensure that our limited enforcement resources are used effectively, the President has announced the following actions:

Shifting resources to the border and recent border crossers. Over the summer, DHS sent hundreds of Border Patrol agents and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel to the Southwest border, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) reordered dockets in immigration courts to prioritize removal cases of recent border crossers.  This continued focus will help keep our borders safe and secure.  In addition, Secretary Johnson is announcing a new Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Plan which will strengthen the efforts of the agencies who work to keep our border secure.  And by establishing clearer priorities for interior enforcement, DHS is increasing the likelihood that people attempting to cross the border illegally will be apprehended and sent back.

Streamlining the immigration court process. DOJ is announcing a package of immigration court reforms that will address the backlog of pending cases by working with DHS to more quickly adjudicate cases of individuals who meet new DHS-wide enforcement priorities and close cases of individuals who are low priorities. DOJ will also pursue regulations that adopt best practices for court systems to use limited court hearing time as efficiently as possible.

Protecting victims of crime and human trafficking as well as workers.  The Department of Labor (DOL) is expanding and strengthening immigration options for victims of crimes (U visas) and trafficking (T visas) who cooperate in government investigations.  An interagency working group will also explore ways to ensure that workers can avail themselves of their labor and employment rights without fear of retaliation.

DEPORTING FELONS, NOT FAMILIES

By setting priorities and focusing its enforcement resources, the Obama Administration has already increased the removal of criminals by more than 80%.  These actions build on that strong record by:

Focusing on the removal of national security, border security, and public safety threats.  To better focus on the priorities that matter, Secretary Johnson is issuing a new DHS-wide memorandum that makes clear that the government’s enforcement activity should be focused on national security threats, serious criminals, and recent border crossers.  DHS will direct all of its enforcement resources at pursuing these highest priorities for removal.

Implementing a new Priority Enforcement Program. Effectively identifying and removing criminals in state and local jails is a critical goal but it must be done in a way that sustains the community’s trust.  To address concerns from Governors, Mayors, law enforcement and community leaders which have undermined cooperation with DHS, Secretary Johnson is replacing the existing Secure Communities program with a new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) to remove those convicted of criminal offenses.  DHS will continue to rely on biometric data to verify individuals who are enforcement priorities, and they will also work with DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons to identify and remove federal criminals serving time as soon as possible.

Accountability – criminal background checks and taxes

Every Democratic and Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration.  Consistent with this long history, DHS will expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.  DHS will also create a new deferred action program for people who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and have lived in the United States for five years or longer if they register, pass a background check and pay taxes.

The President is taking the following actions to hold accountable certain undocumented immigrants:

Creating a mechanism that requires certain undocumented immigrants to pass a background check to make sure that they start paying their fair share in taxes. In order to promote public safety, DHS is establishing a new deferred action program for parents of U.S. Citizens or LPRs who are not enforcement priorities and have been in the country for more than 5 years.  Individuals will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for three years at a time if they come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born before the date of this announcement.  By providing individuals with an opportunity to come out of the shadows and work legally, we will also help crack down on companies who hired undocumented workers, which undermines the wages of all workers, and ensure that individuals are playing by the rules and paying their fair share of taxes.

Expanding DACA to cover additional DREAMers. Under the initial DACA program, young people who had been in the U.S. for at least five years, came as children, and met specific education and public safety criteria were eligible for temporary relief from deportation so long as they were born after 1981 and entered the country before June 15, 2007.  DHS is expanding DACA so that individuals who were brought to this country as children can apply if they entered before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today.  Going forward, DACA relief will also be granted for three years.

The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and promote naturalization by:

Providing portable work authorization for high-skilled workers awaiting LPR status and their spouses.  Under the current system, employees with approved LPR applications often wait many years for their visa to become available.  DHS will make regulatory changes to allow these workers to move or change jobs more easily.  DHS is finalizing new rules to give certain H-1B spouses employment authorization as long as the H-1B spouse has an approved LPR application.

Enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs.  DHS will expand immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment, and generating revenue in the U.S., to ensure that our system encourages them to grow our economy.  The criteria will include income thresholds so that these individuals are not eligible for certain public benefits like welfare or tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.

Strengthening and extending on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S universities. In order to strengthen educational experiences of foreign students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at U.S. universities, DHS will propose changes to expand and extend the use of the existing Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and require stronger ties between OPT students and their colleges and universities following graduation.

Streamlining the process for foreign workers and their employers, while protecting American workers. DHS will clarify its guidance on temporary L-1 visas for foreign workers who transfer from a company’s foreign office to its U.S. office. DOL will take regulatory action to modernize the labor market test that is required of employers that sponsor foreign workers for immigrant visas while ensuring that American workers are protected.

Reducing family separation for those waiting to obtain LPR status. Due to barriers in our system, U.S. citizens and LPRs are often separated for years from their immediate relatives, while they wait to obtain their LPR status. To reduce the time these individuals are separated, DHS will expand an existing program that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional waiver for certain violations before departing the United States to attend visa interviews.

Ensuring that individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin. DHS will clarify its guidance to provide greater assurance to individuals with a pending LPR application or certain temporary status permission to travel abroad with advance permission (“parole”).

Issuing a Presidential Memorandum on visa modernization. There are many ways in which our legal immigration system can be modernized to reduce government costs, eliminate redundant systems, reduce burdens on employers and families, and eliminate fraud. The President is issuing a Memorandum

Creating a White House Task Force on New Americans. The President is creating a White House Task Force on New Americans to create a federal strategy on immigrant integration.

Promoting Citizenship Public Awareness: DHS will launch a comprehensive citizenship awareness media campaign in the 10 states that are home to 75 percent of the overall LPR population. USCIS will also expand options for paying naturalization fees and explore additional measures to expand accessibility, including studying potential partial fee waiver for qualified individuals.

Ensuring U.S. Citizens Can Serve: To further our military’s needs and support recruitment efforts, DHS will expand an existing policy to provide relief to spouses and children of U.S. citizens seeking to enlist in the military, consistent with a request made by the Department of Defense.

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What’s Next?

While the blame game continues between campaigns, organizations, and Democratic volunteers who gave a huge part of their lives to the 2014 effort, the Republicans are already brewing up a storm for the 2015 Texas legislative session. Hopefully, everyone will release some steam and then move on to what is next.

With the Texas Lege session looming, we may be headed toward a dark period in Texas.

Will Republicans go full-on-crazy by making budgets cuts that will leave state services for the poor, the elderly, children, college students, and most state services underfunded beyond belief? Will Dan Patrick go full-on-racist (more than usual) and make Arizona’s SB1070 look like no big deal? Will the GOP leave Medicaid for the Elderly even worse than it is, thus, lowering nursing home quality, bed availability, and leaving thousands homeless? Well, Democrats better start thinking about these issues before we get into 2016 or 2018, or whenever the “data” tells us we will finally win with the same effort as in the past.

The problem is, these issues are usually left to nonprofits and low-funded lobbying and organizing groups. While some legislators will carry the weight when we are on the defensive, we need some sort of apparatus to keep people and activists informed. And that also can effectively communicate with the constituencies.

There is no doubt that constituencies best represented by the Democrats will be on the defensive during those 140 days of the legislature. What kind of communications and message plan will be in place to keep people informed about what the Republicans are attempting? What kind of defense plan against the worse the Republicans will offer will be in place to make the peoples’ voices heard at the Texas Capitol?

Nothing looks better to constituencies who are attacked than politicians who defend and fight back against the attacker. It might even look good to those who didn’t show up to vote, as well as those who usually wouldn’t have voted, anyway. When it comes to the majority of Latinos, much like we remember 2 million deportations, thousands of warehoused immigrants, and thousands of Central American kids escaping violence being vilified, we’ll remember our defenders in November.

That said, today some of our Democratic state legislators filed their initial bills for the 2015 session:

From State Senator Sylvia R. Garcia:

  • SB 141 would create a voter education program for high school seniors and provide an opportunity for them to register to vote.
  • SB 142 would allow potential volunteer deputy registrars to receive online training.
  • SB 143 would help those voters whose voter registration has been rejected by specifically notifying them of the errors on their registration forms.

From Trey Martinez Fischer:

  • HB 41, HB 42, HB 174, HJR 26 – Minimum Wage – Raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour; establish a living wage policy for those doing business with the state.
  • HB 116 – Healthcare – Expand Medicaid eligibility and bring $90 Billion dollars to our state to create jobs and alleviate additional tax burdens on property tax payers and local governments
  • HB 124 – Education – Full-day, universal prekindergarten for every Texas 4 year old
  •  HB 111 – Voting – Same day voter registration
  • HB 145 – Government Reform – Require the Legislature to pass a budget, school finance legislation, and pending sunset bills before the 100th day of the legislative session, placing Texas’ priorities first and political agendas last.

From State Rep. Rafael Anchia, Garnet Coleman, and State Senators Rodriguez and Hinojosa:

  • HB 130 – Legislation to authorize same-sex marriage.
  • HJR 34 – Constitutional Amendment to repeal same-sex marriage ban.
  • SJR 13 and SB 98 – The same types of legislation, above.

Those are just a few of the good ones. While the bad ones haven’t all been filed, I did see a few filed by Republicans:

HB209 by right-wing-nut Stickland is the first attack on the Texas DREAM Act (in-state tuition for immigrant kids). The bill strikes the three-year residency requirement for non-citizens to achieve Texas residency status, thus, qualifying for in-state tuition.

HB 183 and HB 88 make the very flawed employee verification program (E-Verify) mandatory for state agencies and state contractors, respectively. SB 54 targets the poor on TANF benefits with drug testing. There’s even one that allows counties to build tent-jails like Joe Arpaio in Arizona.

This is just to name a few, but something tells me this is something we’ll need to keep monitoring.

I’m just trying to say that the work that needs to be done for 2016 starts with this coming legislative session.

Texpatriate has a lot more on bills.

 

In Texas, Latinos Just Didn’t Vote

While this Chron article is saying that the Latino vote split among the two political parties, and this Statesman article points to discrepancies in GOP exit polling on Latinos and that the GOP didn’t get the numbers they say they got,  it is pretty obvious that Latinos just didn’t vote. While the Republicans will celebrate supposedly higher percentages of support, the fact will remain that Latinos are a lot more progressive thinking than the backwards-thinking GOP.

As the article states, Latinos made up 17% of those voting on Tuesday in Texas (8% nationally) and there was an obvious decrease in Latino turnout compared to 2010 (I haven’t seen a turnout number, but I’d venture to guess about 16% to 18% of [eligible] Latinos turned out on Tuesday)*. [Update:  The Immigration Policy Center reports that there are 2.7 million registered Latino voters in Texas, so that would change my estimate of Latino turnout to 28 to 30 percent. So, obviously, I’m still looking for harder numbers which no one seems to provide.] 

The evidence becomes a lot more obvious in the race for Congress, District 23.

In the state’s only competitive congressional race, a heavily Hispanic district between San Antonio and El Paso, Republican challenger Will Hurd narrowly beat Democratic incumbent Pete Gallego.

Democrats say that had less to do with Republican inroads than general voter apathy in midterm elections. “Latinos either voted for Pete or stayed home,” said Gallego strategist Anthony Gutierrez. “They were not voting for Will Hurd in numbers that would justify saying he made in-roads among Latinos.”

Republicans have won this seat in the past because of the high-turnout Anglo areas in San Antonio and Medina County, and because turnout on the border is low. It’s obvious, when Latinos don’t vote in Texas, Democrats lose, and the 1/3 of Latinos who usually vote for the right-wingers become a bigger share of the Latino electorate.

But leave it to the Republicans to celebrate higher percentages of Latinos for themselves (by  few percentage points, according to the poll mentioned in the Statesman), rather than lament the fact that a lower number of Latinos voted. In fact, this was their goal all along, given their redistricting tactics.

Still, already Republicans are talking that same tired line that Latinos are conservative, when a poll found that issues like immigration, economy/jobs, education, and health care access are the top issues; issues Republicans have voted against Latinos on time and again. No, Republicans, you are wrong and you will always be wrong about Latinos.

The Statesman article, though, does point to a bigger problem, which I first mentioned in yesterday’s post:

Statesman:

Democratic consultant James Aldrete, who advised Davis and Van de Putte, said the poll shows the Democrats have “a white people problem” – and, admittedly, a turnout problem – but that “We don’t have a Hispanic problem.”

Me:

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.

That said, it still doesn’t explain why Latinos didn’t vote. While Democrats probably had more of an effort to contact Latino voters, nationally, a poll found that less than half of Latino voters had been contacted by campaigns. Others blame Voter ID, which has disenfranchised many Latinos. And the more obvious one that has been on the news and this blog is President Obama’s political move to delay executive action to save a few anti-immigrant Democrats (although I point to an even bigger problem regarding immigration, so read that post).

I’m more inclined to state that these may have lowered turnout of usual mid-term Latino voters; however, there are plenty more Latinos who just don’t vote. Why is this? Whether it’s the media, Democrats, Democratic donors, and certainly Republicans, no one has tried to find out. But if the intent is to change the mind of only those who usually vote, then, Democrats should expect lower turnout in 2016. Maybe we should start by reading this article?

Some might say Latinos are content as long as they have their big screen TVs, Texans/Dynamo/Rockets/Astros tickets and gear, and a life that just goes on without many challenges caused by bad public policies. In other words, la pinche huevonada, as my late Dad called it. If this is the case, here in Harris County even the suburbs suffered from lax turnout (example, District 132 in Katy/Cypress area had 33%), but they were Republican-heavy enough to win handily. So, maybe everyone has la pinche huevonada, not just Latinos, in 2014.

Obviously, our civic duty took a major hit across the board, given that only 1/3 of Texans voted. When one takes all the numbers into consideration, Greg Abbott really earned the support of 19% of the 14 million registered Texans (thanks to my friend Susan for that point of fact). It is wrong for so few people to give that much power to one right-wing zealot. But it is what it is.

Civic duty doesn’t stop with voting, so, my hope is that the pendejos folks that didn’t vote wake up when Abbott, Dan Patrick and their buddies begin to dismantle Texas as we know it. Because civic participation also means we can march down Congress Avenue to the Capitol and demand something different than what is being offered.

Pilar Marrero of La Opinion in LA offers some more perspective.

* There’s been some confusion on Latino turnout, which is why I stated “eligible,” since that is the term used in various articles by groups like NALEO, but that didn’t necessarily mean “registered.” The Immigration Policy Center states that there are 2.7 million registered Latino voters in Texas, which, if there were an estimated 800,000 Latinos who voted in the 2014 election,  then we’re looking at more like 28 to 30 percent Latino turnout. Still, lower than 2010. Obviously, Latinos still didn’t show up.

Luis Lopez for HD132 ~ Running to Ensure a Prosperous Texas

First, the video:

Luis Lopez is a young Texan running for Texas House District 132. If you live in HD-132, Luis needs your vote, but he also needs all Texans to contribute what you can. $5, $10, $25–he will spend it wisely to Get Out The Vote from now until Election Day. Contribute TODAY at this link.

luisLuis Lopez was born in Mexico and arrived to the USA at the age of 7. He was raised with 4 sisters and 3 brothers. Luis has known challenges throughout his life, but he has also worked hard to overcome them.  His brother was deported at the age of 15. Luis worked in construction within local refineries in Beaumont through high school and college. During high school he founded a youth LULAC Council, developed the Hispanic Forum, and graduated 4th in his class.

Luis is a proud graduate of Lamar University where he earned his Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Accounting in 4 ½ years. In college he managed a school board campaign, led efforts for the DREAMers on campus, established a chapter of the oldest Latino fraternity in existence, and founded a small logistics & transportation business.

Luis was recruited by the top international accounting firm in the USA and relocated to Katy upon graduating. He and his wife Guadalupe are proud parents of their beautiful one year-old daughter Abigail Lorenza. Luis Lopez is the Democratic candidate for State Representative, District 132.

District 132 needs an innovator, like Luis, and not more of the same. Instead of doing the bidding for big business and big contributors, Luis Lopez thinks it’s time to give the district back to the people. So, join his campaign, give a few dollars, and vote for Luis Lopez.

District 132′s Early Voting Location is at the Franz Road Storefront, or at any early voting location until Friday at 7pm.

To find your Tuesday, November 4th polling location, click here, input the information requested, and you’ll get your very own sample ballot and polling location information.

 

 

Event Update: OCT 26 ~ Latina American Women in Music

lawim

 

Latina-American Women In Music (“L.A.W.I.M.”) is sponsored by organizations, companies and concerned individuals that desire to see a change. Many community leaders, organizations and entertainment icons have committed their support for “L.A.W.I.M.” and offer their extraordinary talent and resources to this cause. Their enthusiasm and influential participation in the community has inspired many to achieve higher goals and we are honored that they have committed and pledged their time to participate! In joining us in these charitable causes your affiliation and presence includes you as a part of making a difference and change in our world. A donation will be presented to the Houston Area Women’s Center to assist them in helping the abused and battered and we will continue to reach out to our communities where the help is much needed and be of support of future events for various causes. “L.A.W.I.M.” has committed to continue the fight for human rights! Your sponsorship and participation will have a real effect on lives in our communities. Please join us so will have a lasting impact in our world! We are thanking you in advance for your support and contribution. For further information, please feel free to contact us! (702)234-9606 or (832)546-9414

Save the Date~ Aug. 1 – All About Ann in Houston

Dos Centavos:

Just a friendly reminder…

Originally posted on :

allaboutann

HOUSTON, TX – On Friday August 1, Annie’s List and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, in partnership with a number of local elected officials and organizations, will bring “All About Ann”, HBO’s documentary about former Texas Governor Ann Richards, to Houston for FREE!

Beginning at 8:00PM with live music, food and drinks, join us at Discovery Green’s Anheuser Busch Stage and enjoy this wonderful documentary about Texas’ only female Governor as we all work hard this fall to have Wendy Davis as the second woman in the Governor’s House!

Drinks will be donated by 8th Wonder Brewery and Mayor Annise Parker will introduce the film.

State Senators John Whitmire, Rodney Ellis and Sylvia Garcia, State Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Armando Walle, Mayor Annise Parker, Ambassador Arthur Schechter, Hon. Debra Danburg as well as Annie’s List Board Members Licia Green-Ellis, Eileen Olson, Kathy Overly and Amber Mostyn are just some of…

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Rick Perry Sets Up More Border Photo Ops

This time, it’ll be with the Texas National Guard–1000 of ‘em–to be deployed by Rick Perry. Apparently, DPS troopers in military garb and automatic weapons just isn’t enough of a sideshow; now, Perry wants to militarize South Texas.

The National Guard troops will join the Texas Department of Public Safety in its recent surge to combat human smuggling and drug trafficking amid the influx of mostly Central Americans illegally crossing the Rio Grande.

This will send costs skyrocketing to about $5 million per week with no particular source in mind for this cash. (Update:  Rick Perry’s people say that the cash will come from “non-critical” budget items like transportation and health care.)

And this is why Democrats running on the statewide ballot should never support anything Rick Perry does, especially if it’s DPS troopers or armed soldiers running around South Texas.

Hopefully, I’ll receive something slamming Rick Perry from Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte.  For now, this is the best tweet.

TX Dems Push Immigration Plank Nothing Like GOPs

Immigration, refugees, and border issues have been a lead story these last couple of weeks. No doubt, the Republicans have done their best to vilify hard-working people and children escaping poverty and violence in their home countries through frivolous hearings aimed at blaming Obama and DREAMers. There’s been enough panic caused by the GOP while few solutions have been offered by a Republican House. Of course, this is also the one-year anniversary of the US Senate’s passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill which basically died because the Republican House didn’t even care and chose to play politics designed to keep things as is.

On Friday in Texas, Democrats were sounding off against Republican attitudes on immigration reform at the Texas Democratic Convention. Democratic activists are set to vote on their (our?) Party platform and, as usual, the immigration plank stands to be much different than what the Republicans offered up at their convention, as reported by the Chron.

“The other side, they don’t offer any solutions,” state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, the Democrats’ nominee for lieutenant governor, told the Tejano Democrats caucus as the party’s biennial convention opened here. “They disrespect our past. … The only thing they can do is insult us.”

[...]

“We are very supportive of a path to citizenship because there are people who are here and are very productive and have committed no crime and are adding to our economy,” said state Rep. Garnet Coleman, chairman of the party’s platform committee. “We are not for a guest-worker program, because that can become a form of indentured servitude.”

On the recent growing influx of Central American children escaping violence and poverty, Democrat for Governor Wendy Davis offered a clearer assessment of the situation with a commitment to ensuring the refugee children are cared for.

“Every human being has to be looked at on a case-by-case basis,” Davis told the Houston Chronicle before speaking to the black caucus. “I know at the federal level there is an attempt being made to assure that repatriation will be safe, but unless and until that’s the case, as humans we need to care for these kids.”

As I will continue to state, the refugee issue is complex, as is the process by which their individual cases are decided. Ultimately. the problem is systemic–a broken immigration system that often ignores refugee situations. Again, this situation has been building up since the Bush 2 administration. Texas Democrats can do better by proudly exhibiting the stark differences between them and the Tea Party with our candidates backing up that platform wholeheartedly.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the final Democratic plank on immigration reform. Hopefully, an FODC (Friend of Dos Centavos) will post it or e-mail it to me.

 

Thoughts on Viernes (Birthday Edition) 06062014

#43

Well, I made it to another year. As I stated on FB, a couple of bad knees, but at least I have most of my hair (for now). For those who want to “honor” me in some small way on my day, make a donation to The Walk for Mental Health Awareness-Houston. My friend, Patrick McIlvain, has done an amazing job with this event and fundraiser and the event deserves all of the support it can muster.

If you prefer to make political donations, then give all you can to Leticia Van de Putte for Lt. Governor! Or…give to both!

Thank you!

Breitbart on Our Side? Hardly!

With all the stuff going on regarding Bergdahl, it might have been hard to notice that right-wing website Breitbart “leaked” some photos from inside of an immigrant warehousing facility. No, that doesn’t mean they are on the side of immigration reform. They’re just making a case for border militarization and more human warehouses. One thing is for sure, the vast majority of these warehoused folks come to the US to either work or reunite with family. Moreover, most of the economic conditions in some of the countries from where these folks come have been caused by awful trade deals, right-wing governments supported by the US, and bad immigration policies.

Earlier this week, what seemed like a bipartisan front of politicians came out against human trafficking. Well, who’s for it, right? Unfortunately, no one came out in support of fixing the immigration system, or at the very least, some immigration reform. Much like Breitbart, they were all about law enforcement and prosecutions; meaning, the bad stuff is still happening and prosecutions will not stop anyone from the human shipping industry. What about cutting the bad people–the middle men–off by supporting immigration reform?

Anyway, the photos aren’t surprising. But if you are shocked, then put more pressure on President Obama and Congress. Or…vote!

Sources:  Little Joe Rocked Discovery Green

I was unable to attend, but this pic posted by Little Joe y La Familia tells me one thing:  We need more Tejano Concerts at the Green!

ljoe

Music Break:  La Mafia~ Protegere Nuestros Recuerdos (Amor y Sexo)

 

 

 

3rd Centavo: Acuña ~ Our Politicos Have Sold Us Out

Selling Public Space
The Chickens Will Come Home to Roost
By Rodolfo F. Acuña

On the one side is neoliberalism, with all its repressive power and its machinery of death; on the other side is the human being. There are those who resign themselves to being one more number in the huge exchange of power … But there are those who do not resign themselves … In any place in the world, anytime, any man or woman rebels to the point of tearing off the clothes resignation has woven for them and cynicism has died grey. Any man or woman, of whatever colour, in whatever tongue, speaks and says to himself or to herself: Enough is enough! Ya basta! — Subcomandante Marcos

acunaThe lambs have a problem hearing the sounds of the clarion because of a lack of long term memory. Because of this memory lapse, the Zapatistas January 1, 1994 revolt protesting the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) never sunk in. Perhaps the word neoliberal was too foreign to the lambs that had a difficult time comprehending that the word takes different forms.

News that University of California President Janet Napolitano began two days of meetings to Mexico about expanding academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities and scientific and cultural organizations has raised fears among many of us.

The U.S. War on Drugs has ravaged Mexico to the point that few U.S. students want to study there. As a consequence, about 40 out of 233,000 UC students study in Mexico each year, while about 1,900 Mexicans attended UC schools in 2013.

Ironically, Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security, was involved in making U.S. drug policy; her visit coincides with that of Secretary of State John Kerry. According to the UC president this is part of the “UC’s many and varied partnerships, exchanges and collaborations with Mexico are integral to bettering lives on both sides of our national border … I’m here to ensure we grow that relationship by establishing our new project to enhance the mutual exchange of students, faculty and ideas across the border.”

For over 50 years, the Mexican American community has always encouraged exchange programs lobbying for programs with Mexico. However, many of us have come to realize that just studying in Mexico, or studying in the United States does not always have positive outcomes.

A Facebook friend, Vicente Ramírez says about these exchanges, “They’re [the UC and CSU] not going to recruit the working class–it’s a class war… They’re recruiting Mexico’s elite students so that they can then go back and apply neoliberal policies. All of Mexico’s secretaries of Economy (Secretario de Economía) and Finance (Secretario de Hacienda y Crédito Público) have gotten their Ph.D.’s from American universities since the mid-1980s. Mexico’s current Secretario de Hacienda, Luis Videgarray who successfully pushed for the privatization of PEMEX got his Ph.D. from MIT.” Ex-Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, arguably the intellectual godfather of Mexican neoliberalism, received his MA and PhD in economics from Harvard.

Upon hearing about Napolitano’s Mexican junket UC Irvine Professor Rodolfo Torres wrote. “I read this morning that Janet Napolitano is in Mexico exploring academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities. Do you think there is a proactive role UC Chicano Studies and progressive Latin American Studies faculty can play to prevent this initiative from becoming a total market-driven and neoliberal project? My Dean (Social Ecology) also announced at a school-wide faculty meeting that she will be meeting with selected faculty to discuss this US-Mexico initiative.”

UC Professor Jorge Mariscal wrote on FB, “UC is recruiting the Mexican ruling class and a token number of working-class mexicanos/as who identify with the ruling class. This process will intensify in coming years as Napolitano struggles to erase her record as DHS/Deportation Czar. One (un)intended consequence will be the slow-motion strangulation of Chicano/a programs in the UC system that refuse to subordinate the local (albeit transnational) to the ‘global’.”

It should be made clear that this initiative is not about diversity or cultural enrichment. The recruitment is global and it is about profit. When the UC or CSU turns away students the for-profit university sector in both countries thrive.

Neoliberalism at its worse will recruit wealthy Mexican students to displace U.S. minority students charging them out of state and foreign student fees. Not too many if any working class Mexican students will be able to afford the tuition and dorm costs.

The current exchanges have had little scrutiny from progressives in this country. Mexico has set a goal of sending 100,000 Mexican students a year to the U.S. by 2018. In addition, the UC and CSU system have recruiters in China, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S.. Let’s be clear, large numbers of international students impact minorities and working class students many of whom have already been priced out of the market.

Today first year students from outside California comprise almost 30 percent of freshmen at UC Berkeley and UCLA, a growth of just over 10 percent in four years. The Mercury News reports, UC Berkley’s “revenue from out-of-state and international students has grown to about $160 million, about 7 percent of its annual operating budget and more than half of its state subsidy.”

Meanwhile, at UCLA just under 28 percent of the incoming freshmen are out of state students while just over 3 percent are African American. Inside Higher Ed writes that “The number of foreign and out-of-state students admitted to the University of California’s 10 campuses soared by 43 percent this year, while the overall number of would-be freshmen admitted from within the state’s borders grew by just 3.6 percent, the university system … Out-of-state and foreign students made up nearly one in five students admitted for next fall, 18,846 of a total of 80,289.”

In the meantime, the Cal State Universities are following the same neoliberal model. Pathetically desperate the CSU has embarked on a policy of growth. The problem is that it is shifting the cost of this growth almost exclusively to students who pay over three-quarters of instructional costs and almost a hundred percent of new construction.

This leads to an insidious policy that limits space for low income students and justifies higher fees and tuition. It gives students who are turned away no alternative but to go to for-profit universities. Recently, a scheme by the community colleges to enter into a contract with the University of Kaplan to offer classes online to community college students (at a substantial fee) was derailed because of public outcry. (Until recently Kaplan was a tutorial center mainly for foreign students).

Meanwhile, California politicos are encouraging an insidious policy of divide and conquer, pitting the Asian community against the Latino and other minority communities. This has led to some Asian American leaders thinking affirmative action will discriminate against them.

I use the phrase “The Chickens are Coming Home to Roost” because the commodification of public spaces has been occurring for some time. The Zapatista revolt should have been a wake up call; however, our elected officials have sold us out. They seem more concerned with photo ops and getting elected than they are in preserving public spaces.

I cannot remember a Latino elected official since the late Marco Firebaugh who was concerned with the state of Latinos in higher education. However, the lambs have to bear responsibility for not keeping the politicos in check and allowing themselves and their public spaces to be sold on the open market.

GIVE US YOUR RICH, SEND BACK THE POOR

Rodolfo Acuña, Ph.D., is an historian, professor emeritus, and one of various scholars of Chicano studies, which he teaches at California State University, Northridge. He is the author of Occupied America: A History of ChicanosDr. Acuña writes various opinions and essays on his Facebook page and allows sites to share his thoughts.