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.

 

TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance continues to look forward as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at some pro- and anti-equality bills that were pre-filed for the 2015 Legislature.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and for Daily Kos notes that although the Republican voter suppression efforts had its intended effect of keeping so many of us away from the polls, Texas Democrats share some of the blame for voter apathy. Voter Suppression did the Trick in Texas.

Evidence from around the country emerged in the wake of the 2014 election drubbing that change is going to have to come to the Democratic Party from both within and without. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs understood early on that if they cannot regain relevance in midterm elections, then we are all destined to ride the partisan see-saw every two years… and let gridlock reign.

Social Media has been great at blowing up narratives generated from republican think tanks and published in mainstream newspapers, magazines and TV Shows. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to help: No, the new set of Republicans in Congress aren’t less crazy and more pragmatic than Todd Akin or Sharron Angle.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. One more time on some post-election commentary, Williamson Democrats, Battleground Texas, And The Way Forward.

Neil at All People Have Value said that there is not very much to say. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Texas Leftist offers an insider’s view of Battleground Texas… What went right, what went wrong and how the organization moves forward from here. Square one?? Get to know Texas, and don’t mess with what already works.

Easter Lemming, in one of his rare and even popular posts outside of Facebook, covers a Republican blogger who shows how the Republican victories of 2014 set them up for defeat in 2016. There is a Democratic state firewall that would be almost impossible for Republicans to breach to get the presidency and the only question is how many seats will the GOP lose in the Senate and House. Easter Lemming now mainly posts on his Easter Lemming News Facebook page.

===================

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Concerned Citizens scouts out the San Antonio Mayoral race.

Lone Star Q has a surprising report about Westboro Baptist’s involvement in the recent Houston anti-gay protests.

Nonsequiteuse examines the cult of Mommy and the cult of the fetus.

Unfair Park wants to know why Ted Cruz wants to slow down their Netxflix streaming.

Texas Watch is hiring.

Juanita relates the worst Veterans’ Day story ever.

Scott Braddock documents a teabagger slap fight in North Texas.

Fred Lewis sums up the evidence that wasn’t presented at the San Jacinto waste pits trial.

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.

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.

 

Monday Morning Read: TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance believes that it’s not whether you stumble that matters but whether you get up and keep going as it brings you this week’s roundup.

As the Fifth Circuit gets set to hear arguments over Texas’ ban on same sex marriage, Off the Kuff reminds us that public opinion is much more favorable towards same sex marriage in Texas now.

Libby Shaw writing for Daily Kos and Texas Kaos believes that although we lost this election, big time, giving up is not an option. We Lost the Election but We Are Not Giving Up.

The first beatings in the Republican takeover in Harris County were administered at their election night watch party, as the media that dared to speak during a prayer experienced first-hand the love of Christ and his believers. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs wonders if assaulting a reporter on camera, physically or verbally, is really what Jesus would do.

Despite the ugly results from last Tuesday, CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme refuses to be discouraged. We learn from our mistakes. PS: The Valley went for Davis.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Less than 30% of eligible voters turned out to vote in the 2014 mid-terms in Texas. Needless to say, 2014 Turnout Was Horrible.

======================

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Hair Balls informs us that the Fifth Circuit wasn’t always a judicial wingnut backwater.

John Wright updates us on Connie Wilson’s efforts to get a drivers license that properly uses her wife’s surname.

The Lunch Tray divines what the elections mean for school food.

Nonsequiteuse has a message for those who would dump on Battleground Texas.

Texas Vox says that just because air is better doesn’t mean it’s good.

and then, there’s always my post:

Dos Centavos also points out that in Texas, Latinos just didn’t vote.

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.

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.