Tag Archives: immigration

Democratic Leaders React to Debate, Patrick

State Senator Sylvia R. Garcia (Houston):  “We have not learned the lessons from the mistakes of Arizona. State government needs to get out of the immigration business. Senator Leticia Van de Putte knows that immigration reform is critical and that it takes more than rhetoric to lead. She knows where we’ve been and she knows where we’re going. She has the strength and foresight to bring Texas into the future.”

State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (SA):  “Dan Patrick and the Texas GOP ought to work with and for the Latino community, instead they have been placing targets on their backs. They should know better. Dan Patrick is the embodiment of the anti-Latino, anti-immigrant Republican Party platform. He’s anti-Dream Act, anti-early childhood education, anti-immigration reform, and anti-voting rights. Dan Patrick is reason why Republican Latino outreach is a joke.

I know where my community stands, I know who they stand with: it’s with Leticia Van de Putte.”

State Rep. Mary Gonzalez (El Paso):  “Tonight, the people of El Paso experienced the real Dan Patrick. One who refers to our border regions as war zones and who does not recognize the rich culture between the United States and Mexico. We need leaders who understand how important family values and unity are to the Latino community. We need a strong female leader, and that leader is Leticia Van de Putte.”

State Rep. Armando Martinez (RGV):  “We need a Lt. Governor who fights for all Texans, not one who insults our region to score political points. Politicians like Dan Patrick continue to exploit border communities for political gain. His divisive language – the fact that he compares my home region as a war zone being invaded – shows just how out-of-touch he is with our community. This is why we need leaders like Leticia Van de Putte. Leaders who will fight for the future of our children no matter what background they come from.”

State Rep. Celia Israel (Austin): “Families in Central Texas and the Latino community understand education is the key to a better future.  I received that message loud and clear in my recent election as I talked directly to voters.  It seems Dan Patrick has yet to understand what voters are most concerned with.  Dan Patrick and his allies can’t have it both ways. He can’t try to court us while attempting to lessen educational opportunities for our kids.. His harsh rhetoric will not be forgotten by the voters this November when we elect Leticia Van de Putte as our next Lt. Governor.”

Leticia Van de Putte Campaign Statement:  “Tonight Dan Patrick repeatedly spoke of his vision of Texas in which there is only “one seat left” and of a Texas that no longer has a can-do spirit. Our state deserves a leader who will learn from the mistakes of Pete Wilson and Jan Brewer and fight for more seats and more opportunity for every hardworking Texan. That leader is Senator Leticia Van de Putte. That is why Republicans and business leaders across Texas are standing with Senator Van de Putte.”

Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas Democratic Party Chairman:  “Mayor Castro did an excellent job tonight, valiantly representing our democratic values.  Dan Patrick showed us once again that Republicans do not represent mainstream Texans. Patrick does not understand that border communities in Texas are an important piece of the vibrant Texas economy. Texas needs a leader who understands business and what makes our state so exceptional, someone who understands the international relationships and rich, uniquely Texan culture pivotal to a prosperous future. Texas needs Sen. Leticia Van de Putte.”

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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.

 

LA Times: DHS Considering Options on Deportation

Obviously, Friday was a slow news day, so, when this story came out in the afternoon, it was obvious that it wasn’t meant to be a major news event. As cynical as I’ve become with the Administration, I usually look to organizations like Presente.org to gauge their level of excitement on any moves by the President or his people. Despite what may seem like good news, it is still obvious that deportations must stop.

As far as the two changes go:

The first change would ease or stop deportations of foreigners who have no criminal convictions other than immigration violations. If approved, deportation efforts would chiefly target people who have been charged or convicted in court and pose a potential threat to public safety.

and

Another change under consideration would scale back a controversial program known as Secure Communities. It allows immigration authorities to request that immigrants in the country illegally be held in local jails until they can be transferred to federal facilities for deportation.

The proposed change would limit those local detentions and focus only on people with criminal records.

As I have mentioned previously, any major changes would have to take into consideration how local law enforcement would be affected. Obviously, less work at warehousing immigrants should be considered a good thing, and having more local cops on the street should help fight crime. It’s a no-brainer.

Politically, though, some law enforcement agency leaders wouldn’t want to get rid of Secure Communities all that easily since it serves as a political crutch. Lately, it’s been a crutch for Democratic sheriffs like in Travis County. Some activists would say locally, too.

Let’s hope the Obama Administration wants to move forward to stop deportations, since the Republicans are intent on stopping any kind of real reform of the citizenship and visa system.

I’m of the opinion that these kind of administrative changes will prod the Republicans into doing one of two things:  A change of course on reform, or a whole new course of bat-shit craziness.

Let’s see what happens.

2,000,000 Deportations Later, A Review

The AP is reporting that President Obama had called on the Department of Homeland Security to do a review of current deportation practices to see whether enforcement can be more humane.

In a meeting with Latino lawmakers, Obama said he was deeply concerned about the pain that families feel when they are separated because of a broken U.S. immigration system. He told the lawmakers he’s asking Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to perform an inventory of current practices “to see how it can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law,” the White House said in a statement.

I don’t know, if there was that much concern about the pain of family separation, President Obama should at the very least cease deportations during the review. Of course, others would ask, “Now, he’s concerned?”

While this may appease the Hispanic caucus members, the people most affected by this will certainly continue to speak up for deportation reform.

Meanwhile, I’m sure the Republicans will continue spewing venom, using terms, such as “backdoor amnesty” and “weak on border security” among other right-wing favorites.

Stay tuned. I sure will be.

Update:  The Immigration Policy Center provides some data on 2013 deportations.  The report states that most deportees were a threat to no one.

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.

Is Ted Poe Really Changing His Mind on CIR?

The story about Ted Poe softening on immigrant hunting at the border has been out since April when Fox Latino put this article out.

“I’ve changed,” said Poe, who was first elected to Congress in 2004. “I used to think we had to do border security before we ever talk about other immigration issues. But we have to do them in tandem, because [otherwise] we’ll never get to those other issues. The border is really not secure because of the drug cartels.”

Now, Poe not only will discuss other immigration issues, but is going head-on against many of his fellow conservatives in his decision to support a path to legal status for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

The Chron put out an editorial praising him, too.

I co-wrote an op-ed in the Kingwood Observer the other day in which I challenge Poe to put his money where is mouth is and at the very least support S.744. Now, I’ve been quite adamant that S.744 is quite flawed and needs vast improvements on the Citizenship side of it, but the way Poe has been talking, it would seem S.744 is right up his alley.

Where does he really stand?

Recently, immigration reform group America’s Voice, released an infograph and list on the number of Republicans (24) who now support a path to citizenship, but Rep. Poe is not on it. So, did the Chron actually do its research?

While Boehner has stated that he will not allow a vote on S.744 on the floor of the House unless a majority of the Republicans support it, the reality is that if all of the House Democrats support S.744, only eighteen (18) Republicans would be needed to pass it. It looks like there’s even a little bit of a cushion for Dumbocrats who are too chicken to support it. Of course, that’s if you actually like S.744.

Some have asked me, “What’s up with Poe?” I’m not sure. If he’s changing his mind or re-prioritizing the border, ok, then! Is it political? Does he want to be the next VP or Senator? Who knows? I just felt the need to provide some perspective to what’s been in the news, lately.

 

Thoughts on Viernes…06282013

Where Are The Latinos?

Next week, I’ll begin a series of challenges to my fellow Latino males out there. I didn’t see many of them, other than political operatives, saying much to support Wendy Davis and the Women of Texas this past week. Where are you?

Beyond elected officials (and I’m glad to see Ed Gonzalez earned another nod from Planned Parenthood Action Fund) and those others running for office, I expect some of those Latino activists out there to stand up and be counted, too.  Your sisters need you!

Lots of Tears This Week

When the decision to gut the Voting Rights Act came down, it didn’t take long to go from anger to tears. No, not because Republicans get to suppress folks without any supervision, but because I thought about all those who bled and died for the VRA. And for Scalia to declare there is no longer any racism, especially when we continue to hear the anti-Latino rhetoric during the immigration debate, is insulting. We are up for many battles on fixing the VRA.

To watch State Senator Wendy Davis and her fellow Senators take on the Republican majority on SB5 this week, along with watching Texas women and men make their voices heard at the Capitol, brought some tears of hope. Perhaps Rick Perry’s misogynistic attitude toward women evident in his call for another costly special session will cause more people’s uprisings. Perhaps they will be cause to rally around a full ballot for 2014. But there is hope at the moment beyond attempting to defeat SB5.

And when DOMA and Prop. 8 were decided this week, well, let’s just say there were a lot of tears. Along with the excitement that I may get to attend more gay weddings (which are awesome, by the way), I also thought about my late brother Mike Kelley. Although he and his husband longed for Texas to allow same-sex marriages, they also knew there would be plenty of battles along the way. DOMA and Prop. 8 were among those battles and I know Mike is smiling at the moment.

And the tears stopped while it seemed everyone was celebrating a victory in the Senate over immigration reform. I can’t find any reason to smile over the militarization and droning of the border, an extended “path,” and other punitive things that brought over a few votes. What’s even more disturbing is that organizations which at one time stood up against these things are now “OK” with it. And for what? Boehner, fearing an insurrection from his own right-wingers, is using the Hastert Rule to avoid bringing up the Senate bill. And I keep hearing this “end of the year” thing about when something would finally get signed. No, not excited at all.

MUSIC BREAK PARA LAS MUJERES: Joan Baez – No Nos Moveran

 

3rd Centavo: Acuña ~ When You’re Stupid, You’re Stupid

by Rodolfo F. Acuña

My mother use to say, “Cuando eres pendejo, eres pendejo;” and there was not much you could do about it – you were just born that way. Although I always enjoy my mother’s sayings, I do not believe that stupidity is genetic. With Americans I would blame their educational system, for as my mother used to say, there is a difference between being schooled and being educated.

What can you expect of an educational system where, according to a 2012 Gallup Poll, 46 percent, of Americans believe in creationism? It follows that creationists are more likely to be Republican than Democrat or Independent. I am not saying that believing in god or religion is stupid, but a lack of critical thinking qualifies as stupid.

Our educational system has been gutted, and our students taught to pass tests rather than to think critically. Because of the incessant assault on schools by corporate and property interests, school programs have been devastated – and art and physical education classes eliminated.

The result is an increased warehousing of students who are cooped up without much physical activity. Class sizes have shot up, and many educators blame parents and the students, who must, according to their stupid logic, be the problem. As a consequence, to control hyperactive kids more students are drugged with Ritalin – ADHD. Just keep them quiet and controlled.

Old myths such as Horatio Alger are repackaged to justify a mass transfer of the cost of education from corporations and the upper echelons of society to middle and working class students and their families.

The stupidity is that we accept stupidity. Class mobility in this country is based on education – and like it or not Horatio Alger like Santa Claus is a myth.

There is no shortage of examples of stupidity. Take costly propaganda against Obamacare,

Health care in the United States is more expensive than in any other industrialized nation. We rationalize that Americans are getting the world’s best health care. Actually, the United States spent $7,960 per capita on health care in 2009, almost three times the amount spent in Japan. We pay more for physician visits, hospital treatments and prescription drugs. And, still Americans are obese.

The problem is clear. It is not Obamacare, it has not even gone into effect. The problem is insurance companies, HMOs, pharmaceutical companies, and all the middlemen that all take their cut. And this does not include the members of Congress who keep the system oiled.

We are stupid because we take it. Like my mother used to say, we should just lower our brows so everyone can see the big “P” (Pendejo) on our foreheads.

Every time I see the basset hound (Sen. Mitch McConnell), the drunk (Speaker John Boehner), and the mini-me (Cong. Eric Cantor) meet the press to talk about austerity, the “P” on their foreheads light up. How anyone can accept the logic that if we eliminate school teachers and allow our roads to go to pot, that this will bring about prosperity?

It does not dawn on Americans that running of two major wars on the credit card has contributed to the economic collapse. In 2011, fifty of the largest lobbying spenders spent $176.1 million from July through September. Could this be one of the reasons why deregulation led to the present recession? Could this be the reason that not a single banker or Wall Street CEO has gone to jail?

Americans are stupid because they ignore this. During the Second Industrial Revolution when we built the transcontinental railroads, railroad lobbyists would go on the floor of Congress and pass out railroad stock. Mark Twain dubbed the period The Gilded Age in 1873.

Today the scandal and corruption of the Gilded Age is dwarfed, so instead of putting a Big P on our foreheads we should substitute a “C” for cuckold or its counterpart in Spanish – cabrón. We know that our elected officials, our government and our Supreme Court are bought off, and we do nothing about it.

The truth be told, we don’t want to accept that they are cheating us because if we did, we would have to do something about it. You want to lose a friend, just tell them that their partner is fooling around on them.

Part of the debate around immigration centers on whom we should give preferences to. The P’s say that we should be attracting those with technical skills. To them it is logical to drain the brain power of poorer countries. No matter that the poor nations spent millions of dollars training these technicians. Of course, it does not dawn on them that the answer is to improve our own schools.

Why do people hate us? No one wants to know that they have bad breath. Could it be that many people consider us terrorists? In El Salvador, the United States funded and trained the death squads. In Guatemala the CIA ran a covert action called Operation Success that allowed military dictators to rule the country from the 1960s to the 90s. The United States provided the weapons and trained their officers who killed over 250,000 Guatemalan peasants.

Some people find it hypocritical for us to label others terrorists.

I don’t take pleasure in putting a “P” or a “C” on people’s foreheads. When you think about it, it is not funny, it is tragic.

But you know that was part of the reason for the assault on the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies program. It had to do with history: Attorney General Tom Horne said the district was using my book, and that I lied because I said that the United States invaded Mexico. Horne said that Mexican Americans were using history as a springboard to invading the U.S. The level of his discourse earned him more than a Big P on his forehead.

But where the Arizona jingoists went berserk was that the Tucson curriculum was designed to teach students to think critically. This, according to them, was subversive, un-American and led to racism. It was better to educate students not to question, to wear Big Ps on their foreheads and graduate them to wearing Big Cs. It is better for them to ignore that they are being cheated on and that they are being robbed.

 

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.

The 32nd Kinder Institute Houston Area Survey

The results are out, and it seems like the Houston area is a lot more progressive than some would want it to be on the hottest issues of the day:  immigration, abortion, and same sex marriage. And when it comes to attitudes about the future of diversity in Houston, it seems we are on the right track, too.

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March and Rally for Unity – Saturday 5/4/13

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