Tag Archives: obama

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.

About these ads

New Tactic on CIR; Same Old Stuff from GOP

dreamIn the middle of primary election morning, it was reported that NCLR’s  Janet Murguia had changed her mind about President Obama, calling him “deporter in chief.” As I mentioned in a Facebook post, I figured she would lose White House dinner privileges–or at least be forced to enter through the kitchen, since she was so supportive of President Obama’s stance and pushed for the badly flawed Gang of 8 bill, S. 744.

Then Congressman Luis Gutierrez was up speaking on the floor of the House, using the same “deporter-in-chief” line. Later, I saw that Gang of 8 member Dick Durbin was now singing the same song on deportation. And even Chuck Schumer, who has supported the private prison expansion to warehouse immigrants, is suddenlly speaking up. What the heck is going on?

A lot of pro-migrant folks who had been pushing President Obama on stopping deportations were not all sold on the Gang of 8 bill, but were surprised, yet supportive, that Murguia had appeared to switch course. Me, not so much.

The thing is, Durbin, Gutierrez, Schumer, and Murguia have all been part of the  push to sell S. 744. Met with a direct “NO!” from the Republicans in the House, the frustrations of all involved have reached their limits, no doubt. But, still, they continue to push Boehner and the GOPers to no avail, and still push. But it is President Obama who they are also pushing to curb deportations–and now.

The Republicans, though, made a mistake. They called out President Obama as being weak on “enforcing immigration law.” Well, they seemed to have walked right into something. Pro-migrant supporters can now utilize the whole “deporter-in-chief” line as a means of proving the Republicans wrong because the bottom line is that the Republicans are wrong. President Obama is the deporter-in-chief who holds the keys to the deportation buses that have deported almost 2,000,000 people. Sure, Boehner and his Republicans re-fuel those buses, but they have made it quite clear that 2 million is not enough. If anything, they won’t be happy until 50 million are deported–including Latino-American citizens.

Today, House Republicans supported a measure that would virtually end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has benefited over 500,000 applicants, all because President Obama signed the executive order.

House Republicans said passing the bill was necessary because the president had shown an unwillingness to enforce the law and a desire to go around Congress,including through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

Senate leader Harry Reid (D-NEV) said that that the bill is “dead on arrival.”

Blame Obama for his deportation program or not, it is pretty obvious where the Republicans stand on immigration reform or deportation programs. If anything should help those who support immigration reform make a decision on Election Day, it is this.

In the mean time, it is time for President Obama to end his deportation program with his pen and his phone.

For the latest polling on deportations, click here.

DC Response to SOTU

After all is said, done, and drunk…a couple of post-SOTU thoughts.

I’ve mentioned before the amount of political capital the President seems to want to spend on a couple of issues that go beyond the usual talk of jobs, economy, deficits, education, health care, wars, etc. Obviously, I speak of comprehensive immigration reform and gun control.

It was difficult not to notice that he gave only 212 words to immigration and 626 words to gun control. And while he gave an impassioned plea to control the guns based on the various victims, he spoke not one word of the realities faced by families split apart by his record deportation policies. Instead, he boasted of the “progress” made by the administration on the “southern border and the ever-popular “learn English” and “back of the line” phrases that have become quite tiresome tired. And quite frustrating, too.

The rest of the speech had great ideas on job creation and how to responsibly decrease the deficits. With the vast majority of his proposals I agree–even some of the gun control stuff if it didn’t appear to be a bigger priority than immigration reform.

And although the drink of water seen around the world provided comic relief, nothing was more disturbing than Marco Rubio’s response.

Without apology, I will say his family’s “immigration” experience is much different than the vast majority of others’ experiences, particularly what the sons and daughters of immigrants experience today. And while he has enjoyed various government benefits, he seems to want to cut off everyone else, as if he has some air of superiority.

He seems to conveniently forget that the reason we spend more on federal financial aid is because we have more students enrolling in college than when he and I were in school, especially Latinos. Although he mentioned higher tuition, he didn’t offer an idea about how to make college affordable–no, he stated we don’t need to spend more on federal financial aid. In other words, he offered nothing in regards to expanding opportunities, especially for kids who come from working class parents, as was his and my experience, apparently. Simply put, he is out of touch, embracing a right-wing political ideology after enjoying benefits abhorred by that ideology. He is the poster-child of hypocrisy.

Ultimately, both sides need to work together to enact policies that even President Obama states we will not get 100% of what we really want. I’ve accepted that much, but for those of us who think beyond the political (or nonprofit) paycheck that others strive for in this game, it has become a lot more difficult to stomach the politics, the policies, and the rhetoric.

Obviously, it was difficult for those protesting the Senate hearing today.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was interrupted at today’s Senate Immigration Hearing as she boasted that U.S. borders have “never been stronger.” The protesters who interrupted the hearing on multiple occasions demanded that the administration cut deportations and focus on the human rights of undocumented immigrants.

I rest my case.

 

BuzzFeed: The Obama CIR Fact Sheet

The President’s speech on comprehensive immigration reform left much to be desired, at least for me. When I was listening to the radio on the way into downtown, there was much talk about how “liberal” the plan would be, but no one able to say how it could be considered “liberal.”  According to Buzzfeed, the big difference:  “…it treats same-sex couples the same way as straight couples, and doesn’t include a “trigger mechanism” to make reform contingent on stricter border security efforts.” Here’s the info off the fact sheet that Buzzfeed published.

FACT SHEET: Fixing our Broken Immigration System so Everyone Plays by the Rules

America’s immigration system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers and there are 11 million people living in the shadows. Neither is good for the economy or the country.

It is time to act to fix the broken immigration system in a way that requires responsibility from everyone —both from the workers here illegally and those who hire them—and guarantees that everyone is playing by the same rules.

President Obama’s commonsense immigration reform proposal has four parts. First, continue to strengthen our borders. Second, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship; this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks. Fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.

Together we can build a fair, effective and commonsense immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

The key principles the President believes should be included in commonsense immigration reform are:

· Continuing to Strengthen Border Security: President Obama has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2004 and today border security is stronger than it has ever been. But there is more work to do. The President’s proposal gives law enforcement the tools they need to make our communities safer from crime. And by enhancing our infrastructure and technology, the President’s proposal continues to strengthen our ability to remove criminals and apprehend and prosecute national security threats.

· Cracking Down on Employers Hiring Undocumented Workers: Our businesses should only employ people legally authorized to work in the United States. Businesses that knowingly employ undocumented workers are exploiting the system to gain an advantage over businesses that play by the rules. The President’s proposal is designed to stop these unfair hiring practices and hold these companies accountable. At the same time, this proposal gives employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.

· Earned Citizenship: It is just not practical to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants living within our borders. The President’s proposal provides undocumented immigrants a legal way to earn citizenship that will encourage them to come out of the shadows so they can pay their taxes and play by the same rules as everyone else. Immigrants living here illegally must be held responsible for their actions by passing national security and criminal background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, going to the back of the line, and learning English before they can earn their citizenship. There will be no uncertainty about their ability to become U.S. citizens if they meet these eligibility criteria. The proposal will also stop punishing innocent young people brought to the country through no fault of their own by their parents and give them a chance to earn their citizenship more quickly if they serve in the military or pursue higher education.

· Streamlining Legal Immigration: Our immigration system should reward anyone who is willing to work hard and play by the rules. For the sake of our economy and our security, legal immigration should be simple and efficient. The President’s proposal attracts the best minds to America by providing visas to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses here and helping the most promising foreign graduate students in science and math stay in this country after graduation, rather than take their skills to other countries. The President’s proposal will also reunify families in a timely and humane manner.

Continuing to Strengthen Border Security

· Strengthen border security and infrastructure. The President’s proposal strengthens and improves infrastructure at ports of entry, facilitates public-private partnerships aimed at increasing investment in foreign visitor processing, and continues supporting the use of technologies that help to secure the land and maritime borders of the United States.

· Combat transnational crime. The President’s proposal creates new criminal penalties dedicated to combating transnational criminal organizations that traffic in drugs, weapons, and money, and that smuggle people across the borders. It also expands the scope of current law to allow for the forfeiture of these organizations’ criminal tools and proceeds. Through this approach, we will bolster our efforts to deprive criminal enterprises, including those operating along the Southwest border, of their infrastructure and profits.

· Improve partnerships with border communities and law enforcement. The President’s proposal expands our ability to work with our cross-border law enforcement partners. Community trust and cooperation are keys to effective law enforcement. To this end, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will establish border community liaisons along the Southern and Northern borders to improve communication and collaboration with border communities, boost funding to tribal government partners to reduce illegal activity on tribal lands, and strengthen training on civil rights and civil liberties for DHS immigration officers.

· Crack down on criminal networks engaging in passport and visa fraud and human smuggling. The President’s proposal creates tough criminal penalties for trafficking in passports and immigration documents and schemes to defraud, including those who prey on vulnerable immigrants through notario fraud. It also strengthens penalties to combat human smuggling rings.

· Deporting Criminals. The President’s proposal expands smart enforcement efforts that target convicted criminals in federal or state correctional facilities, allowing us to remove them from the United States at the end of their sentences without re-entering our communities. At the same time, it protects those with a credible fear of returning to their home countries.

· Streamline removal of nonimmigrant national security and public safety threats. The President’s proposal creates a streamlined administrative removal process for people who overstay their visas and have been determined to be threats to national security and public safety.

· Improve our nation’s immigration courts. The President’s proposal invests in our immigration courts. By increasing the number of immigration judges and their staff, investing in training for court personnel, and improving access to legal information for immigrants, these reforms will improve court efficiency. It allows DHS to better focus its detention resources on public safety and national security threats by expanding alternatives to detention and reducing overall detention costs. It also provides greater protections for those least able to represent themselves.

Cracking Down on Employers Who Hire Undocumented Workers

· Mandatory, phased-in electronic employment verification. The President’s proposal provides tools for employers to ensure a legal workforce by using federal government databases to verify that the people they hire are eligible to work in the United States. Penalties for hiring undocumented workers are significantly increased, and new penalties are established for committing fraud and identity theft. The new mandatory program ensures the privacy and confidentiality of all workers’ personal information and includes important procedural protections. Mandatory electronic employment verification would be phased in over five years with exemptions for certain small businesses.

· Combat fraud and identity theft. The proposal also mandates a fraud‐resistant, tamper‐resistant Social Security card and requires workers to use fraud‐and tamper‐resistant documents to prove authorization to work in the United States. The proposal also seeks to establish a voluntary pilot program to evaluate new methods to authenticate identity and combat identity theft.

· Protections for all workers. The President’s proposal protects workers against retaliation for exercising their labor rights. It increases the penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers to skirt the workplace standards that protect all workers. And it creates a “labor law enforcement fund” to help ensure that industries that employ significant numbers of immigrant workers comply with labor laws.

Pathway to Earned Citizenship

· Create a provisional legal status. Undocumented immigrants must come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass criminal background and national security checks, and pay fees and penalties before they will be eligible for a provisional legal status. Agricultural workers and those who entered the United States as children would be eligible for the same program. Individuals must wait until the existing legal immigration backlogs are cleared before getting in line to apply for lawful permanent residency (i.e. a “green card”), and ultimately United States citizenship. Consistent with current law, people with provisional legal status will not be eligible for welfare or other federal benefits, including subsidies or tax credits under the new health care law.

· Create strict requirements to qualify for lawful permanent resident status. Those applying for green cards must pay their taxes, pass additional criminal background and national security checks, register for Selective Service (where applicable), pay additional fees and penalties, and learn English and U.S. civics. As under current law, five years after receiving a green card, individuals will be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship like every other legal permanent resident.

· Earned citizenship for DREAMers. Children brought here illegally through no fault of their own by their parents will be eligible for earned citizenship. By going to college or serving honorably in the Armed Forces for at least two years, these children should be given an expedited opportunity to earn their citizenship. The President’s proposal brings these undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.

· Create administrative and judicial review. An individual whose provisional lawful status has been revoked or denied, or whose application for adjustment has been denied, will have the opportunity to seek administrative and judicial review of those decisions.

· Provide new resources to combat fraud. The President’s proposal authorizes funding to enable DHS, the Department of State, and other relevant federal agencies to establish fraud prevention programs that will provide training for adjudicators, allow regular audits of applications to identify patterns of fraud and abuse, and incorporate other proven fraud prevention measures.

Streamlining Legal Immigration

· Keep Families Together. The proposal seeks to eliminate existing backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system by recapturing unused visas and temporarily increasing annual visa numbers. The proposal also raises existing annual country caps from 7 percent to 15 percent for the family-sponsored immigration system. It also treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner. The proposal also revises current unlawful presence bars and provides broader discretion to waive bars in cases of hardship.
· Cut Red Tape for Employers. The proposal also eliminates the backlog for employment-sponsored immigration by eliminating annual country caps and adding additional visas to the system. Outdated legal immigration programs are reformed to meet current and future demands by exempting certain categories from annual visa limitations.

· Enhance travel and tourism. The Administration is committed to increasing U.S. travel and tourism by facilitating legitimate travel while maintaining our nation’s security. Consistent with the President’s Executive Order on travel and tourism, the President’s proposal securely streamlines visa and foreign visitor processing. It also strengthens law enforcement cooperation while maintaining the program’s robust counterterrorism and criminal information sharing initiatives. It facilitates more efficient travel by allowing greater flexibility to designate countries for participation in the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of designated countries to visit the United States without obtaining a visa. And finally it permits the State Department to waive interview requirements for certain very low-risk visa applicants, permitting resources to be focused on higher risk applicants and creates a pilot for premium visa processing.

· “Staple” green cards to advanced STEM diplomas. The proposal encourages foreign graduate students educated in the United States to stay here and contribute to our economy by “stapling” a green card to the diplomas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) PhD and Master’s Degree graduates from qualified U.S. universities who have found employment in the United States. It also requires employers to pay a fee that will support education and training to grow the next generation of American workers in STEM careers.

· Create a “startup visa” for job-creating entrepreneurs. The proposal allows foreign entrepreneurs who attract financing from U.S. investors or revenue from U.S. customers to start and grow their businesses in the United States, and to remain permanently if their companies grow further, create jobs for American workers, and strengthen our economy.

· Expand opportunities for investor visas and U.S. economic development. The proposal permanently authorizes immigrant visa opportunities for regional center (pooled investment) programs; provides incentives for visa requestors to invest in programs that support national priorities, including economic development in rural and economically depressed regions ; adds new measures to combat fraud and national security threats; includes data collection on economic impact; and creates a pilot program for state and local government officials to promote economic development.

· Create a new visa category for employees of federal national security science and technology laboratories. The proposal creates a new visa category for a limited number of highly-skilled and specialized immigrants to work in federal science and technology laboratories on critical national security needs after being in the United States. for two years and passing rigorous national security and criminal background checks.

· Better addresses humanitarian concerns. The proposal streamlines immigration law to better protect vulnerable immigrants, including those who are victims of crime and domestic violence. It also better protects those fleeing persecution by eliminating the existing limitations that prevent qualified individuals from applying for asylum.

· Encourage integration. The proposal promotes earned citizenship and efforts to integrate immigrants into their new American communities linguistically, civically, and economically.

Thoughts on Viernes…01182012

Congrats to Anna!

I just want to give a “Congrats!” to Houston ISD’s new Board President, Anna Eastman. I’m sure she’ll run some smooth meetings

She said she wants the school district to focus on ensuring more students complete higher education.

I like that focus!

All That Political Capital!

Let me preface this by saying I like the Obama-Biden plan on curbing gun violence. We don’t need assault rifles to be readily accessible, we don’t need huge gun clips, and everything else they mention. I’m there. That said, with all the political capital they are about to expend on this effort, will anything be left for immigration reform?

I’m the first to say that Obama cannot win CIR alone, but we do need a strong Presidential push that will encourage activists to stand up to right-wing nonsense on the issue. Heck, we even need VP Joe Biden to get involved and burst out in his colorful commentary (BFD). But I’ll say it–this whole anti-gun-violence push has me worried. I hope they use the same resources to push for immigration reform.

SD-6 Early Voting Weekend!

Pick an early voting location. Pick any early voting location and get it done! Over 5,000 have now voted. That leaves another 279,000 (or so) that can still vote. Go for it!

Music Break:  Los Texmaniacs and Los Lobos in Austin Tonight! 

Here is what I’m hoping happens tonight. To those going…have fun for me!

VP Biden: Hispanics Are All That And A Bag of Tostitos

Well, VP Joe Biden sorta said that. What he actually said was:

“What’s finally happened is the American people, the American people have finally begun to understand …the awesome potential, future potential of the Hispanic community,” he said Thursday at a welcome reception for new Latino members of Congress. “…Now the nation — and I might add the hemisphere — understands the Hispanic community must be courted. Must be courted.”

Of course, as I always say, it’s all about policy. And VP Biden didn’t ignore the policy implications of what he stated.

At the same time, the vice president said the deferrals are “only a small part of what has to be done.” But he also said that he believes Republicans have had a “rapid epiphany” since the election about immigration reform.

Obviously, Latinos are not only about immigration reform, but it is the one issue that Republicans, including their great brown hopes like Cruz and Rubio, have used as their means of pumping up their Tea Party base. In 2012, we all know how that went, but the message is clear:  Don’t target Latinos with hateful legislation if you want to win. And the message goes for Democrats, too.

At least the VP seems to get it.

“You’re the center of this nation’s future,” he said.

Thoughts on Viernes…12212012

We’re Still Here!

Well, we’re still alive. Unfortunately for Republicans, that means at least 520 more years of Latino population growth.

Congrats to the Prez

President Obama was named Time’s Person of the Year. He is credited for basically bringing people together, but Time’s chief goes as far as saying he’s the “architect of this new America.” Well,  I wouldn’t go that far. Let’s face it, if any persons brought people together to form this “new America” I would credit the Republicans and their divisive rhetoric and political tactics. What this “new America” did send to Obama and Democrats (and the divisive Republicans) was a message:  Get the job done! And once it’s done, then by all means, name the Prez the POY for 2016.

Hotze Under the Collar

And under our skin as voters, apparently, as pro-urban-deterioration advocate Bruce Hotze has filed a frivolous lawsuit against the City of Houston over the bonds the vast majority of voters approved. Some folks just enjoy wasting time and taxpayer dollars, I guess.

Kerry as the SOS?

Let’s be bold! I’d prefer Dennis Kucinich!

August 24: Fired Up! Friday Documentary and Discussion (Latinos For Obama)

Here’s a must-attend event for you that is coming up, thanks to the good folks at Obama For America’s Houston HQ. I’m proud to participate as the guest speaker, so, please attend, participate in the discussion, and enjoy a great documentary.

Join us for this special Latinos for Obama edition of Fired Up! Friday D&D! There are approximately 12 million people living in this country without documents. Undocumented is a documentary that explores the human element of immigration as well as both sides of the debate.

There will be a SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER …Dont miss it!

[Stace Medellin of DosCentavos.net]

In lieu of the President’s executive act to give relief to children who have been brought here by their parents at a young age, we thought this documentary would be a great tool to understanding this phenomena.

So bring yourself + a friend, there will be snacks and refreshments

Time:
Friday, August 24, 2012 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Host:
Tarah Taylor
Location:
OFA Houston Headquarters (Houston, TX)

4400 Almeda
Houston, TX 77004