Category Archives: Sensible Immigration Reform

Vigil in Remembrance of Migrant Deaths Held

At FIEL HQ in Southwest Houston, a vigil was held to honor the 51 migrants who perished in a tractor trailer in San Antonio on Monday attempting to escape violence and poverty in their home countries and to seek a better life in the US. The message to the Biden administration and politicians was: Do Something!

While news media and those in political circles insist on making this about the human traffickers, the speakers at the vigil stated that it goes beyond the traffickers. It starts with a Democratic majority and President that has failed to pass an immigration reform, it includes the Texas Governor whose DPS, National Guard, and local law enforcement he has drafted failed at their job of stopping mass human smuggling while using hate speech to vilify migrants to appease his supporters. And it also includes the Mexican government who works under Biden administration orders to detain, warehouse, and deport migrants who cross over from Central American countries into Mexico. Together, these political systems force migrants to attempt crossing in the most dangerous of situations.

FIEL CEO Cesar Espinosa stated that among those who were being smuggled in a hot trailer were 22 Mexican citizens escaping poverty and violence.

The Mexican government has done little to nothing to stop violence in Mexico and corruption within individual state and local government runs rampant and uncontrolled. Unfortunately, most Mexicans escaping to the US will not qualify for asylum as they account for the least applications approved. But these 22 people tell us much about what is going in their regions. And, they’re coming. In other words, it’s not just about asylum applications. It’s about a broken immigration system that legitimately and illegitimately enriches those who enjoy the status quo.

Just a reminder: This is nothing new. Thousands have died attempting to cross rivers, deserts, and through armed resistance from military, law enforcement, and racist militias for years. And nothing has been done to ensure a safe journey for migrants.

It is time for Democrats to do away with the filibuster and pass legislation that protects migrants and creates a humane immigration system.

Inaction Claims Migrants Escaping Violence and Poverty

The media reports that at least 46 human beings were found dead and another 16 barely alive in a semi trailer in San Antonio. All were migrants escaping poverty and violence in their home countries, exploited by traffickers who continually exploit the US political weaknesses of Republican hate and Democratic indifference.

Gustavo García-Siller, the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Antonio, wrote on Twitter: “Once again, the lack of courage to deal with immigration reform is killing and destroying lives. We do not learn. God teach us to change.”

Scenes with stacked bodies will provide fundraising opportunities for Democrats and masturbation material for Republicans (because they get off on the suffering of others). Greg Abbott, in all of his racist glory, chooses to make a political statement blaming others, instead of taking responsibility for his bigoted border policies which force migrants to choose alternate, more dangerous routes to get to this side of the river. Failed policies that hand out money to local law enforcement agencies who love participating in migrant chases, rather than saving children in classrooms threatened by active shooters. No Greg Abbott, this is on the entire political system. Especially on bigots like you.

Yes, there is a lot of blame to go around. And when Democrats have a President and a majority which has done nothing on most issues, instead supporting the re-election of anti-immigrant, anti-woman, and religious zealot Democrats (Cuellar), the message is clear and the same old platitudes are ineffective.

As much as Democrats used Trump’s racist policies to get this majority, they have failed miserably to make change regarding migrant policies, choosing to continue draconian human rights-violating enforcement, detention, and deportation practices, all while expanding legitimate and illegitimate profiteering opportunities for equally bad people.

But most Democrats will remain willfully ignorant of all of this and continue to support the incumbent leadership which continues to fail, well, everyone. Those who will definitely not like my comments probably get a paycheck from political leadership that has failed. Go figure. Anyway…

Locally, we heard that Sheriff Ed Gonzalez finally told the Biden Administration he was withdrawing his name from consideration to be the ICE Director after Senate inaction on a confirmation vote. Way to go, Ed! You don’t need to be tainted by inaction and bigoted policies that our own Party fails to change or even challenge.

I thought I’d sleep off my lack of hope, but I still remain lacking in hope this morning.

This Week’s Abbott Idiocy

Abbott Wants To Starve Brown Babies

Greg Abbott continued to show how evil he is this week when he blamed migrant children for the baby formula crisis. Abbott pointed to migrant children receiving formula while in federal lock-ups while blaming Biden for not providing it to the rest of the country. Standing with the bigoted Border Patrol Council, a club of white supremacists who do Border Patrol spin, they stated, “…the Biden Administration is happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants coming across our southern border,” while a crisis created by baby formula companies who have failed to come up with a solution to the problem has been going on for months.

The problem is that Democrats and advocates want to debate Abbott on something that is not up for debate–child starvation and abuse. Call Abbott and his bigoted base evil and heartless for their actions, instead. A debate only provides Abbott more free advertising and gas to throw on a fire, rather than a forum for solutions. The Biden administration is at least attempting solutions, such as increasing imports (which Trump purposefully screwed up with his USCMA), cracking down on price gouging, and doing away with WIC restrictions that force consumers to buy smaller portions, thus, allowing companies to produce large containers faster. These are all things Abbott would never support, thus, he’s evil!

It’s Always Been A Boondoggle

Whether it’s been both political parties supporting the $4 billion Republican boondoggle at the border or, now, the use of pandemic relief money from the feds to fund a money giveaway at the border, it’s always been a waste and a policy based on bigotry strictly to appease right-wing bigots for their votes. Biden’s Treasury Department is looking into pandemic money being used for border militarization after some Dem Congressmen, including Joaquin Castro of SATX, demanded it. I’m with Kuff on this, there are no consequences for Abbott other than beating him in November. We’ve had our chances in the past, but even some Dems have given Abbott a 2nd chance by making weak , coded excuses to not vote for his opponents.

Kinney County Flush With Migrant Cash

Part of Greg Abbott’s bigoted boondoggle is to open up state-run prisons to warehouse migrants who are given a bogus trespassing charge for walking on private land while escaping poverty and violence, and are finally convicted before being turned over to the Migra. The county that has benefited the most seems to be Kinney County in Southwest Texas. They have collected over $2 million in bond money from family and advocates who have bonded out migrants. The money is sitting in a bank account, but Kinney County is putting up rules and requirements that block that bond from being returned once the cases have been disposed. (Reminder: Bonds are not punishment, they are a guarantee that the accused will show up in court.) Greg Abbott has created all sorts of boondoggles to benefit dirty cops at the border, whether with state, federal, or migrant money. And no one seems to want to stop it.

Abbott’s Antics Lose MX Rail Line to NM

Greg Abbott has done it again with his border antics. After “sticking it to Biden” by jamming up trucks at the border which were delivering goods to the US with additional and failed inspections, Mexico has decided to re-route a rail line that would have benefited Texas to New Mexico.

A friend who is an ex-pat in CDMX alerted me to this during the weekend. Within a couple of days, other news outlets got ahold of the news and even Beto O’Rourke told his supporters about Abbott’s failure.

“We’re now not going to use Texas,” Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier said at a conference Thursday in Mexico City, referring to a planned rail and ports expansion known as the T-MEC Corridor to connect the Pacific port of Mazatlan to the Canadian city of Winnipeg. “We can’t leave all the eggs in one basket and be hostages to someone who wants to use trade as a political tool.”

Clouthier’s message was clear: Mexico is angry about the chaos at the border caused by Abbott’s surprise order a few weeks back to force commercial trucks coming from Mexico to undergo additional inspections. While Texas officials didn’t uncover any contraband or undocumented migrants, they created hours-long delays that left fresh produce to rot and caused havoc with supply chains. 

Some economists question whether this project will actually happen, but it’s a pretty loud declaration by the AMLO government that it is not happy with its trading partner’s leadership. Others question why New Mexico since there isn’t a lot of trade that occurs compared to trade with Texas, but, why not? It’s not a bad idea to expand trade capabilities that will also ease bottlenecks that may be caused by an idiotic Texas governor whenever he gets a bug up his hind side.

Whatever happens in the future, this is about pointing out Greg Abbott’s continued failed leadership, especially at the border. Whether it is blaming migrants for the problems caused by his government, or destroying border economies in the name of border security, Greg Abbott never takes responsibility and neither do Republicans. South Texas is in play because Democrats ignore it despite border businesses being pawns for Abbott and Republicans.

In other words, keep saying it and maybe it’ll stick.

Abbott Is Taking Donations For His Welcome Wagon

Well, those taxpayer-paid “free” bus trips for migrants did not sit well with Abbott’s base.

But the shift to ask private donors to pay for the charter buses comes as his plan has been increasingly praised as an act of generosity by Democrats, immigration rights groups and even the migrants who rode the buses, while those further to Abbott’s right politically have panned it as a misuse of taxpayer dollars that incentivizes migrants to cross into Texas.

How does one fail at being an asshole? It’s the easiest thing for Republicans, but this time, Abbott really screwed up at the task of “sticking it to Biden.”

Thus far, the Trib reports, Abbott has collected over $60K for the welcome wagon, which also provides meals for migrants. One must ask, though: Why isn’t he using some of that $55 million in donated border wall money? And who is accounting for all this donated money? And can people even write it off at the end of the year?

Tony Payan at Rice’s Baker Center gives us a little truth: “It’s a political circus,” Payan said. “It’s going to have no impact whatsoever on the conditions on the ground.”

So, again, I ask: As much as Dems are praising Abbott for his failed assholity, where’s the action from a Democratic majority in DC to fix this broken immigration system? Obviously, we have some assholity issues on our side, too, and their names are Machin, Synema, and maybe even the astronaut dude from Arizona.

Abbott’s Free Ride on a Welcome Wagon

Greg Abbott’s free ride program for migrants to points Northeast is getting accolades from the migrants and their supporters, according to Texas Monthly.

His side-show to stick it to Biden for trying to cancel Title 42, a health-related anti-immigrant policy, which buses migrants released by DHS to America’s front porch, is actually a welcome wagon.

Asylum-seekers’ trial locations are usually based on the region where they settle as they await the hearings—which could make the prospect of an expenses-paid bus trip out of Texas to D.C. appealing. Asylum judges in districts around the nation’s capital tend to grant refuge more readily than do judges in most of Texas’s thirteen immigration courts. In the Houston court, for instance, some judges denied 100 percent of asylum claims in 2021; a judge in El Paso denied 99 percent. By contrast, in a Baltimore court, where D.C. asylum seekers often appear, one judge denied just 10 percent of claims last year. 

and

The capital is also a more welcoming locale for migrants in other ways. D.C.’s mayor has affirmed the city’s status as a “sanctuary,” and a bevy of nongovernmental organizations and private citizens in the capital stand ready and eager to aid the migrants. Furthermore, immigration experts say most asylum-seekers arriving in the U.S. already have family living here, and many, especially Guatemalans, Hondurans, and Salvadorans, might try to reach D.C., where there’s a large Central American population. Even those trying to reunite with family in New York or elsewhere on the East Coast might happily accept Abbott’s offer to bus them most of the way, a trip that otherwise would cost them around $350. 

Bottom line: When the Feds release migrants, they never pay for much of anything, including travel to their destinations. So, Abbott’s “volunteer” busing program is spreading the migrants around on Texas taxpayers’ dime. And groups like Catholic Charities are enjoying spending some of their own help resources at those end points of Abbott’s bus trips.

I’ve been wanting to take a trip to DC to visit the sites. I wonder if I’d get a free trip if I turn myself in. Abbott is one of those kinder, gentler coyotes, apparently.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Texas want Abbott to declare an “invasion” and begin the deportation of migrants to home countries. Because, apparently, Texas has money for this, but no money for schools, health care, and infrastructure.

The Center for Renewing America, a conservative think tank led by Ken Cuccinelli, a former Homeland Security official under Trump, has been leading the charge to get Abbott to declare an invasion, criticizing his border-security efforts as inadequate so far. And Brandon Judd, the head of the National Border Patrol Council — one of Abbott’s most visible endorsers for reelection — recently said Abbott should “absolutely” declare an invasion.

An angry bunch of white supremacists, huh? Unfortunately, there are enough Trump judges to back them up with no basis of law.

In other news, Texas Republican AG Paxton was trying to stop Title 42 from ending, but it looks like other states found a Trump fed judge in Louisiana, of all places, to stop its end, as Kuff tells us about it.

The lack of leaders pushing back against the right-wingers is a bit sad. Thankfully, the Mayors of Brownsville, TX and Tucson, AZ backed the Biden administration ending Title 42. Mayor Trey Mendez and Mayor Regina Romero stated:

“We support the Biden Administration’s decision to repeal Title 42 and uphold our legal and moral obligation of providing the fundamental right to seek asylum. It is the smart thing to do and it is the right thing to do. A fair and humane immigration system should be a priority for all of our leaders, not just those such as us who see the effects of a broken system every day,”

Because it’s about the broken system. And that never makes it into the news, like Republican racism.

Thoughts on Viernes-Sabado Edition-42322

Abbott Policy Is Killing People

There is a Texas National Guard soldier missing in the Rio Grande after attempting to save a migrant who was crossing the treacherous river to the US. This is the latest tragedy caused by Greg Abbott’s border militarization, which has included migrant deaths, soldier suicides, government corruption, and failed administration of this policy.

There is no logic to Greg Abbott’s border folly. The National Guard (and DPS and local sheriff’s offices enlisted by Abbott) block the border, force migrants to cross in more dangerous crossings only to have to try and save the migrants from drowning. It’s all theater by Greg Abbott and Republicans while endangering even more migrants and guardsmen.

On top of all of this, it is also costly as Greg Abbott has wasted billions of dollars on this failed operation which hunts brown people escaping violence and poverty.

Meanwhile, Ken Paxton is now suing to stop the Biden administration from ending Title 42, which is a health-related policy and not a migration policy. Funny how they like this COVID policy but whine over masks and vaccines. If only we had a Democratic President and a Democratic majority in Washington DC to pass immigration reform and stop the theatrics. Oh wait!

State-Sponsored Killing Is Not The Answer to Crime

I’m not here to defend any killers. But I am here to say how wrong the death penalty is.

As we await Greg Abbott’s decision on whether or not he will commute the death sentence of an innocent woman (Melissa Lucio) railroaded by bad police and DA investigations, yesterday we witnessed the state’s first vengeful killing of the year (Carl Buntion). To say the least, I am sickened by the political theater of the death penalty, whether it is by blood-thirsty DAs and cops or politicians that feel the need to be begged to do the right thing as in the case of Melissa Lucio. What should be about justice turns into revenge porn for right-wingers.

As a reminder, here are ACLU’s objections to the death penalty, chief among them is that this cruel and unusual punishment is NOT a deterrent to crime and a waste of resources. But it is a great opportunity for law enforcement and political theater, while victims of crimes are used as props. And the media gladly promotes it. That people think the local “crime stopping” group is anything but partisan is laughable.

The death penalty is not a solution to crime and it certainly isn’t a road to closure for crime victims. And because of the political theater that comes with this punishment, overzealous DAs have been known to push for the execution of innocent people. Almost 200 humans have been killed by the government wrongfully. This isn’t justice and it is treated by politicians as collateral damage.

This thirst for revenge needs to stop.

Beto’s Right. Where’s Biden post-Title 42 Plan?

While many of us celebrate the demise of the Trump-era, yet Biden-continued, Title 42, there is no plan to address the needs of those being released by DHS after their asylum process has begun. And Beto O’Rourke is calling out the Biden administration for the lack of a plan.

The small towns on the border where the Border Patrol detention centers process migrants will be getting the brunt of the effects of this lack of a plan. While there are nonprofits and humanitarian groups which do most of the work, they will not have the resources to fully respond.

All that said, there is a lot more to the border than Title 42.

Greg Abbott’s policies of militarizing the border with the National Guard; his deputation and corrupt behavior of local cops and courts to terrorize migrants with arrests and trumped up charges while imprisoning them in state-run prisons; the dangerous chases on state roads by the Border Patrol, DPS, and local cops that continually cause deadly accidents; are a lot more dangerous than humans fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries.

What bad policies and lack of them at all levels have created is a front for human trafficking, more violence, and government corruption in our own country. Meanwhile, Congress and the Biden administration (and previous administrations) continually fail to create workable solutions to the asylum process and immigration, generally.

Instead, politicians and pundits get mad on camera at higher food prices because of Abbott’s inspections at the border as the cost of all this while at the same time defending and funding war policies and oil companies profiting from higher gas prices because of those war policies.

I’m just saying there is a lot to this border issue and even the whining seems to be coming piecemeal.

Abbott Calls For Volunteer Migrants to Self-Deport From Texas

Another Abbott border boondoggle? Or is it a show of bigotry and idiocy? Probably both.

Greg Abbott called a press show to announce a new program to bus migrants to Washington, DC to drop them off at Joe Biden’s (and America’s) front yard so that he can deal with them.

What sounded like a pretty bigoted shit-show worsened when reality set in.

The governor’s office clarified that the program is completely voluntary for migrants and would happen only after they had been processed and released by the Department of Homeland Security. And in addition to buses, Abbott also ordered the state to charter flights to transport migrants to the nation’s capital. The migrants would have to show documentation that they had already been processed by DHS. Many immigration advocates have noted that providing transportation services for asylum-seekers to reach their final destination is something the state should invest in.

Abbott’s announcement led to immediate criticism from both his left and his right. Immigration rights groups said his rhetoric was still dangerous.

No doubt, when I thought about it, I thought it a great idea. These are recently released migrants, not migrants caught by Abbott’s border initiative, which includes local Sheriff’s offices. Because one way or another, migrants must be released by the yokels and the smokies to DHS/Border Patrol for processing. DHS then releases them from border area facilities to the towns in which they are located. A free ride to parts east where there is a need for exploitable and cheap labor would be a big help all-around, right?

Still, the underlying reasons are obvious and the whole program is a dangerous one.

Small border towns have been having a freak-out as the Trump/Biden Title 42 rule, which blames migrants for COVID and not Abbott’s unmasking and unvax’ing of Texas, is on the verge of ending in the next few weeks; thus, a surge is expected at the border and from DHS releases of processed migrants. So, it’s obvious this is part of a “response” from Abbott.

Fortunately, both the left and the right are calling it an empty gesture.

State Rep. Mary González, D-El Paso, vice chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus denounced Abbott’s announcement as a political stunt.

“Instead of using our tax dollars to drive economic growth and build infrastructure, Governor Abbott is funding political stunts at the expense of Texas families and our troops.”

Let’s get serious, though. The Biden administration has had every opportunity to continue making changes by executive order to our Nation’s asylum process and the overall immigration process. Lawsuits from the right, be damned! Meanwhile, Congress and Justice continues lollygagging with another failed prosecution attempt of Trump, instead of pushing immigration legislation, even in piecemeal fashion.

What some call a immigration crisis, or worse, an “invasion,” is caused by migrant’s home countries run by dictators and drug kingpins who on the daily threaten innocent people. They are left with no choice but to leave their home countries for land considered safer. So, it is not an immigration crisis as much as it is US foreign policy that bolsters right-wing and corrupt government in Latin America. Ultimately, it all becomes a human rights crisis when migrants go hunted by people like Greg Abbott and Biden’s corrupt border patrol for profit.

Wholesale change is needed, but no one wants to do anything substantive. So, this kind of crisis at the border will continue while borders are open for other lighter skinned folks from other violence-torn countries on the other side of the world.

The GOP Race for Immigration Agent

I’m sure we’ve all noticed the political ads for Texas Attorney General. Particularly the two brown-skinned people trying to prove they can be as bigoted as the white supremacists in the race. Eva Guzman’s ridiculous, gesticulating, anti-migrant ad is an affront to brown folks. Never have I seen such an awful display of self-hate and political opportunism to get a few votes from racists. Oh, but her family is “legal.”

What’s sadder is that none of the local Latino Dems or Latino group leaders have spoken up against her crap. Some are actually rooting for her is my guess. Like my mom would say, “Comen del mismo plato.” When you eat off the same plate as bad people, they will expect you to be bad, too. Or, at least, just turn away and ignore it.

Then there’s Little Brown Bush who actually has the support of the bigoted Border Patrol club. The same club that serves as the BP’s mouthpiece whenever they need to blame someone else for their abusive behavior against migrants, or when their agents accidentally fall into a culvert. Bush’s ad is toned down as he makes it about cartels and drives a four-wheeler at Trump’s border wall. He does the smart thing and lets the BP dudes (in uniform) do the anti-immigrant talk. Are they getting overtime for this?

If ignoring (and supporting) the bigots amongst us is how we get “representation” then I’m out.

As Ross Ramsey at the Trib tells us,

A Texas attorney general is a civil lawyer, mostly concerned with regulatory, tax and administrative law. But to listen to the candidates, you’d think the state’s top lawyer was some kind of cop.

Sure, they’ll file lawsuits against Biden border policies, but they only prove how bigoted Texas is. Republicans who whine about migrants certainly don’t protect us from anything, especially photo ops at the border.