Category Archives: Sensible Immigration Reform

Kids and Families Are Still Locked Up, Stop Celebrating

Nothing is more annoying than seeing liberal and/or Democratic activists  and politicians portraying Trump’s madman of a signature on a document that really does nothing about the current human rights crisis as some sort of victory.

Our friends at Mijente posted six things you should know about the Trump executive order:

  1. DHS will receive more money to create new family prisons that will hold parents and children together, while the parents are being criminally prosecuted and while their deportation cases are pending.
  2. Given that criminal prosecutions and deportation cases of parents can take long periods of time, and that children are supposed to be detained along with their parents, Sessions will try to get the courts to grant him the ability to detain children indefinitely.
  3. Trump and Sessions will continue to implement their “Zero Tolerance” policy and prosecute everyone detained at the border.
  4. The Department of Defense will help provide spaces, like army bases, for these family prisons, and build new ones as needed. Other cabinet-level departments are being recruited to do the same.
  5. Sessions will be given more resources to deport families faster after they are prosecuted, and appropriate the funding if needed.
  6. The order does not speak to any families that have already been separated — and existing policies place the responsibility on parents to find their children in HHS custody and seek to reunite with them.

If if you don’t want to listen to us, then listen to Elizabeth Warren.

As political as this fight is, it’s about human beings. Yes, children are being placed in cages and in “licensed child care facilities” adorned with prison-style razor wire all around, but we’re also talking about families seeking asylum, having escaped violence and poverty in their home countries; and, which must be repeated for the allies in the back, IS NOT A CRIME! Therefore, children, moms, and dads should not be locked up while waiting for what is an administrative hearing–not a criminal court.

Trump and his ilk are experts at public relations. He’ll throw out one-liners to appease his followers and the Republican Party. Allies must learn NEVER to give-in to their rhetoric–any of it. And yesterday was just another example that made it seem like some thought this particular fight was suddenly over and that victory could be declared just to poke fun at Trump. No, the fight continues. Lives are at stake.

 

 

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Trump Planning Baby Jail for Houston

The rumors began with a “job opening” post from Southwest Key, the same “nonprofit” that runs the child jail at the former Wal-Mart in the Valley, that was making the  rounds. Houston Councilman Robert Gallegos and others investigated to find out it’s true:  The Trump administration plans to open a “temporary” child prison to warehouse children taken out of the arms of migrant parents escaping Central American violence and poverty.

State Senator Sylvia Garcia issued a statement:  Now is the time to gather together to stop this baby jail before a single child seeking refuge is locked up in our city. The Trump administration has made it clear that it will rip children away from their parents despite legal and child development experts telling them that it is unnecessary and known to cause lifelong harm. No law requires this. Humanity demands compassion. We must say as a community with one voice that jailing children away from their parents is wrong, it should not happen anywhere, and we as Houstonians will not allow it to happen here. Not now. Not ever.

Houston City Council Member Robert Gallegos:  While the City was not involved in the decision or notified beforehand, we will advocate for these children and do all we can to ensure they are cared for with compassion and dignity. Children should be with their families, not warehoused in a detention center hundreds of miles away from their parents. The Trump administration’s inhumane policy of separating families is shameful and goes against the very values our nation was founded on. Congress has failed on immigration reform so many times before. But now, more than ever, lawmakers must seize this moment to pass legislation to end this unnecessary policy and protect children.

Lupe Valdez, candidate for Governor:  The Trump administration and Governor Abbott’s fear-based approach to immigration is inhumane and un-American. These migrant families came to our border because they believed in the hope and promise our country has always offered — and we must treat them with decency.

Lina Hidalgo, candidate for Harris County Judge:  I am devastated that more than 2,000 children have been taken away from their parents in the name of the country of which I am so proud. Children are too precious, and their minds too impressionable, for any of us to stand by while they are traumatized. These children must be returned to their parents, and our government must end its policy of forced separation of families immediately.

State Rep. Carol Alvarado:  My legislative district has now been selected as a site where many of these children will be placed. Years from now, when these children have grown up, some of them will ask how Houstonians responded during their time of confinement here. These children need our support.

Beto O’Rourke, Congressman and candidate for US Senate (Texas):  When our country takes kids away from their mothers and fathers as punishment for coming to this country to seek asylum, when we call those kids “unaccompanied alien children” after we’ve forcibly “unaccompanied” them and sent them to shelters without any clear idea of when, or if, they’ll see their moms and dads again…we’d like to say this isn’t us, this isn’t what we do, this isn’t America.

State Rep. Ana Hernandez:  We will not stand by and silently watch while families are being torn apart and children are detained in prison facilities. A baby jail for immigrant minors forcibly taken from their families has no place in Houston.

More statements will be added as they arrive.

Beto O’Rourke Meets With Houston Latino Leaders

Continuing to make the rounds around the state of Texas, Beto O’Rourke, Democrat for US Senate,  has spent a couple of days in Houston rallying supporters and volunteers. Friday morning, one of his stops was at Irma’s Restaurant in downtown for a meet and greet breakfast with local Latino activists and community leaders.

A capacity crowd enjoyed a frank conversation with O’Rourke, who touched on issues such as post-Harvey efforts, health care and public education; however, a good portion of his presentation and the Q&A that followed concentrated on the human rights crisis at the US-Mexico border. Much of the crisis has been given steroids by the Trump administration as they separate families and warehouse children in badly managed private prisons.

Although he states that he is and has been willing to work across the aisle on sensible solutions, he states that Republican delays and obstruction to these solutions will only be ended at the ballot box when Democrats become a majority in both houses of Congress. O’Rourke stated his strong opposition to family separation, arrests and prosecution of parents requesting asylum, and child imprisonment. He also stated that he’s among those in Congress working on comprehensive solutions today, as we can’t wait for things to align before doing something.

During the Q&A, one elected leader, Goose Creek ISD Trustee Agustin Loredo, brought up the fact that much of the migration has been caused by US government and US corporations interfering with social, political, and economic standards of Mexico and Central American countries. O’Rourke agreed that there must be a better way to help these countries succeed that respects their government and economic systems, citing past US military operations which have removed democratically-elected leaders, only causing chaos and destabilization.

After taking questions, O’Rourke spent time speaking one-to-one with those attending.

I’ve always been impressed with Beto O’Rourke and remember when he defeated an entrenched–Bill Clinton-endorsed former Border Patrol chief–incumbent. So, he knows about tough political work. Above all, he’s a good listener. Honestly, I haven’t felt this good about a ticket-topper as O’Rourke doesn’t respond to issues based on polls, but on real solutions. He’s sincere and the real deal.

Asked about how he will win, he doesn’t mince words. The solution is voter registration, outreach, and GOTV–especially of those non-voting registered voters who have grown disillusioned with voting and government. While he knows his task is a tough one, he also says that it’s up to those who support him to spread the word–call by call, door by door, family member by family member.

So, let’s get to work!

 

 

Dems Exact Revenge on Bernie, Give Pass to Dumbocrats

That’ll teach Bernie!

Democrats (DNC) who are still wasting time blaming Bernie Sanders for their failings have finally exacted revenge on the liberal Senator from Vermont.

“At the time a presidential candidate announces their candidacy publicly, they must publicly affirm that they are a Democrat.”

The draft goes on to require that any candidate pursuing the Democratic Party’s nomination for president confirm in writing to the Democratic National Committee chairman that they are a member of the Democratic Party, will accept the Democratic nomination and will “run and serve as a member of the Democratic Party.”

Well, maybe it doesn’t stop Bernie from a 2020 bid, but that’s up to him.

What was more noticeable to me was that DNC members and activists celebrating this would rather waste time playing internal politics with an “independent” who goes above and beyond to follow the DNC platform and votes with the Democrats in Congress all the time, yet give credence to Dumbocrats (Tester, Manchin, McCaskill-types) who sign on the dotted Dem line, yet, do nothing for Democratic issues, especially immigration and deportation reform. The Dumbocrats sure as hell don’t “run and serve” as Democrats on this and other issues, in my opinion. Manchin actually likes Trump!

The former is punished for challenging Dem “royalty,” while the latter is revered for selling out entire groups of people for the sake of some sort of ineffective and artificial scorecard majority. All this says is:  “We support democracy, but only OUR type of democracy.” Whether one thinks it’s wrong or right, one thing it really is is hypocritical.

Now, perhaps it’s easier for some to call themselves “independent” in a state like Vermont. In Texas, I don’t fit the profile–at least in years when Dems put good people, like Lupe Valdez, on the ballot. The reason I don’t call myself one is because I’m pretty decided on what issues I support and I’m not some undecided voter who expects all the campaign money to be spent on convincing me. But I do demand Democratic candidates act like they’re Democrats, and if that calls for a heated Democratic Primary to find out which candidates act right (or left), then, so be it. You know, democracy!

Anyway, if you’re going to be demanding loyalty oaths, then, let’s go all the way. But, if you’re just pissed off at Bernie, then you’re just doing a disservice to the Party.

[I write this as I go over page after page of Democrats who accept money from the private prison lobby while Trump threatens using tent cities in very sunny El Paso to warehouse children escaping violence and poverty and separated from their parents. It really complicates the Democratic response to GOP bigotry when everyone plays the game]

Egberto Willies has his take on this.

Democrats Getting It All Wrong on Trump Border Army

Credit: Lalo Alcaraz

The best response to Trump’s power trip in militarizing the US-Mexico Border is:  “Don’t do it. It’s bigoted. It’s wasteful. It’s wrong. The priority must be fixing the immigration system.”

Instead, I see elected and activist Democrats embracing, “Migration is at an all time low, so, we don’t need the military on the border.”

WRONG! You’re saying that at some point we’ve needed it! And you certainly aren’t offering up solutions like fixing the system.

Perhaps they say it to defend from criticism of President Obama for militarizing the border in 2010. And Obama only did it to beat a right-wing onslaught by Congress to the punch. A race to the right on immigration during an election year. How’d that turn out?

The difference between Trump and Obama? Obama did it with a smile, while Trump does it with a scowl. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy for some of the Dems to be “moderates.” 3 million deportations, hundreds of thousands in the private prison boondoggle, but Trump is the awful one? Yeah, he is. But let’s not be hypocrites. Dems do anti-immigrant policy just as effectively as the other guys whenever there’s an election.

And Democrats don’t want to change. Talk of being “moderates” for 2018 has increased as there are some run-offs to be decided in Texas, but the only issue that seems to make Dems quiver is immigration. It’s the only issue I see where being “moderate” is OK. And treading lightly, if at all, on the issue is the playbook.

Says one activist, “We’ve got the Republicans on the ropes, now is not the time to be weak on immigration.”

Democrats are being weak on immigration by refusing to fight the Republicans.

I’ll be writing more on the upcoming run-offs and how this particular issue is being addressed, or avoided.

 

Thoughts on Viernes…02092018

He Did What?

Note to all Democratic candidates:  Don’t appear on *ucker Carlson’s Fox News show. He’s a bigot, a liar, and a real asshole. And your critics will accept the premise of his bigoted questions, while you try to make a little 10 minute ad for yourself. The thing is, any candidate would probably reach more future constituents with a web-ad than appearing on the shit-fire that one steps on by appearing on *ucker Carlson.

Anyway…

Republatinos

I was asked, regarding yesterday’s voter registration post, why I didn’t say anything about electing Latino Republicans, instead just talking about Democrats. Apparently, he don’t know me very well. Seriously, though, polling of Latino voters shows heavy support for public education, access to health care, a strong economy with good jobs, and yes, a working immigration system and an end to mass deportations. So, I base my vote, including in a Dem primary, on that criteria. And I’m pretty sure most Latinos (since 65% or so end up voting for the Dem in November) do the same.

So, if you wonder why there aren’t enough Latino Republicans getting elected, ask Republican primary voters why they aren’t putting them on the November ballot. If you want to see more Latino Republicans, then vote in the Republican primary. Ultimately, though, if they (and you) support mass deportations, de-funding public schools, taking away affordable health care from brown people, and low-wage jobs for said brown people, then republatinos won’t even get Latino votes.

The DC Immigration Debate

So, no shutdown, some sort of a budget, and a debate on immigration will start next week. Some bill will be debated and members will get to add all sorts of amendments to it. It’s the amendments that worry me. Amendments are the cause of most derailments of bills. Especially immigration bills.

I expect guest worker crap, literacy exams which citizen-bigots can’t even pass, and pledges to the supreme Cheeto, and other pendejadas. We shall see.

 

LULAC Retracts Trump Letter; Questions Remain

NBC News has reported that LULAC National President Roger Rocha was planning on retracting his letter to El Cheeto which supported his anti-immigrant agenda. The letter went so far as to support “the four pillars” of Trump’s plan, which included a border wall, border militarization, and familiy separation.

In a lengthy article, LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes (he led the effort that supported right-wing Latino Miguel Estrada for a judicial appointment in 2003, by the way) stated that LULAC’s national assembly voted to support a more progressive immigration agenda, including a “Clean DREAM Act,” no border wall, opposition to immigrant warehousing in private prisons, and local cops acting as immigration agents.

What was disturbing is that Rocha stated that he was asked by “business leaders” known as the Latino Coalition to write the letter. This group is a supporter of right-wing conservative causes, such as opposition to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), support of Social Security privatization, and promotion of bad trade deals that exploit workers in Latin America. Issues in which LULAC and Latinos, generally, do not fall in line.

The funniest line:

Wilkes said the letter “was never intended to go public.” Rocha “didn’t anticipate it would be shared with members of Congress,” he said.

Because they didn’t anticipate Trump salivating over having some Hispanic lackeys to push his bigoted agenda, thus spreading the word about it?

Anyway, there was membership backlash all around, which has now caused Rocha to say he would retract the letter. How that is done without sending a powerful message that the group–which according to Rocha is the only group being allowed into the White House immigration discussion–does not back Trump on his framework, I don’t know.

At least, that’s what I hope members would demand.

LULAC is a membership-driven organization. It’s elaborately broken down into local councils that do much good work, such as scholarships, leadership development, promotion of higher education, etc. State organizations are broken into districts. And once a year, they assemble for a national convention which is quite the con-fab. Leaders are elected, most times controversially, and a legislative agenda is set for the organization to have some pull at the various levels of government, among other stuff they work on. That’s the elevator description.

So, it’s easy for me to say that I’m not a member, although I did do my time in the group in a council we called “The Cesar Chavez Council” during my college days. And I still support a few of their local causes. Me and my cohorts always thought of the group as too tame, if not conservative, but having it as a tool to push legislation and create leaders from the grassroots, we made it our own–not always to the liking of state and national leaders. And this usually came up during state and national conventions. Ahh, memories.

So, again, I’m not surprised that a screw-up like this would occur. But members and leaders need to grab hold of this organization if they want to be relevant at the national level as a group that fights for people’s rights, and not for border wall contracts for conservative “business leaders,” or for whatever reason the Latino Coalition support Trump’s wall.

As far as questions remaining, one needs to ask why Rocha would involve LULAC in a group like Latino Coalition that is very anti-Latino in its agenda.

LULAC Supports Trump Wall

Frankly, I wasn’t surprised by LULAC’s letter supporting El Cheeto‘s immigration framework–“rogue” or not. It’s not the first time LULAC has taken an awful position on something that could be detrimental to Latinos.

Back during the Dubya years, he appointed Miguel Estrada, a right-wing honduran immigrant, to the US Court of Appeals in DC. LULAC took the route of supporting this guy despite his opposition to judicial review–a concept that has kept most LULAC and civil rights lawsuits alive.  The reason? He was Latino.

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

So, that LULAC was trying to get on Cheeto’s and Republicans’ good side again, despite how awful the proposal is for people, should not be a huge surprise.

In these modern times, it seems these corporate-funded Latino groups are more interested in tux and gown proms and invites to the White House, rather than actual civil rights work. These groups get White House invites to meetings, while the actual activists, the DREAMers, get the shaft. Much love goes to members of Congress who had DREAMers as guests at the SOTU.

With this letter, Republicans are now able to parade around “the oldest Latino” group in America, in support of El Cheeto’s wall, border militarization, and family separation. Great job, LULAC!

I’ve always said to Democrats. If you want to fight this fight in the best way possible, follow the DREAMers, not the corporate-funded groups who will sell out a kid just to look good to whomever is in office.

 

It’s Not Just The Wall That Is Up For Debate

Credit: Lalo Alcaraz

An article by MSNBC talking head Victoria Soto caught my eye. Basically, she states that Democrats should give away the proposed border wall for DACA. Of course, there is no mention of what else Trump and the Republicans want. Added militarization in the form of more border patrol, draconian changes to family reunification (called by Trump “chain migration”), and other changes to the visa lottery, at least. No, Trump doesn’t just want the wall–a monument to stupidity, as called by Luis Gutierrez–he wants blood.

I will agree with Soto that by making the shutdown about CHIP vs DREAMers, it pretty much became about competing ethnicities. While the vast majority of DREAMers are Latino, only 37% of CHIP beneficiaries are Latinos. And let’s face it, ZERO DACA kids are on CHIP (or even Obamacare). But, no, Democrats have wasted no time in Demsplaining it as a victory. Considering that it was funded for the next six years, it’s pretty obvious that Republicans would have supported it in the end. Republicans just found a good hostage on which Dems could pull the trigger.

In other words, a longer shutdown would not have hurt CHIP in the least.

Now, it’s like everything is starting from ZERO on DACA/DREAM. Republicans have control of the DACA/DREAM issue and will allow for some pretty awful amendments, whenever it is they decide to get to it. Along with the amendments will be plenty of time to vilify DREAMers, immigrants, and your run-of-the-mill American Latin@. Probably more racially charged Trump ads about murderers, drug runners and visa overstays as “criminal illegals” will hit our TVs.  Certainly, talking heads and Congress members instilling fear and hate and spreading it around the country. Over the last seventeen years, we’ve been through this process plenty of times as if it is a brand new issue.

No doubt, DREAMers are hard at work trying to convince members of Congress in both parties for a Clean DREAM Act through direct action. Perhaps some changes might be OK, but not wasteful crazy ones like a wall or changes to family reunification some have stated privately. I mean, if there’s going to be a drawn out process, then the DREAMers must get the opportunity to speak, too.

But for Soto and others to simply give away the wall as they have done when we have already been forced into a new process is a bit shortsighted. Firstly, you never want to be the “Latino for the wall.” And for Soto to write this piece as if nothing else is up for debate is a bit disingenuous. Schumer already offered up the wall with a measly $1.6 billion of funding–not even close to the $20 billion Trump wants. Dems can’t even give away the store right if they’re trying to paint some picture of uncooperative Republicans.

So, all that is left is a legislative process that has been promised by someone who doesn’t really keep his promises. I’m glad the DREAMers are still working hard because I don’t know how hard Congress members will push. And it might be a good idea for Democrats and the few “moderates” left on both sides to listen to them during this process. And help stop the madness by standing up to stupidity.

#TrumpShutdown Achieved, Now What?

As much as shutting down the government is an exercise to show Trump’s and Republican Congressional leadership’s ineffectiveness, I wanted to see where Democrats stand, too. And my hope is that the five Democratic Senators who voted to continue debate, thus pushing the stopgap measure forward without DACA or CHIP, isn’t an indication of what is to come for a DACA/DREAM fix.

The latest version of the #DeportationCaucus, Manchin, Donnelly, McCaskill, Heitkamp, and now, the new guy, Jones voted to support the stopgap bill last night. Manchin and Donnelly voted against the 2010 DREAM Act, McCaskill has run anti-immigrant re-election campaigns for votes but has supported DREAM Act in the past, Heitkamp has always been iffy on immigration, and Jones is showing fears of not getting re-elected in a few years. Some think a fix would have an easier, more bipartisan, time in the House.

It’s always been said that DREAM or DACA is a bipartisan issue, but when it comes right down to it, Senate Republicans have not come through. Last night, at least four of them did. Is this an indication of something? If it is, we’ll still need every single Democrat to seal the deal.

Obviously a clean DREAM Act is a lot harder to achieve. But as long as Trump and the Republicans’ starting point in negotiations is a wasteful wall and an end to family reunification, The DREAMers (and the Democrats) really don’t have to budge either. We know where the impasse begins. Republicans who want to move forward need to stop their leader’s bigotry and get the job done.

Meanwhile, 122 DACA beneficiaries lose their status everyday, despite the shutdown, Trump’s deporation force is still very much employed, and hate toward immigrants still exists. It’s really in the Republicans’ court to make the country move forward–at least for 800,000 of the 11 million undocumented folks.

A friend of mine called all of this “political theater.” Well, the political theater of immigration will still go merrily along if there is a fix to this. As always, we’ll deal with the theater. But let’s try to finish DACA/DREAM.