Category Archives: Sensible Immigration Reform

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.

 

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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.

Thoughts on Viernes…01052018

No Surprise…No Tejano

After the HoustonRodeo got me to shine my Justin Ropers and attend last year because they brought super group Siggno to the NRG, I am now back in boycott mode because there is NO TEJANO in 2018. I mean, just me personally. I was anticipating something good for the “tejano” day that I trek’d on over to Bryan’s Catalena Hatters to check out the “LBJ”-ish open road-ish custom hats. Thankfully, it was closed and I didn’t go broke. Still, #VaqueroGoals remain for the future as hats go. As much as the rodeo tries, Tejano isn’t dying. Stay tuned!

Steve Brown for CD22 Speaks Out on DACA

As the DACA-fix talk revs up again, I’ve been looking around the internets at local Congressional races to see who is speaking up, especially in the Dem primaries. No doubt, I wasn’t surprised when my friend Steve Brown who is in the Dem Primary to take on CD22’s right-wing incumbent spoke out.

Over 5000 people in Congressional District 22 are eligible for DACA, and the district would lose $150 million in annual GDP should they get deported.

Where is Pete Olson’s leadership in protecting these families?

Instead, the republican Congress is only committed to protecting certain taxpayers. They have proven this by ensuring that the wealthy get wealthier and the poor not only stay poor but are barred access to America’s Promise, a promise that must extend to immigrants and Dreamers.

CD22 is not an easy district for a Democrat. For years, Dems who ran for this post would run to the right on anything immigration related, but still failed miserably. Steve Brown is definitely my kind of candidate and I hope he ends up the Dems’ nominee. Send him a few bucks, too!

Tejano Music in the News

One of my fave local bands is set to release a new album in mid-February. La Fiebre‘s Fiesta on Freddie Records is highly anticipated with single, La Fiesta, already earning some popularity.

Joe Posada, through Q Productions, is working on a concert DVD to be released soon. His most recent production, Zapatos En La Mano, is a DC-favorite and the review of the CD earned a lot of traffic. Get yours from JoePosada.com today.

Be Alguien!!!

So, some folks are trying to get some recognition for a bridge with graffiti. I’m still fighting for Chicano studies and the usual history books to get it right about brown people. So, good luck with your endeavor.

Will Hispanics Love El Cheeto?

At this point, while real lives are at stake, Trump and the Republicans have made the issue of the DACA-fix and DREAMers a political game. In other words, not much has changed. But El Cheeto seems to think brown folks are going to finally fall for him as the DACA-fix talk starts up again.

El Cheeto has been pretty clear about what will effect some sort of DACA fix with this attempt at a policy statement.

And, with this known, his ultimatums will be pretty solid and quite political.

Because the offer is on the table:  A wall for some sort of fix. It’s something the Republicans can run on through 2018, while it’s something the Democrats can either cave on or put up a real fight against.

Unfortunately, the Republicans will have the bragger’s rights of offering something–as awful as it will be and is–during the campaign season. And they’ll be able to paint Dems as uncooperative if they vote against what is offered. And Dems will have the issue, as always, about how mean and nasty the Republicans are on DREAMers and immigrants. Will it work for either side?

That Republicans are mean and bad isn’t anything new. I’ve been talking about it since I started this site 13 years ago–even when some Dem experts told many of us to ignore the GOP’s anti-immigrant bigotry because it would just go away. Actually, the weaker the fight put up by the Democrats and the more deportations and imprisonment by a Democratic administration, the worse the Republicans have become.

Republicans have always offered up the worse policies in exchange for some sort of reform:  A wall, a fence, increased deportations, lesser number of work visas, a bracero program (temporary workers), not citizenship, but legalized status, but not for parents, but only for DREAMers, and now probably less of them. And Democrats have given away the store at every turn during negotiations only for everything to fall apart because Republicans are just that awful and Democrats fall for it.

I’ll add the reminder that everything revolving around immigration reform doesn’t just affect immigrants. Laws like Texas’ SB4 or anything that federalizes law enforcement or rounds up whole families and imprisons them affects citizen Latinos, too. Most of us don’t like the threat of racial profiling or accidental detainment on account of what clothes any of us decided to wear that day. And it happens.

The political games may be fun for political consultants and ad men on both sides who’ll make a pretty penny off the issue, but these games take an emotional toll on those at risk of deportation and the voters who support them. For many of us, voter excitement levels could increase if a political party actually puts up a fight for what’s right, no matter the outcome. Not putting up a fight affects voter excitement, too. In reverse!. All these years later, the question isn’t about why Latinos may not be voting, but why aren’t you fighting for Latinos?

So, if the numbers ultimately show that Hispanics will end up loving El Cheeto, as predicted by El Cheeto, it’s not because more of us are voting for him. It’s just that less of us might be voting. I’ve said it before: On this particular issue, Latinos overwhelmingly want a Party and candidates that will fight for us, that will run into (and tear down) walls (so to speak) for us. Not candidates that will negotiate us into political nothingness to save a few bad Dems in November.

Well, now we’re at this point where Republicans are in charge and a mad man gets to sign legislation. Imagine if the Democratic Party and a Democratic President had kept 5 of their Senators in line back in 2010.

Another reminder to candidates and party operations:  The political season doesn’t start three weeks before election day anymore. Fight!

#DeportationCaucus Ignores DREAMers, Votes For CR

DREAM activists were all over Washington, DC and the US Capitol this last week, some even thrown in jail, attempting to persuade Democratic representatives and Senators to vote against a continuing resolution which left out relief for DACA beneficiaries (aka DREAMers). The CR passed with 66 votes, including a whole mess of Dems.

Specifically, activists were asking for a clean DREAM Act, but since Republicans and Trump failed to move the needle on it, activists then called on the only group they thought would be allies–Democrats–to vote against the continuing resolution with the hopes of a shutdown or at least a show of strength. Instead, a list of electeds now called the #DeportationCaucus was created, and a whole lot of Democrats are on it. And there’s also a list of Dems in the House.

Needless to say, negotiations are supposed to continue in January; however, what “enforcement” and “border security” provisions will be added by Trump are still not known. Certainly, it won’t be a clean DREAM Act given Trump and the Republicans’ hell-bent attitude toward immigrants. The Dems on the #DeportationCaucus are certainly a list of Senators to lobby, though, it’s probably too late to target them in the Primary.

So, here are the Democrats on #DeportationCaucus:

depcaucus2

 

DREAMer Reform Delayed? My Confidence Wanes

If Democrats weren’t able to pass any kind of relief for DREAMers in 2010 with a legislative majority, did you really expect Republicans to do anything? According to a Politico article, the groundwork has been laid for a January vote, though.

The problem? They can’t do anything until Trump adds his sadistic ideas to the plan, like the wall, more migra, and other mean-spirited things that Kelly and others at DHS may come up with under the heading, “border security.”

So, cynical me thinks this is how things will go:

  • A pretty crappy DREAM Act will be created–enforcement heavy, relief for fewer than ever. (Remember when Dems were fighting for 11 million people and willing to give them everything?)
  • Dems will say no to such an unclean DREAM Act (right?). There will be shock at how Republicans are just bad and mean. (Some of us are desensitized to it, actually, at least those of us who are undeportable.)
  • Then the Dems will have it as an issue for them to campaign on, and run away from in those hard-to-win districts, in 2018.
  • By then, the March deadline to resolve this has passed and even more young people are out of DACA status and under threat of removal. (Let’s not forget that right now 122 DREAMers per day are losing their DACA status).

I’m just guessing, of course.

I’ll leave it to the DREAMers to tell me if they want what results from the negotiation in the end. It’s a gun to their heads, but not necessarily a gun to either party’s. I say this because even the new Dems being elected during special elections are acting kind of shifty on most issues, and not just this one, as if bipartisanship even exists anymore.

Maybe the Dems should up the ante and ask for a path to something for 11,000,000 once Trump starts adding his crap to the bill. It’s a negotiation, right? Hell, put up a fight. For the whole lot of us, it’s the fight that earns a politician respect.

As I mentioned previously, Democrats love the issue for the campaign trail. It’s great at conventions and the use of the issue can be left to those officeholders and candidates who can get the most use out of it–or the least use if it may cost them re-election.

The problem with that is that, once elected, the Democrats don’t even put up a fight. And those that want to fight are scoffed at by leadership (Pelosi and Schumer) who have other priorities, such as keeping things like the DREAM Act a campaign issue. In other words, even if the Dems gain a majority in both chambers again, my confidence in them doing something on this and the entire issue is still weak.

Perhaps they worry about Republicans taking credit for the issue while they are the majority. Hell, I wouldn’t worry. All the “bipartisan” talk has been just talk for Republicans. Dems give them too much credit. And for the vast majority of them, it will always be talk. They’re bigoted. They’re hateful. And their quiet “moderates” who fail to fight back are just as guilty of allowing the hate and bigotry. So, why not fight back when we’re down?

Seven DREAMers and allies protested at Schumer’s office last week. They all ended up in jail. And most are still in jail and soon at risk of deportation. They’re willing to put their lives on the line. No one seems to care, though. I’m pretty sure Democrats will blame them for fighting back and messing with their negotiations. Ain’t it always the way?

Yes, I’m cynical.