Category Archives: Sensible Immigration Reform

Texas Republicans File Hateful Sanctuary Cities Bill

nomexHateful Texas House Republicans emboldened by Trump and his bigoted ilk have filed a bill that would cut state funding to so-called sanctuary cities. And their grand wizard, Dan Patrick, has made SB4 a priority.

The legislation by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, seeks to short circuit “sanctuary city” policies that prohibit or discourage police, jail personnel, prosecutors and other officials from inquiring into the immigration status of anybody who has been arrested or detained.

“By electing a Republican president and Republican majorities in Congress, the American people made it clear that solving our illegal immigration crisis must be a priority,” Perry said in a statement. “That starts by eliminating sanctuary cities, securing our border and enforcing the immigration laws we currently have on the books.”

Apparently, they didn’t notice that Texas counties like Harris got rid of an anti-immigrant Sheriff and DA. And they haven’t noticed that the border billions they have spent these last two sessions have been a complete failure and waste. The target is obvious.

Federalizing local police and jails is the first step to allowing racial profiling to run amok, while increasing waste in jail spending. Incoming Sheriff Ed Gonzalez ran on a campaign to rid Harris County jail of programs like 287g, which basically puts local resources into the immigration money game. 287g and Secure Communities have been terribly flawed deportation programs which have destroyed families and affected local economies.

No, it’s not surprising that this bill came up, again. What we should be ready for is racist rhetoric and activity that will surely be thrown at the Latino and immigrant community. And there will be no one to blame but the Republican Party (and any Democrat who happens to support it). Don’t be fooled by the “security” rhetoric. Trump and the Republicans are making it obvious who it is they are targeting–Brown people.

Safety Pins, Obama, and Immigration Realities

uglyIn this day and age of Trump, it seems there are a whole bunch of groups in need of allies. Fortunately for some of the other groups, they found an ally in President Obama. When it came to immigration, though, not so much.

2.5 million deportations later, and more action happening against unaccompanied children and families escaping violence from Central America, it seems the Obama administration goes merrily along with its removal policies. If anything, they also go along with Latin American policies which have destabilized governments to the south for decades and have been the reason for much of the migration to the US.

Of course, during the last eight years, our safety pin allies have been all for these policies, since I didn’t see any safety pins during President Obama’s two terms. Sure, there was the usual support for immigration reform with no definition of it. There was support for measures such as executive orders on DACA and DAPA, but it seemed it was only as things got closer to the political season, and only after immigration reform activists (DREAMers) forced President Obama’s hand after he stated he couldn’t do executive orders “legally.” Even so, criticism of President Obama was met with anger from liberals. Even on this issue, it appeared he could do no wrong.

And before an apologist lies and says “millions” got DACAmented, the reality is that it’s only 728,000. Not much of a fair trade between (flimsy and temporary) papers and deportations, right? That’s if you think political human trading is fair.

Yes, it was a roller coaster coaster ride during these two terms. Lost opportunities and priorities between 2009 and 2010 after the President’s “term one, year one” promise. A DREAM Act that went down in flames because of 5 Democrats voting Nay. As a hand-out to Republicans, President Obama offered 2.5 million souls to deport as a means of looking tough on the issue. Private prisons made billions. And anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment remained on a slow boil. Obviously, it didn’t work. Playing politics with human beings just doesn’t work out and it only emboldens the other side. And, the other side won.

Even still, we’re finding that Latino political participation probably increased in 2016. Surely, there were a lot more new voters because of increased voter registration efforts. And despite one exit poll that stated differently, Latinos supported the Democratic candidate with 80% of the vote. Desperation? Going along to survive? For sure, defending against something worse (Trump and his ilk). No doubt, some of us were flying blind trying to stop Trump.

And, now, we’ve got Trump. Needless to say, I’ve seen lots of friends and acquaintances and others who were apologists for President Obama now worried about the immigrants. And that’s fine. We need to worry. But we also need to act. We’ve needed to act for a long time, now.

All the immigration double-talk from Trump since election day, I’m sure, is confusing. We’ve gone from a “yuge” wall to a wall in certain places (Clinton actually voted for this type of “wall” plan as a Senator); we’ve gone from “mass deportation of 11 million” to deportation of 3 million “criminals”–and we still need to define “criminal,” because even the Obama administration has deported people with low-grade non-deportable crimes or no crimes at all because of 287g and Secure Communities. I’m sure it will confuse the best allies.

Will it get worse under Trump? Obviously, many think so given 100,000 already marching in Los Angeles and thousands more around the country. Liberals and other Democrats need to stop their wincing and let the protests happen. It’s the only way to gain momentum to take on what may come after January 20. Unlike President Obama, I’m pretty sure immigration is at the top of Trump’s agenda. And we need to support organizations who will take on this issue head-on–especially those combating legislation at the Capitol or in the courts, and especially in the media.

For all the allies out there, if I sound annoyed or frustrated with you, well, it’s because I am. Yet, I still appreciate you because we’ve united on so much, too. Politically, the Democratic Party and its elected officials will not be successful without full-throated support of the immigrant community, and by extention, the overall Latino community, which has been the biggest target. For decades, we’ve had the largest police force hunting us, and for decades, we’ve been the easiest political target for both political parties. It takes people to change this. So, if you’re really an ally, join the struggle. And stick with it, even if it might offend the establishment on our side of the aisle.

 

 

Obama To Launch Immigration Raids

MEXICO-US-MIGRATION-PROTEST

That’s right. The Obama administration is about to launch raids on undocumented Central Americans because 2.5 million deportees have not been enough.

U.S. immigration officials are planning a month-long series of raids in May and June to deport hundreds of Central American mothers and children found to have entered the country illegally, according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters.

The operation would likely be the largest deportation sweep targeting immigrant families by the administration of President Barack Obama this year after a similar drive over two days in January that focused on Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina.

After calling to step-up deportations of Central American children in 2014, Hillary Clinton has somehow seen the light (the political light) and changed course on the issue. Democrat Bernie Sanders has been consistently for a halt to mass deportations.

Specifically, the raids and deportations target the same people Clinton wanted to originally capture and deport to violent homelands that these kids and mothers were escaping.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has now told field offices nationwide to launch a 30-day “surge” of arrests focused on mothers and children who have already been told to leave the United States, the document seen by Reuters said. The operation would also cover minors who have entered the country without a guardian and since turned 18 years of age, the document said. Two sources confirmed the details of the plan.

I can’t for the life of me think of any good reason for Obama to do this, other than to solidify a legacy of horror. Yeah, I said it. Millions deported, hundreds of thousands warehoused in private prisons around the country, which even recently have been in the news for sexual and physical abuse of children. It is ridiculous that this occurs while local politicians use human trafficking as a “get tough” issue. With more children and mothers being picked up and jailed, should we expect more horror stories of abuse?

As voters who support Clinton show some odd excitement because they seem to think some Republicans will support Clinton over Trump, and it’s been in the news that Clinton has committed to selling her political wares to these Republicans, the timing of these raids makes me question pretty much everything–more than usual. Because we know how Obama’s deportation programs brought in GOPers to effect immigration reform, right? Or how Democrats moving to the right on immigration since 2006 have attracted so many crossover votes and big wins, right?

Thank goodness Bernie Sanders will remain in the race until the convention. Bottom line, his supporters need to be visible and vocal at the convention, especially on immigration and deportation reform. I would hope Clinton joins in on saving the immigration reform plank from those who feel they can attract Republicans in November.

 

 

Clinton Changes Mind, Obama Deportations Were Harsh

Hillary-Send-Them-Back-ClintonAfter defending Obama’s deportation policies for so long, Hillary Clinton has conveniently admitted that they were actually harsh. Clinton stated the reason for Obama’s hardheadedness:

“The deportation laws were interpreted and enforced, you know, very aggressively during the last six and a half years, which I think his administration did in part to try to get Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform,” she said. “That strategy is no longer workable. So therefore I think we have to go back to being a much less harsh and aggressive enforcer.”

Some of us have argued from Day 1 that it was never workable and that there was a better chance of getting Latinos engaged on the issue if we went for broke on the issue–fighting for the best reform possible. Instead, we have theatrical gridlock, a pissed off Latino electorate, and, unfortunately, the same politicians vying for the Latino vote.

Sure, the Republinuts will pounce on this as a flip-flop (I call it primary politics), but that means they’d have to defend Obama’s 2,000,000 deportations, right? No doubt, Republicans are the worse, but it’s about time Democrats were better than usual, don’t you think?

It seems too many people on both sides of the aisle want to have it both and all ways. Some Dems want the Latino vote, while Republicans want a cheap Latino workforce. Either way, Latinos get kicked around and the issue gets kicked into the future, as always.

And just a reminder, there wasn’t much mention of Central American children escaping violence and poverty whom Clinton wants to deport without due process.

The Jorge Ramos Thing

Ramos Crosses the Borderline

Talk about shock value!

Jorge Ramos did the unthinkable at a press conference:  He started asking questions without being recognized by the guy giving the press conference, thus, pushing the level of Trump assholability to all new highs. “Go back to Univision,” gave many of us flashbacks of being told by bigots to “Go back to Mexico.”

The shocker was that Trump had security escort Ramos out the door as Ramos became relentless and just wouldn’t wait his turn–if a turn was even going to happen. But I think the whole affair lost its shock-value when Ramos was let back in and allowed to ask all the questions he wanted only to get the same ol’ Trump answers. While Trump may have ultimately gotten his way, he went the route of pissing off an entire group of people…again!

For Latinos, mistreating a media icon like Jorge Ramos was the ultimate insult. Some think of Ramos as the “Latino Walter Kronkite,” while others think of him as just a good news-man who does what he does to get to some truths that people may not want to hear. Right-wing politicians (and perhaps President Obama at various points of his career) have probably thought of Ramos as annoyingly relentless, especially on the topic of immigration reform.

Three-quarters of Latinos are not supporting Trump, while a few self-haters love the guy. Ramos attempting more “gotcha” moments will probably not change those few mindless Latinos. But it made for great social media political drama.

For me, what bothered me the most was Trump’s ability to sound like his white supremacist supporters– “Go back…”

 

 

 

Poll: 25% of Latinos Are Clueless, Self-Hating Trump Supporters?

trumpinata

Credit: Lalo Alcaraz/GoComics

While the media is selling the latest poll of Latino thoughts on Donald Trump as “75% having a negative view.” I’m pretty concerned about a quarter of those polled being accepting of Trump’s message; not surprised, but concerned, as they could easily accept the usual GOP message on Latinos and immigrants. Given recent elections, they probably have accepted the GOP message.

More specifically, the poll found the following:

Asked to assess that comment (about immigrants being rapists and drug dealers), 55 percent of Latinos said that the remarks were “insulting and racist and have no place in a campaign for president.”

Another 29 percent said that “Trump should have been more careful with the language he used, but he is raising an important issue.” Fourteen percent said that “Trump had the guts to say exactly what was on his mind about an important problem we need to deal with.”

A huge majority also found that Trump is hurting the GOP’s image. I would ask, “More than usual?” Let’s face it, the GOP has a “nice” way of insulting Latinos and immigrants, which probably coincides with the 29% who felt Trump should have said it differently. Be nice, but we still won’t vote for you, might be the message.

Frankly, what the poll found is not surprising. That Democrats, throughout this Trump media frenzy, have simply pointed and blamed on the issue is disappointing. This is an opportunity to lead on immigration reform, deportation reform, and immigrant warehousing (detention)–and that goes for Bernie, too–along with the rest of the issues in which Latinos poll strongly progressive. Whether Dems will wake up to this is still yet to be seen, so, here’s another opportunity.

10 Mothers Lodge Complaint Against DHS Family Detention Centers

Credit: DMN

It is time to #endfamilydetention. Although a judge has condemned the deplorable conditions at these privately-run prisons and has called for the release of these families within the next ninety days, the Obama administration will more than likely appeal the decision and continue FDR’s tradition of warehousing immigrants.

Here’s the press release from American Immigration Council on the complaint.

From the Inbox:

Deplorable Medical Treatment at Family Detention Centers
Mothers Lodge Complaint with DHS Offices for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Inspector General

July 30, 2015

Washington, DC — Today, ten mothers came forward to lodge formal complaints about the substandard medical care they and their children received while detained by the Department of Homeland of Security (DHS). The complaints describe the severe suffering families have endured due to poor access to and quality of care, and questionable medical ethics. These ten complaints are representative of the regular failures of DHS to provide adequate medical care for mothers and children in family detention facilities, and they add to the already ample evidence demonstrating why family detention must end.

The deplorable medical treatment described in the complaints include:

  • Wait times of up to 14 hours, in the direct sun, in order to be seen by medical staff;
  • A mother with two broken fingers denied medical care and advised to “drink more water”;
  • A mother with breast cancer repeatedly denied care despite suffering severe symptoms and weight loss;
  • More than 250 children given adult doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine;
  • Children left in the care of guards, sometimes for days at a time, when women are transferred off-site for emergency or specialized medical care;
  • Administration of intravenous fluids through a bent needle;
  • A five-year old repeatedly transferred off-site for medical care only to have on-site medical professionals later refuse to issue prescribed medication;
  • A family denied food and placed under enough stress to prompt a suicide attempt;
  • A child who was vomiting blood told only to drink water and not referred to external medical care until three days later.

The majority of the mothers with medical complaints have attempted to seek medical care on more than one occasion, only to find themselves waiting endlessly, sometimes in dangerously hot conditions in the extreme heat and sun common to southern Texas. In at least one instance, a woman who had to leave the medical line after waiting for hours was forced to sign a letter stating she refused medical care. Some mothers reported that their children had adverse reactions to their vaccinations, including temporary paralysis, vomiting, and high fevers.

One woman described her medical experience in Dilley saying, “Simply, they don’t care. What is more important for them is control. These are delicate situations when someone is sick and vulnerable. They just care about control. I thought I came to this country to escape abuse, mistreatment and disrespect. But it’s the same here.”

The complaints were submitted to the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) on behalf of the women by the American Immigration Council (“Council”), American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”), Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (“CLINIC”), Immigrant Justice Corps, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (“RAICES”), and the Women’s Refugee Commission (“WRC”).

These six organizations urge both CRCL and OIG to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation into these examples immediately and to take swift action to fully address the systemic problems highlighted by these cases. Advocates have heard from women about many more medical care problems, including 74 additional instances at the facility in Dilley, Texas alone, since June 2015. The medical abuses highlight the urgent need to #EndFamilyDetention.

Obama’s Newest Deportation Program Slammed by Civil Rights Groups

Many of us have been waiting for the first assessments of President Obama’s “Priority Enforcement Program.” Would it be an actual new program, or just a re-branding of Secure Communities? I’ll let this press release  from the National Day Labor Organizing Network explain:

Civil Rights Organizations Slam DHS’ Latest Deportation Program; Call on DHS to Discontinue Use of Unlawful Detention Requests

Replacement for Discredited “Secure Communities” Program Suffers From Serious Legal Flaws that Expose DHS and Cooperating Law Enforcement Agencies to Liability

Wednesday, June 16, 2015—In response to new details released on Friday about DHS’s “Priority Enforcement Program” (PEP), prominent civil and immigrants’ rights organizations today delivered a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) calling for an end to detention (“detainer”) and notification requests. The letter asserts that PEP—created as a replacement for the controversial Secure Communities program— suffers from many of the same legal problems that contributed to the agency’s decision to end the Secure Communities. As a result, local law enforcement agencies that choose to participate may face liability.

In the letter, the organizations call on DHS to discontinue the use of “immigration detainers,” which ask local law enforcement agencies to detain individuals in their custody after their authority to hold them expires. After a series of federal court decisions last year holding that immigration detainers fail to comply with the Fourth Amendment, hundreds of local law enforcement agencies across the country adopted policies prohibiting compliance with immigration detainers absent a judicial warrant or judicial determination of probable cause. DHS still does not provide a judicial determination of probable cause either before or after issuing an immigration detainer, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Jessica Karp Bansal, NDLON Litigation Director, said, “When DHS first announced PEP back in November, it acknowledged the need for reform in light of federal court decisions holding that immigration detainers do not provide a lawful basis to detain a person. So we were surprised to learn that DHS plans to continue issuing detainers through PEP that don’t comport with constitutional requirements. PEP creates a trap for unwary local law enforcement agencies, which will be subject to legal liability should they choose to participate.”

In addition to legal concerns, the letter also criticizes PEP as contravening the recent recommendation from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing to “decouple” federal immigration enforcement from local policing.

Said Salvador Sarmiento, NDLON Legislative Director, “PEP is completely out of step with the national conversation on the need for policing and criminal justice reform. We question why DHS is continuing to entangle local police in immigration enforcement when the President’s own Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended against doing so. The result will be the same kind of deterioration of police-community trust that we saw with Secure Communities.”

DHS responded to the widespread criticism of the Secure Communities program in November with plans to discontinue it; however, ICE’s new PEP forms and informational material, released last Friday, suggest PEP is little more than a re-branding of the same flawed product.

The letter and more info on PEP available at: www.ndlon.org/en/pressroom/press-releases/item/1148-release-civil-rts-groups-slam-latest-dhs-deportation-program-demand-dhs-discontinue-unlawful-detention-requests

More Border Surge Realities

ef6ca-shrp2Lisa Falkenberg at the Chron offered up even more strong evidence regarding the lack of a need for Rick Perry’s Border Surge. Long story short:  The image provided by Rick Perry and other politicians about violence on the border doesn’t match up to crime stats.

The statistics also inject hard numbers into a debate that has been raging since a spike in unaccompanied children crossing the border captivated public attention last spring. The spike started subsiding before the surge and continued to trend downward, leading Republicans and Democrats to argue about the role the extra troops played.

Republicans also have said the surge was needed to combat crime brought by foreign gangs and drugs, while Democrats have questioned the value of the more than $100 million price tag for a region they described as safe.

State officials have largely used anecdotes to illustrate how the surge has succeeded in combating organized crime. A classified report to lawmakers obtained by the Chronicle in February listed examples of encounters with cartel members, immigrant “stash houses” and more, but it lacked detailed data.

The numbers DPS has released have mixed state efforts with federal and local law enforcement and concerned illegal immigrant apprehensions, drug seizures and interactions with gang members, which do not speak to overall crime rates.

Surely, the waste of tax dollars at the hands of Republicans should speak volumes as to future political implications, whether they affect Rick Perry’s presidential bid, or the future of Abbott, Patrick, and the rest of these alarmist Republicans who will blame immigrants for just about any problem caused by Republicans. Unfortunately, when top-of-the-ballot Democrats attempt (miserably) to co-opt the issue for their own political gain, it’s hard to participate in the usual point-and-blame game Dems usually play against Republicans.

Of course, there are those Dems who seem to do it correctly.

“DPS has been unwilling to release this information, and now we know why,” said state Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston. “These numbers show that what our Republican leaders have been telling us has not been true.”

Of course, we need solutions; in this case, to stop the waste of our tax dollars on political war games that make for great campaign photo ops. Unfortunately, that takes ejecting the current people in positions of power. It is said that voting matters, but it takes strong, progressive-minded politicians who are willing to fight for what is right to earn those votes.

Obama Talks Tequila, Immigration; Clinton Talks GOPs 2nd Class Status Position

Well, my friends at Latino Rebels are none too happy about the Cinco de Mayo shindig thrown by El Prez at the Casa Blanca today. They went so far as calling it Cinco de Fallo.

After celebrating Mexicans and Mexican Americans, President Obama made the usual call for comprehensive immigration reform–which version, it is not known. Within 5 minutes and change, he mentioned Tequila five times.

Wait, 5 minutes, 5 tequilas, 5 de Mayo–I see a pattern! That speechwriter is a genius! [snark]

Anyway, moving on.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is being credited with an aggressive speech on immigration reform. What I heard was the usual call for comprehensive immigration reform which includes a path to citizenship. So, the usual.

What may be the aggressive part was Clinton making a distinction between what she and Democrats want (citizenship) and what Republicans want (legal status).

“Now this is where I differ with everybody on the Republican side,” she said. “Make no mistakes. Today not a single Republican candidate – announced or potential – is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship. Not one.”

“When they talk about ‘legal status’ that is code for second-class status,” she added.

She added that her time as Secretary of State showed her the difference of countries that include “second-class status.”

“They never feel they belong or have allegiance…that is a recipe for divisiveness and even disintegration… we are a nation of immigrants,” she said. “Those who say, we can do reform but not a path to citizenship, would be fundamentally undermining what has made American unique… not just in my view the right thing to do for America, if you compare us to other countries.”

And while she said she was unsure if it would be among her first moves if elected president, she did say it would be a priority.

And that’s probably the smartest political move she can make–no promises of first term/first year action like the aforementioned current Prez. But with Obama’s executive actions in place (hopefully) that would be a starting point that includes some deportation relief.

Clinton also seemed to deviate from her position from last summer about warehousing and deporting little kids. Maybe.

“I don’t think we should put children and vulnerable people into the detention facilities because I think they are at risk—their physical and mental health are at risk,” she said.

I don’t know if that means immediate deportation or what. Or if kids get to stay with moms and families outside of prison walls. We shall see how this develops.

Obviously, the issue is very complex and working with Republicans who offer a “status” that some may be willing to accept in order to avoid a prison cell and a bus ride to the border (even if it is second class status) will make the debate a lot more interesting–or, the same old debate.

And that’s today’s immigration news.