Tag Archives: DREAM Act

Garcia to Abbott: Clarify Your Stance On Texas DREAM Act

One of my favorite State Senators, Sylvia Garcia of SD6, challenged gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott today on his stance on the Texas DREAM Act. The law allows children of immigrants who meet certain residency requirements to go to Texas colleges and universities at the In-State tuition rate.

In anticipation of Greg Abbott’s campaign stop in Houston tomorrow, State Senator Sylvia Garcia asked Greg Abbott to clarify his positions on the Texas DREAM Act. When first pressed on the issue of the Texas DREAM Act, Greg Abbott said he did not have time to answer the question. Abbott later said the law was “flawed,” “needed to be reformed” and that it should be “fixed.”

“Greg Abbott can’t have it both ways. The Texas DREAM Act has allowed many kids in our communities to become the first in their family to go to college,” said Texas State Senator Sylvia Garcia. “I’m astounded that a candidate for Governor would campaign on the fact that he’s trying to decrease opportunities for young Texans. He can’t use our community just for photo-ops.”

When Abbott campaigned in San Antonio last week, U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro asked for clarification as well. “The Texas DREAM Act has allowed thousands of students to contribute to our community and state,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro. “Greg Abbott’s reckless proposals to undercut educational opportunities for Texas students would take our state backwards.”

Abbott is trying to be as right as possible while trying to be friendly to Latinos, which never works. He’s trying to “fix” something that isn’t broken, that works fairly well, and that expands opportunities, rather than decrease them (as Abbott seems to enjoy doing on a whole list of issues).

I remember the good ol’ days when right-winger Rick Perry signed the law, no questions asked. How did this law suddenly become a piñata for Republicans?

Kudos to the Senator!



One-Year of DACA

Last week, I had the honor of speaking to one of my favorite Democratic clubs, the Kingwood Area Democrats. While the Democratic/National Latino Organization narrative has been one of support for Senate Bill 744 (which sits idle in the U.S. House), the Republican narrative has been the same old negative vitriol.

The dissonance can be frustrating for those who truly support immigration reform. In the case of my visit to KAD, I chose to offer a little truth about Senate Bill 744–that not only is it not a perfect bill, as President Obama has told us, but it is quite imperfect. My colleague Rey Guerra also writes about this, and we look forward to posting the second part of his series on S.744.

No doubt, the one bright spot in the last couple of years has been Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order for DHS to defer the deportation proceedings of undocumented children. Some of these kids may otherwise qualify for a future DREAM type act. Unfortunately, Republicans have called it a “back-door Amnesty,” which it is not. And Democrats have compared it to the DREAM Act, which it definitely is not. (The Kingwood article in which I am quoted state DREAM Act, but I actually was talking about DACA in that instance).

All DACA does is bring these undocumented children out of the shadows, allowing them a work permit or the opportunity to continue their studies without fear of deportation for a two-year period. It is not a cure, it is not an amnesty,  it does not include any type of family reunification (the foundation of immigration in the US), and, there is one big problem.

The problem is that it is quite political in that many of those who were applying last year were literally praying for an Obama victory because there was no promise from Romney to continue the program. If anything Romney was non-committal and caught with his pants down with his whole “self deportation” scheme. And if immigration reform does not happen, what then? Pray for Hillary Clinton victory so that these kids can remain in limbo?

The result has been over half-a-million applicants for DACA, with over 70% of them having been approved. Only 1 percent have been denied for various reasons. The Brookings Institute provides some facts on DACA. Back to the political aspect of this, there are well over 800,000 children who may be DREAM-eligible, so that means a few hundred thousand have not applied for DACA, perhaps because of financial restraints or a preference for a more permanent plan like the actual DREAM Act.

What this proves is that an effective process of providing the 11 million undocumented a path out of the shadows toward legalization and ultimately citizenship is administratively possible. It would be a given with a better investment into the legal immigration system.

Instead, s.744 forces folks to the back of a line that doesn’t move, thus leaving people in a second class status. As I’ve stated before, it is currently a back of a line that does not move, and there isn’t much political determination to truly improve the infrastructure that would allow the line to start moving at a faster pace.

As my sister, Toni Medellin, states in her presentation, there are those in the “legal” immigration system being processed for a green card who applied back in 1992. This is not a working system; if anything, it is archaic and quite broken.

So, while many celebrate DACA and a temporary deferral of deportation proceedings, we must keep in mind that the bigger system under President Obama has already deported over 1.7 million immigrants. And this Congressional recess has around 40,000 more immigrants scheduled for deportation.

Let’s just contemplate that while we continue to break apart S.744. Because we are still of the opinion that America can do much better than what is being offered.



Thoughts on Viernes…02082013

Anchia, Coleman Push to Repeal Gay Marriage Ban

Read the report from K-T at BOR. Some will say, “It’s about time!” I’ll say, it’s always been time! It’s just that a majority of Texans were a bit dumb in 2005 when they voted to basically limit a group of people’s civil rights. When a state that loves to boast about its freedoms  takes basic rights from people, well, that state really loses a right to any claims. If it’s time for anything, it is time to remove the ban on same-sex marriages.

Polls show Texans have changed over the last seven or eight years, so, perhaps an election to get rid of the ban will do the trick. The thing is, it still needs to get through the Lege, which is still as right-wing as 2005, at times. This is still something worth fighting for.

DREAM Act as Momentum Builder?

Congress Members Luis Gutierrez, Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Ileano Ros-Lehtinen are set to re-introduce the DREAM Act as a stand-alone bill.

“This isn’t a substitute or a fall-back for [comprehensive immigration reform],” Lee said in an email. “The members are still strongly committed to passing a broad reform package. The strategy in introducing it now is to build on the momentum that already exists for immigration reform and to highlight the impact of our broken immigration system on the Dreamers and their families.”

Others, like Xavier Becerra, prefer to stay the course on CIR that includes DREAM. Frankly, it’s the DREAMers who have worked hardest on this effort, and if this builds momentum toward a broader CIR, then great. But I tend to think that Republicans will drop CIR and go back to their usual divisive ways for 2014 if DREAM-only is delivered to the President’s desk.

It’s one of those damned if you do/don’t moments. And as a friend of mine stated, it may just be about taking the “higher road of the real” given all the “new” debate on CIR that sounds like 2006.

Arizona Racially Profiles Tejano Music Legend

Yeah, my friend, Tejano Music legend and unapologetic Barack Obama supporter, Johnny Hernandez was racially profiled by Arizona highway patrol recently, and let me tell you, he’s pissed not happy! And with every reason in the world, too! When stopped, along with fellow recording artist, Valentina Estrada, the trooper stated it was “a routine check.” I guess since he routinely looks like a Mexican American, it’s ok, then? HELL NO!

Always a musician-activist since his days with his brother, Little Joe y La Familia, he’s no stranger to being involved. We have not heard the last of this legend, I’m sure. And he definitely has the support and back-up of DosCentavos.

FYI:  He’s putting the finishing touches to a new CD and it should be out soon. Stay tuned for a review right here!

Music Break – Arjona and Intocable – Mojado – EMI Latin