Tag Archives: refugees

Exclusive: DC Responds to POTUS Immigration Speech

My initial reaction.

Really?

Update on Refugee Situation and Opportunities

LUPE, the Rio Grande Valley group who called for a Facebook bomb of Wendy Davis’ FB page, has pulled its call after a letter from Davis to President Barack Obama was released.

In the letter was a call by Davis for the Obama administration to provide more attorneys guardian ad litem to ensure fair legal representation of the refugee children while they go through the process.

“First, by [the administration] providing a sufficient number of immigration judges and attorneys guardian ad litem for unaccompanied minor children immediately. This will assure a sufficient number of judges and ad litems so that adults and children processed by the border patrol will receive an immediate and fair hearing on their immigration requests and, where appropriate, be repatriated to their native country.”

This is different than the letter she sent to Rick Perry, which called on him to ask Obama for more immigration judges to expedite proceedings, but not ad litems. According to LUPE, they believe legal representation will at least provide the children a fighting chance to win their asylum/refugee cases, rather than get swept up by a punitive mass deportation program. This seems to have been enough for LUPE to end its Facebook bomb request. Other activists are still on a holding pattern as to what is next. My opinion is that this is a long process in a challenging system in which there are few winners, and is clogged by delays that even doubling the amount of immigration judges will not relieve. Immediate needs must be addressed.

Davis also explains her request to Rick Perry to call a state of emergency and special session to discuss the humanitarian needs  of refugees provided by local first-responders and charities. Perry has already stated that allocating the money without a session to law enforcement is enough, which means he has no desire to respond to humanitarian needs of the refugees.

Finally, Davis calls on the Obama administration to reimburse state and local governments for all expenses incurred during this crisis. We all know this is easier requested than actually obtained, considering the Republicans Congress would rather lay blame on policies such as Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, than actually attempt to come up with and pay for a sensible solution that doesn’t require armed militias and border walls.

That said, this is an ongoing crisis that requires immediate assistance for relief of overcrowded facilities, health risks within these facilities, and developing alternatives to detention that will lessen the burden and cost of warehousing these refugees. Long-term solutions, though, will continue to be a challenge as long as President Obama and Congress continue their political games on immigration reform and deportations that do little to include challenges such as refugee crises. Considering we have known of these refugees since at least 2006, it can be said that ignoring the problem began with George W. Bush in office, if one wants to go on playing games.

In the political sense, Wendy Davis has an opportunity to go above the current conversation and help craft a strong Texas-Latin America policy campaign plank that could serve as a model for the nation that concentrates on improving conditions on both sides of the border–economically and socially–given our economic power and diversity as a state, without the need for punitive, enforcement-only notions. Obviously, the alternative in Abbott-Patrick is not only bad, but a threat to the future of Texas and relations with Latin America.

As has been stated previously, State Senator Wendy Davis has been a defender of the Texas DREAM Act, which allows for in-state tuition for children of immigrants who have been in the state for a certain amount of time. Signed into law by Rick Perry, this can hardly be blamed on President Obama. Davis has also supported a call for comprehensive immigration reform. Abbott-Patrick are obviously more interested in blame games and right-wing rhetoric. Refugee situations, though, have hardly ever been addressed by state governments.

Texas is in need of cooler heads that don’t cause panic; while panic is all the Republicans are interested in causing. Obviously, the refugee/asylum system is not part of a governor’s job description, but our state elected officials must be proactive in addressing these situations toward a positive end for all involved, rather than play politics. That’s the bigger challenge, and if we follow the words of Bishop Doyle, we should come out just fine.

History instead will note how Texas took care of the children that came to her. History may yet tell a tale about how we were made stronger by facing our crisis courageously instead of casting blame for political gain. History may tell how innovative Texans resolved to ensure the health and safety of all those who sought her aid while increasing the economic success of their society. It is my hope that history will tell future generations about how this generation remembered the Texas motto of friendship.

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy Davis Called Out on Deportations and DPS Support

Wendy Davis has been called out for supporting Rick Perry’s idiotic and costly DPS trooper build-up on the border and for her own call for more immigration judges and continued detention of refugee children.

One of the largest and most influential activist groups in the Rio Grande Valley, LUPE, has taken to the internet calling for a Facebook bomb of Wendy Davis’ FB account asking supporters to steer her in the right direction on the issue of the refugee kids being warehoused until deported.

As I pointed out, Wendy Davis basically tried to split the difference by supporting the DPS build-up and calling for a special session to concentrate on the human factor. Reading deeper into the letter sent to Rick Perry (as I and all Davis supporters should have), she also called for more immigration judges to basically speed up deportations of these refugee children. Furthermore, the letter states in plain English that these children should be kept in these human warehouses:

(In the context of more immigration judges to deport refugees:  “…I believe that this is the best approach, rather than releasing these individuals and their families at the local bus stop with a hearing set several months in the future.”

There is already a backlog of going on 400,000 cases in the 59 different immigration courts across the country with an average wait of almost 600 days. Keeping a child locked up in a freezing warehouse for two years is just plain inhumane.

So how bad are the waits? Over the years, U.S. has ramped up its spending on immigration enforcementoverall, a 300 percent increase since 2002. Meanwhile, the budget for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (which oversees the courts) grew only 70 percent. A Washington Post profile of one immigration judge showed he had less than 7 minutes to decide each case, no matter the complexity of the law.

Should Davis even be venturing into the federal immigration court process by calling for more judges for the purpose of deporting the refugee children given this fact? Either there is a lack of understanding of an issue that has been allowed to fester for years, or this is just another case of politicians playing politics.

There are a lot of influential, yet disappointed, Latin@s and other progressive/liberal activists right now. This is not an issue on which to play politics. Lives are actually at stake if some of these refugees are returned to their home countries. And pissing off a constituency with very vocal activists is never good for Republicans, and even worse so for Democrats.

Given Hillary Clinton’s recent hardline comments, the Obama administrations tanking numbers on immigration reform, and the Republicans continued blame game of everyone but themselves, we are in dire need of sensible leadership on immigration and Latin American affairs.