Originally published in Politic365 on May 23, 2013.
Republicans and Democrats are pursuing Latino voters in Texas, but perhaps one of the most vivid illustrations of their different approaches is the way members of each party are creating education policy.
The majority of Texas students are Latino, the future of the state depends on Latinos, and yet Republicans in the state veered toward Arizona-style educational laws earlier this year. About the same time, Democrat and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro — who has made education a priority in his city on several occasions — was re-elected to his third term as mayor earlier this month.
For Castro, education is not just important — it’s fundamental. “I see it as the legacy of a city that will be the most prosperous brainpower city in the nation,” he told Politic365.
The contrasts between Republicans and Democrats on education in Texas are pretty stark.
Originally published in Politic365 on May 21, 2013.
The Senate Judiciary Committee continued the markup process of the immigration reform bill Monday, considering among other things domestic violence victims, financial aid for DREAMers, whether the Boston bombingheld any weight over student visa provisions, biometric security at airports, and whether to add more high tech visas to the bill.
Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono, a Democrat, proposed a measure that would provide DREAMers “granted registered provisional immigrant or blue card status” federal financial aid assistance. Also when it came to students, Republican senators took aim at student visas in the name of the Boston bombing and a more complete investigation; it was ultimately not approved.
In particular Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who co-sponsored the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, was perturbed, and his spokesman issued a statement:
“Congress should be provided with a thorough investigation of the bombing before we make any changes to our asylum provisions or our student visa system because the lessons we will learn from an investigation will allow us to identify and correct the flaws in the current system that exposed us to this attack.”
Originally published in Politic365 on May 9, 2013.
In a recently released video from an American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation analyst Jason Richwine asserts that Latinos, as well as Native Americans, and blacks have demonstrated that they are incapable of “assimilating” and adjusting their IQs to be on par with whites, Jews and Asians.
The video is here and his comments begin around minute 1…
Originally published in Politic365 on May 8, 2013.
Senators piled on more than 300 amendments to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013Tuesday after a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting. Ranging from LGBT rights for immigrants to biometric data to employment for foreign tech workers, the bombardment of amendments threatens to unravel the carefully crafted bipartisan legislation that the Gang of 8 put together.
The tech industry, predictably, has been benefitting from the proposed changes. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch proposed a measure that would allow tech companies to hire overseas workers before having to offer Americans the jobs. Hatch is also advocating for tech in another way, by arguing for biometric as opposed to biographic data, to be used in tracking foreigners leaving the country. He’s proposed an amendment requiring the Department of Homeland Security to use biometric data to track departing foreigners int he U.S., which could cost between $3.1 and $6.4 billion.
Sponsorship for foreign-born same-sex partners is an amendment introduced by, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, prompting Republican Senator Marco Rubio to say such an amendment could “sink” the immigration bill entirely.
Originally published in Politic365 on May 3, 2013.
Self deportation, anchor babies, catch and release, illegal — these are not the words you expect to hear from the mouth of an immigration reform advocate, but they are examples of some of the type of language used by Wisconsin Congressmen Paul Ryan as he remakes himself as a pro-immigrant Republican.
Earlier this week at a town hall meeting in Burlington, Wisconsin Ryanexplained to his constituents that the children of immigrants are “anchor babies,” because they are U.S. citizens. He made these comments whileframing the issue of immigration reform of the best way to deny immigrants benefits before they become citizens.
Previously Ryan, who recently teamed up with Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez-D, who has made immigration the centerpiece of his career,supported a “self-deportation” policy as a vice presidential candidate in the 2012 election. Just a few days ago, by Gutierrez’s side, Ryan called noted the need for reform because, “We have a broken immigration system and, if anything, what we see in Boston is that we have to fix and modernize our immigration system.”
He also previously referred to “catch and release” tactics when referring to immigrants, outraging some of his constituents at the language often used to describe fish.
Originally published in Politic365 on May 2, 2013.
While blacks and Latinos lost wealth and retirement assets during the recession, whites actually saw an increase in these assets, according to a report form The Urban Institute called, “Less Than Equal: Racial Disparities in Wealth Accumulation.”
Latinos were the hardest hit when it comes to wealth, according to the report.
The report notes that, although income is a component of wealth, the concept of wealth extends beyond income and into things like assets, such as savings or a home, for example.
“There is extraordinary wealth inequality between the races,” the report reads before digging into data that illustrates this phenomenon. Specifically:
“In 2010, whites on average had six times the wealth of blacks and Hispanics. So for every $6.00 whites had in wealth, blacks and Hispanics had $1.00 (or average wealth of $632,000 versus $103,000).”
Originally published in Politic365 on Apri 25, 2013.
Although an immigration reform proposal has been introduced into the U.S. Senate, deportations of immigrants who may be eligible for the 13 year-long pathway to citizenship promised by the bill continue to be removed from the country. What’s more, with President Barack Obama’s record-setting deportations, it would seem that large numbers of potentially eligible immigrants will not be able to benefit from a law, were it to be passed.
The administration has, thus far, ignored calls from pro-immigrant activists to halt deportations while the immigration reform bill is under consideration.
“Every day that Congress fails to pass immigration reform legislation, 1,100 families are torn apart,” Kica Matos, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice for the Center for Community Change and a spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a coalition of the largest immigrant rights organizations, told Politic365.
Originally published in Politic365 on April 19, 2013.
An explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, about 20 miles north of Waco, has resulted in the deaths of eight to 10 people and more than 160 injuries in a town of just 2,800. The explosion occurred at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Among the dead are emergency responders: four EMS workers, five West Fire Department volunteers, and off-duty Dallas fire captain from West, and two volunteers, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The West Fertilizer Company has not been inspected by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration since 1985.
“Texas relies on federal investigators, and has not made its own investment at the state level to inspect facilities, to make sure they are complying with federal safety standards,” said Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch, a non-partisan group that is a corporate accountability group in the state. “We believe, and have supported in the past, efforts to beef up state inspections to compliment the federal inspections.”
Winslow would not comment specifically on the West incident, citing the need for more information, but did say, “It is a very real and documented problem in Texas that workplace standards are lax. Accountability standards are woefully inadequate.”
Originally appeared in Politic365 on April 16, 2013.
Details of the “Gang of 8”-negotiated immigration reform measure were released late Monday. The group planned a big press conference to discuss the details of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 — until the Boston bombing forced the Senators to change plans.
Instead, two of the Senators involved, Charles Schumer of New York and John McCain of Arizona, were set to meet with the president Tuesday. The bill will be reviewed Monday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. As wepreviously reported, the entire immigration reform hinges on enforcement, so much so that benchmarks that must be met before anyone can gain status.
The deal comes after months of negotiations, not only between the bipartisan group of Senators, but labor and business leaders in conjunction with a massive outpouring of social and activist organization….
Originally appeared in Politic365 on April 12, 2013.
A group of Democratic congressmen released immigration reform principles Thursday with the idea that they be a contrast to the bipartisan “Gang of 8” bill expected to drop in the Senate next week. The New Democrat Coalitionoutlined four basic principles of what “productive” immigration reform would look like, and one focuses on border security while another focuses on workplace verification.
Interestingly, the Gang of 8’s principles also focus on enforcement — “greatly boost” border enforcement. Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s new immigration reform group, FWD.us, according to an op-ed in The Washington Post: “Comprehensive immigration reform…begins with effective border security.” This talk is not new, of course, and has characterized the conversation about immigration reform since it began.
The New Democrat Coalitions’ four principles seem to be a counterbalance to the four principles released by the Gang of 8 in January, which included: a path to citizenship contingent upon secure borders; reforming the immigration system; employment verification and a better process for guest workers. The Democrat Coalitions’ four principles are: reform employment and family immigration systems; ensure border enforcement; employment verification and create a naturalization process.