Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Politics > Texas Primary Part II: The Latino Vote Mattered

Texas Primary Part II: The Latino Vote Mattered

LatinaLista — This morning in Texas, after a long night of vote tabulations and “two-stepping,” one irrevocable fact has emerged: The Latino vote made a difference for both Clinton and Obama.

Though Clinton has been declared the winner by garnering 51% of the vote versus Obama’s 48%, it’s clear from reports that the area Clinton poured the heart and soul of her campaigning — South Texas — proved to be what tipped her win. (Yet, until early voting results are registered, the official winner is still not known, as well as, who has won the majority of Texas delegates.)
It’s important to note that in South Texas Clinton did well with ALL age groups. It’s reported that she even won the majority of the Millenial generation (18-29).
And the reason why isn’t too surprising.

Compared to Obama face-time in South Texas, Clinton outdid her competitor. She stumped from El Paso to Laredo and back again. Obama made a few appearances but concentrated his energy in the urban areas where “Urban Latinos” helped him push the margin of difference between him and Clinton to just three points.
Had Obama campaigned in South Texas among young voters like he did in the urban areas, he might have been able to generate the same enthusiasm he enjoyed in the bigger cities but he didn’t and for that reason, he just didn’t “connect” with Latino voters there.
Yet, it’s clear that without the “Urban Latino” vote, he would not have raked up the impressive numbers that he did.
With all the talk of GOP voters switching parties to vote for either Obama or Hillary, whoever they perceived to be the weaker candidate against McCain, news from Hillary that she would consider running on the same ticket with Obama, may prove to be the real moment of truth for the Latino vote, not to mention the youth vote.
As Latina Lista reported earlier, a majority of young voters surveyed said they had no interest in voting come November if Obama wasn’t one of the candidates.
A Clinton and Obama ticket would not only unite a majority of young voters, Latinos and women but definitely steer a new course for Washington politics.

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  • Texano78704
    March 5, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    This primary makes me wonder if Texas is really a “red state.” More people in Texas voted for Hillary Clinton than voted for Juan McCain.

  • Jax
    March 5, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    It’s perfectly reasonable for Hillary to want a united ticket. Simply put, she needs his younger supporters and would love to have him as VP. He would be foolish to consider such a move, even with him at the top of the ticket. His campaign his future oriented and she is the past. Additionally, why would he want Bill Clinton to be running loose in the White House? That makes no sense.
    It still looks like Obama will win the nomination and he will not want her on the ticket. Bill Richardason would be my choice.

  • Frank
    March 5, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    All of our votes counted. It is ridiculous to say that a particular ethnic group had more pull or that they were the deciding factor in an election especially if that ethnic group is a minority in this country. Where do you come up with this stuff?

  • adriana
    March 5, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t think that a Clinton/Obama ticket is the answer. Do you think that Senator Clinton would want to play second fiddle to a black man? And you are forgetting that Obama still leads in delegates. He might not want her, especially in light of recent race baiting.
    Why don’t the Latinos in South Texas care about the role that the Clintons have with Tyson Chicken?
    Hillary Clinton served as an attorney for Tyson.

  • Dee
    March 5, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    I agree. A Clinton-Obama ticket would be unbeatable.
    We must win in November!

  • Chaos45i
    March 5, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Good thing you don’t censor comments on the real reasons why Barack Obama lost the Hispanic vote as that would make you lose all credibility with Hispanics/Latinos.

  • Jax
    March 5, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I agree totally with Adriana. Hispanic support of Hillary makes no sense.
    The Clintons will say or do anything to gain power and I’m very surprised to see that more Hispanics don’t grasp that fact.
    I really dislike pitting one group against another but I really don’t understand why those who insist on them can’t see that they are being used.
    Obama is the better choice.

  • laura
    March 5, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I agree with Adriana. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton seems to be even less truthful than the average Democratic politician (I am not including the Republicans in this average because their level of truthfulness is so abysmally low).
    I would like to call your attention to something else: a Democrat in the House of Representatives, Heath Shuler, introduced an immigration “reform” bill, the so-called SAVE act, that resembles the bill put forth by House Republicans in 2005. I.e., it aims to punish undocumented immigrants, their families and their friends. Period.
    Do you know why a fair number of Democrats are co-sponsoring this despicable bill ? Because they think they need to pander to people like our friend “Frank,” who flood their fax machines and email inboxes with anti-immigrant hate. These people, through the time and money they spend on letters, calls etc., create the impression of being much more numerous than they actually are. In terms of voter numbers, we have learned in the past few months that they are few – their favorite candidates tanked the fastest. But in terms of the decibel level with which they fill the political space, they scream very loudly.
    Call the congressional leadership to oppose the so-called SAVE act, and call your own representative. Speaker Pelosi’s phone number is (202) 225-0100.

  • Evelyn
    March 6, 2008 at 1:40 am

    The Washington Times editorial yesterday is on the latest scheme by House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi to get amnesty for illegals.
    For months, leading Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief Rahm Emanuel have tried to talk tough on illegal immigration…. Last month, Mrs. Pelosi joined House Minority Leader John Boehner in announcing that the House-passed economic stimulus bill would “not allow any taxpayer funds to be distributed to illegals.”
    But unfortunately, the Democrats are putting together an elaborate con job: using tough-sounding rhetoric while working behind the scenes with open-borders advocates in the business community to win support from from firms that have become very dependent on cheap foreign labor. The goal of these Democrats — and possibly the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well — is to defeat a bipartisan bill that takes a no-amnesty, enforcement-oriented approach to illegal immigration.
    The SAVE Act [Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act, H.R. 4088] is an omnibus bill that would strengthen border security and require that employers verify that their workers are legally present in the United States. Forty-seven Democrats and 89 Republicans are cosponsoring the Shuler bill, which is currently bottled up in the House Judiciary Committee, where liberals like Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Immigration Subcommittee, will work to ensure that it stays there.
    Republican supporters of the SAVE Act are working to get enough votes to pull the bill out of committee and onto the floor, but as the editorial writer points out, the Democrats have come up with a “Plan B.”
    The Baca Amendment would give illegal aliens who pass a background check a “five-year temporary worker permit” that expires on Dec. 31, 2012. It would also provide employers who hired illegal aliens “safe harbor” (apparently some measure of immunity from prosecution) for past hiring of illegal aliens. If Mr. Shuler gets enough signatures to force his bill to the floor to be debated, Democrats hope to neuter it by attaching the Baca Amendment. If Mr. Baca’s proposal were to become law, open-borders advocates could come back later and pass legislation putting these illegals on a path to citizenship.
    It’s an election year, so of course the Democrats are talking tough on immigration, because they know they must. But they’re ready with their usual Bait and Switch tactic.
    This is a battle that bears watching. Those of us who favor employer verification of workers’ immigration status would do well to keep after our Congressmen. Encourage them to put pressure on the Immigration Subcommittee to pass the bill as it stands and work to prevent passage of the Baca Amendment. We must remain watchful, because the supporters of amnesty will not stop trying to enact it.
    This is something I have been running into on several websites. I dont know if it is true or just a ploy to get everyone to support the save act.
    If the Dems. can attach amendments to the save act to give Immigrants a 5 year working permit that is a good thing.
    Anyone with connections or info, pass it this way.
    Thanks in advance.

  • Frank
    March 6, 2008 at 7:46 am

    laura, the Save Act will hold the employers accountable for hiring illegal aliens. You don’t want that? Shouldn’t employers be made to follow the law? I don’t get you.
    Don’t accuse me of things I don’t do either. You don’t know me! I don’t fax and e-mail anybody so stop your lies about me.

  • Frank
    March 6, 2008 at 7:48 am

    The thing is that the pro-amnesty crowd is so PO’d that they didn’t get their CIR that they are spewing hate speech all over the place directed at law abiding Americans. That is childish and immature and dividing Americans. Bunch of sore losers!

    March 6, 2008 at 7:53 am

    The Save Act does not aim to punish anyone, except perhaps the business owners who hire illegal aliens at wages lower than the federal minimum wage. No U.S. citizens are being punished as long as they have SS numbers that match with their I.D. The legal immigrants in our country are here with the approval of our government, so they are not being punished. The illegal aliens in our country often use fraudulent, counterfeit or stolen forms of documentation to get employment which is against the law. If a law is broken by someone they should expect some form of punishment for doing so.
    Our country is a nation of laws that are meant to protect it’s citizens. The Save Act will be passed into law becuase the majority of American citizens support any form of action that will cause illegal aliens to self deport. It is not punishment, it is only rectifying a mistake our government made by not enforcing our immigration laws and securing our borders. Be calm, sit back and watch the exodus. Better days are ahead for all Americans.

    March 6, 2008 at 10:42 am

    The Save Act is a very important bill that must be passed in to law at all cost. No employer should be allowed to hire people that are not in our country legally and getting jobs using falsified, counterfeit or stolen documentation. Persons being caught trying to pass such documentation should be arrested and deported immediately. It is once again time for Americans to speak up and force our government to do the right thing by passing the Save Act in to law for the sake of all citizens. Start the phones ringing, the faxes flying and emails flooding the offices of our elected officials to support the Save Act. Small steps can turn into big victories.

    March 6, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Jonh McCain being elected as President depends a lot on his pick for VP. It is time once again to put a nationalist in power and I believe McCain is such a man. He will be strong on national defense including border security. Since seeing the error of his ways with the B/K Shamnesty Bill he has been brought in to line by those in the Republican Party. A VP should also be someone that will put American citizens first and represent the will of the majority. My pick for his running mate would be Colin Powell because of his military service and experience on the world stage. McCain/Powell would be an unbeatable force come November.

  • laura
    March 6, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Evelyn – I agree it is hard to know what is going on behind the scenes in Congress. But I do think we need to make our voice heard. Not necessarily for or against specific pieces of legislation, or amendments to them, but in terms of what we want:
    1. fair legalization of those who are here without visas, who have not committed crimes
    2. immediate stop of ICE raids – ICE should be chasing terrorists and criminals and drug traffickers, not undocumenteds
    3. families first
    4. strong prosecution of hate crimes
    How they craft this into legislation is the area of expertise of the congresspeople of good will. It is what we pay them their salaries for.
    We are many more voters than the anti-immigrant racists. It is time we made this clear to our elected officials and to the nation. So far, we haven’t made it clear.

  • Evelyn
    March 6, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    I hear you laura and I definitely agree with you. Nothing is going to be served to people like you and millions more (who believe in justice and equality for all)on a silver platter. We will have to fight for it.
    The racist have ‘BIG MOUTHS’ and have been slick in there use of lies about Hispanics in an effort to gather support for their agenda of hate.
    I also believe the racist are loosing support because we have been able to expose their hate, ignorance and the ideology behind their agenda. When the racist are exposed, the American people are sickened by the putrid evil pushing this agenda.
    It is also excellent
    exposure to show how racist react when they are treated in the same manner they treat Hispanics. They have no bite to their bark.
    In the end the racist will lose. Their agenda of hate is hurting people, including children and that is wrong. The saying is still “right wins might.”

  • Sylvia78130
    March 6, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Why is Dolores Huerta, the woman who worked for migrant workers rights, backing Hillary? Her actions speak louder than any hopeful words spoken by Obama.

  • Frank
    March 6, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    ICR, is doing what it is supposed to be doing, going after anyone in this country here illegally and that includes terrorists and non-terrorists alike. They have no way of knowing who is a terrorist and who is not anyway. It is all about not having the right to be in this country, bottom line.
    I know of no one who is “anti-immigrant”. Why the spin on the truth? Most Americans objection to illegal immigration is not based on racism wither. Why the spin on the truth?
    The majority of Americans want something such as the SAVE ACT passed so that employers are held accountable for their employees legitamacy. With no jobs the illegals will leave and justice will have been served to both the employers and the illegal workers.
    We must not do what we did in 1986 with an amenesty that failed to do what it was supposed to do. We must not let history repeat itself and fail the American people again and look like weak fools and have our borders violated yet again by a new wave of illegal aliens coming here.

  • adriana
    March 7, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Sylvia78130, you ask a good question. The bigger question for me is why is Dolores Huerta supporting Hillary Clinton when it has been documented that Monsanto and Tyson Foods are big supporters of her campaign. Monsanto, the producer of pesticides and genetically engineered seed, is not a friend of the farm workers. Tyson Foods, one of the largest poultry processing companies, has been cited for wage and OSHA violations. In addition, Tyson has been indicted for smuggling illegal labor into the US. How does Dolores Huerta reconcile the support that Tyson and Monsanto provide to Hillary Clinton when they clearly are not on the side of the farm worker and average American consumer?
    Has Dolores Huerta lost sight of the bigger picture? The UFW used to support more anti-establishment candidates back in the days when Cesar Chavez was in charge.

  • Evelyn
    March 7, 2008 at 2:26 am

    Here is the truth about what the majority of Americans really want and how they expressed it with their vote!
    Tancredoed? Think Again: What McCain’s Success Says about the Politics of Illegal Immigration Email Printer-Friendly
    Matt Homer, The Century Foundation, 3/6/2008
    When Tom Tancredo quit his quest for the presidency in December, he boasted that he had actually won. That’s because he had been able to pull other candidates closer toward his hardliner approach on illegal immigration: “secure the borders, deport those who don’t belong, [and] make sure they never come back.” But this was before John McCain—who was repeatedly attacked by conservatives as being too liberal on immigration—won decisive victories among conservatives in the very states where illegal immigration is highest.
    McCain’s success lays bare the claims that stoking the flames of illegal immigration galvanizes conservative voters in the same way as abortion and same-sex marriage does, or that it has now become a litmus test that successful candidates must pass. In the end, the only conservative candidate remaining is actually an immigration moderate. And most Americans say they agree with his overall approach. Does this mean that illegal immigration will finally cease to be used as a political wedge issue? Probably not. But it should serve as a wake up call that, on immigration, most Americans have fairly moderate views that are out of sync with conservatism’s harsher approach.
    The futility of the issue as a political game-winner should have already been known. In the 2006 midterm elections, conservatives made it their central rallying call—and in the process they lost the House, the Senate, and at least nine governorships. They also killed the golden goose that had delivered them an increasing amount of Hispanic votes in the previous two presidential elections. In a single stroke, they succumbed to what former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie called “a political siren song.”
    Given this failure, you might have expected conservative candidates in the presidential race to take a different approach in this year’s election. Instead, they opted to try it again. But there was a problem, because most of them had actually expressed fairly moderate views on illegal immigration in the past. As mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani told illegal immigrants that “if you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you’re one of the people who we want in this city.” And while governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney said he thought the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill was a “reasonable” approach. Mike Huckabee, in a book released about a year ago, wrote that “it would be sheer folly to attempt to suddenly impose a strict enforcement of existing laws, round up 12 million people, march them across the border, and expect them to stay.”
    In order to adopt a tougher approach on illegal immigration, each of these candidates had to undergo a serious transformation. But to them it was well worth the effort because it promised to prove their conservative credentials and secure a strong base of supporters. This led to a childish sort of tit-for-tat over who would be toughest on illegal immigration. Mitt Romney called Rudy Giuliani’s New York a “sanctuary city.” And the former mayor shot back that Romney’s house was a “sanctuary mansion.” Watching the candidates duke it out to see who would be the king of toughness, Tancredo noted pleasingly that it was “beginning to truly sound like a Baptist tent revival meeting.” And he was right. By the time he had dropped out of the race, nearly all of his conservative colleagues’ views had been converted into something similar to his: build a fence, grant no amnesty, send illegal immigrants home.
    But all of this battling, positioning, and anti-immigrant rhetoric was for naught. Despite their efforts to win over the Minuteman wing of conservatism, the only candidate to come out on top was the one who pandered to Tancredoism the least. Although other factors were certainly involved, McCain’s success is an exhibit of how conservatives have grossly miscalculated how Americans view illegal immigration. Unlike, say, Switzerland, where a right-wing party was able to win elections by campaigning solely on the ills of immigration, Americans have consistently rejected that sort of an approach. Although polls show that immigration is a major concern, it doesn’t necessarily follow that Americans want to deal with immigrants harshly.
    Despite the grumblings of right-leaning radio shows and bloggers, most Americans—even conservatives, it would seem—have fairly moderate views on how to deal with illegal immigration. Poll after poll shows that a majority of Americans in both parties favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants as long as it is coupled with reasonable punitive measures, such as paying a fine. And when asked whether illegal immigrants should be required to go home before reentering the United States—a key feature adopted by conservative candidates—most Americans say they oppose such a plan. When described more bluntly as deportation, 85 percent say they don’t think that would be “a realistic and achievable goal.” Yet, this is very strategy that conservatives have been saying Americans want.
    The aspects of immigration reform that have become major sticking points in the conservative dialogue—no pathway to citizenship, and deportation—aren’t the wedge issues that many conservatives wish they were. In both of these cases, what Americans actually want is far different from what conservatives have proposed.
    McCain’s victory as an immigration pragmatist shifts the debate closer to the center and narrows the disparity between the remaining candidates’ views on this topic. In the Senate, each of them (McCain, Obama, and Clinton) supported the aborted Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. The Tancredo doctrine that calls for railing against illegal immigration is not only a fruitless political exercise, it’s also one that has paralyzed immigration reform for the past three years. Tancredo tried to hijack the election with his own pet issue (and brought other candidates along with him), but the strategy ultimately failed. Fortunately, the debate has been brought back to the center—a place where most Americans already stand

    March 7, 2008 at 8:32 am

    What? “Fair legalization of those who are here without visas who have not commited crimes.” Hasn’t a law been broken by those here without a valid visa, and breaking a law is a crime?
    Immigration & customs enforcement has nothing to do with chasing terrorists. The criminals they are supposed to chase are those that have violated our immigration laws, illegal aliens.
    Family first is a good thing because the deported illegal alien is free to take his/her family with them back to their country of origin.
    There should be strong prosecution of hate crimes committed against American citizens by those that should not be in this country in the first place. Thousands of American citizens are murdered, robbed, molested or die in automobile accidents each year by illegal aliens. Such cases would have never occured if they had not been here to commit the crime.
    No one here, for the hundredth time, is anti-immigrant. We are for rule of law which encompasses no one should be in this country illegally, bottom line. Your use of “racist” is aimed at anyone who does not agree with your misguided support of illegal aliens, illegal immigration and those that support open borders. We pay our elected officials to pass and enforce laws for the wellbeing of American citizens and they are finally starting to listen to the millions of law abiding American citizens who want enforcement of our laws.

  • Irma
    March 7, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    So, here is a perspective from a 50 year old Latina who yes , is also a Dallas native but who now lives in New York.
    Politically, I have always been a Democrat, stemming from the fact that either myself or my family personally benefitted from
    Democratic policies. Social Security
    was Democatic idea – this was FDR.
    Medicare, HeadStart were Democratic
    ideas, these were LBJ. The 1965 Civil
    Rights act was a Democratic idea- signed by LBJ.
    Now I ended up going to college via
    a combination of Pell Grants, NSDL
    and direct scholarships. This first
    2 were Democratic ideas. I happen
    to be a PhD . Most of that came
    from Bill Clinton ‘s expansion of the
    National institutes of Health. In fact
    the last 12 years after my PhD came
    from NIH grants that yes were Clinton
    ideas. So, suffice it to say – I have
    personally have benefitted a lot
    from the Democrats.
    My case for Hilary is simple – I simply
    view her as an extension of the
    Clinton presidency – without the
    charisma. Thats okay – I dont need
    to like her – I just want her to do a
    good job and I believe that she will.
    As for Republicans, I cant think of
    one good thing they have personally done for me. I am still waiting.
    Latinos and Americans everywhere-
    USE your head. Evaluate whether
    a politician will DELIVER . Dont
    get caught in BS about their character,
    likeablility etc.
    Frankly, one reason I dont support
    Obama is because he seems to focused on race. That is all he and his wife ever seem to talk about it.
    Me? I am just not interested.

  • Evelyn
    March 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Is ‘illegal’ the right word?
    That none of these three people are “criminals” is accurate, since they are all arguing for permission to work in the United States in an administrative (article 2) court, as opposed to a criminal court. A person entering the United States illegally is not typically charged as a criminal. In the event that anyone was charged as a criminal, they would be afforded rights as non-U.S. citizens, such as due process and the right to an attorney in a criminal trial. This is according to the U.S. Constitution—regardless of the practices of this administration.
    Since being “out of status” is an admistrative issue, there is no public attorney assigned to any of these cases. An alleged illegal immigrant must provide his or her own legal representation for an immigration hearing, though NHS has provided legal services to anyone who came forward for legal help in the McDonald’s arrests.
    The process of acquiring a visa has left many people with little viable alternative than to come into this country illegally. Sixty-five thousand to 100,000 non-immigrant temporary work visas are issued yearly by the United States. On the day these visas are made available, they are quickly claimed.

  • Frank
    March 8, 2008 at 8:39 am

    We always have options of whether or not to decide to violate laws. Just because one doesn’t like a law or thinks it unfair doesn’t give any of us the right to violate them.
    You don’t violate them, you seek to change them instead.

  • Evelyn
    March 10, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Demise of immigration bill leaves problems to fester
    People are elected to Congress to solve problems, but Thursday when the Senate had a chance to solve one of the nation’s worst — its intolerable, unworkable and unjust immigration system — a majority ducked and ran toward the safety of their political bases.
    Fifty-three senators voted to kill an immigration compromise that was months in the making and favored by interests as diverse as Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and President Bush. The measure would have provided strong new enforcement in exchange for opening a path to citizenship for 12 million illegal immigrants in the USA.
    Instead of compromising in the nation’s interest, senators kowtowed to their loudest, and often most irrational, supporters. For conservatives, it was nativists who stoked fears that immigrants are tainting America. For a few liberals, it was unions, some of which claimed that more immigration would cut wages and opportunities for Americans.
    By failing to act, what the senators gave America is more of the dysfunctional status quo. Republican foes of the measure can crow, as they did Thursday, of a “victory,” but the facts show that they killed a long list of enforcement remedies they said they wanted — and could have had just by saying yes.
    That list includes more than $4.4 billion for patrols, barriers, cameras and other mechanisms to strengthen the nation’s borders. Gone, too, is a plan for the first smart, effective way for employers to verify if workers are legal, as well as stiff criminal penalties for businesses that break the law.
    Of course, the biggest cry of the naysayers was that the measure granted “amnesty” for 12 million illegal immigrants already in the USA. Well, guess what? The 12 million are still here. It’s folly to think that they will be deported, disappear voluntarily or be hounded away. If past trends continue, another 400,000 will arrive this year, and every year Congress fails to act.
    The future for immigration overhaul is bleak. Even the most hopeful reformers say fixing the broken system is unlikely before a new Congress takes office in 2009.
    Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff promises enforcement will continue. That means more raids, more children left behind as parents are summarily deported. And cities and states, in the absence of a decent federal law, will continue to pass local measures — many of them ill-conceived and mean-spirited — to restrict housing, jobs, education and just about every facet of immigrants’ lives.
    What a hollow victory. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who broke from many Republicans to back the compromise, denounced colleagues for being afraid to confront the tough issues: “The American people have a low opinion of us because we can’t seem to do the things that we need to do because we’re too worried about us and not them.”
    That pretty much sums it up.
    The bigots got NOTHING because of their stupidity. LOL!

  • Evelyn
    March 10, 2008 at 3:18 am

    BRIDGES, not Walls
    You’ve seen them, the ads picturing politicians crouching beside walls and fences along America’s southern borders. And you’ve heard the words coming out of their mouths as they proudly proclaim their opposition to “illegals.” As the midterm election races heat up, this travesty has co-opted what was once a bipartisan movement to rewrite outdated immigration laws. Candidates and our elected officials have traded serious debate on an issue that affects us all for cheap, meaningless photo ops and polarizing tactics designed to reap short-term gain.
    Despite the candidates’ rhetoric, the failure of our immigration system is not about security or cultural preservation. It is about people. By using terms such as “illegal aliens” or “illegals,” political opportunists relegate human beings to a sub-species. They ask us to forget that individuals are at the very foundation of the immigration debate — people driven by despair and inhuman poverty to make perilous journeys in search of the opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their families.
    And they work hard for those chances. Thousands of undocumented workers were the first to begin the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, despite pervasive, documented exploitation. Politicians point to crimes committed by undocumented workers, but they forget to talk about the work “illegals” do throughout the rural South: They harvest our fruits and vegetables. They work in dire conditions in chicken and beef processing plants and perform backbreaking labor in our forests.
    The current system leads to a devastating waste of resources. Every year in the United States, 65,000 undocumented youngsters, full of energy and potential, graduate from high school, but because of our outdated laws, they are relegated to the underclass in our society. They are kids like María Gonzalez,* who, at the age of 14, has lived in Memphis for 13 years, speaks perfect English, and although she has never known another home, will be denied any chance to enroll in higher education or to legally pursue a meaningful career.
    Our elected officials seem to have forgotten that we elect them to solve problems facing our society. Instead they prefer to go on political road shows and pass punitive, visionless laws that fail to recognize the magnitude of our current immigration mess. Last December, Congress passed H.R. 4437, which sought to classify all undocumented immigrants as criminal felons. About a month ago, Congress passed H.R. 6061, which authorized the construction of a 700-mile fence along our southern border.
    A fence is not going to fix our broken immigration laws. The bill is a cowardly diversionary tactic. Congress can pass a fence law, but it is incapable of building a bridge across the partisan divide, leaving us with no comprehensive immigration reform.
    In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed after 80 days of difficult debate in the U.S. Senate. Back then — before gerrymandering, professional lobbyists, big money, and constant polling — politicians debated, filibustered, and fought, but ultimately they passed legislation that improved society. Sadly, those days seem to be behind us, and the current politicization of the immigration debate — characterized by outrageous hyperbole, manipulation of facts, and a fuzzy understanding of how the U.S. economy actually functions — is shameful.
    The Civil Rights Act debate taught us the importance of tearing down discriminatory practices as a way to strengthen our democracy. In 2006, we’re literally building fences rather than focusing on the root cause of our immigration crisis, i.e. our own outdated, inconsistently applied, and unjust immigration laws.
    We desperately need authentic, comprehensive reform designed to rebuild our outdated immigration laws in a way that addresses the actual source of our current crisis: the U.S. economy’s ravenous appetite for a constant and cheap labor supply which has been the engine of expanding profit margins in key sectors of our economy.

  • Frank
    March 10, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    I am glad to see that those congressmen who put Americans first are not going to be blackmailed into settling for less than what our laws demand or compromising with ethnocentric racists.
    The raids and the new state and local laws being implemented are discouraging more illegals from entering our country illegally and causing many of them to leave and go back home. If the SAVE ACT is passed this will be another excellent step in cleaning up this mess by holding employers accoutable for violating our labor laws and thereby making it mandatory to only have legal immigrants or citizens on their payrolls. This will cause many illegals to go home without jobs.
    I understand that there are several bills pending in congress right now that would secure our borders and put an end to illegal immigration. I commend those congressmen for doing the right thing for America.

  • Evelyn
    March 11, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Keep DREAMING and WISHING, I guess that is about all you can do at this point.

  • Frank
    March 14, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    The SAVE ACT needs 218 co-sponsors to get this thing to a floor debate/vote, and there are already 136, including 46 Democrats and 90 Republicans. There are many more Republicans who have not yet signed on and who likely would. 218 is also the figure the bill needs to pass the House. If they can get it onto the floor by the discharge petition manuever they probably can pass it.
    The Senate would also likely pass it also, and Bush would likely sign it.

  • Evelyn
    March 16, 2008 at 5:10 am

    Like I said Keep Dreaming! LOL!

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