Republican Revisionist Propaganda, oops, I Mean History

According to Republican leadership, “No other president in history has used Executive powers to change immigration policy.” Really? NO other President in history?  Do they own a history book? Can they read?  Senator Barbara Boxer can, and she put out this tidy little list this morning on Twitter:

ImmigrationEOs

A President may not be able to provide a “pathway to citizenship” via Executive action, but under the authority granted by our Constitution to the President, he/she can certainly prioritize where INS should focus its efforts. Instead of breaking up working, nurturing families to deport the parents and then relegating their American-born citizen children to foster care at taxpayer expense for years, it makes much more sense to focus on rooting out criminal elements and deporting them to their countries of origin.

Speaker Boehner has had two solid years to come up with something of his own, and he’s had a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill (S744) that was passed in the senate on 6/27/2013.  Speaker Boehner alone, has been the one blocking a vote in the US House on this bill, which many claim, has more than the requisite 218 Representatives willing to stand up and vote “AYE” for passage.

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Our Star-Spangled Banner Waves for All of Us

The racist attacks on a young Mexican-American prodigy who sang the National Anthem didn’t occur in a vacuum.
By 

Raul A. ReyesBefore game three of the recent NBA Finals in San Antonio, Sebastien de la Cruz stepped up to the microphone and belted out the National Anthem. Decked out in his mariachi suit, the 11-year-old “America’s Got Talent” alum wowed the crowd with his singing.

On social media, racism reared its head. “This lil Mexican snuck into the country like 4 hours ago now he is singing the anthem,” read a tweet that formed part of an online river of hate. “This kid is Mexican why is he singing the national anthem,” tweeted another commenter, adding the hashtag #gohome.

sebastien-delacruz-reyesIt’s sad that a child should become the target of such ugly, anti-immigrant sentiment. However, these views didn’t arise in a vacuum. The fact is that Republican lawmakers have become accustomed to demonizing immigrants, to the detriment of our civil discourse and to their own party. Meanwhile, our nation continues to grow more diverse, putting the GOP out of step with a changing America.

After the 2012 presidential election, in which Latino voters overwhelmingly backed Barack Obama, the smart approach for the GOP would have been to adopt a more inclusive tone towards Latinos in particular and immigrants in general. That’s not what happened.

In May, Representative Don Young (R-AK) used the term “wetbacks” in a radio interview. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) routinely refers to undocumented people by the pejorative term “illegals.” Recently, Representative Steve King (R-IA) complained about the “illegal aliens” who “invaded” his office, in reference to the young, undocumented immigrants who organized a protest there.

The young people were protesting in King’s office because he sponsored a bill to defund the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to adjust their status. King and his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives passed the anti-DACA measure knowing full well it has zero chance of becoming law.

Why? Because they have no qualms about being seen as openly hostile to immigrants.  Moreover, House Republicans remain opposed to comprehensive immigration reform.

These narrow views put them outside of the political mainstream. A recent New York Times poll found that 83 percent of Americans support comprehensive reform, including a path to citizenship for the undocumented. The anti-immigrant crowd is also bringing down their party. The research firm Latino Decisions has found that when Republican politicians speak negatively about immigrants, it doesn’t only reflect poorly on them, it gives Hispanic voters a negative view of the Republican Party as well.

As Republican lawmakers continue with this rhetoric, our country is undergoing a demographic shift. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that for the first time, the number of racial and ethnic minority babies being born has passed that of white babies. The District of Columbia, Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and Texas are already “minority-majority” states, and eight other states will join this list by 2020.

If the GOP does not soon adopt a “big tent” approach, it risks marginalizing itself as a national party.

Yes, the changing face of the U.S. may seem frightening to some people. But the GOP shouldn’t play upon these fears — it should help dispel them. Consider that the Pew Hispanic Center has found that Latino immigrants assimilate and learn English just like every other group before them. Or even that the pint-sized mariachi crooner de la Cruz was born in Texas — the son of a U.S. Navy veteran.

This story has a happy ending. The San Antonio Spurs invited de la Cruz back a second time, to sing the National Anthem at game four of the NBA Finals. Everyone from President Barack Obama to “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria wished him well, and he nailed his encore performance.

With determination and confidence, young Sebastien triumphed over bigotry. What could be more American than that?

You can watch Sebastien de la Cruz singing the national anthem on YouTube.


Raul A. Reyes is an attorney and columnist in New York City.
Distributed via OtherWords (OtherWords.org)

Rally for Justice for Immigrants and Immigration Reform, Wed 5/29

Rally01.fwWHO

  • Immigration Reform for Nevada
  • Mi Familia Vota
  • United Latino Community
  • Justice for Immigrants
  • St Teresa of Avila Catholic Community, a member of ACTIONN
  • Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada, a member of ACTIONN

WHAT
Campaign for Citizenship launch and public assembly

WHEN
Wednesday May 29, 2013,  6:30 pm-8:15 pm

WHERE
Little Flower Catholic Church, 875 East Plumb Lane, Reno, NV 89502

RSVP and INFO:

  • Cory Hernandez …… 775-560-2233
  • Elvira Diaz ………….. 775-203-5759

The Campaign for a Path to Citizenship is launching a public assembly to lay out the Campaign and ask U.S. Senator Heller and Congressman Amodei to support the plan. This event will include Nevada State Senator Majority Leader Mo Denis speech about Why Immigration is a Justice Issue, testimonies from immigrants and prayers for unity.

The Path to Citizenship is a partnership of community organizations throughout Nevada launching an immigration reform campaign with a path to citizenship. This includes citizenship in seven years, including all eleven million undocumented immigrants, first phase of legal residency benefits, reducing detentions/deportations, and avoiding third class citizens. The Coalition includes: St Teresa of Avila Catholic Community, a member of ACTIONN; the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada, a member of ACTIONN; ; Mi Familia Vota; United Latino Community, and Justice for Immigrants.

The U.S. is now facing a third generation of children growing up in homes with undocumented family members. The Path to Citizenship reforms proposed by the coalition promotes citizenship for all as an American value that is good for our families, communities and economy. Seven years is consistent with current law and is considered a reasonable amount of time for a person to successfully go through the process of taking on the responsibility and rights of becoming an American citizen.

The Campaign calls on Congress to establish a straightforward and well organized process that allows all undocumented immigrants residing in the country to come out of the shadows to receive legal residency. After two years of legal residency, immigrants should be able to apply for Green Cards, which generally lead five years later to the ability to apply for full citizenship, making the entire path to citizenship no longer than seven years. DREAMers who have received Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status should be eligible for Green Cards immediately, or within two years of approval of their applications under the DREAM Act provisions of the new law. Fees should be reasonable for working families, and workers in the informal economy should be able to apply for temporary residency and citizenship. Individuals should not be excluded from citizenship based on minor crimes, including those related to undocumented status and border crossing.

People approved for the first phase of legal residency should be able to work, drive, attend school, and travel out-of-country for family or educational purposes. Congress should build on the highly successful DACA policy. Legal residency should make it possible for immigrants to begin to fully integrate in to the community.

Massive spending on border security combined with economic changes in Mexico and the U.S. have resulted in zero net flow of undocumented immigrants into the country. It does not make sense to make a path to citizenship contingent on border security measures that are already underway. Instead as we maintain border security and enable people to apply for legal residency, we need to reform enforcement policies that are unnecessarily detaining hundreds of thousands of immigrants who pose no danger to the community. Our goal should be a smarter system that makes families safer by prioritizing prevention of violent crime, while sharply reducing federal spending on detention centers.

Increasing the opportunity for immigrants to legally enter the U.S. is important to the social fabric and long-term economy of our country, and to sustain a coherent immigration system. Federal policy should promote the value of family unity. The current backlog of immigration cases should be processed expeditiously. Any temporary worker programs should include labor and civil rights protections to prevent the exploitation of immigrant workers and to ensure that job access, quality and pay for all workers is strengthened, not undermined, and should not create a class of residents without access to a path to citizenship.

Looking for a carpool from Carson City, call Marty 775-690-3913