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Immigration Reform

The New York Times: President Obama Needs To Stop Waiting On Republicans To Act On Immigration


by: Omar Araiza

Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:00 AM CDT

As a proud liberal and a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, it isn't easy to point to all the immense problems our administration is responsible for when it comes to immigration.

President Obama has recently come under heavy criticism by immigration advocates for the record number of deportations occurring under his administration. The administration is now close to deporting 2 million immigrants, by far more than any other previous administration, including former President George W. Bush.

As President Obama travels the country advocating for immigration reform, his administration continues to actively engage in the deportations of the very same people Obama talks about helping in his speeches. The Obama administration has become profoundly effective in using and enforcing the same immigration system they acknowledge to be broken.

The president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the country's largest Latino advocacy group and a loyal ally to Obama, has gone as far as to call President Obama the "deporter-in-chief." And now, The New York Times has joined in the debate, publishing a very well-articulated op-ed on the administration's failure to do something consequential regarding immigration.

Read more on The New York Times' criticism of President Obama regarding deportations below the jump.

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In Texas, the Future is Linked to Latino Voters


by: americasvoice

Fri Mar 28, 2014 at 02:54 PM CDT

(Thanks to America's Voice for this guest post! - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Texas Republicans apparently see the future coming -- but the question is whether they can break their bad habits in time.  

The Dallas Morning News published an article this week on how gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott (R) believes the future is linked to Hispanic voters:

In the immediate celebratory afterglow of his GOP primary victory, Greg Abbott went to Hidalgo County, a stretch of South Texas that hasn't exactly been Disneyland for Republicans.

While there, Abbott pronounced that his goal was to break the record for Hispanic support by a Republican candidate for governor. That peak was reached in 1998, when George W. Bush captured at least 46 percent of the Latino vote statewide, according to exit polls.

More recently, that percentage has dropped to 38 percent, but even if Abbott does only a little better, it would leave Democratic rival Wendy Davis with few plausible paths to victory.

The jostling for the Latino vote is on.

Texas Latino voters are 27% of the state electorate, and some Texas Republicans have been attuned to the importance of their vote.  And Texas, in the past, has been so red that a Republican could win statewide while losing a large majority of the Latino vote, as Rick Perry did in 2002 when Tony Sanchez won 85% of Latinos.  

But by the next decade, the growing Latino demographic is expected to turn the state purple (or even blue), which means that Republicans are really going to have to reconsider some of their current practices.

Read more below the jump.

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House Democrats Introduce Discharge Petition To Force A Vote On Immigration Reform


by: Omar Araiza

Thu Mar 27, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

House Democrats came together Wednesday to reignite the debate on immigration reform, introducing a discharge petition against the House Republican leadership, attempting to force Republicans to finally issue a vote on immigration.

"Enough is enough, and Democrats are demanding a vote. It is time for Republicans to stop catering to the most extreme, anti-immigrant wing of their caucus, and allow a vote on the bipartisan immigration reform our nation so urgently needs," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

If Democrats are able to gather 218 signatures, the procedural rule will force Speaker John Boehner to call for a vote on the immigration reform bill introduced by the Democrats last year. The bill has also been co-sponsored by three other Republican House members.

Read more on the discharge petition, including statements made by Texas Democrats Joaquin Castro and Marc Veasey, below the jump.

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President Obama Promises More Humane Ways To Deportations As Democrats And Latinos Push On Issue


by: Omar Araiza

Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 10:30 AM CDT

Deportations under President Obama are days within reaching the 2 million mark, startling numbers when compared to other previous presidents, including Republicans like George W. Bush.

Since 2009, the Obama administration has deported an average of 395,500 immigrants per year. In comparison, the Bush administration's deportation numbers were at an average of 250,000 per year. This doesn't even take into consideration the fact that crossings were occurring at a much larger rate during the Bush administration.

A new survey shows Americans are split on deportation, with the majority of Latinos and Democrats viewing this huge increase under President Obama negatively.

Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the country's largest Latino advocacy group and a loyal ally to Obama, shared her thoughts on the administration's record high number of deportations calling President Obama the "deporter-in-chief."

Read how Democrats and Republicans compare in attitudes, and how President Obama is reacting to the issue below the jump.

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GOP Congressman John Carter: Republican Elections More Important Than Passing Immigration Reform


by: Omar Araiza

Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 09:00 AM CST

The Republican House Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee shared some very candid thoughts with Roll Call as to why he now suddenly opposes passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year.

U.S. Congressman John Carter, (R - Round Rock), who last year was part of the House Group of Eight -- a bipartisan group of House Representatives working on an immigration reform bill -- now says Republican primaries and elections are more important than passing immigration reform.

"I personally think this is the wrong time from our standpoint to go forward on immigration," Carter said. "It's an election year. I mean Texas is in the middle of primaries right now."

Carter, who is a critical figure from the Republican side in pushing for immigration reform, is putting politics and his own re-election before one of Texas' biggest social and economic interests -- fixing our broken immigration system. Carter is afraid of potential retaliation from Tea Party voters if immigration reform passes this year.

Read more of what Carter and Texas Democrats have to say below the jump.

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Workers' Defense Project Protests Wage Theft At Gables Residential, Pushes Immigration Reform


by: Joe Deshotel

Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 06:00 PM CST

UPDATED: This story has been updated to clarify that though the protest was organized in response to previous denials to address these issues, Gables did sit down with Workers' Defense Project on Thursday February 13th.

At a time when the President of the United States is pushing to raise the minimum wage for working people as well as tackle immigration reform, it seems unconscionable that in the progressive city of Austin, Texas workers would have to take legal action just to get paid for work and overtime they have already completed -- but that is precisely the reason behind Saturday's protest organized by Workers' Defense Project.

By targeting Gables Residential, one of state's most prominent luxury apartment developers, WDP hopes to promote change in the construction industry and accelerate action on immigration reform that will go a long way in addressing the status quo which allows for the exploitation of workers, many of whom are undocumented immigrants.

According to WDP there have been repeated complaints of workers' rights abuses at every Gables downtown project, including reports of $130,000 in wage theft since 2008, and violations of city ordinances regarding rest, safety, and water breaks.

See why one worker filed a lien against Gables on Friday and what Workers Defense Project is asking for below the jump...

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Arrested Activists Call on Travis County to Implement Progressive Immigration Policy


by: Chris Ledesma

Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 11:58 PM CST

(Travis County has an extremely high rate of deportations for non-violent offenders. Thanks to Chris Ledesma for covering the recent protests of this policy outside the Travis County jail.   - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Photo by Arielle Lewis-Zavala

This Monday, six immigrant rights activists were arrested as part of an action blocking an entrance to the Travis County jail. The activists, along with immigrant advocacy groups, are targeting Travis County's high rate of deportations, especially of non-criminals, linked to participation in the Secure Communities (S-Comm) program.

Under the Secure Communities Act, local law enforcement authorities coordinate with the federal government in theory to identify and deport immigrants with violent offenses. In practice, thousands of those stopped for minor traffic offenses and other infractions have their immigration status checked when detained, and if found in violation, are funneled into private, for-profit detention centers and held until deportation. This has been devastating to hardworking immigrants and their families, separating parents from their children or vice versa in traumatic scenarios playing out across the US.

Nearly 20 counties in 3 states have halted their cooperation with S-Comm without repercussion and activists are calling on Travis County and Sheriff Greg Hamilton to do the same.

Read More below the jump about the action and why a progressive community should embrace progressive immigration policy.

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Voters In Key Texas Districts Want GOP Reps. Ted Poe And Blake Farenthold To Lead On Immigration


by: Omar Araiza

Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 10:00 AM CST

New polls show positive signs for Texas GOP House members to finally join other Republicans in supporting immigration reform. At least, in two key Texas districts.

Recent polls conducted by Magellan Strategies, a Republican affiliated polling firm, show that a vast majority of likely voters in districts represented by Republican Reps. Ted Poe, (R-Humble), and Blake Farenthold, (R-Corpus Christi), support comprehensive immigration reform. The majority of voters in these districts responded saying they support legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Patty Kupfer, Managing Director of America's Voice, organization that sponsored the polls, believes both GOP House members should step up and represent their constituents accordingly.

"What are these guys so afraid of? Their constituents want it. Their party needs it. And our movement is ready to keep the heat up until they deliver it," argued Kupfer.

"While some Republicans have stepped up to lead their party into the future, Farenthold and Poe have at best issued vague sound bites," said Kupfer. "Either show us you can deliver by signing onto the House immigration bill or get to work on your own bills. The future of the Republican party is at stake."

Read the polls' numbers below the jump.

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Latino Victory Project Targets GOP Members Opposed To Immigration: 'We Know Who We're Going After'


by: Omar Araiza

Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 10:00 AM CDT


DNC Finance Chair Henry Muñoz and actress Eva Longoria.
As if Republicans already didn't have enough problems keeping their party alive, a large network of Latino donors that played a pivotal role in raising money for President Obama's reelection have set forward their newest effort: Oust lawmakers who stand in the way of immigration reform.

The Latino Victory Project -- a new political advocacy organization modeled after the very-successful Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund -- is planning to spend as much as $20 million on congressional campaigns targeting Republican members who have sizable Latino communities in their districts but oppose comprehensive immigration reform.

The Latino Victory Project grew out of a fundraising committee called the Futuro Fund. The fund brought in more than $30 million for Obama's reelection, minting a new group of national political donors. Fundraising efforts were led by actress Eva Longoria, Puerto Rico lawyer Andres Lopez and San Antonio businessman and DNC Finance Chair Henry R. Muñoz III. The group represented the largest demonstration yet of the Latino community's ability to accrue immense amounts of money for U.S. political campaigns.

Leaders of the group have laid out a strategy to make the issue central in the 2014 midterm elections if Congress were to fail to pass a reform bill this year, identifying 10 House Republicans who would be vulnerable to pressure from Latino constituents.

Read the list of members and more on the groups' strategy below the jump.

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Congressmen Doggett and O'Rourke Show Continued Support to Release the #Dream30


by: Shelby Alexander

Wed Oct 23, 2013 at 03:00 PM CDT

While the majority of the group associated with the #Dream30 remains in detention in El Paso, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance has been working hard to build momentum from the outside as they call on members of Congress to support the release of the Dreamers.

In the previous #BringThemHome campaign, the Dream 9 was successful in their release due to increasing outside pressure, some of which was aided by Congressional support. A significant number of letters, including one signed by 34 Congressional leaders, were sent to the President on their behalf. And despite the stakes being just as high (if not more) the second time around, it seems that the #Dream30 has not received the same level of support that surrounded the previous group.

However, Texas Congressmen Lloyd Doggett and Beto O'Rourke joined two other Democratic Representatives (Raúl Grijalva of Arizona and Yvette Clarke of New York) in a new letter yesterday to President Obama asking for the release of the Dream 30. Doggett has been a long supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, and O'Rourke's support is especially notable, since the Dream 30 are currently being detained in his district. While both members signed the previous letter, this type of unwavering support is what we need from all of our progressive leaders to bring the Dreamers home.

Read more below the jump.

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