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.
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...
(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)
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.
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."
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.
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.
In a region that is burdened with the highest healthcare cost in the country and whose economy depends heavily on immigration and strong trade policies, one would think any decent human being with a soul in their heart would abstain from preaching to the people here that everything they believe in is inherently wrong, and would avoid making it a point in his very first visit as a guest, that as their U.S. Senator, he will do everything in his power to take these things away from them so that they may further dwell in poverty.
That decent human being is not Ted Cruz.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz made stops in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo this week, as he continues his tour of town hall meetings across the State of Texas.
The events in South Texas were not open to the public, however. Those who wanted to see Cruz speak and ask him questions would have to pay. At his luncheon in Mission, Texas, each table cost $500 dollars and only 35 tables were available at the location.
Over two dozen protesters from the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network were outside the establishment waiting for Cruz. One protester had an inflatable floating doll representing Cruz with the word "Vendido," meaning sell out in Spanish. This is a possible reference to Cruz's immigrant and Hispanic roots, yet extremely hypocritical opposition to immigration reform.
Read more on what Ted Cruz had to say, and what Hispanics in South Texas think of Cruz after the jump.
After a month-long recess, our hard-at-work Congress members will be ready to return to Washington, D.C. next week and attempt to tackle once again (or not) the complex issue that's immigration reform.
With a lot of other highly important matters left pending (think Syria, healthcare, and economic doom), immigration reform won't likely be the first issue they attempt to tackle. In fact, if the GOP-controlled House cannot get its act together, immigration reform may not even happen at all.
So, who is to lose if immigration reform does ultimately fail? Who is to win if immigration reform does succeed this time?
It has been a year since President Obama signed an executive order protecting DREAM Act-eligible youth from being deported. The order instructed the Department of Homeland Security not to deport undocumented immigrants that arrived in the United States before the age of 16, lived in the country for five years, and are enrolled in school or are military veterans.
In its first year, 58% of those estimated eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) have applied. According to a Brookings Institution study released last Wednesday, more than 557,400 DREAMers have applied for deportation relief as of June 2013. Approximately 74 percent -- more than 400,000 DREAMers -- have had their applications accepted, with additional cases pending review. Overall, only one percent of applicants have been denied.
United We Dream has even introduced a "Pocket DACA" mobile app:
But with all these recent steps being taken, why does the Obama administration continue setting new records for deporting people?
Seems like immigration reform has finally grown on Republicans.
Research by GOP pollster, Whit Ayres, showsmore than two thirds of Republicans support immigration reform, including providing a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country. Indeed, Republicans want to see something done.
Only one third of conservatives are adamantly against immigration reform, and refuse providing a path to citizenship for the undocumented no matter the conditions.
There's a catch to all of this, of course.
The pathway to citizenship must be really strict and rigorous -- as if to serve a form of punishment or criminal sentence -- and be accompanied with a continued flooding of security along the border.
Read what type of requirements Republicans are demanding for after the jump.