San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, left, and U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro, right.
Twin politicians, U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro, (D-San Antonio), and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, have been making their presence known across the country through this year's Democratic Party's national speaking circuit.
The young, charismatic brothers -- who Democrats projected upon the national stage through Julian Castro's keynote speech in the 2012 Democratic National Convention -- will by the end of October have appeared at major functions in at least 11 states outside Texas, and as guests in the sets of national TV programs like NBC's "Meet the Press" and ABC's "This Week."
If all of this brings about feelings of déjà vu, it might be because after his own DNC speech in 2004, then-State Senator Barack Obama began to highlight many national fundraisers, which allowed him to build a national donor and activist network. That same year, Obama went on to be elected as U.S. Senator of Illinois, and then as President of the United States in 2008 -- becoming the first biracial candidate to ever hold the presidency.
Is this the future that awaits the Castro brothers? Will either Julian or Joaquin Castro soon make history by becoming the first Hispanic-American elected as President of the United States?
Read more about what the two brothers have been up to after the jump.
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.
Congress has gone home for a month-long August recess after a very weak showing of leadership at our nation's Capitol. After all these months in Washington, D.C., our GOP-controlled House has little to show for but the now 40th vote to repeal Obamacare and 13th time defunding an organization that no longer exists.
Among the list in their agenda still left pending that actually matters? Immigration reform.
Report after report has shown Texas' economic output would be tremendously benefited from achieving such legislation. Immigration reform would boost our state's economy by $3.8 billion and create approximately 43,097 new jobs just next year. On the other hand, deporting our immigration population would cause over a $17.7 billion negative impact on the state's economy.
President Obama and Democrats continue to push for immigration reform in the House.
The White House is doing an amazing job pumping report after report showing just how large of an impact immigration reform would have on our economy.
A new recent report provides Texans with the economic benefits fixing our nation's broken immigration system would have on our state.
Providing a pathway to earned citizenship for immigrants and expanding high-skilled and other temporary worker programs would boost Texas's economic output by $3.8 billion and create approximately 43,097 new jobs just next year. By 2045, boost to Texas's economic output would be around $18.9 billion.
The report also shows how immigrants already create large important contributions to our states' economy. Currently, Texas's labor force is 21.1% foreign-born. Roughly 25% of Texas business owners are immigrants, which are helping generate $10 billion in income for Texas each year.
Just last month, Congressman Pete Gallego, (D-Alpine), received a no for a response from State Comptroller Susan Combs to update a study on the fiscal impact of Texas' population of undocumented immigrants.
On Tuesday, the White House released a statement declaring that a bill, H.R. 3, by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) to fast track a portion of the Keystone XL pipeline through the state of Nebraska, would be vetoed by the President. The measure will likely pass the Republican controlled house. The announcement doesn't focus on the politics but instead on process, claiming that the, "bill is unnecessary because the Department of State is working diligently to complete the permit decision process for the Keystone XL pipeline".
"(1) declare that a Presidential Permit is not required for the Keystone XL crude oil, cross-border pipeline, including the Nebraska reroute evaluated by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality;
(2) deem that the final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Department of State on August 26, 2011, satisfies all National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act requirements; and,
(3) deem that Secretary of the Interior actions satisfy Endangered Species Act
requirements enabling the needed right-of-way."
In a talking points memo obtained by the Huffington Post, Organizing For America is reaffirms its position in support of the President's, stating that, "OFA supports and respects the process as it is currently underway." The organization prefers to work on changing the conversation on climate change and clean energy more generally.
That seems to be smart at least politically, because according to Pew, 2/3s of Americans want to see the pipeline built, and that is up from a Gallup poll taken last year. The political problem with the pipeline, even though it is expected to only create 35 permanent jobs and most of the oil will be shipped overseas, is that it fits neatly into the narrative about "Middle East" energy independence. In reality it only delays how soon the USA itself will be energy independent.
The President promised an "all of the above" approach to energy, so instead of making his stand in tar sands he's going to let the process unfold. Having the lengthy permitting process and opportunity to veto its subjugation from executive approval, allows him to show his diligence to the environmental community and gives them more time to organize against the pipeline. Some groups like Bold Nebraska are organizing at the county level around property and water rights issues and there is a film, "Above All Else", being made about the landowner who did a tree-sit on his property in Texas.
OFA says that it will, "work with local communities to switch to clean energy and promote the transition to renewable energy in cities and states nationwide.", "expose climate deniers as extreme and dangerous," and probably most important, "ask those in the middle, 'what's your plan?'." The 3rd part is crucial, and until the answer is no longer "build the pipeline", the most you will likely hear from the Administration until the next phase of permitting is mum.
President Obama is in Austin today kicking off his "Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour". Listen to Todd Park, the United States Chief Technology Officer, explain why Austin is the first stop on the tour (hint: we lead the nation in technology sector job growth):
In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out his belief that a thriving middle class is the engine of economic growth - one that we can reignite by investing in jobs, skills, and opportunity.
...[T]he President is making his first stop on a series of Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tours, traveling to Austin, Texas to learn more about what's being done there to create stable and well-paying jobs that can support a middle-class family. He'll visit a high school where students are learning real-world skills for today's jobs and meet technology entrepreneurs who are creating the tools and products that will drive America's long-term economic growth.
Burnt Orange Report will have live coverage of the President's visit on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.
The White House Office of Public Engagement (OPE) has tapped organizers from 18 states to help President Obama fulfill his second term agenda starting with the fiscal cliff. I, along with the group of roughly 75 others from across Texas had the honor of visiting the White House to participate in these discussions. We often hear from Texas Republicans that this administration has forsaken Texas but nothing could be further from the truth. We had the opportunity to hear from Jon Carson, Director for the Office of Public Engagement, and he told us how important Texas was to this administration particularly with respect to our high number of uninsured as it relates to our coming health care exchange. Whether it is expanding health insurance coverage or Medicaid, Texas leaders continue to reject much needed federal assistance while simultaneously claiming we are being ignored. The fiscal cliff is the first challenge but we were assured that these conversations will continue throughout the President's second term.
It took four months for the administration to organize around a message after his first inauguration and I can remember quite clearly Democrats and progressives questioning how such an effective election campaign had failed to seamlessly convert campaign promises into legislative victories even though our party held both chambers of Congress. This was partly due to the transition into the world's most difficult job but also legal constraints preventing Obama For America (the campaign) to act as an official arm of the White House. Though the 2nd issue remains this time around the Administration knew on day one what its priority would be. The President would use his political capital to pass a more fair tax plan that involved raising taxes on the most wealthy among us - a laudable and responsible goal considering the increasing wealth disparity in the US is beginning to look more in line with 3rd world nations.
At the behest of OPE our group held breakout sessions where we discussed many aspects including social media, messaging, advocacy, testimonials and letters to newspaper editors across the state. The social media breakout group came up with a Texas version of the White House's own My2K, and the independent The Action called Don't Jump Texas. The My2K concept is based on the fact that the average middle-class American taxes will go up by $2000 if Congress does not act to avoid the fiscal cliff, and asks Americans what an extra $2K would mean to this this holiday season. The Action was created as a hub for ideas and actions taking place across the country to assist the administration in their efforts to bring tax rates for the top 2% to that of the Clinton era.
Don't jump Texas is the result of our efforts to create an outlet that is Texas-centric and focuses on how going over the cliff will hurt our state. You can join the conversation on twitter by following @DontJumpTX, using the hashtag #DontJumpTX along with #FiscalCliff or find us on facebook at facebook.com/dontjumptx. If you would like to be part of our video testimonial of what the fiscal cliff or an extra $2K means to your family please contact us on either facebook or twitter.
There isn't much time and the White House assured us that the President is prepared to tackle an aggressive second term agenda but that they need this important victory behind them when he lays out his vision on inauguration day January 21st. If you need further proof that this President plans to work closely with Texas in his 2nd term, just ask the administration what they hope could be his greatest 2nd term accomplishment - comprehensive immigration reform.
8.7 million middle-class families will see their federal income taxes go up.
A typical median-income family of four (earning $65,900) could see its income taxes rise by $2,200.
Families will receive a smaller Child Tax Credit, and 3,391,000 low-and moderate-income working families with children will lose access to the Child Tax Credit altogether, costing them an average $1,010 a year.
963,000 middle-class families will no longer get help paying for college from the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
Small businesses will be able to claim immediate tax deductions for only $25,000, rather than $250,000 of new investments.