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NewsTaco's Latino News Roundup: Murdock, Perry, Poverty, Ed, Immigration & The Border Patrol


by: NewsTaco

Thu Sep 29, 2011 at 11:07 AM CDT

(NewsTaco is a leading Latino news site. BOR is excited to welcome their weekly wrap-up of important stories. - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Steve Murdock: Educating Latinos Vital To Future Of U.S. - Former Texas Demographer Steve Murdock discusses the implications of the changing Latino population and the future of Texas.

More Latino Children In Poverty Than Any Other Group - According to a recent report - "Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record, Leads Nation" - from the Pew Hispanic Center, more Latino children are living in poverty, at 6.1 million. This was more children than any other ethnic group in the U.S.

Op-Ed: Rick Perry's Voter Legislation Disenfranchises Latino Voters - The Texas Democratic Party's Dep. Political Director for Base Outreach Rebecca Acuña writes, from illegal racial gerrymanders to voter suppression legislation, Rick Perry seems all too eager to trample on the voting rights of Texans.

First Online Mexican American Studies Degree Launches In TX - NewsTaco reported this week that the first ever completely online Mexican-American studies degree launched at South Texas College in McAllen, Texas.

Is Immigration About Jobs, Humans Or Business? - We asked a panel of professionals from different walks of life about the varied colors of the immigration issue, from a business, political and humanitarian standpoint.

Juggling Optimism & Pessimism In U.S.-Mexico Relations - A discussion of pessimism and optimism revolving around the U.S.-Mexico relations in Texas, as well as interviews with Laredo Mayor Raúl G. Salinas and El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar.

Latina Volunteerism Often Manifests Off The Beaten Path - A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Latinos volunteer at lower rates than other ethnic groups but Laura Donnelly Gonzalez, co-founder Latinitas, tells us that Latinas not only "get" volunteerism, but have taken ownership of their volunteerism in ways that will immensely benefit the U.S.

Report: Widespread Abuse By Patrol Agents Along Border - The group No More Deaths released a report detailing widespread abuses by Border Patrol agents of people in their custody. The report, "A Culture of Cruelty," includes information gathered over two-and-a-half years from over 12,000 individuals in more than 4,100 interviews conducted on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and concludes that there exists "an institutional culture of abuse within Border Patrol."

One Immigrant Son Tries To Be A Border Patrolman, Is Rejected -  A story from Brownsville about a young man, the son of an undocumented mother, who graduated from college and then entered the Border Patrol to provide for the rest of his family. Ultimately, though, he found out the Border Patrol was not for him.

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Where do you draw the line?


by: Kirk Watson

Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 00:24 PM CDT

As many of you know, every ten years, states redraw their state and federal legislative districts to reflect new census data. What you may not be as familiar with is our infamous redistricting history in Texas.

The most recent, and probably most egregious, attempt at redistricting happened in 2003. We are still recovering from that battle.

Now, it's time for Texas to redistrict according to the new census numbers. So, even facing a deep budget hole and a typical set of legislative battles, we have to tackle redistricting, too.

Let's Get Into the Details

The Texas House of Representatives has 150 members, while the Texas Senate has 31 members. Each of those members' districts must be drawn with almost exactly the same number of people. According to census information, each Senate district should have around 811,147 people. To put that number in perspective, each Texas Senate district will have more residents than the states of Wyoming, Vermont, or Alaska. Each Texas House District should have 167,637 people after redistricting.

Unlike the number of Congressional Districts (which can increase or decrease based on the rate of population growth in Texas relative to the rest of the country), the number of Texas Senate districts is set at 31. So, as the population of Texas increases, the number of people within each Senate district also increases.

Simply dividing the districts evenly by population, of course, isn't very hard. Doing so in a way that is legal, and that fairly reflects Texas regional and political views as well as its historic communities of interest, is another matter. To get more information on Texas redistricting, visit: www.kirkwatson.com.

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Texas Second-Worst In Census Returns


by: Katherine Haenschen

Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 02:42 PM CDT

More bad news about our census return rates: the state of Texas is second-worst in our rate of response to the mail-in census. Only the home state of Rick Perry's home-girl Sarah Palin is doing worse than Texas. Texans need to do better, in order to make sure we have the resources we need for our state to prosper over the next 10 years and beyond.

Mail in your census forms!

The national average as of yesterday was a 50% response rate by mail. Texas is at 44%, and our urban areas are under-performing the rest of the state. Travis County ranks 31st out of 33 large counties in terms of return rate. We need our urban areas to get counted, and make sure that our population statistics and Congressional districts fully appreciate and include our diverse population.

While the census shouldn't be politicized, it's important to note that the results have real political ramifications for those of us in Texas, as well as nation-wide. These numbers form the basis for Congressional redistricting. An accurate count is a great first step towards preventing efforts like the unconstitutional gerrymander that Republicans Tom DeLay, Tom Craddick and company pushed through in the mid-2000's.

Furthermore, problems with this census are already being linked back to Bush administration mismanagement and failure to prepare for our count. From The New York Times:

In 2006, both the Census Bureau director and deputy director abruptly quit, calling attention to the Bush administration's lack of support for the census. In 2008, equipment failures that were long in the making created 11th-hour delays and cost overruns. In 2009, the late nomination and slow confirmation of a new director left the agency without a leader for much of the crucial year before the count.

As a result, a bill with strong bipartisan support is making its way through both chambers of Congress to give the Census Director more autonomy. This all just ties back to how important an accurate count is for a functioning government on the federal, state, and local level.

An complete count also needs to accurately represent our growing minority population here in Texas. That's why it's great to see the Travis County Democratic Party co-sponsoring tonight's "Count Me Latino" event to encourage census participation among our growing Latino population:

Count Me Latino Census Rally
Tonight! March 31, 2010
6:00-8:00 p.m.
Casa Chapala
101 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, Texas
RSVP on Facebook

It's important to note a key difference here: Democrats want everyone to get counted. Republicans are afraid of the census.

This is bearing out in returns. The Washington Independent ran some numbers, and Republican strongholds are under-performing even worse than the rest of the state:

King County (92.% for McCain) - 14% return rate, down from 48% in 2000.
Roberts County (92.1% for McCain) - 22% return rate, down from 68% in 2000.
Ochiltree County (91.7% for McCain) - 39% return rate, down from 71% in 2000.
Glasscock County (90.1% for McCain) - 30% return rate, down from 49% in 2000.
Oldham County (88.4% for McCain) - 26% return rate, down from 72% in 2000.

No wonder, given how Republicans like Ron Paul and Michelle Bachman have demonized our census and refused to return their forms. It's positively un-American, particularly given how the census is specifically enshrined in the Constitution.

So go find that census form you received in the mail, fill it out, and drop it in the mail tomorrow. April 1st is National Census Day, so do your patriotic duty and mail it in.  

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Texans: Time To Get Counted!


by: Katherine Haenschen

Mon Mar 29, 2010 at 03:12 PM CDT

Texans are falling behind in our census participation, and with Census Day coming up this Thursday, there's no better time to participate. Only 27% of Texans have participated, lagging behind the national average of 34%.

The Bill White campaign released a statement today urging folks to return their forms and make sure Texas gets counted:

"Texan tax dollars belong in Texas. To make sure we aren't shortchanged in Washington, every Texan must stand up and be counted in the census," said Bill White. "Our voice in D.C. needs to be as big as our state."

Bill White is right! A HUGE AMOUNT of federal funds are tied to census results, and it is imperative that Texans get counted so we receive our fair share. Medicaid, highway funds, veterans' care, non-profit grants, local government projects -- all are connected to our census results. Get those forms in!

There's an even bigger imperative at work here for Texas: Congressional redistricting. Due to population growth in the past 10 years, Texas is due to receive 4 new Congressional seats. Get counted, and help make sure that Texas has a representational voice in Washington, D.C.

Best of all, taking the census is ridiculously easy. I filled mine out in about 2 minutes and actually wondered if I'd missed some of it. You can even practice online.

Want to celebrate turning in your census form? Come to the Austin/Travis County Complete Count Committee's Rally on Census Day this Thursday! Live music, local merchant giveaways, and all sorts of other fun stuff.


Census Day Rally
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Time: 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: Main Mall, U.T. Campus

Let's get counted, Texas! Turn in those census forms today.  

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

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