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Username: Omar Araiza
PersonId: 8153
Created: Wed Jul 10, 2013 at 05:48 PM CDT
Omar Araiza's RSS Feed
Web Page: https://twitter.com/AraizaTX
Email: omar@burntorangereport.com

Omar Araiza is a new staff writer at the Burnt Orange Report, with a focus on immigration reform, the U.S.-Mexico border, and LGBT issues.

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins Creates Task Force To Prosecute LGBT Hate Crimes

by: Omar Araiza

Wed Apr 23, 2014 at 10:30 AM CDT

Hate crimes committed against LGBT individuals in Dallas County will now be given the attention they justly deserve, under the Dallas County District Attorney's new LGBT Task Force.

District Attorney Craig Watkins, the first African-American DA in Texas, is committed to protecting the diverse communities of Dallas County. Reported by the Dallas Voice, after creating the LGBT Task Force, Watkins put his staff of nearly 300 prosecutors and investigators to undergo "Why Diversity Matters" sensitivity training. This, Watkins believes, to better understand and protect the communities they serve.

Read more about District Attorney Craig Watkins' efforts to better protect the LGBT community in Dallas County from hate crimes below the jump.

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Congressman Joaquin Castro Talks Higher Education, Paul Ryan Budget In #UMatter Twitter Town Hall

by: Omar Araiza

Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) participated in the #UMatter Twitter town hall on higher education, answering concerns about how Paul Ryan's new Republican budget affects Texans wishing to attend college.  

Castro answered questions from students tweeting at him and using the hashtag #UMatter, many questioning whether they could even attend college due to their social economic status and lack of financial resources at home.

Read what Joaquin Castro had to say about the unnecessary obstacles placed by Republicans on students below the jump.

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Julian Castro Wipes Floor With Dan Patrick In Televised Immigration Debate

by: Omar Araiza

Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 01:30 PM CDT

Last night, the Texas Tribune and Univision 41 (link in Spanish) televised the much anticipated immigration debate between San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Texas state Senator Dan Patrick, likely Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.

The debate covered multiple issues concerning immigration, such as border security and the Texas DREAM Act -- and even some other issues, including Asian terrorists, "anchor babies," choice, and gay marriage, that Patrick decided mid-debate somehow pertained to the discussion.  

Seemingly missing from the debate was moderator Evan Smith, Trib CEO and Editor-in-Chief, who allowed Patrick to talk over Castro throughout the debate and did not correct Patrick when he used misleading information as facts. Thankfully, Mayor Julian Castro was there to fact-check Patrick and keep him honest about his awful immigration record.

Read the highlights of the debate below the jump.

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Fight To End Abusive Deportation Program Continues In Travis County

by: Omar Araiza

Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM CDT

Austin residents block the Travis Co. jail as part of the effort to convince Sheriff Greg Hamilton to opt-out from S-Comm.
While immigration reform is at a standstill in Congress, many immigration advocacy groups across the country are doing whatever possible to help alleviate the harm done by the continued enforcement of our broken immigration system, many focusing on easing the senseless amount of deportations forced under the administration.

Immigration advocacy leaders in Travis County belonging to Grassroots Leadership, Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, and the Texas Civil Rights Project, are fighting to put an end to the locally enforced Secure Communities program (or S-Comm), a federal program that recruits local police as immigration enforcers.

As many as 19 undocumented residents of Travis County are deported every week since the program began in 2009. The vast majority are initially stopped and jailed because of minor offenses, such as traffic violations, and are forced to face deportation by ICE without even meeting the agency's criteria of a "Level 1" priority.

Read more about the efforts to end S-Comm in Travis Co., as well as what BOR readers can do to help below the jump.

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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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DCCC Launches 'Battleground: Middle Class' Ad Against Rep. Pete Gallego's Republican Opposition

by: Omar Araiza

Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 10:30 AM CDT

'Battleground: Middle Class' ad against Quico Canseco and Will Hurd
Following the release of the Congressional Republicans' new budget on Tuesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launched 'Battleground: Middle Class', targeting competitive House races to inform voters just how destructive the Republicans' new budget plan is towards the middle class.

While it comes to no one's surprise that Republicans only claim to represent middle class voters, their new budget plan goes far-and-beyond in selling out the middle class in order to appease corporations and the ultra-rich.

Highlights of the Republicans' new budget plan include: "Raising taxes on middle class families, ending the Medicare guarantee for seniors and turning Medicare into a voucher program, and costing our economy 1.1 million jobs next year alone - all while heaping tax breaks on corporations that ship jobs overseas."

The DCCC's 'Battleground: Middle Class' ad in Texas targets Republican candidates for CD-23 -- Will Hurd and former Congressman Quico Canseco -- who will be facing each other in a primary run-off to challenge Democrat incumbent U.S. Representative Pete Gallego.

Check out the ad's video, and read the DCCC's press release regarding the 'Battleground: Middle Class' effort against Hurd and Canseco below the jump.

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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott Says, 'YOLO', Comes Out In Support Of Gay Marriage

by: Omar Araiza

Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 00:00 PM CDT

Ed Note: Check the date on this post...
Attorney General Greg Abbott has been one of the state's most adamant opponents of LGBT rights, going as far as promising to continue to uphold Texas' now ruled-unconstitutional marriage ban despite his long-time friend being one of the gay plaintiffs in the lawsuit. This same friend flew to be by Abbott's bedside when Abbott suffered the horrible accident that left him paralyzed below the waist.

But it seems Abbott has now experienced a change of heart.

"I had an epiphany this morning when I looked at myself in the mirror," Abbott admitted to the Associated Press. "I thought, "Gosh, Mark (Phariss) and Victor (Holmes) make such a cute couple. They've been happily in love for over sixteen years now. It'd be such a shame if I were the person standing between their love and the true happiness of all other LGBT couples in Texas."

"Look, this whole governor gig thing may not play out as smoothly as I thought it would, with me seriously offending someone new every week. I just don't want to be forever known as that guy who stood against the love of his long-time friend and the rest of the thousands of LGBT couples in Texas simply looking to be treated like everyone else. That sounds like the bad guy in a James Cameron movie."

Read what else Greg Abbott and other prominent Republican figures had to say 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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Three Texas Democrats in Congress Did Not Sign Letter Supporting LGBT ENDA Legislation

by: Omar Araiza

Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 03:30 PM CDT

U.S. Reps. Henry Cuellar, Pete Gallego, and Gene Green, the missing Texas Democratic votes
This week, a final total of 220 U.S. Representatives and Senators joined in signing a letter urging President Obama to issue an executive order prohibiting workplace discrimination against LGBT federal workers. This executive order would cover as many as 16 million employees.

"We are writing to urge you to fulfill the promise in your State of the Union address to make this a 'year of action' and build upon the momentum of 2013 by signing an executive order banning federal contractors from engaging in employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. As you have said before, 'now is the time to end this kind of discrimination, not enable it,'" says the letter.

Nine out of the twelve Texas Democratic members in the House were among those who signed the letter, in addition to also co-sponsoring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that is further more comprehensive at preventing workplace discrimination than an executive order by President Obama.

As reported by Lone Star Q, only three Texas Democrats were among the lawmakers who did not sign the letter: Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), and Gene Green (D-Houston). Cuellar, Gallego and Green are among the very few Democrats in Congress who have also not co-sponsored ENDA.

With only 19 more votes needed to force Speaker John Boehner to call ENDA up to the floor, every single vote matters. Especially missing support by Democrats.

Read more below the jump.

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President Obama Awards Latino, Jewish, And African-American Veterans Overlooked Due To Prejudice

by: Omar Araiza

Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 09:00 AM CDT

Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris, Sergeant First Class Jose Rodela, and Specialist Four Santiago J. Erevia with President Obama
On Tuesday, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to 24 veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Many of these veterans were previously overlooked due to prejudice against their ethnicity or race, the majority of whom were Latino, Jewish or African-American. Only three remain alive and were present at the ceremony.

Two of the three courageous men present at the ceremony are from right here in Texas -- Sergeant First Class Jose Rodela and Specialist Four Santiago J. Erevia. Both Rodela and Erevia are Vietnam veterans from San Antonio.

"This ceremony reminds us of one of the enduring qualities that makes America great, that makes us exceptional," said President Obama. "No nation is perfect. But here in America, we confront our imperfections and face a sometimes painful past, including the truth that some of these soldiers fought and died for a country that did not always see them as equal."

President Obama righted the historic wrong after a twelve-year review done by the Pentagon of past discrimination in the military. The review was prompted by a 2002 law passed by Congress. "This is the length to which America will go to make sure everyone who serves under our proud flag receives the thanks that they deserve," said Obama.

Our biggest gratitude to these brave soldiers, and to those who fought hard in order to correct this past injustice done against them.

Read the names of those honored, including five Texans, and watch an AP clip highlighting the touching ceremony below the jump.

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