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Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Democrats' Immigration Plans

After calling president Bush's immigration proposal a "fraudulent plan," Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry put forth his own idea:

Kerry proposes a three-point plan that would include a crackdown on employers who hire undocumented immigrants, an earned legalization program for undocumented immigrants who have been here a long time and expedited citizenship for immigrants who serve in the U.S. military and are honorably discharged.

And Kerry is not the only one making immigration proposals:

At a Capitol Hill press conference, Democrats proposed allowing illegal immigrants who have worked in the United States for a yet-to-be-determined minimum period of time to stay here and be granted permanent legal residency, creating a "pathway" to eventual citizenship.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Robert Redford and Fidel Castro

Fresh on the heels of news reports that Redford and Castro met in Havana this week to talk about he upcoming The Motorcycle Diaries, is a devastating essay from Agustin Blazquez for NewsMax.com:

Many are baffled and disappointed that despite his longtime connections with Cuba, Redford has failed to acknowledge the obvious. He seems content to take from Cuba and his relations with Castro only what is beneficial to his career and personal enjoyment – which Castro obviously finds beneficial to his personal goals as well.

Mr. Redford has yet to publicly recognize his error, apologize for offending Cubans, denounce or even express dissatisfaction with any aspect of Castro's criminal regime.

If he ever does, I hope he won't try to use that tired old "art is separate from politics," which Castro himself obliterated long ago with one of his mantras: "Within the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, nothing!"

Jimmy Carter in Venezuela

From an Inter Press Service Agency news report:

CARACAS, Jan 27 (IPS) - Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter on Tuesday appeared to remove any remaining doubts about the process underway in Venezuela for holding a recall referendum on the Hugo Chávez presidency. Carter, Nobel Peace laureate, convinced the electoral authorities to open the doors to international inspection and won pledges from Chávez and the opposition that they would respect the results if the referendum ultimately takes place.

I seem to remember a certain North Korean leader promising Jimmy Carter that he would not develop nuclear weapons.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Sealing the Borders Does Not Work

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial arguing that attempts by the U.S. government to close down the U.S. Mexico border have failed:

At least since the mid-1980s, the federal government has invested steadily more money and effort to stop illegal immigration. It's true that the policy hasn't worked, but not because it hasn't been tried...

Walter Ewing, a research associate at the Immigration Policy Center, has run the numbers. In a new paper titled, "The Cost of Doing Nothing," he notes that "Since 1993, the amount of money spent each year by the federal government for border enforcement has more than quintupled from $740 million to $3.8 billion." ... And though much of that has been spent along the Mexican border--77% of illegal aliens come from Latin America--undocumented immigration "has continued at a rate of about 500,000 per year," Mr. Ewing writes...

Conservatives pride themselves on realism, so if a policy keeps failing for nearly two decades maybe some new thinking is in order. That is precisely what Mr. Bush is doing. His temporary guest worker proposal would provide a means for new immigrants to enter the country legally as well as a way for the government to keep track of their whereabouts in the interests of homeland security.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

U.S/Cuba Relations

John Hughes writes for HACER (Hispanic American Center for Economic Research):

With no prospect of any early easing of tensions between the two countries, Bush is apparently taking the longer view. He has directed Secretary of State Colin Powell and Housing Secretary Mel Martinez to chair a commission developing a blueprint to help Cuba move to democracy whenever Castro leaves power.

Hughes also feeds the rumor mill with this little gem:

...rumors persist that Castro's health is in decline. At a rally Jan. 3 to honor heroes of the Cuban revolution, he delivered a speech of only 45 minutes - much shorter than his usual two and three-hour orations on such occasions. While he usually speaks extemporaneously, on this occasion he read his speech from prepared pages.

Interesting...

Friday, January 23, 2004

Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson, Democratic Governor of New Mexico, delivered a response to the President's State of the Union address:

The Democratic Party has always supported the interests of Hispanics. Immigration and civil rights laws, opportunities for housing, and employment — have been inspired by Presidents like John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton and by Democratic Congresses. The Republican Party has collectively ruined much for us, especially with anti-immigration efforts such as Proposition 187 in California. The Bush immigration plan is even being strongly opposed by conservative members of his own party.

He forgot to tell his audience that Bush opposed Proposition 187 while he was governor of Texas and his immigration plan is more ambitious than anything Bill Clinton ever proposed.

Iraq-Cuba Connection

The Wasington Times reports:

A senior Defense Department official tells us one of the alarming after-action intelligence reports that reached the Pentagon is that the communist government of Cuba shared intelligence on the United States with Saddam Hussein's regime. The reports stated that Cuban intelligence, which is known to have extensive "coverage" of U.S. military bases, supplied information to Saddam's intelligence service on the movement of troops and other military activities.

But the CIA doesn't know anything about it. Great!

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Preferences in Texas

Edward Blum of FrontPage Magazine writes,

Last month, Texas A&M announced it will not consider a student’s skin color and ethnic heritage during the admissions process, while UT [University of Texas] announced its intention to do just the opposite.

Viva Biscet!

Please read this story about Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet. It is maddening and heartbreaking.

Dr. Biscet is serving a 25-year sentence for supporting human rights by peacefully staging a hunger strike in his home. He's a principal of the Varela Project, an initiative to secure basic human rights for the Cuban people.

Black/Brown Divide

This is from an interesting story that appeared recently in the New York Times:

...while there has been much joint work by black and Latino national groups around specific issues, alliances do not come naturally. In many places, the two groups have battled over political representation, jobs and public funding. Many blacks and Latinos say the ideal of an enduring "rainbow coalition" is unrealistic.

Rethinking Diversity

Tim Chavez, writing for Hispanic Magazine:

America is not advancing toward Dr. Martin Luther King’s celebrated dream or any other uniting vision. We’re retreating into separate camps with no way to bridge our differences in an American century, when all races and ethnicities will become minorities. Since all discrimination is not considered wrong, there is no real common ground to build toward.

Read the whole thing.

The Motorcycle Diaries

I just read in the papers that The Motorcycle Diaries, a new film about Che Guevara starring Gael Garcia Bernal has just been sold at the Sundance Film Festival and will be distributed in the U.S. by Focus Features. I am afraid this is going to be a movie glorifying the Marxist revolutionary and his "political awakening." What's next? A movie about Fidel Castro's youth?

Daschle Hagel Bill

This story from the Washington Times discusses a new bipartisan proposal by Senators Daschle and Hagel on immigration, but it also talks about competing bills.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

An Imperfect Step in the Right Direction

Anthony B. Bradley of the Acton Institute has this to say about President Bush's Immigration plan:

A study by the Urban Institute shows that immigrants comprise 11 percent of the U.S. population, abut 14 percent of all workers and 20 percent of low-wage workers. Without them our economy suffers. Moreover, unless developing internation economies grow dramatically, these numbers are only likely to expand. The president is taking decisive action to benefit a U.S. economy dependent on immigrants.

Mr. Bradly goes on to say that the Bush plan is "not without problems," but it is a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

VDH on Immigration

Victor Davis Hanson has a thoughtful piece on the president's immigration proposal. Here is a sample:

Instead of squabbling over piecemeal legislation in an election year, rolling amnesties or a return of braceros, we might as well bite the bullet and reconsider an immigration policy that worked well enough for some 200 years for people from all over the world. Reasonable advocates can set a realistic figure for legal immigration from Mexico. Then we must enforce our border controls; consider a one-time citizenship process for current residents who have been here for two or three decades; apply stiff employer sanctions; deport those who now break the law--and return to social and cultural protocols that promote national unity through assimilation and integration.

"...a one-time citizenship process"? is that an amnesty by another name?

Saturday, January 17, 2004

People of Color

Ricardo Pimentel, writing for the Arizona Republic, argues that the so-called Black/Latino alliance is more myth than substance:

The sad fact... is that, particularly on matters of language and immigration - supremely important to Latinos - Blacks are more likely to find common cause with Whites than with Latinos. This because of the perception, right or wrong, that low-skilled and low-paid immigrants got their jobs at the expense of Black workers.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Post-Castro Cuba

I suppose that if the rumors of Fidel Castro's ill health are true, people had better start planning for what happens in the aftermath of a Castro regime in Cuba. At least some people are thinking about it, and it does not sound good.

Plan Hurts Bush

The Washington Times:

President Bush's immigration initiative has angered conservative Republicans so much that some are refusing to donate to his re-election campaign, according to a Bush fund-raiser in Georgia.

W's Immigration Fallacy

Heather MacDonald:

President Bush's proposal to legalize the country's 10 or so million illegal aliens rests on a fallacy: that immigration enforcement has failed to stem the tide of illegal aliens. Therefore, the argument goes, amnesty is the only solution to the illegal-alien crisis. But immigration enforcement has not failed — it has never been tried. Amnesty, however, has been tried, and it was a clear failure that should not be repeated again.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Bush Saves the GOP

Hispanic Business Magazine argues that the Bush immigration proposal may just save the Republican Party from extinction, demographics being what they are. This may be a bit overblown, but it doesn't hurt the Republicans to make the party more appealing to a growing Hispanic population.

[Update: this piece was actually written by Dick Morris for the New York Post]

Conservative Division

Suzanne Fields has a good description of the debate raging among conservatives over President Bush's immigration proposal.

Castro is Very Ill

I am not the type of person to wish bad health on anyone. However, I am very eager to see the people of Cuba freed from the dictatorship of Fidel Castro, and freedom is not likely to come until the generalisimo passes from the scene. A story appearing in the L.A. Times (free registration required) has the leftist mayor of Bogota, Colombia saying that Fidel Castro appeared sick and exhibited "physical limitations" when he visited with the dictator in December. Actually, the most encouraging aspect of the story is that Mayor Luis Eduardo Garzon, a former communist, was critical of the totalitarian nature of the Castro regime and the state of things in Cuba.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Fred Barnes

Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard thinks that the Bush immigration plan is a good idea that won't work.

Competing Opinions

The Washington Times had two competing opinion pieces this morning on the Bush immigration plan. First, Alan Reynolds thinks the president deserves credit for proposing a "clever" way to deal with the immigration issue. Then, Mark Steyn offers a number of objections to the plan.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Heather MacDonald

Heather MacDonald of City Journal has a devastating article on the consequences of the U.S. failure to enforce the country's immigration laws and the problems with "sanctuary policies" in our major cities.

Opposition to Immigration Plan

Significant majorities oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants and proposals to legalize illegal immigrants, according to an ABC News poll. The president is going to have a difficult time selling this to the American people, and the toughest segment to convince will be his Republican base.

Gen. Ricardo Sanchez

Lately, there is a lot of interest in General Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of the occupation forces in Iraq. Hispanic Magazine named him Hispanic of the Year 2003 and the New York Times had a profile of the general recentlty.

The Hispanic Vote

There is no such thing. It's hard to pander to a group that is so difficult to define.

The Latino Vote

Matt Towery analyzes the importance of the Latino vote for Republicans and how Hispanics like former HUD secretary Mel Martinez hold the key in the coming elections.

Conservative Split

More evidence of the split that Bush's immigration proposal has caused among conservatives. Jack Kemp thinks the president should go farther with his guest worker program and offer immigrants a way to earn citizenship. Meanwhile, David Limbaugh (Rush's brother), continues to criticize the proposal because of the damage increased immigration will do to the culture.

Conservative Opinion

While the Washington Post tells us that the Bush Immigration Plan is facing "stiff resistance from both left and right on Capitol Hill," more conservative commentators have put in their two cents on the subject. Here's a sample:

"...the program would provide for the permanent importation of thousands of new workers from overseas and amnesty for illegal aliens already here." Mark Krikorian, National Review.

"Transferring millions of people from the unofficial shadow network to the arthritic bureaucracy that allowed the problem to get this big is unlikely to solve it." Mark Steyn, Chicago Sun-Times.

"The fact is that the broken status quo is bad for all Americans, immigrant and native-born. Business suffers when it cannot find enough workers or must make do with an unreliable illegal flow. Immigrants suffer when they are penalized merely for showing up to work, forced to live underground and unable to assert even their most basic rights. American laborers suffer when immigrant employees who can't bargain for better undercut prevailing wages and work conditions. Our democratic values suffer when we tolerate an all but permanent underclass without rights. And security suffers when we as a nation cannot control our borders or even know who lives among us." Tamar Jacoby, Manhattan Institute.

"Despite the White House's careful aversion to the 'A' word, granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants is a form of amnesty. It will further corrode faith in government by granting special concessions to those who broke the law to get here. And it will send the same message as previous amnesties: If you can make it over the border, you will eventually be granted legal recognition." John Leo, Syndicated Columnist.

"...the broad outline set out by President Bush deserves praise rather than censure. The plan is good for the economy. It will contribute to our national security. It will address pressing humanitarian problems posed by the current system... President Bush has come forward with a pragmatic and realistic proposal that will enhance orderliness, justice and freedom." Stephen Bainbridge, Tech Central Station.

"It was hard to tell from the headlines and instant controversy, but President Bush's January 7 immigration speech was not about granting amnesty to illegal aliens. Instead, the president has proposed a measure that would dramatically curtail illegal immigration." Cesar Conda and Stuart Anderson, The Weekly Standard.

"Since the realists among us have now accepted that illegal immigration will continue, and that eliminating it cannot be done by policies that befit a civilized country, a fundamental change of attitudes has come to pass... the potent truth is that the Bush administration has positioned itself at the vanguard of arguably the most dramatic and welcome change in our immigration policy." Jagdish Bhagwati, The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

If there was any question before, it is now settled: Conservatives are deeply divided over the president's immigration proposal.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Fox wants open borders

Mexican President Vicente Fox told Fox News Sunday that he wants open borders between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. Meanwhile, an organization representing border patrol officers calls Bush's plan "a slap in the face."

Latin America needs more liberalization

As President Bush head for Monterrey, Mexico to participate in the Summit of the Americas, the World Bank is pushing for further liberalization in the economies of Latin American countries. Unfortunately, left-of-center leaders in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela are likely to make things more difficult for advocates of economic freedom.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Brooks on Immigration

The New York Times' newest and best columnist, David Brooks, has a thoughtful editorial in today's paper. He talks about an improvement to the Bush plan that involves a point system, and he discusses the challenges that the legislation faces in Congress.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Cuba's Isolation

With the Cuban government limiting access to the Internet and freedom in general, calls for opening up travel to the island take on a greater urgency. I agree that "U.S. citizens who travel to the island increase the flow of ideas and democratic influence."

Cuba's Gulag

This Miami Herald editorial calls for the release of political prisoners from Cuba's jails. Meanwhile, in San Diego, the American Library Association is being taken to task for saying nothing about Castro's persecution of independent librarians.

Vargas Llosa on Saddam

Mario Vargas Llosa has a brutal editorial piece on Saddam Hussein written for the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion (in Spanish). It's titled The Lord of the Lice. Ouch!

Conservatives Speak Out

Townhall.com has a big collection of opinion pieces by conservatives on the issue of president Bush's immigration plan. Here are some of the names: Jonah Goldberg, David Limbaugh, Grover Norquist (in PDF) and Linda Chavez. Conservatives don't usually brag about diversity, but they certainly should when it comes to ideas and opinions.

Bush's reasons

Lawrence Henry of The American Spectator is less cynical than most and argues that the president proposed immigration reform because he actually thinks it is important. Imagine that.

Chavez is a threat

Lowell Ponte of Front Page Magazine has an explosive report on Venezuela under Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez. Here are some of the more damning claims:

What is clearly underway under our noses is the subversion and takeover of a second Latin American nation by Fidel Castro. Venezuela’s oil wealth and power make it vitally important to the United States and a prize that could rescue Communism from becoming extinct in the New World...

Chavez provides the more than 50,000 barrels of oil each day that keep Fidel Castro’s bankrupt slave island afloat. Much of this oil is purportedly given as payment for Cuban doctors and teachers in Venezuela. Much is exchanged for Castro IOUs that, as several liberal European nations have discovered, this ultimate deadbeat dictator never intends to redeem. Chavez has, in effect, stolen billions of dollars from the people of Venezuela and given it to sustain his comrade Fidel and the Marxist island prison Chavez once described as “the sea of happiness...”

Fidel’s Left-hand-man Chavez has not limited his own Marxist revolutionary ambitions and franchise to Latin America. He reportedly befriended then-Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and aided Osama bin Laden’s 9-11 terrorist group Al Qaeda. According to one defector, Chavez gave $1 million to Al Qaeda. Chavez also reportedly put a Hussein supporter in charge of Venezuela’s passport agency. Since he did this, a number of official Venezuelan passports and other legal identity papers have been found on fleeing Saddamites, and others from Islamic nations such as Syria, Pakistan, Egypt and Lebanon, and on persons linked to international terrorism. Such documents can give as much aid and comfort to terrorists as can a gun or bomb.

These allegations are almost too fantastic to be believed, but it's certainly possible that they are true.

21 Grams

This past week, I saw 21 Grams, the new movie by Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and was very impressed. The performance by Benicio del Toro was amazing and deserving of some recognition.

The WSJ back Bush

The Wall Street Journal's editorial page is endorsing the Bush immigration proposal, and offers suggestions for improving it.

Sanchez on Venezuela

Marcela Sanchez of the Washington Post wants the finger-pointing and the blame games to stop in Venezuela.

Bush's Poll Numbers

It appears that President Bush is making progress with Hispanics. His poll numbers are getting better. The study is available as a PDF document from the Pew Hispanic Center.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Latin America

The claim by the New York Times that Latin American countries are more assertive in opposing the U.S. is almost laughable. The U.S. still holds overwhelming sway in Latin America; no country wants to be on the wrong side of the U.S. for long. One good example of the U.S.'s continued influence is the absence of Cuba from the list of countries participating in the upcoming summit.

Reaction in Mexico

Mexican newspapers, like El Universal (in Spanish), are characterizing the president's immigration plan as a modest first step signaling the beginning of a long debate that is not likely to be resolved before the November election.

Castro Defenders

It's a shame that there are still people on the Left that are defending the repressive Fidel Castro regime. Not to worry, Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice is on the case.

For and Against

Linda Chavez is in favor of the president's immigration proposal, the folks at National Review are not. Andrew Sullivan likes it and Pat Buchanan hates it.

Coverage and analysis

The New York Times has extensive coverage of the president's proposal to offer legal status to illegal immigrants, including a news analysis, video of the president's speech, and the text of the same. The interest thing about the analysis of the proposal is that the NYT seems to think that this is going to appeal to suburban swing voters in addition to Hispanics. I am not so sure this is the case. Suburban swing voters are concerned about security, and they may not think it's fair to reward individuals who broke the law. According to the Washington Times, large majorities of Americans want reductions in immigration and are opposed to amnesty

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Amnesty Program

The New York Times is calling President Bush's proposed immigration reform plan "an amnesty program." Predictably, it's not enough for some and intolerable for others. The debate on this issue should be interesting.

Sojourners

The religious left is trying to help us all understand the difference between illegal alien and undocumented immigrant.

Income Disparity and Immigration

Glenn Reynolds, in an article for TechCentralStation on income inequality, quotes Edwin Stelzer of the Times of London thus:

There is no question that statistics show a rise in [income] inequality. The main reason: America welcomes more immigrants - legal and illegal - than all the other countries of the world combined. These newcomers typically start on the bottom rung of the economic ladder. Exclude them from the statistics, calculates [Gregg] Easterbrook [in his new book, The Progress Paradox], and the increase in inequality disappears. Indeed, for the nine out of ten Americans that are native born, inequality is declining. And here is the reason that will surprise America's critics: the decline in inequality is due in good part to the rising affluence of African Americans.

Interesting! I've never seen this connection being made, but it makes some sense.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Guest Worker Program

More details are now available on the President's immigration reform plan. As expected, the liberal Hispanic groups are not giving the President any credit for his efforts.

Hispanic Survey

On January 8, 2004, The Pew Hispanic Center will release the results of its latest survey of Hispanic attitudes toward Iraq, the economy, the presidential election and a host of other hot topics.

Vouchers

Hispanic Magazine has a good article on the involvement of Hispanic leaders in pushing for school choice programs across the country. If president Bush wants more Hispanic votes toward his re-election, he should focus more of his energy and his considerable political capital on the voucher issue.

Bush's Plan

CNN offers a few more details on President Bush's Immigration reform plan to be announced tomorrow. Based on statements by legalization and amnesty advocates, the president is not likely to get much credit for this initiative from the Hispanic "community" (whoever that is). If the president is going ahead with his plan in the hopes of garnering a larger share of the Hispanic vote in November, he may be bitterly disappointed.

No Amnesty

Phyllis Schlafly does not want another amnesty, and she says most Americans agree with her.

The New Third Rail

Immigration has become the issue nobody wants to talk about, according to Geoffrey Colvin of Fortune magazine.

Immigration

National Review's John O'Sullivan is attacking President Bush's immigration reform plan pre-emptively.

Immigration Reform

The Washington Times is reporting that President Bush will announce his immigration reform plan tomorrow.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Chavez = Castro

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a menace, and the U.S. should do what it can to thwart his efforts (and Fidel Castro's) to destabilize Latin American democracies.

Fearful Nation

Olga Lorenzo laments, from Australia, that the terrorists seem to have succeeded in scaring us.

Advertising

According to the Washington Post, ad dollars are shifting toward the growing Hispanic market.

Zell Miller

Zell Miller really gives it to his fellow Democrats in the WSJ (subscription required). He is particularly biting toward Terry McAuliffe.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Racial Profiling in Illinois

As one might expect, some Illinois law enforcement folks find the new requirement that they keep track of the race of people they stop to be "confusing and cumbersome." If it's confusing and cumbersome, pretty soon police will cease making stops, and law enforcement will suffer.

Martha Montelongo

Ms. Montelongo says that laws to give illegal immigrants driver's linceses is a way to give undocumented aliens the right to vote, and she adds: "It is time to deal with illegal immigration in a forthright and humane manner that does not undermine or rule of law, or the honor and integrity of our Latino citizens."

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Pimentel on Immigration Reform

This piece oozes with sarcasm, and it makes some good points. However, advocates of guest worker programs and amnesty have to answer the critics' concern with security in a post-911 world.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Bob Bartley

Mary Anastasia O'Grady of the Wall Street Journal says (subscription required) that the late Robert Bartley was a good friend of Latin America. She makes a good case.

NYT on immigration

The New York Times weighs in on possible immigration reform in the pipeline.