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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Death Sentences for Mexicans to be Reviewed

From the Los Angeles Times:

The International Court of Justice ruled today that the United States violated the rights of 51 Mexicans on death row and ordered their cases be reviewed.

The United Nations' highest judiciary, also known as the world court, was considering a suit filed by Mexico claiming 52 convicted murderers weren't given their right to assistance from their government.

Manuel Miranda

Law.com has a profile of Manuel Miranda, the former Senate staffer who is accused of having used internal Democrats' memoranda to expose a concerted effort to block President Bush's judicial nominees (including Miguel Estrada).

Pro-Immigrant Thugs

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today strongly condemning the actions of pro-immigration activists who protested at presidential adviser Karl Rove's house over the weekend.

America the Inhospitable?

Two Op-Ed pieces from the New York Times make the point that it's a bad idea to complicate the visa process for foreign students desiring to come to the U.S.

First, Robert M. Gates, former CIA director and president of Texas A&M University:

After 9/11, for perfectly understandable reasons, the federal government made it much tougher to get a visa to come to the United States. Sadly, the unpredictability and delays that characterize the new system — and, too often, the indifference or hostility of those doing the processing — have resulted over the last year or so in a growing number of the world's brightest young people deciding to remain at home or go to other countries for their college or graduate education. Thousands of legitimate international students are being denied entry into the United States or are giving up in frustration and anger.

Second, Steven Clemons, executive vice president of the New America Foundation:

The combination of these factors — an increase in the visa fee and the greater likelihood of rejection — has only strengthened the perception that America has become less hospitable to foreigners in the aftermath of 9/11. So it is not surprising that fewer foreigners aspire to train at American universities and become part of the United States network of talent and innovation.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

U.S. Citizenship

Phyllis Schaffly:

Birth on U.S. territory has never been an absolute claim to citizenship. The 14th Amendment does not automatically extend this to children born to alien parents at war with the United States, the children of diplomatic agents, American Indians or illegal aliens...

It's not the physical location of birth that defines citizenship, but whether your parents are citizens, and the express or implied consent to jurisdiction of the sovereign.

The New Americans

I saw the first episode of the seven-part documentary "The New Americans." It follows a number of families who are coming to the U.S. from places like Palestine, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic. It is a great series about immigration and immigrants. Check your local PBS station's listing and watch it.

The Alien Tort Claims Act

This is Dolly Filártiga, in an Op-Ed piece appearing in Today's New York Times:

Reversing almost three decades of executive-branch policy, the Bush administration is asking the Supreme Court to eviscerate the Alien Tort Claims Act. In a case involving the kidnapping of a Mexican doctor suspected of involvement in the killing of an American drug enforcement official, the Justice Department (supported by amicus briefs from business lobbies) is claiming that the rulings in my case and in 18 others since were based on a mistaken interpretation of the law. Today the court will hear its arguments for a new reading of the 215-year-old statute that would make it virtually impossible for human rights victims to sue.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Diversity Guidelines

From USAToday:

The Bush administration on Friday issued expanded guidelines advising colleges on how they may create diversity on campus without explicitly factoring race in recruiting or admissions.

A copy of the Department of Education report is here.

No Child Left Behind

According to the Washington Times, minority school administrators do not want the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Law to be gutted:

More than 80 black and Hispanic school superintendents across the nation are battling a group of 14 chief state school officers who want Congress to reduce the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Both Republican and Democratic supporters of the Bush administration's education reform initiative in Congress say proposals by the school chiefs would "gut" requirements to improve students' reading and mathematics achievements to the detriment of disadvantaged minority students.

John Moores' Defended

The Wall Street Joural has published a defense of John Moores, the Chairman of the California Board of Regents, who was censured recently for speaking out against racial discrimination in admissions to the University of California system.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

The Myth of the Racist Republicans

Professor Gerard Alexander dismantles the myth that the Republican Party's "Southern Strategy" consists of attracting racists into its ranks:

The mythmakers typically draw on two types of evidence. First, they argue that the GOP deliberately crafted its core messages to accommodate Southern racists. Second, they find proof in the electoral pudding: the GOP captured the core of the Southern white backlash vote. But neither type of evidence is very persuasive. It is not at all clear that the GOP's policy positions are sugar-coated racist appeals. And election results show that the GOP became the South's dominant party in the least racist phase of the region's history, and got—and stays—that way as the party of the upwardly mobile, more socially conservative, openly patriotic middle-class, not of white solidarity.

Children Facing Deportation

The New York Times has a story about foreign juveniles who are in the U.S. without their parents and are at risk for deportation:

Immigration authorities have sought to deport many of the 5,000 unaccompanied minors apprehended each year, and others separated from their families, arguing for strict enforcement of rules to secure the nation's borders from illegal entrants. Every day, about 500 such children are in detention, awaiting a decision. Supporters of the policy say it discourages parents in other countries from sending their children to the United States, and officials at the Department of Homeland Security say they cannot treat a case differently because the subject is a child.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Bush in the Southwest

The President is courting Hispanics in key southwest states by touting a message of home ownership and immigration reform.

Connerly Loses One in Michigan

Ward Connerly, the man leading an effort in Michigan to end affirmative action, has been dealt a serious blow:

A petition drive to end affirmative action in government hiring and college admissions was dealt a severe setback Thursday when an Ingham County judge ruled that the state panel that gave the go-ahead to the effort had “breached (its) duty.”

Circuit Judge Paula Manderfield ordered the State Board of Canvassers to rescind its Dec. 11 approval of the proposed ballot language, ruling that the petition language didn’t make it clear enough that the proposal would dramatically alter the main civil rights clause of the Michigan Constitution.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

President Bush is now getting grief for having the courage to propose real reform in U.S. immigration policy.

A bipartisan group of Senators chastised president Bush Tuesday for failing to push immigration reform through Congress.

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S.-Mexico relations, members attacked Bush for proposing immigration reforms earlier this year, then failing to put the White House's muscle behind a real proposal.

"Narrow Tailoring"

According to Terry Eastland of the Weekly Standard, there is a trend in higher education to move away from racially exclusive affirmative action programs.

More people = more problems?

The American Spectator has an interesting piece by RiShawn Biddle regarding the debate at the Sierra Club about whether the environmental organization will retain or discard its policy of neutrality on immigration:

...a group of left-leaning anti-immigrationists led by former Sierra executive director John Tanton, founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), have tried to nudge the organization toward their position by grabbing seats on Sierra's 15-member board.

...Sierra has already tacitly accepted that less immigration would be a good thing. Since 1968, it has advocated family planning regimes in Third World countries as well as supported legalizing abortion; it has recently demanded President Bush to restore funding for U.N. abortion and family planning programs. A dash of abortion here, a pinch of morning-after pills there, and voilà, the utopian nirvana of zero population growth is served.

Salvadoran Elections

The Heritage Foundation's Stephen Johnson served as an observer for the presidential elections in El Salvador last Sunday, and he has published an interesting analysis of the political situation there.

Thanks to A.J. Nolte for the link.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Kudos to Kerry

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is so bad that even liberal democrats dislike him. John Kerry deserves credit for criticizing Chavez:

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has attacked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a dubious democrat hostile to U.S. interests, delivering a slap in the face to the leftist leader who had portrayed Kerry as a potential friend.

Immersion Success

English learners in California are becoming fluent in English at very impressive rates under the state's immersion programs.

Discrimination at UC

In this article for Forbes Magazine, John Moores, a member of the Board of Regents of the University of California, exposes racial discrimination at the state universities in the Golden State.

Prompted by many complaints from parents whose high-scoring children were rejected by Berkeley, I started probing admissions records. I learned that 359 students with combined SAT scores of 1,000 or less were admitted to Berkeley in 2002, accounting for 3% of the 10,905 students admitted that year. (The national SAT average is about 1,000.) Of those 359 students, 231 were from underrepresented minorities--meaning blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans. Only 19 of the low scorers were white. Some 1,421 Californians with SAT scores above 1,400 applying to the same departments at Berkeley were not admitted. Of those, 662 were Asian-American, while 62 were from the underrepresented minorities.

How did the university get away with discriminating so blatantly against Asians?

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The Wealthiest Despots

Fidel Castro is number 10 on Forbes' List of the Richest World Leaders with $150 million.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Kerry on Cuba

Jeff Jacoby exposes John Kerry's "nuanced inconsistencies" on the Cuba issue.

El Salvador

Tony Saca, the right-of-center candidate in Sunday's elections in El Salvador has won the presidency over Shafik Handal. According to the Washington Post:

Sixty-three percent of eligible voters -- a record number -- turned out for an election that offered a stark choice for the future of this poor Central American country. Saca, 39, of the Nationalist Republican Alliance, or Arena, promised to continue his party's free-market, pro-U.S. policies. Handal had pledged to move in a different direction, reviewing recent economic reforms and shifting more resources to the poor. He also wanted to withdraw El Salvador's 380 troops out of Iraq, and pursue closer ties with Cuba. U.S. officials declared during the campaign that relations would suffer if Handal won...

The [civil] war was a constant theme of the campaign, reflecting the deep scars from a conflict that left 75,000 dead. On Sunday, Handal attended a memorial service for Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the respected Roman Catholic archbishop of San Salvador who was gunned down while celebrating Mass in 1980 after he criticized army abuses during the civil war. A postwar truth commission blamed the founder of Arena, Roberto d'Aubuisson, for the death.

It could not have been an easy choice for centrists and independents in El Salvador. Basically their choice was between the former leader of the communists and the candidate for the party with ties to right-wing death squads.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Affirmative Action Criticized

Why do I get the feeling that this guy does not care much for affirmative action as it is presently implemented?

Once upon time it was racists who insisted that "nonwhite" was a synonym for "intellectually deficient." Today that attitude is promoted most emphatically by the defenders of affirmative action, a system rooted in the belief that blacks and certain other minorities can't hope to win if they have to compete on a level playing field. And so racial preferences are used to tilt the field in their favor: lower admissions standards at colleges and graduate schools, minority set-asides for government contracts, unofficial racial quotas to benefit those applying for jobs. Racial preferences are clearly a boon for some minorities -- particularly those from upper-middle-class families who know how to leverage them to get into a good school or land a good job or get in on a good investment. But they do no favors for minority groups as a whole. Preferences stigmatize them as less able than other Americans to stand on their own two feet. Many end up resenting those who believe they need such a crutch -- as well as resenting those who would take the crutch away.

Terrorism in the Tri-Border Region of South America

From FrontPageMagazine:

Located where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet, the area is home to roughly 20,000 Middle Eastern immigrants—mostly from Lebanon and Syria—and has long been a hotbed for terrorist fundraising, arms and drug trafficking, counterfeiting and money laundering. By moving freely through the region’s porous borders, operatives from the terrorist organizations Hizbollah, Hamas, and according to some reports, al-Qaeda, are able to conduct arms-for-drugs deals with secular Latin American terrorist groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Peru’s Sendero Luminosos (Shining Path). All told, U.S. officials believe that between $10 and $12 billion is funneled through the tri-border region each year, with Hizbollah among the prime beneficiaries.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

2050: Non-white majority?

According to the New York Times:

The Hispanic and Asian-American populations in the United States are expected to triple by 2050, when non-Hispanic whites would account for the barest majority, according to a Census Bureau report to be released Thursday.

We never had it so good

The Economist magazine thinks Americans are exaggerating the supposedly poor state of the economy, and it offers this nugget as part of the explanation:

...slow growth in median income overlaps with a scale of immigration into America outpacing all immigration in the rest of the world put together. Many immigrants have come precisely to take up the lowest-paid jobs. As a result, in the 20 years to 1999 some 5m immigrant households were added to those defined as below the poverty level. Yet among native-born Americans, poverty rates have declined steadily since the 1960s. In the case of black families, median incomes have recently been rising at twice the pace for the country as a whole.

Strip out immigrants, and the picture of stagnant median incomes vanishes. Indeed, for the nine-tenths of the population that is native-born, middle-income trends continue their improvement of the 1950s and 1960s. For these people, inequality is not rising, but falling. Gregg Easterbrook cheekily points out in his excellent recent book, “The Progress Paradox” (Random House), that if left-leaning Americans seriously want better statistics about middle-income gains, then they should simply close their borders.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Venezuela Recall Back On

From the Contra Costa Times:

Venezuela's Supreme Court gave a major boost Monday to opponents of President Hugo Chavez, ruling that signatures on recall petitions need not be validated.

The court overturned a decision by the National Elections Council to force more than 870,000 citizens to confirm they signed the petitions seeking a vote to recall Chavez. The court ordered the council to accept those signatures as valid unless citizens come forward to say they had not signed a petition.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Kerry on Cuba

Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry continues to offer proof that his positions on issues are inconsistent and even contradictory. In this article, the Miami Herald examines his positions on some issues related to Cuba and concludes that Kerry is vulnerable in Florida.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Carlos Fuentes: Huntington is Racist

World-renowned Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes has come out attacking Samuel P. Huntington for suggesting that Mexican immigration is a danger to American cultural unity (article in Spanish). Fuentes made his comments calling Huntington "a racist in disguise" in a column he wrote for the Mexican daily Reforma (available by subscription only).

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Hispanic Nation

In its March 15, 2004 edition, Business Week has a thorough in-depth report on the growing influence of Hispanics in America. The article also discusses the issues surrounding the slow rate of assimilation of U.S. Latinos. Very interesting piece.

Hispanic Votes Wanted

Both parties are courting the Hispanic vote heavily. According to the Dallas Morning News, the Hispanic "prize" is too big to ignore.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Sierra Club & Immigration

This past weekend, National Public Radio (NPR) ran a story on the debate within the environmental community about immigration. This is NPR's description of the report:

Three candidates are running for the Sierra Club's Board of Directors on an immigration-reform platform. Opponents say the club has no business getting involved in the immigration debate and that the issue is attracting hate groups to the organization.

The link above leads to an audio file.

Political Prisoners in Cuba

Journalists and activists still awaiting trial after two years in prison

NUEVA GERONA, March 4 (Carlos Serpa Maceira, UPECI / www.cubanet.org) - Six activists and two independent journalists are still in prison awaiting trial two years after staging a public, peaceful protest to protest the beating of another journalist.

The eight are all accused of public disorder, disobedience, and resistance, and the prosecutor in the case, Iliana Fajardo, is asking for prison terms of between two and seven years for the men.

On March 4, 2002, the eight held a peaceful protest in front of the Antonio Luaces hospital in Ciego de Ávila, where another independent journalist, Jesús Álvarez, had been taken after a beating by Interior Ministry officers. The eight were beaten up themselves and arrested at that time.

Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders have petitioned the Cuban government to release the men.

"Diversity" at Duke University

According to the Duke Conservatie Union:

...registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a whopping 142-to-8 margin among university deans as well as faculty members of eight liberal arts departments.

The faculty may look like America, but does it think or vote like America?

Bush Fox

President Bush made some concessions about border procedures to Mexican President Vicente Fox:

Bush told Fox during visit at his Texas ranch that he will allow some Mexicans who travel often to the United States to bypass requirements that they be photographed and fingerprinted each time.

Driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

The Washington Times opposes the issuance of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants in Maryland.

O'Grady on Venezuela

Mary Anastasia O'Grady of the Wall Street Journal has an interesting take on what's happening in Venezuela. She is not the first one to make the comparison with 1973 Chile.

Navarrete on Huntington

More reaction to Samuel Huntington's upcoming book:

You hear all the time about how the immigrants of today are different from those of 100 years ago. That's just nonsense. They have the same impressive work ethic, the same optimism and the same sense that America is a place of limitless opportunities. They also generate much the same reaction from natives. The same sorts of things that are said about Latinos today were, a century or two ago, said about the Irish, Germans or Italians. They weren't true then, and they aren't true now.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Spellbound

I was privileged to watch a wonderful movie by the name of "Spellbound." (not the 1945 Hitchcock thriller starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman, but the 2002 documentary about the National Spelling Bee).

I had heard a lot of good things about the movie, but I was not prepared for how moving and touching and enlightening this movie truly is. It's about more than grade school kids competing for a trophy, it speaks volumes about America, about competition, about family, about class and about the contributions of immigrants to this country, among many other things.

If you have not seen this movie, run out to your local Blockbuster or put this movie at the top of your Netflix list.

Eco-alarmists Against Immigration

From anti-immigration CSNNews commentator Tom DeWeese:

Immigration issues are generating an internal war within the famed Sierra Club. With the election of its Board of Directors coming in April, the Sierra Club is fighting a two-front war from within as activists from its right wing and left wing seek to take control. It's developing into a war for the very soul of the nation's largest environmental activist group.

From the right, activists seek to change the organization's direction on immigration policy. Currently, the Sierra Club supports open borders to allow the flood of illegals into the United States. The group's rational is that aliens from poor countries would do less damage to the environment here because the US can better cope with pollution. Therefore, says official Sierra Club policy, let them come. Never mind the cost to taxpayers.

Meanwhile, the Green "Sustainable Development" policy is enforcing "Smart Growth"; regulations on American cities, stopping development, controlling water use, and forcing Americans out of their cars in the name of a population explosion that exists only because of an open border policy! Now, some members of the Sierra Club have reasoned that support for such an immigration policy should end in order to protect the US environment.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Hispanics Fight for Vouchers

Latinos are playing a key role is promoting school vouchers:

Driven by economic, political and cultural forces, Hispanics are emerging as one of the most reliably influential groups for building and maintaining policies in which vouchers—tax refunds for parents choosing to send their children to private rather than public schools—are involved.

Affirmative Action in Michigan

From the Washington Post:

Opponents of affirmative action have launched a bid to amend Michigan's constitution to strip racial preferences from state university admissions, state hiring and contracting.

The Fox and the Bush

When the presidents of Mexico and the U.S. meet, immigration is topic No. 1.

Cinema Latino

Critically-acclaimed Spanish-language movies are coming to a DVD store near you.

Che Guevara

With one Che Guevara movie scheduled for release soon and another one in production, it is a good time to examine the record on the over-romanticized life of Comrade Ernesto "Che" Guevara.

Did you know that the beloved Che presided over hundreds of summary executions, pioneered Cuba's Gulag system and thought "the solution of the world's problems lies behind the so-called iron curtain?"

What to do about Venezuela?

What should the U.S. do about the worsening crisis in Venezuela? Stephen Johnson of the Heritage Foundation has some answers.

Having rejiggered electoral regulations in his favor, [Hugo] Chavez risks plunging Venezuela into a civil war. During the last week, his troops have shot seven unarmed demonstrators to death, and Milos Alcalay, his ambassador to the U.N., resigned in protest. Chavez is betting that the Bush administration will not react, fearful that he will cutoff petroleum exports to America and its allies.

But U.S. officials should not shrink from challenging this bully.

They should bring his undemocratic actions before the Organization of American States for debate, freeze accounts of law-breaking Venezuelan officials, and negotiate alternate petroleum supply arrangements with other countries. If they don't, Chavez will have carte blanche to consolidate his authoritarian rule and destabilize other governments and markets in the neighborhood.

There's more. Read the entire article.

"Counterrevolutionary underlining"

This is how bizarre the Cuban dictatorship's repression of dissidents has become:

Jailed dissident will get no more library books for "counterrevolutionary underlining"

HAVANA, March (Reinaldo Cosano Alén / www.cubanet.org) - Imprisoned dissident Rolando Jiménez will not get any more books from the municipal library in the Isle of Youth capital of Nueva Gerona for highlighting the description of a dictator in a work of fiction, said his wife.

"The librarian said they would not let me borrow any more books because Rolando had underlined a characterization of Aníbal Anaya, the dictator in the book, who resembled the Cuban ruler, and that made it a counterrevolutionary underlining," said Maisel Gutiérrez, Jiménez' wife.

Jiménez has a habit of underlining, said Gutiérrez. He was reading El perro, (The Dog) by Alberto Vázquez Figueroa, from Central America. She said the story is that of a political prisoner who escapes and reflects on the dictator's and his own situation.

From CubaNet.org

Venezuela Update

The situation in Venezuela is developing (devolving) very quickly. Yesterday, Venezuela's ambassador resigned to protest human rights abuses by the Chavez government, and a leader of the opposition was shot dead. Some argue that Venezuela is undergoing "Mugabization."

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Mexico Lobbies for Amnesty

The Washington Times:

The Mexican government is lobbying U.S. lawmakers and civic leaders for amnesty or guest-worker status for millions of illegal aliens now in the United States, working through a coalition of U.S.-based immigration rights associations, Mexican-American organizations and grass-roots Hispanic groups.

Argentina Military Confesses

After 22 years of silence, the Argentina military admits it committed "acts aberrant and offensive to human dignity."

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Anti-Hispanic SUVs?

Are Sports Utility Vehicles injuring and killing New York Hispanics at a disproportionate rate? You decide.

Chile

"Chile is an oasis of political stability and economic progress in a region noted for social upheaval and grinding poverty." Read more.

Bush TV Ads

Television ads for the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign will air starting tomorrow. One of the ads is in Spanish.

Venezuela: The Next Cuba?

Paul Crespo answers the question in the affirmative:

There is no doubt that Chavez – with Fidel Castro’s help -- is creating a Cuban-style socialist state in Venezuela. Scholar Maxwell Cameron calls it the world's first "slow-motion constitutional coup." In the process, Chavez also is breathing new life into Fidel Castro’s dying and decrepit dictatorship. But what’s even more worrisome is the fact that the mercurial Chavez is turning the large, oil rich country into a base for international terrorism.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Chavez stays... for now

From an Associated Press dispatch:

Venezuela's elections council ruled Tuesday that the opposition lacked enough signatures to force a recall referendum against President Hugo Chavez.

The Cuban Vote in Florida

Peter Wallsten of the Miami Herald reports that the Democrats want to divide the Cuban-American vote as a way to win Florida. The strategy might just work since there are many Hispanics in Sourth Florida that are not very happy with the President's Cuba policy.

Reaction to Huntington

Andres Oppenheimer responds to Samuel Huntington's claims that Hispanic immigrants' failure to assimilate pose a threat to American unity.

According to a new nationwide study of U.S. Hispanics by the Synovate market research company, the actual trend among Hispanics is toward greater assimilation, despite the new waves of Spanish-speaking newcomers. Over the last 12 years, the number of unassimilated Hispanics -- those who don't consume English-language media -- has decreased from 40 percent to 26 percent

No College for Illegal Aliens in Virginia

From USA Today:

Colleges are within their rights to deny admission to illegal immigrants, a federal judge ruled Wednesday in a lawsuit targeting Virginia's public universities.

The ruling dismisses the core claim of the suit filed by an immigrant-rights coalition — that the schools' policy unconstitutionally usurped the role of the federal government in regulating immigration.

Venezuela Blogger

A blogger by the name of Miguel Octavio is keeping tabs in the rapidly changing situation in Venezuela. (via Instapundit)

Monday, March 01, 2004

Chavez's Potty Mouth

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is calling President Bush ugly names. He needs to wash his mouth out with soap.