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Friday, April 30, 2004

Book Review of Who Are We?

Alan Wolfe reviews Samuel P. Huntington's Who Are We? for Foreign Affairs, and he's not impressed:

Huntington's contention that recent immigrants are more hostile to the American tradition of assimilation than those who came before them is similarly flawed. He reviews evidence that Mexicans, the largest immigrant group, are not as well educated as others, are less likely to apply for citizenship, and do not intermarry as frequently. Yet contrary to popular opinion, Mexican-Americans acquire English in ways similar to previous immigrants and, according to at least one important measure of assimilation -- conversion to evangelical Protestantism -- are likely ahead of all other immigrant groups except Koreans. Huntington's claims that Mexican immigration will result in "the demographic reconquista of areas Americans took from Mexico by force in the 1830s and 1840s" and that immigrants may try to reconnect Southwestern states to Mexico are not only incendiary, they have little basis in fact.

There's more where that came from.

Cuban Police Tactics

From CubaNet.org:

Police blackmail dissident with his own photographs

SANTA CLARA, April 28 (Diolexys Rodríguez Hurtado, Cubanacán Press / www.cubanet.org) - Police arrested dissident Dagoberto Quintana, confiscated his photographs of a meeting of dissidents, and told him they were going to tell his fellow dissidents that he had given them the pictures so they could identify the people in them.

Quintana, a peaceful opponent of the government who belongs to the Movimiento Democracia (Democracy Movement), was waiting at the Trimagen photo studio for his photographs of a dissidents' meeting to be developed when two officers of the National Police came for him and took him to the third police unit in handcuffs.

At the station, they told him they would show the photos around dissident circles and spread the word that Quintana had provided them as a service to State Security.

Affirmative Action Bake Sale

From the Arizona Daily Star (via HispanicOnline):

College Republicans held a bake sale Wednesday on the UA Mall, charging white men $1, white women 75 cents, Hispanics 50 cents and blacks 25 cents for a cookie.

"If you think this bake sale is offensive you are not alone," said Pete Seat, the chapter's president.

"However, these are just cookies. Affirmative action plays a similar game with real lives. If you are as insulted as we are, help us end this practice of discrimination."

Kerry Campaign Diversity

When you are a champion of superficial diversity, you can expect to get this sort of criticism:

...in interviews over the last week, more than a dozen minority elected officials and political strategists voiced concerns about what they said was the dearth of representation in Mr. Kerry's inner circle and worried that he was taking black and Hispanic votes for granted...

Reverend Al puts it all in perspective, though:

"I don't know whether the criticism is based on people wanting to see the inner circle diversified or whether it's a job application through the media," Mr. Sharpton said.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Bush and Cuba

The President gave a speech to supporters in Florida and talked about, among other things, a free Cuba:

He declared the fight for freedom shouldn't be isolated to the Middle East; it should also focus on our own back yard. Bush outlined his future policy on Cuba with two words, "Cuba Libre" [Free Cuba], drawing raucous applause and chants of "Viva Bush" from the crowd.

"George W. Bush has been a consistent defender of the principles of liberty, freedom and respect for human rights in both Cuba and Haiti," U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen told The Hurricane. "His opponent has been all over the board on this issue and has established that he can not be trusted to do what is right for the Cuban and Haitian people."

The Latinization of America

Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos and John Hopkins University professor Adam Segal have a very good article in the Baltimore Sun:

National political campaigns are increasingly bilingual as they are reflecting who we are becoming as a nation. Though we are months away from Election Day, the leading candidates and their affiliated groups have already launched Spanish-language television, radio and print advertisements intent on attracting the attention and support of Latino voters in Florida, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.

In the past, political strategists debated whether to invest thousands of dollars for specialty media efforts to reach Hispanic voters in limited areas.

Now they ask which prominent group will handle this strategy and how many millions of dollars will be set aside for this purpose in more than a dozen states.

Presidential candidates and parties are increasingly steering their national campaign strategies toward Latino voters, who are flexing their political muscles in key battleground states.

I've only excerpted the parts that deal with politics, but the authors have some very insightful comments about cultural and demographic issues as well. Read the whole thing.

Lip Service

Democrats and assorted liberals like to make a big deal about "diversity." They usually use diversity to mean different skin colors and ethnicities, not diversity of ideas. So, this makes this story particulary interesting:

WASHINGTON - A lack of minority representation at the upper levels of John Kerry's presidential campaign threatens to weaken enthusiasm among black and Hispanic voters, two core constituencies, some Democrats and advocacy groups say...

A campaign staff's makeup suggests what the White House staff could look like if the candidate wins, said Lisa Navarette, a vice president of the National Council of La Raza, a nonpartisan Hispanic advocacy group.

The average voter may not focus on this, she said, "but for people concerned about the strength of the commitment to diversity, you would have to be concerned."

Many in the Democratic party disdain and insult minorities that don't adhere to the left-liberal agenda as not being "really Hispanic" or "really black," and they accuse the Republicans of being the enemies of minorities. Meanwhile, President Bush has one of the most diverse cabinets in history, and the Democrats have derailed the appointments of notable and exemplary Hispanics such as Linda Chavez and Miguel Estrada. What's wrong with this picture?

Aid to Cuba

Marvin Olasky:

What if an army of compassion would enlist to bring in medicine or milk? Cubans would be helped, and such an approach would also contribute to the building of civil society. Churches and other non-governmental organizations that now distribute milk are learning to take action outside of government control by working with each other and developing new connections in their communities. In essence, they are preparing for a democratic transition in Cuba, helping new centers of governance to emerge alongside the tottering offices of the old.

The United States now offers humanitarian visas to those bringing in desperately needed items; that opportunity should be greatly advertised and promoted.

Jose Padilla

Debra Saunders, after describing Jose Padilla's violent and deceitful past:

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments against holding Padilla, critics like to dismiss his jailers as law-and-order fanatics. They've turned U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft into such a caricature — read right-wing nut — that they can't imagine Mr. Ashcroft actually might want to save innocent people's lives. In their world, Mr. Ashcroft is dangerous, but Padilla is not.

Too Many People?

The concept of overpopulation has been used by nativists and radical environmentalists to oppose and discourage immigation into the U.S. from the Third World. However, the overpopulation myth is being discredited by economists and other scholars. The fact is that developed countries need an infusion of people in order to maintain the economy and government benefits at the levels to which we have become accustomed.

Al-Qaeda Training Hondurans

This is a very troubling report from the Chinese Xinhua news agency:

MANAGUA, April 27 (Xinhuanet) -- The Islamic terror organization al-Qaida could be training several Honduran citizens who have converted to Islam to recruit them into their militia, Honduran Security Minister Oscar Alvarez said Tuesday.

At a press conference in the capital Tegucigalpa, Alvarez said several Honduran citizens who study at local mosques received scholarships to travel to Middle East countries to study Islam, but they might be trained to join the terror group.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Justice Gonzales

The speculation in the Conservative blogosphere is that Arlen Specter's victory in the Pennsylvania Republican primary, and his ascension to the Chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will translate into the appointment and confirmation of Alberto R. Gonzales, Counsel to the President, as the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice. A "moderate" like Al Gonzales is not the Conservatives' first choice to replace the next retiring supreme.

Huntington's Book

The reviews of Samuel Huntington's Who Are We? are beginning to trickle out as the release date approaches. Rich Lowry of the National Review gives the book an unqualified "thumbs up" and the Weekly Standard has a thorough and slightly more critical review by UVA Professor James W. Ceaser:

Huntington, to be sure, dwells almost exclusively on the downside of Hispanic immigration, while his critics have sought out more hopeful signs, citing contrary evidence of trends of Hispanic assimilation and noting that Hispanics actually seem to place a greater emphasis on the American values of hard work and family than do most other Americans these days.

WHAT'S MORE, almost all developed nations have recently faced intense population pressures from poorer countries--particularly because these developed nations need additional labor. From this perspective, America might feel itself fortunate that whatever assimilation challenges it faces come from Mexico rather than, say, from Algeria. But while it is fashionable and certainly much easier on the part of Huntington's critics to assume things will work out, who can be sure that the prediction of a "bifurcated" culture will prove to be wrong? Huntington, the patriot, has the resolve of Cassandra, sounding an unwelcome warning that few wish to hear. One thing is certain: He is not about to receive La Raza's man of the year award.

Chile - Hypercapitalist Teacher's Pet

Great article on Chile from the New York Times:

Today, Chile is a hypercapitalist state at a time when Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador and Uruguay are all moving leftward and questioning free trade and open markets. Chile may also be suffering from what might be called teacher's pet syndrome. Since the 1980's, other Latin American countries have had to endure repeated lectures from the United States, Europe and Japan on the need to become more like Chile in opening their economies to the outside world and combating corruption.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Arlington, Virginia Controversy

From the Washington Times:

Virginia lawmakers and the state attorney general yesterday expressed dismay that Arlington County plans to ignore a new law aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants in the fight against gangs and terrorists...

The law, which takes effect July 1, permits local police to arrest any illegal immigrant who previously was convicted of a felony and deported. Under current law, police investigating a crime are not authorized to forcibly hold an illegal alien pending the arrival of a federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent.

Hispanic Conservatives

The America's Future Foundation has a blast from the past posted on its website, an article by Mario H. Lopez on communicating conservativism to American Hispanics:

The personal values of Hispanics are conservative. From birth Hispanics ingrain in their children notions of family, hard work, and opportunity. The rapidly growing Hispanic middle class is, in fact, discovering the need for lower taxes and less government regulation of small businesses.

Wisconsin Hispanics

From the Appleton, Wisconsin Post-Crescent:

Both parties are putting more effort into attracting Wisconsin’s Hispanic voters than during the 2000 presidential campaign because new Hispanic voters could tip the presidential election if it is close, party officials said....

Traditionally, minorities are linked to the Democratic Party, but Hispanic leaders, including Solberg and Herrera, no longer think that is automatically true.

The Republican Party message about family, education, jobs and small-business opportunity has resonance in the Hispanic community, said Solberg, who supports Bush’s re-election.

Racial Profiling

Read Walter Williams on racial profiling:

What is racial profiling, and is it racist? We can think of profiling as using cheap-to-observe characteristics as indicators or proxies for more-costly-to-observe characteristics. A person's physical characteristics, such as race, sex and height, are cheap to observe, and they might be correlated with some other characteristic that's more costly to observe such as disease, strength or ability.

Prop 187 Fails Again

From the Sacramento Bee:

The author of Proposition 187 conceded Monday his campaign will not have enough signatures to qualify another ballot measure designed to deny public benefits to illegal immigrants.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Child Labor in the Third World

Anti-child-labor laws may be harmful to children, according to Gautam Bastian:

They deliver tea, make firecrackers, embroider intricate designs, manufacture bangles, and most of them don’t go to school. Policymakers and moralists claim it is contemptible, yet these little laborers are holding out a slim lifeline to impoverished families in the hinterland, or are just trying to keep themselves from starvation. The child laborer has a tough life, but those that loudly proclaim themselves to be his saviors may in fact be making his life more difficult...

Undoubtedly there are instances of cruel, unjust, and deceptive employers as well as harsh working conditions in hazardous industries. But this is true for all workers, not just children, and the health implications are equally grave for all. Only technological developments and an increase in capital intensity can ameliorate these circumstances, neither of which can be accomplished by this policy. Forcing the poor into destitution, by demeaning their efforts to help themselves, is the cruel reality of ant-child labor legislation.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Latino Views on Iraq

From the Pacific News Service:

With economic uncertainty at home, many Latinos are likely skeptical of funds and resources expended in a foreign war.

The history of U.S. interventions in Latin America also informs the skepticism. The U.S. military invaded Mexico three times, and the CIA's involvement in Central and South America in the 1980s makes Latin American leaders dubious of U.S. intentions in Iraq.

Border Security vs. Environmental Impact

Continuing with the Earth Day theme, here's an article from USAToday regarding the environmental impact of a triple fence being erected where the U.S./Mexico border meets the Pacific Ocean:

Opponents of the elaborate barricade in the southwestern corner of the USA say it would harm endangered species in the sensitive Tijuana Estuary, level part of a scenic canyon and block public access....

Fence opponents say there's no point in harming the environment around San Diego to stop migration that just moves farther east...

The status of finishing the fence project is unclear. Two years ago, Congress exempted the project from some environmental reviews. The Department of Homeland Security could decide to bypass all state and local objections and ask the president for the go-ahead with the controversial construction.

Baseball & Immigration

From the Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required):

Some 200 of the game's hottest new talents are stuck back in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Mexico or wherever scouts found them earlier this year -- waiting for visas.

Managers estimate that each of the 30 minor league clubs is missing between five and 10 players who can't get into the U.S. The quota for the kind of visa they need is 66,000 per year; when the cap was reached in March, the minors, which don't firm up their rosters until spring, were out of luck....

Minor league players must have a H-2B, in the quota-limited visa category that also applies to fruit pickers and seasonal day laborers....

The ultimate solution, one that would solve the problem of which this saga is only a piquant example, is for Congress to stop imposing visa quotas to deprive the U.S. of everything from computer geniuses to ordinary folk willing to work hard at jobs Americans don't want.

The WSJ warns that if the problem isn't resolved, American teams will move their teams to where the talent is found (another form of "outsourcing").

Sierra Club & Immigration

From the Associated Press:

SAN FRANCISCO — Sierra Club leaders beat back an effort by anti-immigration forces to gain control of the nation's largest and most influential environmental group.

In elections for the Sierra Club's 15-member board of directors, candidates picked by the leadership won all five open seats in a landslide, according to vote tallies released Wednesday.

Earth Day Special

To commemorate Earth Day, please read an essay from the National Center for Public Policy Research on the effect of tough emissions legislation on the economic fortunes of Hispanic families:

Indicators measuring the economic progress of America's Hispanic community show Hispanics are on the upswing from terrible economic lows just decades ago. Nevertheless, the Hispanic community remains at the bottom of America's socioeconomic ladder.

Enacting tough emissions restrictions on businesses will force everyone to tighten their belts, but there aren't any more notches left on the belts of many Hispanic families.

The End of Multiculturalism?

John Derbyshire has some provocative speculation for us to consider:

Could American elites dump multiculturalism — the doctrine that any culture is just as good as any other (except of course for the Ice People culture of white Europeans, which is inhuman, oppressive, colonialist, greedy, and cruel)? And could this lead to the prospect... of a turn to racism on the part of our cognitive elites?

I wouldn't rule out either.

...it is an imaginative stretch to conceive of our elites turning against the settled dogma of forty years. Stranger things have happened, though.

Beat the Worms

News from Cuba:

Political organizations said to encourage beatings of dissidents

HAVANA, April 20 (María López, Lux Info Press / www.cubanet.org) - Political organizations affiliated with the government are said to be encouraging their members to beat any dissidents speaking up about human rights or the Varela project, a dissident initiative asking for more open government.

"When the worm is well beat up, then you call the police," is the slogan reported to have been repeated in several organizations' meetings. Worm is the term given to anyone who is not favorable to the Revolution.

Henry Saumel, the president of the Republican Alternative dissident movement, was recently approached by a friend who has ties to one such organization. The friend advised him to keep a low profile in public, and then asked him for information about the Varela project, of which he said he hadn't heard before.

It's "wrong" to leave Iraq

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer thinks it's "wrong" for Spain and Honduras to abandon Iraq at this stage of the reconstruction. That's not keeping the Dominican Republic from pulling out, though.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Minorities Against Gay Marriage

From Christianity Today:

The Alliance for Marriage (AFM), which advocates a constitutional amendment to protect marriage, released a poll on March 4 showing that 63 percent of Hispanics and 62 percent of African Americans support an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. AFM has broad support among minorities...

Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for the Bush campaign, said the minority vote could make a difference. Other Republican strategists say that the push for homosexual marriage will split some Hispanic voters from the Democrats, while keeping socially conservative African American Democrats home on Election Day.

Thanks, A.J.

Racial Disparities in Health Care

Roger Clegg, writing for National Review Online has some thoughts on government solutions for a racial/ethnic disparity in health care:

Whenever someone promises to attack a racial disparity, I worry. Because, inevitably, the problem turns out to be rooted in something other than race, so that taking a race-oriented approach results in more discrimination than you had to start out with...

The point is that it is very unlikely that the right way to address a racial or ethnic health disparity is through a racial or ethnic approach. These are health issues, not civil-rights issues. There are millions of people who need better health care, and they come in all colors. It is wrong to pass a bill that will encourage the health-care system to focus more on some racial or ethnic groups than others.

Roger Clegg is general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity.

Quid Pro Quo?

Here's a unwise and unkind suggestion from anti-immigration advocate Mark Krikorian:

QUID PRO QUO

Honduras is following Spain's lead and pulling its troops out of Iraq. In light of this decision, it would seem appropriate to reassess our extension of "temporary protected status" for an estimated 87,000 Honduran illegal aliens in the United States. This status was originally granted because the damage to Honduras' infrastructure from Hurricane Mitch in 1998 was thought to be such that returning their illegals would present a hardship to the country. Well, their airports should be working again now, so it's time for the illegals to go home.

Race and Grades

Anthony B. Bradley of the Acton Institute addresses a number of myths about race and academic performance:

Hard work will cure a lot of the problems that are commonly attributed to a lack of funding or lack of diversity. Racial diversity, and the presence of white kids specifically, do not result in minority students achieving more—intense studying every day does.

Matrícula Consular

The Matrícula Consular, an identification card issued by Mexican consulates in the U.S. to Mexican citizens regardless of immigration status, is being criticized for the risks it poses to national security:

Disappointingly, elected officials from both parties are seeking to expand the acceptance of the Matricula Consular. One obvious reason is that Mexican citizens working in the U.S. transfer an estimated $12 to 13 billion annually back to their home nation. They also open bank accounts here to facilitate these transfers.

The problem, however, is that they are easy to forge and can be obtained with minimum scrutiny.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Latin Americans Prefer Dictators?

Very sad and disturbing news from Latin America:

As evidence that the weakness of democratic governments in Latin America is breeding nostalgia for the strongman rule of the past, 55 percent of people surveyed say they would support the replacement of a democratic government with an "authoritarian" regime if it could produce economic benefits.

First Hispanic in NJ Supreme Court

Governor Jim McGreevy of New Jersey has nominated Republican lawyer Roberto Rivera-Soto to the state's highest court.

Local Police and Immigration Enforcement

The Christian Science Monitor has an editorial on the growing cooperation between the Homeland Security Department and local police in detaining illegal immigrants.

Democrats' Plantation Politics!

Leonard Brennan Rodriguez has some strong words for Latino voters:

For generations, Democrats have sold the Latino and Black communities a lie as shameful as segregation. And if you have ever been told, or actually believe, that “Republicans are for the rich” consider yourself a victim. Truth be told, Republican are not for the rich, but rather, the ills that plague minority communities exist because Democrats trap the poor. There is perhaps no better example of this reality than examining the Black community’s lopsided loyalty to the Democrat Party...

Democrats want to make Hispanics the next generation of poor political dependents. Implementing the same tactics and selling the same lie as they have to the Black community, they have prevented Latina Linda Chavez from being named Secretary of Labor and Honduran immigrant Miguel Estrada from serving on the Nation’s second most powerful court. These two loses come at the expense of the Latino community’s progress. In this day and age, there are not enough minority faces -- regardless of social status, background or ideology -- serving in leadership positions. Our respective communities, and most importantly our youth, need more visible leaders. This is the cause worth championing and not the opposite.

Hispanic Votes Hard to Target

Hispanic Business Magazine has an article on a recent Pew Hispanic Report (PDF):

Most significant for the president and his likely Democratic contender, the senator from Massachusetts, the majority of likely Hispanic voters who responded to the poll get their news entirely from English-language media. Forty percent get news from both languages, while 6 percent of likely voters get all their news in Spanish. Sixty-one percent of this group watches television network news shows only in English, while 28 percent watch news programs in both languages and 11 percent only in Spanish.

This means, the study reported, that the popular practice of airing political advertising on national Spanish-language news shows reaches, at best, 39 percent of the likely Hispanic voters, calling into question the efficacy of that practice in reaching this significant community.

Island Paradise

When someone tells you how wonderful life is in Fidel Castro's Cuba, you can share this little vignette:

FROM CUBA

April 20, 2004

Women must register to be able to buy sanitary pads

SANTA CLARA, April 18 (www.cubanet.org) - Women in Villa Clara province must have registered by April 16 to be allowed to buy their allotment of sanitary pads seven times a year, according to an announcement by CMHW, provincial radio net.

In order to register for this census, women between the ages of 10 and 55 had to present an ID card and their ration book; the registration procedure lasted for three days and involved long lines of women waiting to register and a number of health care workers pulled from other duties to work full time on the census.

The broadcast public service announcement explained that a higher-quality sanitary pad than the ones available previously will be distributed seven times a year and that the price will go up from 80 cents to 1.20 pesos.

Several women commented that seven times a year will be a lot better than the present two or three times a year these products are now available.

At one time, domestically-made sanitary pads could be bought freely at pharmacies, but in the beginning of the 90s, with the end of Soviet subsidies, the pads became subject to rationing, and women had to resort to make-do methods, such as using pieces of diapers, towels, or mosquito netting and washing them, or obtaining the proper product at dollar stores, if they had dollars.

California GOP vs. Bush

Many Conservative Republicans in California oppose the President's proposed immigration plan:

No, the Bush plan won’t do as intended and help the president carry the state in the general election. Despite what myopic GOP leaders say, California will vote overwhelmingly for John Kerry in November. Bush won’t win any long-term support for the Republican Party in the state’s burgeoning Latino community, which remains an unshakeable part of the Democratic coalition.

And the Bush plan will absolutely, positively do nothing to stop the stream of illegal immigration that is quickly turning Southern Californian into a northern outpost of Mexico. If anything, it will encourage even more illegal border crossings.

Florida license bill dead

From the Associated Press:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A bill backed by Gov. Jeb Bush that would have allowed illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses has been abandoned by its sponsor after law enforcement officials raised security concerns.

Battle for Hispanic Votes

From the Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal:

The battle for Hispanic votes largely will be fought in a Spanish-language broadcast war that will cost both parties an unprecedented amount of money. It began March 4 when the Bush-Cheney camp began airing ads in Arizona, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico. The Democrats countered the next day in the same states with Spanish-language ads that claimed Bush has not kept his 2000 campaign promise to be a friend of the Hispanic community.

Robots and Immigration

John Derbyshire of the National Review magazine thinks robots may be the solution to America's immigration problem.

The Japanese have, as a nation, set their collective face firmly (but, of course, being Japanese, very politely) against mass immigration. Unfortunately they have an aging population that is going to need more and more care by semi-skilled nursing-aide types. Since there are not enough Japanese citizens able, or willing, to do this kind of work, Japan has a choice: import foreigners, or invent machines to do the work. The Japanese have gone with the machine option.

Non-citizen Rights

Georgetown Law Professor David Cole argues for equal rights for non-citizen detainees in the NYT:

...suggestions that noncitizens have less right to be free than citizens are ill advised. Some provisions of the Constitution do explicitly limit their protections to United States citizens — the right to vote and the right to run for Congress or president, for example. The Bill of Rights, however, does not distinguish between citizens and noncitizens. It extends its protections in universal language, to "persons," "people" or "the accused." The framers considered these rights to be God-given natural rights, and God didn't give them only to persons holding American passports.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Hispanic Party Affiliation

From HispanicBusiness.com:

In the fall of 2003, just 39.8 percent of Hispanics who were registered to vote called themselves Democrats, nearly a 7-percentage point drop from 2000. The percentage of registered Hispanics identifying themselves as Republican increased by 3.3 percentage points to 24.9 percent.

Chavez Threats

From the Houston Chronicle:

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to stop selling oil to the United States if Washington doesn't stop "intervening in Venezuela's domestic affairs."

More Border Activity

From the Washington Times:

The number of illegal aliens being apprehended on the southwestern border has jumped 25 percent in the first three months of 2004 compared with last year, and some are blaming President Bush's immigration proposal in January for enticing immigrants across the border.

GOP Vying for Hispanic Votes

From the Associated Press:

Republican leaders urged Hispanic party members Thursday to contact Spanish talk radio and newspapers to defend President Bush and help increase GOP support among a group that has historically been part of the Democrats' base.

DREAM Act Protest

From CNSNews.com (via Townhall.com):

Undocumented high school students, including some who have lived in this country illegally for most of their lives, are coming to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to support legislation that would give them in-state college tuition breaks and "provide a pathway" to legalization.

Asylum Seekers Jailed

An article from the Denver Post points to a new program by immigration authorities that jails individuals waiting for their asylum appeals to be decided:

"You're taking people who are not criminals and putting them in jail. This is an extremely aggressive, distressful way to tell somebody they are not welcome here," said Laura Lichter, a Denver immigration lawyer.

Federal immigration officials point out that the test program is just beginning, is likely to affect only a few immigrants and may lose out to alternative methods judged more efficient or less controversial.

They concede that the program is already drawing poor reviews from immigrants' advocates but say those defenders ignore a problem plaguing the system: More than 400,000 people who are ordered to leave the country never go, and that number has grown by tens of thousands each year.

Remittances (Remesas)

Federal Reserve Governor Ben S. Bernanke gave a speech at a conference on financial access for immigrants on the topic of remittances:

Many immigrants to the United States send substantial shares of their earnings -- sometimes half of their income or more -- to family members in their home countries. The U.S. Department of Treasury estimates that remittances to developing countries totaled more than $90 billion last year.

Ineffective Immigration Policies

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON, April 16 — The commission investigating the 9/11 attacks has concluded that immigration policies promoted as essential to keeping the country safe from future attacks have been largely ineffective, producing little, if any, information leading to the identification or apprehension of terrorists.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Cuba Reacts to Criticism

A press release from Freedom House:

After the United Nations Commission on Human Rights narrowly passed a resolution today critical of Cuba, members of Cuba's governmental delegation attacked Frank Calzon, executive director of the Washington-based Center for a Free Cuba.

The attack took place inside the United Nations building in Geneva.

Witnesses said a Cuban delegate punched Mr. Calzon, knocking him unconscious. UN guards reportedly protected him from further assault by additional members of the Cuban delegation.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Cuba Resolution Passes

From CNN.com:

GENEVA, Switzerland (AP) -- The top United Nations human rights watchdog on Thursday narrowly passed a U.S.-backed resolution criticizing Cuba and calling on it to accept a visit by an international monitor.

The resolution, sponsored by Honduras, was adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Commission by 22 votes to 21, with 10 abstentions.

Are public schools resegregating?

John Foster-Bey tries to answer the question and explain the reasons for the apparent decline in integration:

One important reason that the probability of minority children attending school with white children has declined is that there have been dramatic demographic changes in the ethnic and racial composition of the nation's school children... a very large portion of the decreased exposure of minority children to white children in public schools is simply an outcome of demographic changes.

Cuba Divides Latin America

As the U.N. Commission on Human Rights prepares to vote on whether to condemn Cuba for the situation in the island, Latin American leaders fail to unite:

The annual UN vote on human rights in Cuba usually splits Latin America and this year is not different: Chile, Guatemala and Costa Rica have anticipated they will condemn Cuba, while Argentina will abstain and Mexico and Brazil have decided not to anticipate their vote.

Chavez & Democracy

From TechCentralStation:

The record is clear. Since his election in 1998, Hugo Chavez has engaged in a methodical campaign to eliminate dissenting voices from Venezuelan politics. He has provided the world with a clinic on how to set up totalitarian rule. First, get control of one branch of government. Then, eliminate all opposition within the government by making all other branches subordinate to the one branch you control. Next, use the power of government to prevent any other segment of society from organizing. He has attacked the labor unions, the independent media, the church -- any source of people organizing that is an alternative to the state.

Ana Archuleta

The Salt Lake City Tribune has published a profile of Ana Archuleta, a former Democrat who now is a member of the GOP:

It has been two months since the lifelong Democrat officially switched her political loyalty. Archuleta boasts of President Bush's support for Latinos and other minorities, of the Republicans' focus on family values and of the GOP's overall aggressive courtship of the Latino vote.

"The Republicans have done a good job," says Archuleta, who admits she would have laughed at anyone predicting her abandonment of the Democrats even a few years ago.

But Archuleta says she is not the only Latino who has changed party affiliation, or is thinking about it. "We've been taken for granted" by the Democrats, she says.

Viva Bush Coalition

The Viva Bush Coalition, group of Hispanic GOP leaders, has kicked off its efforts get the President re-elected. The Bush campaign website has a video clip of the kick-off event in Florida.

Local Police Arresting Illegals

The New York Times reports on a significant change in the way local law enforcement deals with illegal aliens who break the law:

"Before, the only thing we could do was issue a traffic citation and let them go," Trooper Birmingham said as he cruised along State Road 9. "It's different now."

Alabama is the epicenter of a widening effort by the Department of Homeland Security to encourage states and localities to help enforce immigration laws in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

LatinoPundit Blog Poll

LatinoPundit is running a poll asking whether the reader prefers Bush or Kerry. Please visit the site and vote for Bush. Vote early and vote often!!

Hernando de Soto

The CATO Institute has a nice write-up of Hernando de Soto:

...de Soto is an extraordinary individual. It's not every economist that finds himself the target of terrorist bombings and assassination attempts. Because of his scholarship and activism on behalf of the world's poor, in the late '80s and early '90s, de Soto was repeatedly targeted by the Marxist terror group, the Shining Path.

Stone's Castro Film

CNN.com has a review of Oliver Stone's documentary on Fidel Castro for HBO, Looking for Fidel:

Then 76 and for nearly 45 years in control of the Western Hemisphere's only communist state, Castro radiates grandiosity spiced with a my-hands-are-tied brand of denial.

When Stone refers to his lengthy regime, Castro (with whom Stone communicates through a translator) declares, "I am not the one in power. It is the people who are in power."

Thanks, Rat.

Licenses for Aliens in Florida

Governor Jeb Bush's efforts to pass legislation that would give driver's licenses to undocumented aliens are floundering in Florida in the face of stiff opposition by the legislature.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Immigrant Cabbies

The New York Times carries a story about New York City taxicab drivers, many of them immigrants, who are trying to get a piece of the American Dream:

So, for the last few weeks, Mr. Salazar, a voluble Ecuadorean immigrant who keeps pictures of his daughter and a niece on his dashboard, has been scrambling to come up with $25,000, down payment on a dream he has long been nursing — buying his own medallion.

Hundreds of drivers in the city, many of them struggling immigrants like Mr. Salazar, have been doing the same, conferring with their banks, cajoling relatives and checking their savings, in preparation for a rare city auction this month of taxi medallions, which are expected to fetch more than $250,000 apiece.

U.S. Editors in Cuba

U.S. editors meet with Cuban independent journalists

HAVANA, April 11 (Ernesto Roque Cintero / www.cubanet.org) - Eleven editors from the Associated Press news service met with three Cuban independent journalists in Havana.

The U.S. editors, who arrived in Cuba after touring Mexico, wanted to know about the independent's working conditions, especially after the repressive wave launched by the Cuban government in March last year.

The visitors also asked about how the independent journalists dispatch their stories and about the access ordinary Cubans have to them, about the journalists problems getting professional training and the difficulties they experience with sources.

One of the Cuban independent journalists present, Anna Veitía, said: "We hope the people of the U. S. and Canada learn the reality of the situation in Cuba from the newspapers the A P editors represent, and that similar visits may take place periodically."

After meeting with the independent journalists, the U. S. editors met with Cuban foreign minister Felipe Pérez, and with the president of the National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcón, who told them about the imprisonment of the 75 journalists and dissidents last year: "the internal security of the country is more important that our image abroad."

Jeb Supports W

From an Associated Press wire:

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Gov. Jeb Bush urged Florida Hispanics on Monday to re-elect his brother, saying President Bush has done more for Latinos than any other president.

Thanks to Art Pedroza.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Foreign Temp Workers

From the NYT:

Even as economists worry about the lackluster growth in employment, and politicians rail against the loss of jobs to overseas outsourcing, many employers across the country are sounding alarms about an impending shortage of foreign temporary workers this summer.

Spanish-language Newspapers

According to the New York Times, there's "scramble to capture Spanish-speaking newspaper readers in the United States."

Kudos to Honduras

From a Washington Times Op/Ed:

The fact that Honduras was the country to sponsor a resolution condemning Cuba's human rights record at the U.N. Human Rights Commission is revealing. While smaller Latin American countries have taken the lead in holding Fidel Castro accountable, the region's powerbrokers remain absent every April in Geneva, when the time comes for a country to sponsor the resolution.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Illegal Aliens Detained

From CBS News New York:

NEWARK, NJ - Acting on a tip that a plane carrying scores of illegal aliens was heading to Newark Liberty International Airport, federal agents detained 88 people, all Latin American immigrants who had flown here from Los Angeles.

Is Cuba a bio-threat?

From WorldNetDaily:

The Bush administration continues to be worried that Fidel Castro's communist regime is developing biological weapons, according to U.S. Undersecretary of State for arms control and nuclear proliferation John Bolton.

The Alamo

The movie comes out today, but some are worried that the history of the Alamo and Texas independence may be forgotten.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

What a rip-off!

I hope the Federal Elections Commission is investigating this:

When Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Tex.) took charge of an independent political fund called American Dream PAC in 1999, he made clear that its mission was "to give significant, direct financial assistance to first-rate minority GOP candidates."

Since then, only $48,750 -- or 8.9 percent -- of the $547,000 the southwest Texas congressman has raised for his political action committee has gone to minority office-seekers while more than $100,000 has been routed to Republican Party organizations or causes, including a GOP redistricting effort in Texas, a legal defense fund for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) and Bonilla's reelection campaign. Most of the remainder of the money went to legal fees, fundraisers in Miami and other cities, airline tickets, hotels, catering services, consultants and salaries.

Edgar Chocoy Guzman

A very tragic story from the Denver Post:

The case of a Guatemalan boy who fled gang violence and begged for asylum in Denver - but was deported, then murdered - brought calls from Congress, advocacy groups and the United Nations on Wednesday for better treatment of immigrant children.

Edgar Chocoy, 16, was one of a growing number of children from poor countries spilling into the United States. He allegedly entered illegally at age 14 after gang members threatened to kill him. He found his mother, who had abandoned him as an infant, and fell into gang activity in Los Angeles. When immigration officials moved to deport him, he claimed he'd be killed back in Guatemala. An aunt in Washington, D.C., offered to take custody. But an immigration judge rejected his case.

Migrants to Vote in Mexican Elections

From the Associated Press:

MEXICO CITY – Mexico's three major political parties signed an agreement supporting a proposal to allow Mexicans living in the United States and around the world to vote in the 2006 presidential election.

The government estimates that about 10 million people born in this country now live in the United States.

Some 98 percent of all Mexicans living abroad are in the United States, according to figures released last year by the Foreign Department.

You have to wonder what this measure does to the integration and assimilation of Mexican immigrants into U.S. society. It seems to me this gives them a stake in the outcome of elections in a foreign country and will detract from the impulse to become involved in American elections by becoming citizens, etc.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Cuba Justifies Crackdown

From Newsmax.com:

Cuba's parliament speaker defended a crackdown on 75 activists last year, telling a group of American newspaper editors Monday that Cuba's internal security is more important than its image abroad.

As an aside, Honduras is sponsoring a resolution before the U.N. Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva, Switzerland to look into Cuba's dismal record.

The Left vs. Equality

Ward Connerly explains a court ruling declaring the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative unconstitutional.

Cuellar to the GOP?

This in an interesting follow-up on a previously-reported story (see below). The Hill has this on today's edition:

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) believe and openly speculate that Laredo lawyer Henry Cuellar may switch to the Republican side if his recount victory in the Democratic primary survives legal challenges by Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas).

The caucus’s worry stems, in part, from the political leanings of a bank president at the center of the recount controversy. The International Commerce Bank — where hundreds of absentee ballots were discovered that gave Cuellar victory — is run by Dennis Nixon, a well-known Republican fundraiser

Hat Tip to C-Log

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Licenses for Illegal Aliens

Two Republican Governors are dealing with the issue of driving licenses for illegal immigrants in very different ways (for now). In Florida, Jeb Bush is supporting the issuance of licenses. In California, Arnold Schwartznegger is not acting as quickly as some Hispanic activists would like him to.

Progress on Integration?

From USA Today:

The vast majority of blacks, whites and Hispanics want to live in racially integrated neighborhoods and feel fine about their children and grandchildren marrying outside their races, according to a study to be published Thursday.

But the Gallup poll co-commissioned by the AARP and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights also shows a vast gulf remains between the way whites and blacks perceive the way minorities are treated.

Cuba Backsliding

The Economist describes how Fidel Castro is taking Cuba in the wrong direction:

A YEAR ago, Fidel Castro faced a decision. Cuba's fledgling democratic movement was becoming more vocal. After a partial recovery from a long slump, the economy had slowed again. In response, Mr Castro—in power since 1959—chose to lead his country not into the democratic future that it could almost glimpse, but back into its totalitarian past. A year on, he is still going backwards.

Democrats target Hispanics

From the Washington Times:

A Democratic outreach group, sensing that the party's support among Hispanics is soft, has begun a new ad campaign that it hopes will bring back and secure Spanish-speaking voters in the November elections.

Buchanan Republicans Unhappy

In Pat Buchanan's American Conservative Magazine, Phil Kent says that many Republican donors are withholding support from the President because they disagree with his immigration proposals.

Politicized Arithmetic

The Orange County Register carries a disturbing op-ed piece by Professor David Klein:

Racial politics, remedial education, teacher training and K-12 school policies are all intertwined in the California State University (CSU) system, and the result is bad news for everyone - students, public schools and taxpayers alike...

Ethnic studies departments, corporate foundations and at least one Cal State University campus have found common cause in supporting educational programs that ultimately deprive California's future elementary school teachers of basic arithmetic skills. These misguided agendas should be confronted directly by the public and by its elected representatives.

You have to read it to believe it.

CAFTA Debate

Everybody is taking sides on the debate over the Central American Free Trade Agreement, according to the New York Times:

Senator John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, says he is opposed to Cafta because it fails to protect workers in Central America as well as American workers, "who are forced to compete hopelessly against companies that abide by no rules whatsoever."

To the Bush administration, that sounds like political showboating. Robert B. Zoellick, the United States trade representative, argues that Cafta, with its enforcement clauses to improve labor rights and fines for offenders, has the best labor provisions ever negotiated in a trade agreement. "No country is doing more than the United States to push for strong labor and environmental provisions in international trade agreements," Mr. Zoellick said. "While some other countries talk about labor and the environment in the context of trade, only the United States is actually doing something to integrate these topics as an active part of its trade agenda."

The Institute for International Economics, a centrist research group in Washington, recently published a policy brief on labor standards and Cafta, arguing that "globalization and workers rights are complementary" and that greater respect for the core international labor standards could help spread trade benefits more broadly.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Cuellar vs. Rodriguez

John Fund of the Wall Street Journal makes the point that liberal Democrats cannot take the Hispanic vote for granted, and that moderates are very appealing in heavily Democratic and mostly Hispanic congressional districts. Fund examines the Democratic primary race in Texas between Henry Cuellar and incumbent congressman Ciro Rodriguez and concludes that Cuellar's positions in favor of vouchers and the Iraq war may have contributed to his victory in a bitterly contested election against the current Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Very interesting article.

Bush Tax Cuts Good for Latinos

HACER says:

The Congressional Hispanic Conference (CHC) today continued its praise of Bush tax cuts citing the positive impact of the President's economic initiatives, which are spurring unprecedented job growth figures for March. Unlike the Democratic Caucus, which claims that "Bush Policies Abandons Latino Community," CHC members point out numerous initiatives that prove quite the opposite citing robust growth within the U.S. Hispanic market and overall strength of domestic economy.

Visible Dissent in Havana

From CubaNet.org:

HAVANA, April 1 (Anna Rosa Veitía / www.cubanet.org) - Anti-government graffiti showed up a scant two hours after similar slogans had been erased from the lobby of a building in the Vedado section of Havana. "Down with Castro" and "Down with the dictatorship" were some of the slogans someone wrote on the walls of the lobby of the upscale apartment building at the corner of 21 and A Streets last Saturday before midnight.

The members of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution wiped out the slogans as soon as they came to their attention.

But by 2:00 a.m., the graffiti artist had struck again, this time not only in the building's lobby, but in at least some of the upper floors and in the elevators.

Chavez Blasts Catholics

From Herald Wire Serives:

President Hugo Chávez on Sunday accused Venezuelan Roman Catholic leaders of betraying the interests of the country's impoverished majority.

Squeezing his eyes shut and clutching an image of Jesus Christ, Chávez asked God ''to forgive the Catholic hierarchy for having forgotten to favor the poor'' and aligning itself ``with the darkest interests of Venezuela's capitalist oligarchy.''

Hispanics not Monolithic

The Miami Herald seems to be surprised to find what should be obvious: Hispanics are not monolithic on their views on social and political issues.

Hispanic voters overwhelmingly support the death penalty, prayer in schools and privatization of Social Security. About half of those polled are also pro-choice on the abortion issue, despite their Roman Catholic background, and support the idea of prohibiting undocumented immigrants from receiving government aid such as food stamps and Medicaid...

All of those nuances make it difficult for Hispanic voters to be targeted as a monolithic voting bloc and market.

Thank You LatinoPundit

I was very negligent in not thanking LatinoPundit for offering much-needed help in improving this site. LP has been a great resource and a welcomed encouragement for this rookie blogger. He deserves all the credit for the comments and trackback features that appear below each of my postings. Please visit his site.

Is "outsourcing" a racial code word?

The American Spectator answers the question in the affirmative:

TO THE EXTENT that outsourcing is a racial code word, the code isn't all that secretive. An organization calling itself Make America Work For Us, which is affiliated with the 527 group Media Fund, is running an attack ad that begins, "During the past three years, it's true that George W. Bush has created more jobs. Unfortunately, they were created in places like China." As the commercial proceeds, the camera pans out to reveal a factory covered with Chinese symbols. One can only imagine the outrage that would occur if a conservative group had run such an ad.

Does AA lead to lower standards

From the Wall Street Journal:

In his annual March Madness column on low African-American graduation rates among competing schools, the Boston Globe's Derrick Z. Jackson this year noted that the majority of teams in the tournament hid behind privacy provisions to avoid even reporting their African-American graduation rates. Final Four participant Georgia Tech, for example, lists a white rate of 60% and an overall rate of 27%. What does that tell you about where the African-American graduation rate must be?

Sí TV

From the NY Times:

Sí TV, a fledgling English-language television channel aimed at Hispanic Americans, is expected to announce today that it has raised $60 million from eight investors, including EchoStar Communications and Time Warner.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

De Soto Wins Friedman Prize

The CATO Institute has announced that renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto will be awarded the Thomas Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.