Thursday, September 30, 2004
GOP Split on Cuba
Since the Soviet Union's demise, GOP policymakers have split over the best way to undermine Fidel Castro and promote civil society in Cuba. There are two schools of thought: the hard-line strategy and the free-trade strategy. The former holds that sanctions will gradually weaken the Cuban dictatorship and increase U.S. leverage during a post-Castro transition. The latter argues that market mechanisms offer the best hope for liberalizing Cuba's economic and political structure.
This intra-party schism was on display last week, when House members voted to block enforcement of the Bush administration's new restrictions on family travel to Cuba.
Latino Wages in California
Latino workers' wages in California have risen more than twice as fast as non-Latinos' pay since the mid-1990s, narrowing the earnings gap between them.
But Latinos on average still make far less than non-Latinos of similar occupations and educational levels in the state, and are still disproportionately represented among California's working poor.
Those are among the key findings of a report, to be formally released today, by the California Budget Project, a Sacramento-based nonprofit that analyzes public policies affecting low- and middle-income Californians.
Civil Rights Report
...the President is accused of being soft on civil rights for nominating a Hispanic (Miguel Estrada) and an African-American (Janice Rogers Brown) to the appellate bench. Never mind their ethnicity, these conservatives have a judicial philosophy that the report says will lead to the "eventual weakening of civil rights laws." So Mr. Bush is insensitive to civil rights if he doesn't appoint minorities but he's also insensitive if he does. That's about all you need to know about the objectivity of this political exercise.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Racial Tension in Detroit
Members of Detroit's Latino, Asian and Arab communities demanded a public apology from the City Council on Tuesday, denouncing the body for embracing an economic development plan that would exclusively benefit black business owners.
During a protest rally, leaders of the various ethnic communities said they want the council to rescind the resolutions it passed supporting the plan, and they want to meet with the council to correct what they say is offensive rhetoric in a report that forms the basis of the council's plan to create a black business district to be known as African Town. The plan also would create a loan fund only for blacks.
The report, titled "A PowerNomics Economic Development Plan for Detroit's Under-Served Majority Population," says immigration has hurt blacks because Mexicans, Asians and Arabs take jobs, resources and other opportunities from blacks.
"The language in the report is divisive," said Angela Reyes, one of the protest organizers and head of the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation.
She said the Latino community supports any effort by the council to help improve the economic condition of poor blacks, but added, "To blame immigrants, particularly Hispanics, is ludicrous. We're suffering under the same conditions."
The Motorcycle Diaries
AN al Qaeda agent who helped plan the September 11 attacks has met leaders of a Salvadorean crime syndicate which controls the smuggling of illegal immigrants across the Mexican border into the US, according to intelligence sources.
The CIA fears Adnan el Shukrijumah, 29, a Yemeni with a £3m bounty on his head, is negotiating a deal to infiltrate terrorist network members into American cities to stage attacks in the run-up to the presidential elections in November.
Attack of the 527s
WASHINGTON - The New Democrat Network, an independent political group that backs Democrats, launched new ads Tuesday in its multimillion-dollar Spanish-language advertising campaign against President Bush.
This wave includes two television ads aimed at historically Republican Cuban voters in Southern Florida. The ads claim that the Republican Party has done nothing to restore democracy in Cuba beyond rhetorical attacks, and that the Democratic Party will provide voters with something real: better medical care. A separate Internet ad, aimed at Hispanics nationwide, who tend to vote Democratic, attacks Bush's character and job performance.
Leading a school that is two-thirds Hispanic, Mr. McCollough insisted that every front-office worker be bilingual, as is about half of the faculty. He created an adult-literacy program with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a civil-rights organization. On his desk sits a copy of Paulo Freire's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed," a veritable holy book for radical educators.
"I'm a social reconstructionist by nature," Mr. McCollough, 33, said in an interview. "I believe schools are here to change the landscape, to shift the power."
Yet his means of doing so fall firmly on the conservative side of the educational spectrum. He does not pull out children for separate bilingual classes, offering only "survival skills English" two hours a day for a maximum of eight weeks. He has reached out to Gainesville's financial establishment, gaining a $20,000 grant for the Saturday school from Mar-Jac, one of the major poultry companies. He culled an additional $20,000 for the lengthened weekday classes by deferring purchases of textbooks and other materials.
Like the Gainesville school district as a whole, Mr. McCollough uses standardized tests to guide curriculum and hold teachers (and himself) publicly accountable. Every nine weeks, pupils in all five Gainesville elementary schools take tests that measure their knowledge of the various components of Georgia's statewide curriculum. By analyzing the results, principals and teachers select the next round of lessons to address the weak points. Phonics and math drills figure prominently in the lessons. All the test results are posted in school hallways and on the district Web site - not just by school or by grade level but by the individual teacher's name.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Iraq - El Salvador Analogy
The reason we should work for full democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan is not just because it's noble, but because it's practical. It is easier to defeat an insurgency and restore order with elections than without.
As we saw in El Salvador and as Iraqi insurgents understand, elections suck the oxygen from a rebel army. They refute the claim that violence is the best way to change things. Moreover, they produce democratic leaders who are much better equipped to win an insurgency war.
Al-Qaeda and MS-13
A top al Qaeda lieutenant has met with leaders of a violent Salvadoran criminal gang with roots in Mexico and the United States — including a stronghold in the Washington area — in an effort by the terrorist network to seek help infiltrating the U.S.-Mexico border, law enforcement authorities said.
Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a key al Qaeda cell leader for whom the U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward, was spotted in July in Honduras meeting with leaders of El Salvador's notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang, which immigration officials said has smuggled hundreds of Central and South Americans — mostly gang members — into the United States.
In a quest to gain a green card, Mario Garcia and his wife Colleen went to the federal immigration service offices in Garden City last week for what they thought was a routine appointment.
But as they waited in a private room, two immigration agents suddenly burst in, handcuffed Mario Garcia and took the native of Honduras away. Now the Franklin Square resident is sitting in the Bergen County Jail in New Jersey and is on the verge of being deported -- even though his wife and three children are U.S. citizens.
Immigration officials say Garcia entered the country illegally, never showed up for a court hearing and was ordered deported by a judge. But some immigration experts contend his case is typical of a new "zero-tolerance" policy the United States is imposing after the 2001 terrorist attacks.
WASHINGTON - The U.S. State Department on Monday launched a program to directly target and brief Hispanic immigrant communities on U.S. policy toward their home countries in an effort to get Latin Americans to view Washington more favorably, a U.S. official said.
No one should have to choose between the fear of dying and the fear of being deported. Incredibly, that could be the choice created by a proposed federal regulation that would require immigrants to disclose their status when seeking medical care.
Monday, September 27, 2004
SAN DIEGO – Hispanic leaders and pro-immigrant groups angry over Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of legislation allowing illegal immigrants to get drivers licenses are organizing protests and a national boycott to disrupt convention business.
Huntington in Mexico
More Visas for Foreign Workers
WASHINGTON -- Foreign workers hoping to get H1-B visas next year may have better luck than before.
The U.S. Senate voted 92-3 on Thursday to limit debate on a bill to expand visas for skilled foreign workers, a step toward ending months of partisan wrangling that had ensnared the measure in election-year politics.
Nearly everyone on Capitol Hill claims to support the core of the proposal -- to lift the H1-B limit from 115,000 to 195,000 a year -- but Democrats and Republicans have split over what else should be included.
Hispanic Vote Overstated?
While President Bush and Sen. John Kerry have set up aggressive campaigns to draw Hispanic voters, the nation's largest minority bloc is unlikely to play a decisive role in the 2004 presidential election, based on their past voting records and their populations in battleground states.Even if one concedes that the Hispanic vote will not decide this election (a debatable proposition), it is clear that the candidates and their parties realize that there is great potential in the Hispanic vote as it continues to grow, and they are planning for the future.
Ana Escobedo Cabral
There's Agreement on Border Security
The war on terror has many fronts, and as long as the US is still hunting Al Qaeda abroad, it must tighten its borders to keep terrorists from entering along with other illegal aliens. Republicans and Democrats seem to be on the same page about that.
Friday, September 24, 2004
No Licenses for California Aliens
GOP Immigration Flip-Flop?
DALLAS -- Step aside, John Kerry. When it comes to immigration policy, Republicans in Congress can flip-flop with the best of them.
In the last decade, Republicans have sponsored bills that curtail the rights of legal immigrants to apply for public assistance and health care, including Medicaid.
Now they suddenly want to give legal immigrants the most valuable right of all: the right to seek the nation's highest office. Republicans in both houses are proposing bills that would allow the foreign-born to run for president. That would require amending the Constitution. And that's fine with Republicans.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Out of Touch with Hispanics
It's rare for Dolores Huerta, the feisty 74-year-old co-founder of the United Farm Workers and one of the most-honored Latinas in the United States, to leave an audience almost speechless. That is exactly what happened when she addressed last month's United Farm Workers Constitutional Convention in Fresno.The author is right that moral values is not the top Latino priority, but he fails to mention that Latino's are rebelling against the Democratic education agenda as well. We don't want to have liberal public school teachers teaching our kids that abortion and gay marriage are OK. We don't want to send our children to public schools where it is against the rules to say a prayer, mention God or put up a nativity scene. We don't want bilingual education programs that keep our children in bilingual classes indefinitely, and most Hispanics favor school choice. My guess is that most Latinos like educational choice because vouchers would allow us to send our children to parochial schools were our values would be reinforced and not ridiculed.
Responding to Republican efforts to woo the Latino vote by stressing conservative values, Huerta minced no words during her 16-minute speech in Spanish.
"I'm the mother of 11 children, and I'm Catholic. But [abortion] is the proper choice of every woman. It's not the government's decision to determine how many children we're going to have," said Huerta, a couple of hours after a Mass at the convention.
Instead of the usual loud applause and shouts of "Sí" ("Yes") common at UFW conventions, there were only scattered voices of support. Huerta continued by slamming Republicans who cozy up to Latinos by defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.
"Who cares if two men or two women get married?" asked Huerta, who is campaigning for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. "What matters most to us is how much money they'll spend for educating our children."
Huerta's comments caught the largely Latino audience by surprise, but they match the sentiments of many Latinos who, in poll after poll, have made education and jobs their tortilla y frijoles issues.
A recent poll by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center shows Latinos identify education (54%), economy/jobs (51%) and health care (51%) as extremely important in their vote for president this year. Moral values ranked eighth at 36%.
At the same time, not all Latinos have expressed satisfaction with Democrats, whom they traditionally have supported in large numbers.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) has made significant progress in reforming an "old, embattled" bureaucracy and is making solid inroads in reducing a longstanding backlog in immigration applications, according to CIS Director Eduardo Aguirre.
Things Have Changed
Nowadays, the world has changed, and the Hispanic influence in this country is booming, wrapped up in economic power, political influence and pop-culture accolades.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Immigration On the Back Burner
The Hispanic Electorate
Terrorists in Central America?
News Analysis of Immigration Issue
As the specter of job loss to foreigners angers parts of the Democratic base, immigration advocacy, too, may rely on symbols to stand in for substance. The National Week of Action, for example, was billed as the first anniversary of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, modeled after the Freedom Rides for civil rights in the 1960's. But, Mr. Chishti said, black Democratic leaders acknowledge - only privately - that many of their native-born black constituents are increasingly resentful about illegal immigration.
Few leaders are discussing the hard issues that emerged from a study issued in July by the Center for Labor Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, which found that recently arrived immigrants accounted for all the employment growth in the United States since 2001. With little net job growth, employment of new immigrants, mostly from Mexico and Latin America, appears to be displacing some established immigrants and native-born workers, especially black men in central cities, the study's author, the economist Andrew Sum, concluded.
The Bush administration's decision to stop supporting $250 million in loan requests that Venezuela has before international financial institutions has gone virtually unnoticed. Yet, by invoking such sanctions now, Washington risks making another mistake in dealing with Venezuela's mercurial strongman, President Hugo Chávez.The author goes on to argue that this is not an effective way of exerting pressure on Chavez.
In announcing its decision earlier this month, the White House cited Venezuela's role in the international trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation. The administration deserves credit for making this issue a high priority.
River of Gold
Friday, September 17, 2004
The Death Tax
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Church in Cuba
Government threatens to take over church under construction; faithful occupy building to forestall any action
HOLGUÍN, September 13 (Juan Carlos Garcell, APLO / www.cubanet.org) - The Cuban government has ordered construction work on a church in Moa, Holguín province, to be stopped and threatened to take it over, on the grounds that "it stands out among the poverty of its surroundings", as varying numbers of the faithful have occupied the building around the clock to forestall any such action.
The standoff, now approaching two months in duration in this mining community, follows government orders to stop construction of the five-story building nearing completion.
The church, the First Bethany Baptist Congregation, claims more than 900 members and says the government initially approved construction and that the same was carried out with government-approved workers. Church leaders say they have borne the full one-million-plus peso (in addition to thousands of dollars for locally unobtainable materials) cost of construction of the glass and mosaic encased structure.
Church members are taking turns holding fasts, vigils and prayer meetings in the unfinished building while discussions with government authorities, which have included Caridad Diego, responsible for religious affairs with the Council of State, have yielded little or no results.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
The Latino Vote
Hispanic students are still the most likely to drop out of high school. One-third of Latinos don't have access to health care. And employment opportunities remain elusive in the barrios and beyond. The campaigns need to address the issues with more than just slogans - regardless of the language.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Arizona's Prop. 200
If anything, passage of Prop. 200 will make life more difficult for ordinary Arizonans. The governor's office estimates that implementing it could cost the state tens of millions of dollars. It is so vaguely worded and far-reaching -- a blanket ban on all "public benefits" and a threat of jail for all state employees who fail to report illegal immigrants -- that it could interfere with the work of just about every state agency: from state troopers to public-records clerks to mechanics at emissions-inspection stations.One thing that the author is too polite to say is that the burden of having to prove citizenship or entitlement to benefits will fall disproportionately on brown people with accents. If a state employee has the option of checking everybody's identification or only those whom she thinks are here illegally, she is more likely to choose the latter.
The consequences could be positively Orwellian: a bloated bureaucracy, the hassle of constantly producing ID, a much more cumbersome voting process for everyone, Anglo and Hispanic. Add in the costs of likely lawsuits and lost federal aid, and the bill climbs into the hundreds of millions. Meanwhile, passage could also slow the rapid growth that now sustains the state economy. Tourists, conventioneers, would-be residents, retirees and relocating commercial enterprises could come to see Arizona as not just off-puttingly xenophobic, but also -- thanks to the increased regulation -- a difficult place to do business. Many state industries, from hotels and restaurants to roofing, could fall on hard times....
The voters of Arizona have every right to be angry: we have lost control of our southwest border and they, more than anyone, are paying the price. But the solution isn't to pretend we can turn off the flow; the only realistic answer is to channel it legally. Any "message" that makes that more difficult politically can only end up making the problem worse -- and it won't be just Arizonans who will suffer as a consequence.
Monday, September 13, 2004
No Number, No Ride
Since January, the [New York State] Motor Vehicles Department has sent out roughly 500,000 letters threatening to suspend the licenses of drivers whose Social Security numbers do not match federal records. Joe Picchi, a spokesman for the department, said that the review is continuing, and he expects between 250,000 and 300,000 drivers to lose their licenses. So far more than 600 licenses have been suspended.
The move has hit the immigrant community hard, particularly in the suburbs, where public transportation is limited, and many depend on driving for their jobs as house cleaners, nannies, landscapers and construction and restaurant workers. Advocates for immigrants say they have been flooded with inquiries.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Both Parties Agree
Kerry, Harkin & Ortega (circa 1985)
We finally have some context for this picture from Hugh Hewitt. It makes for interesting reading!
Conned in Caracas
Both the Bush Administration and former President Jimmy Carter were quick to bless the results of last month's Venezuelan recall vote, but it now looks like they were had. A statistical analysis by a pair of economists suggests that the random-sample "audit" results that the Americans trusted weren't random at all.According to the study, there is a 99% chance that there was electoral fraud in the election to recall Hugo Chavez.
This is no small matter. The imprimatur of Mr. Carter and his Carter Center election observers is being used by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to claim a mandate. The anti-American strongman has been steering his country toward dictatorship and is stirring up trouble throughout Latin America. If the recall election wasn't fair, why would Americans want to endorse it?
Up For Grabs
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Don't Vote for Kerry
Kerry has joined with other Democrats in the U.S. Senate in using the filibuster to block even floor votes for conservative constructionist judges nominated to appellate courts by the current President Bush. For example, he voted against cloture on the nominations of both Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen. Estrada is a Honduran immigrant with a Harvard law degree, who served as a counsel in the solicitor general's office of President Clinton's Justice Department. Owen is a Texas Supreme Court Justice who was reconfirmed to her state court seat by an overwhelming vote of the people of Texas. But neither could pass Kerry's ideological litmus test.
Immigrants' Unpaid Hospital Bills
LOS ANGELES - Proponents of stricter border controls complain that legal immigrants who cannot pay their hospital bills are a huge drain on the medical system, and they say it is time to force the patients’ immigration sponsors to pay up.
A lawsuit, sponsored by the Friends of Immigration Law Enforcement in Washington, asserts that Los Angeles County is violating federal law by not collecting from immigration sponsors. The group estimates that as a result, taxpayers are being to forced to foot as much as $20 million a year in unpaid bills.
The New America School
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
The Race for the Vote
Neither political party can bank on the Latino vote, an estimated 9 million people. While Latinos have generally voted Democrat, that support has slipped in the last two presidential races. According to a recent Pew Hispanic Center and Kaiser Family Foundation national survey, two out of 10 Latinos identify themselves as Republicans and two out of 10 say they are independents.
Zedillo on Trade
There is something terribly wrong when the United States, after Sept. 11, fails to condemn the pardoning of terrorists and instead allows them to walk free on U.S. streets.
The Hispanic Vote
For now, the Hispanic vote is still up for grabs, with about 8 percent of voters undecided and 22 percent willing to change their minds. If El Presidente Jorge Bush wants to be re-elected, he needs to start brushing up on his Spanish and focusing more on his old forgotten amigos.
Once dominated by Chinese-Cubans, who fled Cuba decades ago when Fidel Castro assumed power in 1959, the city's Chinese-Latinos now come from a range of Latin American countries. As ever more Latin American immigrants settle in the United States, so too do Latin American Chinese. What results is a tri-continental convergence of food, language and sense of identity.When I worked in Manhattan many years ago, one of my favorite restaurants was Twenty-Veinte on Reade Street. It was run by Chinese-Cubans.
Monday, September 06, 2004
A.J. on Huntington
1. Huntington is not a racist. He goes out of his way to praise America as a "multi-ethnic society" and seeks to have all Americans embrace--or so it seems--the Anglo-Protestant culture of past centuries. Say rather that he is a culturalist, and sees Hispanic immigration as a threat to this Anglo-Protestant consensus. 2. Huntington is wrong about the cohesion of the country requiring a core "Anglo-Protestant" culture. While he has a point about the need for a core culture, he seems to reject the idea that Christianity can serve as a basis for this culture. If this premise is possible, then Hispanic immigration is actually an asset, not a detriment. Yet, he seems so steeped in the intellectual culture of New England, that he can't seem to imagine America as a uniquely Christian civilization.A.J. will continue to update us on his views on the book as time goes on and he works his way through the chapters. I'll be curious to learn whether Professor Huntington deals with the fact that Latin American culture is mainly European and Christian and that Latin America is becoming more Protestant as the years go by.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
The GOP & Immigration
The President's decision to take on an issue that so divides the party is admirable, not least because he's doing so in the middle of a close re-election race in which base turnout is key to a November victory. He is also thinking long term. Newcomers, especially when they're young, tend to stick to the political allegiances they first make. At the turn of the last century, Republicans made the mistake of signaling that immigrants from Ireland and Italy weren't welcome in the GOP. Asian-Americans in Hawaii after World War II got a similar message. Dispelling such notions can take generations, and Mr. Bush is trying to ensure that his party doesn't have to relearn that lesson with Hispanics.From the Wall Street Journal (subscription).
Martinez & Bush
MIAMI — Mel Martinez's victory in Florida's Republican U.S. Senate primary Tuesday means that the 2004 presidential election fight for Latino voters — especially Cuban Americans — has been joined by a key supporter of Bush in this battleground state.I think it's fair to say that President Bush probably feels a little better about his chances in Florida with Mel Martinez on the ballot statewide.
Earlier this year, the Bush administration angered some in the Cuban American community who interpreted new restrictions on travel and remittances to Cuba as an intrusion into their extended family relations.
But the Martinez campaign infuses an element of ethnic pride among Latinos here that Bush supporters hope will translate to votes for the president.
For Republicans, capturing a larger share of voters among the growing Hispanic population is expected to be crucial. Republican pollster Matthew Dowd has said that if President Bush wins the same percentage of the vote among every minority group that he received in 2000 – including the 32 percent to 35 percent of the Hispanic vote he garnered – he will lose the election by 3 million votes.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Diversity & Preferences
The "diversity" rationale is one of the biggest threats to the fabric of our nation. "Diversity" is an excuse to discriminate; it is at war with the principle of merit; and it is the functional equivalent of "quotas." Moreover, it is disingenuous for anyone to argue that the "consideration" of race is not a form of preference. Furthermore, the president of the United States has no "responsibility" to "work for diversity." It is his responsibility to uphold and defend the Constitution, which guarantees every person the right to equal treatment before the law. The president has no constitutional obligation to promote "diversity"; there may be a political necessity for him to do so, but that is a different matter altogether...
If "diversity" simply means hiring or appointing individuals of superior qualifications, such as Rice, Powell, Paige, Jackson, Chao, and Mineta, who need no preference, why is their skin color or ethnic background even relevant? It is also interesting that when "diversity" is discussed, it appears that only "minorities" contribute to such a sacred concept. Don't John Ashcroft, Ann Veneman, and Donald Rumsfeld, for example, contribute to "diversity?" Why is it that their names are never mentioned when the president recites his list of diversity contributors? The answer is obvious: "Diversity" is synonymous with "affirmative action." Like so many of my fellow Republicans, the president knows that the latter has become a regime of quotas and preferences, and wants to put some distance between himself and such a system. What he hasn't thought through, however, is that "diversity" and "affirmative action" amount to a distinction without much difference.
U.S. & Latin America
While Latinos march north to the United States, American culture is marching in near-triumph all across the Western Hemisphere. Certainly, our borders are porous to immigrants -- but South America's borders are just as permeable to American culture, politics, and missionaries. We're changing them at least as thoroughly as they're changing us. Any vain attempt to close our borders wouldn't just fail; it could retard our positive influences on Latin America's evolution.Via Instapundit.
"The Republican Party has a big opportunity with Hispanics," said [Anna] Chablik, 52, a Hispanic businesswoman from Marietta, Ga. "Most of the Republican principles resonate strongly with our community. We believe in strong families, personal responsibility, hard work and a strong defense."Part of the reason may be that Republicans are making greater efforts to reach out.
While doing some research on the Intel Science Talent Search (the "Junior Nobel Prize"), Stuart Anderson noticed a high number of finalists who seemed to have recent immigrant roots.
When the director of the National Foundation for American Policy delved deeper, the results were even more striking. Seven of the Top 10 award winners in this year's contest were immigrants or their children. Of the top 40 finalists, 60 percent were the children of immigrants. And a striking number had parents who had arrived on skilled employment, or H-1B, visas.
"The study indicates there are significant gains to immigration that haven't really been realized," says Mr. Anderson.
"There's been controversy over employment-based immigration, but if we had blocked these people from coming in, two-thirds of the top future of math and science wouldn't be here, because we wouldn't have allowed their parents in."
New Medicare Rules
Local hospitals and healthcare consumer advocates are concerned that some residents may avoid medical treatment because of a proposed federal regulation that would ask hospitals to turn over information about undocumented immigrants.
''This could cause a lot of fear on what could happen to them,'' said Leda Perez of the Community Voices project in Miami, which focuses on issues involving healthcare for the poor and the uninsured.