Tag Archives: Republicans

President Obama Wins a Second Term, 11/5 – 11/11

12 Nov

President Obama will have a second chance to enact comprehensive immigration reform that he campaigned for on in his first bid of the presidency in 2008. There is more hope than ever now that the Republican party has begun to realize their need to bolster support from the Latino community. In the analysis of the race, many pundits lay blame for Romney’s loss on the hard line he took on immigration. Romney advocated for “self-deportation” which would make life so miserable for immigrants, that they would return to their home country on their own volition. Romney also counted Kris Kobach, architect of AZ SB1070, among his advisors during his campaign. As a result of these stances, Latinos came out in favor of four more years with Obama by a wide margin. Notable conservatives are arguing for a new strategy that welcomes Latinos to the GOP. With the growing Latino population, GOP would be wise to listen to Sean Hannity. Otherwise, the Democratic victories on Nov. 6th might be the first of many.  Even the notorious sherriff from Maricopa County is striking a conciliatory tone, saying that he wants to meet with Latinos to explain his policies. Although, unless he dramatically changes course he is unlikely to receive a receptive audience. In addition to getting pushback from moderates, there is a growing movement that seeks to push back against his abuse of power.
In other election related news, USC’s Center for Study of Immigrant Integration has released a report on the vote of Naturalized citizens, a group that represents 3.6% of voting aged citizens in the US.

Giants Closer Sergio Romo Makes Statement with t-shirt
On October 31st, the San Francisco Giants led a parade through San Francisco celebrating their World Series victory. Sergio Romo, one of the team stars, and child of Mexican farmworkers, wore a t-shirt that read “I just look illegal.” The shirt brought attention to the debate on immigration and the stigmatizing use of the word “illegal” by many in the anti-immigrant movement. The t-shirt was a bold statement in sport that often prefers to avoid political controversy.

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Rick Santorum and the SMU Pep Band, 3/12-3/19

22 Mar

Rick SantorumBoth underdogs, former Senator Santorum and the musical cheer section for Southern Mississippi University’s (SMU) Men’s basketball team tried to shake up their respective contests with anti-Latino statements this past week.

Rick Santorum made his gaffe in the territory of Puerto Rico, he was visiting with the hope of winning the islands 20 delegates for the Republican presidential nomination. One of the major issues for Puerto Rico is the decision to become the US’s 51st state. The standard political line, taken by both President Obama and former governor Romney is to support Puerto Rico in whatever decision it makes. The decision is complex, with many fervent supporters for and against statehood, making the sidestep a safe political calculation.

Rick Santorum trails by several hundred delegates in the race for the Republican nomination, leaving him with few options. One available strategy, the high-risk/high-reward is to make bold statements with the goal of dramatically swinging the race. Consider this the hail-mary strategy. On Thursday, Santorum implemented the strategy by setting a precondition for Puerto Rico’s statehood, that English be the principal language. He made a claim that it was a requirement put forth by congress.

At Factcheck.org they looked into the matter and found that there is no rule from congress that requires English to be the principal language. Besides, English is already one of Puerto Ricos’ two official languages. That of course is not the point. Santorum was tapping into that xenophobic conservative vote with the precondition. Some analysts from the Chicago Tribune say that the statement was no gaffe, but a wise choice that will pay dividends when the primaries return to the mainland. Already secure with the social conservative vote, it is perplexing to think that he and his advisors continue to pander to intolerant viewpoints. Yet, they did.

Angel Rodriguez

The next day, at a game of the NCAA Men’s March Madness tournament between Kansas State and SMU, a similar strain of xenophobia was displayed. This time, the focus was on a freshman Basketball player from Puerto Rico, Angel Rodriguez. When the 19 year old Boricuan stepped up to the foul line just minutes before the end of the first half, the Southern Mississippi University Pep Band broke into a chant of “Where’s Your Green Card?”, referring to his birthplace outside of the mainland US.

Like Santorum, the SMU Pep Band had their facts wrong. Puerto Rico citizens are US citizens, making resident visas or green cards irrelevant. The students may have been inspired by the Mississippi state house which had just advanced an anti-immigrant bill. The SMU president apologized after the fervor generated from her university’s band.

These are two examples of how prejudice shapes the social environment, denigrating immigrants and their cultures. When comments like these are allowed to pass unchallenged, fear, stress, and diminished self-worth become accepted elements of the US social environment. One positive outcome of the week’s attacks on Puerto Ricans was the backlash it brought: Santorum received only 8% of the vote in Puerto Rico and the SMU Pep Band was publicly rebuked. It may be a sign that the are some limits to outright xenophobia in the United States.

In other news
CAD Walk Update: A resolution of support from the CA State Assembly, Sac Bee, 3.19.12
Six CAD walkers have been recognized for their efforts by the representatives of California. On Monday, the assembly passed a resolution recognizing their efforts with a standing ovation. The walkers will be soon be outside California as they continue their journey to Washington, DC. Unfortunately, one walker, Jose Gonzalez will have to return to San Diego to attend to deportation proceedings that have started against him.

Task force determines mental health care immigrants inadequate, more research needed, Medical Xpress, 3.7.12
Task Chair said  “We have identified an urgent need in scientific research and clinical settings to consider the unique aspects of immigrant populations, particularly with regard to culture and language.”

The political impact of coming out undocumented on immigrant rights, Multi-American, 3.14.12
A review of the recent trends of undocumented youth “coming out,” accompanied by an analysis that concludes that the effort has largely been a success because the actions put human faces on immigration policies. Some youth also reported feeling more protected because they were out in public, and had support of the community around them..

Ostrich In-Depth: Primary Pandering: The GOP Primary Immigration Debate

20 Jan

By Paul Andres Young

You may have noticed a few months ago that a new season of US political game shows was upon us. It crept up earlier than usual with its manufactured pageantry that hearkened back to a simpler time when America was strong, moral, and mostly White. Of course, I’m talking about the Republican Presidential Primary, which I like to refer to as the Anyone but Mitt Show (hereafter referred to as The ABM Show).

Starting in May, The ABM Show roared to life with its first debate. New episodes came almost as quickly as the contestants rose and fell in the polls. The quick pace provided a much needed respite from the frustratingly anemic Congress. With its odd ball cast, plenty of plot twists, and a good helping of mudslinging, The ABM Show was probably the best (and scariest) reality TV show of the year. Now, with several contestants eliminated, it looks like Mitt will be the winner of Anyone but Mitt. With the show nearing the end, the editors of The Curious Ostrich invited me to do a brief overview of what this spectacle has revealed about and what it portends for immigration policy debate in this country.

While immigration played a notable role in The ABM Show, the plot lines have been unfortunately predictable. Against a backdrop of policies that are doing real and immediate harm to the health of immigrants, The ABM Show warded off a substantive discussion with slogans:“Build a fence! E-verify! Troops on the border!” That’s not to say there weren’t any twists, just not many worth noting. In fact, I can only think of two:

Rick Perry said that people who do not want to educate undocumented children “Do not have a heart.”

Newt Gingrich suggested a system that would give some undocumented immigrants legal status, but not citizenship and the rights that go with it.

In these two episodes, both Gingrich and Perry lost points for their defense of minor rights for undocumented individuals. In both cases, Mitt took a hard right stance and accused the two contestants of creating magnets to draw immigrants into the country.

The terms of the immigration debate were made clear when Perry lost as many points for calling opponents heartless as for defending affordable education for the undocumented. The ABM Show contestants and their fans, who are usually keen to use the rhetoric of morality, suddenly decided that with immigration policy, they’d rather not worry about right and wrong.

So what can we expect in the future? Congress has also been steadfast in its refusal to seriously address the immigration debate. Both Red Team and Blue Team are too entrenched in their alliances to make any real progress. They may throw it in there every now and then, but it will mostly be fan service, nothing that will affect the overall plot.

The future of Congress will depend on who wins this season of General Election. If Romney wins The ABM Show, as it looks like he will, then he will have some trouble with this issue as he prepares for the biggest political show of the year. A recent Pew Research Center poll on immigration found that sixty-seven percent of respondents supported a way for undocumented immigrants to become citizens. This is a sharp contrast to Romney’s far right stance on immigration, calling for strict border enforcement, the E-verify system, and no path to citizenship. With public opposition to this stance and the importance of the Latino vote, it is hard to see how Romney can appeal to the general electorate.

Some commentators believe Romney will pull one of his legendary flip flops to get around this issue. I, however, am not so sure about that. The flip flopping reputation has been Romney’s biggest obstacle so far. He has struggled time and again to prove his conservative credentials.  Because immigration is one area where he has relatively little history, he will likely continue to use it to prove just how conservative he can be and hope that voters are too distracted by other issues to notice.

To sum it all up, we can expect another year of contestants posturing to score points in their games. Let’s hope that they consider the real effects that political games can have on the lives and health of immigrants.