New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden appear to have struck up an unlikely friendship.
After receiving an invitation from Biden, the first-term Republican governor will travel to Washington, D.C., today to attend a Cinco de Mayo celebration at the vice president’s residence, the Governor’s Office said Wednesday.
The trip comes less than two months after Martinez traveled to Rome for Pope Francis’ inaugural Mass as part of an official U.S. delegation led by Biden.
It’s 844 pages long. It’s been a long time coming. And it’s a compromise.
So it’s a daunting read, a sigh of relief and…better than nothing.
I’m not a big fan of compromises, because both sides lose something in the process. I’m a fan of innovative thinking, where two opposing sides see a common goal and invent a new way to achieve it that wasn’t there before; that honors and understands both sides and helps each side grow.
The immigration bill presented in the U.S. Senate by the fabled “gang of eight” is not that.
Still, it’s the best we could hope for, given the present political circumstances. So in that sense one step, in compromise, is better than no step at all. But because it’s a compromise there will be folks on both sides who will find things to hate about it. You can take that to the bank.
Make no mistake, this bill is not about immigrants, it’s about politics, and votes – it’s easier to understand what’s written in the 844 pages if we go into it from that point of view. Republicans see the demographic trend and want to soften their image among Latinos, and Democrats see a potential blue wave rising across the country. They both think that immigration reform is the key to their aspiration – straight to the heart of the Latino voter.
And if the issue were that simple congress would vote on it soon and we’d be done with it, and that would be that. If the problem were that easy to resolve, it would have been fixed long ago. It happened today because the political atmosphere was right – that’s just the way Washington politics works.
But this political compromise will have economic and cultural repercussions for generations to come. Latinos have known this all along.
So if the votes are ever cast and counted on this thing, if we’re able to get passed the argument that is sure to erupt in the next days, politics will be changed in a definite way.
In the mean time, we have a bill that’s 844 pages long. You can click HERE or on the image above to read it. Have at it.
A bipartisan group in the House of Representatives is close to completing work on a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would include a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, according to congressional aides.
Two of the aides confirmed on Friday that the negotiators were still trying to agree on the issue of how to handle temporary laborers coming into the United States.
…in 2008 I conducted an experiment in which I sent a letter to African American voters just before an election in Los Angeles. The content of the letter was simple: It reminded people to vote and included a map noting how often people on their block voted compared with a nearby block. In some randomly selected cases, the comparison block consisted of African American residents; in others, it was largely Latino. When the letter pointed to a majority-Latino block, African Americans were significantly more likely to vote, suggesting that they were concerned about political competition with Latinos — even though both groups vote overwhelmingly for Democrats.
In that same year, I examined the voting of Latinos in Los Angeles and found that those who lived near predominantly African American neighborhoods were far less likely to vote for Obama than Latinos who lived farther away — suggesting that contact with their African American neighbors may have prompted them to vote against an African American candidate.
According to a (caveat: very, very early) Quinnipiac poll, 60 percent of Hispanic voters would support Clinton in 2016, compared to a mere 24 percent for Rubio. Chris Christie, who is not Hispanic, pulled in 23 percent of the Hispanic vote to 62 percent for Clinton.
Nothing angers President Obama and his allies more than suggesting that he bears even the minutest responsibility for resolving sequestration and the broader budget fights. He claims to be powerless to overcome a stubbornly antitax Republican Party — short of executing a “Jedi mind-meld.”
Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro doesn’t think it takes a Vulcan to deal with Republicans. Clear and strong leadership at the White House would suffice. “I think he needs to be a leader in the negotiation,” said the freshman House member from Texas who, along with his twin brother, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, is a rising political star.
Former Obama campaign operatives are relocating in Texas as part of a group that plans to use the tools of Barack Obama’s reelection nationally to make Texas a competitive state in future presidential races. Texas is a prime piece of electoral property with 38 electoral votes. The state has been solidly Republican for 20 years. But a growing Hispanic population should help Democrats. Organizers of “Battleground Texas” say they’ll focus on identifying voters, getting them registered and turning them out to vote on Election Day. We wrote about the “Battleground Texas” in January.
What’s new is an announcement today that Jenn Brown, the Obama campaign field director in Ohio, will be executive director. And Christina Gomez, a former digital strategist for the Democratic National Committee, will direct high-tech and social media efforts. The on-line plan, so successful in Obama’s national campaign, will be a key part of the group’s strategy. Brown and Gomez will join political consultant and former Obama field director Jeremy Bird in Austin.
While most immigrants from Latin America identify with the Democratic Party, Hispanic members of the second generation — those born in the United States with at least one parent born outside of the country — were even more likely to identify as Democrats than their parents.
Not too long ago Ruben Navarette wrote a most revealing column entitled “Democrats should worry about up-and-comer Cruz.” The column goes on to extol Cruz’s conservative values and how they perfectly matched those of the Hispanic community. The end result is the implication that Hispanics are going to switch their presidential vote because of Republican Hispanic “rock stars” like Cruz.
The column is revealing because it shows how “out of touch” with reality Ruben is. He came to his conclusions after eating dinner with an “Ivy League-educated lawyer” (Cruz) in a Washington restaurant and listening to this lawyer speak his mind about things political. Ruben! That conversation and restaurant are about as far away from the national Latino community as Timbuktu is! Let me tell you why this is so.
Latinos have always supported Democratic presidential candidates by large margins regardless of the politician because it’s not who the candidate is that drives the Latino vote but the Republican Party’s policies that drive Latino voters away.
In order to make his point Ruben repeats the GOP’s mantra that Hispanic’s are “profoundly conservative” and the Republican Party’s values resonate with those of Latinos. We are a “community of faith, family and patriotism.” I’m glad to hear that and we have remained so since I can remember but this does not make us Republicans. These values make us plain and simply, Americans!
One of the main reasons we underwhelmingly support Republican Party candidates is because this particular party has supported every effort to subvert our right to vote. And, one of the reasons Ted Cruz is not acceptable to Latinos is he is one of the operatives who played a significant role in voter dilution in the infamous 2000 presidential election. Ted was in on the fix to disenfranchise thousands of voters just so George Bush, Number 43, could be installed as president by the Supreme Court.
Sure Ted has a great immigrant story. So, stand in line Ted! Your story is our story but that doesn’t encourage me to vote for you. Sure you speak Spanish. Bueno! Y esta es la razón que puedes ganar mi voto?Por favor, Ruben! Placing pressure on Democrats to support policies unique and important to the Latino community is much easier because we have influential persons close to that party’s leadership. The GOP doesn’t want us anywhere close to their policymaking apparatus as evidenced in the private emails uncovered during the 2011 Texas redistricting lawsuit. Frankly, we have a better chance with Democrats than we have with Republicans.
Nevertheless, Ted Cruz’s position on the newly proposed bipartisan immigration bill sets him clearly on the side of extremist prohibitionists who simply want to prevent the creation of rational policy for a population who are mostly Latinos. At least, Senator McCain (R-AZ) understands that even if Republicans are against the policy they have to support it to insure the viability of their party in the future. As the good senator from Arizona put it “Elections. Elections. The Republican Party is losing support of our Hispanic citizens” meaning that the GOP must support this legislation because to not do so will alienate Latinos further which will bode poorly for the party in future presidential and senatorial elections. As Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) pointed out to party stalwarts, they have to stop being “stupid” if they wish the party to be viable.
I think immigration reform will happen but not because of the support of Ted Cruz and his Tea Party compatriots but because of the bipartisan efforts of his rational colleagues. Frankly, I also think that Ruben’s vision is befogged by his Ivy-League prose colored anteojos. He like his dinner partner in DC just doesn’t understand. It’s not the color of the candidate’s skin, the language he or she speaks, and their ethnicity or race that counts to Latino voters. What counts is the substance of who they are, what they stand for and what these politicians are saying.
The Democratic Party has nothing to worry about from the likes of Ted Cruz or those like him, Marco, because they don’t speak the same language as Latinos.
If we’re going to get anywhere in this looming immigration debate, we’ve got to start in the same room, using words we all understand. I don’t mean this in a figurative sense, I mean it literally.
There is enough political pressure from both political parties to do immigration reform this year; maybe even have it done and sitting on the President’s desk by the Summer.
Say what you will about the Republican Party’s motivation for seeing this thing through (self preservation is the mother of all motives), we haven’t been this close to sorting through the nuance-thicket since, well, ever. So there is reason for optimism, albeit with a pinch of reservation that the extremes of political ideology can somehow hijack the process and derail the reform momentum.
But in order for this thing to work to the satisfaction of all sides, and in order for the process to work smoothly and efficiently, several things must be agreed to beforehand. Definitions are stubborn things. Everyone involved in the debate – from people on Capitol Hill, to people in the media and the folks sitting round your kitchen table or work break room – should use the same words and ideas to mean the same things. I’m not talking about a glossary of terms, I’m talking about political hot points, expressed in phrases, that set us off and keep us apart.
Take for instance “border security.” It’s a sticking point for conservatives and a prerequisite for any discussion from the right. It sounds easy enough, but when two intelligent people from opposite sides of the political dial clash on the issue they find they have distinct pictures in their heads about the meaning of the word. Who gets to decide when the border is secure, so we can all move along with our conversation? We need to agree about what border security looks like before we move on.
And what about the famous “line” that the undocumented are supposed to get at the end of? If we’re going to talk about the line and where people should be in it (no cut’s allowed), we should then also talk about how that line is not working. The line is broken. So lets fix the line that we want people to stand in. If we let people with $1 million cut to the front of the line, we shouldn’t criticize, vilify or criminalize those who rather than complain, ignore the line.
The “learn English” thing? Here’s my take: give it as a political freebee, a goodwill token in the pot. I don’t know of any immigrant, documented or not, who doesn’t want to learn English. It’s a given. Churches and non-profits that offer English classes have long waiting lists; Inglés Sin Barreras is a virtual gold mine on Spanish TV. This is one of those places where the left can cede the ground because there really isn’t much to cede. If the right wants to make English a sticking point, go for it, immigrants will learn English anyway. We’ll define it as a win-win. As the law now stands, you have to be 55 years of age or older to get an English competency waiver. So there’s really no change. This is one of those things where you agree to avoid the necios.
And then there’s the bucket. That big bucket that holds everything and everyone tagged as Latino, Hispanic, illegal alien, undocumented worker, immigrant, uneducated, and welfare dependent. It’s part of the great American immigration gauntlet for the largest and newest wave of immigrants to be vilified by others. And that’s what’s been happening to Latinos for several generations. But, look here: if the GOP is coming to the immigration reform table, it’s because of the people in the bucket. There’s power in the bucket. The ironic thing is that Latinos didn’t put themselves in it. It’s just another generalized, stereotyped definition. So if the GOP wants Latinos to play on their side, they’re going to have to unpack their definitions, shake them out, and throw away the bucket.
Believe me, this is going to be a difficult process. But, if we just agree to these four things before we begin the bickering, we can get it done quickly and everyone will be happier than not. Then again, define happy.
Senate and House Democrats met with Latino media outlets and community leaders on the first day of the legislative session as a part of a continued outreach the minority party has been pushing to build upon heavy Latino support in the 2012 elections.
It has been an honor to be your secretary of labor. Today, as I prepared to say farewell, I decided that I wanted to share my experience through journeys, and through beginnings and endings, because that reflects what’s in my mind, and more importantly, what is in my heart at this present moment.
Thirty-two years ago—after only a year in Washington—I left my job in President Carter’s administration. Wanting to say something meaningful about what I learned as that job was ending, I wrote a letter to incoming President Regan that appeared in the Hispanic Link News Service. I had forgotten all about it until a recent reprint by Hispanic Link.
In the letter, I told President Reagan about what I did in the White House, and why I thought it was important. I also told him a little about myself, including the story of how I got that job.
While I was in graduate school, I filled out dozens of applications for internship positions at every level of government. Almost as a lark, I also sent a letter to the White House. A staffer for President Carter read my résumé and called my parents’ home in La Puente, California. I was outside in our vegetable garden when my father hollered out to me: “Phone call for you. Someone who claims he’s from the Casa Blanca.”
I ran so fast that I knocked over a table lamp and shattered it. My mother, whom I love dearly, can attest to the truth of that story, and to this day, she still tells my husband how much she liked that lamp.
I’m sharing this story not just because it is about my coming to Washington for the first time—and leaving Washington for the first time—but, rather, it reflects my continuous, lifelong passion, and obvious excitement, for public service.
It’s the same passion that I share with my colleagues at the Labor Department. We don’t do what we do for the money, or the glory; we do it because public service is the very best way to make your own, unique contribution to the world. Leaders may change, circumstances may change, but our service must be constant. It forms an unbreakable bond between ourselves and our communities, our country and the people we care about.
We are all on a journey of service. Yesterday, in an outstanding inaugural speech that mentioned Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall, the president gave us a map for that journey of service. He said it is our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began and to make the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American.
We know that there will be challenges on this journey—there always are. But there is also a true path. And we’ve been on that path for the past four years at the U.S. Department of Labor.
During that time, we have done more for more of our nation’s working families.
We have funded more job training programs that have enhanced the skills of more than 1.7 million people.
We have conducted more wage and hour investigations and collected more back wages for more than 300,000 people.
We modernized Unemployment Insurance benefits so that it could provide a lifeline to more people.
And—quite simply—and I say this with pride, satisfaction and immense gratitude: we have saved more workers’ lives.
Our record of achievement has been remarkable. But there is still so much more we have to do. And I’m counting on the colleagues I leave behind to do it. And to do more.
It is incredibly hard for me to say goodbye. I struggled with this decision for a long time, but I am guided by the words of a poem I studied in La Puente High School called “Four Quartets” by T.S. Elliot, and here’s my favorite line:
“To make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.“