NDN Blog

Obama-McCain Spanish Language Immigration Fight Part Two

Yesterday the McCain campaign revived the presidential immigration battle with another Spanish-language television commercial blaming Barack Obama for killing immigration reform.

According to the Washington Post the ad, called "Fraudulent," will air in Colorado and New Mexico:

Here's the script:

"So what's worse? That Barack Obama and his allies in Congress killed immigration reform? Or that their immigration attacks were called 'unfair,' 'absolutely and directly wrong' and even 'fraudulent' by the press. Or that Obama and his liberal allies think the U.S. has an immigration problem because Mexico is a quote, 'dysfunctional society'? They've said no to us long enough. This election, let's tell them no."

McCain's continued attacks on Obama over the immigration issue is evidence that at the national level the GOP is well aware they need Hispanic voters this November. Recent polling from NDN suggests that McCain could be in serious trouble in the Mountain West, particularly in states like Nevada and Colorado.

Makes one wonder, though, if he's bothered to pass that sentiment on to his friends and colleagues in down-ballot races this year. They certainly don't appear to be on message:

Senator Dole (R-NC) has spent most of the cycle touting her deportation-only strategy. You can see the ads here and here.

Congressman Virgil Goode (VA-05) is up with a negative ad on immigration and has been more than eager to blame immigrants and their "anchor babies" essentially calling for a repeal of birthright citizenship. You can watch it here.

Congressional Candidate Jay Love is up with an ad in Alabama claiming immigrants come to America to take our jobs.

And those are just a few examples. Overall, the Republican platform is decidedly deportation-only and largely anti-immigrant. Does Senator McCain really believe the Hispanic electorate won't notice?

Note to the McCain campaign: Latino voters speak English and can hear those anti-immigrant ads loud and clear, amigos. Running ads in Spanish won't erase the damage being done by your own party. The evidence is pretty clear, the GOP has Dos Caras where immigration is concerned.

UPDATE: What happens when the NRA tries to play to the nativist base and pander to the Latino vote at the same time? Hilarity ensues: How do you say backfire en Español?

I.C.E Ends Self-deport Program

I suppose most of us saw this coming...

The federal government will scrap a program for illegal immigrants to turn themselves in for deportation after only eight people volunteered during a nearly three-week trial, an official said Thursday.

And yet, I find myself rather stunned at the ongoing incompetence. They tried for three weeks. They spent $41,000 to advertise the program and then gave it only three weeks?

After years of rounding people up and scaring the hell out of immigrant communities by tearing families apart, making people disappear and allowing people to die while in custody, ICE calls it quits after three-weeks and, predictably, blames the immigrants and immigration advocates:

The bottom line is it is not effective," Hayes said. "Quite frankly, I think this proves the only method that works is enforcement...Hayes said lack of support from those activists shows they are unwilling to accept any enforcement."They want amnesty, they want open borders, and they want a more vulnerable America," he said. Hayes told the AP that other tactics have proven more effective. ICE has been tracking down so-called immigration "fugitives" by knocking on their doors at home, often during pre-dawn hours.

Apparently it's not "enforcement" unless they're hunting people down and dragging them out of their homes in the middle of the night.


Note to Congress: Comprehensive immigration reform is the only answer.

Note to the GOP: Throw the nativist, xenophobic Know-nothings over board...they're in the way of a responsible solution.

Is this really the kind of country we want to live in?

Regardless of where you stand on the immigration issue, there ought to be one thing on which we all agree: It is not okay for detainees to die in custody because of a lack of needed healthcare or for individuals to be taken into custody only to disappear into the system, their location unable to be determined.

Earlier this week, the New York Times exposed yet another horrendous story about an immigrant dying while in I.C.E custody:

In April, Mr. Ng began complaining of excruciating back pain. By mid-July, he could no longer walk or stand. And last Wednesday, two days after his 34th birthday, he died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a Rhode Island hospital, his spine fractured and his body riddled with cancer that had gone undiagnosed and untreated for months.

The details of the case are stunning, to say the least. Perhaps it would be easier to understand if it could be explained as an isolated incident, but frankly, it isn't an isolated incident. Mr. Ng's death is just one of a series of recent cases that have drawn Congressional scrutiny around complaints of inadequate medical care, human rights violations and a lack of oversight in immigration detention.

Moreover, this isn't a problem that will be solved through comprehensive immigration reform alone. Mr. Ng was denied access to legal counsel on several occasions and denied access to independent hearings.

Does anyone else find it terrifying that in 21st Century America we throw people into detention facilities, deny them access to legal counsel, refuse to grant independent hearings and leave their medical needs to be determined by detention administrators?

Bush Administration Imposes Political Litmus Test for Immigration Judges

On Monday, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of the Inspector General released this report (pdf) on "An Investigation of Allegations of Politicized Hiring by Monica Goodling and Other Staff in the Office of the Attorney General." The report, though unsurprising in its conlusion that Monica Goodling, Kyle Sampson and others violated federal law, did include some surprising information about the politicization of our immigration system under the Bush Administration:

"The evidence detailed above demonstrates that Kyle Sampson, Jan Williams, and Monica Goodling each violated Department of Justice policy and federal law by considering political or ideological affiliations in soliciting and evaluating candidates for [immigration judge], which are Schedule A career positions, not political appointments. Further, the evidence demonstrates that their violations were not isolated instances but were systematic in nature...Scott Jennings, who worked at the White House Office of Political Affairs, confirmed that [immigration judge] appointments were "treated like other political appointments," that the White House's sources for candidates were all Republican, and that candidates were screened for their "political qualifications."

Of course, this isn't the first time we've been told about the politicization of immigration judges. We've known for quite some time that the administration was handing out immigration judge slots "as if part of some kind of lottery."  But here's the kicker:

"One of the results of this tightly controlled selection process among Sampson, Williams, and Goodling was that it left numerous [immigration judge] vacancies unfilled for long periods of time when they could not find enough candidates, even when EOIR pleaded for more judges and told the OAG repeatedly that EOIR's mission was being compromised by the shortage of [immigration judges]. We found that all of the people who applied in response to vacancy announcements for [immigraiton judges] were ignored, even when the OAG could not identify political candidates to fill the open [immigration judge] positions."

That's right folks, Sampson, Williams and Goodling left immigration judge positions vacant for extended periods of time simply because they couldn't find candidates who were Republican enough in their leanings to satisfy the litmus test.

And the analysis of how it effected the system? In an email to Kyle Sampson dated May 23, 2005 Kevin Ohlson (deputy director of EOIR) states the problem quite clearly:

"[T]he number of IJ vacancies continues to grow. The fact that so many slots have remained vacant for so long is beginning to have a measurable impact on the Immigration Courts because the pending case backlog is beginning to grow. This unwelcome development is of considerable concern to the Director because of the potential implications for the Department. We would like to be able to fill these IJ slots as quickly as possible."


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