Hispanic Programs

Simon Rosenberg Presents: The New Dawn

Please join us Thursday, July 23, at 12:15pm for a presentation of "Dawn of a New Politics" by Simon Rosenberg.

This engaging presentation makes a big argument on how politics is changing in America today, and offers ideas and strategies for how progressives can replicate our 20th century success in this new and dynamic century.

Simon has delivered his presentation "Dawn of a New Politics" all across the country over the past several years: At the DNC in Denver, twice for the House Democratic Caucus, on the Google campus, and recently before members and staff of the DSCC and DAGA, among many other gatherings.

We cordially invite you to join us-- either here in our event space, or via Web cast-- to watch and engage with this revamped presentation.

If you plan on coming to the presentation, please RSVP.

Follow this link to watch the Web cast.


729 15th St., NW
Washington , DC 20005
United States

Rahm Emanuel Leaves Door Open for Immigration Reform This Year

In an important statement today to the Washington Post, Rahm Emanuel left the door wide open for tackling immigration reform this year:  

"It's not impossible to do it this year," he said. "Could you get it in this year? Yes."

...Responding to a question about the political implications for Democrats of delay, Emanuel said, "It's better that it happens, politically." 

FYI - the list of the attendees at today's meeting on immigration reform at the White House.  It is important to note the presence of Members like Sen. Specter, Rep. Joe Crowley, Rep. John Conyers, and others who might not be considered the "usual suspects" on this issue, but they will be essential players when it comes time to pass reform:


Office of the Press Secretary



June 25, 2009


The President and the Vice President will meet with a small group of Senate and House members from both sides of the aisle and both sides of the issue to discuss immigration reform in the State Dining Room at 2:00 PM today. The meeting is intended to launch a policy conversation by having an honest discussion about the issues and identifying areas of agreement and areas where we still have work to do, with the hope of beginning the debate in earnest later this year. There will be a pool spray at the bottom of the meeting. 

Below is a list of expected attendees at today’s meeting on immigration reform:


Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

Deputy Attorney General David Ogden

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel


Senator Richard Durbin 

Senator John Cornyn     

Senator Dianne Feinstein 

Senator Lindsey Graham 

Senator Jon Kyl

Senator Patrick Leahy 

Senator Mel Martinez 

Senator John McCain 

Senator Robert Menendez 

Senator Chuck Schumer 

Senator Jeff Sessions 

Senator Arlen Specter 

Representative Xavier Becerra

Representative Howard Berman

Representative Anh Cao

Representative James Clyburn 

Representative John Conyers

Representative Joe Crowley

Representative Lincoln Diaz Balart

Representative Gabrielle Giffords

Representative Luis Gutierrez

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representative Zoe Lofgren

Representative Adam Putnam

Representative Silvestre Reyes

Representative Loretta Sanchez

Representative Heath Shuler

Representative Lamar Smith

Representative Nydia Velazquez

Representative Anthony Weiner


NDN Comments on President Obama's Remarks on Immigration at Hispanic Prayer Breakfast

President Obama's remarks today show that his commitment to comprehensive imigration reform has not wavered.  The President's speech is consistent with what he has said all along -- that he supports fixing our broken immigration system.

For additional background information, NDN released new video, presentations and background on immigration reform, including video of yesterday's presentation and more:

NDN Forum Immigration Reform: Politics, Public Opinion and Legislative Prospects,   Simon Rosenberg and Andres Ramirez, 6/16/09. Please click here for video of Simon Rosenberg's presentation; please click here for video of my presentation.

Making the Case for Passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform This Year (PDF), Simon Rosenberg, 6/16/09 - Rosenberg lays out the basic foundation for why Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform. This summary is a good introduction for those wanting to learn the fundamentals of this issue.

Recent Polling on Immigration Reform, Benenson Strategy Group, 6/2/09 - Since a previous America's Voice poll in November, Pete Brodnitz of the Benenson Stratagey Group finds that support for comprehensive reform has been stable (and high), but increasing numbers of voters see the economic benefit of passing comprehensive immigration reform. The poll is consistent with NDN polling by Bendixen & Associates in its affirmation of overwhelming public support for immigration reform.

Making the Case: 7 Reasons Why Congress Should Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform this Year, Huffington Post, Simon Rosenberg, 4/30/09 - Rosenberg argues that the answer to whether Congress can pass reform this year is "yes."

The GOP's Impossible Dream: Republicans Can't Win Without Latino Support in Millennial Era, Mike Hais, 6/10/09 - NDN Fellow Hais writes that on his fivethirtyeight.com Web site, Nate Silver recently raised the possibility that the Republican Party could more effectively compete in the 2012 and 2016 elections by turning its back on Hispanics and attempting to maximize the support of white voters in enough 2008 Midwestern and Southern blue states to flip them red. The Republican Party rode similar exclusionary strategies to dominance of U.S. politics during most of the past four decades. But America has entered a new era.

Latinos Vote in 2008: Analysis of U.S. Presidential Exit Polls (PDF), Andres Ramirez, 1/18/09 - I provide an overview of the Hispanic electorate in key states from the 2008 presidential election. The analysis concludes that Hispanics participated in record numbers in this election cycle, increasing their turnout from the 2004 election;  Hispanics significantly shifted towards the Democratic nominee in 2008, reversing trends from the 2000 and 2004 presidential election cycles; Hispanics played a key role in Obama’s victory in Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico; Hispanics are poised to make other states competitive in future elections; and if these trends continue, the national map will continue to get harder for Republicans.

National Survey of Hispanic Voters on Immigration Policy
, Bendixen & Associates, 5/18/09 - Bendixen & Associates conducted a poll for America's Voice that comprehensively documents Hispanic voters' view on immigration policy.

NDN Backgrounder on Judge Sotomayor and Our Changing Demography, Melissa Merz, 5/26/09 - In response to President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the Supreme Court, Merz compiles key NDN commentary and analysis on the great demographic changes taking place in America today.







Weekly Immigration Update: Not all Immigrants Equal Before the Law

Last week we observed the awesome unity of immigrants from all backgrounds as they met in Washington, DC for a major conference gathering activists for immigration reform from all over the country.  Unfortunately, U.S. immigration law does not recognize the similarities between all immigrants.  In an interesting article by Julie Wolf, the Miami Herald notes that the new reason for Mexican immigration to the U.S. is drug violence, the entire piece is reprinted below. 

The families and individuals who are currently under seige in Mexico have not only suffered a more drastic economic crisis, many fear for their lives.  But Mexican immigrants have no "Temporary Protected Status" provision guaranteeing them safety from such persecution, nor is living under drug cartel violence in Mexico akin to living under a communist regime in the face of the INA.  But who is to judge that a Cuban living under the Castro regime is any better or worse off than a factory worker in Ciudad Juarez or a poor farmer in the state of Guerrero living under the terror of drug cartels or armed militias?  It is an unfair comparison, and thus our immigration laws need to be overhauled so that they are no longer based on alternative realities and unqualified judgements, but rather respond to individual cases - regardless of nationality.  We do not have rule of law in America when a U.S. citizen friend of mine who is trying to bring her sister and mother here from Ciudad Juarez legally has been waiting patiently "in line" for 15 years for USCIS to process their paperwork.  As she says: for Mexicans "there is no line." 

One does not dare suggest the U.S. should have "open borders," but it would be a great improvement to our broken immigration system to treat each individual case as an individual, who can apply for asylum or refugee status and have their particular circumstances considered, regardless of the country from which they originate.  Right now, most Mexicans who apply for asylum are denied, which will only put increased pressure on the undocumented flow of people in the long term.  The drug crisis will get worse before it gets better.  Let's stop encouraging the trade of humans crossing the border, let's pass comprehensive immigration reform this year and create realistic legal channels for entry into the U.S.  It is a mistake for border officials and government officials to "worry more about the drug wars than about immigration,"  because the two go hand in hand.

New reason for Mexican immigration to U.S.: Drug violence

Mexican immigration to the United States has been almost entirely an economic issue for the past few decades. Politicians have fine-tuned their positions around what to do about illegal immigrants who supposedly take jobs from Americans.

Now, however, as violence on the border continues to increase, a new kind of immigrant to the United States is appearing: people seeking asylum to escape the drug-fueled brutality in Mexico.

More than 5,400 people were killed in the violence last year, and more than 8,000 in the two years since President Felipe Calderon sent thousands of troops into the drug war zones.

"Some families living on the frontier are leaving, and the easiest way to live in the U.S. for them is by asking for the status of refugee," said Damaso Morales, a professor of international studies at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, the largest university in Latin America. "It's a way to get into the U.S. in a legal way."

Already, there have been two celebrated cases of asylum-seekers: a journalist who fled the northern state of Chihuahua after drug cartels threatened him, and the mayor of Ciudad Juarez, a major border city opposite El Paso, Texas, who pulled out when drug traffickers threatened his family. Though both succeeded in getting into the U.S., their tactic is still relatively untested in U.S. courts.

Ana Maria Salazar, a U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense during the Clinton administration who's now a political commentator in Mexico City, said that people were moving away from the country's crime-plagued border towns, if not yet to the U.S.

"Many people fearing for their lives in border towns are moving to big cities within Mexico," said Salazar, who has Mexican and American citizenship. "As descriptions of the violence continue to become public, there will definitely be talk about the refugee status" in the U.S., although she added that the violence would have to be "very high."

The increase in violence, experts said, has replaced immigration as the major source of friction in U.S.-Mexican relations. In March, Mexicans ranging from Calderon to local editorial writers were outraged when a U.S. official suggested that the government had lost control of some parts of the country to the drug lords.

The incident wasn't smoothed over until Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama visited Mexico and acknowledged that the U.S. bore a share of responsibility for Mexico's drug wars, not only from the billions of dollars sent south to purchase illegal drugs but also because of the high-powered weapons that are purchased legally in U.S. border towns and sold to Mexican gangs.

The fear created by this border violence, Morales said, is "a real problem, as Mexicans are coming in to the U.S. claiming asylum. These people would rather be in jail in the U.S. waiting to see if Uncle Sam grants them mercy than be in Mexico, where drug traffickers are killing family members."

Although the number of people entering the United States may increase if the violence continues to escalate, the number of Mexican citizens emigrating to the U.S. has dropped almost 25 percent within the past five months, according to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. Though it's hard to say why, the faltering U.S. economy most often is blamed.

"The economy here is really tied up in the economy of the U.S.," Morales said. "Things are very different and are changing in this economic crisis."

Francisco Gonzalez, an associate professor of Latin American studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, said that officials on both sides of the border now worried more about the drug wars than about immigration.

"The country has become very violent," Gonzalez said, "and it is very easy to see that things there could get even worse."

(Wolf is a student at Penn State University. This story was reported from Mexico City for a class in international journalism.)

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