Hispanic / Latino

NBC-WSJ poll: Hispanics identifiy themselves as Democrats

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll lends bad news to the current administration who finds itself scrambling to define its legacy: despite its (read: the President's) efforts, Hispanics now identify themselves as Democrats rather than Republicans by 51%-21%. View the poll here.

(FYI - The President recently discussed comprehensive immigration reform with the Associate Builders and Contractors and attended the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast)

Piolín delivers one million dreams

The Dreams Across America tour - which was organized by the Catholic Church, unions and community groups - is well under way and is set to end on June 19th with a rally in Washington, DC. In advance of the rally, Eduardo "Piolín" Sotelo is delivering one million letters encouraging legislators to pass immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. From the San Jose Mercury News:

In the spring of 2006, Sotelo and Coello used their popularity to rally hundreds of thousands of people to march for reform in California and across the nation.

Now Sotelo is collecting letters asking for a path to citizenship for the country's approximately 12 million illegal immigrants. He's broadcasting his appeal from cities along the way, and expects to have about 1 million letters by the time he gets to Washington today.

"If someone's already proved they're working hard for this great nation and for his family, and he's proved he's a good human being, why not live legally here in this country?" Sotelo said. "We're waiting for a positive answer from our senators."

Below is a picture of Piolín with Simon and Joe with his "Mas Que un Partido" jersey.

Support for a path to citizenship reinforced yet again

Offering a path to citizenship to immigrants - one of the primary elements of the Senate immigration bill - received broad support in a poll conducted by the LA Times/Bloomberg. From the article of the poll results:

Only 23% of adults surveyed opposed allowing undocumented immigrants to gain legal status. That finding bolsters the view, shared by President Bush, that the bill's opponents represent a vocal minority whereas most people are more welcoming toward illegal immigrants.


Although the pathway to citizenship is one of the most controversial provisions of the Senate bill, 63% of those polled backed the idea — as did 58% of those who identified themselves as conservatives and 65% of Republicans.

This poll further reinforces the consensus (that was also revealed in this one from New York Times) among Americans that a path to citizenship is something many support.

An interesting approach to securing a legacy

As Simon wrote a few days ago, the immigration issue was the President's last shot at a legacy. Yet this article from the Washington Post reveals details about how his administration has contradicted that legacy with the appointment process of immigration judges. From the article:

The Post analysis is the first systematic examination of the people appointed to immigration courts, the relationships that led to their selection and the experience they brought to their position. The review, based on Justice records and research into the judges' backgrounds, encompassed the 37 current judges approved by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales or his predecessor, John D. Ashcroft, starting in 2004.

That year is when the Justice Department began to jettison the civil service process that traditionally guided the selections in favor of political considerations, according to sworn congressional testimony by one senior department official and a statement by the lawyer for another official.

Those two officials, D. Kyle Sampson and Monica M. Goodling, have said they were told the practice was legal. But Justice spokesman Dean Boyd said that immigration judges are considered civil service employees who may not be chosen based on political factors, unlike judges in federal criminal courts.

All the judges appointed during this period who arrived with experience in immigration law were prosecutors or held other immigration enforcement jobs. That was a reversal of a trend during the Clinton administration in which the Justice Department sought to balance such appointees with ones who had been attorneys representing immigrants, according to current and former immigration judges.

Arrests in New Haven may offer a glimpse of the future

Today's New York Times features a story which vividly highlights the urgent need to change our immigration policy and demonstrates what a tragedy the immigration bill's failure truly is. On the same day that the bill stalled in the Senate thanks to willful and calculated sabotage, federal officials conducted a raid in the town of New Haven. This town had become a safe place for immigrants already living there; "The police adopted a ‘don't ask, don't tell' policy for dealing with immigrants, and the mayor backed a plan for municipal identification cards. Within the borders of this liberal college town, there was hardly a whiff of opposition." Yet at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials swooped in on the town, arresting 31 suspected illegal immigrants, many of them in their homes. From the article:

"Within hours, any sense of sanctuary that the city and advocates for immigrants advocates had developed over the years was turned upside down, replaced with fear.

“There is truly no safe haven for fugitive aliens,” said Marc Raimondi, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency that conducted the raid.

Afterward, local officials’ cellphones lighted up with dozens of frantic phone calls from residents and community leaders saying that people were missing. There were rumors of a mass arrest at a supermarket. Fair Haven resembled a ghost town, with residents huddling inside their houses, afraid that they, too, could be arrested at any moment."

We are at a crucial point in our nation's history where we must choose a vision of America's future. This raid has afforded us an example of one such vision, that of the politicians who worked to undermine the immigration bill, where people are arrested in their homes at the break of dawn and rounded up like cattle while at the supermarket buying food for their families.

Clearly this is the wrong vision. 63% of Americans, and a smaller percentage of the Senators representing them, have another one. With the immigration bill, we had a fleeting glimpse of a different path, one that would have been both more effective and more compassionate; unfortunately, now we may never see more than that.

WTF: where's the fence?

Grassfire.org has an ad up entitled "Where's The Fence?" From their website:

Last year, Congress and the President promised 700 miles of fence. Now, with almost no progress on the fence, they are pushing ahead with amnesty. Let’s face it -- we’ve been conned and it’s time for Americans to shout: “Where’s The Fence?”

The ad is below, but I'd really welcome your comments on this one. (FYI - to post a comment, just register at NDNBlog and click "add new comment" below this post)

(Credit to Dan on the title...)

Univision proposes first-ever Spanish-language debates

This sure seems like a good idea.  We hope all the candidates, of both parties, agree. 

From the LA Times this am:

Univision proposes Spanish-language presidential debates: the network, which has more viewers than CNN or Fox News, says a mass audience of Latino voters would be a draw for candidates.

By Peter Wallsten
Times Staff Writer

June 6, 2007

WASHINGTON — Univision, the country's highest-rated Spanish-language television network and a leading draw for young adult viewers, has invited White House hopefuls from both major parties to participate in the first presidential candidate debates to be conducted entirely in Spanish.

The network has proposed two debates, one for each party, to be held on back-to-back Sundays in September — giving the candidates unprecedented exposure to a mass audience of increasingly important Latino voters.

The debates, to be held in immigrant-rich Miami, would probably focus on the battle over legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants.

The Democratic candidates tend to back legalization. But the Univision debate could exacerbate a split over the issue among the GOP contenders, further highlighting a divide that party strategists fear might alienate Latino voters, a fast-growing electorate.

On Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a backer of the legalization measure now before the Senate, used a speech before a mostly Latino audience in Miami to challenge one of his chief rivals, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has opposed the plan as being soft on illegal immigrants.

Moreover, the Spanish-language aspect of the debate could prove particularly awkward for the Republican field, where all candidates except McCain favor making English the official language of the United States. (On the Democratic side, longshot Mike Gravel, a former senator from Alaska, is the only candidate who supports that proposal.)

It was not clear Tuesday whether the campaigns on either side would accept Univision's proposal. Officials from several campaigns, deluged with debate proposals from interest groups and media, said they would consider the invitation.

Network officials said they thought the size and importance of the audience would make it difficult for candidates to decline.

Univision is the fifth-most viewed network in the country, behind the major broadcast networks but ahead of English-language cable-TV channels such as CNN, Fox News and MSNBC that have broadcast their own debates. It sometimes beats the broadcast networks in the coveted 18 to 34 age group.

"Many of the issues being discussed in this election season are of particular interest to the Hispanic community," Univision Chief Executive Joe Uva wrote in a letter to the candidates that was also signed by University of Miami President Donna Shalala, a former Clinton administration Cabinet official on whose campus the debates would be held. "Consequently, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of citizenship applications and voter registrations which we believe will further accelerate the growth of the Hispanic electorate."

The letter argues that Latino voters could prove decisive in key early primaries — including California's and Florida's — in addition to deciding the general election in states such as New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

The precise format has not been decided. But simultaneous translation would be provided to the candidates and the audience. Of the 18 declared candidates on both sides, only two — both Democrats — are known to be fluent in Spanish: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd.

The candidates would take questions for 90 minutes from Univision's evening news anchors, Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas, who have devoted much of their airtime in recent months to the immigration issue. Their coverage is credited with encouraging thousands of Latinos to attend mass demonstrations protesting a push last year by congressional Republicans to make illegal immigration a felony.

For Univision, the debates would mark a rare foray into presidential politics.

Soccer and politics in Bolivia

We at NDN greatly understand the role that soccer plays in the lives of many around the world. So we've been watching things play out after FIFA (international soccer's governing body) made the decision to ban international matches at altitudes higher than 2,500 meters. Time ran a fantastic article on how FIFA's decision has caused quite the stir in Latin America. As the article points out, "The decree rules out home games in at least five stadiums in Bolivia, two in Peru, one in Ecuador and one in Colombia."

The quickness with which Bolivia reacted to this certainly proves just how vital to people's lives the sport of soccer truly is. Press conferences were held, as were cabinet meetings and civic engagement activities like mass letter-writing campaigns. President Evo Morales even took to the fields and played matches in high-altitude stadiums in an attempt to disprove the medical report that provided the crux of FIFA's argument: that match play in these areas poses health risks to players unaccustomed to high-altitude levels.

The Time article then covered the amazing force that soccer is beyond the surfaces on which the sport is played:

Meanwhile, the unifying effect of the soccer snub certainly has its political advantages. "We can use this to overcome our regional differences," commented 16-year old Sandra Reyes, reflecting on the east vs. west internal conflict that threatens to tear apart her country.

"Yeah! We've got to unite by all playing more soccer," sang the chorus of teenagers surrounding Reyes. Clad in their school's soccer uniform, the youngsters had just spent the day watching their President take several long shots on goal.

Reform on Bush's mind in Georgia

Reform was the theme of President Bush's speech in Glynco, GA. One might ask, though, if the President intended to focus solely on comprehensive immigration reform, or was he also focusing somewhat on the reform/modernization of the Republican Party? In addressing the progress of the Senate bill, the President was quick to address the many critics from his own party who have attacked the bill. (Perhaps the President has read the newspapers lately which have exposed the rift within the GOP over this issue.)

From the Glynco speech:

Amnesty is forgiveness for being here without any penalties -- that's what amnesty is. I oppose it. The authors -- many of the authors of this bill oppose it. This bill is not an amnesty bill. If you want to scare the American people, what you say is, the bill is an amnesty bill. It's not an amnesty bill. That's empty political rhetoric, trying to frighten our fellow citizens. People in Congress need the courage to go back to their districts and explain exactly what this bill is all about, in order to put comprehensive immigration reform in place.


This reform is complex. There's a lot of emotions around this issue. Convictions run deep. Those determined to find fault with this bill will always be able to look at a narrow slice of it and find something they don't like. If you want to kill the bill, if you don't want to do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it, you can use it to frighten people. Or you can show leadership and solve this problem once and for all, so the people who wear the uniform in this crowd can do the job we expect them to do.

Now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform. Now is the time for members of both political parties to stand up and show courage, and take a leadership role and do what's right for America.

Wallsten and Schaller: Immigration debate exposes rift within GOP

As the media continues to cover the the immigration debate, its intricacies, and its status in the U.S. Senate, a few articles have covered a critical component of the debate: the tensions it poses to the Republican Party and its future. And according to these articles, the tensions run deep as the party considers and chooses its role in modernity. The first of two articles discussing these tensions is this front-page story from Peter Wallsten of the LA Times. From the article:

At issue are not just different approaches to immigration but competing visions for how to rebuild and maintain a base of loyal Republican voters.

Many Republican strategists and Bush allies blame election defeats last year in part on the loss of Latino voters after a flurry of anti-illegal immigration ads that strategists say exploited ethnic stereotypes. They say Republicans cannot hope to win a national majority without substantial support from the fast-growing Latino voting bloc.

"I believe that not to play this card right would be the destruction of our party," said Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), the Cuban-born general chairman of the Republican National Committee, who helped write Senate legislation creating a path to citizenship for most of the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. "Hispanics make up about 13% of our country and by 2020 will be closer to 20%. It is a demographic trend that one cannot overlook."

The second article is from Tom Schaller, whose article in Salon asks if Rush Limbaugh was correct in describing the immigration debate as a marginalizing (and potentially destructive) force within the Republican party. From Schaller's article:

Immigration is especially perilous for the GOP because it is what might be called a "double-edged" wedge issue. It not only pits the party's base against a large and quickly growing pool of potential new Republicans -- 41 million Hispanics -- but also pits two key parts of the existing base against each other. The Wall Street wing of the GOP, which finances the party, wants to keep open the spigot of pliant and cheap Spanish-speaking labor. It finds itself opposed by much of the Main Street wing, which provides millions of crucial primary and general election votes and would like to build a fence along the Mexican border as high as Lou Dobbs' ratings or the pitch of Pat Buchanan's voice. And it's simply impossible for any political party to win if it has to choose between money and votes.

Why have Republicans found themselves on the point of this wedge? Because in the two decades since the last major immigration measure, the makeup of the national Republican Party and the demography of the country have both changed dramatically. In 1986, radio talkers like Limbaugh could not harness the power of millions of devoted daily listeners to bring national Republican political figures to heel, and the Hispanic vote share was negligible. Twenty years later, Limbaugh is the most popular talk radio host in America, and there are millions of Spanish-speaking immigrants living alongside Rush's listeners in the kinds of red states where Spanish was rarely heard before. At the same time, the Latino vote has grown to 10 million. The GOP is now forced to choose between its reliable base of close-the-border, English-only cultural whites and the rapidly growing bloc of swing-voting Hispanics.

Syndicate content