The Fight for Citizenship is Coming

Because of the upcoming assault on the Fourteenth Amendment about to be launched by right-wingers and Tea Baggers in the name of tightening up immigration enforcement against those brown people coming from Latin America, it is important to put both the Fourteenth Amendment and the Dred Scott case into context. Although with a few key strokes one can find the actual text of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, here it is.

Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment is called the Citizenship Clause and it states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868 after the conclusion of the Civil War. It insured that the freedom of citizenship won with such enormous sacrifice was not undermined by the actions of former slave states. The Fourteenth Amendment was also a direct repudiation of the infamous Dred Scott case decided by the Supreme Court in 1857. (more…)

Does the GOP Really Care?

Welcome to the Republican Party’s latest campaign: the Kiss-and-Make-Up-with-Hispanics initiative.

It’s not an officially sanctioned activity of the GOP. But at least some Republicans are trying to mend fences with Hispanic voters so as to improve the party’s prospects in 2012 and beyond.

This is one of the major goals behind the Hispanic Leadership Network, a new organization that wants to act as a bridge between Hispanics and the “center-right movement.” It recently held its inaugural conference in Miami, and I was invited to participate as part of a media panel.

The event was co-chaired by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – who has spent most of his life around Hispanics. That includes being married for nearly four decades to Mexican-born Columba Garnica Gallo de Bush.

Bush raised eyebrows when he told those gathered at the conference that, because of the phenomenal growth of the Hispanic community, it would be “incredibly stupid” for Republicans to ignore the Hispanic vote.

Come to think of it, it would be even more stupid for Republicans to continue to do what they do now: antagonize Hispanics by using them as piñatas to entertain white constituents – or, worse, portraying them as bogey men to scare up votes.  This is the modus operandi for too many in the GOP. They reach for low-hanging fruit by pursuing non-Hispanics and,they think, the best way to do that is to use Hispanics as a convenient foil. (more…)

The DREAM Will Win the War

Get ready for a real fight.  The lines have never been drawn more brutally. With the economic recovery lurching hither and yon and making the social and political mix extraordinarily flammable, the foreseeable future for immigration reform is decidedly messy if not downright chaotic. Part of the fight, indeed the philosophical core of it, will be to inject reason into the chaos—reason and perhaps some empathy, compassion, and even a dose of self-interest.

Just look at what happened with the DREAM Act that recently failed in the Senate. The DREAM Act is the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act crafted by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Il) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-In) and once supported by former Republican presidential candidate John McCain.  The Act was meant to provide conditional permanent residency to young people in the United States illegally if they arrived before the age of 16 and attended two years of college or served in the military. Upon completion of college or military service (and at no time before such completion), these young people would be granted lawful permanent residency status and a chance to apply for American citizenship.  Failure to complete college or military service would subject these folks to deportation. (more…)

File in the Latino Section

Is there anything wrong with a mainstream news website creating a separate section for Latinos? And is there really any difference between that sort of thing and a website like this one – Red Brown and Blue – that is dedicated to Latino news and opinion?

The answer to both questions is: “Yes.”

Someone needs to spell all this out for Arianna Huffington, the founder and editor-in-chief of the wildly successful and just as wildly liberal Huffington Post. The New York-based website, which has an estimated worth of $200 million, does not publish enough Latino writers. No one argues that, certainly not in a country where Latinos are on their way to making up 30 percent of the US population by 2050.

That omission is itself interesting since liberals are always lecturing the rest of us about the need to embrace diversity. Apparently, they need to heed their own sermons.

It’s also a problem. Any media entity – website, newspaper, television network, etc. – that doesn’t keep pace with the country’s changing demographic will soon become irrelevant.

The solution, decided Huffington, is not to recruit more Latino writers to write for the website. That is too obvious. She prefers instead to create a special section for Latinos.

(Another site – for African-Americans – is also on the drawing board.) (more…)

The Word Police

Sometimes, the very best intentions produce the very worst ideas. And so it is with the recent campaign to rid our national lexicon of what some people are calling the “I-word.”

The word is “illegal.” You and I know that word to simply describe something that is against the law. But, to those activists who agitate on behalf of illegal immigrants – including people who favor an open border and a suspension of all laws against unlawful entry into the United States – the word is an unfair and dehumanizing slur against a group of people who are more accurately described as “undocumented.”

To this bunch, “illegal” is a bad word. And those who use it are bad people. Ironically, that includes a wide swath of the liberal media that often expresses support for comprehensive immigration reform and condemnation of reactionary measures like virtually anything coming out of Arizona these days.

Murder of the DREAM

I’d like to report a murder. The DREAM Act is unresponsive and appears to be gasping its last breath. The trouble is that the cowards who committed this heinous act didn’t even have the guts to show their faces. They killed it in secret, using political sleight of hand and parliamentary procedures. So we don’t know – as President Obama famously said during the health care debate – whose ass to kick. But, if it helps, we do have a last known address for the culprits: The U.S. Senate.