Friday, February 29, 2008
. . . MARYKNOLL ELECTION 2008 GUIDE
The Justice and Peace Office of Maryknoll has published a helpful, 8-page guide to the elections -- US Election 2006: Loving Our Neighbor In A Shrinking World. As one would expect from Maryknoll, the guide takes the issues ina global perspective as seen through Catholic Social Teaching. It is available on line or in print. There is also a Spanish version.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
. . . THE VIRTUAL FENCE ISN'T WORKING
Only last week Michael Chertoff, Secretary for Homeland Security. lauded the progress of Project-28 or P-28, the demonstration "virtual" fence being built by Boeing in Arizona. Now the Government Accountability Office, which is independent of the Bush administration, says P-28 not working. As a consequence, the project will be delayed. There were short-comings in the very design of the project and experience has revealed others. (See Washington Post article.)
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
. . . U.S. RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPE SURVEY
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life just released "a landscape survey" based on 35,000 interviews on the state of religion in American. It found religion to be in flux. Almost half those surveyed have changed faiths. The number of Catholics has remained "stable", largely due to the influx of immigrants. The survey estimates that one in three Americans were "raised Catholic" though only one in four identifies themselves as Catholic now. The survey does not tell us anything new, but confirms what most suspect.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
. . . MILITARY APPLICANTS FOR CITIZENSHIP NEGLECTED
Soon after 9/11 President George W. Bush issue an executive order putting non-citizens who serve in the U.S. military at the head of the line for citizenship. Thousands of veterans of Iraq have become U.S. citizens over the years, but like the rest of the naturalization process their applications are now slowing. Often the foreign sounding names of some applicants -- especially if they're Muslim-sounding -- win a prolonged check by the FBI. But most of it is due to the overall bureaucratic mess created by last August's rise in fees for processing application by Citizenship and Immigration Services. (See NY Times article.)
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
. . . AND NOW THE MILLENNIALS
The campaign of Barack Obama has electrified the young and they have provided the rockets that are shooting him past Hillary Clinton. This is the "millennial generation " -- born after 1982 and just coming to voting age. This generation, as Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais describe in their Millennial Makeover, are somewhat different from the baby-boomers and the Generation X that went before it. Forty percent are Afro-American, Latino and Asian -American; one in five has at least one parent who is an immigrant
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
. . . USCIS SPEEDS UP APPLICATION FOR A GREEN CARD
In the wake of the administrative nightmare created by the unprecedented demands for citizenship and for permanent residence, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has taken a step to speed up the process by moving ahead before all FBI background checks are completed. (See Washington Post article.)
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
At first the federal courts ruled against such state measures, arguing that immigration is the responsibility of the federal government. But lately, as the challenges appear in more conservative courts, the federal judiciary is sustaining the new laws. Most recently it was in Arizona, and before that in Oklahoma and Missouri. Nothing is settled because the decisions are on appeal, but these laws are in effect. (See NY Times article.)
. . . MORE ON MARTES SUPREMO
The preference of Hispanic voters for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama has been attributed to their familiarity with the Clintons and Bill record as president. But Professor Mrian De Los Angeles Torres of UI- Chicago atributes it as much to Obama's conduct and clumsy handing to the Latino vote. (See Chicago Tribune article.)
Saturday, February 9, 2008
The Associated Press reports that the administration will ask for $100 million for the E-Verify program that requires employers to check workers' documents with Homeland Security before hiring. He does not, however, ask any funding the relax the financial burden on immigrants seeking citizenship or a green card or family reunification. Since August those seeking citizenship had to pay fees of almost $600 and those seeking a green card over a $1000. To add insult to injury, they have to pay additionally for their own finger-printing and mug shot.
. . . COMPROMISE ON THE RIO GRANDE
The dispute between landowners along the Rio Grande and Homeland Security over where to place "The Wall" seems to be coming to a compromise. (See LA Times article.)
Thursday, February 7, 2008
The influence of the Hispanic vote is more clearly seen on the Democratic side, especially in California. Hillary Clinton drew twice as many Hispanic votes as Barack Obama. Together with women and older voters, Latinos gave her a substantial victory. (See LA Times article.) What attracted Hispanic voters was their familiarity with the Clintons and their unfamiliarity with Obama. The positions of both candidates, especially on immigration, are about the same and amenable to Hispanics. Obama was perhaps a bit late in recognizing the importance of the Latino vote. (See Chicago Tribune article.)
The long term significance, however, is not whom the Hispanic votes favor in 2008 but the large turn-out. In California it was 10% compared to 7% in 2006. The expectation is that with all the hyp from the primaries it will grow. But it's not just in the presidential nominating contest that the power of the Hispanic vote can be demonstrated, but also down to local races as well. In Cook County, Anita Alvarez won the Democratic nomination for state's attorney in a crowded field. She did garner the Hispanic vote on the Southwest and Northwest sides, but she also ran second in most city wards and county townships. This office has often been the most competitive between Democrats and Republicans, still Alvarez is an experienced and attractive candidate and likely to become leading Hispanic officeholder in the state. (See Chicago Tribune article.)
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
The comprehensive reform that failed in the Senate last summer include a title called "the AgJobs Bill" meant to reform the abuse and streamline the program. After the defeat of the grand compromise it was hoped the AgJobs Bill would be revived. The anti-immigrant sentiment and the ICE raids had discouraged many farmworkers from crossing the border. So there emerge a shartoge of such workers that there reports of fields and orchards going unpicked. (Note that most of the picker -- 70% by one estimate -- were undocumented.)
The Bush administration would relax the requirements for bringing in H-2A -- e.g., relaxing the search for American workers first-- and broaden the kinds of work they can do. This is likely to arouse the GOP right who have made exclusionary measures an article of Republican faith. But immigrant and farmworker advocates look warily at the initiative. Long experience with the shoddy administration of the H-2A program makes them wonder whether the relaxed regulations might not be solely for the benefit of the employers. (See LA Times article.)
"Hispanics: As they did in
The significance isn't so much the choice of Clinton over Obama -- though perhaps the Democrats over the Republicans -- but what it means for the future. For Latinos this has been a watershed election. (The Washington Post also has an article on what Obama has to do to attract the Hispanic vote from Hillary.)
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
This is all speculative. But the feeling is that this is a water-shed election for Hispanics. There is no mystery why. The reaction to the Senssenbrenner Bill led to the street demonstrations. Next the failure od comprehensive immigration reform and the rise of anti-immigrant rhetoric gave the initial push to go to the polls. Now the emergence of sympathetic candidates in both primaries has also became a pull to the ballot. Hopes are high that the Latino voice will be heard -- not only on immigration, but also education, health care and jobs.
Some Hispanic activists, however, are wary that the enthusiasm of the primaries and even the general election will be little more than muscle flexing of the Latino voters, but will be followed by paltry results. The Democrats say they will move on immigration in the first year of the new administration. But that will depend on what kind of Congress accompanies the new president into office. Some Democrats, these critics warn, had earlier this year began putting "enforcement" before "a path to citizenship".
The task now is to step up the voter registration -- there are still six million unregistered but eligible Latino voters. The general election will be interesting if McCain is the GOP candidate -- and the GOP right is working desperately to prevent that. A McCain-Clinton-or-Obama race, while more friendly to the immigrant, will nevertheless need hard, firm and quick commitment to relief for the immigrant in 2009.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Now that "super-Tuesday" is upon us, the media has begun to speculate how the black and brown votes will fall. In many of the states -- and those that are richest in delegates -- there are significant numbers of the those voters. Both groups have been enamored in the past to the Clintons, but blacks have drifted off understandably into the Obama camp. The question arises whether Obama can attract significant numbers of those "brown" votes. He seems to be succeeding with younger Latinos as he is with most younger voters. But for most part he doesn't seem to be with older voters.
The question that really is of concern, though it has not been asked too loudly in public, is would brown voters support a black candidate in the general election. Some friction over the last few years in Los Angeles and the charge that black and brown challenge each other for jobs is the basis for the speculation. Articles in the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post seem to indicate it's more a case of brown voters not knowing Obama -- except for Illinois -- but they Know Hillary and Bill well..
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Friday, February 1, 2008
There are more than two and a half million Mexican farmers raining corn on plots of less than 12 acres. It's enough to generate $3,000 to $6,000 in annual income. To survive the competition of corn from the U.S. or Canada, they need the help of the additional tax on the imports. While it might seem to contradict "free-trade" dogma and to reward economic inefficiency, in reality it's only "fair". That gringo corn has already been subsidized as part of U.S. farm policy. Cargill and ADM have their production costs pretty well covered by farm supports and so can unload their corn for a profit in Mexico. A further irony is that the ferderal government even covers the cost of facilitating the export. Such subsidies would be continue in the still unpassed farm bill before Congress.
Already corn imports have culled the ranks of small farmers and have precipitated last year's "tortilla riots" in Mexican cities. The impact of this last lifting of restrains on imports may precipitate a renewed wave of undocumented workers -- whether ther's a recession or no recession.