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Aug 12th 2009, 21:08 by The Economist | AUSTIN
LAST week, after Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed to the Supreme Court, Fivethirtyeight.com put together a chart showing Republican "nay" votes by the Hispanic population of their states. It showed something curious: all five Republican senators in states where the Hispanic population exceeds 20% of the vote would vote against Ms Sotomayor. Nate Silver, the guru over there, said that it was "probably a fluke", and I agree with that. (There are also five Democratic senators from the over-20%-Hispanic states, and they voted yes.)
However, the chart seemed to corroborate the widespread belief that Republicans are determined to sabotage themselves among Hispanic voters with their stern stances on things like historic Supreme Court nominees and comprehensive immigration reform. Congressional Republicans tanked George Bush's attempt at reform in 2006 and 2007, and surely they would raise an alarm again if Barack Obama does raise the issue in 2010.
It's not clear how that would play out—my colleague argues that at this point the fuss would actually backfire for Republicans. Here's something else to consider. When Mr Obama made his announcement earlier this week one of his loudest critics was... John Cornyn, the Republican senator from Texas:
"Today President Obama backtracked on his promise to address comprehensive immigration reform during his first year in office," Cornyn said on Monday. "After stating several times on the campaign trail that it would be a ‘top priority,’ I am disappointed he has changed his tune. Immigration reform is long overdue and belongs on President Obama’s full plate."
This is not a new stance for Mr Cornyn; as you can see from his statements he has been banging the reform drum for years. (In fact, he was recently attacked by hardliners for his "incredibly frightening pro-amnesty" views.)
According to Charles Foster, an immigration lawyer in Houston who advised the Bush 2000, McCain 2008, and Obama 2008 presidential campaigns on immigration policy, Mr Cornyn's statement was a sign that moderate Republicans are separating themselves from the Lou Dobbs crowd. Mr Foster argued that the Obama administration knows they can't get immigration reform done without perhaps 10 Republicans in the Senate on board—and so he hopes that Republicans are waking up and will take a "constructive" role in the process.
Perhaps. Mr Cornyn is still in the minority in his own party. But he is the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, so he has some influence in next year's re-election campaigns. It's a shame that Mr Bush was too hobbled by his own mistakes, his party's knee-jerk opposition and the other party's intransigence to accomplish immigration reform in his second term. If Republicans want to work on the issue the next time around let's hope that the obstructionist politics don't dissuade them.
We can’t have an effective immigration reform bill without honoring everyone’s deepest interests
This month, the highly touted new immigration reform bill -- product of Herculean Senate labors over the last half year -- was finally laid to rest amidst much recrimination not only by exhausted Senators but by over 300 groups that were trying to get Senators to write their positions into the bill.
The Senators tried. The so-called “Gang of 12,” supporters of the bill ranging from Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) on the left to Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) on the right, and a galaxy of the Senate’s best and brightest aides, worked virtually around the clock to make all the compromises they could stomach. But in the end, all that did was make an already jerry-built 400-page bill less acceptable to all.
Clash of positions -- or integration of interests?
The problem was not with the intelligence or good will of the players on one side or the other in the immigration reform debate.
The problem is that virtually none of the players, from the Senators on down, were willing to let go of their positions long enough to honor the interests -- even the carefully-considered and heartfelt interests -- of those who disagreed with them.
A different twist was added to the turbulent immigration reform debate this week. In a conference call with reporters, a network of conservative political activists and evangelical church leaders announced a campaign to push for the legalization of millions of undocumented people in the United States.
“From reading the news, you’d think all conservatives are against the issue, but we know different,” said moderator Juan Hernandez.
A well-known pundit with a political foot on both sides of the border, Hernandez has served as an adviser to prominent political figures in both Mexico and the United States, including former Mexican President Vicente Fox and Arizona Senator John McCain. A dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, Hernandez headed up the Office of Mexicans Abroad in Fox’s cabinet.
Joining Hernandez in a call for immigration reform were leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and World Relief, among others. Church leaders cited the Bible and pertinent scriptural passages about migrants as principal reasons Christians should get behind an immigration reform that balances humanitarian action with upholding the rule of law.
“We must not forget that Jesus himself was an immigrant, along with Joseph and Mary,” said Rev. Jim Tolle, senior pastor of Los Angeles’ Church on the Way. According to Tolle, his church serves more than 10,000 Latinos, the majority of them undocumented immigrants.
For Tolle, U.S. society is abandoning millions of people who have contributed to modern consumer lifestyles through their hard work of producing food, clothing and other goods. Giving immigrants a
“sociological lift” is a Biblical principle, Tolle maintained.
Noel Castellanos, chief executive officer of the Christian Community Development Association, said a delegation sponsored by his group to the U.S.-Mexico border opened eyes and left participants with a “new perspective.
“We are calling for a bi-partisan approach to fixing our immigration system, for the sake of families and children,” Castellanos said.
The conservative-evangelical alliance is promoting a new immigration policy that focuses on border security, family unity and an earned path to legalization. Several presenters were careful during the phone conference to add they do not advocate a blanket amnesty for undocumented persons.
In 2009, the National Association of Evangelicals passed a resolution on immigration, which is posted on the group’s Web site at Nae.net. Parallel to but separate from the conservative-evangelical pro-immigrant initiative, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is supporting a major campaign for immigration reform.
Author Jenny Hwang, a staff member of the World Relief service organization, agreed with Hernandez that a political window for immigration reform is rapidly closing and fast action is needed this year. Hwang said pro-immigrant conservative activists are attempting to convince a second Republican senator to get behind the Schumer-Graham reform blueprint and turn it into a bill for Congress.
Hwang said activists will specifically target Republican Senators Judd Gregg, Richard Lugar, John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, among others.
While not entirely new, the involvement of conservative Latino and evangelical leaders in the immigration debate puts additional pressure on Congress and the president to take up the issue this year. The movement from the right also offers a counterweight to anti-legalization forces within the Republican Party during a crucial Congressional election year.
Changing social, economic and political realities underpin the participation of conservative and evangelical forces in immigration issues. In recent decades, evangelical faiths have attracted large numbers of followers in Latin America and other parts of the developing world. The churches have also gained an increasing foothold among Latino and Asian communities in the United States.
Politically, the U.S. Latino and Asian electorates will grow only more important in the coming years. Given demographic trends, any political force that ignores this reality, especially the Republican Party, could face a cold future in the electoral ice box.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said more than 25,000 churches had thrown their weight behind a movement for life, family and justice. The religious leader insisted a contradiction exists between professing support for family values and deporting people.
Ultimately, Rodriguez said, President Obama will be the pivotal figure in determining whether immigration reform comes to pass this year, a time when the legislative agenda is packed with a host of testy issues like the nomination for a new Supreme Court justice and financial reform.
But Obama’s Lazarus-like ability to resurrect and win health insurance legislation, whether for good or for bad, showed the President possesses the gumption get things done, Rodriguez observed. “(Obama) has the moral responsibility as President to push immigration reform in 2010,” he contended.
Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico
Coloradans For Immigrant Rights’ primary goal is to create a welcoming climate for all people by building broad support for immigrant justice. We advocate for humane immigration policies and work to eliminate unjust immigration practices. We educate and organize citizens in support of human rights for all people in the belief that diverse voices grow and strengthen the movement for immigrant justice.
CFIR, a project of the
Arizona’s Republican governor and many conservatives may not be aware of the extent to which immigration cuts across religious groups—liberal and conservative. If draconian measures like SB 1070 take hold and opposition gains steam, Republicans may see their 2010 and 2012 hopes evaporate in the summer sun.
When Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the controversial immigration law last week, for some it conjured images of “Nazism” and the Jim Crow South. I believe the more apt image of this law can be found in rapper MIA’s new video, “Born Free” (warning: nudity, graphic violence, NSFW).
In an uncanny coincidence, the video, directed by filmmaker Romain Gavaras, depicts redheaded men—“gingers”—being rounded up in an ICE-style sting in Los Angeles, transported out into the desert by bus, and forced to run for their lives. The intent was to show the brutality of the American occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, though it’s being read by some as a prescient trope about the perils of Arizona’s new immigration law whose opponents claim that its vagueness will result in racial profiling. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told David Gregory on Meet the Press Sunday morning.
Indigenous peoples usually live in isolated areas, outside the mainstream of national economies and development support. The areas they inhabit are even more likely to lack infrastructure such as roads, schools and health posts. Indigenous peoples very often inhabit resourceful areas, which are exposed to logging, mining, oil-industry and other kinds of commercial exploitation.
Indigenous peoples' distinct livelihoods depend on access to land and natural resources and sustainable development is therefore an issue of crucial concern to
Indigenous peoples are the disadvantaged descendants of those peoples that inhabited a territory prior to colonisation or formation of the present state. The term indigenous is defined by characteristics that relate to the identity of a particular people in a particular area, and that distinguish them culturally from other people or peoples.
When, for example, immigrants from Europe settled in the Americas and Oceania, or when new states were created after colonialism was abolished in Africa and Asia, certain peoples became marginalised and discriminated against, because their language, their religion, their culture and their whole way of life were different and perceived by the dominant society as being inferior. Insisting on their right to self-determination is indigenous peoples’ way of overcoming these obstacles.
Today many indigenous peoples are still excluded from society and often even deprived of their rights as equal citizens of a state. Nevertheless they are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories and their ethnic identity. Self-identification as an indigenous individual and acceptance as such by the group is an essential component of indigenous peoples’ sense of identity. Their continued existence as peoples is closely connected to their possibility to influence their own fate and to live in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems.
On September 13, 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This followed more than twenty years of discussion within the UN system. Indigenous representatives played a key role in the development of this Declaration.
There are over 370 million indigenous people in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Pacific. They are among the most impoverished, marginalized and frequently victimized people in the world.
This universal human rights instrument is celebrated globally as a symbol of triumph and hope. Effective implementation of the Declaration would result in significant improvements in the global situation of indigenous peoples.