Latino Media to White House: Immigration Reform Now!

Posted: Nov 19, 2012

Ed. Note: President Obama announced last week that he expects Congress to propose a comprehensive immigration reform bill in early 2013. Last Sunday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced renewed talks to bring back their own immigration reform bill. Immigration reform may be retaking center stage in national media, but in the country’s Spanish-language newspapers, radio and TV programs, it has been the lead story for years.

Latino media are again taking the lead in the push for comprehensive immigration reform. The day after President Obama’s re-election, an editorial in the Los Angeles-based Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión argued that Obama “owes” it to Latinos.

The election, editors write, showed that Obama’s reelection was made possible thanks to the Latino vote, which can no longer be ignored in the path to the White House.

“Obama owes Latinos a debt,” the editorial argues. “We hope that the White House proposes an immigration bill and that GOP lawmakers take the opportunity to earn brownie points with the Latino community with a reasonable, positive law.”

Editors contend that the Republican Party needs to support immigration reform in order to gain back the votes of Latinos.

“The question,” they write, “is whether the GOP understands that it needs to adapt how its message is communicated, and in part also the content, to recover the ground lost among Hispanics. Passing comprehensive immigration reform in Congress would be a good step in that direction.”

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos makes a similar argument in a column titled, “How to Lose an Election,” writing that Republicans must lead the effort for immigration reform in 2013.

The future of the GOP, he says, depends on it.

“As the party moves forward,” Ramos writes, “it needs to rally behind more moderate members like Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida and a potential presidential candidate in 2016, who supports immigration reform and knows that without Hispanics, the GOP’s future looks grim. Those Republicans who would prefer to carry on as usual need to take a hard look at the numbers … If Republicans don’t reach out to our community, their party is doomed.”

Gaps and Failures

The way Rodrigo Cervantes, editor of Atlanta-based Mundo Hispánico, explains it, his newspaper, like many other Latino media, “has documented the gaps and failures of the current immigration system and how it has affected different communities and people -not only immigrants, and not only undocumented immigrants.”

A Nov. 8 editorial in Philadelphia’s Spanish-language newspaper Al Día, for example, looks at the limits of the Obama administration’s achievements, from health care to deferred action.

Al Día’s post-election editorial questions “why undocumented immigrants have been wholly precluded from purchasing — with their own money — coverage from insurers in your plan … Further, we wonder why undocumented young adults who are granted deferred action will not be given the ability to purchase health insurance from ACA pools either.”

Editors also wonder why Obama has failed to push for the DREAM Act, and ignored the pleas of Dreamers to issue an executive order to protect them. “And, no,” editors note, “the deferred action you penned isn’t anything comparable to an executive order, no matter how many times it is carelessly referred to in that way.”

The editorial concludes: “We applaud [deferred action] while feeling it was a small, conveniently-timed band-aid on a wound that you are responsible for exacerbating.

“That wound is immigration, Mr. President. The hundreds of thousands of people you’ve deported; the tens of thousands of families you’ve separated with detention and deportation; the thousands of U.S. citizen children placed in foster care because of your deportation policy; and the yet-to-be-counted total of children that have been adopted out because their detained parents were judged to have ‘abandoned’ them — these are our brothers, sisters, children, parents, friends and acquaintances — and your immigration legacy so far.

“You’ve said we can do a lot, together, in four years. We agree. And we’ll hold you and your party to it.”

A Bit of History

Latino media’s role at the forefront of the immigration reform movement should come as no surprise; the sector has a history of defending the rights of its community and immigration reform is no exception.

John Esparza, editor of Vida en Valle, in Fresno, Calif., says his newspaper has taken a stand in support of comprehensive immigration reform since the mid-1990s, when communities began to express concern about Proposition 187, the California ballot measure that sought to prohibit undocumented immigrants from using social services.

The newspaper’s long tradition of advocating for immigration reform is a reflection of its location and the community it serves. “The heart of our distribution area is the San Joaquín Valley,” Esparza explains, “where farm production leads the nation thanks to a largely undocumented workforce.”

In 2006, Spanish-language radio was credited with urging many Latinos to take to the streets in the Labor Day immigrant rights marches, where millions of people protested the Sensenbrenner Bill in cities across the country.

Latino TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and online media have not spared President Obama in their criticism of U.S. immigration policy.

Latino media have taken the Obama administration to task for deporting a record number of undocumented immigrants; allowing immigration detention facilities that had inadequate medical care and poor conditions to remain open; enforcing policies such as Secure Communities that lead to deportation and detention of non-criminals; and a system of detention and deportation that separated families and left thousands of children in foster care.

On the state level, Latino media have also been at the forefront of the pushback against a wave of unprecedented state laws that took a hard line on illegal immigration, from Arizona’s SB 1070 to similar laws in Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, Utah and South Carolina.

When Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law HB 87, for example, Georgia’s state immigration law, Atlanta Spanish-language newspaper MundoHispánico was published with a blank cover. In an accompanying editorial, editors wrote that the blank cover reflected the mood of the community and demonstrated their silent rejection of the state immigration law.

“It is my belief that journalism follows that principle of public service: to alert the structures of power on how a bad decision that they take can affect, denigrate or prejudice others,” MundoHispánico editor Rodrigo Cervantes explains.

Voices for Reform Growing Louder

“I don't necessarily see support for immigration reform as growing, but rather getting louder,” says Esparza of Vida en el Valle. “The United Farm Workers has been working with the Nisei Farmers League and other agricultural organizations to push for immigration reform since 2005. That is a remarkable achievement considering the past history of the UFW and [agriculture]. DREAMers have added to that louder voice.”

Esparza says his publication continues to push for comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including farmworkers and DREAMers; a visa program that provides safeguards for guest workers so that they are not abused; family reunification; and establishment of an immigration program that avoids the pitfalls of the 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act.

The last push for comprehensive immigration reform, however, resulted in a ratcheting up of enforcement and deportations, without any of these reforms.

The question this time is whether these efforts will be successful.

Additional reporting by Suzanne Manneh.

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User Comments

Dave Francis on Nov 19, 2012 at 11:43:27 said:



Americans work all their lives, in good times and bad times as we have currently, then illegal aliens broach our borders or just jump on an international jet and once here demand rights and the majority of these used up politicians reward them. I am placing prominence on the term illegal alien, not a legal immigrant. ILLEGAL ALIEN is a far cry from a responsible person who commits themselves to follow the law, come here and is pandered to by the court system, declaring we must educate their children or allow them to access our health care system. Legal immigrants come here and are settled here with a green card, except illegal aliens come here disrespect our laws. Although a majority are from South of our border, approximately 46 percent come by aircraft with no intentions of returning even though they came here on a visitor’s visa. Two question remain open to momentous decisions, why isn’t illegal entry never been asserted as a class 1 felony, or why overstays are never tracked? It strange those crewmembers that jump ship or stay without permission are hunted down by ICE. It is obvious to me that these two situations above, that illegal entry being a civil offense or the no mechanism to track visa overstays was deliberate. YES deliberate! Nothing has ever made any sense since the original blanket amnesty of the 1986 Reagan dynasty?

The responsibility for the estimated population of illegal aliens of 20 million plus, is more to the truth than the exaggerated 11 million. This number has remained the same for the past decade and it’s impossible to believe it? Numbers are manufactured by the overwhelming Socialistic journalists, editorial staff or reporters in the national press, or even several administrations over the years. Initially the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) gave 2.7 million illegal migrants and immigrants a path to citizenship, but beginning of 1997 those former illegal aliens had been totally replaced by new illegal aliens, and that the unauthorized population again stood at more than 5 million; through fraudulent applications and poor inspections by agents of the government. Badly regulated the procedures were not observed and the fact that the so called strict laws to prosecute illegal wrongdoers or the employers who hired them, was never enforced and the funding almost none existent and immigration surged.

The likelihood of President Obama pressing for another insane path to citizenship for all illegal aliens already here, because of his promise will have huge major costs. Then we have nonchalant Republicans looking towards their future, who are now climbing into the a similar solution, hoping that if they kowtow to the minorities that they will gain headway. All I see is a massive flood of more and more illegal usurpers looking for a cheap ride from the U.S. taxpayer. Eventually, we will all pay in higher taxes that will be gleaned from citizens, whether black, white or any other racial makeup as another blanket amnesty will attract even more people. The only people, who will not pay a cent towards the new onslaught, are the “FREELOADERS” the people who think working for a living is a bad ideology.

Millions more desperate, people will think its open season on America, and the word will be shouted out and not just South of our border, but worldwide. Our only and final chance to stop the overwhelming rush of foreign nationals is to enforce our border. Former President Bush enacted the 2006 Secure Fence Bill which funded a two layer fence similar to the one of separating Israel from its enemies. A double parallel fence that in the long run could halt massive amounts of drugs and foreigners into our sovereign nation. In between each 15 foot fence would be a rapid interdiction tracks for the U.S. Border Patrol agents. For interior enforcement the full impact of “THE LEGAL WORKFORCE BILL” It contains E-Verify to oversee and audit businesses that hire illegal aliens and bring them to court. Immediately we must nurse an amendment into the 14th Amendment, which is a commonsense to stop pregnant females from illegally entering America, then claiming citizenship for a child. Not only do you pay for all the amenities of deliveries, but you pay for contrived citizenship of a child and everything from then on is on a birthright or naturalized citizens back of paying the bills and even Green Card Holders are not exempt.

We must prevent this from occurring anymore by adopting the “BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP BILL” that both parties have ignored and refused to place this bill to be read on the house floor. It stops the accommodation of illegal alien females from their kids getting instantaneous citizenship, by making it mandatory that one parent must be a citizen. Well it’s up to the American people now whether to keep this insanity rolling and taxpayers covering the expenses for these children, or demand from the Congress a change in the law. These children given citizenship are a stepping stone for their parents, to collect even more welfare. The more children they conceive, the less chance it is for the parents to be deported. In fact the more children mean extra welfare payments and additionally a carefully planned access to free housing—government sponsored. We can eradicate this nonsensical law and the hundreds of billions of dollars, going to our own impoverished. THESE ILLEGAL ALIENS COME HERE WITHOUT EVER PAYING TAXES, SOCIAL SECURITY, FICA AND OUR GOVERNMENT ALLOWS THEM TO STEAL OUR SAFETYNET AND REAP THE BENEFITS.

. If the taxpaying populace ever realized that the common denominator for the DREAM ACT AS IMPOSED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA was because of the illicit original introduction into our country from wherever, were decade’s illegal children or the unborn smuggled into our country.

OH! Incidentally—America is already bankrupt? How can you have a 16 Trillion deficit, with just about every state on the edge of insolvency and stating we are not already bankrupt? The feds can print as many dollar bills as they like, but China is our landlord now and our creditor. Whatever the fiscal cliff is, we have already passed that demarcation point. Of course come December the two political groups will come to some compromise, but it will be all a massive big lie. A fabrication of the fact that the U.S. government can juggle numbers, move the zero’s around to make it look good to the American population. They have lots of committees, pat each other on their back, congratulating each other on cutting back on taxes and spending, but in truth it will be one big carnival. AS usual, they will pass the astronomical dollar figure onto the next generations. First and foremost I personally think we need a restructuring of our ancient tax code, which applies a fair and equitable measure for all. So that everybody pays something and that only the lowest of incomes pays zero. No more subsidies deductions or any of the pleasures unions get, or any special interest groups—everybody pays?

Archie Bunker on Nov 19, 2012 at 05:54:34 said:

Immigration reform would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue over three years,” the letter says. “The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office scored the bi-partisan 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill that was proposed in the Senate as increasing federal revenues by $15 billion over the 2008-2012 period and by $48 billion over the 2008-2017 period.”

Studies from groups across the political spectrum have proven the economic and fiscal benefits of comprehensive immigration reform. By requiring illegal immigrants to register with the government, pay fees and back taxes, and correct their status, we can drastically expand our tax base. A report by the Center for American Progress found that passing comprehensive immigration reform would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue over three years. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office scored the bi-partisan 2007 comprehensive immigration reform bill that was proposed in the Senate as increasing federal revenues by $15 billion over the 2008-2012 period and by $48 billion over the 2008-2017 period.

In addition to expanding our tax base, economists have proven that comprehensive immigration reform would also increase wages for native workers, thereby boosting tax revenues generated by all workers. The CATO Institute found that forcing undocumented immigrants to get right with the law by registering with the government would boost the incomes of U.S. households by $180 billion in 2019, which would also lead to increased government revenues, without increasing tax rates.

Just like our budget deficit, immigration reform is an issue that we cannot afford to ignore. Bipartisan proposals that are tough, fair, and practical have garnered support from across the ideological spectrum in Congress, as well as from President Bush and the current administration. Comprehensive immigration reform would clearly help us reduce our deficit and debt, and would do so without raising tax rates.

US economy largely unaffected by illegal immigration

WASHINGTON — A study released Wednesday concludes that illegal-immigrant workers do not drain jobs or tax dollars and have a neutral impact on the U.S. economy.
Because illegal immigrants occupy a small share of the work force — about 5 percent — and work low-skilled jobs at lower wages than other workers, their overall influence on the economy is trivial, according to the report, sponsored by the Migration Policy Institute, a pro-immigration think tank in Washington.
"The fate of the U.S. economy does not rest on what we do on illegal immigration," said Gordon H. Hanson, author of the report and economics professor at the University of California-San Diego.
Illegal immigrants contribute a tiny 0.03 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, with that gain going to employers who save money on cheap labor, the report says, while their cost to the economy is 0.10 percent of GDP, which mainly comes from public education and publicly funded emergency health care.
The net impact at minus 0.07 percent of GDP means that illegal immigrants have an essentially neutral effect on the economy, Hanson said.
The report does not factor in the spending or entrepreneurship that illegal immigrants contribute to the economy, said Marc Rosenblum, senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute.
Where illegal immigrants do have a substantial impact, Hanson added, is in specific labor-intensive and low-skilled industries such as agriculture, construction, hospitality and cleaning services, where the share of native-born workers has dropped precipitously.
Because the U.S. has dramatically raised the education level of its adult population in the last 50 years — going from about 50 percent of all working-age adults without a high school diploma in 1960 to just 8 percent today — the native-born, low-skilled work force has shrunk, while employers continue to require low-skilled workers.
This leaves room for illegal immigrants to take such jobs at a low cost, the report says.
Illegal immigrants now account for 20 percent of working-age adults in the U.S. who don't have a high school degree.
While the influx of illegal immigrants is one of the factors keeping low-skilled wages stagnant, the biggest losers in the current system are legal low-wage workers, both native and foreign born, who compete with the illegal immigrants, Rosenblum said.
Meanwhile, employers reap higher profits because of lower labor costs and more productive businesses.
The solution to this imbalance, proposed by the Migration Policy Institute, is to provide more visas and legal channels for unskilled workers to enter the U.S.
Today, low-skilled workers must have a green card — effectively requiring them to have close family members in the U.S. — or obtain a temporary work visa.
"We really need to approach migration control comprehensively by both strengthening enforcements and creating legalization mechanisms that will control the unauthorized population and improve the economic outputs that we get from immigration," Rosenblum said.




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