Latinos For Texas Blog


Breaking: A united Austin City Council calls for resignation of Charles Law

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If you can make this press conference, please do so to show your support for the Austin City Council members

For immediate release

March 20, 2008

Contact:           Bobby Garza, Office of Council Member Mike Martinez, 512.974.2264



Media Advisory



Why:                A public agenda for a public meeting of the Creedmoor-Maha Water Supply Corporation that was posted on the Secretary of State’s Web site lists an agenda item as “Dempsey’s proposed old Harmony Hills tract and possible holding pen for wetbacks.

Who:                Council Members Mike Martinez, Lee Leffingwell, Sheryl Cole, Jennifer Kim, and Brewster McCracken, Mayor Will Wynn, Mayor Pro Tem Betty Dunkerley, State Sen. Kirk Watson, State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gomez


What:               Press Conference calling for resignation of Charles Laws, General Manager, Creedmoor-Maha Water Supply Corporation and Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Mustang Ridge


When:              5:15 p.m.

TODAY - Thursday, March 20, 2008  


Where:             Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second St.

News Conference Room, First Floor




On a lighter note:”Because in Spanglish, no one can understand you laugh.”

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Just passing along the news that the funny kids at Latino Comedy Project are bringing back their highly acclaimed “AlienNation” for a few days in early October at Austin’s Dougherty Arts Center. Their ‘300‘ spoof video was great, with over 560,000 views. So support them so you can say you knew them before they sold out let others buy in! ; )

Hey Everyone,

Just a reminder that “AlienNation” returns next week for an encore run, one week only, October 5-7, at the Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Road, Austin. The show features all-new material from the Latino Comedy Project and it’s the first all-new show since 2005’s “Citizen Quién?”

PERFORMANCES: ONLY THREE SHOWS! Friday-Saturday, October 5-6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday October 7 at 2 p.m. at the Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Road, Austin.

TICKETS: $15 adults, $12 students and seniors, available at the box office on performance evenings.

Advance tickets are already available at: or 512-474-TIXS


On a Lighter Note: Latino Comedy Project’s ‘AlienNation’ opens

Filed under: — site admin @ 9:43 am

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Hey Austinites:

The highly-acclaimed and apparently ‘murderously funny’ new revue by Austin’s own Latino Comedy Project opens at the brand-spanking-new Mexican American Cultural Center. The Austin Chronicle has nice things to say about it. I have only a simple thing to say: ‘If you love freedom, you must go.’

Here the PR blurb:

Border walls. Failed immigration reform. Lou Dobbs foaming at the mouth. Comedy! Austin’s cultural cut-ups of the Latino Comedy Project return for the award-winning comedy troupe’s new all-original show, “AlienNation”,  another hilarious full-length revue of sketch comedy, videos and music.
PERFORMANCES: 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, August 2 through Aug. 25, 2007, at the Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River Street, Austin.

TICKETS / SHOW INFO: $15 adults, $12 students and senior, available at the MACC box office on performance evenings, Teatro’s phone line, 512-389-0892.

Advance tickets are available online right now at:

Want to keep those pesky new arrivals from crashing your Caucasian caucus? Use the “Porta-Border,” a miniature version of the proposed border wall. (Or, for even greater ease-of-transport, try the “Porta-Border Nano.”) In, “Get on a Truck”, the LCP’s secret for producing such great comedy on the cheap is revealed: We send comedy scouts to day labor sites! Check out the LCP’s take on Apple’s Mac vs. PC ads (”Mex vs. B.C. [Born Citizen]”), Bratz Dolls, “300″ and amateurish local “adult education”commercials (”Vosotros Polytechnic”). Attend the “2007 Annual Police Brutality Video Awards”, and visit a racially themed college costume party where the tables are turned on the usual perpetrators. And meet new characters like the poorly translated crossover Latin pop singer Xiañez.
After two years of touring in glamorous locales including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tulsa, Oklahoma and sunny McAllen, Texas, the LCP has been working hard to bring its unique, take-no-prisoners take on the absurdities of pop culture and politics back to hometown audiences. “AlienNation” is a night of hilarious, high-energy comedy by a troupe celebrating its 10th year of bringing audience members to tears of laughter.
The performance also marks the very first at the newly constructed Mexican American Cultural Center. The center, almost 30 years in the making, is welcoming the Latino Comedy Project as its first performance group.
The LCP, called “hilarious” and “murderously funny” by the San Francisco Chronicle, has been featured at international Sketch Festivals in Vancouver, Chicago and Seattle, and has performed with Carlos Mencia, Fred Willard, Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco and “The Daily Show”’s Rob Cordry, among others. The LCP’s comedy videos have been featured at international film festivals and on nationally syndicated programs seen in over 50 million households from coast to coast.
The Latino Comedy Project writers and performers are: LCP Artistic Director Adrian Villegas, Sandy Avila, Guillermo De Leon, Omar L. Gallaga, Raul Garza, Karinna Perez, Mical Trejo, Danu Uribe and Nick Walker.
Come see “AlienNation”: Because in Spanglish, no one can understand you laugh.


A Community Conversation on Immigration 3/24

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 9:07 am

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This is a full press release that I though was important to post. Normally I would just post the event on the calendar but the agenda for this event is pretty packed. If you can make any part of this event I think it would be worthwhile for better understanding of this situation.


PlaticArte A Community Conversation on Immigration with Teatro Vivo’s
“La Victima”

Saturday March 24
9 am - 4 pm
ACC Riverside Campus
1020 Grove Blvd Bldg G 78741

The public is invited to this free event.

This event that brings together artists, scholars, and community
activists for a full-day of open discussion on immigration issues with
Teatro Vivo’s bilingual theater production of
“La Victima” as a context for the conversation. “La Victima” originally
written by El Teatro De La Esperanza,tells the story of suffering,
injustice and fragile hope in the lives of Mexican immigrants in the
United States and it reminds us that we continue to live inside that

Austin’s Teatro Vivo has brought “La Victima” back to the stage to
encourage reflection and activism in the arts and to build humanistic
understanding around the immigrant cause.

PlaticArte Program and Panelists
Saturday March 24

9:00 am Welcome and Introductions
Mike Martinez, Austin City Council

9:10-10:40 am
Necessary Theatre,The Role of Chicano Theatre in a Society in Crisis
Jorge Huerta, Professor, Theater Historian, UC San Diego
Deborah Paredez, Professor,Theater and Dance Dept., UT
Rupert Reyes, Artistic Director of Teatro Vivo / Former
Member of El Teatro de la Esperanza

Scenes from “La Victima”

10:45-12 noon
Immigration Issues
Nestor Rodriguez,Professor Univ. of Houston
Gloria Lopez Gonzalez, Professor UT Austin
Sandra Valenzuela, Travis County Immigrant Study

12 noon
Lunch Conjunto Aztlan performs songs from El Movimento

1:00 pm
Heather Courtney, Director/Producer,
“Letters from the Other Side” and “Los Trabajadores”

1:25 - 2:15
Immigrant Voices
Luis Orozco, Lanier High School
Rebecca Acuna, UT Austin graduate 2006

2:15 - 2:40
Jesse Salmeron Director/Producer,
Undocumented and Imprisoning Innocence

2:45-3:50 Immigration - Current Action
Rebecca Bernhardt, ACLU Update on Hutto Residential Facility
Ana Yan ez Correa, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition
Angela Valenzuela, Professor, University of Texas

Concluding Remarks
Emilio Zamora, University of Texas at Austin

Teatro Vivo
PO Box 300028
Austin TX 78703



U.S Citizenship Drive with Rep. Eddie Rodriguez

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LFT’s friendly State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez sums it up: “Immigrants are an integral part of the American community and there is no better way to demonstrate our community’s patriotism and commitment to this country than by becoming full participants in its democracy.”

Help democracy won’t you? Signup for a reminder:

Full Press Release:

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez host U.S. Citizenship Drive in Austin

Saturday, January 27th, 2007 starting at 8:00 am at the LBJ School of Public Affairs

Austin, TX– State Representative Eddie Rodriguez in collaboration with the University Leadership Initiative, will conduct a U.S. Citizenship Drive on Saturday, January 27th, 2007 starting at 8:00am at the LBJ School of Public Affairs located 2315 Red River Street, (inside the Sid Richardson building). The goal of the workshop is to assist eligible legal permanent residents apply for U.S. citizenship.

Last spring, millions of immigrants and their supporters marched in cities throughout the United States in support of comprehensive immigration reform. The unprecedented levels of participation has motivated thousand of individuals to seek other avenues to continue their civic engagement, including more direct democratic actions such as voting, which requires legal permanent residents to first become naturalized citizens.

“The message is loud and clear: Immigrants are an integral part of the American community and there is no better way to demonstrate our community’s patriotism and commitment to this country than by becoming full participants in its democracy,” said State Representative Eddie Rodriguez. “U.S. citizenship and voting are clearly the next steps.”

Approximately four out of ten Latino adults living in the U.S. are not citizens, of which 5 million are eligible for naturalization. In Texas, there are approximately 800,000 Latinos potentially eligible to become U.S. Citizens. Research demonstrates that Latino naturalized citizens, are voting at higher rates than native born Latinos in many states.

Eligible applicants for U.S. citizenship are encouraged to arrive early, as the first 300 legal permanent residents who arrive and meet the requirements to solicit citizenship will be ensured assistance. To apply, applicants must be:

* At least 18 years old;
* A legal permanent resident for at least five years (3-Years if married to U.S. Citizen);
* Able to read, write, speak, and understand basic English, and have basic knowledge of U.S. history and government.

In addition, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services requires citizenship applicants to submit a $400 money order along with the application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to bring a money order and complete the full application process on the day of the workshop.

For more information, call 441-8123 ext 101 or 113.

Cuellar proposal is an $850 million fiasco in the making

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 12:19 pm

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(tips to South Texas Chisme for the story)

McAllen Monitor Editorial 1/25/07

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, the Rio Grande Valley’s newest congressional representative — whose district was redrawn to take over the portion of the Valley previously represented by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin — last week introduced a bill calling for the United States to provide up to $850 million over the next five years to help train Mexican law enforcement and military personnel to better combat rising drug-related violence just across the border.

On the surface, this all sounds pretty good. Maybe that’s why Cuellar’s bill has picked up the sycophantic support of other South Texas congressmen, including U.S. Reps. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes; Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi; Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio; and Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño, however, is not prepared to say “amen” and join the chorus of support for Cuellar’s bill.

Treviño, in fact, told The Monitor he considers the proposed legislation “ludicrous.”

Cuellar is not talking about using $850 million dollars to have skilled U.S. law enforcement agencies or military units train their Mexican brethren. That might make some sense and would give the United States at least some control over how the money is actually spent.

What Cuellar is proposing is that we simply hand over to the Mexican government $170 million for each of the next five years and trust that it will all be spent for its intended purpose.

I believe in nation building as a foreign policy. It certainly makes more sense than nation destroying, which is what I think the current administration’s policy really is. In fact if we were to spend just one week’s expenditures of what we are spending in Iraq (2 billion a week) in Mexico, we would start down the right path of building a stronger relationship with our sister border country to the south. But you can imagine the wailing that would also ensue from the extreme right wing about sending money into Mexico. They would just rather isolate themselves within a 700 mile wall. That proposed wall coincidentally would also cost about $2.2 billion. Spending a couple of billion in Mexico as nation building would start to correct the major threat that most Americans see, which is illegal immigration. Our current foreign policy creates a whole lot of jobs in Asia and I just think we should start a policy of trade that would favor companies that establish their factories in Mexico. Spurring the Mexican economy would create jobs there and slow the flow of illegal immigration and at the same time provide Mexicans with more disposal income to spend on US goods and services.


Farmers Branch Fuels Anti-Immigrant Sentiment

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 9:18 am

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Dallas Morning News story this morning “FB moves against illegal immigrants”. Even their framing in the news story title makes it sound so uncontroversial. Or does it? I think Farmers Branch stepped back into the 20th century. They have basically fallen for the “blame the immigrants” frame. Nevermind that 37% percent of their population is Latino and the majority of them are not illegal.

FB moves against illegal immigrants
Farmers Branch on Monday adopted strict measures against illegal immigrants, requiring apartment renters to provide proof of citizenship or residency and making English the city’s official language.

The City Council also unanimously agreed to let police apply to participate in a federal program that would enable them to check the residency status of suspects in custody and initiate deportation proceedings in certain cases.

The measures, believed to be the first of their kind in Texas, brought cheers from supporters but sparked anger among some Hispanics and other opponents that the action will cause further racial tension in the city.

Protesters gathered at Farmers Branch City Hall hours before Monday night’s City Council meeting. Shouting matches periodically erupted outside the council chambers between supporters and opponents of the ordinances.

Some Hispanic activists said they will sue the city over the decisions.

Well not that I had any dealings with Farmers Branch right now, but I’m certainly not going to have any now. They have just joined the ranks of Vidor in Texas racist history.


Janitors take it to the Courts in Austin and San Antonio

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Amber Goodwin, of Houston Justice for Janitors and SEIU writes in with lots of good information and links to the now-not-front-page issue of how some corporations (and/or their contractors) deal with immigrants’ labor. I personally find it hard to believe (and i wonder if the Ken Lay, Jeff Skillings, Bernie Ebbers, et al precedents will prevail) that corporate chieftains dont really know what is going on with their underlings and/or contractors. Is ‘willful ignorance’ an excuse that works under the law??

Janitors sue Target in Austin and San Antonio over wage violations

The exploitation of hard-working immigrants throughout Texas and nationally has received a lot of news coverage lately. But a lawsuit filed on June 29 against Target department stores and their cleaning contractor in Austin and San Antonio suggests the problem may be particularly rampant among major corporations and the companies they hire to provide janitorial services. Janitors in Target stores say they were required to work up to 70 hours a week without overtime pay and often worked seven days a week with only one day off every other week.

In fact, the lawsuit in Target stores is the latest in a growing number of lawsuits and investigations by federal agencies into similar practices—including cases involving janitors who clean national supermarket chains Safeway, Vons, Albertsons, and Ralph’s, United Parcel Service (UPS) facilities, and Wal-Mart stores.

In Houston, the company that cleans the offices of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Professional Janitorial Service (PJS), violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by instructing janitors to work “off-the-clock” and unlawfully withholding—and in some cases failing to pay—wages due to janitors upon termination of employment, according to a new class action lawsuit filed on June 15.


TAKS, Chris Bell, GOP, Immigration, Winning and Losing

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 2:44 pm

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Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell is campaigning against high-stakes testing and believes the $360 million spent on selected teacher bonuses should have been used for a larger, overall pay raise.

He is correct. Even with the additional $2,000, average teacher pay in Texas will continue to lag several thousand dollars behind the national average. Most Texas teachers are being “squeezed.”

Clay Robison chief of the Houston Chronicle’s Austin Bureau.

“Those folks running schools from Austin think they can use tests to make our kids smarter,” he rails before chuckling: “But a test won’t make you any smarter than a ruler will make you taller.”

Chris Bell on the TAKS test in a column by Carlos Guerra.

“For them to adopt such an egregious proposal makes their platform look more like a hate crime than a policy position.”

Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer (D-San Antonio) in a press conference on the Texas GOP’s divisive immigration stance.

“It’s not very often that you have a Democrat candidate for governor trying to come in third. You have to relish that.”

Rep. Lamar Smith to the GOP executive committee. Smith is facing John Courage in November.

She also warned the party faithful that President Bush’s sagging poll numbers and general unease across a spectrum of issues could jeopardize the Republican majorities in Congress.

“We have never had so much to lose, and we’ve never had so far to fall,” said Hutchison, whose re-election is being challenged by Democrat Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer.

John Moritz - Fort Worth Star-Telegram.


Lionel Sosa’s new venture networks together Americans and Mexicans

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Another friendly reader (thanks Adam!) sent in a link to a article about the efforts of Lionel Sosa, ‘one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Hispanics”‘ to build an

online grass-roots think tank, it promises to forge new ideas and practical solutions to problems facing the United States and Mexico, immigration reform being the latest and most volatile.

He has some very interesting twist on the blogosphere ideas of getting Clickers into the streets, envisioning a complentary role for a new new site Mexicans & Americans Thinking Together at

“There’s been these marches on the street, but what happens afterward?” he said. “We hope they’ll join the Million Click March next and give us their best ideas, and we’ll serve them up to the leadership.”

Additionally, and not surprisingly since Sosa built the ‘largest Hispanic ad agency in the United States with clients such as Coca-Cola and Burger King and annual billings of more than $100 million,’ he aims to fund the non-profit side with a commercial venture side.

Its a good article, read it all at and thanks again for the tip!


Manos de Cristo offering Day of Prayer for Immigrants

Filed under: — kevin @ 2:47 pm

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Here in Austin, the immigrant community is being terrorized by recent round-ups, deportations, and general harrassment. In response to this unfortunate situation, Manos de Cristo is opening our doors to all for special activities that will dovetail nicely with the May 1 demonstration and strike.

The schedule is as follows:
11:00 am - Presentation by Jacqueline Watson, Immigration Lawyer.
12:00 pm - Prayer for the Immigrant Community
12:30 pm - Time of fellowship. (Please bring your lunch. We will provide drinks and cookies.)
1:00 pm - Service project with representatives from the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.
2:30 pm - Departure for the march for those that wish to participate.

Manos de Cristo is a Presbyterian ministry that provides basic services and education classes for a primarily Spanish-speaking, immigrant community. We are located at 4911 Harmon Ave and our phone is 512-477-7454.


A new La Politiquera is available

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Alfredo Santos writes in to announce another fact-filled issue of La Politiquera is available for download at

This issue offers coverage and photos of the Immigration Justice marches on April10th, and asks if the students’ involvement will be committed across the long-term, developing into “21st Century Chicanos.” Lots of interesting quotes, news articles, and information.

Also, a transcript of David Horowitz and Jose Angel Gutierrez ‘duking it out’ on the Sean Hannity show, and more.

Check it out, and let Santos know what you think in the comments below!


Senate approves immigration bill…?

Filed under: — kevin @ 3:46 pm

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From the New York Times:

After days of painstaking negotiations, Senate leaders today hammered out a broad, bipartisan compromise that would put the vast majority of the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship.

The plan would also create a temporary worker program that would allow 325,000 foreigners to fill jobs in the United States each year. The Senate was expected to vote on the measure late today or early Friday and, if passed, it would mark the most sweeping immigration accord in two decades.

Under the agreement, illegal immigrants who have lived here for five years or more — about seven million people — would eventually be granted citizenship if they remained employed, paid fines and back taxes and learned English. Illegal immigrants who have lived here from two to five years — about three million people — would have to leave the country briefly and return as temporary workers. They would also be eligible for citizenship over time, but they would have to wait several years longer for it.

Those immigrants who have been here less than two years — about one million people — would be required to leave the country. They could apply for spots in the temporary worker program, but there would be no guarantee.

But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle warned that there were many obstacles ahead: Any legislation that passes the Senate will have to be reconciled with a tough border security bill passed by the House in December and House Republicans have said they would not tolerate any legislation that amounted to an amnesty for lawbreakers.

This is not a complete victory for immigrants and their allies, but it’s a great compromise. We’ll see if the vote occurs and then continue to advocate for just and humane immigration legislation as the two vastly different bills are reconciled in committee.


Jim Harrington’s Op-Ed in the Austin American-Statesman

Filed under: — kevin @ 10:14 am

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Harrington: A punitive plan that won’t solve the problem


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The number and breadth of demonstrations across the country against Congress’ efforts to criminalize undocumented immigrants and those who assist them have stunned the nation. Equally astonishing was Cardinal Roger Mahony’s public pledge to order the priests and religious in the Los Angeles Archdiocese to passively resist and disobey House Resolution 4437 if it is passed.

The House bill would make it a federal crime to be in the United States illegally or for anyone to assist undocumented immigrants.

Making it a crime to enter this country illegally will not deter anyone. Efforts to seal off the border in areas such as El Paso and California have not stopped the flow of illegal immigrants — or even slowed it. These efforts have merely made it more expensive and dangerous and have created a network of traffickers branching out to cities across the United States.

Undocumented people must pay $800 or more to a coyote before making the dangerous and uncertain journey. But that risk is better than their hand-to-mouth subsistence in poverty-racked Mexico. Thousands endure extreme conditions to cross the desert. Most make it, but every year some 300 die trying. Tagging on a criminal conviction will hardly stop them. No one would go through this hell if they and their families could survive in Mexico.

And Mahony’s point is that, at some juncture, basic human rights require that unjust laws be broken. HR 4437 would make it a crime for doctors to attend to farm workers suffering from pesticide poisoning, or to treat a construction worker’s broken bones. It would make it a crime for local faith-based food pantries to feed hungry immigrant children, for priests and ministers to give $10 to a husband to buy medicine for his pregnant wife, for teachers to teach children how to spell and respect one another, and for local church congregations to give Christmas baskets to families.

If these Congressional Republicans had their way, they would deport the 12 million undocumented immigrants already here. If they were to succeed, the economic effect on both the United States and Mexico would be devastating. Crops would rot in U.S. fields. Hotels, restaurants and construction businesses would fold. Almost 5 percent of the U.S. economy depends on undocumented laborers.

Mexico’s already limping economy would crash. Undocumented immigrants send $1 billion back to that country every year — more money than Mexico receives from its oil industry. Every Mexican who migrates to the United States is one less individual for whom Mexico has to provide, and one more worker who will help support a number of relatives en la patria.

For years, Congress has grappled in vain with how to control this near-perfect model of a free market for human labor. The draw of employment in the United States has created a flow of jobless people — mostly Mexican — illegally entering the country in search of better lives.

U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., suggests that prisoners could harvest our crops, apparently a kinder and gentler form of slavery. But the quality and abundance of the prisoners’ harvest would not match anything like that produced by hard-working immigrants, and Rohrabacher’s suggestion reflects the meanness and absurdity of House Republicans.

The United States’ dependence on cheap labor and Mexico’s faltering economy will doom this House bill. Our immigration problems will not be solved until we resolve the grave distortions between the U.S. and Mexican economies. Congress would make better use of its time, and our tax money, by dedicating itself to that task, rather than by creating repressive, punitive and ultimately unworkable criminal sanctions.

Harrington is director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, a nonprofit foundation that promotes civil rights and economic and racial justice throughout Texas.


April 10 March

Filed under: — kevin @ 5:14 pm

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National Day of Action
for Immigrant Justice
Rally and March in Austin

Monday, April 10th

At the Capitol at 4pm

Wear white for peace!
For more information call: 512-300-8011

Before the march the University Leadership Initiative invites the community who is able to attend to come to a student action for a just and dignified immigration reform. They will be meeting at UT campus, in front of the MLK statue, corner of San Jacinto and 23rd, behind the fountain. And afterwards they will join the march at 4pm at the capital!

Sponsored by: ACLU, AFL-CIO, AFSC-Austin, Casa Marianella, Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform, Catholic Charities Office of Immigrant Concerns, CTIWoRC/Proyecto Defensa Laboral, CRISOL pro educacion y cultura, Equal Justice Center, Grassroots Leader-ship, League of Young Voters, Inmigrantes Latinos en Acción, International Socialist Organization, Latinos for Texas, LBJ School’s Pro-gressive Collective, Manos de Cristo, People For the American Way, Political Asylum Project of Ausin, PODER, Poultry Worker Jus-tice Project, Religion and Labor Network of Austin, Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, University Leadership Initiative


Other Views on Human Migration

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 12:43 am

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“Please ask yourself this: As we contemplate America’s moral fiber, do the real threats come from immigrants, or are some people merely blaming them for sins that are already here?”
David Brooks in an argument to social conservatives that a “balanced immigration bill is consistent with conservative values.”

“Guest worker programs are a bad idea and harm all workers. They cast workers into a perennial second-class status, and unfairly put their fates into their employers’ hands… Guest worker programs encourage employers to turn good jobs into temporary jobs at reduced wages and diminished working conditions and contribute to the growing class of workers laboring in poverty.”
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney in a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I think all of this has been a wake-up call for the Republican Party, that you can’t pander to the right by picking on immigrants — it’s not going to work anymore.”
California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) to Capitol Hill.

“We’re not naive that this is going to change people’s minds. Congressional leaders have to know that people are angry, people are frustrated, people have had it [with] being treated unfairly. And they’re being organized.”
Father Richard Estrada of La Placita church on “Gran Marcha 2006.”

“We need an immigration policy that provides a real path to citizenship for those workers already here, paying taxes and contributing to their communities and that helps meet the future need for workers in a fair way. We should recognize immigrant workers not as criminals but as full members of society — as permanent residents with full rights and full mobility that employers may not exploit. As a nation that prides itself on fair treatment and equality, we simply cannot settle for anything less.”
AFL-CIO Executive VP Linda Chavez-Thompson.

Contact your Senators and Representatives.


GOP to Latinos: There will be a backlash.

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 11:48 pm

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From Time:

“All these folks who are here illegally know they can protest brazenly,” [Rep. Tom Tancredo] said. “It’s really a mockery of our immigration system.” He added that the protests make him even more determined to pass a House bill that does not provide for a guest worker program and would build a 700-mile fence along the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

Texas Republican John Cornyn, who has supported a temporary worker program but one that requires illegal immigrants to leave the U.S. after working here for six years and apply for citizenship from their native country, said of the protests, “I don’t think they’re helpful,” arguing that they will only inflame the issue.

Mississippi Senator Trent Lott said that protests “make me mad,” particularly when he saw that many of the flags flown at the protest were not red, white and blue, but flags of Mexico and other Latin American countries. “I don’t like it and the American people don’t like it,” he said, adding, “When they act out like that, they lose me.”

“The views of most of the people marching in the streets of L.A. and other cities last weekend bear little or no resemblance to the majority of public opinion in this country when it comes to illegal immigration,” [GOP Pollster David] Winston wrote in a column for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.

Awakening the Giant

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 8:19 am

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Great pics from LA Indymedia here. Check them out.

Immigration and action in Houston

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Please pardon the wholesale link action, but Stace at Dos Centavos has an excellent round-up of press and personal observations that are well-worth a read,

Houston Chronicle Reports…
How Students are involved
Guest Workers, a Permanent Second Class, and AFL-CIO

I grew up in Houston, but i dont stay as connected as i should, so its does me good to read about the on the ground action. Thanks for the info, Stace!


The Immigration Debate

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 12:14 am

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From the AP:

On California’s Cesar Chavez Day, 36,000 students from 25 Los Angeles County school districts walked out, officials told a news conference at City Hall, where more than 1,000 protested for much of the day.

“Of course there should be amnesty (for illegal immigrants). We’ve been here for many years. We work hard. We contribute to the economy of the U.S.,” said Belmont High School student Fermin Vasquez, 18.

Six students were chosen to meet with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who then stepped outside and addressed the crowd.

“I want you to know that there are people right now all across the country that agree with you that we need immigration reform that rewards work, that gives people a pathway to citizenship, that allows families to stay together,” Villaraigosa told the crowd.

The “enforcement-only” HR 4437 sparked days of protest in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Washington. Stace has a story on the marches and walkouts in Houston. The Express-News reported an estimated 20,000 people participated in the 10th annual César Chávez march.

Meanwhile, Bush’s radio address sounded almost compassionate albeit futile. The Rs are split. And in the long run how many people are going to sign up for a sure ticket home? Undocumented workers are here for the proverbial American Dream, but Bush and his CEO friends see these individuals as dollar signs. Net gain in labor costs.

All this is probably more than we can say for what Tancredo thinks. He joined Spector on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. He promised to vote against any kind of amnesty and laughed when questioned about the criminalization of humanitarian organizations while Spector recalled the stories of his family’s immigration.

Tonight the Senate passed their own version of the bill approving a guest worker program and adopting language to protect “religious groups, women’s shelters and other charity organizations from prosecution for providing medical aid, shelter, food and counseling.”

It also beefs up the Border Patrol:

Senators also voted to hire 12,000 Border Patrol agents over the next five years, more than doubling the size of the agency to 23,300 agents, and adding 2,500 new inspectors at border ports of entry. The bill would also create 10,000 new detention beds, including the use of military installations being shuttered under the base closure law.

Cornyn promises: This is the beginning of what is a long overdue and important debate. Political pundits promise nothing major before the mid-terms.

In related news, CNN reports that GAO investigators used forged documents to purchase “a “small quantity” of radioactive materials from a commercial source while posing as employees of a fictitious company and brought the materials into the United States through checkpoints on the northern and southern borders.” The GAO also thinks the State Department and Department of Homeland Security are doing a poor job watching resources. Does this hint that the entire system might need overhauling? Does it point out the total lack of dialogue concerning our nothern border and the scapegoating of a certain segment of the population?

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