Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Michelle Lujan Grisham Joins Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

MlgPress release from CD1-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham

Congresswoman-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham joined her colleagues from the Congressional Hispanic Congress today in reaffirming support for a comprehensive immigration plan.

“A comprehensive immigration plan must include a balanced, workable solution for the agriculture industry that ensures agricultural workers have a route to citizenship and employers have the workers and American agriculture continues to lead in our global economy,” Congresswoman-elect Lujan Grisham said at a news conference today.

The Caucus outlined nine principals of immigration reform, which include:

1. Requires the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. to register with the federal government, submit to fingerprinting and a criminal background check, learn English and American civics, and pay taxes to contribute fully and legally to our economy and earn a path to permanent residency and eventual citizenship;

2. Protects the unity and sanctity of the family, including the families of bi-national, same-sex couples, by reducing the family backlogs and keeping spouses, parents, and children together;

3. Attracts the best and the brightest investors, innovators, and skilled professionals, including those in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies, to help strengthen our economy, create jobs, and build a brighter future for all Americans;

4. Builds on the extraordinary success of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and incorporates DREAMers – those who were brought to the U.S. at a young age and are Americans but for a piece of paper – into the mainstream of life in the United States through a path to citizenship so that America benefits from their scholastic achievements, military service and pursuit of their dreams;

5. Includes a balanced, workable solutions for the agriculture industry that ensures agricultural workers have a route to citizenship and employers have the workers and American agriculture continues to lead in our global economy;

6. Ends the exploitation of U.S. and immigrant workers by providing sufficient, safe, and legal avenues for foreign workers to fill legitimate gaps in our workforce, with full labor rights, protection from discrimination, and a reasonable path to permanence that lifts up wages and working conditions for both native and foreign-born workers and their families;

7. Ensures smart an reasonable enforcement that protects our borders and fosters commerce by targeting serious criminals and real threats at our northern and southern borders and promotes the safe and legitimate movement of people and goods at our ports of entry and which are essential to our economy;

8. Establishes a workable employment verification system that prevents unlawful employment and rewards employers and employees who play by the rules, while protecting Americans’ right to work and their privacy; and

9. Renews our commitment to citizenship, to ensure all workers pay their fair share of taxes, fully integrate into our way of life and bear the same responsibilities as all Americans and reaffirms our shared belief that the Citizenship Clause of the Constitution is a fundamental freedom that must be preserved.

November 28, 2012 at 06:30 PM in Hispanic Issues, Immigration, Michelle Lujan Grisham | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 03, 2012

Labor Day! Labor Day! Break Free, Break Through the Walls of the Status Quo Criminal Class

Below is a great post that Barb did for May Day 2010. It is totally still right on for Labor Day 2012!

Just watch it

My forebears came in from Poland, Germany and Norway through Ellis Island when there were no immigration quotas. They worked like dogs at the jobs Americans didn't want, like almost all immigrants do. I am the beneficiary of their courage and hard labor. And so is our nation.

I grew up in Chicago, a city built by immigrants of every ethnicity. Most of today's America was built by immigrants, not the descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims. We built on what was built for centuries by slaves and indentured servants, not the ancestors of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Immigrants and racial, ethnic and other minorities have always been our strength and our salvation. They work hard and they unite to stand up to the corrupt forces of the status quo. Think unions, think every civil rights and liberation and reform movement that ever emerged in the U.S.

Now the forces of the status quo and their frightened and misguided followers want to stop all this. They always do, whether it's been freed slaves or immigrants from Ireland or Italy or Eastern Europe or the Caribbean or Africa or Mexico or wherever. The very word 'conservative' means to keep things as they are because I am the beneficiary of power, position and wealth by my very bloodline and/or longstanding connections. The irony is that today's right wingers and teabaggers are often victims of the greedy, insular forces of the status quo, yet they defend the very forces that oppress them, convinced that it's immigrants or minorities or liberals or unions or a government that serves the needs of ordinary people that's to blame for their penury.

Today, on May Day, a day for celebrating the labor movement, a day when immigration reform marches are taking place all over the land, I say fuck the forces of White only and English only. Fuck the forces that scapegoat people willing to take risks and work hard to provide for their families. Fuck the forces that use vile propaganda to stir up hatred and reward ignorance.

Fuck the forces that defend the status quo ruling class so huge blobs of money can keep flowing to those who sit on their asses and "invest" in scams and manipulate and steal and deregulate oil drilling so that our entire Gulf coast -- including all its wildlife, its working people, its entire ecosystem and economic infrastructure -- is going to be devastated and entire ways of life destroyed so BP could save the money it would take to employ technologies to help prevent that. Fuck the forces that keep arms flowing all over the world and eternal wars going to feed the war profiteers and enable the usurping of natural resources all over the globe. Fuck the forces that destroy native cultures and whole communities and huge parts of the world so they can keep themselves and their "investors" in the money.

Immigrants, whether documented or not, and minorities of every kind are not the enemy, are not the terrorists. Our real enemies and terrorists are in power either upfront or behind the scenes in connection with -- or bought off by -- every "deregulated" financial and corporate undertaking that is raping our nation and nations around the globe for obscene profits. They kill and maim and torture people. They kill ecosystems. They kill education. They kill health care. They kill children. They bankrupt governments and homeowners. They kill wildlife and plant life. They poison the seas and the groundwater and the very air we breathe. It is they who must be arrested and jailed and convicted and stopped in their tracks, not families fleeing from utter poverty caused by all the "free" trade and monetary policy scams that have made slave labor the preferred option for the corporate and banking interests who call all the shots.

Today, on May Day, let's start pointing the finger in no uncertain terms at our real enemies. Let's work towards uniting all the hated minorities - the black and brown and yellow ones, the gay and bi and trans ones, the people who care about the earth and human dignity and the animals and justice -- and use our union to go after the bloodsuckers who are causing the horrors that are erupting and spreading each and every day. If we don't, we know the dark forces will win. They've got the guns but we've got the numbers -- only if we unite. We all know in our hearts that's what this era will be about. Can the united forces of progress overcome the stultifying forces of greed and privilege? Only time will tell.

September 3, 2012 at 01:00 PM in Barbara Rose Wold, Civil Liberties, Economy, Populism, Human Rights, Immigration, Jobs, Labor | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Community Members Announce Racial Profiling Complaints in San Juan County

From Somos Un Pueblo Unido:

Somos farmington
Community Members File Racial Profiling Complaints Against City, County, and Federal Agencies. Photo above from Somos

On Wednesday July 11, 2012, residents of San Juan County and members of Somos Un Pueblo Unido (Somos) announced the filing of several racial profiling complaints against local and federal law enforcement agencies. In the complaints made to the City of Farmington and San Juan County, six individuals alleged that the Farmington Police Department and the San Juan County Sheriff's Department changed the scope of investigation based on race, national origin, and language in order to inquire about immigration status-a violation of New Mexico's Prohibition of Bias Based Policing Act of 2009.

"We have lived in this area for many years, contributing to the local economy and paying taxes. Like most families, we want a better future for our children," said Veronica Perez, a spokesperson for Families United for Justice a recently formed group of immigrants and allies in Farmington. "We used to live in peace, but in the last year, many of our families have been victims of racial profiling and discrimination as result of the collaboration between the local law enforcement, jail and immigration officials. We live in constant fear and no longer feel safe calling the police. How is that good for public safety?"

Somos also submitted a complaint to the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General and its Office for Civil Rights claiming that local DWI checkpoints have become de facto immigration checkpoints. The complaint stated "It is our understanding that ICE should not be conducting immigration checkpoints beyond 100 miles from the border and local law enforcement shouldn't be questioning individuals about immigration status at a DWI checkpoint, the purpose of which is to prevent and apprehend drunk drivers."

The complaint also alleged that area ICE agents were disregarding ICE's own policies by placing ICE Detainers an individuals in order to hold them at the San Juan County Detention Center despite these individuals not having been arrested for a criminal violation and at the County's expense.

"We are working with these brave community members in Farmington to stand up for civil rights and public safety," said Rayos Burciaga, Board Member of Somos Un Pueblo Unido. "Based on eye witness accounts, it seems that ICE agents are colluding with local law enforcement officials and the local jail to racially profile individuals and violate their constitutional rights. New Mexico is better than that."

"My parishioners deserve to live without fear and intimidation," said Father Vigil, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Farmington. "We live in a country where due process rights should be respected. We should be integrating Latino families, not separating children from their parents."

"In the past year, I have witnessed the devastating effects of this country's broken immigration system and the violation of immigrants' civil rights in the Farmington community," said Iris Calderon, an immigration attorney from the Calderon Law Firm based in Albuquerque. "US citizen children are separated from their fathers only for failing to provide evidence of legal status at a DWI checkpoint. DREAMers have been put into deportation proceedings for speeding tickets and other minor traffic violations. When the civil rights of immigrants are violated, the consequences are dire."

Residents also complained that the Farmington, Bloomfield, and Aztec Police Departments, as well as the San Juan County Sheriff's Department, do not have written policies and complaint forms that are updated and compliant with the bias-based policing ban, as is required by the 2009 law.

"These agencies need to take the community's concerns about racial profiling more seriously," added Perez, "It's the only way that trust can be restored."

Somos Un Pueblo Unido: is a statewide civil and immigrants' rights organization that worked along side the NAACP and other groups to pass the Prohibition of Bias-based Profiling Act in 2009 at the State Legislature. Somos is also part of a national campaign called "Restoring Trust" that will host events nationwide on Wednesday to call attention to the public safety hazards of collaboration between local jails and ICE.

July 13, 2012 at 10:02 AM in Civil Liberties, Hispanic Issues, Human Rights, Immigration, Minority Issues, Racial Minorities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Heinrich Statement on Supreme Court's Decision on Arizona Immigration Law

Heinrich profile speakingYesterday, the Supreme Court issued its decision on State of Arizona v. United States, which challenged the authority of a state to enact its own immigration enforcement laws instead of following federal regulations. In a 5-3 decision, the Court found three of the four provisions of Arizona's immigration law, S.B. 1070, unconstitutional.

The Court, however, upheld the "show me your papers" provision, which requires every Arizona law enforcement officer to verify the immigration status of every person stopped, arrested, or detained if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the country unlawfully.

U.S. Senate candidate Martin Heinrich released the below statement following the Supreme Court's decision:

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law, but I'm concerned that the 'show me your papers' provision that is still intact casts a wide net over all people of Hispanic descent, and will undoubtedly snare honest, hardworking Americans in a misguided attempt to deport undocumented immigrants.

“Arizona’s legislation was the wrong reaction to a very real issue. Passing laws that institutionalize racial profiling is no solution.

“I am proud that here in New Mexico we value our diverse heritage. Congress must rise to the challenge and fix this broken system at the federal level once and for all.”

June 26, 2012 at 09:32 AM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Immigration, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 15, 2012

DREAM Act Realized Finally for Some

Lalo dream maleImage to the right is from Lalo Alcaraz; artist, cartoonist, writer.

The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) is an American legislative proposal first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001. To read the history of the DREAM Act please see this wikipedia link.

This new direction will affect nearly 800,000 humans who live with fear of deportation from the US. In 2011 ICE deported 396,906 people and is exceeding that record high this year. While researching how many young immigrants have been deported since 2008 I came across this website; We Dream, We act with this article Undocumented Youth Sit-In at OFA Denver Office . Their demand was finally heard: "We need the strength of an executive order to stop our deportations. Prosecutorial discretion has not stopped them."

Thank God for elections so some of these injustices can be acted on finally. Obama is addressing the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials' annual conference next week. The hispanic/latino vote is critical to Obama's re-election. For whatever reason the President's administration decided to act on this sensible legislation and pass an executive order, he is to be commended. Just imagine the joy running through so many hearts today that their DREAM now can be realized.

Stop deporting dreamers
Image above from We Dream We Act by J. Valas

Below is the press release from the DHS:

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children,  do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”

DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders. Today’s action further enhances the Department’s ability to focus on these priority removals.

Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case-by-case basis:

1.)    Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
2.)    Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
3.)    Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education
development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
4.)    Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
5.)    Are not above the age of thirty.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action.  Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date.  Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis.  DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

June 15, 2012 at 12:01 PM in Civil Liberties, Hispanic Issues, Human Rights, Immigration, Obama Administration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Librotraficante Caravan Stops in New Mexico Bringing Free Speech to Arizona

From our Southern Correspondent Stephen Jones.


The Librotraficante Caravan made a stop at the Mesilla Cultural Center just off the Mesilla Plaza in Thursday morning. The Caravan was in southern New Mexico to bring awareness to the attempt by Arizona politicians to wipe out Hispanic cultural studies in its schools and ban books relating to Mexican American culture and history in Arizona’s second largest school district. The Caravan is transporting “banned” book titles, dubbed by the group “wet books,” back into Arizona to be distributed through makeshift cultural libraries.

Chavez_diaz    Diaz_garrett

“They tried to erase our history, so we’re making new history” proclaimed Tony Diaz, a writer from Houston, who is the chief organizer the effort. Denise Chávez, director of the Border Book Festival, and over a hundred other New Mexicans, including Doña Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett, were on hand to greet the caravan as it passed through Mesilla on its way to Arizona.

The Librotraficante Caravan was organized to protest the decision of the Arizona State Legistature and the Tucson Unified School District to abolish Mexican American cultural studies programs and remove Hispanic literary, history, and civil rights titles, along with other works deemed “objectionalble” by Arizona politicians, from Tucson, Arizona area schools. Among the titles removed from Arizona schools were The House on Mango Street by Sanda Cisnero, a MacArthur Grant Literature award winner, Bless Me, Ultima by famed New Mexico author Rudolpho Anaya, the The Dictionary of Latino Civil Rights History, and even such classic works as Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Lt_001    Lt_005

The Librotraficante Caravan launched its travel from Houston, Texas, to Tucson, Arizona, carrying a payload of contraband books with the intention creating networks of “Underground Libraries” and leaving community resources in its wake. One of many responses to Arizona’s unconstitutional laws prohibiting Mexican American Studies, the Librotraficante Caravan has captured the imagination and hearts of activists, writers, educators, and students from all walks of life who want to preserve freedom of speech.

“Every great movement is sparked by outrage at a deep cultural offense,” said Tony Diaz, founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, which has led the charge, “When we heard that Tucson Unified School District administrators not only prohibited Mexican American Studies, but then walked into classrooms, and in front of young Latino students, during class time, removed and boxed up books by our most beloved authors – that was too much. This offended us down to our soul. We had to respond.”


“With their record of anti-immigrant legislation, politicians in Arizona have become experts in making humans illegal. We did not do enough to stop that, thus that anti-immigrant legislation spread to other states such as Alabama and Georgia. Now, these same legislators want to make thoughts illegal. If we allow this to happen, these laws, too, will spread. Other branches of ethnic studies will be prohibited, and other states will follow suit” Diaz added.

A large group of writers have embraced the caravan, many participating along the route, including Sandra Cisneros, and Rudolpho Anaya. Others include Guggenheim Fellow Dagoberto Gilb, whose work recently appeared in the New Yorker and Harpers simultaneously, best selling author Luis Alberto Urrea, with multiple titles found on the banned book list, Other literary giants participating in the Librotraficante Caravan. Mesilla’s Denise Chávez, author of Face of an Angel. Chávez, who hosted the caravan in Mesilla, organizes the Annual Border Book Festival; Lalo Alcaraz, creator of the syndicated comic La Cucaracha, and who coined the phrase “Self Deport”; and Rene Alegria, founder of Boxing Badger Media, who attended one of the impacted high schools in Tucson. In addition to southern New Mexico’s Border Book Festival, institutions hosting the caravan along the way include the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, Texas, and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

March 15, 2012 at 05:31 PM in Books, By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Hispanic Issues, Immigration | |

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

US Senator Fred Harris Write's Letter to NM Reps re: Driver's License Law

FredHarrisSomos Un Pueblo Unido shared this letter with democracyforNM. Esteemed statesman US Senator Fred Harris wrote the following letter to all House Democrats regarding the Foreign National's Driver's License Law being debated once again in our 2012 State Legislature.  

February 7, 2012

Dear Representative,

Before I went to the U. S. Senate, I served in Oklahoma’s state legislature, so I know how tough your job is. I am writing to thank you for all you do on behalf of all New Mexicans and to offer my observations as to how a national Republican political agenda is being forced on New Mexicans.

It’s my observation that the foreign national driver’s license issue has become the “gateway” for other negative efforts against immigrants. No question, the current law has some flaws and we need to find ways to address the fraud problem. We seem to be in the age of no compromise in Washington and, now, with this administration here in Santa Fe, too.

New Mexico is not Arizona, and we don’t want to be. So, we should guard against any prejudice-driven or politically motivated efforts (like the Governor’s residency reverification program that cost taxpayers $177,000) that seek only to divide our communities. I was concerned by an article in the Albuquerque Journal, toward the end of the special session, that reported an out-of-state group with a radical history and a discriminatory nature, Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), has committed resources to assist the Governor in her effort to repeal the foreign national’s driver’s license law.

Just last week, Governor Martinez again refused to agree to any compromise or alternative legislation. The Governor’s approach stalls progress on addressing the foundational issue- dealing with potential fraud. Any of us who have been involved in the legislative process know without meaningful compromise and thoughtful discussion, good public policy cannot be implemented.

The issue in 2012 should be: “Who focused on the real problems of fraud and keeping insured motorists on the road, while allowing for law enforcement at all levels to access a database of foreign nationals?” Wedge issues have been used against us before, and now is not the time to allow the driver’s license issue to undermine the important advances New Mexico has made for individual safety.

A recent Lake Research Partners poll shows that 64% of New Mexicans support a compromise proposal that would subject foreign nationals to additional residency requirements and finger printing, while still allowing them to receive a driver’s license. That’s the way we should go—and stop this constant attack on immigrants, because it’s just wrong.

Thanks for letting me express my support for all you do.


February 8, 2012 at 06:34 AM in Immigration, Legal Issues, Minority Issues, NM Legislature 2012 | |

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Driver's License Campaign Update from Somos Un Pueblo Unido

Somos DLFrom Somos Un Pueblo Unido: It was a busy and somewhat crazy week last week for immigrant drivers' licenses in the legislature.


Senate Bill 235, sponsored by Senate President Pro-tem Tim Jennings (D-Roswell), passed handily in the Senate Public Affairs Committee last Thursday. This bill would continue to allow immigrants to apply for a driver's license while subjecting them to additional residency requirements, more frequent renewals, and harsher penalties for fraud.


The real drama, however, occurred in the House Judiciary Committee. After a five-hour hearing and a two-day failed effort to hammer out a "compromise," the Republicans and their two Democratic allies (Representatives Al Park and Joseph Cervantes) voted on Friday to pass Rep. Nuñez's DL repeal bill and send it the House floor for a vote this week.


The good news is that these two conflicting committee votes signal an impasse between the House and the Senate on the issue. Any discussion of further negotiations for compromise legislation was derailed by the Governor who said on Friday in an Abq. journal article not to bother because she wouldn't sign any bill that allows undocumented immigrants to drive legally and that all she really wants is to use this against candidates in the upcoming election.

Close to 50 organizations and thousands of members have been working with us for over a year to fight this repeal effort. We cannot let up now!

If you haven't emailed your legislators, this is the time to do it. Click here to send a message to your House and Senate member.


If you haven't called your legislators, today's the day to do it. To get their office number click here. The message is simple: Real leaders stand up to the politics of fear. Reject repeal and keep immigrant drivers licensed.


Join us for a Timely Community Dialogue

Resisting the Politics of Fear: The Connection between Anti-

immigrant Legislation and the Struggle for Civil Rights 

Alabama march
Alabama 2011 March Against HB 56

     Convocation with Sen. Steve Gallardo &

Scott Douglas  Friday, Feb. 10th
10:00 to 11:00 AM
Capitol Rotunda, Santa Fe

For event flier click here Feb10th+flyer  

February 7, 2012 at 10:22 AM in Border Issues, Hispanic Issues, Immigration, NM Legislature 2012, Regulation, Susana Martinez | |

Friday, January 27, 2012

Driver's License Law Needs to Be Strengthened

Rep. Miguel Garcia (D-Bernalillo, District 14), chair of the House Labor and Human Resources Committee, releases the following statement on HB 103 the drivers licenses for foreign nationals law.

"This issue has drawn national attention and it has made one thing very clear: the current law must be strengthened to include provisions that clearly address the flaws. Repealing the law and forcing a fraction of the driving population to go without proper licensing, registration or insurance puts New Mexican families at risk. That is why today we amended the bill to directly address the challenges that we face.”   The amended bill will:

  • Strengthen residency requirements
  •  Require license renewal every two years
  • Require all foreign nationals to reapply within two years under these stricter requirements or face mandatory and immediate cancellation of licenses
  • Raise the penalties significantly for anyone involved in fraud

There are more than 90,000 foreign nationals with licenses.  Simply repealing the law would not advance public safety and would not eliminate instances of fraud.  We need to prevent those who are actually committing fraud while making sure that everyone driving is licensed, registered and insured."

January 27, 2012 at 05:46 AM in Immigration, NM Legislature 2012 | |

Friday, November 11, 2011

White House to Host Hispanic Community Action Summit in Albuquerque on Saturday

Apologies for posting this late the day before the event. Maybe some people do not have anything planned for tomorrow. Note you had to register in advance, but sometimes people are allowed to register the day of the event. In any case looked real interesting. 

The White House will host a Hispanic Community Action Summit at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, N.M. on Saturday, November 12th. The summit is designed to connect more than a dozen Administration officials from a wide-range of policy areas with Hispanic leaders, small business owners and local officials to discuss issues critical to the Hispanic community, including how the American Jobs Act can strengthen the economy and keep hundreds of thousands of firefighters on the job, police officers on the streets and teachers in the classroom in New Mexico and across the nation.

The gathering follows a series of similar regional meetings held over the past several months in numerous cities across the country and a national Hispanic conference held at the White House in July, providing an opportunity for participants to discuss important issues with White House and Cabinet agency officials. Discussions will cover a wide-range of topics from jobs and the economy to education and health care, to fixing the broken immigration system so that it meets our nation’s 21st century economic and security needs.

The event in Albuquerque follows similar regional summits in Riverside, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Las Cruces, N.M.; New York City; Las Vegas, Nev. and Orlando, Fla., with several more planned for the coming weeks and months. The conference in Albuquerque will begin with a plenary session followed by dynamic breakout sessions and an innovative open space dialogue where summit participants will work together to define the agenda and shape the dialogue.

Members of the public must register in advance to participate in the summit at A recent report on the President’s agenda and the Hispanic community is available at

WHAT:     White House Hispanic Community Action Summit

WHERE:   National Hispanic Cultural Center, Pete V. Domenici Education Center
1701 Fourth Street S.W., Albuquerque, New Mexico

WHEN:     Saturday, November 12th, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT



9 a.m. MT                  Obama Administration officials deliver opening remarks and present an overview of the White House Community Action Summit.

9:30 a.m. MT             Opening plenary followed by a series of policy conversations

  • Jobs and Economic Recovery
  • Educational Excellence
  • The Affordable Care Act and Healthy Families
  • Fixing America’s Broken Immigration System

10:30 a.m. MT           Open Space Dialogue: Administration officials and summit participants create agenda and plan of action.

5 p.m. MT                  Closing session

November 11, 2011 at 06:47 PM in Events, Hispanic Issues, Immigration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hector Balderas: Why Cain's Electrified Fence Is Not So Shocking

Images-1Today, NM Democratic candidate for Senate Hector Balderas wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Huffington Post Latino Voices about how GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain's offensive and unbecoming call for an electrified border fence is not shocking, considering the rest of the Republican agenda. It can be found HERE, or see the full text below.

An electrified fence. On the border. Designed to kill people. Along with "real guns with real bullets."

This is the immigration "plan" recently proposed by Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.

And he's one of his party's frontrunners.

There's no question that immigration is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. No one wants to see people entering this country illegally -- that's why we need bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform in this country. We need leaders who aren't afraid to take up this problem and acknowledge the realities of how we live. For too long, Washington has failed in its responsibilities and not lifted a finger to do anything about this issue.

But Mr. Cain doesn't support bipartisan immigration reform. Neither do any of the other Republican presidential candidates. They all oppose a path to citizenship. They all oppose a federal DREAM Act. They all support Arizona's draconian law that promotes racial profiling.

Instead, Mr. Cain supports electrified fences, guns and bullets. His proposal is not just offensive to the Hispanic community but unbecoming of someone seeking high office, and it flies in the face of everything this great country stands for.

After repeating his comments several times, Mr. Cain said he was merely joking. But there's nothing funny about the violent imagery he's espoused. His comments are reprehensible and should be condemned.

Instead, what we got from the other Republican candidates was silence. They spent the most recent debate pandering to the worst elements of the Tea Party and arguing over who was the most right-wing, but not one critical word was said about Mr. Cain's remarks.

Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? Sadly, no.

The Republicans running for president, and many running for other office (like Senate candidate Heather Wilson in New Mexico) have embraced a Tea Party agenda that will hurt many average Americans -- but will be particularly devastating to Hispanic Americans.

While Mr. Cain may try to laugh off his offensive comments about an electrified fence as a joke, there are very serious consequences to the Tea Party agenda shared by Cain, Romney, Rick Perry, Heather Wilson, and Republican candidates across the country. Thirty-one percent of New Mexico Hispanics under the age of 17 live below the poverty line. Yet the Republican candidates continue to coddle Wall Street, millionaires and large corporations while proposing to slash Medicaid funding, causing 36 million people to lose their coverage. And they would cut food stamp benefits for a family of four by nearly $1,800 a year. As someone who grew up in public housing while living on food stamps, that's no laughing matter.

Nearly half of New Mexico's Hispanic students don't graduate from high school. Many of them come from rural communities that are among the most economically distressed in the country. Yet the Republican candidates have a plan that would cut federal spending for education and training by 25 percent -- it would cut 320,000 children from Head Start and cut assistance for families trying to send their children to college. As the first from my town to graduate from law school, the husband of a public school teacher, and father of children in New Mexico public schools, that's not funny.

There are over 60,000 Hispanic senior citizens in New Mexico. Yet the Republican candidates have proposed privatizing Social Security, putting it at the mercy of a volatile stock market. And they support eliminating Medicare as we know it, increasing costs for seniors by $6,400. As someone who was raised by a single mother that now relies on Medicare, there is nothing funny about that.

For too long, the wealthy and powerful have benefited from Washington policies that continue to help them at the expense of everyone else. Rather than focus on policies that will grow our economy, create jobs, hold both Washington and Wall Street accountable, and lift everyone up by bringing people together, Republicans and the Tea Party have decided that it is in their political interest to continue dividing us by pitting us against one another.

Mr. Cain's remarks take that to a whole new level. That, I'm sorry to say, is no joke.

And, sadly, given the harmful plans they have for the country, his "joke" about an electrified fence is not that shocking all.

Hector Balderas is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate from New Mexico. If elected, he would be the first Hispanic Senator from New Mexico since 1977. He was elected New Mexico's State Auditor in 2006 at the age of 33 (making him the youngest statewide Latino elected official in the nation), and he was overwhelmingly reelected in 2010. For more information, visit

October 26, 2011 at 06:11 PM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Border Issues, Hector Balderas, Hispanic Issues, Immigration, Republican Party | |

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MALDEF Secures Preliminary Injunction in New Mexico Driver's License Lawsuit

More on the continuing saga of Gov. Susana Martinez's "investigation" into driver's licenses issued to foreign nationals in New Mexico. Yesterday, First Judicial District Judge Sarah Singleton the NM Taxation and Revenue Department does not have a “compelling interest” to continue its programs of requiring certain state residents to re-verify their residence at either an Albuquerque or Las Cruces office. Judge Singleton also agreed with attorneys opposing the re-verification program that they are likely to prevail on their argument that the so-called re-verification program unconstitutionally targets individuals based on their alienage or national origin.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) has issued a statement about the preliminary injunction noting that the court ruled yesterday that the injunction would remain in effect until the lawsuit challenging the program is finally resolved. To allow time for the preliminary injunction to be issued, Judge Singleton of the First Judicial District in Santa Fe has extended for another week the temporary restraining order issued on August 31, which prohibits all aspects of the unlawful re-certification program.

The court, however, will allow the State to continue with investigations into a small number of already-mailed letters that have been returned to the Department as undeliverable. While the re-verification program is on hold for now, Judge Singleton is allowing the NM Taxation and Revenue Department to investigate cases where it has specific and “particularized” information that fraud is likely occurring. 

MALDEF intends to submit further briefing to the court on the limited investigation. The court has ordered the parties to submit a preliminary injunction in one week.

Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, stated, "This court decision should serve as a warning to the Governor and Secretary that they should follow the law as set by the Legislature and cease attempts to implement their own anti-immigrant policy agenda."

David Hinojosa, MALDEF Southwest Regional Counsel, stated, "Today's ruling bolsters MALDEF's resolve to fight this unlawful program that unfairly targets immigrants in the state. While today's victory is a significant step toward righting the wrong of this unlawful program, we will continue to fight until the last vestiges of this anti-immigrant program no longer threaten the Latino community."

On behalf of a group of New Mexico legislators and residents of New Mexico, MALDEF and the New Mexico law firm of Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Ives & Duncan filed suit on August 24, 2011 against the Secretary of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, seeking to stop the targeting of immigrants in the state.

On August 31, Judge Singleton issued the temporary restraining order, which prohibits all aspects of the unlawful re-certification program until the preliminary injunction is issued.

The court held a preliminary injunction hearing yesterday on New Mexico's anti-Latino driver's license re-certification program. MALDEF attorneys and co-counsel, who obtained the temporary restraining order (TRO) on August 31, presented arguments in the hearing.

More Info
For more information on the Temporary Restraining Order, visit here. A copy of the signed Temporary Restraining Order can be accessed here.

In addition, you can stay current on the issue of the driver's licenses by visiting Somos Un Pueblo Unido's driver's license information page at

September 14, 2011 at 10:04 AM in Border Issues, Hispanic Issues, Immigration, Legal Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)