Sunday, November 29, 2015

Koch Brothers Extremists Reach Out for Hispanic Votes

Ashley Parker. New York Times.
MIAMI — The crowd that lined up around a megachurch here last week — largely Hispanic and mostly poor — came for the Saturday services, but also for the free flu shots that were being offered in the church, and for the Thanksgiving turkeys being given away just outside.
   But before they received their turkeys, those in line were asked to answer a few questions: Were they more likely to vote for a Republican or a Democrat in the 2016 presidential election? And did they feel that the government should increase or decrease federal spending in order to improve the economy?
Volunteers, holding clipboards and speaking mainly in Spanish, collected the names, telephone numbers and email addresses of everyone who showed up.
The approach — a free Thanksgiving turkey in exchange for some personal information — captures the mission of Libre, a multimillion-dollar effort financed by the conservative billionaire Kochs and devoted to winning over Hispanics, with the message that economic freedom and smaller-government principles will yield opportunity and prosperity.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Be Thankful. Support Farmworkers

This Thanksgiving I want to personally reach out to you to thank you for all you've done to help us in our work to protect the people who put food on our table. It's thanks to the efforts of generous supporters like you that we’ve made progress for the people who work so hard, yet often have so little themselves.

A union contract means so much to farm workers. It gives them security, a voice on the job, better wages, health insurance and more.

Tomato worker Concepcion Lopez is proud of her UFW contract. She tells us, “I’ve seen many changes there since the union has been there. The foreman treat us better, they don’t yell at us, the bathrooms are clean and there is shade. Everything has changed for the better now that the union is there.”

Vegetable worker Eduardo Velazco agrees. He tells us, “I'm very grateful to the UFW because they have been fighting for this law [fair pay for non-productive time for piece rate workers] and for farm worker rights. Since June, Muranaka Farms has been paying $3 for my time of no production and I earn $9 or $12 more every day. With this extra money I can send more money to my mother and save for times when there's less work.”

Dole Berry worker Mari Lopez adds, “For me the medical insurance RFK that we have is something that we very much benefit from because I had a serious surgery and RFK paid all of my bills and all of this happened because we have a contract under the United Farm Workers union, for which I very much value and am content.”

As you shop for food for your Thanksgiving table, we ask you to look for the union products. To find a list of union label products go to And, please consider making a small donation, so we can continue our work to improve the lives of farm workers.

Thank you for being our supporter, Duane. From my family to yours, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.


Arturo S. Rodriguez
United Farm Workers of America

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Maquiladora Workers of Juarez Find Their Voice

By David Bacon
The Nation, web edition, 11/20/15

Rosario Acosta and other mothers march behind the banner of the group they organized:  "Nuestras Hija de Regreso a Casa" - "May Our Daughters Come Home"

CIUDAD JUAREZ, CHIHUAHUA -- After more than a decade of silence, maquiladora workers in Ciudad Juarez have found their voice.  The city, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, is now the center of a growing rebellion of laborers in the border factories.  At the gates to four plants, including a huge 5000-worker Foxconn complex, they have set up encampments, or "plantons," demanding recognition of independent unions, and protesting firings and reprisals.
"We just got so tired of the insults, the bad treatment and low wages, that we woke up," explains Carlos Serrano, a leader of the revolt at Foxconn's Scientific Atlanta facility.  "We don't really know what's going to happen now, and we're facing companies that are very powerful and have a lot of money.  But what's clear is that we are going to continue.  We're not going to stop."
The Juarez protests come just as Congress gets ready to debate a new trade treaty, the Trans Pacific Partnership, which opponents charge will reproduce the same devastation Mexican workers experienced as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Critics charge NAFTA cemented into place a regime of low wages, labor violations and violence on the border after it took effect in 1994.  Today, economic pressure has become so extreme that Juarez' workers feel they have no choice but to risk their jobs in hope of change.
Ali Lopez, a single mother at the planton outside the ADC CommScope factory, describes grinding poverty. "The only way a single mother can survive here is with help from family or friends," she says.  Lopez has two daughters, one 13 and one 6 years old.  "I can't spend any time with them because I'm always working.  When I leave in the morning, I leave food for the older one to warm up for lunch.  Childcare would cost 200 pesos a week or more, so I can't afford it."
A cold winter has already descended on Ciudad Juarez, close to freezing at night.  Parents worry that children at home alone with a heater for warmth risk fire in highly flammable homes of cardboard or castoff pallets from factories.  "We just have enough money to eat soup and beans," she explains.  "We don't eat meat."  Lopez' wage is 600 pesos a week (about $36).  "No one can live on this.  A fair wage would be 250 pesos a day.  In the U.S. people make in one hour what it takes us all day to earn."

Monday, November 23, 2015

If We Do Not Vote- Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta, who co-founded United Farmworkers with Cesar Chavez and who is an Honorary Chair of Democratic Socialists of America, spoke during a news conference Tuesday morning Nov. 10, before the Republican candidates debate  in Milwaukee  and said it's "really unfortunate" that GOP leaders are trying to win by attacking innocent people.

Huerta has led movements for organizing  union rights and  social justice  since the founding along with Cesar Chavez, Philip Vera Cruz and others  of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union.  She continues through her current work in supporting union democracy,  civic engagement and promoting Latino Voter participation.
Organizing Latino voter education and outreach is an important part of defeating Republicans in 2016.  And, it is working.

Huerta calls Donald Trump the face of the Republican Party, and accuses him of dehumanizing Latinos.  With organized work, GOP positions  on immigration and union rights may sink Republicans in the 2016 elections. 

Huerta says Trump’s  primary opponents are no better.
"When we think about people like Rubio and Ted Cruz, even Jeb Bush, who speaks Spanish, they may have a Spanish last name -- but they do not have a Latino heart because they don`t care about immigrants. They don`t care about our community," Huerta said.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hearings held today on inclusion of Mexican American History

 Hearings were  held today, Nov 19,  at the California Department of Education on the  draft History/Social Science Framework including the substantive changes proposed by the Mexican American Digital History project and our allies.  Additional comments can be made on Nov. 20.  Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) meeting —Also, public comment can be submitted during the 60-day draft HSS Framework public review and comment period (January–February 2016).  If you have additional changes to propose you must submit them during this period. The State Board of Education (SBE) will hold a public hearing at its May 2016 meeting before it takes action on the draft HSS Framework. The IQC and SBE meeting will be held in Sacramento at the California Department of Education (CDE) building.

In addition, public comment can be  submitted to the HSS mailbox at or IQC mailbox at

If you have questions or comments, contact Duane Campbell of the Mexican American Digital History project in Sacramento at

November 20- The Mexican Revolution

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: Syrian Refugees - Elizabeth Warren

Syrian Refugees - Elizabeth Warren: Over the past four years, millions of people have fled their homes in Syria, running for their lives. In recent months, the steady strea...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Trump - Republicans Hostile Toward Latinos

by Adrian Pantoja, Senior Analyst, Latino Decisions
In 2012, the Republican Party lost the Latino vote badly, in a year of record Latino turnout. According to the Latino Decisions-impreMedia November 2012 election eve poll President Barack Obama won 75 percent of Latinos to just 23 percent for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Seems like those were the "good ol' days" for the GOP compared to where things stand in 2015.
Following the 2012 election the Republican National Committee released a comprehensive report examining what went wrong in the Romney campaign. Among the top concerns: outreach to Latino voters. The report stated, "If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the country (i.e., self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies."
New polling released by impreMedia and Latino Decisions finds that the GOP's image among Latino voters has significantly deteriorated since 2012.
The poll of 424 Latino registered voters living in critical battleground states reports that statements by GOP frontrunners Donald Trump and Ben Carson are negatively impacting the overall GOP brand. When asked about comments by Trump, 80 percent of Latino voters said it gives them a less favorable impression of the Republican Party. When asked about Carson's comments about immigration and using drone's to bomb smuggling tunnels on the US-Mexico border, 70 percent said it gives them a less favorable impression of the Republican Party.
Perhaps the most noteworthy finding of the new poll is a question on perceptions of Republican outreach that Latino Decisions has been asking for years.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Farm Labor Organizing is Tough

Saturday, November 14, 2015

One Day, My father didn't come home.

The Dark, Complex History of Trump's Model for His Mass Deportation Plan

Kate Linthicum November 13, 2015

Los Angeles Times

According to historian Mai Ngai, "the project was conceived and executed as though it was a military operation," with 800 immigration agents fanning out across the Southwest, apprehending as many as 3,000 immigrants a day at roadblocks and in raids on homes, farms and factories. Front-page Los Angeles Times headlines from that time touted the operation in demeaning language. "Wetbacks Herded at Nogales Camp," reads one.

Former U.S. Rep. Esteban Torres was 3 when his father was sent back to Mexico under a mass deportation program of the kind touted by Donald Trump as a model. Torres never saw his father again. , Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times,

Esteban Torres was 3 years old when his father was sent back to Mexico by U.S. immigration authorities.

"One day, my father didn't come home," remembers Torres, who lived with his family in a mining camp in Arizona at the time. "My brother and I were left without a father. We never saw him again."

Torres, 85, who went on to become a congressman representing the Pico Rivera area, was part of a generation of people whose lives were changed dramatically by large-scale deportation campaigns during the 1930s, '40s and '50s in which millions of Mexican nationals were rounded up and sent across the border on buses, trains and ships.

During Tuesday night's Republican debate, Donald Trump hailed one of those campaigns — the Eisenhower administration effort known by the outdated, racist name Operation Wetback — as a model for the "deportation force" he says he would deploy to swiftly remove the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status.

"They moved 1.5 million out," Trump said, responding to rivals who said his plan would not work. "Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him," achieved it, he said.

The record, however, portrays a darker and more complicated picture, suggesting that a mass deportation effort many times larger than any conducted before would be much harder than Trump indicates.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Trump Proposes an Inhumane Immigration Plan - Washington Post

Ed. note. To its credit, the Washington Post recognized the Trump deportation plan for what it is. 

Washington Post
By Editorial Board November 11
“WE HAVE a country that’s going to hell.” So pronounced Donald Trump, candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, at Tuesday night’s debate. If Mr. Trump thinks that now, it’s likely many Americans would come to agree with him were they to see the economic and social upheaval unleashed in carrying out his plan to forcibly deport more than 11 million undocumented immigrants, a major portion of whom are employed, have lived in the United States 15 years or more and have children and other relatives who are U.S. citizens.
Mr. Trump, who has stirred up so much enthusiasm for mass deportations, is now offering what he evidently regards as an exemplary template: the far more modest but still massively cruel round-’em-up-and-throw-’em-out program carried out, mainly in the summer of 1954, under the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Ed. note. As we argued on Sept 1, Trump is Dangerous.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"If we do not vote, the haters will win," Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta 
Dolores Huerta, who co-founded United Farmworkers with Cesar Chavez and who is an Honorary Chair of Democratic Socialists of America, spoke during a news conference Tuesday morning Nov. 10, before the Republican candidates debate  in Milwaukee  and said it's "really unfortunate" that GOP leaders are trying to win by attacking innocent people.

Huerta calls Donald Trump the face of the Republican Party, and accuses him of dehumanizing Latinos.
GOP Positions may sink Republicans in the Fall elections. 
Huerta says his primary opponents are no better.
"When we think about people like Rubio and Ted Cruz, even Jeb Bush, who speaks Spanish, they may have a Spanish last name -- but they do not have a Latino heart because they don`t care about immigrants. They don`t care about our community," Huerta said.
These protesters say Latino voters could swing this swing state next fall.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Republicans Win Court Decision Against DAPA

President Obama wants to protect from deportation an estimated 5 million people living in the United States illegally but a federal appeals court said no.
The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Mr. Obama Monday in a 2-1 decision that upheld a Texas-based federal judge’s injunction blocking the immigration plan.
Obama's plan would defer deportation for some 5 million illegal immigrants, including children brought to the US illegally, parents of American children, and those with long-standing ties to the country.
Obama’s initiative has faced sharp criticism since it was announced in November 2014. Republican leaders have accused the president of overstepping his authority by taking executive action. Instead, they say, the president should be working with Congress and enforcing the immigration laws already in place.

"President Obama should abandon his lawless executive amnesty program and start enforcing the law today," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a news release. Gov. Abbott has been at the forefront of the Republican opposition to Obama’s immigration plan, even leading a charge in suing the president to block the initiative.

From Christian Science Monitor.

California  Attorney General Kamala Harris Opposes Republican act.
“The 5th circuit’s decision to uphold the injunction is preventing millions of undocumented immigrants from coming out of the shadows, submitting to background checks and paying taxes,” Harris, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, said on a conference call with reporters in which she did not take questions.
“The injunction impairs the interests of California and our residents because we know that our state will substantially benefit from the president’s actions rather than be harmed,” Harris added. 
The ruling in Texas v. United States drew praise from Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, who in a statement urged President Obama to drop his “lawless executive amnesty program and start enforcing the law today.” Instead, Justice Department officials said they would seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read more here:

Monday, November 09, 2015

Sanders Pledges Immigration Action Within First 100 Days

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders promised Monday to begin taking executive action on immigration reform during the first 100 days of his presidency, including sweeping deportation relief that would go beyond the policies of President Barack Obama. 
"To the degree that Congress is unable to act, it is clear to me that the president of the United States has got to use the powers that are in his province," he said in Las Vegas at a forum hosted by the advocacy group Fair Immigration Reform Movement and the magazine The Nation. 
The Vermont independent senator has been increasing his efforts to win over the Latino community, which largely supports immigration reform and ranks it as a higher priority -- although not usually the highest priority -- than voters at large. Though he hasn't traditionally been a major voice on immigration reform, Sanders promised to take bold action should he win the presidency. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who are also seeking the nomination, have pledged to act as well. 
Ed note: See prior posts on Republican positions.

The Creation of the "Illegal"

David L. Wilson, 
Aviva Chomsky, Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal
Boston: Beacon Press, 2014

Anyone who really wants to understand U.S. immigration policy needs to read the brief history of the U.S.-Mexico border in Aviva Chomsky’s often-brilliant new book on immigration.1 [1]
Politicians constantly tell us we have lost control of the border. In fact, as Undocumented demonstrates, never in the 166 years since the border was established by the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has it been so tightly controlled as it is now. For nearly half its history it was exactly the thing immigration opponents say they fear most—an open border. The first serious restrictions did not come until a head tax and a literacy requirement were imposed in 1917, and even then there was an exemption for Mexican workers, the people most likely to enter the country from the south. The creation of the Border Patrol in 1924 was mainly a Prohibition Era measure to keep alcohol out.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Marco Rubio- Republican - Will End DACA

Republican presidential candidate and Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday that he'd eventually end protections for young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children -- a move that would take away the ability to work legally from tens of thousands of so-called Dreamers.
Rubio, the Florida senator who helped draft a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013, has said previously that he would continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program until it can be replaced with immigration reform passed through Congress.
That stance has come under fire from conservatives, however, who have accused him of continuing President Barack Obama's amnesty programs. 
He backed away from that position Wednesday.
“It will have to end at some point," he said at an event in New Hampshire, according to Bloomberg Politics, adding that it would be "ideal" if it ended because Congress enacted reform.
"But if it doesn’t, it will end," Rubio continued, according to Bloomberg Politics. "It cannot be the permanent policy of the United States."



The Latino Vote in 2014 deepened a contradictory trend first noticed in the 2006 mid-term elections in which Latino voter registration declined compared to the 2004 presidential election. A new normal of mid-term cycle voter registration contractions or "busts" bookended by presidential cycle "booms" was verified by the 6% Latino voter registration contraction in 2014 compared to 2012. The Latino vote contraction in 2014 will limit, as it did in 2010-2012, prospects for Latino voter registration and turnout growth in 2016.

Latino voter registration growth in 2014 appears robust when compared to 2010 but 100% of that growth owes to the Latino voter surge of 2012.

Latino votes cast in 2014 at 53% also took a significant dive compared to the 1998-2010 turnout average of 60%. But most of this national turnout decline was due to dismal Latino voter performance in California's non-competitive elections.
Several states bucked the downward Latino voter turnout trend most notably Colorado, Pennsylvania and New Jersey where significant resource investments in the Latino vote coupled with hot elections for Governor and Senator significantly drove up Latino participation.
Read the entire report at the link provided. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Immigrant Women on Hunger Strike in Texas Prison

A hunger strike at a Texas immigrant detention center for women has swelled from 27 women to potentially hundreds, and three ringleaders have faced retaliation from the facility, activists said on Tuesday.
Women at T. Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, Texas, began the strike last Wednesday in hopes of being released, said Cristina Parker of Grassroots Leadership, a group publicizing the women's protest.
"They're only after one thing, and that's release," Parker said.
Female detainees told Parker's organization this week that almost all of them are now participating in the ts they are facing retaliation from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Corrections

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Paul Ryan- Republicans- Immigration Reform is Dead

WASHINGTON — Speaker Paul D. Ryan said in a series of televised interviews on Sunday that he would not work with the Obama administration on changing immigration policy, effectively pushing off the issue to at least 2017.
     “Look, I think it would be a ridiculous notion to try and work on an issue like this with a president we simply cannot trust on this issue,” Mr. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “He tried to go it alone, circumventing the legislative process with his executive orders, so that is not in the cards.”
The message from Mr. Ryan, who was elected speaker on Thursday, signaled an antagonism toward the White House that both echoed his predecessor, John A. Boehner, and is likely to appeal to the party conservatives who forced Mr. Boehner’s resignation.
Mr. Ryan taped five Sunday morning news shows, in which he laid out his agenda for unifying his party and his approach to relationships with congressional colleagues, Mr. Obama and Republican presidential candidates.