Saturday, September 29, 2007

DREAM ACT Texas Blog Hits 3000!

Dream Act Texas blog has reached 3,000 hits. As I've mentioned before we started the blog on July 17, 2007. It made it to 1,000 hits on September 5th, just 3 1/2 weeks ago!

Who knows what lies in the future for At least we know that right now lots of people want to read about the DREAM ACT. Thank you again for reading our blog.

Suit Against ICE for Swift Raids

Swift Bacon - Do you still buy it?

Reasons not to buy Swift Bacon
1. Bacon is really bad for your cholesterol.
2. Eating bacon on a regular basis, significantly contributes to the incidence of diabetes and heart trouble.
3. Swift Bacon probably has bad energy now that the company colluded with ICE on the raids in Dec. 2006.
4. Eating animals is bad for your health and theirs.
5. The Virgin of Guadalupe might be upset that you are eating Swift products since they allowed the raid to occur on her feast day.

Democracy Now
September 28, 2008

Amy Goodman interviewing
Gloria Contrera-Edin, Executive Director of Centro Legal

On December 12, federal agents raided Swift plants across six states. More than 1,200 undocumented workers were arrested overall, including more than 200 workers in Worthington.

The lawsuit claims that federal agents "insulted, abused, and humiliated the plaintiffs on account of their race." The suit says female Latino workers were ordered to disrobe in front of federal agents during the raid, while white workers were allowed to move about the plant freely...

The lawsuit was filed on September 4 of this year, the day after Labor Day, and it’s on behalf of ten plaintiffs who are either US citizens, legal permanent residents, or those who are authorized to work in this country. We are alleging constitutional violations...

What’s important to recognize in this particular case is that this really wasn’t a typical immigration raid. This was a part of a criminal investigation that the government had been conducting for possibly over a year. They had a list of people whom they could have gone in, picked up, without any disrupt to the companies, to the communities, and they chose not to. And so, whenever you’re part of a criminal investigation -- now, I’m not a criminal lawyer, but I know enough to say that when you’re part of a criminal investigation, you’re afforded certain protections. You’re afforded the protection of an unreasonable detention. You’re also afforded the protection to have the right to remain silent, the right to counsel. You’re also afforded the protection to be able to speak to an attorney if an attorney is available to you. In all these situation and across the country, people were not afforded these rights. And so that’s why we filed this lawsuit...

100-plus agents descended upon this Swift Company packing plant in Worthington, Minnesota, and we know that -- we also know that the employer, Swift and Company, supervisors were working with the agents and preventing people from leaving the site. So they surrounded the premises with agents and their vehicles. They pulled up approximately six buses to load people up. And then they systematically and procedurally started rounding up people who were of Latino descent.

It’s important to recognize here that people who did not look Latino were allowed to roam freely throughout the plant, and so those who were Latino, even if you were a citizen or a resident, were required to prove that they were here lawfully. Now, I personally can’t prove that I’m a US citizen. I wouldn’t know how to do it. But in this case they required everyone to do it upon the threat of deportation and removal...

for audio interview and transcript click the title to this post


Cuauhtemoc Blanco - the U.S. Wants Immigrants if They are Stars

Photo: Cuauhtemoc Blanco

U.S. immigration priorities are upside down

It's ok that Cuauhtemoc Blanco is an immigrant. The Minute Men aren't going to protest against him or the team that signed him on. He doesn't have to get anxious while going through LAX.

The U.S. wants people like Blanco. You don't hear much about visa problems for Mexican immigrants who are stars. I suppose the U.S. thinks it needs them. This country forgets those that it really needs; everyday people who construct homes and office buildings, keep small companies going; that keep the mechanics of the U.S. working. While the nation runs after Cuauhtemoc, it forgets there are also lots of DREAM ACT students already here, that have not been as welcome as Blanco (with the exception of the military - where their bodies are wanted for recruitment).They could take on the technical jobs that the U.S. is having so much troubling filling.

Congratulations to Cuauhtemoc Blanco for his success. With all due respect to a great soccer player...the U.S. could do without a soccer star, but it cannot function without the regular Mexican immigrant and his/her children, the DREAM ACT kids.

By the way,

When the reporter commented on a recent interview with Blanco he said:

"He [Cuauhtemoc] kept his answers short and without controversy. The exception perhaps came in response to a question on immigration, when Blanco said, "Even if they put up a wall between us, we are intelligent enough to find a way to jump it."

Perhaps he could be a spokesman for the cause.

Blanco walks on mild side

Mexican soccer star relaxes his famously fiery demeanor as he tries to help Chicago into the MLS playoffs. He didn't even have harsh words for Chivas USA.
By Jaime Cárdenas, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 29, 2007

"...We were desperate for a player like Cuauhtemoc," Armas said. "He brings lot of creativity. He never plays backward, always forward. He's always looking for penetrating passes [and] he lives to set up goals. Sometimes the media gets caught up . . . but he really brings a lot of passion and he cares about winning so much that he came at the perfect time to the team."

Blanco's presence has attracted more media attention than usual for tonight's game.

Mexican TV networks Televisa and TV Azteca have dispatched crews to cover the game. And ESTO, an all-sports newspaper, previewed the game and ran an Old West-style "wanted" poster of 34-year-old Blanco.

Even the Fire's arrival at LAX on Thursday was all about Blanco. About 50 Club America fans were waiting for him. One witness described the scene as chaotic as fans climbed up on the baggage claim turnstile, stepping on pieces of luggage in the process, just to be closer to Blanco. Some even followed him to the men's room.

Asked Friday about that fan reaction, Blanco said, "It's good that people welcome you in such a way, no?"

For link to complete article click title to this post


Spitzer's Driver's License Plan Criticized

If Guiliani is against Spitzers move on the driver's license issue, it might not be so bad. Pete Wilson of California is supporting Guiliani - and in a political campaign that may not be a good thing.

September 29, 2007
New York Times
License Plan by Spitzer Gains Critic in Giuliani

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 28 — Rudolph W. Giuliani joined the chorus of Republicans opposing a plan by the New York governor, Eliot Spitzer, to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, calling the proposal a “mistake” that would only lead to greater chaos.

“I think it would just create an even further level of fraud and confusion in what is already a very confusing picture,” said Mr. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, speaking to reporters after a campaign stop at a downtown restaurant Friday morning.

Mr. Giuliani’s remarks came as the governor’s plan continued to trigger intense reaction. Mr. Spitzer has said the policy would improve public safety by bringing immigrants out of the shadows and reduce insurance costs as more immigrants obtained licenses and car insurance.

But some county clerks upstate whose offices double as Department of Motor Vehicles branches have suggested they would refuse to issue the licenses.

On Friday, Republicans in the State Senate said they would act on a bill next month that would halt Mr. Spitzer’s policy, which is scheduled to take effect in December. Mr. Spitzer would allow foreign passports to be accepted as identification for a driver’s license application. Current policy requires Social Security numbers.

“The governor’s demand that clerks issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens is yet another example of the governor’s arrogance and his attempt to go around the Legislature and bypass 212 elected representatives of the people,” the Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, said. “The governor has said publicly that he doesn’t need the Legislature and can run the state by himself. The driver’s license order is another result of that dictatorial attitude.”

In addition, Republicans in the Democratic-controlled State Assembly demanded that Mr. Spitzer rescind his plan, saying it was unlawful. “Handing licenses out like lollipops to illegal immigrants is an affront to those who are in our country legally and puts our communities at risk,” said Assemblyman Pete Lopez of Schoharie.

Meanwhile, the state’s A.F.L.-C.I.O. came out in support of Mr. Spitzer, calling the issue one of fairness. “As a progressive, enlightened society it is our responsibility to ensure a level playing field for all who want to work in this country,” Denis M. Hughes, president of the New York State A.F.L.-C.I.O., said in a statement. “This policy change is a step toward eliminating exploitation.”

Mr. Giuliani, who was endorsed by Pete Wilson, the former governor of California, in Santa Monica on Thursday, has seen his campaign swing dominated by questions about immigration...

Danny Hakim reported from Albany.

For link to complete article, click title to this post

Driving With a License in New York

September 29, 2007
New York Times
Political License in New York

When Gov. Eliot Spitzer decided this month to make it easier for immigrants to drive legally, his critics predicted the sky would fall on anyone with a New York State driver’s license. Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg, normally a measured voice, warned that New Yorkers might not be able to use their licenses to get on airplanes if the governor has his way.

That is not so as it turns out. Or certainly, it will not be so for some time yet. If Congress fails to change the Real ID Act — a clunker of a law passed two years ago — state driver’s licenses will have to be re-engineered by 2013 to be accepted as federal identification. Until then, New York’s licenses will be as good in the security lines at the airports as those from the eight other states that do not require proof of immigration status to drive.

So far, no state licenses comply with the tough Real ID standards. The list of requirements includes a special paper stock with secret markers, laser engraving, mandatory re-licensing in person and not by mail, proof of residence and, in most cases, a Social Security card.

Some states have already opted out of Real ID, citing costs that should be — but are not — borne by Washington, privacy concerns and questions about whether Real ID would actually be more secure. If the law goes into effect as written and passenger regulations stay the same, residents of many of these states would need another form of identification, such as a passport, to board a plane.

Governor Spitzer has not said whether he wants New York to opt out of the Real ID law. He is expected to ask for more time from the federal authorities to figure out whether and how to offer a New York driver’s license that complies with the law. One possibility would be a two-tiered system in which residents who want the more elaborate Real ID pay extra for it after 2013. Among the problems with such an approach is that the creation of a lesser license could mean more harassment of anyone who tries to use it.

Republican opposition to Mr. Spitzer’s move has taken a strident anti-immigrant tone that is unwelcome in this discussion. State Senator Joseph Bruno, New York’s top elected Republican, got it right initially when he said he could “understand the merits” of Mr. Spitzer’s proposal. Too bad he soon joined other Republicans and accused the governor of trying to give illegal immigrants the right to vote. It is a baseless claim since New Yorkers do not need a driver’s license to vote, and the criminal laws against vote fraud provide ample deterrent to any illegal immigrant thinking of casting a ballot.

Mr. Spitzer has made the right decision. New York State driver’s licenses should go to residents who have proved their identity — and their ability to drive safely. There will be plenty of time between now and 2013 to figure out whether and how New York State should integrate its driver’s license with federal standards.

for link to article click title to this post

Friday, September 28, 2007

Day Labor Sanctuary in Arizona No Longer Safe

Sheriff Arpaio says of the nine arrested near day labor sanctuary: "Thursday's arrests were just the beginning"
9 arrested near day labor sanctuary
Crackdown on church precedes tougher laws
Beth Duckett
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 28, 2007 12:00 AM

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he is not waiting for new Cave Creek laws to take effect before cracking down on the town's mostly undocumented-immigrant day laborers.

Sheriff's deputies arrested nine people near a church sanctuary Thursday, just days after Arpaio heralded new town laws expected to trigger a crackdown on the workers when the laws take effect next month.

"We're not waiting for the 30 days for these ordinances to be implemented," Arpaio said. "We have received a lot of calls about Cave Creek having drophouses and illegals in the area."

Up in arms about the arrests is Father Glenn B. Jenks of Good Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church, 6502 E. Cave Creek Road, which for more than six years has been a safe haven for laborers looking for employment.

"They'll just go to another community not as shortsighted as this one," Jenks said. "This may make the sheriff look tough, but it's not in the best interest of the community."

The Cave Creek Town Council passed two laws Monday, touting them as safety measures. One toughens the town's ban on loitering, and the other bans cars from stopping on town streets.

Both take effect Oct. 24.

But on Thursday, sheriff's deputies - which act as Cave Creek's police force - arrested workers who were passengers in two vehicles as they exited the church's parking lot. One car was speeding and the other had a broken taillight, Arpaio said.

"The drivers were legal, but the passengers were illegal," the sheriff said. "We've been doing this all over the Valley."

The drivers were given warnings. No citations were issued.

What was once only a climate of fear has flared into panic for workers at the day-labor center.

"I can't believe this is happening," Jenks said. "The attitude is, 'Let's just sweep the rats into Phoenix and get them out of our town.' "

Jenks, who called the arrests "counterproductive," said he expects the dozens of remaining workers to gather elsewhere.

Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia, a supporter of the church's efforts, dismissed the arrests as "doing what they do everyday," pulling over people suspected of breaking the law.

"It just has to do with the normal activities they do for us," Francia said.

Arpaio said Thursday's arrests were just the beginning.

"We're not done yet, and I'm not just talking about Cave Creek," the sheriff said. "Stay tuned."

for link to article click title of this post

Underside of the DREAM ACT

This post has been circulating around Latino academia the past few days. Now that the in-state tuition clause is definitely extracted from senate bill this warning does not seem so strange...

What is interesting is that this comment by Mariscal came several days before any media news began to circulate about the in-state tuition being dropped.


Project YANO has been warning for several years about the stealth military recruiting component of the DREAM Act. Nobody wanted to hear about it. Now the connections with the Pentagon are becoming crystal clear. Check out Senator Durbin's remarks from the Congressional Record of last July (and today he agreed to drop the in-state tuition clause for the college option thereby eliminating the college option for thousands of undocs). Apparently, the Pentagon is pushing hard for the amendment (despite opposition from Homeland Security). It could be voted on tomorrow.


On the floor of the Senate, when we return next week, we will resume consideration of the Defense authorization bill. It turns out that many in the Department of Defense believe, as I do, that the DREAM Act is an important part of making certain we have talented young men and women ready to serve in our military. I have spoken to people at the Department of Defense who support the idea of the DREAM Act. I think we ought to include it in the Defense authorization bill. I hope to have that opportunity. [snip]

I hope when we return to the Defense authorization bill we can make the DREAM Act part of that bill. Certainly, it is going to help our defense and help our military. I think it is going to help America even beyond that. [snip]

Mr. President, as I said, I rise to speak about legislation known as the DREAM Act, which I hope to offer as an amendment to the Defense authorization bill.

Some people might ask why the Senate should revisit immigration again and whether an immigration amendment should be included in the Defense authorization bill. The answer is simple: The DREAM Act would address a very serious recruitment crisis that faces our military.

Under the DREAM Act, tens of thousands of well-qualified potential recruits would become eligible for military service for the first time. They are eager to serve in the Armed Forces during a time of war. And under the DREAM Act they would have a very strong incentive to enlist because it would give them a path to permanent legal status.

The DREAM Act doesn't mandate military service. A student who is otherwise eligible could earn legal status by attending college. It would be inconsistent with the spirit our volunteer military to force young people to enlist as a condition for obtaining legal status.

But the DREAM Act creates a strong incentive for military service. And many DREAM Act kids come from a demographic group that is already predisposed towards military service. A 2004 survey by the Rand Corporation found that 45 percent of Hispanic males and 31 percent of Hispanic females between ages 16 and 21 were very likely to serve in the Armed Forces, compared to 24 percent of White men and 10 percent of White women.

NILC Update on DREAM ACT 9 28 07

Interesting turn of events. Let's hope Reid follows through - with the in-state tuition provision included.

The DREAM Act is alive and well!

Anti-immigrant groups are claiming victory because the DREAM Act failed to get a vote as an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill. They are wrong to do so. Although the DREAM Act did not get a vote on that bill, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D-NV) pledged Wednesday evening that it will be brought to the Senate floor for a vote sometime before November 16th.

It is unusual for specific legislation like the DREAM Act to get such a public pledge, which will require the Senate Leadership to set aside days of floor time just before Congress is scheduled to leave for the year. That means that other issues supported by powerful constituencies and armies of lobbyists may not be addressed, whereas the DREAM Act, which is supported only by reason and fairness, will be given a chance to move forward. The Senate Majority Leader's willingness to make such a promise reflects well on him, but it also shows how much progress the DREAM Act has made in recent months as a result of the blood, sweat and tears of immigrant students and their allies. It is now a top-tier issue, one that will not go away.

When the DREAM Act does come to the Senate floor, it will need 60 votes to pass.

We expect a very close vote, and the anti-immigrant advocates will again be out in force. Although they have publicly claimed victory, they must actually be squirming inside because they hit immigrant students with their best shot of lies, talk radio, hysterical blog entries and angry calls to Senate offices, yet the DREAM Act is nevertheless on the threshold of a historic vote. It is imperative to counterbalance their efforts with increased pro-DREAM contact with every Senator. Please resolve to call or fax both of your Senators today and every day until the vote occurs to urge a yes vote, and take the time to motivate other supporters to do the same. You can find you Senators' phone and fax numbers here.

In addition (easier, but less important), you can send an e-mail to your Senators by simply clicking here.

Finally, please take a moment to contact Senator Reid to let him know how grateful we are to him for having kept the DREAM Act alive. It was a courageous step, and he will undoubtedly get grief from the other side.

ICE Raid in Nevada - at McDonalds

Sept. 28, 2007, 6:27AM
Over 40 arrests in Nev. immigration raid
Houston Chronicle
By SCOTT SONNER Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

RENO, Nev. — Federal agents raided 11 McDonald's restaurants in northern Nevada and made dozens of arrests Thursday as part of an investigation into illegal immigration.

Agents for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made at least 56 arrests in Reno, Sparks and Fernley after raids at the restaurants and a franchise corporate headquarters in Reno, agency spokesman Richard Rocha said.

"They are people suspected of being in the country illegally. As far as I know, they were all McDonald's employees," he told The Associated Press.

The investigation began five months ago and was sparked by an identity theft complaint, Rocha said. A local law enforcement agency then gave ICE information that illegal immigrants were working at specific McDonald's restaurants, he said.

Luther Mack, who owns at least some of the restaurants that were raided, insisted that his businesses require employees to provide documentation.

"As an employer, I do not knowingly hire or employ undocumented or unauthorized workers," Mack said in a statement.

Lisa Howard, a spokeswoman for McDonald's Corp., based in Oak Brook, Ill., said the company had no comment on the arrests.

"This is a local situation with a local operator," she said.

The raids drew immediate criticism from Reno Mayor Bob Cashell and activists, who estimated the number of arrests to be closer to 100.

The mayor joined a news conference area Hispanic leaders and members of the American Civil Liberties Union called in front of the federal courthouse late Thursday.

"We don't approve of the Gestapo methods ICE is using," said Gilbert Cortez, a Latino leader who urged Hispanic workers to stay home from work in protest Friday...

For complete article click title of this post

Pelosi on the Border Fence and the DREAM ACT

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

While this AP article quotes Pelosi on the DREAM ACT:

''It just isn't fair,'' Pelosi said. ''Those young people who came to America one way or another ... their opportunities are curtailed because of the situation. And it's not only harmful to them -- it's harmful to the country.''

It also states that :

"The DREAM Act would eliminate a federal provision that discourages states from providing illegal immigrants with lower in-state tuition rates"

It has been reported by several sources that the in-state tuition clause was dropped to make the bill more palatable. Is the AP wrong or do they know something we don't know?


New York Times
Published: September 28, 2007
Filed at 8:09 a.m. ET

EDINBURG, Texas (AP) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called a plan to build fencing along parts of the Mexico border a ''terrible idea'' that overlooks local communities.

Pelosi made the comments during her trip to the Rio Grande Valley for the annual Hispanic Engineering, Science & Technology Week conference at the University of Texas-Pan American.

''I have been against the fence, I thought it's a bad idea even when it was just a matter of discussion,'' said Pelosi, D-Calif. ''These are communities where you have a border going through them, they are not communities where you have a fence splitting them.''

Last year, President Bush signed the Secure Fence Act requiring the construction of fencing along the 2,000-mile border. The plans call for about 370 miles of fence and 200 miles of vehicle barriers, including concrete barriers, by the end of 2008.

Pelosi also touted legislation known as the DREAM Act that would make it easier for some illegal immigrants to receive higher education benefits. She spoke at a conference that drew more than 5,000 students for activities designed to inspire careers in science and technology.

The DREAM Act would eliminate a federal provision that discourages states from providing illegal immigrants with lower in-state tuition rates. It also would allow permanent residency for illegal immigrants who entered the country as children and have been admitted to an institution of higher education.

''It just isn't fair,'' Pelosi said. ''Those young people who came to America one way or another ... their opportunities are curtailed because of the situation. And it's not only harmful to them -- it's harmful to the country.''

For link to article click the title of this post

U.S. Continues to Ban Immigrants with HIV

Just to remind everyone:

Glen Greenwald
September 26, 2007

..."[T]he U.S. remains one of the only Western countries to ban anyone with HIV from immigrating to this country. Efforts to repeal both laws have been repeatedly blocked by the political party to which our warrior/gay-rights-crusaders pledge their allegiance. And that same political party happily continued its alliance with the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson even after they both blamed the 9/11 attacks on gay rights. And as Juan Cole documents, as we all scoff at the primitive ignorance of Ahmadinejad, we tolerate quite similar sentiments among some of our most respected political figures..."

for entire entry, click title to this post

Powerful Men (& Women) at the U.S. -Mexico Border

The author is well aware of the "awesome power" of border officers. Although his perspective on immigration is not entirely digestible, his description of crossing the international line is accurate.

Andrew Leonard
September 24, 2007

Getting back from Baja

Notes from a bachelor's party in Rosarito, Mexico.

If you take a taxi from the San Diego International Airport to the border on a Friday morning, walking into Mexico requires nothing more than pushing your way through a revolving metal door. No one examines your papers, no one does so much as glance at your bags. No one, in an official capacity, gives a shit. The only people who demonstrate the remotest interest in you are the Tijuana taxi drivers lined up on the other side.

If you desire to return to the United States via the same crossing point on a Sunday afternoon, the line to walk across the border stretches endlessly alongside the highway that leads to the checkpoint and requires several hours to successfully negotiate. Mexicans, Americans, families and tourists, workers of all kinds returning after a weekend of visiting family or chugging tequila; they wait more or less patiently under a moderately hot sun for the opportunity to have their papers inspected and their luggage X-rayed. As they shuffle forward on the sidewalk, drug-sniffing dogs trot from car to car and buses inch along. There is a slight aura of tension -- even with passport in hand and a backpack filled only with the clothes that you brought into the country, you're a little bit nervous. You don't want to give the immigration agent a chance to wield his awesome power, which you suspect he is more than willing to do if he decides you are a suspicious character, or just a smart ass.

On either side of the border, the brown hills that roll down to the Pacific Ocean are identical, as is the ethnic mix of citizens and even the currency. While in Mexico I watched a Tijuana cabbie pay a highway toll on the way to Rosarito using dollar bills instead of pesos, and I had my choice of ATMs that would disgorge either currency. English billboards abound south of the border just as Spanish-language advertisements crowd the north-of-the-border landscape.

The key difference, of course, is the strength of the economy on one side of a border drawn by the victors of a war 159 years ago, and the weakness on the other. You can blame that reality on whatever you like, but watching the masses of people attempting, ever so legally, to make their way north, it was hard to ignore the feeling that the U.S. was really just a giant magnet, relentlessly sucking the peoples of the south into its maw. No legislation, no fence, no army of border patrol agents or horde of vigilantes can negate that force.

Slow it down, yes. Make it annoying for all concerned, sure. Stop it, never.

-- Andrew Leonard

Army is Getting Ready for the DREAM ACT

Recruitment Poster for World War I, ca. 1917

Now that Senator Reid has obliged the senate to pass the DREAM ACT this fall, the Army is preparing for its windfall of recruits. Since the DREAM ACT bill does not contain in-state tuition - most of the young people eligible will have no other choice since only 10 out of the 50 states offer in-state tuition to undocumented students.

In the spring of 07 Texas experienced a heated battle to save in-state tuition, which had been in place since 2001 (thanks to Texas Rep. Rick Noriega) -- after dozens of harsh anti-immigration bills were submitted to the Texas Legislature. In-State tuition in Texas was only preserved because of an error on the part of those wanting to rescind the bill - its sort of like a judge ruling a mistrial. The event occurred so late in the session, the opposing bill was dropped.

If Congress would finally agree to end the Iraq War, students takiing the military option would be in great shape. But after watching the senate hearings these past few weeks, I can't imagine our lawmakers will come to an agreement about troop withdrawal.

On the bright side (if there is one), during World War II military experience had a huge impact on Hispanics in the United States- effectively created a middle class - The war experience and going to other countries helped Latinos see beyond the restrictive attitudes in the U.S. southwest. The GI Bill helped hundreds of thousands to further their education and buy homes.

For the present, those that enlist and return home healthy will determine the political future of this country. They are going to remember that when they were younger they weren't able to go to college because the DREAM ACT dropped the in-state tuition clause.

Army looks to accelerate expansion

Increasing the force should happen in four years, not five, the service's secretary says. Ideas focus on adding enticements to keep soldiers.
By Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 28, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The Army's top official called Thursday for the acceleration of a multiyear expansion of the country's biggest fighting force, a move that probably would require radical new approaches for keeping soldiers in uniform.

Army Secretary Pete Geren said the planned expansion from its official size of 482,000 to 547,000, announced by President Bush in December as the first post-Cold War increase in U.S. forces, should be completed in four years rather than five to alleviate the strain on troops from frequent combat tours.

Defense officials planning for the increase have voiced concern over recent loosening of standards for new enlistees because of the heavy pressure to meet recruiting goals.

The new Army plan would attempt to build the larger force in a shorter time by instead moving aggressively to retain personnel.

The military has begun to consider options beyond the traditional cash bonuses and college scholarships to entice soldiers to continue service. New approaches under consideration include the promise of graduate school for young officers and the offer of educational benefits for career soldiers' children.

The new approaches reflect the continuing fallout of the 4 1/2-year-old Iraq war. Prolonged and repeated deployments have created new stresses on troops, which have forced the Army to reevaluate how it provides for soldiers and their families.

"The demographics of the Army change, the needs of the soldiers change, stress on the force changes," Geren said. "We have to continue to find ways to adjust our benefits package, writ large, to meet those different needs..."

for entire article click title to this post


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Houston Chronicle on the DREAM ACT

Sept. 26, 2007, 10:33PM
Senate temporarily sidelines immigration legalization bill
Democrats vow to pass measure aiding 1 million youths
Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The prospects for immediate Senate action on the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants, disappeared Wednesday amid Republican opposition.

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pledged that senators would vote on the the measure, which is strongly opposed by anti-illegal immigration groups, before the Senate finishes its work for the year in mid-November.

"All who care about this matter should know that we will move to proceed to this matter before we leave here," he said.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., had sought to attach the DREAM Act to the defense authorization bill. But Reid announced Wednesday night that Democrats were shelving the effort because of difficulties getting past legislative roadblocks.

"Unfortunately, some Republicans are opposed to this proposal and are unwilling to let us move forward on this bill," Reid said.

'Issue doesn't stop here'

Durbin and immigrant rights advocates were dismayed by the setback but vowed to find other means to pass the legislation, which they have sought since 2001.

"There is no question that this issue doesn't stop here," said Cecilia Muñoz, senior vice president of the National Council of La Raza. "The longer we wait, the more talented young people we close the door of opportunity to."

The bill — officially the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — would allow illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, and who have lived here at least five years, to receive conditional legal status if they have graduated from high school and have a clean record. After six years, they could become permanent legal residents if they serve in the U.S. military for at least two years or complete at least two years of college. As with most green card holders, they could apply for citizenship after five years.

The nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute estimates that slightly more than 1 million high school graduates and children still in class could gain legal status under the legislation.

60 votes needed

With conservatives being barraged with calls, faxes and e-mails from anti-illegal immigration groups that view the DREAM Act as amnesty, some Republicans who supported the measure in the past have been reluctant to do so now. Durbin needed 60 votes to surmount an expected filibuster. Some Senate Republicans, including Texans Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, objected to the measure being brought up on a defense bill.

"Putting extraneous things on this bill isn't helpful," Hutchison said.

Other Republicans aren't ready to revisit a debate that imploded in June when the Senate scuttled an overhaul endorsed by the White House that would have given most illegal immigrants a chance for legal status.

"People, I think, want to let the immigration thing cool off a bit before we jump back in," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican who helped derail the comprehensive immigration bill.

Josh Bernstein, federal policy director for the National Immigration Law Center, predicted DREAM Act supporters eventually will prevail.

"The politics is right and the commitment is there," Bernstein said. "We're not giving up."

for link to article click title to this post

From Albuquerque Journal - On the DREAM ACT

Albuquerque Journal
Written by Bruce Daniels -
Thursday, 27 September 2007

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vows to revisit illegal-alien students legislation.

It had become an under-the-radar cause celebre for both sides of the immigration debate, dominating talk shows and flooding senatorial offices with e-mails, phone calls and faxes from supporters and opponents alike.

But it appears that the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act -- the so-called DREAM Act -- is dead for now, but not for long, according to today's Washington Times.

The DREAM Act was attached by Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., as an amendment to the 2008 Defense Authorization Act and would have given legal status to hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants, according to the Times report.

"We will move to proceed to this matter before we leave here," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who took the amendment off the table late Wednesday. "I'm going to do my utmost to do it by Nov. 16." The proposal was strongly opposed by some Republicans, like Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who objected to mixing the immigration issue with the defense bill and who vowed a filibuster to defeat the measure if the Democrats insisted on bringing it up, the Times reported.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., is among the co-sponsors of Durbin's amendment, and Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., hadn't publicly said how he would vote.

Republicans late Wednesday moved to cut off debate on H.R. 1585, the Defense Authorization Act, leaving Democrats with practically no options for inserting Durbin's amendment, the Times reported. The amendment would have given conditional legal status to illegal aliens who were brought to the United States before age 16, have been in the country at least five years and have graduated from high school or obtained an equivalency degree, according to a report in Wednesday's Houston Chronicle.

After six years, they could become permanent legal residents if they have served in the U.S. military for at least two years or complete at least two years of college, and after another five years could apply for U.S. citizenship, the Chronicle reported.
The nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute estimates that slightly more than 1 million high school graduates and children still in school could gain legal status under the legislation, the Chronicle said.

The DREAM Act had become the top priority for Hispanic and pro-immigration groups and drew equally strong opposition from those who want to crack down on illegal immigration, according to the Times report. Anti-illegal immigration activists -- fearful that the bill is a backdoor way of granting amnesty to thousand, if not millions of illegal immigrants -- have called it the "Nightmare Act."

Supporters, who have sought passage of the legislation since 2001, have said that passage of the amendment would remove thousands of young people from legal limbo and that it is unfair to punish children for the illegal actions of their parents.
Durbin himself signaled his fading hopes for the amendment earlier this week, telling the Houston Chronicle he had modified the original bill in hopes of meeting Republican objections, but said he didn't think it was enough.

Durbin tried to win extra support by altering the bill to cap eligibility to those younger than 30 and by eliminating a mandate that states offer in-state tuition to those who qualified for legal status, according to today's Washington Times report.

In-State Tuition Clause Taken Out of the DREAM ACT

This reminds me of how extremely difficult it was this past spring to keep in-state tuition for DREAM ACT kids in Texas. With just a handful of states offering in-state tuition, and those only holding on to them very tenaciously, it doesn't look very good for those who want to take the college option.

"Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, tried to win extra support by altering the bill to cap eligibility to those younger than 30 and by eliminating a mandate that states offer in-state tuition to those who qualified for legal status."


Article published Sep 27, 2007
Student illegals bill dropped--------
Washington Times

September 27, 2007

By Stephen Dinan - Senate Democrats yesterday retreated from forcing a debate about giving illegal-alien students a path to citizenship in the middle of the defense bill, although Majority Leader Harry Reid promised to find time before the end of the year for a vote on the proposal.

"We will move to proceed to this matter before we leave here. I"m going to do my utmost to do it by November 16," Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, said last night.

The proposal faced strong opposition from Republicans who objected to mixing immigration with the defense bill and who vowed to filibuster to defeat the measure if Democrats insisted on bringing it up now.

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, told The Washington Times last week that enough Republicans were opposed to mixing the two debates that they could block the amendment. Late yesterday, Republicans moved to cut off debate on the defense bill, leaving Democrats with practically no options for inserting their proposal, known as the Dream Act.

The bill would have applied to illegal aliens who were brought to the United States before age 16, have been in the country at least five years and have graduated from high school or obtained an equivalency degree. They are granted legal status and have six years to complete two years of college or serve in the military.

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, tried to win extra support by altering the bill to cap eligibility to those younger than 30 and by eliminating a mandate that states offer in-state tuition to those who qualified for legal status.

"If you meet these people, you"ll come to understand the potential that they bring to America"s future," he said.

He said it is unfair to punish children for their parents" illegal actions — a stance many Republicans share.

The Dream Act has become the top priority for Hispanic and pro-immigration groups and has become the top target for defeat for those who wish to crack down on illegals. The delay gives both sides a chance to rally support.

Decoupling the measure from the defense bill gives it a better chance of passage, but it also means another contentious issue for Mr. Reid to schedule before Congress adjourns for the year. Another immigration-related proposal — to legalize illegal-alien agriculture workers — is also expected to come up for debate.

thanks to Michael Olivas for sending this on.

Editorial on the DREAM ACT from the Washington Post

Its a great thing that the Wash. Post is endorsing the DREAM ACT, but what good will it do without the in-state tuition clause. this had been my concern (see Post "A Second Look at the DREAM ACT, September 22, 2007).

Its really important not to forget what happened in Vietnam. I repeat that information. 20% of the military deaths during the Vietnam War were Hispanic soldiers, at the time Hispanics only consisted of 10% of the population.


A Future for Children
Young immigrants should be given a chance to succeed in America -- even if they entered illegally.
Washington Post
Wednesday, September 26, 2007; Page A18

TENS OF thousands of illegal immigrants graduate from American high schools every year, having entered the United States as children or young teenagers with their parents. They may be computer geniuses, talented artists, gifted debaters, entrepreneurial whiz kids or superb athletes, but it doesn't really matter; most of them, no matter how bright and ambitious, face insurmountable obstacles to success -- through no fault of their own. Although they grew up here and may seem culturally and linguistically indistinguishable from their native-born peers, they cannot share their classmates' high hopes and bright prospects.

Moved by their stories, senators from both political parties are sponsoring a measure that would give these youngsters what America has always given promising newcomers: a chance. The legislation, known as the Dream Act, would apply only to those who entered the country at age 15 or younger, have lived here for at least five years and have unblemished records. Upon graduating from high school, they would be granted conditional legal status for six years, a grace period in which they would have to spend at least two years enrolled in a four-year or community college or serving in a branch of the U.S. military. If they satisfied all those conditions while staying out of trouble, they would qualify to become legal permanent residents.

According to the Urban Institute, an estimated 360,000 undocumented immigrants who have already finished high school could be eligible right off the bat for six-year conditional legal status under Dream's provisions; 65,000 more would graduate annually and become eligible in the coming years. Many would elect to join the armed forces, thereby providing the military, which is struggling to meet recruitment targets, with a high-quality pool of potential recruits. Many others would enroll in institutions of higher education, instantly improving their long-term prospects to be well-paid, taxpaying, high-achieving members of society. If, as members of Congress and the Bush administration routinely acknowledge, there is to be no mass deportation of illegal immigrants, the Dream Act goes some way toward ensuring that the youngest and most promising immigrants will benefit this country for many years to come.

The Dream Act has been offered as an amendment to the Defense Department's appropriations bill and could face a floor vote in the Senate this week. Predictably, the anti-illegal-immigrant forces are howling about a new "amnesty." Let them use whatever word they choose. But let's also be clear about the victims if the measure is defeated -- promising young English speakers who had no say about how they were brought to this country. Most will stay here, in the only land where they feel at home. The real question is whether America is big enough and wise enough to offer them a future or will doom them to lives on the margins.

DREAM ACT News from NILC - 10:30 pm 9 26 07

Date: Sep 26, 2007 10:57 PM
Subject: DREAM Update: Great News

Hi United We DREAM friends,

Despite what you may have heard (even from us) the DREAM Act remains
very much alive and well.

As you know, Senator Durbin had planned to offer the DREAM Act as an amendment to the DoD authorization bill this week, and we have been trying to keep a stiff upper lip as the days of debate on the bill passed and the prospects for a DREAM Act vote dimmed. As of this morning, we despaired that it would get a vote, though we still held out a sliver of hope.

But you kept working, and calls continued to come in to Sen. Reid and other Senators, and students continued to lobby on their own behalf. And Senator Durbin refused to give up.

To his lasting credit, Senator Reid listened. Earlier this evening,he went to the floor to lament the fact that some Republicans had blocked the DREAM Act vote the DoD Authorization bill. But he did not stop there. Rather, he pledged that it would get a vote vote by mid-November. That is very unusual, almost unprecedented for a bill such as this. Obviously, the DREAM Act still has to win that vote, and it has to move forward in the House as well... It has a long to go before becoming law.

But this is a huge deal. The DREAM Act has come a long way in recent months. What Senator Reid did is a recognition of the fact that it is now a top-tier issue, one that cannot be ignored. You did that. You should all feel proud.

Thank you ULI in Austin for distributing this information

Reid's Statement in Spanish

Para difusión inmediata
Fecha: miércoles, 26 de septiembre de 2007

CONTACTO: Federico A. de Jesús, (202) 224-2939


Washington, DC—El Líder de la Mayoría del Senado Harry Reid hizo las
siguientes declaraciones hoy en el pleno del Senado de los EE.UU.
apoyando el DREAM Act, para asegurar que todos los niños que han
crecido en los Estados Unidos tengan la oportunidad de salir adelante.

Adjunto sus declaraciones, según fueron preparadas para su discurso:

Señor Presidente, estuve profundamente decepcionado cuando los
republicanos bloquearon la reforma integral de inmigración este año.

Sigo creyendo que una reforma firme, justa, práctica e integral es la
única manera de tomar el control de nuestro sistema roto de
inmigración y de restablecer el imperio de la ley.

Sigo comprometido con implementar tal legislación en el futuro. Al no
hacer nada, los Estados Unidos se quedan con el mismo problema que ha
plagado nuestro sistema roto por años.

Pero hasta que podamos progresar otra vez en la reforma migratoria,
debemos implementar dos elementos cruciales de esa reforma: el DREAM
Act y la propuesta AgJobs.

Soy coauspiciador del DREAM Act y lo apoyo firmemente porque creo que
la educación es la llave al futuro de nuestros niños y nuestro éxito
como nación.

El DREAM Act le permitiría a los niños que han crecido en los Estados
Unidos – traídos aquí por sus padres sin ellos tener la culpa – a
obtener un status legal. El DREAM Act reconoce que los niños no se
deben castigar por las acciones de sus padres. Muchos de estos niños
vinieron cuando eran muy jóvenes. Muchos ni siquiera recuerdan sus
países ni hablan el lenguaje de su país natal. Se consideran
estadounidenses y son tan leales y devotos a nuestro país como
cualquier otro estadounidense.

Sólo los niños que vinieron a los EE.UU. cuando tenían 15 años o menos
y que han estado en los EE.UU. por al menos cinco años pueden
solicitar, y tendrían que cumplir ciertos requisitos, incluyendo --

-- tener un diploma de escuela secundaria
-- demostrar buen carácter moral;
-- y aprobar una evaluación de antecedentes penales y de seguridad.

Para cualificar para status legal permanente, tienen que ir a la
universidad o servir en el ejército por dos años.

Señor Presidente, he conocido estudiantes estrella en Nevada que
cualificarían para el DREAM Act. Con él, sus futuros no tienen
límites. Sin él, se reducen sus esperanzas.

Muchos de los niños que este proyecto de ley ayudaría tienen mucho
talento y se han graduado en el tope o cerca del tope de sus clases.

Qué desperdicio es el hacerles más difícil que vayan a la universidad,
o impedirles conseguir empleos, cuando podrían estar haciendo
aportaciones a sus comunidades y a nuestro país.

¿A quién le beneficia impedirle a estos jóvenes que tengan un futuro?

Yo tenía la esperanza de que presentáramos esta medida como una
enmienda al proyecto de ley pendiente, sobre las asignaciones de

En los últimos días, he tenido muchas conversaciones con el Senador
Durbin, el auspiciador principal del DREAM Act, y otros colegas del
Senado sobre hacerlo.

Desafortunadamente, algunos republicanos se oponen a esta propuesta y
están obstinados con impedirnos movernos hacia adelante con este
proyecto de ley.

No dejaremos de luchar, y estamos comprometidos a tratar de impulsar
esta medida importante en o antes de mediados de noviembre.

Implementar el DREAM Act le dará a más de nuestros niños la
oportunidad de salir adelante. Espero que se implemente pronto, para
que podamos poner el sueño estadounidense al alcance de más niños en
Nevada y en nuestra nación.

Good News on the DREAM ACT From Senator Reid

For Immediate Release
Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2007

CONTACT: Federico A. de Jesús, (202) 224-2939


Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following
statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate in favor of the DREAM
Act, to help ensure that all children who grow up in the United States
have a chance to succeed.

Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, I was profoundly disappointed when Republicans blocked
the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform legislation earlier this

I continue to believe that tough, fair, practical and comprehensive
reform is the only way to get control of our broken immigration system
and to restore the rule of law.

I remain committed to enacting such legislation in the future. By
doing nothing, America is left with the same problems that have
plagued our broken system for years.

But until we can once again move forward on comprehensive reform, we
should enact two crucially important elements of that reform: the
DREAM Act and the AgJobs proposal.

I am a co-sponsor and strong supporter of the DREAM Act, because I
believe that education is the key to our children's future and our
success as a nation.

The DREAM Act would allow children who have grown-up in the United
States -- brought here by their parents through no fault of their own
-- to legalize their status. The DREAM Act recognizes that children
should not be penalized for the actions of their parents.

Many of these children came here when they were very young. Many
don't even remember their home countries or speak the language of
their home countries. They think of themselves as American and they
are just as loyal and devoted to our country as any American.

Only children who came to the US when they were 15 years old or
younger and have been in the US for at least five years can apply, and
they would have to meet certain criteria, including --

-- including earning a high school diploma;
-- demonstrating good moral character;
-- and passing criminal and security clearances.

To qualify for permanent status, they must go to college or serve in
the military for two years.

Mr. President, I have met star students in Nevada who would qualify
for the DREAM Act. With it, their futures are limitless. Without it,
their hope is diminished.

Many of the children this bill would help are very talented and have
graduated at the top or near the top of their classes.

What a waste it is to make it more difficult for them to go to
college, or to prohibit them from getting jobs, when they could be
making meaningful contributions to their communities and to our

What good does it do anybody to prevent these young people from having
a future?

I had hoped that we would be able to offer this legislation as an
amendment to the pending legislation, the DOD authorization bill.

Over the last few days, I have had numerous conversations with Senator
Durbin, the DREAM Act's chief sponsor, and other Senate colleagues
about doing so.

Unfortunately, some Republicans are opposed to this proposal and are
unwilling to let us move forward on this bill.

We will not give up the fight, and are committed to trying to move
this important legislation by mid-November.

Enacting the DREAM Act will give more of our children an opportunity
to succeed. I hope it will soon be enacted, so we can put the
American dream within reach for more children in Nevada and in our

Thank you ULI in Austin for distributing this

1 Million Iraqis Die in War - U.S. Only Takes 1,600 as Refugees

Op-Ed Columnist

Published: September 27, 2007
New York Times
MALMO, Sweden

...When Tobias Billstrom, the migration minister, says, “Yes, of course the United States should do more,” you can feel his indignation about to erupt like milk boiling over. He notes that given the huge population difference, Sweden’s intake of Iraqis “is the equivalent of the U.S. taking in about 500,000 refugees.”

Of all the Iraq war scandals, America’s failure to do more for refugees, including thousands who put their lives at risk for the U.S., stands out for its moral bankruptcy. Last time I checked, Sweden did not invade Iraq. Its generosity shames President Bush’s fear-infused nation.

I know, the U.S. is showering aid (more than $122 million in 2007) on Iraq’s neighbors to help more than two million fleeing Iraqis. It set up a refugee task force in February and, when that faltered, appointed two refugee czars this month.

“We want people engaged in this 24/7, breaking down barriers and expeditiously helping the refugees,” Paula Dobriansky, the under secretary of state for democracy and global affairs, told me. “We have a moral obligation, and especially to those who have worked at our embassy.”

A commitment has been made to process 7,000 refugees in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. Visas for 500 Iraqis a year who worked for the U.S. have been promised. But these are velleities. Concern has been unmatched by results. Bush has never addressed the issue, an example of his Green Zone politics: shut out ugly reality and with luck it will vanish.

An aggressive American intake of refugees would suggest that their quick return to Iraq is improbable: that smacks too much of failure for Bush. Moreover, you have to scrutinize refugees from countries “infiltrated by large numbers of terrorists,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff opined recently.

The result has been “major bottlenecks,” in the words of a leaked cable from the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. Instead of the 7,000 Iraqi refugees supposed to get here this fiscal year, perhaps 1,600 will.

“The numbers are totally embarrassing,” says Kirk Johnson, who worked for the United States Agency for International Development in Iraq. “We can’t recognize a moral imperative any more.”

Imperative is right. People who risked their lives for America are dying or being terrorized because of craven U.S. lethargy. Others are in limbo. Bush now says “Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas.” That’s too glib; one may be waiting to be saved.

The I-told-you-so phase of the Iraq invasion is thankfully ending. What is needed now is consensus on American responsibility. That starts with a more open door to Iraqis in flight. Mr. President, say something.

Gamil lost his job when the army was disbanded. He worked sporadically as a translator. But when threats came — as a Sunni ex-officer he was an obvious target to Shiite militias — “I had to save my life and my wife’s.”

Sweden will give him a lawyer to argue his asylum case. Ekblad says the “overwhelming majority” are approved. Refugees then get a permanent resident permit leading to possible citizenship in five years. “Our costs are huge, and we’d like to see more burden-sharing,” he says.

Burden sharing! How about guts? Swedes are polite to a fault.

You are invited to comment at my blog:

for link to full article click the title of this post

National Anxiety is About is About Money, not a Common Race or Ethnic Identity

While people are screaming that immigrants should go home because they are defusing the identity of our country I recall Lamar Alexander's plurbus unim statement- (see post "Ken Burns Little Snicker "September 24, 2007). Alexander says that racial and ethnic minorities are tearing the country apart because they don't want to be part of a unified nation. In this case Harold Meyerson says its economics. People are feeling the squeeze. Credit card debt is too high, everyone has a 400+ car payment, and mortgages now eat up most of peoples monthly earnings. Of course people are angry... and as usual with human beings we look for the scapegoat, this time the undocumented immigrant or diverse ethnic and racial groups in general. Meyerson says the discontent is really caused by a nation-state that is out of touch with its populace, and lets our quest for capitalism take the economy where it wants.

Its easier to blame the people that don't look like you than your national leaders who you are supposed to respect and admire.

During late summer, Juli wrote a post saying that she always like to see what a writer says at the end of their essay, that its usually very telling.

I think she is right on.

Rise of the Have-Nots
Why More Americans Are Feeling Shut Out of Good Times
By Harold Meyerson
Washington Post
Thursday, September 27, 2007; Page A25

...Apparently, so great is Republicans' loyalty to the Bush presidency that they're willing to overlook their own experience. And, in many cases, to attribute the nation's transformation solely to immigration, rather than to the rise of a stateless laissez-faire capitalism over which the American people wield less and less power. Which helps explain why Republican presidential candidates bluster about a fence on the border and have nothing to say about providing health coverage or restoring some power to American workers.

But the big story here isn't Republican denial. It's the shattering of Americans' sense of a common identity in a time when the economy no longer promotes the general welfare. The world the New Deal built has been destroyed, and we are, as we were before the New Deal, two nations.

For link to entire essay, click title to this post.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

DREAM ACT Update 9 26 07

It is 7:38 Eastern time. Harry Reid just spoke about the DREAM ACT. He praised Senator Durbin and the DREAM ACT itself. He said they weren't going to pass it "this time" - but that it would be passed by mid-November.

He minimized the military option. If there were some type of guarrantee that DREAM ACT students would not be coerced into the military (especially while Iraq is still going on) then the bill would be great. Is there a way to be sure that the college option won't be taken away - Its absolutely necessary for the students to have the in-state tuition option while they are waiting to regularize. Otherwise it's almost impossible to pay the high tuition.

In Texas, DREAM ACT students are in crisis because the financial aide that they were getting from the state has not materialized this school year. There were extensive delays last year, and I thought maybe it was due to some internal administrative problem. However, this time, its across the board. Students from community colleges and state universities are experiencing the same problem- there seems be opposition growing regarding Texas grants based upon need. Many people are complaining that U.S. citizens should be given the grants first, even if they are in a better economic situation. In other words, if the students become ineligible because of their residency status, the grants would no longer be based on financial need, since the DREAM ACT students would not be eligible.

Kansas City Parks & Recreation Turned Over to a Minuteman

Border war over immigration comes to Midwest
By Carey Gillam
Wednesday, September 26, 2007; 2:58 PM

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - A routine city hall appointment threatens to turn Kansas City into a new front in the U.S. debate over illegal immigration, even though the closest Mexico border crossing is hundreds of miles (kilometers) away.

Anger has been simmering among Hispanic leaders since the summer, when newly elected Mayor Mark Funkhouser appointed Frances Semler, a dues-paying member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), to the city's parks and recreation board.

...The group is now seizing on the appointment controversy to increase its visibility in the Midwest, promising to make Kansas City the site of a winter leadership meeting and a public education "open house" on immigration concerns.


There are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. How to deal with them and others seeking to come in has become a divisive issue for Americans and a key topic for contenders for president in the November 2008 election.

This week's battle in Washington over legislation that would grant permanent legal status to students under certain conditions is only the latest proposal that has outraged those seeking stricter enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.

La Raza and other ethnic organizations are threatening to boycott Kansas City by canceling conventions unless the mayor removes Semler -- a move the mayor has refused.

"It's a pickle," said Kendrick Blackwood, a spokesman for Funkhouser. "I'm optimistic that we're going to find some way to work through this."

Semler, who joined the Minuteman group in December because of frustration with a lack of enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, said she has been vilified in smear campaigns on the Internet and elsewhere. But she has no intention of backing away from the group.

"I feel very strongly about enforcing the law," she said.

The furor has left city and business leaders frustrated.

"I'm concerned about our image nationally," said city councilwoman Jan Marcason, who fears the controversy makes the metropolitan area of 2 million people look like a "right-wing extremist community."

"The border of Kansas and Missouri is not in jeopardy," Marcason said. "It is odd that they feel like they should even be here."

For entire article, click the title of this post

A Response to Politico's Article on the DREAM ACT

This comment from Politico is a response to the article on the DREAM ACT, and to the insulting and vulgar comments made about undocumented immigrants...

Sep. 25, 2007 - 3:55 PM EST

Wow . . . I am appalled at the level of ignorance that seeps through these comments. Not to mention the fact that I have seen more misspelling(ie "citzon" and "illigals") than I saw when I tutored elementary kids. I imagine that you are all well aware of how Italian Immigrants or Polish immigrants were treated when they first came to the United States in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Like absolute SCUM. They were checked for LICE at Ellis Island before coming into the U.S. And who might those immigrants be related to? Hmm, well I would venture to say that about 75% percent of all you are probably descendants of those very same immigrants that were considered scum. what makes any of you any better than immigrants today?

I am an immigrant. Yes, I am here LEGALLY, but because of your absolutely, ridiculously STUPID immigration system, I am unable to go back home and see my family. So you see, it is not just the undocumented low-skilled workers that suffer from this senseless system, but also someone that is now working in DC and butts heads with the office of Senators and knows more about the way your legislative system works that probably half of you.

I graduated MAGNA CUM LAUDE from one of the most prestigious universities in the Northeast. And I went through college on financial aid- and I am very grateful to my institution for that. And NEVER during the four years that I was in college did I feel like I was taking an "American's" place- because I worked my ass off to get into and through college, much more than I can say of many of my American counterparts (not all, of course, but some) who skipped classes and insulted the professors because they felt they had a "right" to be there. Maybe you all could learn a thing or two about the so called "illegals" who come here and spread their "offspring". Please. Grow the..up....

for link to entire comment, click the title to this post. It is comment #46

The DREAM ACT from

Immigration debate roils anew
By: Carrie Budoff Brown
September 25, 2007 06:32 AM EST

As the Senate prepares to vote on an immigration measure this week, senators are being forced back into politically treacherous territory on the controversial question of amnesty. In many ways, the debate is a mini-version of the free-for-all that consumed the doomed comprehensive bill in June.

Legalization opponents and supporters are picking up where they left off earlier this year, flooding congressional offices and Internet blogs with talking points on the latest legislation.

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) has been trying for years to stitch together a bipartisan coalition for a narrower measure that he calls the DREAM Act. It would give illegal immigrants who were brought to the country at 15 years old or younger — and have remained here for at least five years — a path to citizenship if they go to college or enter the military.

“The fundamental premise,” Durbin said on the floor last week, “is that we shouldn’t punish children for the mistakes their parents made. That isn’t the American way. The DREAM Act says to these students: America is going to give you a chance. It won’t be easy, but you can earn your way into legal status.”

Durbin is offering the measure as an amendment to the Department of Defense authorization bill, in part because it could ease strains on military recruiting.

An opponent of the most recent comprehensive bill, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), signed on as a co-sponsor last week, joining Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and a dozen Democrats.

But with anti-immigration groups calling the amendment “amnesty on the installment plan,” passage is far from assured in a chamber that operates on a 60-vote threshold.

NumbersUSA, the group that helped derail the comprehensive bill that would have offered legal status to the existing 12 million illegal immigrants, posted on its website a tally of its “anti-amnesty champions.” So far, 21 senators have signaled to NumbersUSA that they will oppose the amendment. The group is looking for 20 more senators to block it.

“If you were to pass another amnesty, you would only encourage more illegal behavior because it is seen as a reward,” said Caroline Espinosa, a spokeswoman for NumbersUSA, which claims credit for more than 260,000 faxes sent by its supporters to Congress in the past week.

Proponents of the measure dispute the amnesty argument, saying it applies only to illegal immigrants who have been in the country for five years at the time of the bill’s enactment.

The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan organization, estimates that 360,000 undocumented students would become immediately eligible for conditional legal status. An additional 65,000 could be added to the pool annually, the group found.

Like previous battles, advocates on both sides of the issue have been pressing Congress, blasting e-mails to supporters and asking them to contact senators. The office of Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), one of the members being targeted by both sides, reported a spike in calls starting last Monday.

The Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform attempted to counter its opponents, pleading with members in an e-mail last Tuesday: “We need your calls beginning NOW, before senators get the idea (again) that they only hear from anti-immigrant constituents, and that they should play it safe and vote against the amendment.”

for link to article click the title of this post

Critiquing Obamas Interview

Dan Kowalski (Bender's Immigration Bulletin) Comments on the Barack Obama Interview: ""Obama on Immigration: Just OK"

From Immigration Prof Blog:

Dan Kowalski, Editor-in-Chief Bender's Immigration Bulletin (LexisNexis), offers these insights on the interview with Barack Obama that was posted here yesterday. If you would like to publish a commentary on the interview, please send it our way:

To be honest, when this "exclusive interview" was announced, I was expecting a video (or at least an audio podcast) of a live give-and-take between skeptical reporters or topic experts asking tough questions and putting the candidate on the spot with little, if any, opportunity for reflection. So I was a bit disappointed to find, instead, a canned written product, giving us nothing we hadn't heard before. I'm sure the Senator approved the final product, but I'm also sure 99% of it was written for him by a staffer. I hope this format will be scrapped when other candidates are "interviewed."

Beyond the platitudes, the nugget that struck me hardest was the Senator's rationale for voting for the Secure Fence Act. He says he voted for it even though it sends two strong messages with which he disagrees - that Mexico is "not our friend" and that an enforcement-only approach can work - because "restoring order in the border region is necessary to winning the American people's support for full reform." That's disingenuous (a word Obama loves) at best, because he knows that no fence, long or short, will restore "order" on the borders. Moreover, it's a candidate's (and a President's) job to lead and persuade, not hide behind "safe" votes. And as I've argued before, trying to "secure the borders" first is putting things backwards. Obama tries to soften the blow by saying he'll only support more border fencing "where it can help discourage illegal entry and dangerous crossings over desert terrain [Where else would they put it?] ...[and only] in coordination and cooperation with local communities." Reaction from border communities to today's release of the Border Patrol's fencing plans should make it abundantly clear that the border fence is nothing more than a pork-barrel boondoggle of the highest order; Obama should suck it up and admit his vote was wrong.

Obama (and all your interviewees) should be pinned down on numbers and categories and definitions: How many (more) green cards do we need? How many (more) non-immigrant visas? How should we re-write the visa categories, grounds of exclusion and removal, detention rules, judicial review rules and hardship waivers to bring the statute into the 21st century. It could get tedious, and long, but as Justice Scalia says, "administrative law is not for sissies."

Finally, when your group interviews other candidates, I'd scrap the Elvira Arrellano question. Call me heartless, but her story leaves me cold. There are thousands of stories out there of folks who suffered much more than she did, and without breaking any laws beyond crossing without papers. They would be better examples of our broken system.

Daniel M. Kowalski

[It should go w/o saying, but those are my views alone, not necessarily those of Matthew Bender & Co., Inc., and/or LexisNexis]

Previously posted on Immigration Prof Blog:

Who is Responsible for the Sting in Danburry, CT?

ICE says it conducts all operations legally. that Danburry police initiated the arrests in question. Danburry says ICE did it.
Either way, they are being sued for arresting without probable cause - a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

What about the times that ICE has entered schools? people's homes? or Jack in the Box? Especially since the Swift raid, ICE has continuously violated the Fourth amendment. See post "Knocks and Talk," September 26, 2007.


Challenge in Connecticut Over Immigrants’ Arrest
New York Times
Published: September 26, 2007

Nine day laborers are expected to file a federal lawsuit today challenging the legality of a sting operation in Danbury, Conn., last year that led to their arrest on immigration charges.

Those plaintiffs, and a tenth man whose traffic stop for a noisy muffler resulted in his deportation to Ecuador, contend that their arrests were illegal and part of a campaign based on racial profiling. They also say that the city of Danbury, its mayor, Mark D. Boughton, and its police chief acted to enforce federal immigration law without authority.

...The plaintiffs charge that they were arrested without probable cause, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The suit also contends that the arrests violated the First Amendment because they were calculated to silence the laborers’ expression of their availability for work in a traditional public forum, and to chill the speech of other day laborers who now avoid the park for fear of arrest.

“Looking at a group of day laborers and assuming that they are undocumented is a form of racial profiling,” said Geri Greenspan, one of the law students working on the case with Michael Wishnie, a Yale law professor.

...Federal immigration agents have maintained that the arrests were initiated by the Danbury police, she said, while Danbury officials insist that it was a federal operation.

None of the day laborers arrested had an outstanding order of deportation, the lawsuit says, and immigration officers involved in the operation were not looking for a fugitive at the Danbury park, which might have provided a rationale for a federal immigration operation.

According to the police incident reports filed at the time, the day laborers were arrested by the police at 7 a.m. on a charge of entering the country illegally, a federal misdemeanor. Connecticut law does not authorize local Danbury police to make warrantless arrests for federal misdemeanors, Ms. Greenspan said, and the officers had no evidence of illegal entry into the country.

In the case of the 10th plaintiff, Danilo Brito Vargas, the lawsuit charges that his arrest in February was part of a pattern of police stopping Hispanic drivers on the pretext of minor traffic infractions, then investigating the immigration status of the drivers through the National Crime Information Center database, and arresting them for civil immigration violations.

...Michael Gilhooly, a spokesman for the federal immigration agency, said the agency had not seen the complaint. But he added: “Immigration Customs Enforcement conducts all of our operations lawfully and in full accordance with ICE policies and procedures.”

For complete article click title of this post


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why Isn't Lou Dobbs Accused of Mistakes?

The Houston Chronicle joined the bandwagon in criticizing for the Petraeus ad in the New York Times. They also think Dan Rather was wrong in suing CBS for being fired due to an inaccurate story on Bush and his supposed time in the National Guard.

They chastized the GOP for immigrant bating, which is great since few media outlets have criticized this.

But I think they really missed the most important "media legend." Where is Lou Dobbs in all of this? Without his constant harping on immigration issues day after day, we might not be in such a mess with immigration reform; the DREAM ACT would probably pass; the state of Virginia wouldn't be considering building a detention facility for immigrants.

The way Lou Dobbs repeatedly gives out mis-information (lies) is unfortunate. It reminds me of this guy from Sevilla I read about who was an important character in the Spanish Inquisition. I believe his name was Ferrer. He was a priest. One Sunday in June, 1391 he gave a Lou Dobbs type of sermon at mass. He told his audience that Jews were terrible and should be eliminated. The congregation got really excited and ran out of the church. Others joined them and by the end of the day 5,000 Jews were killed. The massacre also forced thousands of Jewish families to flee, mostly going to Portugal.

Would you believe the church made him a saint?

This is a true story.

Its kind of the same thing that Dobbs is doing. He is inciting people to hate immigrants. His diatribes are broadcast every evening at 5 pm on CNN. He has a chance to get almost everybody in the U.S. excited about explusing undocumented immigrants. He has been successful. There is a lot more hate in the air since he began his mission.

I'm surprised that the Houston Chronicle did not comment on Lou Dobbs and the harm he has brought to our nation.

Sept. 24, 2007, 10:01PM
Political forces on the left and the right and a media legend diminish themselves
Houston Chronicle
While the American public faces important and consequential questions of public policy, the news media have found time to focus on three relatively minor mistakes. Though small, each mistake has cast a large shadow on the person or persons who made it:

• The left-leaning erred when it placed a cut-rate advertisement in The New York Times implying that Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, might have betrayed the American people. First, Petraeus did not deserve such a jibe, and second, destroyed its credibility so that its legitimate message — progress in bringing stability to Iraq has been uneven and insignificant — was lost in the well-provoked response to the ad.

• On the right, Republican candidates for president are mistaken to spurn candidate forums put on by minority organizations. Blacks and Hispanics might not be large forces in GOP primaries, but the GOP presidential nominee will need substantial minority support in November 2008 to win.

Beyond the presidency, Republican influence in Congress and at the state level is waning, not only because of diminished support for the war, but also because of many conservatives' unhelpful and off-putting clamor against illegal immigrants. Without offering a solution to the problem of illegal immigration, the rhetoric tends to alienate naturalized citizens and native voters of Hispanic dissent, without which the Republican Party cannot prosper.

• Finally, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather, who got his start in Houston, wrote a sad footnote to his mostly distinguished career when he sued his old employers for $70 million. The suit alleges that CBS made Rather a scapegoat for an inaccurate story about George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard. Whatever the network executives' sins, they don't deserve to be punished to that degree after paying Rather millions per year long after he had passed his prime.

Rather's suit, while presenting a weak case against CBS, makes a wounding case against his own prowess as a broadcast journalist. Despite the fact that Rather bore the title of managing editor of CBS News, he alleges in his suit that he bore no responsibility for the content or accuracy of his broadcasts: The mighty network anchor is revealed for what he or she is, merely a familiar face reading from a teleprompter reports he or she had nothing to do with preparing.

For link to editorial click title of this post


The Senate and the DREAM ACT

A newspaper reporter contacted me today asking me what do I think will happen now that the DREAM ACT is not going to pass this year.

The senate is still going round and round about Iraq and whether they should leave and surrender. The conversation at moments sounds like the time the European powers separated the middle east in the time of T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

Obama Speaks on Immigration and the DREAM ACT

Law Professors Hing, Chacon, and Johnson from the UC Davis Law School arranged an interview with Barack Obama regarding immigration. For the most part his answers appear programmed, but the way presidential campaigns are these days, that's how candidates are supposed to talk.

He is saying he will be "finally passing the DREAM Act," which tells me he's thinking it will come later. Some were hoping it would come up this week. I actually thought that if the military is as desperate for recruits as is reported, they would pressure the senate to pass the bill. Looking back at U.S. history, the military usually gets what it wants. That is unless our senators who appear to be "segregationists in disguise" draw up so much hysteria that 60 senators can't be gathered up to vote on the DREAM ACT.

The interview took place last night. Below is a small excerpt:

"I am committed to fighting for comprehensive iImmigration reform during my first term as president, to reducing the Latino drop-out rate, to finally passing the DREAM Act, to providing the 47 million uninsured Americans with affordable, high quality health care, to ending the war in Iraz, and to challenge the failing policies of the last seven years that have left many Latinos, and all Americans behind."

Previously posted on Immigration Prof Blog

Click title of this post for Obama's complete interview

Vermont Welcomes Immigrants - in 2007

Dairy farmers in Vermont work towards keeping their immigrant employees safe, and everybody wins. That is except ICE.

It will be interesting to see if the state of Vermont continues to be as welcoming when the percentage of immigrant workers reaches the same as in North Carolina or Virginia.

On New England's dairy farms, foreign workers find a home
By Jenna Russell, Globe Staff
Boston Globe
September 22, 2007

It looks like the quintessential Vermont dairy farm, like a page out of a storybook, with its red barns, rolling green fields, and black-and-white cows. And this farm is also typical in another way: Inside the barns, the men milking cows are from Mexico and Guatemala.

Some have documents that allow them to work in this country. Others do not, said the farmer who employs them. Legal or not, he said, they have improved his life.

...The dairy farms that define the northern New England countryside have come to depend on foreign workers in the past five to 10 years. Farmers say they have faced a crippling shortage of Americans willing to do the physically demanding, round-the-clock job of milking cows and cleaning barns. To fill the burgeoning gap, many farms have hired workers from Mexico and Central America, who often speak little English and lack proper documents but show up on time, learn quickly, and work tirelessly, farmers say.

That pipeline of largely illegal but dependable labor is threatened, however, by paperwork, fees, and government limits on the work that laborers can do and the length of time they can stay,

...Worsening the problem, they say, is a crackdown by federal agencies, felt in the past two years, including heightened scrutiny of hiring practices and a beefed-up Border Patrol presence at the Canadian border.

Critics of the crackdown say the resulting atmosphere, charged with fear and tension, has also eroded the quality of life of some foreign workers, and may discourage others from coming to the region. Many foreign workers stay indoors day and night because they fear discovery by authorities. Some have given up grocery shopping, playing soccer, and walking outside. Although most dairy workers who illegally enter the country cross the border from Mexico, farmers and advocates say that some fear the extra scrutiny found in northern New England, where Border Patrol agents roam the countryside on patrols.

Some dairy farmers, and other concerned Vermonters, shop and wire money for workers and drive them to visit relatives on other farms.

The farmer at the picture-perfect Vermont dairy farm said he has advised his workers not to open their doors to border officials. He does not allow them to work outdoors because he fears they could be caught.

The workers cut through the barns on the property to reach the trailers where they live instead of walking on the road, the farmer said.

"If we had a tunnel, they'd use that," he said. "We have to do a good job on the border, but I don't think we need the Border Patrol driving into the yard, looking for guys who milk cows."

He said agents have driven through his farm on patrols.

...Dairy farmers say workers earn about $8 per hour and often choose to work 60 or 70 hours per week. Many farms provide housing.

"It's not because they're cheaper," said Sheldon Sawyer, a New Hampshire dairy farmer who employs two foreign men with working papers. "We get them because we need them."

Among immigrant workers, dairy farm laborers are especially likely to lack papers, say their employers. Because dairy farms operate year round, they do not qualify for the seasonal visas that allow other foreign workers to participate in agricultural work including blueberry and apple harvests. New England dairy farmers have urged federal legislators to create a new guest worker program to accommodate them.

...farms reported that half as many workers showed up as in previous years, said Juan Perez-Febles, who monitors migrant workers for the state Department of Labor. As a result, many berries went unpicked.

...Some Vermonters say foreign labor is essential to preserve the rural landscape. The state lost 2,000 farms from 1977 to 2003, according to the Vermont Dairy Promotion Council.

Residents, church leaders, and health and social service workers in dairy-rich Addison County, south of Burlington, help legal and illegal foreign laborers find healthcare in the face of language barriers and fear of deportation. They have formed the Addison County Farmworkers Coalition, which also lobbies for federal policy changes that would make it easier for foreigners to work on dairy farms legally...

Jenna Russell can be reached at

For complete article click title of this post


Illinois Stalls E-Verify, DHS Sues

A number of states have taken the route of Illinois and ruled it illegal for employers to use E-Verify to check employees residency status. Chertoff has chosen Illinois as his first target... the state is being sued for standing up to the DHS E-Verify system that has a 50% error rate.


llinois sued by U.S. over worker law
Measure overrules immigration checks

By Frank James | Washington Bureau
Chicago Tribune
September 25, 2007

WASHINGTON - Department of Homeland Security officials, saying that Illinois is complicating their efforts to reduce illegal immigration, have sued the state to overturn an Illinois law that virtually blocks employers from taking part in a program designed to verify whether new employees are legally entitled to work in the U.S.

"The state of Illinois has now made it illegal to comply with federal law," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in an interview. "That's not acceptable as a matter of the Constitution, and it's not acceptable as a matter of our discharging our federal obligation to enforce the immigration laws."

..."The Internet-based program has a less than 50 percent accuracy rate and takes 10 days to get results," she said. "Lawmakers in Illinois felt that's too long and leaves too much room for error."

The federal government sees the Illinois law as a violation of the Constitution's supremacy clause, which generally elevates federal law over state law.

"What we can't do when we pass a federal law is have the states decide they want to modify that law," said Chertoff, a former federal judge.

But Crystal Williams, deputy director for programs at the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the U.S. is being selective in its efforts.

She noted that a number of states have passed laws with provisions aimed at illegal immigrants but federal officials have not filed suit on what she called "clearly violations of the supremacy clause."

For complete article click title of this post

500,000 Latino Soldiers in WWII, 13 Congressional Medals of Honor

I don't want to argue with Ken Burns. I'm sure he has his reasons to make the military in WWII all white. Since he won't do much to show Latinos... I'll help him out a bit with some pictures. (see post "Ken Burns' Snicker," September 24, 2007)

This is an odd time for Latinos in the military to be slighted, since the U.S. Military knows that its biggest recruiting potential is with Latinos - and they surely need lots of recruits. They should have talked to Burns while the documentary was being planned.
The Story We Needed Ken Burns to Tell
By Cecilia Alvear
Saturday, September 22, 2007; Page A17

There's an application on my computer called the "Ken Burns effect." It can dress up my picture slideshows by inserting pans and zooms, adding a feeling of motion to the still images. It mimics the technique filmmaker Ken Burns uses to hold the attention of viewers in his epic documentaries, which rely heavily on historic paintings and photos.

As a Latina, I've unfortunately run across another kind of Ken Burns effect, one that leaves Hispanics largely invisible in those documentaries.
...Yet nowhere in the powerful original production did Burns include the stories of Latinos affected by the war. As many as half a million Hispanics served in World War II and earned at least 13 Medals of Honor. They returned to a country where they, like blacks, were treated as second-class citizens.

Some critics of Burns have previously noticed the way he ignores Latinos, pointing out that in his 19-hour documentary saga "Jazz," Latinos rated only 3 1/2 minutes of airtime and that many of the greats of Latin jazz, who played alongside whites and African Americans, were overlooked.

In his 23-hour production "Baseball," Burns devoted only six minutes to Latinos, who now play a dominant role in the sport. Six minutes, so help me A-Rod.

It's odd behavior for a filmmaker so adept at chronicling the black experience in this country. "Race is at the center of all of American history," Burns has said. Yes, it is. But there is more to the story than just black and white.

In a question-and-answer session after the screening I attended, Burns said that one reason Hispanics were overlooked in "The War" was that "no one came forward" from the Latino community when he and his team solicited stories. So why didn't they exercise a bit of journalistic due diligence and reach out to people? He also said it was impossible to tell the stories of every minority group involved. True, but in this case, a significant element had been omitted.

Because Sacramento was one of the places profiled, I phoned a Latino veterans group in that area of California. Within an hour I had the names of four men, still living, who had served honorably in World War II and had interesting stories about their experiences.

Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has overseen an extensive project to collect the oral histories of Latino veterans of World War II. No one from Burns's team contacted her during production of "The War." Rivas-Rodriguez is a member of Defend the Honor, a group that pressured PBS and Burns to amend his documentary.

Despite strong initial resistance, Burns and PBS relented. "The War" now includes the stories of two Latinos and a Native American who fought in World War II. There are 28 minutes' worth of new interviews and pictures. It's unclear, though, whether these additional segments will be included in the companion books, DVDs and educational materials that are part of the project.

Burns said at the screening I attended that some Latinos were reacting as if "The War" would be the definitive account of World War II. Others could produce documentaries on this subject, he noted. I doubt, however, that PBS or any commercial network would be willing to spend millions of dollars on another World War II project anytime soon. And no other filmmaker would receive the attention or editorial freedom Burns gets.

In discussing the criticism, Burns told the Los Angeles Times this month that he noticed that Hispanic groups hadn't pressured Latino filmmakers to tell the stories he omitted. "No, no, no -- it has to be Ken Burns," he said. "In a way all of this was an extraordinary compliment." Yes, it was. Latinos recognize that Burns is the country's preeminent documentary filmmaker. We want him to recognize us and our contributions to America.

Cecilia Alvear, an independent television producer, is a former president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

For complete article, click title of this post