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We saw lots of speakers who were Latino and heard others talk about their immigrant roots. We even heard the occasional lines in Spanish. But what we didn't hear was a discussion of immigration policy (except from Rick Santorum who used his spot to bash the President for not being tough enough and from the platform committee which passed planks written by Kris K(?) Kobach). Mitt Romney had nothing to say on the subject so if you thought he might start to retreat from his anti-immigration primary strategy, you would be mistaken.
The party likes to claim that Latinos will forgive their anti-immigration views because they'll vote their pocketbook. But every credible poll shows that Latinos rank immigration at or near the top of their concerns and they have abandoned the GOP en masse because of the party's immigration positions. Nothing changed this week and Romney's silence on immigration policy says quite a bit.
I have to say that it was hard not to like Susana Martinez's speech last night. She's charming, smart and its refreshing to hear a voice like hers in the WASPy GOP. The only other speech last night that probably was in the same league was Condoleeza Rice's.
But that subject that reportedly kept Romney from selecting Susana for the veep spot also was left out of the speech last night - she's pro-immigration and no doubt would embarrass Romney because she is the type of person who wouldn't tow the line and sign off on the nonsense espoused by the Romney/Kobach camp or the Republican Party platform. She didn't say a word about immigration policy last night most likely because every speech at the RNC has been vetted by the Romney camp.
One moment caught on television last night summed up the problem for the GOP. When Martinez uttered the phrase "En America, todo es posible" a female delegate on camera changed her smile to a scowl.
The media has been reporting a great deal about how Republicans are in big trouble as minority voters are shifting more and more to the Democrats. That's made some of the grown ups in the GOP - people like Karl Rove and Jeb Bush - nervous. Fearing that moderates might start to gain some traction in arguing for the Republicans to move more to the center on immigration, the Center for Immigration Studies is releasing a report trying to convince the GOP to ignore the data - and common sense - and pretend that Hispanic voters really don't matter.
I'm not sure who wants the GOP to buy this more - the Center for Immigration Studies or the Democratic National Committee?
The California legislature has passed a bill that bars local law enforcement officials from detaining immigrants on federal deportation holds after they're released from criminal custody. The bar wouldn't apply to those who have committed serious felonies. The bill is now going to Governor Brown where it is expected to pass.
The legislature is about to consider bills allowing deferred action beneficiaries to get driver's licenses as well as another to provide work permits to undocumented agricultural workers.
Incidentally, California Democrats hold both US Senator seats, every statewide office including the Governor's office, 34 of 53 seats in the US House of Representatives, 25 of 40 seats in the State Senate, 53 of 80 seats in the State Assembly, Mayors in every large city except San Diego and no Republican has won the state's electoral votes since 1988. See a connection, Republicans?
Wouldn't it be funny if Kris Kobach's middle initial were K? Just sayin'.
Kris has managed to remind voters twice in 24 hours that the GOP is the anti-immigration party. The Romney advisor is representing a bunch of ICE agents in a suit against the White House claiming they're being forced to violate the law in implementing DACA. Good luck with that one, Kris. Hope your clients are paying you on a contingency basis given the recent court decisions overturning the Arizona and Alabama laws you personally crafted.
But the lawsuit is just the sideshow. You may have put the nail in the coffin for any hope Mitt Romney had for a decent showing with Latino voters. You singlehandedly got the entire Republican Party to walk the plank with you by pushing through the anti-immigrant language from the 2008 Republican platform that was going to be deleted when saner heads in the GOP started to worry that Romney will suffer the same fate - or worse - with Latino voters that McCain faced. From Huffington Post:
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the author of Arizona's SB 1070 immigration bill, ensured on Tuesday that the Republican Party platform will also have his fingerprint.
During a meeting of the GOP platform committee in Tampa, Fla., Kobach called for the party to officially back increased border fencing and the E-Verify employment verification system, and to go after two immigrant-friendly initiatives: in-state tuition for some undocumented young people and so-called sanctuary cities. Those measures were in the 2008 Republican platform but had been dropped from the draft this year, Politico reported.
HB87, the Alabama answer to Arizona's SB1070, has been dealt a major blow by the less than liberal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. From NCLR:
Following the lead of the US Supreme Court, the 11th Circuit left the police stops provision in place until the law is actually implemented. At that point, potential plaintiffs can sue if it is implemented in an unconstitutional manner.
Yesterday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta struck down major portions of the anti-immigrant laws passed in Alabama and Georgia, including a provision requiring Alabama public school officials to determine the immigration status of enrolling students. In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s SB 1070, a federal court once again rejected these states’ attempts to take federal law into their own hands.
“In a common-sense decision, the 11th Circuit Court put a stop to perhaps the single most egregious provision yet in this slew of anti-immigrant laws, bringing an end to the chaos and fear that students in Alabama have endured since this law was passed,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza). “The Court’s ruling makes clear that children should not be put in the crosshairs of a political debate.”
The court also blocked the Alabama provisions that would have invalidated contracts with undocumented immigrants and criminalized the failure to carry immigration documents. In both Alabama and Georgia, the court determined that states could not criminalize the transporting or harboring of certain immigrants. As with the Supreme Court, the federal court in Atlanta explicitly left the door open to future challenges to the racial profiling provisions known as “show me your papers” or “papers, please.”
“Unfortunately, the ‘papers, please’ provision was allowed to go forward,” said Murguía. “As we have stated repeatedly, it is a false solution that many states have already rejected and whose only effect will be negative and harmful. But there is no doubt in our mind that this provision will also eventually be overturned.”
Nashville is one of America's great cities, but it has a nutty sheriff who wants to steal some of Sheriff Joe's thunder. Daron Hall has been high profile enough that Immigrant's List posted him on it's top 10 list of shame. Here is their description of one particularly unsavory act by Sheriff Hall:
If you've had children, you'll never forget the day they were born: the look on their face, the sound of their cry, the weight of the infant in your arms. And if you're Juana Villegas, you'll remember the clink of your chains.
Juana is an undocumented immigrant who was 9 months pregnant when she was arrested for a traffic offense. Shortly after being detained, Juana went into labor. Sheriff Daron Hall forced her to be shackled during labor and denied a breast pump during postpartum recovery. On the witness stand in a lawsuit over her treatment, Villegas remembered that after delivery, she tried not to move much because the clink of the leg chains would disturb her sleeping newborn. For any parent, it's a heartless way to be treated. For any newborn, it's a tragic way to come into the world. But if you're an undocumented immigrant, Sheriff Daron Hall wouldn't have it any other way.
Now Sheriff Hall appears to be backing down somewhat. He's dropping Nashville's participation in the 287(g) program and instead opting for Secure Communities, a program that has garnered criticism, but not nearly as much as the 287(g) program.