By Richard A. Serrano and Tracy Wilkinson
April 1, 2014, 8:52 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Two heavily armed, camouflaged Mexican soldiers crossed 50 yards inside Arizona in January and drew their guns against U.S. Border Patrol agents who confronted them in a tense standoff, according to documents obtained by The Times/Tribune Washington Bureau.
U.S. officials said it was one of nearly two dozen border incursions by Mexican soldiers into southern Arizona in the last four years.
The Jan. 26 confrontation, described in a Border Patrol foreign military incursion report and confirmed in a separate letter from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, ended when the Mexican soldiers retreated back over the border after U.S. agents — who also drew their weapons — summoned assistance. The soldiers, who misidentified themselves to border agents, claimed to be pursuing drug smugglers, documents show.
U.S. officials characterized the incident as one of the most serious incursions in recent years. Though gunfire was averted, the 35-minute confrontation underscored the continuing friction between the U.S. and Mexico when it comes to policing the often chaotic and violent Southwest border. It also raised questions among some U.S. officials about whether the Mexican soldiers were chasing drug smugglers, as they claimed, or protecting cartels as they used drug routes to Arizona.
Latino activist called President Barack Obama the “deporter in chief,” denouncing the administration’s deportation of nearly 2 million immigrants, the Associated Press reports.
Janet Murguia, who heads the National Council of La Raza, didn’t just direct her anger over the deportations at the president. She also voiced her displeasure with House Republicans for stalling on immigration legislation, as a comprehensive bill has languished more than eight months after the Senate passed it.
“For us, this president has been the deporter in chief,” Murguia said at an awards dinner Tuesday night. “Any day now, this administration will reach the 2 million mark for deportations. It is a staggering number that far outstrips any of his predecessors and leaves behind it a wake of devastation for families across America.”
According to AP, since Obama took office the Immigration and Customs Enforcement has removed nearly 2 million immigrants in an aggressive enforcement of current law.
In a column claiming the Republican Party immigration plan is an act of political suicide, Ann Coulter blares the air raid siren:
As House Republicans prepare to sell out the country on immigration this week, Phyllis Schlafly has produced a stunning report on how immigration is changing the country. The report is still embargoed, but someone slipped me a copy, and it’s too important to wait.
Citing surveys from the Pew Research Center, the Pew Hispanic Center, Gallup, NBC News, Harris polling, the Annenberg Policy Center, Latino Decisions, the Center for Immigration Studies and the Hudson Institute, Schlafly’s report overwhelmingly demonstrates that merely continuing our current immigration policies spells doom for the Republican Party.
Immigrants — all immigrants — have always been the bulwark of the Democratic Party. For one thing, recent arrivals tend to be poor and in need of government assistance. Also, they’re coming from societies that are far more left-wing than our own. History shows that, rather than fleeing those policies, they bring their cultures with them. (Look at what New Yorkers did to Vermont.)
This is not a secret. For at least a century, there’s never been a period when a majority of immigrants weren’t Democrats.
Thanks to endless polling, we have a pretty good idea of what most immigrants believe.
According to a Harris poll, 81 percent of native-born citizens think the schools should teach students to be proud of being American. Only 50 percent of naturalized U.S. citizens do.
While 67 percent of native-born Americans believe our Constitution is a higher legal authority than international law, only 37 percent of naturalized citizens agree.
No wonder they vote 2-1 for the Democrats.
How are Republicans going to square that circle? It’s not their position on amnesty that immigrants don’t like; it’s Republicans’ support for small government, gun rights, patriotism, the Constitution and capitalism.
It would be one thing if the people with these views already lived here. Republicans would have no right to say, “You can’t vote.” But why on Earth are they bringing in people sworn to
their political(our) destruction? (Fixed another one for you, Ann).
Sorry, Americans. You lose.
Notice how Ann cites polling from Phyllis Schlafly, who last year voiced similar concerns, and urged the Republican Party to abandon any outreach to people of color, and Latinos in particular, and focus on more white voters:
But in an interview this week with conservative radio program Focus Today, Schlafly just came right out and said it. Calling the GOP’s need to reach out to Latinos a “great myth,” Schlafly said that “the people the Republicans should reach out to are the white votes, the white voters who didn’t vote in the last election.” Schlafly accused the Republican “establishment” of nominating “a series of losers…who don’t connect with the grassroots.”
“The propagandists are leading us down the wrong path,” she said. “There’s not any evidence at all that these Hispanics coming in from Mexico will vote Republican.”
Immigration rights advocates have launched a social media campaign to draw attention to what they say is a double standard in U.S. immigration policy. Following the arrest of Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, young immigrants have used the hashtag #undeportable to post selfies with fake blonde hair and blue eyes, sending the message that they believe preferential treatment is given to white immigrants and that anti-immigrant rhetoric is often against Latinos.
Some immigration advocates have argued that many non-white immigrants have been deported for issues less severe than the pop star’s recent arrest on charges of driving under the influence. According to University of California, Merced professor Tanya Golash-Boza, immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean are more likely to be deported than Asian or European immigrants, a statistic many advocates say highlights racial biases in U.S. immigration policy.
Here’s an example of the meme that’s been developing on Twitter and Facebook:
Check out more at the link below. It’s pretty cool.
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health Leaders Arrested in Act of Civil Disobedience for Immigration Reform
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, hundreds of women gathered on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to take action and pass an inclusive and common-sense immigration reform bill that addresses the concerns of women and families. Following the rally, many of these women, including Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and Kimberly Inez McGuire, associate director for government relations and public affairs, were arrested for their participation in a peaceful act of civil disobedience.
“Our actions today in Washington are a direct counter to policymakers’ passivity,” said González-Rojas. “Immigrant women are often the backbone of their communities — caring for families and earning wages — yet they continue to be ignored by immigration policy reform. The 20 million immigrant women in this country deserve basic human rights, including access to affordable health care. We refuse to let them be marginalized any longer.”
As advocates for Latina health, NLIRH recognizes the ways immigrant women are cut off from their full potential because they lack access to affordable reproductive and preventive health care. Under the Senate’s proposed immigration reform bill, immigrants may have to wait up to 15 years for health care, a wait NLIRH believes is unacceptable.
The same conservative student group that held an affirmative action bake sale at the University of Texas at Austin this fall is hosting another controversial event — this time, a mock immigration sting.
On Wednesday, the campus chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas will offer students $25 gift cards if they can “catch” an undocumented immigrant — a group of volunteers wearing “illegal immigrant” labels. The event is intended to “spark a campus-wide discussion about the issue of illegal immigration and how if affects our everyday lives,” according to a brief statement released by Lorenzo Garcia, the YCT chapter chairman.
When you read the Statement of Principles at the website of these Young Conservatives, you will see your basic Paulian theocratic, free enterprise wish list, complete with anti-Fed, Tenth Amendment and isolationist clauses. This should come as no surprise in combination with the partial list of YCT alumni in politics at Wikipedia:
- Will Hartnett, Texas State Representative
- Jeb Hensarling, U.S. Congressman
- Bryan Hughes, Texas State Representative
- Tan Parker, Texas State Representative
- Harvey Hilderbran, Texas State Representative
- Dwayne Bohac, Texas State Representative
- Jodie Laubenburg [sic], Texas State Representative
- Steve Stockman, U.S. Congressman
- Rand Paul, Kentucky U.S. Senator
- Steve Munisteri, Republican Party of Texas Chairman
Sure enough, Rand Paul is on it. Steve Stockman served as the State Chair of the organization.
YCT-UT has a Facebook page about their event.
Here is a place for UT students and others to report or comment on this event.
YCT-UT Chapter Chairman Lorenzo Garcia says people who were offended by this proposed bit of street theater might have become violent, so he had to cancel. He admitted the plan was ill-advised, but that’s not the reason he gave for changing his mind about following through.
The Young Conservatives of Texas chapter at the University of Texas has called off its plan to host a game called “Catch an Illegal Immigrant,” an event originally planned for Wednesday.
“After the University President and the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement released statements denouncing the event we planed as violating the university’s honor code, I spoke with our chapter’s members, and they are both concerned that the university will retaliate against them and that the protest against the event could create a safety issue for our volunteers,” YCT-UT Chapter Chairman Lorenzo Garcia.
“I acknowledge that the decision to include issuing $25 gift cards during the event was misguided and that the idea for the event was intentionally over-the-top in order to get attention for the subject,” said Garcia in a press release on Tuesday morning. “It is a simple fact that illegal immigration is a concern in this country and that it is one we must face.”
On Monday, Garcia said: “Although they thought we were being racist, just like they probably will for this event, we are trying to prove a political point. We are trying to highlight the fact that illegal immigrants take more than they give in terms of taxes, in terms of economic output.”
Facts may be simple, but not that simple. Read this, and not just these excerpts, to see that Mr. Garcia is wrong:
Illegal immigration does have some undeniably negative economic effects. Similarly skilled native-born workers are faced with a choice of either accepting lower pay or not working in the field at all. Labor economists have concluded that undocumented workers have lowered the wages of U.S. adults without a high-school diploma — 25 million of them — by anywhere between 0.4 to 7.4 percent.
The impact on everyone else, though, is surprisingly positive. Giovanni Peri, an economist at the University of California, Davis, has written a series of influential papers comparing the labor markets in states with high immigration levels to those with low ones. He concluded that undocumented workers do not compete with skilled laborers — instead, they complement them. Economies, as Adam Smith argued in “Wealth of Nations,” work best when workers become specialized and divide up tasks among themselves. Pedro Chan’s ability to take care of routine tasks on a work site allows carpenters and electricians to focus on what they do best. In states with more undocumented immigrants, Peri said, skilled workers made more money and worked more hours; the economy’s productivity grew. From 1990 to 2007, undocumented workers increased legal workers’ pay in complementary jobs by up to 10 percent.
There are many ways to debate immigration, but when it comes to economics, there isn’t much of a debate at all. Nearly all economists, of all political persuasions, agree that immigrants — those here legally or not — benefit the overall economy. “That is not controversial,” Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, told me. Shierholz also said that “there is a consensus that, on average, the incomes of families in this country are increased by a small, but clearly positive amount, because of immigration.”
It would be nice if this college student would focus more on educating himself, rather than spreading his disinformation with horribly offensive tactics.
Carlos Gutierrez passed out as the large blade cut through his legs — punishment for his refusal to pay a Mexican gang extortion fees from his successful catering business in northern Mexico.
Four men had forced him into the back of his vehicle at a local park before slicing just under his knees. He spent two weeks in critical condition and sought asylum in Texas as soon as he was able.
Now, facing long odds on getting approval to stay in the U.S., Gutierrez has been staging an unusual demonstration to call attention to his plight and to the thousands of other Mexicans who seek asylum in the U.S. each year from drug cartel violence, with little success. Gutierrez has been riding his bicycle through Texas using his prosthetic legs, talking to everyone he meets.
The U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review did not specifically comment on Gutierrez’s case. However, immigration judges have acknowledged in court that asylum cases based on fear of crime or violence are difficult to make.
“I believe everything you just told me,” immigration Judge Stephen Ruhle told a Mexican applicant at a recent hearing in which the man described being targeted by corrupt police officers for extortion money. “But asylum is not applicable to cases like yours.”
The rest of this article is here: Legless Cyclist Rides for Asylum Seekers
This next article shows he completed his ride in Austin today:
After pedaling more than 700 miles over 12 days through dozens of Texas cities and towns that witnessed his infectious laughter, Mexico’s latest symbol of hope in a war-ravaged country finally broke down.
Carlos Gutierrez — a businessman and Chihuahua native whose legs were cut off by Mexican gang members for failing to pay a $10,000 monthly extortion demand — arrived in Austin on Saturday after leaving El Paso on Oct. 29 with three other cyclists on his “Pedaling for Justice” tour.
“This is something extraordinary, this is something beautiful,” Gutierrez, who uses prosthetic legs, tearfully said after being welcomed with chants of “Justicia! Justicia!” (Justice! Justice!) by a small but enthusiastic crowd at the headquarters of Austin’s Workers Defense Project. “This is a noble cause, this is a pacifist movement.”
The first link has lots of great photos, but the photo at the top came from this article:
Gutierrez once was a successful businessman running a food service company in Chihuahua. With no police protection, he repeatedly was held up for $10,000 a month in cartel extortion payments that he ultimately was unable to pay.
On Sept. 30, 2011, armed men showed up at a park, where he was relaxing with friends. They forced him into the back of an SUV and cut his feet off — in public.
Remarkably, he survived and recovered, but his legs had to be amputated to his knees.
The atrocity he suffered wasn’t what caused him to hold back tears Thursday as he and his team rested on Southwest 22nd Street on the West Side, on their way downtown to the Mexican Consulate.
“I’ve left that behind,” Gutierrez said in Spanish. “I left that in my country.”
When Gutierrez cries — or fights the urge to — it’s about ” mi angel,” he said of prosthetics specialist Eddie Zepeda of Las Cruces, N.M., who offered to help him without charge.
When Gutierrez speaks about Zepeda, he has to pause to gather his composure, trying to describe a man he regards as his guardian angel. Zepeda’s generosity and the speed with which he fitted him for prosthetics still overwhelms him.
The day he received his prosthetic legs, and a new lease on life, was his birthday. Zepeda was unaware, he said.
According to the Washington Post, the GOP is continuing to reach out to Latino groups by suggesting the House will take up immigration reform this year. This. Year.
If, like me, you’re a little skeptical that (a) the GOP, especially its Tea Party House division, wants to do comprehensive immigration reform and (b) even if it did so want, when would such efforts take place amidst the budgetary squabbles and Obamacare ‘defund’ crusades.
The “this year” claim seems especially problematic. Only three months remain in the calendar year. And 2014, being an election year, could make any comprehensive legislation doubtful.
But be that as it may, you ask, just what sort of immigration reform will the GOP House consider? Will it take up the comprehensive, bi-partisan Senate bill?
Well, basically border control stuff.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Thursday that his panel is working on four new pieces of legislation dealing with border-control laws. He did not disclose details but emphasized the need to resolve the status of people living in the country illegally.
And what about those here illegally?
Alfonso Aguilar, the executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and the moderator of the GOP’s roundtable last week, said he believes that House Republicans are sincere in their pledge to move forward.
“I just hope that if Democrats want to get this done, they wouldn’t kill a bill that provides legal status just because they have to have a ‘special path’ to citizenship,” Aguilar said. “That would show they are playing politics.”
I see. So the GOP “vow” to do immigration reform amounts to a couple of bills to beef up border security. And anything about providing a path to citizenship, special or otherwise, would just be “playing politics”.
But that Washington Post headline on Page 3 sure was a tease.
Enough time has passed since the incident in which two men were shot dead from a helicopter that it must have seemed safe to close the investigation and take no further action.
Almost eleven months ago, I posted this Page about the shooting. At that time I said, ‘I hope the trooper who chose to shoot loses his job. There is no excuse for this.’ Now I’m not so much determined that the trooper should be punished as that those who created and maintained the policy allowing shooting from a helicopter be held responsible. I know that will never happen. At least the policy has been changed. The case is also under review at the U.S. Department of Justice. There may be an independent investigation.
A grand jury has declined to indict a Texas trooper who fired from a helicopter at a fleeing pickup near the Mexican border last year, killing two Guatemalan immigrants and sparking controversy.
The killings led the Texas Department of Public Safety to bar troopers from shooting at suspects from the sky unless their aircraft is fired upon.
The grand jury heard testimony from witnesses and considered evidence, including a video of the incident taken from the helicopter, according to Rene Guerra, the Hidalgo County district attorney.
“Once you see the video, everybody is able to judge for themselves. There’s nothing hidden in the shooting — you can observe the chase from the helicopter. It is what it is,” Guerra said.
Texas safety officials initially defended the shooting, saying the trooper followed the policy at the time, which allowed officers in helicopters, in cars or on foot to fire on vehicles during pursuits to apprehend suspects, disable vehicles or defend themselves or others.
The policy set Texas apart from other states. In California, for instance, Highway Patrol policy allows troopers to shoot at vehicles only to stop a threat, not to disable a car. CHP officers can’t shoot from a helicopter, a spokeswoman said.
According to the new Texas policy, “a firearms discharge from an aircraft is authorized only when an officer reasonably believes that the suspect has used or is about to use deadly force by use of a deadly weapon against the air crew, ground officers or innocent third parties.”
Under the new policy, “a suspect’s driving behavior including aggressive or reckless driving to evade arrest does not constitute use of a deadly weapon by the suspect.”
Read the rest here: Texas Trooper Won’t Be Indicted in Border Helicopter Shooting Deaths