The Republican War Against Immigrants Will Backfire In Their Faces-- It Always Does
I guess eventually Trump will stand in front of bit and pieces of border wall and claim he built it. I maybe Congress will feel sorry for him and toss him a few dollars to build a little piece of wall himself. Other than that-- despite what the neo-Nazis claim-- that wall ain't happening. A few days ago Sessions was in Nogales, a border town in Raúl Grijalva's district. Very early in their career, I once booked the Barenaked Ladies to play a bowling alley in Nogales; a good time was had by all. Tuesday, Sessions addressed a group of border patrol agents with a very different message than the Ladies-- yammering on how "We mean international criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent citizens. It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth." He went on and on, conflating immigrants with "international cartels [which] flood our country with drugs and leave death and violence in their wake."
Grijalva couldn't have been too pleased to have Sessions show up in his district to spread hatred and sow discord. "This week Jeff Sessions went to the border," Grijalva explained to his constituents, "declaring it 'ground zero' of the Trump administration's relentless attack on immigrants. Here's the deal: immigrants were inevitably going to bear the brunt of having a white supremacist like Sessions as the head of the Department of Justice. But now that Trump and Sessions want to target non-threatening immigrants at our border, they are sacrificing public safety for their political goals. Sessions rolled out plans to crack down on immigration enforcement, including a mandate to detain all adults at the border. He also directed federal prosecutors to make immigration cases their top priority in order to fast track immigrants through deportation proceedings. I will not tolerate this administration's systemic criminalization of immigrants... During his border visit, Sessions didn't even use the word 'immigrant.' Instead, he chose the term 'criminal aliens' to describe the women and children crossing our border, many of them fleeing violence in their home countries. This is a blatant attempt to strip immigrants of their dignity while trying to justify the Trump administration's inhumane treatment of border crossers. These new policies will tear immigrant families apart and make entire communities live in fear of deportation. I refuse to stand by while Trump and Sessions try to carry out their anti-immigrant agenda."
Yesterday, Grijalva and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly; Kevin McAleenan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); and CBP as a whole seeking a court order for a supplemental programmatic environmental impact statement for the U.S.-Mexico border enforcement program. If successful, the suit will force a federal assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of the impacts of the entire program, which-- in addition to the Trump administration’s proposed border wall-- includes regional road construction, off-road vehicle patrols, installation of high-intensity lighting, construction of federal agency base camps and checkpoints, and other activities. Grijalva: "Our environmental protections should apply to the borderlands just as they do everywhere else. These laws exist to protect the health and well-being of our people, our wildlife, and the places they live. Trump’s wall-- and his fanatical approach to our southern border-- will do little more than perpetuate human suffering while irrevocably damaging our public lands and the wildlife that depend on them."
This ugly strain of nationalism isn't new to Sessions and Trump. It's been around among the ignorant and bigoted and those eager to exploit the ignorant and bigoted from the earliest days of our country. It wasn't that long ago that the identical "arguments" the Trumpists are making about Mexicans were being made by their ideological antecedents about Germans, Irish, Italians, Slavs, Jews, Chinese, Japanese... The hatred is part of what "conservatism" is and has always been and will always be. Monday, though, a federal judge in Houston dealt this ugly strain a good hard kick in the balls.
A federal judge ruled on Monday that the voter identification law the Texas Legislature passed in 2011 was enacted with the intent to discriminate against black and Hispanic voters, raising the possibility that the state’s election procedures could be put back under federal oversight.Tom Wakely, the congressional candidate running for the TX-21 seat currently occupied by GOP bigot Lamar Smith, told us that ""Federal Judge Nelva Ramos, hit the nail on the head when she ruled against the State of Texas. My state has always discriminated against anyone who wasn't Anglo and Christian. I remember as a kid walking with my Dad in downtown San Antonio in the late 1950's and noticing the signs in the windows of the stores and restaurants-- 'No dogs or Mexicans Allowed.' As late as the mid-1990's, when I was living and working out in East Travis County, in Manor, Texas, the KKK was organizing. I remember the flyers spread around town announcing a recruiting rally. Today, racism is still alive and well in Texas but it is no longer personal, thrown up in your face with signs like 'No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed.' It has become institutionalized and fighting institutional racism is the biggest challenge we face today not just in Texas but throughout the country, the world."
In a long-running case over the legality of one of the toughest voter ID laws in the country, the judge found that the law violated the federal Voting Rights Act.
...For decades, Texas and several other mostly Southern states with a history of discrimination had been required to seek federal approval before making changes to their voting laws. But the states were freed from that requirement in 2013, after a Supreme Court decision that invalidated key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
The finding of intentional discrimination could once again put Texas under federal supervision. It would be the first state brought back into so-called preclearance since the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling. Judge Ramos did not address whether she would order Texas to undergo federal oversight, but will examine the issue during the next stage of the case.
...[A] panel of judges in San Antonio ruled that the Legislature drew congressional districts in an intentionally discriminatory manner. The Republican lawmakers who passed the voter ID bill in 2011 also drew the discriminatory Congressional-district maps.
“The State of Texas must turn away from this pattern of discriminatory behavior,” said Janai Nelson, a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which represented an African-American voter affected by the voter ID law.
Tom's wife, Lety, asked if she could contribute to the discussion, this being an issue near and dear to her heart: "I as a Mexican immigrant, I always thought that United States is a country of opportunities for a lot better than my birth-country and now I can prove It. In the 14 years I have been here I have my own house, my own car, my own business, accomplishments than in my country I couldn’t have achieved in my life. Everything was great until the new President came and offended us, especially Mexicans, calling immigrants thieves, rapists etc. Who is he to say that? His people, of course, were Immigrants too. This is a country of Immigrants. In my country we had ancestors that are originally born there like Aztecas, Mayas, Olmecas, Tarahumaras etc. in this Country everybody came from Europe at the beginning. So why this racism? Every human being deserves to be treated with respect and equality. It's too bad that in this century there are people who don’t want to talk to me because of my accent."
Doctor and cancer researcher Jason Westin is running for the congressional seat held by John Culberson in Houston. He reminded us that when SB14 was passed in 2011, it was "immediately challenged and blocked by Attorney General Eric Holder due to it being poorly worded and clearly aimed to discriminate: a handgun license was considered valid, but a student ID was not. The law survived however due to a 2013 Supreme Court ruling (Shelby vs. Holder, 5-4) which struck down the heart of the original Voting Rights Act (Section 5) by effectively removing the need for 'pre-clearance,' or Federal approval prior to changing election laws. Texas was one of the 9 states that required 'pre-clearance' due to its history of discriminatory voter laws. This new ruling may trigger Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which could place Texas back under pre-clearance if intentional discrimination is suspected. The 15th Amendment states: the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. I believe it is time that a modern version of the voting rights act be considered, focusing on removing discrimination but also on making it easier for citizens to vote. In 2016, a depressing 58.4% of registered voters in Harris County actually voted. We must work to reach those chronic non-voters, both by removing barriers and by engaging them to learn about and vote on issues that matter in their everyday lives."