Yesterday at a Hispanic Scholarship Consortium (HSC) luncheon, their mission is increase college enrollment of Central Texas Hispanics, former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros had a three things to say regarding the immigration and the 2008 election.
1) Go ahead, Republicans running for president. Make his day. Keep flogging the immigration issue. See if you don’t awaken a Hispanic voting juggernaut nationwide, as former GOP California Gov. Pete Wilson did in the ’90s in the nation’s most populous state.
2) Smell the coffee, Democrats. Battleground states next year that have large Hispanic populations include Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona, he said.
3) The flap over what Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton thinks of giving illegal immigrants in New York a driver’s license won’t cost her many Hispanic votes.
Quick Aside: RRISD President, HSC Board Member and HD-52 Democratic candidate Diana Maldonado was in attendance and had this to say.
Diana Maldonado, president of the Round Rock Independent School District and board member of the consortium, said schools need to integrate the higher education process in its curriculum. She said many Hispanic students fear college because they are unaware of the higher education processes.
It is the school’s task to create an outreach program to inform unaware families, she said.
“You have to talk to the abuelitas and the family members to let them know that we are here for them,” Maldonado said about relatives like grandmothers. “We need to bridge the gap because every student has the opportunity to succeed.”
There’s no doubt that family involvement is key to a child’s education. That shows the kind of common sense leadership Maldonado will bring to the legislature.
What Cisneros said regarding immigration and 2008 seems about right. One thing that came to mind while working on this post was discussion from Chris Bell had in 2006 with bloggers and what he said when asked about immigration:
One of the bloggers asked about the “I” issue, immigration. Apparently, it was a problem to the questioner. According to Chris Bell, “why should we make a Republican issue our issue?” Bell also asked the question, “Has anyone at this table lost a job that was taken up by an immigrant?” Now, that’s the type of response ALL of the candidates should be using. I mean, really, who’s bringing up this issue? Is it coming from the poor neighborhoods? Is it coming from the rural areas? No, it is coming from highly Republican, wealthy areas that would be hardly affected by undocumented workers working service jobs. In other words, it is a divisive, racist issue that Republicans will use to hide their ineffectiveness on the issues that Democrats should be discussing–a failing education system, improved access to health care, tax reform that benefits the working and middle class, and environmental reform. But, more than anything, Chris Bell hit the nail right on the head: This is a federal issue that needs to be taken care of in Washington, DC. And after that, Democratic federal candidates should NEVER villify people or call them “illegal” or “aliens” or anything derogative just for the purpose of gaining a vote.
That all still seems about right too. Which is why when Democrats start playing in the Republican sand box on this issue it’s not a good strategy. Democrats have been able to seize the high ground on the immigration issue largely by staying out of the “Lou Dobbs/MSM” fight that’s dividing the GOP. That is a battle inside the GOP, between the corporatists and the racists. In this LAT article about a supposed battle inside the Democratic Party over immigration, let’s hope there’s not much reality to it, A fine line for Democrats on border issues. While it may make sense for some Democrats in Republican leaning districts to get into this fight, it makes absolutely no sense for the Democratic Party as a whole to change it’s stance in any way.
Most Americans, myself included, being descendants of immigrants understand, from family lore if nothing else, the draw of America to those looking for a better life. That’s probably why large majorities of Americans favor a path to citizenship. Immigration is and will continue to be, as long as we’re a free county, a controversial issue. But building a wall is not the answer. People are coming here for a better life and the only people being punished is working America, in the form of depressed wages, and that needs to change. The attacks will keep coming. EOW urges everyone to read this recently released Progressive States Network Strategy Memo, Fighting the Anti-Immigrant Movement in the States, to learn how.