Today, President-Elect Barack Obama appointed Governor Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Homeland Security is charged with protecting the U.S. from terrorism and responding to natural disasters, among other duties. Last week, America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry wrote about some of the problems that have plagued the Department’s immigration agency.
Today Media Matters has a post slamming political commentator Dick Morris for failure disclose major contributions that could have led him to provide the National Republican Trust PAC with free publicity during the election. Last month, one of their ads was designated, “one of the sleaziest false TV ads of the campaign,” according to Factcheck.org, a site that combs through ads to determine their validity. It conflated the 9/11 terrorists with undocumented men and women working in this country.
In an interview published in Gannet News Service over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke candidly of plans to both address and pass immigration reform legislation in the 111th Congress. Reid told Gannett News, “On immigration, there’s been an agreement between (President-elect Barack) Obama and (Arizona Republican Sen. John) McCain to move forward on that. … We’ll do that.”
Immigration reform advocates around the country are celebrating the historic turnout of Latino voters in this election. And, rightly so. These new voters are a huge part of the equation for winning immigration reform. But, not the only part. Winning the battle ahead will take allies far beyond immigrants and their families. Enter: God.
First things first, kudos to the President-elect on his likely pick for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If Napolitano’s likely appointment to Secretary of Homeland Security is anything, it is a welcome departure from business as usual at DHS. It is a chance for a courageous leader to restore dignity to a highly politicized agency that has spiraled out of control.
On yesterday’s NPR Morning Edition, reporter Jennifer Ludden took a few moments to turn conventional wisdom on immigration on its head. She cut to America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry: “What the election showed is that the conventional wisdom on why immigration reform is too hot to handle is wrong.” Ludden went on to analyze how the economic downturn could affect prospects of passing immigration reform…
This morning, at an event hosted by National Council of La Raza, leading analysts and advocates gathered to discuss how the issue of immigration played a key role in the 2008 elections and to assess the future of immigration policy. The presentations of new polling by pollsters David Mermin, Partner at Lake Research Partners and Pete Brodnitz, Principal at Benenson Strategy Group examining voters’ attitudes on immigration reform are available here.
Well, if there’s one thing we can all agree on right now, it’s that this election has ripped conventional wisdom to shreds. A new report by America’s Voice, The GOP: Fenced in by Immigration, details how nineteen pro-reform candidates beat hard-liners in twenty-one battleground house and senate races across the country.
Republican analysts are now chiming in: the GOP encouraged the kind of “red-meat” xenophobia within its ranks that blocked immigration reform. And it backfired, bigtime. “Here’s the truly ominous trend for the Republicans: Hispanic voters nationwide chose Obama over McCain by 67 percent to 31 percent. This is a huge shift from 2004, when George Bush won an estimated 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, and the trend was instrumental in moving states such as Florida, Nevada and Colorado into the Democratic column last Tuesday….”
Today we grieve with the family of Marcello Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who was stabbed to death in Suffolk, NY, by seven teens. These teens, between the ages of 16 and 17, admitted they, “wanted to beat up someone who looked Hispanic,” according to newsday.com. It is time for politicians on both sides of the aisle to come together to condemn the kind of rhetoric we’ve let pass for “debate” and craft a humane, common-sense immigration reform.