November 22, 2017

Rep Sanchez vs. Kamala Harris

Pinning her hopes on promises of immigration reform, 2 term Democratic 46th district Rep. Loretta Sanchez looks to be losing the Senate race big time to Willie Brown protege current Attorney General of California Kamala Harris.

A quote from this article in Times of San Diego sums it up:

Pinning her hopes on the undecided vote and fellow Hispanics, Rep. Loretta Sanchez brought her underdog U.S. Senate campaign to Barrio Logan, vowing to introduce comprehensive immigration reform in the first 60 days if elected.

The Garden Grove Democrat told a news conference Thursday in Chicano Park that she, unlike rival Kamala Harris, has “all the experience” to tackle reform. “I’m ready to go on Day 1,” she told Times of San Diego. “I know the issue. I know who’s been with us. I know who’s been against us.”

But she’s had 2 terms to deliver on it, so voters might be looking this time around at a change.

Nathan Click, the spokesman, also said: “Sanchez has been criticized by immigration activists in Washington for missing key immigration votes.

In this video of the 2016 Senate Debate, Sanchez comes off sounding hollow after 2 terms, with little more to offer than well-known sound bytes…

On the flipside, news for Kamala Harris is looking stellar, according to this article “California’s U.S. Senate race is slipping away from Loretta Sanchez“in LA Times:

Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, the solid front-runner in California’s historic Democrat-versus-Democrat Senate contest, had favorability marks of 41%, brighter but not great. President Obama’s approval here is 65% and Hillary Clinton’s is 56%.

The survey found 48% of likely voters supported Harris, compared with 31% who backed Sanchez. The gap between the two Democrats has widened a smidgen since early September, when Sanchez began holding a series of news conferences attacking Harris’ record as attorney general.

“I think the short story here is that Harris is comfortably ahead. Overall, she is just better known and better liked,” said Anna Greenberg, the Democratic pollster whose firm forms half of the bipartisan team that conducts the survey for USC and The Times. “Sanchez is just at a major disadvantage.”

kamala_harris_official_attorney_general_photoKamala Harris has a sterling resume but has not dealt much with immigration reform issues due to the nature of her previous posts.

That said, look to the future as she might even end up on the Supreme Court one day.  A former DA for San Francisco, appointed during the administration of Willie Brown, she’s risen through the political ranks smoothly.

Willie Brown must be smiling right now as Harris blows past Sanchez faster than a Maserati.  Who better to lend advice than Willie Brown, who dominated the California State Assembly for years before resurfacing into a posh time spent as Mayor of San Francisco.

Anyone interested in how to be a politician needs look no further than this legend.  I’ll dig it up, but somewhere there’s video of weekly “Press Availability”, note how simply he dissects all of the news reporters, it’s like a lion vs. kittens.  Till then this interview will have to suffice.

Speaking of interviews, here’s a video of Ms. Harris’ speech at the California Democratic Convention.



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Immigration Reform via Hillary?

According to an article in Time magazine by former U.S. Representative from New York, Robert Garcia, titled “Hillary Clinton Holds the Key to Immigration Reform“, that she might have a tough time trying to deliver on immigration reform promises she made during her campaign.

Unfortunately, getting support for an immigration reform bill will be particularly difficult in the hostile atmosphere created by Trump. It took us several years in the 1980’s to come together and pass a bill that attempted to address that generation’s immigration issues. As a participant in those debates, it was clear to me then, and it is just as clear now, that this must be a bipartisan effort.

But Mr. Garcia notes that she has the experience to work toward a positive result:

The good news is Clinton has proven she understands how to work with the other side of the aisle. Her bottom line is to come together to find common ground while never forgetting that immigration reform is not an abstraction. It is about people, their future, and our future as a nation.

Immigration Reform Robert Garcia

It all went OK until the Wedtech scandal.

According to Wikipedia, the author of the Time article, the 7 term House Rep Mr. Garcia, had a long political career, but one that ended in scandal:

Garcia was elected on the Republican and Liberal tickets on February 14, 1978, to the 95th United States Congress, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Herman Badillo,[2] and took his seat on February 21, 1978, as a Democrat.

He was re-elected to the 96th, 97th, 98th, 99th, 100th and 101st United States Congresses, remaining in Congress until January 7, 1990, when he was forced to resign as a result of his involvement in the Wedtech scandal

Obama Immigration Reform Speech

And right on cue, after the Democratic losses faced in the 2014 mid-term election, comes the announcement on immigration reform many of us were expecting:

Our immigration system has been broken for decades — and every minute we fail to act, millions of people who live in the shadows but want to play by the rules and pay taxes have no way to live right by the law and contribute to our country.

So tomorrow night, President Obama will address the nation to lay out the executive actions he’s taking to fix our broken immigration system. You can watch the President live tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET at

Here’s the video:

It’s a gambit right out of the starting gate of the race for the 2016 Presidential election, perhaps intended to appeal to the group most responsible for helping to bring Obama into the White House to begin with.

And as noted on Huffington Post, several major network stations like ABC, NBC, and CBS, and not actually airing the 15 minute speech:

Despite the great significance of Barack Obama’s planned executive action on immigration reform, the four major television broadcast networks are not planning to cover the president’s Thursday night address where he is expected to announce his plan.

ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX have all indicated they won’t break their planned programming to cover Obama’s 8 p.m. ET speech. CNN’s Brian Stelter first reported that ABC, NBC and CBS were opting out, and an official with FOX confirmed the same with The Hill.

It goes to show how the current mindset of Americans is more vested in fantasy-land than reality.  “Political stuff” is supposed to take a back seat to one’s favourite television serial.

It’s not the first time a President has acted on his own, -as an article “Republicans Were Fine With Bush Acting On Immigration Reform Without Congress” o n notes:

In defending his actions, Bush sounded a lot like Obama does today.

“Although the Congress has not addressed our broken immigration system by passing comprehensive reform legislation, my administration will continue to take every possible step to build upon the progress already made,” Bush said.

White House Press Secretary Dana Perino explained that the administration had initially held off on the changes to allow Congress breathing room to deal with the immigration problem comprehensively, adding, “We’re going as far as we possibly can without Congress acting.”

an Executive Order also how George W. Bush dealt with his own concerns on the matter, the full article from back then “Bush pushes agenda without Congress“, by NBC News, notes how then-President Bush pushed his policy after it previously failed in congress:

His strength is sapped by an unpopular war, Democrats are running Congress, and the 2008 presidential election is in full roar, distracting attention from the president’s priorities. With dwindling options, Bush has decided he might get more done in his final months by going it alone.

Outgoing presidents often unleash a flurry of executive orders and regulations in a last-minute attempt to leave their mark on U.S. policy. Frustrated by Congress’ inability or unwillingness to pass the president’s agenda, the administration already is taking steps to do it through executive action.

With his immigration bill dead, the administration rolled out a proposed rule to address some of the major issues in the failed legislation. It will tighten border security, streamline guest-worker programs and pressure employers to fire illegal immigrant workers.

So regardless of who airs the speech or who doesn’t, it’ll be a major topic over the coming weeks.  Due to the holiday season starting, it will get PLENTY of air time.

Shamnesty versus Obamnesty?

obamnestySo over the last 24 hours everyone’s jumped into the immigration reform news headlines, each with their own agenda. Kind of good timing for all of them because everyone needed a way to turn down the volume on the gun debate.

What better way than for the Gang of 8 to spring into action with their own flavor of immigration reform some are calling Shamnesty.

It right up there with it is the flip side, Obamnesty. The supposed result of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants being granted a “free pass” in the word of those who oppose it.

President Obama came out today with his own early AM statement, and is due to speak later today.

Why are both parties suddenly rallying to this issue? According to an article on, it’s simple:

The simultaneous immigration campaigns were spurred by the November presidential election, in which Obama won an overwhelming majority of Hispanic voters. The results caused Republican lawmakers who had previously opposed immigration reform to reconsider in order to rebuild the party’s reputation among Hispanics, an increasingly powerful political force.

That makes sense, but I doubt many Hispanic voters can be sayed to the Republican side just because some immigration reform was passed, when for years it was Republicans who halted any immigration reform changes of any kind.

Ezra Klien put an interesting spin on the subject of visa caps as they relate to potential economic benefit, found here in detail on Wonkblog:

Perhaps the key architectural question in building a new immigration system (as opposed to figuring out what to do with the failures of the last immigration system) is deciding whether we’ll focus our visas on drawing needed skills (for instance, by favouring immigrants with advanced degrees or who work in sectors, like agriculture, where we need more labor), emphasizing family unification or something else.

Immigration attorneys and lawyers will surely all be wondering what’s about to happen next. Will there be a bonanza of new clients trying to get in under the old system, or a rush of new ones?

Will the issue drag out or come to a sudden definitive closure>

Fast and simple just doesn’t seem like the Washington DC we know right?

Are both parties just showing off? Or is this going to be a fight like health care was?

More links for current stories:

The Prospector

National Journal

Senators present plan for immigration reform

Expect Few Ultimatums in Obama Immigration Speech

Bi-Partisan Immigration Reform Deal Announced as President Obama Set to speak today

Noting progress, Obama to lay out immigration reform vision

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Comprehensive Immigration Reform News

comprehensive immigration reform newsIt appears that comprehensive immigration reform is finally going to be put into place, according to this news article on CBS, as well as this article in The Miami Herald, and this one in Vanity Fair.

The article on the CBS site basically sums up data they, and the Associate Press obtained, here are the proposed comprehensive immigration reform changes:

  • Creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here, contingent upon securing the border and better tracking of people here on visas;
  • Reforming the legal immigration system, including awarding green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university;
  • Creating an effective employment verification system to ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants;
  • Allowing more low-skill workers into the country and allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can demonstrate they couldn’t recruit a U.S. citizen; and establishing an agricultural worker program.

The ability ALREADY exists for employers to hire foreign workers, which is called PERM Labor Certifcation, and has been around for many years.

And there is also an Agricultural worker program.

It’s more likely that adjustments to existing programs will be made. And also, if the House of Representatives has to be involved in any way, a pitched battle of epic proportions will undoubtedly take place.

So as we know comprehensive immigration reform will some day be a reality, and that might actually be within the next 4 years, let’s count this as just a prelude of what’s to come.

The government clearly defines the system as follows:

The actual process for permanent labor certification varies depending upon the program being used. This Web site contains information regarding the process for filing for each of the programs under the Department of Labor’s (DOL) jurisdiction. The filing of applications is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee. However, the employee can benefit from understanding the program being utilized in his/her behalf. In general, the DOL works to ensure that the admission of foreign workers to work in the U.S. will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. Once a permanent labor certification application has been approved by the DOL, the employer will need to seek the immigration authorization from USCIS.

We’ll be updating this article throughout the day, and will report back with any major developments.


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Immigration: Gangster Tats = Visa Denied

That’s right. If you happen to be a member of Mara Salvatrucha MS-13, it’s a given you’ll have a lot of tats to confirm it. The tattoos very clearly say things like “Mara Salvatrucha” and “MS-13”. Doesn’t take much brain power to catch it.

This is exactly what some immigration officers are using as a reason to DENY entry or a Visa. According to this article in Wall Street Journal:

“If you are sporting a gang tattoo, it is reasonable for a consular officer to investigate if you have gang affiliations,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that favors curbing immigration to the U.S., adding, “Our government is competent to make these decisions.”

Hi, I’m Mr. Mara Salvatrucha

Now the debate starts up about what’s body art, and what’s an express symbol and confirmation of gang affiliation, and perhaps how context matters. Real MS-13 don’t go around volunteering in schools, and none have clean records.

“Because I like art, they try to put a mask of a bad person on me,” Mr. Villalobos said. “My record tells the truth.” According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Villalobos has never been arrested. A notarized letter from an elementary-school teacher describes Mr. and Mrs. Villalobos as “supportive, involved parents that are always the first to volunteer for classroom activities.”

In one way I agree with this, but in another I do not.

On one hand,

-I grew up in Chicago, -where gangs are a way of life, and destroy the city to this day, -and these Chi-Town gangsters are all Citizens.

Maybe stopping obvious MS-13 and others at the border is a good idea, -because if they get in, -they’re gonna light it up against the locals. Or worse, -manage them better.

Just one “set” of Gangster D’s.

Even Rahm Emmanuel can’t stop it or even understand it.

As Edward McClellan of NBC Chicago points out:

This is not a man who knows the streets of Chicago. Emanuel may have made a D.C. mistake when he brought Garry McCarthy in from Newark to serve as chief of police. McCarthy may be the smartest cop in America. He may give the best Power Point presentation about how his use of CompStat statistics cut the number of murders in New York to its lowest levels since the 1960s. That technocratic image goes a long way in Washington. But McCarthy doesn’t understand Chicago gangs. Source:

Neither can Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Oakland falling apart as well, and all they can do is talk up new development. In virtual free-fire zones.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan just can’t get away from the crime issue.

That was clear the other day when Quan joined Gov. Jerry Brown and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at Jack London Square to talk up a $15 million federal grant for the city’s port operations.

Afterward, when a reporter tried to ask Quan about the shooting Sunday night that wounded five people outside the Regal Cinemas movie complex at Jack London Square just a block away, the mayor dashed off – saying she didn’t want to be “stepping on” the big port announcement.

On another hand,

-how can you know one guy’s tats are from a gang, every single time? Art and design as ink on skin is sort of a cryptic thing in the first place.

Plus, -doesn’t our nation have laws about this already? And conversely, would an I LOVE USA tattoo help expedite entry?

I Love You, -now let me in.

Is this actually a form of discrimination conveniently labelled as crime prevention? The only way to get it right is to look at criminal records, -that is certain. Looking at tattoos only isn’t going to cut it.

So this is the backdrop against which some in the immigration establishment are now focusing.

Forget Joe Arpaio’s misguided profiling of everyone who isn’t Joe Arpaio, -here come some folks who have found a more specific manner in which to vet who gets in.

Problem is, there’s no list of defined tattos. Law enforcement has some, but how much can you trust them when many are actually in the pay of the very gangs they act as though they enforce against?

Obviously, symbols like the below are more difficult to figure out. Only those in the know understands these are secret symbols within MS-13.

No, this isn’t my favorite poker hand.

Just as “knowing the laws” in Chicago street gangs is a secret way to confirm if another gang member is who and what they say they are. Latin Kings have one set of “laws”, and Gangster Disciples still another. Their tattoos are in English and easy to figure out.

But what about the Russian Mafia. All their tattoos are in Cyrillic!

Foreign language gang tattoo, or friend of USA?

And how about Yakuza? I bet a lot of consular officials can read Japanese.

While border agents and consular officials try to sort out justifications of the actions regarding tattoos, it’s highly unlikely the core problem of gangs in America will be solved anytime soon.

But on the flipside, -there will be a few Mexican Mafia guys who get caught out, -their boss won’t be happy. Upside -big boom in tattoo removal business!

If you have tattoos of any kind, -it’s probably a good idea to get an immigration attorney.

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Visa Waiver Proposal!

Obama Visa Waiver ProposalPresident Obama last Friday submitted a visa waiver proposal of new rules streamlining the process for some illegal immigrants to remain in the country while they apply for citizenship. U.S. spouses would be able to file “Hardship Waivers” and the time to process them could be cut significantly.

Some of today’s headlines:

Some illegal immigrants with U.S. citizen spouses or parents would be allowed to apply for hardship waivers from the U.S. But Republicans accuse the president of proposing these visa waivers as a ‘backdoor amnesty.’


Several senior House liberals are cheering President Obama this week after his administration proposed new rules making it easier for some illegal immigrants to remain in the country while they apply for citizenship.

Immigration Reform will now move forward in significant, focused measures. Bypassing Congress altogether, President Obama is sure to win support for re-election, to make good, even if he was very late in doing so, on campaign promises to Hispanics — a huge and growing U.S. voting bloc that helped him win the presidency in 2008:

“The President deserves credit for setting in place another essential building block through administrative action — moving us closer to a common sense immigration policy — that puts America, its families and its economy first,” Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Friday in a statement.

Will his visa waiver proposal actually help him though? Hispanic members of the GOP in Florida don’t think so.  This visa waiver proposal seems pretty transparent to them.  But if they consider who was actually in Obama’s way when he failed to deliver, they’ll perhaps be able to focus their power in the way that it should be, instead of sabotaging their true aims.

Here’s a video from the White House:


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Will Albany Pass DREAM Act Too?

Albany NY Gets Set To Pass DREAM ActStates are passing their own immigration laws, and a far faster rate than the federal government is moving on the issue.

Everyone knows that flase promises by both sides make or break Federal elections in the various branches of the government, -but States tend to speak their  minds by passing laws.

Arizona goes one way, California goes another.

Governor of California, Jerry Brown, did just that on October 8th.

Declaring the need to expand educational opportunity, Gov. Jerry Brown announced Saturday that he has signed legislation making illegal immigrants eligible to receive state financial aid to attend California universities and community colleges.

Brown said he signed the California Dream Act because it makes sense to allow high-achieving students access to college financial aid.

“Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking,” Brown said in a statement. “The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us.”

And Albany might just do the same as California, at least along the lines of Education rights.

New York State is poised to pass a legislative agenda that focuses on granting illegal immigrants access to financial assistance for public universities, a step that California took a few days ago. John King Jr., the state’s education commissioner to the Board of Regents, tells the Times that, “It’s about making sure that students are able to fulfill their aspirations after their graduate from high school.” New York allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition, but the move is part of a larger strategy to lobby Congress to pass a version of the Dream Act, which would give students who completed two years of college or military service a path to citizenship.

The article here on the Gothamist, covers it in full.

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Janet Napolitano at Sanford School of Public Policy

PERM Ad PlacementSecretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano appeared before a large audience at the Sanford School of Public Policy to discuss the subject of security.

Basically, because there hasn’t been much focus on implementing immigration reform,her leadership of the DHS has had to focus on enforcing existing laws.

The discussion centered around operational facets of DHS, as well as various internal policies and how they relate to new and existing security concerns.

She did stat:

“I am a strong believer in the Dream Act,”

which seems to conflict with an item listed here linking to a report by ex-generals that the US Border is a veritable lawless zone.

Especially since she noted that:

“I have never seen the borders more secure,”

So which is it? The boss says they are secure, POTUS says they’re secure.

The Duke University article on the subject goes into more detail about how her department works in the context of day-to-day operations:

The department operates in an “evolving threat environment” and seeks to “maximize our ability to minimize risk,” she said. The paradigm for terrorism has changed, from a complex conspiracy created abroad and coming here, to a growing threat from homegrown, “lone wolf” actors.  She pointed to the Fort Hood shooting and the bomb planted along a parade route in Spokane, Wash., as examples of domestic terrorism.

“Homeland security is really hometown security,” and is a shared responsibility, she said.

The article also quoted Janet Napolitano on her response to a question about the DREAM Act:

During a question-and-answer session, an audience member identified herself as “an undocumented dreamer,” while her companion asked if President Obama would enact Dream Act provisions via executive order.

“The president will not do it through executive fiat. Only Congress can address this,” Napolitano said, but she stressed the importance of Obama’s support for the reform, which until recently had bipartisan support.

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