News Clips Feb. 8, 2010

Climate could be right for GOP’s Sandoval to capture Hispanic vote

Republican Brian Sandoval could capture the attention of the Hispanic community, thanks in part to Democrats’ inability to hold that voting bloc on issues such as health care, but on immigration …

When Republican Party leaders engaged last summer in a vitriolic attack on then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, calling her a “racist” and a member of the “Latino KKK” and questioning her credentials despite her elite schooling, it seemed to be a final nail, driven home with gusto, into the coffin of GOP outreach to Hispanic voters.

It was a swift and dramatic alienation from the fastest growing bloc of voters in the entire electorate.

President George W. Bush won at least 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004 with the help of his conservative social policies, his support of immigration reform, and his abiding popularity in the heavily Hispanic Texas and his occasional use of the Spanish language.

ACLU attorney debunks immigration ‘lies, myths and urban legends’

Misconceptions about immigration — both legal and illegal — continue to cause problems in a system that produces more questions than answers, according to attorney Philip Berns.

Berns spoke in the fourth-floor cafeteria of the Government Center on Sunday morning, and he tried to impress upon the 15 people gathered the “Catch-22” nature of immigration at the event, sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Fairfield County.

“We have to commit to learning immigration law,” Berns said. “The two most complex areas of U.S. law are tax law and immigration law. When someone makes a mistake in an immigration case, it can have lifelong effects. Being deported means exile to a country that’s changed since (those affected) were there.”

Prospects for Immigration Reform Legislation

Given the jockeying that goes on to get mentioned in a State of the Union speech, it is not surprising that insiders pushing the immigration reform agenda celebrated success. Their issue made it into the speech, reaffirming that the president’s commitment remains alive and well.

Outsiders, however, were disappointed and displeased because the call “to continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system” fell far short of the rallying cry they wanted to hear. The blogosphere kicked into high gear, mostly pronouncing immigration legislation dead for 2010.

That a single sentence at a precarious political moment could be seen so differently is a fitting metaphor for assessing the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform in 2010. This latest round has again delivered a glass-half-full, half-empty outlook.

On the half-full side, there is the new importance of bipartisanship as the platform for progress in the wake of the Republican Senate election victory in Massachusetts. Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) continue work on a bill that they hope to introduce as a bipartisan measure for their colleagues to take up.

Up for the count: Effort encourages Berks County Latinos to take part in census

Latinos in poor communities are among those who stand to benefit the most from the 2010 Census, and yet they are the group that is least likely to participate.

So local census volunteers and community activists are attempting to educate Latinos about the census, what it means to them and why they should participate.

The message, simply put, is that funding for social services and other government programs that benefit Latinos will be hurt if fewer Latinos are counted.

Many of those programs receive funding based on population.

Census chief works to calm deportation fears

Laredo, Texas (CNN) — The hardened dirt road turns off Highway 359 and runs under a simple iron archway. It’s an easily forgettable entryway into one of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods, the San Carlos “colonia” on the outskirts of this Texas border town.

When you cross, it’s like entering a different world.

Anabeli Rendon, a 14-year-old high school freshman, stands outside a dilipated orange cinder-block shed where she lived with her mother and young sister just a couple years ago. They had to run an extension cord from a nearby house to get electricity.

Obama Plans Bipartisan Summit on Health Care

WASHINGTON — President Obama said Sunday that he would convene a half-day bipartisan health care session at the White House to be televised live this month, a high-profile gambit that will allow Americans to watch as Democrats and Republicans try to break their political impasse.
Mr. Obama made the announcement in an interview on CBS during the Super Bowl pre-game show, capitalizing on a vast television audience. He set out a plan that would put Republicans on the spot to offer their own ideas on health care and show whether both sides are willing to work together.

President Obama Grilled on Superbowl Sunday

Obama Addresses Health Care, Economy and National Security in Wide-Ranging Interview
The Indianapolis Colts and New Orlean Saints weren’t the only ones under pressure on Superbowl Sunday.
President Obama, wearing a casual blue button-down shirt and tan khakis, was grilled in a live, pre-game interview by CBS’s Katie Couric on issues ranging from health care reform, national-deficit reduction, and national security.

The president defended his push for health care reform, saying health insurance premiums would “keep on beating down families, small businesses, large businesses — it’s going to be a huge drain on the economy. We’re going to have to do something about it. I think we can.”


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