Things That Matter

What You Need To Know About Elizabeth Warren And Her Newly Unveiled Immigration Plan

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Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has just unveiled her plan for Immigration Reform. Many political pundits consider that unless there is a major escalation in the ongoing tensions with Iran, the 2020 United States presidential election will be defined by the issue of immigration, which has been the most controversial aspect of the Trump administration, and where the POTUS has focused his reelection campaign. Warren’s plan is bold and big and is based on the principles of human rights and dignity for migrants and refugees. 

The race for the Democratic nomination is a crowded field (perhaps too crowded if the Democrats wish to upstage Donald Trump), but Warren is one of the leading contenders if we are to take the constant attacks that Trump launches in her direction whenever he has a chance (particularly when mocking what he calls her doubtful claim to have Native-American heritage). According to the political website Real Clear Politics, Warren is tied with Bernie Sanders in second place, both around 11 points behind the leader of the pack, the former vice president Joe Biden. It is still too early to tell who will run against Trump, but Warren has charm, intelligence and above all the political savviness to give a good fight to Biden and Sanders, and ultimately Trump. 

This is Elizabeth Warren (in case you have been living under a rock for the past two years or so).

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She is an American politician and former academic. Since 2013 she has been the Senator from Massachusetts, an important state for the federal elections. She has brains, alright? She is a former law school professor and has lectured in universities across the country, specializing in bankruptcy law. However, don’t let her smarts make you think that she is not in touch with everyday voters: she has a long and successful history of working in community organizing, and she knows all about the trials and tribulations of the working class. 

Her grassroots approach to politics reminds some of the 2008 Obama campaign. Yes we can, again?

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Many commentators see similarities in the political careers and beliefs of Warren and Obama. They are both experienced in the Senate and former academics. The Independent even went as far as to say that Warren is the 2020 Obama, explaining: “Both Obama and Warren believe in ending political corruption, strengthening the American healthcare system and economy, restructuring the tax system to unburden the average citizen, eliminating bigotry, and ending the cycle of foreign wars. Obama’s potential constituents were most concerned about the economy, healthcare, education, energy, and Iraq. Today’s liberal voters feel similarly (substituting Syria for Iraq). And they both believe in raising their own campaign funds, though Warren rejects the PAC dollars that Obama didn’t.” 

Additionally, if Obama faced the aftermath of the Great Recession, Warren is facing a humanitarian crisis at the border that is bound to dictate the platform of whoever ends up being the Democratic Party’s candidate (there could be surprises, re: Kamala Harris!). 

If she ends up getting the Democratic nomination she won’t hold back calling out you-know-who.

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Trump and Warren have been adversarial for years now, and Warren has been one of the main proponents of impeachment proceedings against POTUS (she does know the law inside out, so…).  

She believes that immigration reform needs to be a priority for the next president.

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She describes the current policies as a mess. She wrote in a post on Medium: “We must address the humanitarian mess at the border and reverse this president’s discriminatory policies. But that won’t be nearly enough to fix our immigration system. We need expanded legal immigration that will grow our economy, reunite families, and meet our labor market demands.” This is a very intelligent approach to immigration, as it appeals to both those worried about the economy and how the United States can respond to the competition of global markets, and to the voters who consider current zero-tolerance policies, including ICE raids, inadmissible. She vows to “Decriminalize migration and refocus enforcement on serious criminal activity”. 

Her plan for immigration reform is BIG, and would define policies for generations: she wants more opportunities for migrants to enter the country legally.

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Thinking of pure numbers, her plan would increase the intake of refugees from 30,000 a year to 125,000 and then to 175,000 in gradual increments. This policy would provide more opportunities for those who are fleeing precarious situations in war-torn countries and regions savaged by criminal networks and civil unrest, such as Central America, where a high percentage of the migrants who are captured or die in the border come from (you surely remember the devastating photograph of a Salvadorian father and his toddler daughter, who sadly drowned in the Rio Bravo). 

She proposes an approach that puts human values and individual dignity above anything else (so, in short, 100 percent opposite to the current administration’s): this translates into legal changes.

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The biggest legal change proposed by Warren is a restructure of the immigration court system that translates into independence from Justice Department bosses. This would mean that courts who decide the fate of hundreds of immigrants would be more autonomous and not necessarily bend to the pressures coming from the political machinations of the Washington political elite. This would also mean that local judges would have carta ancha to follow their ethical stance in individual cases (and in situations such as the separation of families at the border). 

Under a Warren presidency, the poor conditions of detention centers would be looked at and changed from day 1 and the Office of New Americans would be created.

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One of the main challenges for the country is the assimilation of new intakes into society. Some tend to be resentful and violent towards migrants, and migrants find it hard to get their footing into their new reality. This new office proposed by Warren would be in charge of facilitating integration, including teaching English.

She doesn’t believe in little efforts, but in big changes overhauling of previous policies.

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Under Warren, two of Trump’s most heatedly debated decisions would be given marcha atras. On ine hand, the travel ban (referred to by many as the “Muslim ban”) would end. The termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act, which benefited thousands of Dreamers during the Obama years, would also be overhauled. 

She argues that the United States is enriched by immigrants, their stories and their efforts.

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A big part of Warren’s message is that immigrants are not space aliens, but actually part of the very fabric of the United States. Friends, neighbors and fellow Americans, even if the law or their migratory status might suggest otherwise.

Do you think she has a shot at “the big one”? 

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Few gave any chances to Barack Obama at this stage in 2008, or to Trump in 2016, so Elizabeth Warren is far from being out of the picture. She certainly looks presidential and has stood up to Trump when she has had to, so a Warren presidency is not un sueño guajiro.

READ: Senator Warren Speaks On The Removal Of DACA, Making Her Statement Personal With These Three Stories

It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

Things That Matter

It Turns Out The Great Woman Behind Julian Castro Is His Mother, A Woman Who Has Long Carried The Fight For Latinos

When discussing today’s volatile state of our country, the racism, the violence, the injustice, people often say “it’s never been this bad.”

How do we truly know for sure that something we are experiencing today, as a minority, as Latinos, is something, unlike anything previous generations have experienced before. We certainly cannot tell from history books mainly because history books often omit the Latino experience altogether. We sometimes only have oral histories to rely on. The stories elder Latinos share with us about what life was like in the past, before social media, before cell phones, and before the media ever reported about injustices against our community. 

Those special individuals are typically our grandparents, tias, la vecina, and more importantly activists that continue to fight for the cause today. Recently presidential candidate, Julian Castro said that he stands on his important platforms today primarily because of his mother Rosie. 

As a lifelong Texan, Rosie said the racism in 2019 is more evil than anything she has ever seen.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

In an interview with NBC News, Rosie who’s not only grown up in Texas but has also worked her adult life as an activist for Latinos said that she knows racism well because she has lived through it her entire life but what is happening today is extremely different from the past. 

“When I was in the movement, I knew the racism was out there and it was institutional. This kind of racism is different,” she said to the network. “That rhetoric has gone on for three years now, and I think we’ve all seen the rise of the hate groups and then even the rise of just ordinary people in a store that feel empowered to say something to a person who is speaking Spanish or is dark-skinned.”

Rosie said the racist words from President Donald Trump has single-handly inspired white supremacists to target Latinos. 

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She said he is the catalyst to our current crisis.

Rosie said that when Trump first got elected she immediately felt like she was back in time, as if it were the ’60s all over again, but adds that this time it feels much worse. She said back then, President Nixon and California Governor Ronald Reagan had a campaign against Latinos too. However, it does not compare to the injustices against Latinos today. She points out that Trump claims to be a Christian yet can spew such vile words. “He’s just allowed that to become a blatant racist part of our reality,” Rosie said. 

As a former community organizer in the ’60s and ’70s, Rosie said Latinos had a mission to work at making the country a better place.

Credit: Instagram/@TexasMonthly

Now, Rosie said that Latinos are fighting for their lives. She also attributes a huge difference between then now on gun violence. Children today are afraid to go to school because mass shootings happen so frequently. 

Her son has always had a strong position against guns. He has spoken about it extensively during his presidential campaigning. Julian has said he will push for renewing the assault weapons ban, as well as limiting high-capacity magazines and, naturally, requiring background checks.

One thing that is inspiring Rosie — aside from her son running for president — is that so many organizations today are rising up to fight for equality and against racism.

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Rosie said the organizations she sees today does remind her of her time as an activist back in the day. While the injustices and crimes against Latinos is a stark difference, one thing that feels familiar is the energy from young Latinos rising together. 

Rosie has long been credited for influencing her sons’ work as public servants, to fight for Latinos and all people in the U.S. 

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Both Julian and Joaquin had attributed their rise in politics to their mother. It was her work as an activist and in education that made them both want to strive to make the United States a better place to live. 

In 2012, Julian gave his now-famous keynote address at the Democratic National Convention where he introduced then-President Barack Obama. In a few words, Julian not only paid tribute to the women in his life but also the American Dream that they worked so hard for. 

“My grandmother never owned a house,” Julian said back then. “She cleaned other people’s houses so she could afford to rent her own. But she saw her daughter become the first in her family to graduate from college. And my mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.”

It is because of women like Rosie that we have a platform to stand on as well. 

READ: Julián Castro Walked Onstage To Selena, Struggles With Spanish, And Other Ways He Lives The Latino Experience On The Campaign Trail

The Statue Of Liberty Gets Arrested By ICE In A New Las Vegas Mural That Speaks To Our Inhumane Immigration Policies

Things That Matter

The Statue Of Liberty Gets Arrested By ICE In A New Las Vegas Mural That Speaks To Our Inhumane Immigration Policies

A mural showing the Statue of Liberty being handcuffed by immigration enforcement officers has been unveiled in Las Vegas, amid rancour and anger over Donald Trump’sharsh immigration policies.

The mural, titled “Chained Migration,” was unveiled late last month in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mural by Izaac Zevalking / Photo by Jesse Hudson

Since then, it has caused a lot of dialogue between those who support it and those who don’t. 

The mural is a 20×50 art installation that depicts the Statue of Liberty handcuffed and bet over the hood of an ICE patrol car. It was created by Izaac Zevalking, also known as Recycled Propaganda, a political artist that aims to create art influenced by history and current events. Zevalking himself is an immigrant from the UK. Zevalking is using the Statue of Liberty, who is considered a beacon of hope for immigrants, to demonstrate how the harmful rhetoric used against them is harming the American Dream.

In an interview with KTNV Las Vegas, Zevalking explains that the goal of the mural is to create a conversation about immigration in the United States. “I want people just to think about the issue. Wherever that thought leaves you. Wherever that conversation with someone else leaves you. I think it needs to be discussed more in human terms.”

Although some came to the internet to praise Zevalking for his mural, others were quick to disagree with his artwork. 

This Twitter user used the infamous MS13 gang as her reasoning for this mural being shameful. Her comment imitates the language that Trump uses in his statements referring to those who migrate into the United States. She plays into the stereotype that all people who are immigrating to the U.S are dangerous gang members. 

Some on Twitter were quick to claim they’d happily paint it over.

In the replies, a Twitter user suggested they paint over the mural in protest. 

However, Recycled Propaganda clapped back, suggesting that if it gets painted over they keep on bringing it back.

The art piece could not have been more timely given the recent comments made by Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

After being asked in an interview with NPR if the words of Emma Lazarus are part of the American ethos, Cuccinelli replied, adding a line to the poem, “They certainly are – give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” 

The original reads as, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Recently, the Trump administration decided to make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain a Green Card if they receive government aid, such as food stamps or Medicaid. Cuccinelli is a big defender of this policy, so it is not surprising that these comments about Lazarus’ sonnet were made. 

When immigrants are being discussed in politics, it is usually done so in ways that strips them of their humanity.

When folks migrate to the United States, it is often done so out of desperation and necessity. Immigrants come with nothing but a backpack filled with the essentials. They come to work low-paying jobs and because of their status, it is difficult for them to get the assistance they need for issues like healthcare and food assistance. To ask immigrants to come to the United States and to be self-sufficient only treat them with very little dignity is unfair.

When describing this policy, Cuccinelli uses words like a burden when describing immigrants who need public assistance. After his initial remarks about the poem, Cuccinelli said on CNN that the poem was originally referring to Europeans who migrated to the United States. 

The artist, who is an immigrant from the UK points out that America is a very different place for white immigrants.

KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas / YouTube

“I personally wasn’t born in America. I was born in the UK and I don’t ever feel attacked as an immigrant and I think that’s cause my skin is white,” Zevalking says. 

There is a stark difference between the ways European immigrants and Latin American immigrants are treated in the United States and Zevalking is tapping into that notion with his mural, “Chained Migration.” He is acknowledging his privilege as a European immigrant and using it to shed light on how criminalizing it is for non-white immigrants living in the United States.

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