Presidential Candidates







 

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Stop the wall this spring break. 

A year and a half ago, Border Ambassador Jay Johnson-Castro went on a 15 day walk through the Texas communities that will be affected if the Secure Fence Act of 2006—already federal law—becomes a reality.  His walk, which he undertook basically alone, was covered by the BBC[1] and other international media, as well as multiple articles in the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express News.[2]  Hearing of the walk, Republican Governor Rick Perry (a proponent of the wall) held a press conference about border security in the tiny community of Rio Grande City while Jay was walking through town.

Why would one man require a response from such a powerful person?  Why would Governor Perry even care about one Don Quixote-like figure plodding through the long stretches of nothingness?  Why would the Houston Chronicle give its front page as a pulpit for a solitary nobody doing something so crazy?  These questions have elusive answers, but those familiar with the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s are better equipped to make sense of them than most.  Two clues are found in familiar phrases from that generation.  “Unearned suffering is redemptive,” which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often said, and “You got to move,” a favorite phrase of the Highlander Folk School—who trained Rosa Parks and others—have oriented my understanding of why a walk can be so powerful.

Following that motto, “You got to move,” this spring break—from March 8th to the 16th—local educators and students, along with religious and civic leaders will walk 115 miles (13 miles each day for 9 days) from Roma to Brownsville as a form of nonviolent direct action.  We invite you to partner with us in an alternative spring break, by following this link.  http://www.mysignup.com/noborderwallwalk  There you will make a commitment to participate and input your information.  We will then contact you with the necessary details.

The purpose of this walk is to show support for local landowners who do not want to give the Army Corps of Engineers access to their property.  These landowners are facing litigation by the U.S. Government, and are acting very courageously in spite of this threat.  Many more landowners would resist the government if they knew they were supported.  A second purpose is to gain the attention of the nation, especially during this election year.

Through today’s New York Times,[3] land owner Eloisa Tamez’s plan for resistance was shared with a national audience.  Eloisa works closely with Jay Johnson-Castro in the fight to prevent this wall from segregating our community, but she isn’t the only land owner along the proposed fence route.  Now is the time to share her story, Jay’s story, and spread the message of our collective struggle.  Please join us and invite your friends, family, and neighbors to do the same.

Immigration: The Hottest Issue

  

A few days after thanksgiving, I asked Mike Huckabee what had surprised him about voters over the past six months of campaigning. “The intensity of the immigration issue,” he said immediately, and then added, “I honestly don’t know why it’s gotten so hot.” Huckabee gets points for candor: most of the presidential candidates I’ve spoken with in recent months feel the same way but aren’t about to say so. It is difficult to spend a day on the trail and not see the anger explode….

Full Article

The criminalizing of immigration is a bigger issue than almost any of us know.  One person in this article yells at Senator McCain about the possibility of civil war.  This should be a wake-up call to all of us who care about humanity, and specifically for those of us who care about the United States of America.  If this tension is to deescalate, nonviolence will be the method.  There is no other way.

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bill-richardson-2.jpgIn an earlier post, I linked to this speech by Governor Richardson, delivered at Georgetown University.

A Manhattan law firm, Teplen and Associates, summarized the speech this way.

In his statement Governor Richardson outlined four steps which must be taken in order to solve this problem in a realistic fashion: 1) secure the border, 2) increase legal immigration, 3) prevent employers from hiring employees without proper work authorization, and 4) provide a path to legalization.

I responded, but Teplen and Associates does not seem to be taking comments on its blog any longer, so I will post my response here.

 

In order to be successful, step 2 must precede step 1.

The only way to completely secure the border is to allow people seeking employment to immigrate. People would much rather cross the border at a checkpoint than brave the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) or the hot Sonoran desert, but as long as immigrants believe these natural barriers are more navigable than our immigration laws, we will continue to have no idea who enters this country.

And in order to be moral, step 4 must precede step 3.

As long as the federal government prevents those who wish to change their legal status from doing so, the government is in essence mandating that employers discriminate based on a classification virtually indistinguishable from race.

This is a revisited speech, but I post it again because so much of the prevailing thinking in Congress is exactly backwards.

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