Trump’s 100 Days Shows Latinos Are in for a Rough Ride

By DrVMDS on April 20, 2017

This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

Based on almost 100 days of President Trump, Latinos better buckle up, it’s going to be a rough ride.

The first 100 days of a presidency sets the tone and lays out the policy road map of the administration. In the weeks after taking office President Trump has set his administration on course for fulfilling its promises.

The biggies on the campaign trail were cracking down on immigration, law and order and repealing Obamacare.

We’ve yet to see a big, “beautiful” wall, a more punishing criminal justice system or the repeal of Obamacare. But the critical pieces have been put into place.

The cabinet Trump has named, together with the executive orders he has signed and his legislative agenda, have set him on course to make good on his promises.

That the Trump administration was going to go after “the Illegals” was a given. It was Donald Trump’s marquee issue since he launched his campaign in June of 2015. Days after taking office President Trump issued an executive order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, an all around get-tough-on-immigration order.

There’s a lot of beefing up of border enforcement and tough talk. But the two key take homes from this executive order are that they withhold federal funds to sanctuary cities and revive a dormant program (287g) that deputizes local law enforcement to carry out ICE duties.

Right around the same time, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has undertaken an enforcement sweep. Targeted immigration enforcement surges were not uncommon under the Obama administration but they were focused on criminal aliens. Now, targets are Dreamers and Latina moms who have been here for decades.

The “get-tough” immigration tactics have had real repercussions in communities where Hispanics feel they are in the crosshairs, resulting in less economic activity and involvement.

One hundred days in, President Trump and his Attorney General have successfully accomplished one thing, set the tone of fear within minority communities. Continue Reading

Can Beto O’Rourke Beat Ted Cruz? Here’s How

By DrVMDS on April 6, 2017

This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

AUSTIN – It’s official, the 2018 Texas Senate race is off and running. Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke has thrown his hat in the ring seeking not just to displace Senator Ted Cruz but to be the first Democrat elected to statewide office since 1994.

Texas is a red state through and through. The chances for O’Rourke, a third term congressman from El Paso and former punk rock musician, are not great. But it is certainly not a “suicide mission,” as Texas Senator Jon Cornyn described O’Rourke’s run.

There is a slim path to victory for O’Rourke. But here’s the thing, it does not rest on the traditional “demography is destiny” argument that claims the growing Latino population will carry a Democrat in Texas over the finish line.

The way Beto beats Ted is a piecemeal approach—shoring up Ted Cruz’s negatives, not touching the identity politics playbook, and going full throttle grass roots as Sanders did in 2016 and Ted Cruz did six years earlier. Continue Reading

Where Are You, Senator Rubio?

By DrVMDS on March 27, 2017

This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

Sen. Marco Rubio seems to have gone missing. Not missing from his Senate votes, like he was infamous for during his first term. Missing from the larger political conversation, especially when it comes to immigration and being a sober counterbalance to President Donald Trump.

During his time in the Senate, Rubio, R-Fla., has not always been a full-throated immigrant advocate. Nevertheless, he has always emerged as someone calling for the respect of immigrants and the need for sensible immigration reform.

Rubio was a member of the 2013 Gang of Eight Senate immigration reform bill. Rubio, the son of immigrants personally knows the relevance of immigration policy. And he also happens to have a mom that won’t let him forget his roots. At the outset of the Gang of Eight meetings, Rubio’s mom left him a voicemail in Spanish saying it was loving advice from the person who cared the most for him in the world.

“Don’t mess with the immigrants, my son. Please, don’t mess with them … They’re human beings just like us, and they came for the same reasons we came. To work. To improve their lives. So please don’t mess with them,” said his mom to the senator in a voicemail he has often quoted.

However, now Rubio is MIA and this in the midst of some real immigrant ugliness — even for Republicans. Earlier this month, Iowa Rep. Steve King tweeted, “We can’t restore our civilization with someone else’s babies.” Some Latino Republican members of Congress, Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, both Florida Republicans, came out swinging against King in tweets of their own.

From Rubio, a deafening silence, not just on King’s tweet but on the larger wave of nonsensical immigration policy coming out of the Trump White House. The silence is frustrating to immigration reform advocates, but more than that, it’s puzzling. Politically, the stage is set for Rubio to be the adult in the room and to rise above the fray. Continue Reading

MSNBC’s Morning Joe: ICE Immigration Raids

By DrVMDS on February 13, 2017

On ICE Deportation Surges, Separating Facts from Speculation

By DrVMDS on

This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

Let me be clear, I am no fan of President Trump’s immigration rhetoric and recent immigration executive orders. But in looking at the recent immigration enforcement surge we need to take three deep breaths and separate known facts from speculation as we remain vigilant.

First, the facts. During the week of February 9, 2017 there was an Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) surge. Preliminary information from ICE indicates that this was a targeted enforcement sweep of immigrants defined as criminals.

Coordinated ICE sweeps targeting undocumented criminals are nothing new. Such surges took place routinely during the Obama administration.

For the sake of comparison let’s zoom in on the Los Angeles sector – one of the most immigrant populous regions of the country. Less than a year ago, in mid July of 2016, 112 foreign nationals were apprehended in an ICE sweep targeting at-large criminals. About half of these individuals had felony convictions and the remaining had misdemeanors. Last week in the same Los Angeles sector, 160 foreign nationals were apprehended; of which 150 had criminal histories and five had final orders of removal. Continue Reading

Latinos Usher in a New Era: It’s President Trump

By DrVMDS on January 22, 2017

This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

WASHINGTON — Latinos in the nation’s capital were absorbing the seismic political shift created as Donald Trump took the oath and faced the world as the nation’s 45th president.

For Victor Diaz, 58, of Lansing, Michigan, it was a celebratory time.

“I’m a big Trump supporter; I’m a big supporter of individual rights and freedoms,” said Diaz, who described himself as an “Atlas Shrugged” fan. The book is considered a “bible” for those who advocate for little government and unfettered libertarian policies. “I think Hispanics by nature are driven to more entrepreneurial enterprises to just drive and make the best for their families and that’s what Trump supports.That’s what he wants.”

Erick Walden, 24, born in Nicaragua and living in Virginia, carried with him a Hillary Clinton face cutout. He said he and his father had been to the Obama inauguration and came to this too to continue the tradition.

But they stood among a crowd of fellow Hillary supporters and protesters who chanted about Trump, “not my president.” Walden said that made the event “good.”

“I saw him swearing that he’s going to respect the Constitution of the United States — he’s not going to do it,” said Walden. “I don’t believe he’s going to last two, more than two years. He’s going to be involved in too many scandals. He’s going to try to raise money for himself.”

In his first remarks as commander in chief, Trump struck a different tone than the “hope and change” espoused by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama.

In stark terms, Trump said, “This American carnage stops right here,” describing a country of shuttered factories, dilapidated infrastructure and battered inner cities. Continue Reading

MSNBC Live: Trump and John Lewis rift

By DrVMDS on January 17, 2017

The Texas Standard – Wet Foot/Dry Foot Policy for Cubans

By DrVMDS on January 13, 2017

Latino Pulse: Obama Bids Adiós With Optimism, Warning on Race

By DrVMDS on January 11, 2017

This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

Class was in session. In his farewell address to the nation President Obama was the consummate professor — reviewing what the basis of our Democracy is and what we have accomplished in the span of 240 years, while reminding us that change is painful, slow, and even sometimes regressive.

The history lesson was interesting. But it just wasn’t wonkiness for wonkiness sake. President Obama’s deliberate review of the bones of our democratic system and our genesis as a country provided a big picture. And this broad overview was targeted to a very specific group of Americans – all of the ones that voted against President Elect Donald Trump.

President Obama’s take home message was “it’s going to be OK”—our political system can be shaken but its foundations are strong.

For the first several minutes of President Obama’s speech we were planted into a seat of American History 101. He reminded us that the birth of our country is the triumph of a republic over a tyranny and the drive to achieve a more perfect union. At the same time the President highlighted that our democracy does not guarantee uniformity and that while it can take two steps forward it also takes steps back. Continue Reading

Lack of Latino Nominees in Trump’s Cabinet Is Not Surprising

By DrVMDS on December 29, 2016

This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet is almost complete. And there’s no denying its diversity — that is of the billionaires and just plain multi-millionaires, as former Obama adviser David Axelrod pointed out.

The incoming Cabinet is set to be the least racially and ethnically diverse in close to three decades. And as far as Latinos — zero — not one has been named. To put things in perspective, Latinos constitute over 17 percent of the population. Multimillionaires and beyond constitute a fraction of 1 percent of the population.

Recently there’s been some half-hearted flirtation with former California Lt. Gov. Abe Maldonado and former Texas A&M President Elsa Murano for agriculture secretary but I’m not holding my breath.

Since 1988, a Latino has had a seat at one of the most powerful tables — the American presidential Cabinet. President Ronald Reagan was the first to appoint a Latino, Lauro Cavazos as secretary of education. In all, 12 Latinos have served in presidential Cabinets. With seven appointments, the Democrats edge out the GOP’s five appointments. The highest-ranking Latino in a Cabinet position, in terms of line of succession, was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who served in the George W. Bush administration. Continue Reading

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