It’s been awhile since I’ve officially live tweeted/blogged a debate so I figure the first debate between Republican candidate for the U.S. presidency Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama is a good place to jump back in.
The debate, while will happen tomorrow evening in Denver, Colorado, is scheduled to begin at 9 pm Eastern Time until 10:30. The focus of the debate will be domestic policy.
Follow @vivirlatino on twitter and my own personal account @mamitamala. By tomorrow night I will have installed an app in case people want to follow the conversation here. I’m also in search of a good drinking game because I have a feeling we are all going to need a drink or two or more to make it through.
In the meantime, please do share in the comments below or via your social media of choice what do you think the focus of the debate will end up being? Will the candidates stick to policy or will they revert to mudslinging? What won’t be said? Will any of the candidates actually start talking about the working poor for example?
Let’s not call it a visit. Let’s call it a layover/campaign stop. A real visit would have involved at the very least an overnight stay, a visit to a cultural institution that was not a restaurant, and perhaps even a visit with the different sides of the Puerto Rican status issue. But this was not a visit. It was a four hour layover, the majority of which was spent collecting money for his campaign and the Democratic party. As I wrote yesterday, the issues of real importance to Puerto Ricans weren’t really touched. And then people wonder why some burned a United States flag.
The closest President Obama got to touching the status issue was to say that he would support any clear decisions Puerto Ricans would make regarding the status of the island in a plebiscite that according to Pro-Statehood Governor Fortuño, will happen within 18 months. Problem is this is the same way the “status issue” has always been dealt with, with a referendum that amounts to little more than a glorified opinion poll.
Obama did not publicly acknowledge the demand to free political prisoners (although it is being reported that a Puerto Rican Senator did ask him to release Oscar Lopez). The President did not acknowledge the violence and repression against protesters nor the violence and repression against the island’s queer community that in the last year alone has stolen 18 lives. The President did not acknowledge that while he is using Puerto Rico as a litmus test for the Latino vote, Puerto Rico has an active Memorandum of Agreement activating Secure Communities since December of 2010, which no doubt targets the growing Dominican community on the island. Talk about divide and conquer politics at it’s worse. Coming to the island with outstretched hand while continuing to promote the politics of colonization and deportation.
Puerto Ricans are famous for their sayings – their refranes and I can’t help but thinking of Te conozco bacalao, aunque vengas disfraza’o – I recognize you codfish even if you are in costume and that is exactly what this trip was, an affront to the real issues not just of Puerto Ricans but all Latinos. This little Puerto Rican fishy will not be swayed.
That’s what Obama said in a press conference earlier today when pressed as to how he was going to push for comprehensive immigration reform with a GOP led Congress if he couldn’t do it when the Dems were in power.
Obama clearly has down the talking points behind the DREAM Act but he also has the border security first language that allows for the justification of deportations and detentions.
Yesterday President Obama held yet another closed door meeting with some Latino lawmakers on the subject of the future comprehensive immigration reform. To the surprise of no one, out of the meeting came Obama saying that he supported CIR but that the chances of any immigration reform bill coming out in the next two years are slim to none.
The focus instead, according to media reports, will be on keeping anti-immigrant efforts from becoming law such as repealing birthright citizenship.
Yesterday, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House, represented for the Obama administration on Univision’s Al Punto, with Jorge Ramos. On the program, she assured, in Spanish, that Obama and his people were doing everything they could on behalf of the DREAM Act, including phone calls. She also took issue with Rep. Gutierrez (and others) saying that Comprehensive immigration reform was dead. From the perspective of the White House, the issue of CIR is “when not if”. Not surprisingly, Muñoz placed the blame on a lack of movement on CIR and the possible failure of the DREAM Act squarely on the shoulders of the Republicans. Reports , however, call into question the sincerity of Obama and his administration on moving the DREAM Act and on fixing the immigration system overall.
Politico highlights statements made on CNN’s “State of the Union by Republican Senator Richard Lugar (Ind.) that indicate that Obama is using DREAM, and other legislation as a negotiating pawn.
Lugar said the White House and Republicans are trying to craft a deal that would lead to three major items being considered by the Senate before it leaves town for the holidays: tax cut extensions, a continuing resolution to fund the government, and START.
How much of this is actually true is unclear and this could just be an attempt by the GOP to deflect all the blame being placed on them back onto the Dems. Much of what happens next from negotiations between the GOP and the White House is going to be wait and see. What we do know is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to file cloture on the DREAM Act today.
According to various news sources and organizations, later this afternoon U.S. President Barack Obama will be meeting with some lawmakers regarding immigration reform. Those who will allegedly be at the meeting include Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.). What kind of immigration reform will be pushed is still up in the air.
Some politicians like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) have recently expressed their support and desires to bring the DREAM Act for a vote.
However Senator Menendez has stated that he sees DREAM as a fall back position. From Politico :
“I would not like to start there,” Menendez said. “I am a strong supporter of the DREAM Act. If that is all that can be achieved, then I certainly support the opportunity.”
I hope that Menendez’s plan, if he has one, doesn’t resemble NY Senator “Biometric Chuck” Schumer’s plans as they were presented last year.
This could just be another one of those meetings for show where nothing comes out except more statements in support of immigration reform while enforcement is amped up in the United States. But that’s just the cynical side of me writing. I really hope that this meeting yields something positive including steeping away from enforcement first language and policies. What’s a little different this time around is some Republicans stepping up in favor of the DREAM Act, which was lacking the last time it was presented for a vote.
Yesterday was a big day in immigration “reform” news. President Barack Obama and Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) were supposed to meet to show a united front on moving the issue forward. Schumer has been facing pressure to produce something ever since he delayed pushing legislation back in September of last year in search of more supporters. Advocates have been told over that he’s been working on something but details have been hardly forthcoming since the NY Senator said that part of his proposal would include a biometric identity card.
Today’s meeting didn’t happen. The reason was a flight cancellation. What wasn’t canceled was the struggle of countless families whose lives have been damaged and disrupted by the Obama’s administration immigration enforcement policies. Some of those families gathered yesterday in Washington D.C. to say they were sick and tired of all the words of change and hope and seeing only criminalization and heartache.