After an emotional buildup for many towards the 2:30 pm EST hour yesterday, when the U.S. Senate voted, 56-43, against a motion to proceed on the National Defense Authorization Act. This shut down the possibility of the DREAM Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell being presented as amendments to the Defense bill. All Republican senators voted against cloture and two Democrats, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both of Arkansas.
Up to the moment of the vote, I watched U.S. Senators, all white old men, talk about gays in the military. Republican Senators like John McCain danced around their homophobia by saying they didn’t want to add DADT because the military hadn’t had a chance to do polling about the impact on combat readiness if there were out lgbt folks in the armed forces. Other Republicans looked at the DREAM Act in one of two ways : a ploy by Senate Majority Harry Reid to get the Latino vote and/or a version of “amnesty” for some undocumented.
According to Juan from DREAM Activist, those arrested are still in custody but are expected to be released later today. Originally they were told that the undocumented students would be held for 48 hours in local custody and then turned over to I.C.E. This will not happen. That position was backed away from and the protesters will be released and have a court appearance in June. It is not clear what the charges are but it is thought that they were going to be charged with misdemeanor trespassing. There is a possibility that these charges will be dropped or will be ACD’ed, Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal meaning that the arrest would be cleared from their record after a certain amount of time and if the students do not get into “trouble” again. This is actually pretty common in civil disobedience. However we have to remember that these are undocumented students and in Arizona.
What was clear was that this is a well organized group who chose to submit themselves to the possibility of arrest and deportation on the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education to show the still unequal system of justice for undocumented students in the U.S.
From an official statement from those arrested :
In an Immigration system built on fear, DREAM Act youth have shown that they are undocumented and unafraid. Today the system recognized that DREAM youth are not criminals. We will continue mobilizing and make the DREAM Act a reality!
Tucson, Arizona. May 17th, on the anniversary of landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education, Arizona law enforcement arrested four undocumented leaders of the immigrant student movement in addition to Arizona native Raul Alcaraz. Lizbeth Mateo of Los Angeles, California; Tania Unzueta of Chicago, Illinois; Mohammad Abdollahi of Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Yahaira Carrillo of Kansas City, Missouri; were detained Tucson, Arizona, after staging a sit-in at Senator John McCain’s office. With this challenge to local and federal law, these youth hope to highlight the urgency of legislative action in Congress, and catalyze mass grassroots mobilization to pass the DREAM Act before June 15th.
These four leaders are risking deportation from the United States in the hope that this action will make a significant contribution to the fight for immigrant rights. In response to the onslaught of enforcement-based immigration law, they staged a sit-in at Senator McCain’s office, and urged congressional leadership to champion the DREAM Act and the values it represents: hard work, education, and fairness.
Lizbeth, 25, an organizer with DREAM Team Los Angeles, states, “There are already ten other states across the country considering immigration legislation similar to Arizona’s: legislation that is anti-family, anti-democratic, and anti-freedom. Police states and enforcement are quickly becoming the standard, and we are running out of time. We are going to pass the DREAM Act because it is based on freedom and equality.”
There will be a press conference later this morning in front of Senator McCain’s office giving an update, including the status of those arrested and what the next steps will be.
Whenever a Latino is nominated for some political post I’m not the type who starts cheerleading right away for them. I’m more of a “what have you done for me lately” type of supporter. And to be honest, the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court hasn’t inspired my support.
Let me be clear, there is no doubt that the Sotomayor nomination and what looks like will be her officially become a Supreme Court Justice is historic and important, especially from the perspective of one daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants looking at another. Pero, I felt much the same way about the initial nomination by the Democrats of Obama for the presidency. Historic? Yes. Impressive? Does he reflect my politics? Ehhh.
What: Vigils in four Arizona towns to call on Arizona Senator John McCain and other participants of the White House Immigration Reform meeting to push for immigration reform this year.
When: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 from 6:00-7:30pm
Tucson -Senator McCain’s office at 407 W. Congress St.
Douglas -Corner of 5th St and Pan American Highway (Co-sponsored by Humanitarian Border Solutions, Episcopal Border Ministries and Frontera de Cristo)
Sierra Vista -St. Andrew Apostle Church, 800 Taylor Dr.
Nogales – La Casa del Viejo at 665 Morley Ave.
Who: Border Action Network and its Human Rights Committees throughout southern Arizona.
Why: On Thursday, June 25 at 2:00pm EST, key members of Congress will join the President at the White House for a meeting that is expected to create a roadmap for legislative action on comprehensive immigration reform in 2009. The evening before this important meeting, members of Border Action Network in Tucson, Douglas, Nogales and Sierra Vista, Arizona are gathering to hold a “Now is the Time” vigil for Arizona Senator McCain and other meeting participants.
With the election results now signed, sealed and delivered, now comes the finger pointing from the losing side and not surprisingly McCain’s crooked old finger is pointing at Sarah Palin.
Instead of doing what they should have done during the campaign, now the McCain camp and Republicans throw Palin to the political lions, revealing or making up that they themselves didn’t believe Palin was a winning choice.
Fox News Channel political correspondent Carl Cameron today disclosed the first of what he predicts will be an “avalanche” of unflattering stories about the Republican vice presidential nominee: Off-the-record tips from McCain aides that Palin did not know Africa was a continent or the constituent countries in the NAFTA treaty. He later told Bill O’Reilly Palin also didn’t know the constituent nations of North America, either.
I didn’t like his speech at all. Many are touting John McCain’s concession speech as the speech of his life pero to me it sounded like he was claiming the Obama victory as the end of racism. I also was disgusted at the poor sportsmanship of the McCain support crowd who yelled things that I thankfully couldn’t make out and booed whenever Obama’s name was mentioned.
If the McCain camp want to talk about who is hanging out with terrorists, they should check their own old agendas. When John McCain was a Congressman in 1985 he had a very special meeting with then dictator and mass murderer in Chile, Augusto Pinochet. For those in Chile at the time, university students and educators were especially the targets of detentions, torture, and killings.
At the time of the meeting, in the late afternoon of December 30, the U.S. Justice Department was seeking the extradition of two close Pinochet associates – the ex-chief of the DINA (National Intelligence Directorate) and DINA officials Pedro Espinoza and Armando Fernández Larios -for an act of terrorism in Washington DC. A trial in Washington determined that they should be charged for the 1976 assassination of former ambassador to the U.S. and former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier and of U.S. citizen Ronny Moffit, who accompanied Letelier. The car bombing on Sheridan Circle in the U.S. capital was widely described at the time as the most egregious act of international terrorism perpetrated on U.S. soil by a foreign power.
At the time of McCain’s meeting with Pinochet, Chile’s democratic opposition was desperately seeking support from democratic leaders around the world in an attempt to pressure Pinochet to allow a return to democracy and force a peaceful end to the dictatorship, already in its 12th year. Other U.S. congressional leaders who visited Chile made public statements against the dictatorship and in support of a return to democracy, at times becoming the target of violent pro-Pinochet demonstrations.
Did you peep John McCain’s new ad where everyone is suddenly Joe the Plumber, except anyone that looks like me or anyone I know (save the black man who is not Barack Obama who is on screen for what? a millisecond?). Don’t know about you pero this ad makes me want to not vote for McCain especially if those are the peeps on his team.