Tea Party joins the immigration party

In his address to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Tea Party frontman (and recent liberal heartthrob) Rand Paul gave a strong endorsement of a pathway to citizenship.

But Sen. Paul never actually said the words “pathway to citizenship.” In fact, he immediately called reporters afterward to make clear he never said those words.

Paul’s apparent flip-flop-flip understandably left a few people confused.

But then, as if to placate the doubters, Paul went on Fox News to defend his soft tone on immigration.

“I’ve got a news flash for those who want to call people names on amnesty: what we have now is de facto amnesty,” the Kentucky senator said into the camera. “We have 11 million people here. They’ve been here, some of them, for a decade or more. No one is telling them to go home, no one’s sending them home.”

His news flash was directed at right-wing personalities Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, who have called “amnesty” (or what the rest of us call “a pathway to citizenship”) a death sentence for the Republican Party.

Ann and Rush are under the belief that Latino voters have an inborn aversion to free markets, elephants and the color red (well, maybe we do).

Never mind that 61 percent of Latinos who voted for Obama said they’d vote for a Republican who supported a pathway to citizenship over a Democrat who didn’t. And 43 percent of Latino Obama supporters said they’re more likely to vote Republican if the GOP takes the lead on comprehensive reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.

As the son of Rep. Ron Paul, a superstar among college kids who have no clue what the hell they stand for, Paul Jr.’s bound to say something noble every now and then. And he’s just as likely to say something borderline Klan-ish next week, so I wouldn’t slap on the “Rand Paul 2016” bumper sticker just yet.

But for what it’s worth, well done, Senator.

As for the rest of the far right, let’s just be glad they’re taking their marching orders from the likes of Coulter and Limbaugh, and not someone who actually, you know, reads.

 

Who you callin’ “illegal immigrant,” you illegal immigrant!

Speaking of immigration, another high five goes to Kansas state Rep. Ponka-We Victors for setting the record straight.

During the Kansas legislature’s annual vote on a law providing in-state tuition to undocumented students, Victors rose to her feet and castigated Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an immigration hardliner who was one of the main authors of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law (and who wouldn’t surprise me if their middle name also started with a ‘K’).

“I think it’s funny, Mr. Kobach, because when you mention illegal immigrant, I think of all of you,” said Victors, the legislature’s only Native American.

Now she’s a meme, as she should be — unlike the rest of us shameless squatters.

Photo: Imgur

Photo: Imgur

 

3 Cubans, 1 awkward photo-op

Yoani Sánchez, the world-renowned Cuban blogger who’s finally been allowed to travel abroad by the Cuban government, met with Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on Wednesday, two Cuban-American senators ardently in favor of the United States’ 50-year embargo on Cuba.

Uncomfortably enough, Yoani’s unequivocally opposed to the same embargo. I mean, besides the stinging criticisms she regularly fires at the Castro regime, and her support for human rights and free speech, blasting the embargo is kind of her thing.

Instead of achieving its intended goal, Sánchez believes the embargo has actually bolstered the regime’s position, allowing the Castros to tighten their grip on the island of Cuba and its people.

“To make matters worse,” she wrote in 2011, “the economic fence has helped to fuel the idea of a place besieged, where dissent comes to be equated with an act of treason. The exterior blockade has strengthened the interior blockade.”

How do you say “awkward” in Cuban?

Photo: Office of Sen. Marco Rubio

Photo: Office of Sen. Marco Rubio

 

Mexican America

According to a Brown University study, Mexican Americans are the most segregated of all Latino nationalities in the United States.

The rate of Mexican Americans with a bachelor’s degree, at a little over 7 percent, is also one of the lowest among Latinos.

The report hints at several reasons for such trends: closer kinship among Mexicans and Central Americans, higher socioeconomic mobility among South Americans, and so on.

For me, the socioeconomic bit seems like a fascinating possibility. I never much considered the difference between, say, a Guatemalan immigrant and Argentinian one.

As Duke University immigration expert Jacob Vigdor told the Wall Street Journal, “There are lots of poor people in Argentina. But to get here all the way from the cone of South America, you need to have a certain income level.”

The money, skills and credentials an immigrant brings with them to the United States act as a springboard for their future career and life here. The more you come with, the further you’ll (maybe) go.

Living as relatively close to the States as they do, poorer people in places like Cuernavaca and San Pedro Sula are able to make their way to San Antonio or Chicago much easier than a campesino living in Peru. But once here, they have to settle for whatever measly job their lucky to nab, and live in their neighborhood for as long as they can pay the rent.

Sure, their American-born kids might make it out of poverty through brains, hard work and truckloads of luck, but the odds are stacked drearily against them.

The storied American Dream that the poor can die rich has given way to the new American Reality that the poor can only hope to die no poorer than their parents.

Black people have been here for centuries, and Chicago’s blacks are poorer and more segregated than they ever were. Well, maybe not ever. But Chicago hasn’t been this segregated since segregation was legal.

What chance does a poor, non-English-speaking arrivals have in such a brave new world? Most of the Americans already here hardly stand a chance.

So don’t take segregation and poverty too personally, Mexicans. It’s part of being an American.

 

[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]

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