My latest piece for Refinery 29 takes on Donald Trump’s two very different speeches on opposite sides of the US – Mexico border and why they gave me “whiplash.” Read the piece  here: http://www.refinery29.com/2016/09/121984/trump-immigration-speeches-mexico-arizona-compared


Why Trump’s Speech On Immigration Gave Me Whiplash

Whiplash. It’s the only word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt watching the two competing — and starkly different — speeches Donald Trump delivered on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border yesterday.

Trump started Wednesday as one of the best days of his campaign. Talking heads on cable news, including myself, were praising his bold decision to accept Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s invitation to meet with him in Mexico.

Standing side by side with the Mexican president, Trump lookedpresidential. He was respectful in recognizing the positive contributions Mexican-Americans have made to the United States (something I appreciated as a daughter of a Mexican immigrant). He delivered thoughtful remarks laying out a new hemisphere-centric philosophy and promising to strengthen our bilateral relationship to confront common challenges. Like many, I felt Trump’s Mexico speech was a powerful way to crush questions on his temperament and reduce voter concerns.

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As the press conference concluded, Trump’s Mexican gamble seemed to be paying off: Voters like me started to feel optimistic and hopeful that this signaled a new direction on immigration that was fair and firm. His visit to Mexico was helping Trump finally move past last week’s difficulties when he vacillated on what he has made his signature issue. As his speech approached that evening, I thought he was going to give much-needed clarity on his positions on enforcement and how to deal with the 11 million people currently living illegally in the U.S. What to do with the undocumented population already here is an issue too many politicians have either failed to successfully address or avoided completely.

The first cracks in the wall (pun intended), however, appeared soon after both men left the podium. In a tweet, Peña Nieto said he made it clear to Trump that Mexico will never pay for his proposed wall. Trump has continued to insist that Mexico would pay 100%.

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As the sun set on Trumpland and the candidate took the stage in Arizona, it was like a dark cloud had rolled in on the once-hopeful day. In Phoenix, the same old Trump came out roaring with such vengeance, it was hard to tell if I was watching a live speech or a rerun from the primaries.

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Top news of the day for all those interested in Hispanics and politics:

Miami Herald: Hispanic Leadership Network To Meet In Coral Gables

Building upon a pro-immigration reform advertising campaign launched last Sunday, the Hispanic Leadership Network (HLN) today announced its third annual Miami Conference to be held April 18-19 at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, Florida. Under the theme “Family Reunión,” the conference will be chaired by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutiérrez.

NYT: Democrat Latinos Gain Political Muscle, and Fund Raiser

The New York Times takes a look at the Futuro Fund, a fundraising arm of Obama campaign that raised $32 million from fellow Latinos soliciting donations and engagement in the President’s re-election. The Futuro Fund was founded by ” a trio of Obama donors: Mr. [Henry R.] Muñoz, as controversial in San Antonio as he is prominent; Andrés W. López, a Puerto Rican lawyer with two Harvard degrees; and Eva Longoria, the actress of “Desperate Housewives” fame.

Politico: W.H. Seeks Tech’s Help on immigration

In Silicon Valley the big concern on immigration law is focused on high-skilled foreign nationals whose advanced degrees and unique technology skills are highly sought after, as well as making it easier to allow foreign entrepreneurs starting companies in the U.S. to live here. The challenge for those pro-immigration reform activists pushing for comprehensive reform is to get the tech world on the bandwagon. There is now a strategy to change that. Read more at Politico.

KPBS: Declining Interest in “Chicano Studies” Reflect A Latino Identity Shift

Hispanic are becoming part of the mainstream and see themselves as “American” and this reality is being seen on college campuses who are seeing a decline in “Chicano Studies” enrollees, even with record number of Hispanic college students. KPBS Reports:

He said understanding the community’s demographic evolution is key. The Latinos on university campuses today are the children of the large wave of immigrants who came to the U.S. in the 1980s and 90s, well after the Chicano movement’s heyday.

“It means that many of these young people don’t know what the term Chicano means in the U.S. context,” Mariscal said. “So it’s really the demographic change, and the culture that those new young people bring, that is slowly moving off center stage the term Chicano, and therefore Chicano Studies.”

Unlike the Chicano generation, which saw itself outside the mainstream and was clearly a minority, today’s young Mexican-Americans increasingly are the mainstream. Many are voting, participating in the political system from within. The four-decade-old Chicano movement is increasingly a vague memory, the term imbued with nebulous meaning.

carlos-GutierrezA new GOP SuperPAC  is providing support to pro-immigration Republicans and is ready to play in GOP primary races to support their top issue.

Led by by former US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, the Super PAC, Republicans for Immigration Reform, (RIR) sent a signal to GOP legislators mulling over immigration bills that RIR will support pro-immigration Republican candidates, and will place close attention as the lawmakers focus on the 2014 mid-term elections. Incumbent GOP legislators who take a hard line on the issue

RIR’s, whose mission is to “provide political support for Republican candidates that advance common-sense solutions to address the nation’s broken immigration system,”  is co-founded by Charles Spies, co-founder of Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super-PAC, which raised $152 million.

The Hill reports:

“We focus primarily on ‘take the vote now and we’ll support you.’ Those who don’t take the vote who get attacked by primary challengers who would have voted for it — that’s a very interesting question,” he said. “That’s also a possibility.”

Gutierrez said he would have no qualms about attacking primary challengers to pro-reform Republicans.

“If someone has voted for immigration reform and gets a primary challenger, we’ll go after them. We’ll go after challengers,” he said.

“We want to give cover to Republicans who want to vote for it — we’re going to be out there exercising our right of freedom of speech if someone attacks them from the right in a primary.”

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/house-races/286377-new-republican-super-pac-may-target-gop-hardliners-on-immigration

 

Hours after Venezuelan President Dictator Hugo Chavez passed away Democratic Congressman José  Serrano (NY) sent a tweet praising the oppressive leader. Serrano worked with Chavez to bring Venezuelan heating oil to the South Bronx. Buzzfeed first reported the tweet from the Rep. Serano – “Democratic Congressman Praises Hugo Chavez In Death”

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It’s insulting that a Democrat Congressman, sworn to protect and defend the United States and our Constitution, would praise the authoritarian ruler Hugo Chavez.

Chavez, who was unapologetically un-American, fostered strong relationships with Americas enemies, aiding state sponsors of terrorism including Iran, Lybia, Syria and Cuba. He created a bloc of leftist Latin American regimes united by a hatred for America and a strongly anti-capitalist vision. Chavez used Venezuela’s oil resources to provide financial assistance to rogue regimes and financially support tyrannical leaders in the region and around the globe.

News report have confirmed Hugo Chavez, “President” of Venezuela has died of cancer.  The socialist/ populist/ dictator/ opportunist who led Venezuela since 1999, is dead at 58.

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Awaiting pictures from Doral (Doral-zuela) where I’m sure the exile-Venezuelans will have a major reaction to the news. Follow me on twitter @BettinaInclan for updates.

Happy Veterans Day! Today, we honor the millions of military veterans who have served this great nation in times of war and in times of peace. We humbly thank these brave men and women who have protected our freedoms and thank all the military families for their sacrifices. Nearly 22 million veterans currently live in the United States. Their service will be forever remembered.

Many Latinos have served in the military providing an extraordinary service to our nation. Hispanics have participated in every major military conflict, from the American Revolution to the present-day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Medal of Honor has been presented to 43 Hispanics. Rafael Peralta, Ramon Rodriguez, Isaac Camacho, Guy Gabaldon, and Marcelino Serna have all been nominated to receive Medals of Honor.

Hispanic veterans have served a major role in American culture and within the Latino community, individuals like Cesar Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers of America and a Navy veteran; Desi Arnez, actor and television pioneer who served in the Army; and Ben Fernandez, the first Hispanic to run for President and Army veteran, have all left a unique mark on our society.

Currently, there are over 1 million Latinos who have served in the Armed Forces. I am positive that within this crop of brave of individuals there will be many national leaders and transformative figures, maybe even a future President.

As a nation, we need to do more to help recently returned veterans who are facing especially difficult ongoing challenges. Many post 9/11 veterans, not only  have to deal with the nation’s high unemployment and a shaky economy, they are returning home with physical and mental challenges. According to a new report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, “one in eight post-9/11 veterans are living in poverty and the youngest of them have it the worst.. Among those ages 18 to 24, a whopping 21.3 percent live in poverty.” (read more.)

Groups like Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) have been created to help returning military officers adjust to civilian life.

“With the mission to honor and empower wounded warriors, WWP is the hand extended to encourage warriors as they adjust to their new normal and achieve new triumphs. Offering a variety of programs and services, WWP is equipped to serve warriors with every type of injury – from the physical to the invisible wounds of war.”

They are involved in a variety of projects assisting both veterans and active members of the military. If you can, please donate to the Wounded Warrior Project today.

To learn more about Latinos in the military, please read: