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.

rosario.CosmoWOW!! Truly honored to be included in Cosmo for Latina’s 2014 “Power Issue.”

In the magazine’s Fall edition, Cosmo For Latina’s published their list of “Political Power Players,” featuring eight Hispanic women from across the nation. Under the tag-line “These women are changing the world, one campaign, organization, election, vote, or issue at at time.” They wrote:

Bettina Inclán-Agen: When the GOP needs Latino voters they call this major. The 34-year-old Cubana-Mexicana was the national director for coalitions focused on Hispanic outreach for Mitt Romney. With a radio show and strong social media presence, she’s poised to be the conservative voice on Hispanic leadership and women’s issues.”CosmoForLatinas.Bettina

Also included on the list, Fusion anchor Alicia Menendez, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Actress and Co-Founder of the Latino Victory Project Eva Longoria, and the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Munoz among others. Check out the full issue on newsstands now. 

Tune in and watch Tavis Smiley’s Latino Nation.

Latino Nation

I was honored to be asked to be part of the discussion and add my voice to the two part panel. Learn more from going directly to TheLatinoNation.Com. The event is being broadcasted on PBS.

Here is more information on the event:

America’s 50-million-strong Latino community flexed its historic political muscle in the 2012 elections, evidencing the community’s growing influence. Now, as the immigration debate unfolds in Washington, Tavis moderates a national conversation on the challenges and opportunities facing this diverse group.

Hosted in partnership with the William C. Velásquez Institute, “Latino Nation: Beyond The Numbers” panelists examine a full range of Latino social, political, economic and cultural influence on American life, from the economy to politics, healthcare to education, immigration to foreign policy, as well as solutions for economic growth in this vital community.

Guests include:

Antonio González, president of the William C. Velásquez Institute; Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-IL; Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF;Stephanie Sanchez, student trustee board member of Chicago State University;Bettina Inclán, Republican political strategist; and others. [Click here to see list of guests.]

Greetings from Chicago State University where I, along with some of the nation’s top Hispanic leaders, are participating in Tavis Smiley’s “The Latino Nation.”  Hosted in partnership with the William C. Velásquez Institute, “Latino Nation: Beyond The Numbers” panelists will look at a full range of Latino influence on American life, from the economy to politics, healthcare to education, immigration to foreign policy, as well as solutions for economic growth in this vital community.

I am honored to be part of this great event. Thank you to Tavis Smiley (and his staff), Antonio Gonzalez of the William C. Velásquez Institute and my friend Hector Barreto.  Learn more http://thelatinonation.com/

TheLatinoNationPanel

1897_custom650x400Under the banner “The Next Generation of Conservatives” Al Cardenas kicked off the 2013 Conservative Political Action Convention (CPAC), the nation’s largest annual gathering of conservatives, activists and prominent GOP voices. Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union (ACU), outlined three critical goals moving forward, including “embrace changing demographics of America not by diluting our principles but reaching out to all Americans.”

America has changed significantly since the ACU began hosting CPAC 40 years ago. In today’s America Hispanics now make up 16% of the U.S. population and growing rapidly, with over 500,000 Hispanic youth turning 18 each year – voting age. This reality has not escaped conservative leaders, wide-eyed after the 2012 election.

Under Chairman Cardenas, CPAC has continued its tradition of showcasing diverse conservative voices from every background. It’s fitting that each year more of those voices happen to be of Hispanic origin.

Discussing dozens of issues during the three-day conference Hispanic conservatives peppered various panels providing their expertise and insights. Latino foreign policy specialists like Roger Noriega and Otto Riech, prominent business leaders like Hector Barreto, pro-immigration reform advocates, grassroots organizers and top Hispanic GOP elected leaders filled the National Harbor outside of Washington DC for CPAC.

The conference’s opening day featured Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Closing out the conference was Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who was tapped to give the keynote address.

A central message at CPAC is that Hispanics have much more in common with the GOP than they think.

The conservative movement is an attractive place for Hispanics, many who naturally share values with the right of center movement. Latino political attitudes on the importance of hard work, entrepreneurship, family and education all provide an opening for conservatives with this growing demographic.  A 2012 Gallup poll showed that second generation Hispanics are more open to conservative policies than their immigrant parents, demonstrating that attitudes about the role of government shift significantly between generations.

Rejecting calls from political pundits, conservatives do not believe they need to change core principles – individual liberty, personal reasonability, free enterprise and the belief in American exceptionalism – to attract new voters. Conservatives don’t need new principles, they need new ideas and better tactics on how to communicate these values to Hispanic voters.  A suggestion repeated by speakers throughout CPAC.

“You grow your tent by convincing others, persuading others that yours is the way. And you build your tent by reaching out to the new demographics of America, not with a watered down version of who we ought to be,” said Cardenas, who is the first Hispanic to lead the ACU.

Greetings from the Conservative Political Action Conference were Hispanic Conservatives are poised to have a strong presence at the nation’s largest gathering of conservative activists. Discussing topics from economy, immigration, foreign policy to coalition building at National Harbor outside of Washington D.C. from March 14 – 16 the conservative activist with diverse Hispanic backgrounds will provide some fresh perspective to this important national summit.

Among the conference noted speakers include two very prominent Republican Senators of Hispanic decent, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Cruz will give the key note speech at CPAC He will become the first Hispanic in CPAC’s 40-year history to deliver the keynote address.

Stay tuned throughout the week for more updates.

Below are some of the Hispanic speakers speaking on CPAC panels (This is not the full panel). For more information and to see a full list of speakers.For today, Thursday, 3/14 some select highlights:

Jeb Bush, the outspoken former Florida Governor, isn’t ready to confirm any 2016 bid; instead he is more focused on doing what he is best known for, being an ideas man who gets results.

Jeb Bush

“I have a voice, I want to share my beliefs about how the conservative movement and the Republican Party can regain its footing, because we’ve lost our way,” Bush told Today Show host Matt Lauer on Monday.

Bush said he wouldn’t rule out presidential run, “but I won’t declare today either,” he said to Lauer.

One area Bush is making his voice heard is on immigration and how the GOP’s can better engage Hispanic voters.

This week Bush released a new book called “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution,” outlining a strategy to help the GOP connect with the nation’s largest minority group and an extensive plan for immigration reform.

Bush, 60, recognizes that immigration is not the top issue for Hispanics and Asian-Americans, two major emerging voting populations. Yet, Bush added, Republicans need to acknowledge that immigration is an important issue to those voters. Bush states immigration is a “gateway. If you set a tone that you don’t want people to be part of your team, they don’t join,” he said.

In 2012, Obama carried Hispanic and Asian-American voters by a 3-1 ratio.

Bush and co-author Clint Bolick, an attorney and vice president for litigation at the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute, argue their immigration proposal is more extensive than the draft from the Obama administration and a more conservative blueprint than the senate outline. Bush argues his proposal is more likely to get through the Republican-controlled house.

One part of his new proposal making the lots of news today, Jeb Bush does not support the currently proposed pathway to citizenship. A change from his previous position articulated in a Wall Street Journal OpEd he and Bolick authored in January.