Saturday, March 29, 2008

Official Language: Penalty - Learn English or GO TO JAIL! (Includes Legal Citizens!)

For all of you who promote "Official English" and who said this would never happen, here it is. A Judge has ruled "Learn English or Go To Jail!" The judge imposed this sentence on those here legally. As we move closer to a "Gestapo State," even with no standards set, the judge says, “There’s no way young kids can be hurt by knowing how to read and write the English language.”
Learn English or Go to Jail!
By David Weiss Court Reporter, WILKES-BARRE – March 27, 2008
That’s the succinct directive Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. made as part of his sentence to four criminals on Tuesday. The defendants – Luis Reyes, Ricardo Dominguez, Kelvin Reyes-Rosario and Rafael Guzman-Mateo – all needed translators when they appeared in court to plead guilty to criminal conspiracy to commit robbery. It led to Olszewski leveling the unusual condition. He sentenced them each to four to 24 months in the county prison, but paroled three of them because they have already served at least four months. But in order for them to avoid the 24 months in prison, Olszewski ordered the men to learn to read and write the English language, earn their GED, and, within 30 days of release, get a full-time job while on parole. The defendants, who range in age from 17 to 22, are to return to court in one year with their parole officers to take an English test, according to Olszewski’s order. “If they don’t pass (the test), they’re going in for the 24 (months),” Olszewski said.
The ruling, the judge said, is supposed to help, not punish. “There’s no way young kids can be hurt by knowing how to read and write the English language,” he said. “It’s a means to helping them get a better education, getting a better job. Period.” Whether the legality of the ruling will be challenged has yet to be determined.
Attorneys Joseph Yeager and Ferris Webby, who represent the suspects, are looking at the ruling and laws before deciding whether to appeal. Neither has seen such an order in any past cases, they said. “First of all, let’s say it’s unusual,” Webby said. Webby said his role as an attorney requires him to look at the legality of the ruling, but, as a person, he knows Olszewski’s choice is good for his client, Guzman-Mateo. Guzman-Mateo realizes it, too.
“My client is happy,” Webby said. “I think it’s going to help him. It’s going to help him succeed.”
But that doesn’t make it right, said Agapito Lopez, a Latino community leader from Hazleton. He said he believes the ruling is a violation of the suspects’ rights. I think that it’s contrary to the Constitution,” said Lopez, who stressed he is not an attorney and is speaking from a lay person’s perspective. “I don’t think that is due process. … I think this can be challenged in court.” Lopez said he will speak with attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union to see if the decision should be challenged.
Police said the four were part of a group of people that approached two men, Reese Tankalavage and Cletus Mumie, on May 29 on Locust Street and asked them if they had any marijuana. When Tankalavage and Mumie said no, the four suspects told them to empty their pockets. That’s when one of the people in the group struck Mumie in the head with a rawhide bone. Another man pulled out a gun. The group then searched the duo’s pockets before telling them it was “their block and they better not see them around there anymore,” police said.
In sentencing the four defendants on Tuesday, Olszewski gave Reyes, Dominguez and Guzman-Mateo immediate parole. Reyes-Rosario is doing jail time on an unrelated drug charge. His sentence in the robbery case will begin after he completes the drug sentence. Olszewski said the language condition he imposed on the defendants, who are resident aliens, was not something he had planned. Once he saw all the translators in court for one case, the idea dawned on him.
The decision, he said, could help cut down on extreme costs associated with the paying for translators for each court appearance. Plus, he said, one of the defendants only went to third grade; the others didn’t finish high school. Learning English will help them get their GED first, and then a job, he said. “Do you think we are going to supply you with a translator all of your life?” he asked them.
Olszewski is ready to face any flak from the ruling. “I’d like anyone to tell me that learning the English language is not a good thing,” he said. “I’d love to hear from them.” Learning the language could help the suspects, Lopez said. But it would not assure them of getting a job – that theory is merely mythical, he said.
“This is a country in which English is not the official language,” he said. “We cannot force people to learn the language.” Olszewski said the parties can ask him to reconsider the ruling within 10 days. No one, he said, objected to the ruling in court Tuesday. Olszewski is unaware of whether this condition had been previously imposed. It’s not the first creative sentence Olszewski has imposed. He regularly orders defendants to get and maintain a full-time job, but also helps them find work. He has his tipstaff, Ron Zukosky, coordinate with an employment agency to find the defendants work. The judge also has ordered young defendants who dropped out of school to return and finish school. “There’s no way young kids can be hurt by knowing how to read and write the English language.” Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Economic Impact of Oklahoma´s Restrictionist Immigration Law HB1804 = $1.8 Billion

Oklahoma´s Tulsa World Reports:
The state bankers association says the loss could be $1.8 billion.
If 50,000 immigrants leave Oklahoma, the state would lose about $1.8 billion annually in productivity and wages, according to a study released Tuesday by the Oklahoma Bankers Association. The group does not take a position on HB 1804, the state's new immigration law, said President and Chief Executive Officer Roger Beverage. The study was commissioned after the association began hearing stories about banks seeing impacts such as loan defaults and halted housing developments. "Bankers asked the question, 'Can we afford to do this? Does this make sense?' " Beverage said...House Bill 1804 makes it a crime to knowingly hire, house or transport illegal immigrants and took effect Nov. 1. Economists Russell Evans and Kyle Dean, of Economic Impact Group in Edmond, wrote and researched the study. .."We're not saying that it is a good bill or a bad bill," Evans said. "We have no comment on that. But from a purely economic standpoint, we wanted to see look at what the cost would be of removing them." The Federation for Immigration Reform has estimated Oklahoma spends about $207 million a year in public funds for illegal immigrants, mainly for education, emergency health care and incarceration. The economists assume the number to be correct, Evans said. Between 50,000 and 70,000 undocumented immigrants are estimated to be living in Oklahoma, the study states. The study gives a range of impacts based on the number of immigrants who leave. In the short term, the impact ranges from a $786 million annual loss if 25,000 immigrants leave, up to a $3 billion annual loss if 90,000 migrate elsewhere, according to the study. In the long term, Oklahoma would lose between $637 million to $1.9 billion annually, the study states. "If you don't enter the impact of losing those workers into the discussion, then I think the discussion is somewhat distorted," Evans said. "All we are trying to provide is what the lost outcome of productivity and lost income of those workers would be." More House Bill 1804 impact studies are expected, Evans said. "The academic community was a little behind with everybody else," Evans said. "The bill happened so fast and became law so fast that the discussion about the impacts of the bill didn't begin until after it had been implemented and signed." ..Beverage said Oklahoma banks remain strong in spite of the challenges of the national credit crunch, depressed housing market, subprime mortgage meltdown and the Federal Reserve predictions that some community banks will fail in the next couple of years. "In addition, Oklahoma banks have had to deal with the practical ramifications of the economic impact of 1804," Beverage said. "You cannot confine the economic impact of 1804 to one sector of society or one classification of workers. Rather, it has an impact to workers in a number of different areas."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Say Good-Bye to Tomatoes!

U.S. Farmers say Immigration Laws are BROKEN!! One of Nation´s largest Tomato Farmers to STOP harvesting tomatoes this year and will instead harvest grain since it can be harvested by machines. Farmer says harvesting tomatoes are high paying jobs but jobs Americans won´t do due to the heat and difficulty of harvesting.

Major Pa. tomato producer quits, blames Congress
By Nancy Petersen Inquirer Staff Writer Tue, Mar. 25, 2008
CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa. - Keith Eckel, the largest producer of fresh market tomatoes in Pennsylvania, is getting out of the business. Fearing that the labor needed to harvest his tomatoes won't be there when he needs it, Eckel announced yesterday that after decades of growing tomatoes, he was calling it quits. He placed the blame squarely at the feet of Congress and its failure to enact what he called a meaningful immigration reform measure. "The system is broken," Eckel said before a crowd of neighbors, employees and news media gathered in the packing house at his farm near Scranton. "It's a sad day," he said. "We're closing a part of our business that we really love."
Eckel's problems are echoed coast to coast by farmers who are reliant on foreign farm workers allowed into the country each year to plant, pick and package crops. Eckel said the impact of the government's increased vigilance on illegal immigration and the lack of action on an immigration reform bill has sown doubt among farmers that they will be able to count on a predictable and sufficient work force.
The push for immigration reform has stalled in Congress and little action is expected during the rest of this election year. The problem can be solved if Congress would pass a viable and accessible guest-worker program, Eckel said. Otherwise, he and other farmers say they are not going to take the risk of planting crops they can't harvest for lack of a workforce. Eckels estimated the value of his tomato crop at $1.5 million to $2 million. "It is a real concern, and we are disappointed that Congress has failed to act," said Peter Furey, executive director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau. "Ultimately, consumers will feel this." Eckel warned that unless the issue was resolved, it would eventually drive the fresh fruit and vegetable industry offshore, causing an inevitable rise in food prices.
Last year, Eckel employed 180 people, but this spring, when he plants crops that can be handled by machines, he will employ five. Farmers across the country who depend on immigrant labor are facing the same decision as Eckel: Do they forge ahead and risk losing a crop, or do they plant another crop for which a machine can do the work? "It is one of those situations where the ground is shifting under your feet and you may not notice it until two or five years out," said Jack King, director of national programs for the California Farm Bureau Federation. Workers on Eckel's farm averaged $16.59 an hour "and they earned every penny of it," Eckel said. "No one will harvest tomatoes in 90 degree weather except immigrant labor," he said. And a number of people who worked in his packing house were retired workers picking up a few extra dollars, he said. Congress needs to act, said Furey of the New Jersey Farm Bureau: "We need a national solution that is realistic, in tune with the economy and fair to the people." Eckel gave President Bush credit for trying to enact meaningful change, but he said a divided Congress and emotions got in the way. He said the climate was such that legal immigrants were fearful of moving across state lines, further exacerbating the problem.
Although his workers have documents proving that they are legal, Eckel said some estimates show that between 60 percent and 70 percent of the documents are fraudulent.
"We can no longer take the risk," he said. "We have done everything we can to comply with the law." Most farmers are honest, he said, but rather than run the risk of losing their crop, they simply won't plant one.
"It's a very uncertain time," said King of the California Farm Bureau. "Farmers are scared stiff on this immigration thing. They are operating at the mercy of the federal government." King said that some of the state's vegetable growers were moving their operations to Mexico, raising concerns about food safety.
Last year Eckel planted 2.3 million tomato plants over 340 acres of his Lackawanna County farm, a crop that he estimated supplied about 75 percent of the fresh tomatoes in produce aisles between Boston and Washington. He said his was the largest tomato producing operation north of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of Ohio. This year, he is planting about 45 acres of sweet corn, and 1,200 acres of corn for grain.
When his mother asked where they will get tomatoes this summer, her son said: "We'll buy from one of our good neighbors."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Even ANTIs say NO to SAVE (Gestapo) Act!

More Reasons to Just Say NO to SAVE ACT (Gestapo Bill). Even ANTI´s agree:

By Tom DeWeese February 24, 2008 February 22, 2008
Mr. Roy Beck Numbers USA 1601 N. Kent Street Suite 1100 Arlington, Virginia 22209 Dear Roy: As we agreed during our conference call in December, I want to fulfill on my obligation to address our concerns with Sections 201, (Mandatory Employment Authorization Verification through the E-Verify System) and 203 (Establishment of Electronic Birth and Death Registration Systems) of the SAVE Act (Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act. H.R. 4088) ...Our differences are in the need for government data banks which snare all Americans in their nets in order to find the few law breakers. I fully accept your claim that you aren't interested in creating a National ID. I accept that your motivation is to protect this country. However, I think that in your zeal to achieve those goals you are helping to create that very National ID system. Freedom is a very difficult thing to protect. I suppose the definition of freedom can be twisted to accept anything in its name. Many believe that freedom means being safe. Many now believe that creating a national matrix to document our every movement is freedom. A very wise friend of mine just related a bit of a parable to me that I think puts the situation well into perspective. She asked me this question: Do you know why Zebras have stripes? My answer was - for camouflage. She said, do you see black and white in the landscape of Africa? The stripes don't blend in. The fact is, when a lion (the predator) seeks to capture a Zebra (the prey) he focuses on one animal from the herd, chasing it down until it drops from exhaustion. When a herd of Zebras runs to get away from the lion, the stripes make it absolutely impossible to focus on just one animal. Therefore the lions can't detach just one from the herd. The stripes are the Zebra's protection. It would be to the great advantage of the lion to have a system to focus on one Zebra - a chip, an ID card, some way to break it from the herd. On the other hand, it would be a great disadvantage to the Zebra to have such a system of identification. The question of whether a National ID is good or bad is really a question of who is the predator and who is the prey. In the case of illegal immigration clearly those of us who want to rid the nation of illegals are the predators. So it is easy to support such means to rid us of this threat. Some of us may even take pride in being able to "show our papers" to prove "we are American citizens." It's pretty compelling - until the same system is used to make us the prey. That is my fear, and that is why I oppose any excuse to create even a small piece of a National ID databank system. Like you, I certainly have political enemies. Someday I will certainly be the prey. Once begun, even for an honorable purpose, how can the system be controlled? Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff has said, "Again, eventually, this might allow us to do double-duty or triple duty, have the same license also be used to cross the border, and be used for a whole host of other purposes where you now have to carry different identification." Could it be that those other purposes won't match what you are hoping to accomplish? Could it be that once such a system is in place it will be out of our control? Congressional testimony by Professor Ben Shneiderman of the University of Maryland explains in great detail the problems inherent in trying to integrate existing data banks as a means to guarantee identification. "While most proposals have been well intentioned, some have been misguided in that they overlook the potential for unintended consequences or underestimate the technical challenges and risks inherent in their implementation." Professor Shneiderman, an expert in human-computer interaction, went on to say: "A national ID system requires a complex integration of social and technical systems, including humans to enter and verify data, plus hardware, software and networks to store and transmit. Such socio-technical systems are always vulnerable to error, breakdown, sabotage and destruction by natural events or by people with malicious intentions. For this reason, the creation of a single system of identification could unintentionally result in degrading the overall safety and security of the nation, because of the unrealistic trust in the efficacy of the technology... We must ask whether there is now a secure database that consists of 300 million individual records that can be accessed in real time? The government agencies which come close are the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration, neither of which are capable of maintaining a network that is widely accessible and responsive to voluminous queries on a 24 hour by 7 days a week basis." No matter how much we may desire a quick, easy solution to deal with the issue of illegal immigration; no matter how well intentioned we may be to enforce tough laws to make it happen, sometimes such actions are worse than the problem they seek to solve. So it is with using federal data banks to establish "verifiable" Identification. Moreover, the E-Verify System is not designed, nor ready for the massive accessibility required to meet the requirements of Section 201. The SS data bank is dirty. And it was not created for the purpose of authenticating citizenship. But you argue that the E-Verify System is already in existence and therefore not helping to create a National ID Card. Consider this congressional testimony by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC): "Under the newly announced changes, the Department of Homeland Security will (1) greatly expand E-Verify, (2) raise fines against employers by 25 percent, (3) increasingly use criminal action against employers, as opposed to administrative action, (4) add to the numbers of databases E-Verify checks by including visa and passport databases, (5) ask states to "voluntarily" allow DHS access to their motor vehicle databases, and (6) use an "enhanced photograph capability" that will allow employers to check photographs in E-Verify databases. These do not resolve the many problems already in E-Verify; instead, the Department of Homeland Security has made the employment eligibility verification worse." The fact is the Real ID Act is not going to just help create a NATIONAL ID, instead it is helping to create an INTERNATIONAL Biometric ID Card. The world is being enrolled into a single global biometric ID system through documents purported to establish and authenticate identity - passports, driver's license Social Security card and others. On March 1, 2007 REAL ID's "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" was issued, revealing REAL ID's global biometric connection. The three main entities driving this system are: The Department of Homeland Security, The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, (AAMVA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). AAMVA is an international association of motor vehicle and law enforcement officials and is responsible for international biometric driver's license ID card standards and an international information sharing agreement. ICAO monitors travelers, designed biometric "e-passports" required for "Visa Waiver Nations" and is affiliated with the United Nations. Together, DHS, AAMVA and ICAO are fulfilling the three elements necessary for a global biometric system. The fact is, whether it is your intention or not, by including Sections 201 and 203 into the SAVE Act, you are aiding this international ID effort. This wont increase security, but rather prepare us for a tyranny unknown in human history. I believe that you are honestly trying to create a method by which Identification can be verified. However, it appears you have accepted the premise that the Driver's License is the proper means of identification. In fact it is not. The driver's license is strictly an authorization to drive on American streets and should stay that way. To enforce an ID through DMVs means empowering a hoard of state government employees who were never supposed to have such power, allowing them access to information they aren't supposed to have and in so doing, creating a false sense of security that simply isn't valid. In order to protect the privacy of the American people it is essential that we decouple identification from driver's licenses. The only proper government entity specifically designed to have such information and responsibility is the U.S. Department of State. It alone should have the responsibility to create documents that establish and authenticate identity and that monitor and permit border crossings. And that is really what we are talking about here - border crossings, legal or illegal. In fact, the State Department is now developing a new passport "card" that possibly could be used to satisfy citizen status that you seek under SAVE. It is less than a full passport and it comes in a wallet size that could be easily carried just as the driver's license. While it is true that the Card contains an RFID chip (not to our liking) the chip contains no personal information - only a unique number linking the card to stored records contained in secured government databases. The passport Card currently is not valid for flying, but that could be fixed. I don't specifically advocate use of such a card for many of the same reasons argued here. But, if we are determined to go down the road of government documentation of American citizens, then something on the lines of the passport Card is preferable to creating a vast new system through state DMVs, as long as its purpose is very narrow and strictly enforced so as not to be expanded for secondary uses. ...We are being given a false choice in the immigration war. We are being told that we must sacrifice freedom so that we may have order and security. It's simply not a true choice. As Katherine Albrecht, author of the book "Spychips" wrote, "One of the most surveilled people in history were the Soviets under communist rule. During Stalin's decades-long reign of terror and the KGB era that followed, government agents could intercept and read mail, listen in on phone calls, and plant informants to probe their neighbors' political views and assess their loyalty to the state. The surveillance was near complete, but did the watchful eye of the state keep the Soviet people safe? Hardly. It seems no coincidence that history's most watchful regime was also one of its most deadly. Between 1917 and 1987, the Soviet government killed over 60 million of its own citizens - more than any other government in the 20th Century." Freedom is a difficult concept to retain. We live in dangerous times indeed and we must be very careful in our actions as we seek to achieve certain goals. Just because the technology exists, does not mean that it is the solution to our problem. Nor does its existence require us to use it, especially if such use will make this or other problems worse. This is the case with integrating unrelated, and poorly verified data bases which always has unintended consequences. I believe Sections 201 and 203 of the SAVE Act are helping to create parts of a matrix that will lead to a National ID system which will destroy our liberty. Those are the very liberties you see as threatened by illegal immigration. Illegal immigration can be stopped - but if allowed to start, a National ID will be forever. In such a system today's predators will be tomorrow's prey. For these reasons, the American Policy Center and others are now prepared to resume our fight to oppose the SAVE Act.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

ANTIs and PROs find Common Ground!

ANTIs and PROs agree on a few Immigration policies. I have published these policies before.

1. Secure Borders
2. Sanctioning Exploiting Employers
3. Deporting Felonious Criminals - No citizen wants felonious criminals here and we support ICE´s efforts to deport them.

Effort aims to stop re-entry of deportees
By ANNA GORMAN and SCOTT GLOVER Los Angeles Times - Article Last Updated: 03/17/2008 01:47:53 AM PDT
LOS ANGELES — Federal authorities are cracking down on immigrants who were deported and then re-entered the country illegally — a crime that makes up more than one-third of all prosecutions in Los Angeles and surrounding counties, a Los Angeles Times review of U.S. attorney's statistics shows. The surge in prosecutions reflects the government's push in recent years to detect illegal immigrants with criminal records in what may seem the most obvious of places: the state's jails and prisons. Immigration authorities have long combed inmate populations for illegal immigrants, but additional money and cooperation with local law enforcement have fueled an increase in such cases by the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. The illegal re-entry charge is the single most prosecuted crime in the office.
Targeting criminals Prosecutors filed 539 such cases in fiscal year 2007, making up 35 percent of the total caseload, compared with 207 in 2006 — 17 percent of all cases. Statistics for the first four months of this fiscal year show the trend continuing.
Federal authorities touted the recent effort, saying the prosecutions serve as a deterrent for people who see the border as a turnstile. They said they were targeting violent gang members, career criminals and drug dealers who have returned to the United States after being deported — many of them repeatedly.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Soap Opera Politics Vol 1, Issue 7: Rev Wright & Obama

Help Me Understand:
Viewers, I am asking you for your help. I don´t understand the Rev. Wright Soap Opera. I would like your input to help me understand what is happening.
By now, most of you have heard about Rev. Wright. He is Barack Obama´s long time friend and spiritual counsel and people connect the two of them. He even married Barack and Michele. He provided Barack the title for his last book. He has served as his campaign´s spiritual advisor.
Last year, on March 2, 2007, Rev Wright appeared on Shawn Hannity´s show and they angrily argued with one another about Rev Wright´s church. (see video) At that time, Shawn argued the Reverend´s sermons were racist. The Rev. angrily responded, saying Shawn did not understand the context.
I mentioned in January, as I drove down to SA, I heard Shawn talk for hours very negatively about Obama and the Reverend´s church. That was when I predicted Hillary would win TX.
Then last week, Fox purchased a video from the Reverend´s church. These clips were extremely provactive statements made by the Reverend. Some of these clips use very profane language which some say is racist and un-American. Here is the youtube about America and another about Hillary. These tapes showed various sermons of Rev Wright starting right after 9-11 through to January of this year. Taped by the church and sold to Fox. (Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr., saying, "God damn America" and suggesting that the country bore some blame for the attacks of Sept. 11 )
I am struggling to understand WHY the Reverend had his very controversial speeches taped as late as this January then his church SOLD them to Fox. Why would he do this? He knows how controversial these tapes are. He has had an on going argument with Fox and Shawn Hannity for over a year. So why on earth did they sell Fox the tapes? What could be his motivation?
The only possible reason I could draw from this is he wished for people to understand his church´s doctrine:
Black Liberation Theology: is theology from the perspective of an oppressed people. It seeks to interpret the gospel of Jesus against the backdrop of historical and contemporary racism. The message of black theology is that the African American struggle for liberation is consistent with the gospel--every theological statement must be consistent with, and perpetuate, the goals of liberation. The theology maintains that African Americans must be liberated from multiple forms of bondage social, political, economic and religious. This liberation involves empowerment and seeks the right of self-definition, self-affirmation and self-determination.
But if the reason Rev. Wright filmed and sold the tapes was to educate the American Public of his church´s doctrine, and since Rev. Wright is Obama´s spiritual advisor, then why on earth did Obama say, "I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy."
I just don´t understand the motivation for selling these tapes to Fox and for Obama to refute them if he believes in his church´s message.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Win for the PROs! Heinous Blackwater Security Facility will NOT be built in So Cal!

A win for the PROs!!! As I reported here on my blog, Blackwater was in the process of building a security facility in So Cal in anticipation of the passage of the SAVE Act. Their plans were to serve as the Contractors who backup the Border Patrol in patrolling the border and nearby towns with their non manned aircraft.
WE THE PEOPLE in So Cal said NO! to their plans. Now, the heinous Blackwater Security Facility will NOT be built in So Cal!! We know they will not give up their plans. I promise to keep you apprised of their future plans!
Security-training camp won't be built in Potrero
By Anne Krueger - UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER - March 8, 2008
Blackwater Worldwide dropped its plans yesterday to build a military and law enforcement training camp in East County, ending a storm of controversy over the security contractor's presence in the county.
Brian Bonfiglio, a Blackwater vice president, said the decision came down to noise – gunfire tests at the 824-acre site in Potrero exceeded county standards – and not fiery opposition from residents, environmentalists and those politically opposed to Blackwater's role as a contractor guarding officials in Iraq.
“Blackwater has maintained its position from the very beginning that if we could not meet or exceed (California) and San Diego County guidelines that we would not proceed, and we are keeping to that commitment,” Bonfiglio said in a statement...
Residents feared Blackwater's training facility would bring noise and traffic to the community. They and others also didn't like the idea of having the government contractor in San Diego County, particularly after reports of a Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad in which Blackwater employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians. After the incident, Blackwater Chairman Erik Prince was called before Congress, and U.S. officials imposed tougher restrictions on Blackwater and other security companies working in Iraq.
Hedlun, who began serving on the Potrero planning group in January 2007, was initially the only group member to oppose Blackwater. Opponents gathered petitions for a recall election targeting those who had voted in favor of the project.
In December, five members of the group were recalled and replaced with candidates who opposed Blackwater's plans. Carl Meyer, the newly elected chairman of the group, said they had planned to discuss a resolution against the project at their next meeting.
“It's great news for the community of Potrero,” Meyer said. “We'll have a party.”

Thursday, March 13, 2008

ANTIs In Congress To FORCE Introduction of SAVE ACT (GESTAPO Bill)

As I predicted the ANTIs in Congress are getting ready to push the heinous and misnamed SAVE (GESTAPO) Act. (read about the Gestapo Bill-Save Act here).

John Tanton´s ANTI Group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has published this report indicating they will attempt subversive measures in order to FORCE the heinous SAVE Act to be introduced before Congress:
Congress May Debate SAVE Act Legislation Soon
Tuesday, supporters of the SAVE Act (H.R.4088) filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives in an attempt to force a vote on the House floor. The SAVE Act, introduced by Congressman Heath Shuler (D-NC) is an enforcement-only immigration reform bill that, among other things, mandates that employers verify the work eligibility of new hires by using the E-verify system. As introduced, the SAVE Act has 141 cosponsors, 93 Republicans and 48 Democrats. If at least 218 Representatives sign on to the discharge petition,it will be enough to force the SAVE Act directly to the House floor for a vote. By Tuesday evening, Representative Thelma Drake (R-VA) who introduced the petition, had collected 135 signatures: 128 from Republicans, and seven from Democrats. (CQ Today, March 11, 2008) As of Wednesday afternoon, House staff has informed FAIR that the discharge petition has received 150 signatures. According to CQ Today, party leaders disagree as to whether the discharge petition will be successful. "I think some of those Democrats will sign. But there was a lot of pressure on Democrats not to sign," said House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO). He added that "the next few weeks, when members will be home for spring recess, will be crucial." But Democratic leaders seemed skeptical, saying they doubted Republicans would be able to get all 198 Republicans to sign on. Without unity with in the Republican party, they argued, the question of Democratic signatures would be moot. (CQ Today, March 11, 2008)
Read the full Legislative Update
Note to Readers: A number of ANTI websites including FAIR, NumbersUSA, and others are providing their members (blind followers) free fax and form letters for emails. They are being asked to mass call and deluge Congress´emails and faxes. The ANTI sites are keeping track and hounding all Congress members who have not signed on. Here is an example of what the ANTI sites are saying. READ HERE
Update: email from Roy Beck to followers:
DEAR FRIENDS, Our allies in Congress are asking you to make phone calls before 7 p.m. EDT this afternoon to keep open an incredible window of opportunity in the fight against illegal immigration. Members of the House go home this evening. We need as many as possible to sign the Discharge Petition to create the right kind of momentum during the upcoming two-week recess. Read below about the phone calls most needed this afternoon. Can you believe it? Since Tuesday, 168 Members of the U.S. House have signed the Discharge Petition to go around House leadership and force a vote on H.R. 4088, the SAVE Act by Rep. Shuler (D-N.C.). That leaves us only 50 to go! The SAVE Act would, within 4 years, remove nearly all illegal aliens from legitimate U.S. jobs! Nothing is more important in the fight against illegal immigration. Although Discharge Petitions rarely succeed, and although the DC media are writing that we will fail, we know from past experience that we have the ability to create so much constituency pressure that political miracles often occur. Your phone calls and faxes already this week are the chief reason for getting to 168. But these last 50 are going to be much harder to get. PLEASE GO TO YOUR NumbersUSA Action Buffet at right now and use the phone and fax notes to add fuel to the fire on the Hill before the Members of the House go home.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hate Crimes or Squelching Free Speech?

The SPLC says the ANTIs are guilty of hate crimes.
USA Today Reports: By David Crary, Associated Press
NEW YORK — Anti-immigrant sentiment is fueling nationwide increases in the number of hate groups and the number of hate crimes targeting Latinos, a watchdog group said Monday. The Southern Poverty Law Center, in a report titled "The Year in Hate," said it counted 888 hate groups in its latest tally, up from 844 in 2006 and 602 in 2000. The most prominent of the organizations newly added to the list, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, vehemently rejected the "hate group" label, and questioned the law center's motives. FAIR said the center was using smear tactics to boost donations and stifle legitimate debate on immigration. "Their banner may be 'Stop the hate' but it's really 'Stop the debate,"' said FAIR's president, Dan Stein. "Apparently you can't even articulate an argument for immigration reform without being smeared."
The law center's report contends there is a link between anti-immigrant activism and the significant rise in hate crimes against Latinos in recent years. According to the latest FBI statistics, 819 people were victimized by anti-Latino hate crimes in 2006, compared with 595 in 2003.
"The immigration debate has turned ugly and the result has been a growth in white supremacist hate groups and anti-Latino hate crime," said Mark Potok, director of the law center's Intelligence Project. "The majority of anti-Latino hate crimes are carried out by people who think they're attacking immigrants, and very likely undocumented immigrants." Potok said hate groups were proliferating because a growing number of Americans were agitated by the immigration debate. He said many new groups had appeared in the border states of California, Texas and Arizona where illegal immigration has been a particularly volatile issue. Critics of the law center, including FAIR, contend that the periodic reports on hate groups exaggerate the threat to public safety and inflate the total by including entities that are little more than websites or online chatrooms. Potok acknowledged that some of the groups may be small and said it is impossible for outsiders to gauge the membership of most of the groups. Among the largest categories of hate groups, Potok said, are neo-Nazi, white nationalist, racist skinhead and those with links to the Ku Klux Klan. FAIR, which is frequently quoted by the media and whose officials often have testified before Congress, advocates an end to illegal immigration and tighter controls on legal immigration. In pursuing these goals, it says, "there should be no favoritism toward or discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, or creed."
Readers, Are these Hate Crimes or is this squelching Freedom of Speech?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Professor Fletcher: NAFTA Economic Impacts and Anti Immigration Vehemence Against Latinos!

Professor Bill Fletcher Jr. from
One of the more interesting aspects of the current Presidential primary season is the renewed discussion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Implemented January 1, 1994, and by no coincidence sparking the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, NAFTA was a major step in the economic integration of the USA, Canada and Mexico under the domination of the USA. Sold to the US public as a means of addressing globalization and improving our chances of competing in the global market place, NAFTA was fervently opposed by various social movements and constituencies, particularly organized labor and environmental groups. Both groups, and others, were deeply suspicious of the motives and actuality of NAFTA. Their concerns, as it turns out, were largely justified. Though NAFTA did result in the introduction of some new jobs, what is critical is the net effect of NAFTA. If one factors in losses and gains, the net impact has been the loss of approximately 900,000 jobs in the USA. Unfortunately, much of the NAFTA debate stops here or within a few feet. NAFTA most certainly has drained jobs as well as placed restrictions on the ability of jurisdictions to direct their local economies. It has encouraged the growth of sweatshop and near-sweatshop labor along the USA/Mexico border. This is the side of NAFTA with which many of us are familiar. Many of us remember Ross Perot’s famous comment concerning NAFTA representing the giant sucking sound of jobs being drained away from the USA and going to Mexico. This is not the entire story. And, while it is good that Senators Clinton and Obama have reopened the discussion concerning NAFTA, neither of them have drawn much attention to the impact that NAFTA has had on Mexico, and thereby on us in the USA. What is critical for us to grasp on this side of the Rio Grande River is that NAFTA has had a devastating impact on the Mexican economy. Through forcing the Mexican farmer to compete with USA farmers, rural Mexico’s economy has been turned upside down. The reality is that the Mexican farmer has been unable to compete, and as a result there began - in the mid 1990s - a migration of rural Mexicans into the larger Mexican cities. Finding few job opportunities, the migration moved north toward the USA. This was accompanied by the impact of NAFTA on the Mexican public sector, which also suffered severe body blows, thereby undermining what little social safety net the people of Mexico had. This side of the NAFTA equation is critical to discuss because it helps us understand why hundreds of thousands of Mexicans chose to leave their homes and head north. Contrary to the xenophobic, anti-immigrant rhetoric many of us have heard, it was not because ‘…everyone wants to be in America…’ but rather as a direct result of policies initiated by the USA and their allies in Ottawa and Mexico City. I thought a great deal about this recently when I was moderating a debate on immigration within a labor union. The vehemence of some of the anti-immigrant speakers, including - and very unfortunately - an African American woman, was not only deeply unsettling, but equally lacking in any historical context. While the focus of the anti-immigrant speakers was allegedly undocumented immigrants in general, there was nothing in their language that indicated that they were thinking about Irish, Poles, Russians, or anyone other than Latinos, and most particularly, Mexicans. When confronted with this question of NAFTA they had nothing to say. Interestingly, they could also not explain why they had nothing to say about any other ethnic undocumented worker besides Latinos. It is commonplace in the USA to think in terms of what affects us, and particularly the notion that whatever harms us in the USA must be among the most catastrophic things to affect the planet. Rarely do we stop and think about the actual consequences of the actions of the USA on the rest of the world. Rarer still has been our consideration of how the actions the USA initiates, whether treaties like NAFTA or military actions such as the 1980s Central American wars, end up boomeranging. A real change in the White House would be for the leaders to see beyond the Rio Grande and thereby actually see what is happening here.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is Executive Editor of The Black Commentator. He is also a Senior Scholar with the
Institute for Policy Studies and the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum. Click here to contact Mr. Fletcher.

Calm Before the Storm - Outing the Secret Immigration Bills!

Of late, all has been quiet on the Immigration Reform front. Discussion Boards, both PRO and ANTI, have been quiet. Blogs have been quiet. There has been a significant amount of Political discussion, including here on my blog, but very little Immigration Talk.
For a while, I thought the quiet was due to the fact that all three candidates, HRC, BHO and JSM (John Sidney McCain), support Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).
Then, I started thinking it could be due to the RNC controlled media focus being taken off of Immigration since the McCain nomination. We know that Fox and the AMJocks are funded by the Right. I still think there is something to this possibility or maybe, just maybe, this is the calm before the storm.
I am hearing some rumblings that new Immigration Bills are being documented in very hush, hush privacy. Some of these bills are PRO - CIR. Some of them are ANTI.
Here are two articles re some of these Hush Hush activities:
Immigration Becomes a Political Football (Again)
The question of border security and the threat to U.S. security is back on the table even as the Presidential campaign progresses to the next phases.
Senate Republicans plan to introduce a package of as many as 11 bills (could actually grow to 14) that establishes a hard line on illegal immigration. Even though experts consider it unlikely that these bills will reach the floor for debate, they reflect a move toward harsher immigration rhetoric and legislative proposals from both parties since Congress failed to pass a comprehensive overhaul in 2007. While some of the language in these possible pieces of legislation echo House bills, they go further. These bills include provisions to dock states 10% of their highway funds if they issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Another bill would extend the presence of National Guard on the border and still another would curtail language assistance at federal agencies and the voting booth for people with limited English ability. Senator Jeff Sessions, R-Ala, one of the leaders of the Republican efforts is offering a bill that would impose a maximum two-year sentence for the second offense of crossing the border illegally. Other bills:
● Block federal funding from cities that bar their police from asking about immigration status.
● Give the Department of Homeland Security the authority to use information from the Social Security Administration to target illegal immigrants.
● Require construction of 700 miles of fencing along the Southern border, not including vehicle barriers.
● Impose sanctions on countries that refuse to repatriate their citizens.
● Deport any immigrant, legal or illegal, for one drunken-driving conviction.
● Enable local and state police to enforce federal immigration laws
Its clear that immigration remains a political football in this Presidential election year. This includes the possibility of giving Senator McCain an opportunity to endorse one of the tougher bills to help distance him from some of his previous positions. Posturing or not, maybe some real immigration reform and border security measures will emerge from this, even though its an election year.
Immigration: New bills, old borders
David Rogers and Patrick O'Connor Mar 5, 2008 05:40 AM EST
For seasonal employers, whether crabbers in Maryland or grand hotels in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the real calendar — not politics — makes the pressure very real and immediate.
Immigration reform is raising its head again in Congress, stirring old hopes and fears among Democrats and forcing Republicans to re-evaluate their tactics given the re-emergence of John McCain. Nothing is anticipated on the scale of the comprehensive immigration bill that collapsed in the Senate last year. But seasonal employers, such as the restaurant and tourism industries, are pressing hard for more H-2B visas for lower-skilled workers this summer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised Hispanic lawmakers an opportunity to add provisions addressing concerns in their community. A third potential piece is a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) — with the support of fellow “Blue Dog” Democratic moderates — that takes a more conservative approach: beefing up border security and requiring employers to use a government database to verify that their workers are in the U.S. legally. By Jay Fraser on March 5, 2008 at 10:53 PM

I have two questions for my readers:
1. Do you think either of these secret proposals will have any chance of passing before the election?
2. How will this impact the Political Debate, given the 3 candidates support CIR?

Hillary and Barack: Being Honest About NAFTA or just False Promises and Politics as Usual?

Were Hillary and Barack being honest when they said in the Ohio Debates the United States could "opt out" of the 14-year-old NAFTA pact if Canada and Mexico refuse to strengthen labor and environmental provisions and modify an investment chapter that critics say favors corporate interests too much?

Did Obama's senior economic adviser tell Canadian officials privately that Obama's criticism of the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico was "political positioning"?

Now, Reuter´s is reporting:
Mexico businessmen unfazed by U.S. NAFTA threats Thu Mar 6, 2008 5:13pm EST
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican factory owners are shrugging off threats by U.S. presidential candidates to retool a major free trade deal but say they would worry if the talk continues after election day in November. As they vie for the Democratic Party nomination, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have vowed to tell Canada and Mexico that the United States will pull out of the North America Free Trade Agreement unless labor and environmental standards are renegotiated. Yet even if one of them wins the November election against presumptive Republican nominee John McCain, a NAFTA supporter, few see Washington easily reopening the trade deal, the fruit of years of thorny negotiations. "I really doubt they would go through with it. They are just playing politics," said Cesar Castro, who heads Mexico's association of maquiladoras, the assembly-for-export factories that dot the border with the United States.

Castro said killing NAFTA or changing it to favor American workers would shut down Mexican factories and hurt employment in Mexico. "Illegal migration would spike and we all know they don't want that," he said.
By reducing or eliminating tariffs, NAFTA has helped make Mexico the No. 3 business partner with the United States, after Canada and China. "There are net benefits on both sides of the border, so I don't think they will touch it," said Jose Antonio Abogaber, who heads the chamber of shoe makers in the industrial state of Guanajuato. Conservative Mexican President Felipe Calderon's government has made clear it is happy with NAFTA the way it is, while warning against any move away from free trade. "NAFTA has been successful for each of the three countries," Economy Minister Eduardo Sojo told reporters in Toronto earlier this week. "What we need is more integration, not less integration."

Readers, What are you thoughts? We know John McCain will continue with NAFTA, Big Business and his partnerships with his RNC Cronies. What about the Dems? Will they make changes as they promised? Or will they say one thing and continue with politics as usual? Should we be concerned?
Is NAFTA a problem? If not, then why doesn´t McCain, HRC and BHO explain the real issues?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Night at the Caucus

The Texas Two Step: Primary & Caucus:
I voted yesterday and participated in the caucuses last evening. It was so exciting. This was my first caucus. It was very different than I expected. The caucuses started after the polls closed, at 7 pm. Actually, they started after the last person voted, so it was closer to 8 pm. Imagine 500 people standing outside on the lawn of an election center as people in line finished voting.

While on the lawn, they rounded us up into our precinct with one person holding up the precinct number sign. We had six or seven precincts. Each precinct had about 60 to 100 participants and we were all huddled up together in our groups.

After the last voter voted, they called out each precinct number and they hurded us into a section of the election center. Our precinct was second to the last called. As we were called, each group hooped and hollered. There was so much energy and excitement in the air, it was more like a pep rally.
I did notice something different, however. What I noticed was that for my suburb, there was a different ethnicity mix than I usually see when I go to the mall or bowling. I live in an affluent multi cultural suburb and this is reflected when I go shopping or out to dinner. The mix is generally: 55% Anglo (various ethnicities), 15% Hispanic, 15% Black, 15% Asian or Middle Eastern. At the election center, the mix was: 40% Anglo, 40% Black, 10% Asian-Middle Eastern, 10% Hispanic.

Once we went to our designated area, they asked for a volunteer Precinct Leader and a Secretary. I volunteered for secretary. Actually, since they told us outside they were looking for volunteers for each position, I volunteered outside. When we came inside, they all just voted for me. They had 2 volunteers for precinct leader and one person was elected. The leader and I worked out a plan to verify and sign up all the caucus members and their votes and ask for volunteer delegates. Since I was the secretary and signed everyone up, I saw that every Black voter and every mixed race couple (Black plus other) voted for Obama. Some of the yuppy career couples voted for Obama too. The majority of women (especially the self confident, outgoing, career women) and Hispanics voted for Hillary. I also noticed a number of young preppy youth voting for Hillary.

Throughout the caucus vote, we asked for volunteer delegates, indicating that the delegates needed to stay after everyone voted so we could vote on resolutions and who would go to the County Caucus. Now the caucus vote for my precinct was 60% Obama and 40% Hillary. However, the volunteers for delegates who stayed were 30% Obama and 70% Hillary. Consequently, by the end of the evening, all of the Obama supporters who volunteered as delegates became delegates for the Convention. Unfortunately, since we had so many Hillary volunteers for delegates, we had to draw names. I didn´t get it, but I was the first alternate. (boo hoo for me). I still have a shot, especially if someone drops out, since I am the 1st Alternate.

The events ran late into the evening and I did not arrive home until 11:30pm. The time flew and I was not tired at all, but my husband was already in bed. I watched CNN to check the stats from the evening. We had been checking periodically from the caucus so I already knew Hillary was the winner in TX, RI and Ohio.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Latinos' influence in primaries more important than ever

Like never before, Latino voters will make a significant difference in 2008, especially in Texas.

Latinos total one quarter of the Texas electorate and are about 3.6 million strong.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is thought to have a strong edge in the March 4 Primary, although younger Latinos seem to be giving Mr. Obama a serious look.

Mr. Obama has asked many long time voters for their support, many who seem unshakeable in their loyalty to Mrs. Clinton.

United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta has urged Latinos to vote for Senator Clinton. Dolores is held in high esteem by many Latinos and viewed as a heroine of Civil and Human Rights.

My predictions, based on local news, grocery store chatter and ear to the ground feedback:

Hillary Clinton will win the popular vote in Texas by +5%.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Economic Disasters Get Personal in Michigan, But Wait, Isn´t This What the ANTIs are Asking For?

Very Sad News. Due to the Economic Recession in Michigan, a number of schools are closing in Michigan, including the grade school I attended.
Bad Economic Times are happening all around us.

From the Lansing State Journal: Tumbling enrollment: Mid-Mich. cushions the impact by merging schools, closing buildings
Derek Wallbank & Al Miller Lansing State Journal
Cedar Street Elementary aide Kelly Donaldson and her colleagues saw the writing on the wall. Declining enrollment already had forced staff layoffs and program cuts. Then, the Mason school board voted in February to close the 324-student school. "We knew it was coming, but it's really sad," Donaldson said, choking back tears at the meeting where the school board voted unanimously to close the school. "It's like your family."

Experts predict few mid-Michigan parents and students will escape the changes with which local public school districts are grappling as the impact of lower birthrates and families leaving the state combine to create challenges not seen in Michigan public education in decades.
Across the tri-county area, school districts in Lansing, Mason, Eaton Rapids and St. Johns are considering or have implemented plans to close school buildings. Districts such as DeWitt have suspended future growth plans. Others, such as Charlotte, are taking hard looks at how future enrollment melds with existing facilities.

The problem, experts say, is that birthrates across mid-Michigan are down 15 percent in the last two decades. And Michigan's weak economy is exacerbating the problem, causing families to leave the state for economic reasons and curtailing an influx of new families. Michigan, with 1.6 million public school students, will have 20,000 to 25,000 fewer students each year through 2011. Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties, with more than 71,000 students today, will have about 4,000 fewer by then, according to Fred Ignatovich, a former Michigan State University professor who projects school enrollment for many area districts. "And it might even be heavier if this economic downturn persists," Ignatovich said.

For many mid-Michigan communities, that means a streamlined public education system with fewer teachers and students and more tough decisions about shuttering buildings, neighborhood blight, new taxes and rising educational standards. The changes come at a time when school funding - paid per student - is declining with the loss of each student. If local districts have 4,000 fewer students by 2011, they lose $30 million in state funding.


Question to my Viewers: Aren´t these "smaller economies" what many ANTIs are asking for when they talk about Reduced Immigration Levels and Deporting the 12M?

Predicting the March 4, 2008 Winners in TX and Ohio:

My March 4 Predictions:
Clinton: 57%
Obama: 43%
1. Clinton: 63%
2. Obama: 37%

Clinton, the Winner in both states.
I visited my relatives in San Antonio so I had about 10 hours of drive time this weekend. Since I need to stay awake for the drive, I stayed on the AM dial, flipping talk radio stations from city to city.
Let me start with the AM Shock Jocks:
They hate Obama. They are deplorable and they focused primarily on attacks on Obama. Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and ALL THE LOCALS, all of them, they ranted and ranted against Barack Huuuuuusssseeeiiinnnne Obama! All the rumors you hear about on the GOP and ANTI websites about Obama… the outfit, the church, the middle name (we should be able to use his middle name, is this America?? where there is smoke there is fire.....) it was ALL OVER THE PLACE! Then they went on and on… blah blah blah as the callers called in and wink wink elbow, elbow, …it is NOT me saying this, it is the CALLER!

I remember one elderly gentleman caller who said, “I don´t care! Anyone who hides his middle name has something to hide!” (wink, wink, terrorist) Then the AM Shock Jock saying, “Callers, let me know if you agree with me and my buddy Bob” as he requested callers to call in.
Nobody, none of these callers listen to Meet the Press or Chris Matthews on MSNBC Hardballin´ Around! These were good ole boys listenen´ to their their Local AMShockJocks as they do, Monday through Saturday, every day when they git up and work their tractors. This is heartland America. This is NOT the "Bradley" effect as occurred in LA. This is the "Good Ole Boy" effect!
I heard a few of them saying, “I am doing as Ann Coulter told us to do. I hate McCain for supporting the illeeeeeeeeeeegals! I am voting for Hillary just to show Dubya that he and the Republicans gotta change their ways!!”
As far as my predictions for Ohio, Ohio has been and will continue to be behind Clinton. They want a return to the prosperity of the 90´s. Who better than Hillary to get us there.
These are my predictions. Let´s see how close to correct I am.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Welcome to La Escuelita De Dee: The History of South Texas, Volume 1, Chapter 1

Welcome to La Escualita de Dee. Today, we are discussing the History of Southern Texas. Everyone thinks they know this, however, most do not.
MSN Encyclopedia:
The Republic of Texas, which existed for almost ten years before becoming part of the United States, was beset by many problems, principally financial ones. Although Texas had much land, until it was farmed by settlers little money would be available. To farm the land, however, white settlers would have to remove the native inhabitants by force. The first Texas election took place in September 1836, and Sam Houston defeated Stephen Austin to become the first president of the new Republic of Texas. Although the new republic was recognized by the United States and by several European countries, Mexico refused to recognize it, arguing that the treaty signed by Santa Anna claimed territory that was not part of the original state of Tejas. The republic asserted that the Río Grande from its mouth to its source was the western boundary of the new country, which would have given Texas parts of present-day New Mexico and Colorado. Mexico maintained that the southern boundary of Texas should be the Nueces River and not the Río Grande. In 1841 a trading expedition of Texans was sent to Santa Fe as the first step in a plan to secure the western boundaries of Texas. The group was captured by Mexican troops, and the captives were forced to march to Mexico City, where the survivors of the march were imprisoned. Mexican soldiers also periodically crossed into Texas and for short periods occupied San Antonio, Goliad, and Refugio. Finally, in February 1844, the Republic of Texas and Mexico signed an armistice. Difficulties with Mexico did not prevent more land grants to those who settled in the Republic of Texas. The population increased from an estimated 35,000 to 50,000 in 1821 to between 125,000 and 150,000 in 1836. German immigrants settled in central Texas, and other Europeans also established colonies. Most of the settlers had come from the United States to get the free land Texas was offering. Most of these new settlers joined Houston and his political supporters, who wanted the United States to annex the republic. As the land was settled, Native Americans were forced out. During the Texas Revolution, Houston had negotiated a treaty with the Cherokee that reserved lands in east Texas for the Cherokee. Texans had not approved the agreement, and now the republic refused to honor it. As settlers moved in, some Cherokee took matters into their own hands. Perhaps as many as 300 Cherokee joined about 100 Mexicans led by Vicente Cordova to camp on an island in east Texas and announced that they did not support the republic. A Texas army attacked and arrested all the leaders, and distrust between the Cherokee and whites increased. In December 1838 the Georgia-born soldier and politician Mirabeau B. Lamar was elected president of the republic. Lamar had no sympathy for Native Americans. He ordered the Cherokee out of the country. The Cherokee resisted, but at the Battle of the Neches in 1839 they were defeated and forced to go north to what is now Oklahoma, clearing east Texas for white settlement.
The United States Senate rejected a treaty to annex Texas in 1844, but it reversed that decision the following year, and Texas joined the Union on December 29, 1845. Under the treaty of annexation, Texas was responsible for all debts incurred by the republic. Mexico immediately broke off diplomatic relations with the United States. U.S. General Zachary Taylor was ordered to the Río Grande to enforce it as the Texas boundary. Mexico, however, held that the boundary was the Nueces River and considered Taylor’s advance a provocation. Mexico sent troops across the Río Grande. Congress responded by declaring war on Mexico on May 13, 1846. Many Texans participated in the Mexican War. Members of the Texas Rangers, a group formed on the eve of the Texas Revolution by Austin to protect Anglo-Americans from attacks by Comanche and Apache, acted as scouts for U.S. troops. Mexico was not defeated until troops under General Winfield Scott invaded Mexico City, which fell on September 14, 1847. Under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848, Mexico relinquished its claims to Texas, and the United States acquired land that would become the states of California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Among the notable aspects of the treaty, it set the Texas border at the Rio Grande. It provided for the protection of the property and civil rights of Mexican nationals who would now be living on U.S. soil.

Southern immigrants to Texas had brought their slaves with them after 1820, but the plantation system for growing cotton had not penetrated much farther than east Texas in 1861, when the American Civil War began. Pro-Union sentiment was strong in west Texas, because of the proximity to Mexico and because west Texans needed federal protection against the attacks of Native Americans, and in central Texas, where German settlers opposed slavery. Houston, who had been elected governor in 1859, was a staunch Unionist and strongly opposed secession. Nevertheless, at a convention held in February 1861, delegates voted to secede and join the Confederate States of America. Houston, despite his long service to Texas, was removed from office. The majority of Texans supported the Confederacy once secession took place. General John B. Hood’s Texas Brigade and Benjamin Franklin Terry’s Texas Rangers made notable contributions to Confederate forces. Early in 1862 an expedition of Texas troops, under General Henry H. Sibley, captured Santa Fe, New Mexico, but they were later forced to withdraw.
After the Civil War, Texas grew rapidly. Between 1870 and 1900 the population of Texas increased from 19th in the country (818,579) to sixth (3,048,710). In the 1880s railroads opened new lands on the Great Plains and across Texas, and farmers flocked to those areas and planted staple crops—wheat, corn, and cotton—encouraged by new mechanical reapers, barbed wire (which helped control wandering cattle), and better farming techniques. In 1868 a reservation in the Indian Territory was set aside for the Comanche and the Kiowa, but they continued raiding across the border into Texas, and the Apache left reservations in New Mexico to raid into Texas. In the early 1870s, U.S. troops, which included the all-black 10th and 11th units known as Buffalo Soldiers, began a vigorous campaign to keep Native Americans on the land set aside for them. Federal forces also fought Native Americans with the assistance of the Texas Rangers. The most effective weapons against Native Americans on the Plains were the decision to exterminate the buffalo by General William Tecumseh Sherman and the expansion of the railroad into the West. These actions destroyed Native American food supplies and forced them onto reservations. It is estimated that almost ten million bison were killed between 1871 and 1880 for sport, for food to feed people laying tracks for the railroad, and for the animals’ hides. The cattle industry also grew after the Civil War. Since the days of the Spanish missions, there had been cattle in Texas, but because of the long distance to markets, the cattle had little value. Ranching had been neglected during the Civil War, and vast herds of wild cattle roamed southwestern Texas, where the famed longhorn breed originated. Before the Civil War, cowboys riding horses had rounded up the cattle and driven them from East Texas to Louisiana markets, but after railroads were built from Chicago to Kansas it was possible to send beef to the large Chicago market. The first major cattle drive all the way from Texas to Kansas took place in 1866. As the railroads pushed farther west, the cowboys drove their herds to the railroad terminal points, called cow towns. The cow towns Wichita, Dodge City, and Abilene became identified with cowboys and the cattle trails from Texas.

By 1890 Texas produced more than 33 percent of the cotton grown in the United States. The crop financed the growth of Texas cities, especially Dallas and Houston.
Among the few Civil War battles fought in Texas were the Confederate victory at the Battle of Sabine Pass along the Texas-Louisiana border, and the capture of Galveston by Union forces, and its recapture by the Confederates. Because soldiers had not yet heard the news that the war had ended, the last battle of the Civil War occurred near Brownsville more than a month after Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered in Virginia. Black people in Texas did not hear of the Emancipation Proclamation—which President Abraham Lincoln had issued in 1863, to free the slaves in Confederate states—until June 19, 1865, when the Union Army landed in Galveston.
After the Civil War ended in 1865, the Southern states that had seceded from the Union were governed by a combination of appointed federal officials and the army until Congress readmitted them to the union. Ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, was among the requirements for readmission of the states. These amendments, respectively, prohibited slavery, gave citizenship to all born or naturalized in the United States while prohibiting political activity by those who had supported secession, and gave all citizens, regardless of color, the right to vote. The former slaves, or freedmen, were enfranchised (given the right to vote) by the 15th Amendment and, because the Democrats had led the South into the Civil War, blacks joined the Republican Party. Blacks, who could vote and hold office in Texas until they were disfranchised in the early 20th century, were the major source of Republican voting strength. They joined with Northern immigrants to the state and long-time opponents of Texas secession to elect Republican Edmund Davis as governor in 1870. The early success of the Republican Party in Texas was due primarily to a lack of unity on the part of white voters. Most whites objected to enfranchising blacks and joined the Democratic Party. When white Democrats did unite, they defeated Davis in 1874 but he refused to concede the election. He argued that organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan, a secret terrorist organization that was dedicated to white supremacy, had intimidated black and other potential Republican voters. Angry whites armed themselves and went to the capital in Austin to force Davis to leave office. When he found no support from the federal government, Davis stepped down.
Next Time: Volume 1, Chapter 2: Mexican Sharecroppers in Texas and the Southern Border

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