A project of the Center for Community Change


Immigrant Families Rebuke Jeb Bush: Call for Path to Citizenship


For English language Media: Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org, 202-339-9331, 202-441-3798 (cell)

For Spanish language Media: Ricardo Ramirez, rramirez@communitychange.org (202) 905-1738

Immigrant Families Rebuke Jeb Bush: Call for Path to Citizenship

Bush’s Flip-flop on Citizenship Puts Politics Before People

(WASHINGTON)—Immigrant families fueling a national bus tour with their stories of hardship dealing with the current broken immigration system rebuked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for flip-flopping on his support for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as he looks down the road to the 2016 election.

“He’s putting politics over people, the same people he has supported for all these years,” said Janet Alvarez Magallanes, who was part of the California leg of the bus tour. “I am American, my children were born here but my husband could be deported any day. For me and for my kids, we’ll be very devastated if he gets taken away.”

In an interview Monday on the “Today” show, Bush said that he does not think that most Latinos wanted to become citizens. But public opinion surveys indicate that Latino immigrants do want to naturalize. The Pew Hispanic Center recently released a study that shows that “more than nine-in-ten (93 percent) who have not yet naturalized say they would if they could.”

“Jeb Bush has decided that rather than forge a new path for the Republican Party and be a leader on immigration reform, he will kowtow to conservatives and embrace their brand of exclusionary politics,” said Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a coalition of immigrant rights organizations putting on the bus tour. “If he thinks taking this severe right turn in his thinking on immigration reform will win him the Latino vote, he is sorely, sorely mistaken.”

“We renew our call for the Senate to meet the March 21 deadline to introduce a bill. The voices of families on this national tour will be heard by all lawmakers and we will not accept a system which creates a permanent underclass of people who have no pathway to citizenship and full equality.  The very notion is un-American,” Matos added.

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FIRM Spotlight: Students in WI force Rep. Ryan to distance himself from FAIR

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) has been forced to rewrite his own history in the past few days. Ryan recently granted an interview to FAIR (the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform) during their “Hold their Feet to the Fire” event here in Washington, DC last month.

For those of you who are regular readers, you are familiar with FAIR. For those of you who aren’t, the rundown is this: they are a designated hate group by the SPLC and are a part of the John Tanton network that has extensive ties to the White Supremacist movement. In short, they are the force working against our pro-immigrant movement.

Students working with Voces de la Frontera, a FIRM partner, in Racine, WI organized a rally against Rep. Ryan for his involvement with FAIR. From local newspaper the Journal:

A group of about 50 people marched outside of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s Downtown Racine office at 216 Sixth St. on Tuesday, angered by the Janesville Republican’s decision to grant an interview during an event sponsored by an immigration reform organization in Washington, D.C.

Apparently, the students made a big impact: that same day Rep. Ryan released a statement distancing himself from FAIR and his name has since been pulled from their website as a “participant” in last month’s “Hold their Feet to the Fire” event.

It is so important for lawmakers and the media to recognize groups like FAIR for what they really are: extremists. Many of these groups (and especially FAIR) can all be traced to one central figure, John Tanton.

“He’s a central player in the organization. He’s not some ancillary guy. He’s got this terrible legacy,” Beirich said of Tanton, who ran the organization for a few decades and now serves on its board. “Frankly he’s an extremist. He’s funded white supremacist groups. He’s hung out with white supremacists.”

Congratulations to the student activists in Wisconsin for their victory yesterday.

Racine Voces de la Frontera coordinator Maria Morales also sees this as a victory.

“FAIR is a thinly veiled hate group that too often gets into the mainstream media as a legitimate counterpoint of view. When Representatives like Ryan disassociate themselves from FAIR it helps to discredit them,” she explains. “Now we need Ryan to do more. Many families in Racine are suffering because of a broken immigration system. We need him to work with us towards comprehensive immigration reform.”

Can you feel the momentum building? I can.

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Groups Distance themselves from Shawna Forde, violence


Since the news of the brutal murder of Brisenia Flores and her father Raul broke, groups like the Minutemen, ALIPAC and FAIR have been doing their best to distance themselves from Shawna Forde – the alleged ringleader in the murders.

Long Island Wins has a great piece up about their attempt to “re-write history”:

The arrest of three Minutemen for the murders of a Latino man and his 9 year old daughter has led to a rewriting of history on anti-immigrant sites around the country. All of a sudden, no one knew the three killers, even though one of them was a prominent figure in the movement.

Shawna Forde, who allegedly cooked up the deadly plot to raise money for political action had close ties to Jim Gilchrist, the one the two founders of the Minutemen. His website had defended her against criticism from other anti-immigrant activists as recently as January of this year. Yet, if you go to his site today, pages that Google says listed her have been scrubbed.

Same thing with VDARE, the homepage of educated racism. The site had an article criticizing a newspaper that had called Forde’s claims of having been abducted by aliens (Latino immigrants, not space monkeys) far-fetched. The page was scrubbed. It only exists as a Google cache and will soon disappear. Cowards. If you want to back up a woman her brother describes as a sociopathic liar you should at least leave your endorsement up when she is also shown to be a psychopathic murderer.

Chris Simcox is one of the founders of the Minuteman militias. His name is familiar to some Long Islanders because of his role in trying to create an armed anti-immigrant militia group here on Long Island at the behest of the now defunct Sachem Quality of Life organization, a one-time ally of Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. Simcox is now running for Senate against John McCain in the Republican primary in Arizona. I went to his web site and noticed that he stopped posting as soon as the three Minutemen were arrested for the Arizona murders.

A lot of Minuteman groups around the country are claiming they never heard of her and that she was not involved in their movement. Or, they are claiming that they did know her but didn’t really have anything to do with her. None of this seems to fit the known facts about her and her involvement with the top leadership of the organization, with men who have been frequent guests on FOX News and Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Jeff Schwilk, the leader of the San Diego Minutemen, in his denial of involvement with Shawna Forde gave the most damning statement about her and his own armed militia: “I’ve been concerned about her and her impact on our movement… Irrational people with assault rifles at the border is a recipe for disaster.”

Exactly what I’ve been saying since I first heard of the Minutemen.

H/T to Long Island Wins blog!

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