Sarah Palin told NBC's Matt Lauer this morning that one of the major reasons the GOP lost the presidency this year was the ticket's failure to win over Hispanic voters in sufficient numbers.
The liberal blog The Daily Kos seems to get this as well as it analyzes how the GOP blew it with Latino voters. The most interesting part for me was Markos Moulitsas' statement regarding the likelihood that Rahm Emanuel, someone who tried to obstruct movement on immigration legislation because he thought it could hurt the Democrats, will likely change his views in light of the electionr results:
Some Democrats are already ready to push forward and are thinking in a post 11/4/2008 mindset. One is Luis Gutierrez who held a news conference this week to urge US citizens with family and friends needing immigration legislation to begin filling out petitions to be delivered to the new President in January.
Gutierrez told the Chicago Tribune that he feels bolstered by the storng showing last week of immigrant voters. Gutierrez has already spoken to Rahn Emanuel about the topic and, according to Gutierrez, both agreed that they will need some Republican support despite the increased Democratic numbers. But given the emerging realization by many in the GOP that they need to begin winning back Hispanic voters, it is getting easier to envision that cooperation happening.
Indian-born fashion model Padma Lakshmi is a good example of someone who has pulled off a successful second act in life. She was a top fashion model for several years and graced the covers of several magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Newsweek (shown here).
Lakshmi has shifted in to a new field - food maven. She's written two highly successful cookbooks and is the host of the Bravo reality show, Top Chef.
The New York Times Deborah Sontag has written one of the best reports I've so far seen on the difficult subject of health care and immigrants. Sontag's story focuses on what hospitals do who receive seriously injured and ill immigrant patients - both legally and illegally present - who lack health insurance. The report discusses the variety of responses hospitals have had in dealing with patients whose care can be extraordinarily expensive. Some force out patients and act to repatriate them to hospitals outside the US. Unlike American patients, Medicaid is not an option and reimbursement from the federal government stopped last month when a law providing for such assistance expired.
Who are the bad guys here?
The hospitals? Hospitals that force out patients who may face life threatening circumstances? But health care costs are driven up for everyone else and hospitals are facing the financial crisis as well. Is it fair that they are forced to bear the costs?
The patients? Should people illegally present be permitted to pass the costs on to American hospitals or the American government? And what about their home country governments that often seem to lose interest if they find out someone else is paying. On the other hand, many of these people have worked extremely hard and provided benefits to the American public, particularly those who are employed in backbreaking jobs. And contrary to what most people believe, they pay taxes. They pay sales taxes and in large percentage of cases, they're paying income taxes as well.
How about Congress? If we had a guest worker program, many of these people would potentially have access to health insurance. And how about the broken health care system that has left so many American citizens destitute simply because they had the misfortune to get sick? How many years must pass before Congress tackles this thorny problem.
The article presents a lot of tough questions and I don't pretend to have the answers. I have hope, however, that we're finally at a stage as a country where our leaders will begin tackling these issues and passing needed reforms after decades of gridlock.
Mel Martinez is a Cuban-born Republican US Senator from Florida. He came to the US as a refugee in 1962 as part of Operation Peter Pan, a Catholic Church-sponsored initiative that brought 14,000 children to the United States. Senator Martinez practiced law for 25 years in his home town of Orlando and was elected in 2004 to replace Democrat Bob Graham.
Senator Martinez is also one of that rare breed of pro-immigrant Republicans who supported comprehensive immigration reform. In 2006, Martinez was named as Chairman of the Republican National Committee in part because of his party's concern about the drop in support for Republicans with Hispanic voters. But when he warned his party that it risked permanent minority status if it continued with the anti-Hispanic tone, he was shown the door. Now that it has become clear that he GOP will never win the White House again if they don't improve their standing with the growing Latino voter population, I expect Senator Martinez's stock to begin to rise again.
Senator Martinez was on Meet the Press this morning and he discussed the election with Tom Brokaw. Specifically, the two talked about the impact of the Hispanic vote on the election. Martinez noted that Hispanic voters shifted enough to the Democrats to cost the GOP the state of Florida. Brokaw brought up the article in USA Today from Friday that had these quotes:
Bush was popular with Hispanics and, along with McCain, tried to pass an immigration bill that would have allowed about 12 million illegal immigrants to earn citizenship. But a fierce backlash from conservatives has led to an anti-immigrant image for the Republican Party.
Obama also carried 75% of U.S.-born Hispanics and he won 35% of the Cuban vote itself, "the highest any Democratic candidate has ever scored," [Democratic pollser Fernand] Amandi says. "This shows a road map for Democrats to win in Florida for generations."
In Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, analysts see a replay of California's demographic and political evolution. California hasn't voted for a GOP nominee since George H.W. Bush in 1988. "If these trendlines continue, Texas and Arizona will be in play in 2012," Rosenberg says.
Martinez agreed that the Republicans have a serious math problem and he referred to statements made by Jeb Bush saying the same thing.
The biggest gift the Democrats could give the Republicans would be to ignore Hispanic voters and skip dealing with immigration. Should this happen, if I were Mel Martinez I would focus on convincing my party to take a position something along these lines: "The Democrats promised you progress on immigration, but it was just talk. They take you for granted. Come back to the Republican Party - the party that more closely fits your values - and we'll deliver. Remember, it was a Republican President that fought for comprehensive immigration reform. Our party committed to getting control of illegal immigration first and then moving forward with more comprehensive reform. President Bush delivered on enforcement. And the Republicans will deliver on the rest if you give us the chance."
My friend Margaret Wong is trying to help the President-Elect's aunt reopen her case and seek a legal way to remain in the US. Good luck, Margaret and Aunt Zeituni.
Unfortunately, too many Republicans still think the anti-immigration position of the party is working for them. Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar knows better. When exit polls from Tuesday show 68% of Latinos think the GOP is anti-immigrant, you've got a problem. The shift in Latino support to the Democrats could be in place for generations if the GOP doesn't quickly take steps to show it is a pro-immigration party.
Some okay news on family visas. Generally bad news on employment numbers. Here are the highlights:
Family 1st - Advancement of worldwide, China and India numbers by three weeks to 22 May 2002. Mexico moves up a week to 22 September 1992 and the Philippines moves up a month to 1 June 1993.
Family 2A - Worldwide, India, China and the Philippines numbers advance almost two months to 1 April 2004. Mexico jumps two weeks to 1 August 2001
Family 2B - Worldwide, India and China numbers advance one month to 15 February 2000. Mexico moves a week to 1 May 1992. The Philippines advance one month to 15 July 1997.
Family 3rd - Three week advance for Worldwide, India and China to 22 July 2002. One week advance for Mexico to 1 October 1992. One week advance for the Philippines to 15 May 1991.
Family 4th - Worldwide numbers advance six weeks to 1 January 1998. China moves five weeks to 15 July 1997. India advances seven weeks to 15 September 1997. Mexico moves three weeks forward to 15 February 1995. The Philippines moves up three weeks to 15 April 1986.
Employment 1st - All categories remain current.
Employment 2nd - Worldwide, Mexico and the Philippines remain current. India remains stalled at 1 June 2003. China remains stalled at 1 June 2004.
Employment 3rd skilled/professional workers - All numbers are stalled and there is no movement. Worldwide and Filipino numbers are at 1 May 2005. China is at 1 February 2002. India is at 1 October 2001. Mexico is at 1 September 2002.
Employment 3rd unskilled - All numbers remain stalled 15 January 2003.
Employment 4th - The "other religious workers" category is current again reflecting Congress' extension of the category until next March.
EB-5 remains current.
Some are talking. Anti-H-1B Computerworld writer Patrick Thibodeau is concerned enough that he's trying to rile up the troops.
Electronic filing and processing of immigration applications has been something USCIS has been promising for years, but we're still stuck with an agency with mid-90s technology. Does USCIS really mean it this time?
This is the first I've heard of a slate of candidates making a pro-immigration agenda their primary campaign issue take over a local city council. This should be interesting.
President-Elect Obama has just announced the members of the team of advisers who will be making recommendations on the appointment of officials in the new Administration. One of those advisers will be Sonal Shah, an Indian-born economist who is on Google's global development team. She also heads up Google's philanthropic activities. Prior to this, she was the vice president of Goldman Sachs.
Ms.Shah is the co-founder of Indicorps, a US-based non-profit organization offering one-year fellowships for Americans of Indian origi to work on development projects in India. She's also served as the Associate Director for Economic and National Security Policy at the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington. At CAP she focused on trade, outsourcing and national security policy. And she spent eight years working at the US Department of the Treasury.
Given these accomplishments, it is no surprise the 40 year old Ms. Shah was named in 2003 as India Abroad's Person of the Year. What will be a surprise is if we don't continue to see the very able Ms. Shah playing an important role in the Obama Administration.
Those of us who are products of the University of Chicago Law School are extremely proud of faculty member President-Elect Barack Obama. A couple of other faculty members are said to be on the short list for senior Administration positions and even the Supreme Court.
First and foremost, we will have four more years of a pro-immigration President. We knew that before the first vote was cast because both Senator McCain and President-Elect Obama have well-established records and said most of the right things in the campaign.
The specifics of the President-elect's plans on immigration are far from clear, however. While he presumably signed off on the Democratic Party platform call for enacting comprehensive immigration reform within the first year of his Administration, he never referred to a timetable in any of his remarks on immigration. In the races in the House and the Senate, Democrats had an evening that in a normal year would be considered excellent, though some of the predictions of massive pickups in both Houses that were predicted did not happen. The Democrats will pick up probably a half dozen seats in the Senate and about 20 seats in the House of Representatives. The Democrats did not reach the magic number of 60 in the Senate that would stop filibusters, but on immigration issues, that number is not necessarily critical. There are a few pro-immigration Republicans and anti-immigration Democrats and it’s not always easy to predict how votes will go. Yes, sixty votes can keep a bill moving, but that sixty will very likely be a combination mostly comprised of Democrats with a few critical Republican votes. The key is that the Democratic Party is clearly the more pro-immigration of the two major parties so the increase in the Democrats’ ranks will make it easier to get immigration legislation passed. Whether the numbers are enough are hard to tell at this point. Ballot measures Immigration was on the ballot in a few states, though the measures were someone modest in comparison to bills that have passed in the last couple of years. Here’s the quick run down: Missouri overwhelmingly passed a bill making English the state’s official language. Arizona failed to pass a referendum that ratified legislation softening the state’s notoriously tough employer sanctions law. California voters rejected a referendum that would have barred illegally present immigrants from being able to secure bonds in criminal cases. Florida voters failed to support a measure that would have prohibited the state from regulating property ownership by people ineligible for US citizenship (the measure was designed to address a 1926 law allowing Asians to be barred from property ownership) Oregon voters rejected a referendum that would have limited to one to two years the amount of time a student can be taught primarily in a language other than English. How the immigration issue played around the country The real immigration story in this year’s election was the lack of immigration as an issue in the election. In 2006, candidates could not get enough of promoting themselves as get-tough-on-immigration candidates and we saw commercials touting the border fence, worksite raids, and, of course, no “amnesty”. Immigration had ranked as late as last summer as the number one issue for 12% of the US population and immigration ranked number two on the list of issues of most importance to Americans. In November 2008, most Americans don’t think a lot about the subject anymore. Fewer than 1% consider immigration the most important issue and on the list of most important issues, immigration now ranks 12th. Some candidates decided to make an issue over immigration in this race, but no one seemed to care. Even a last minute story about the illegal status of President-Elect Obama’s aunt was barely noticed by voters. With the exception of Utah Republican Chris Cannon losing his primary race largely due to his immigration views, there is little evidence that taking an anti-immigration position significantly helped any candidate this year. The one candidate that made immigration a major issue didn’t succeed in the race. Republican Lou Barletta, the mayor of Hazleton, Pennsylvania who was responsible for one of the nation’s toughest immigration ordinances, narrowly lost to Democratic incumbent Paul Kanjorski. The New Republic’s James Kirchik goes further and claims that the GOP’s anti-immigration positions seriously damaged the party: The Latino Vote The one group that immigration mattered to was the nation's Latino population. And the vote clearly shows a major problem with the Republican brand with Republicans. 68% of Hispanics surveyed indicated they felt that Republicans don't have a favorable view of immigrants, something that clearly hurt the GOP in several key states. Congress and the President may be influenced to some extent by the fact that the Latino American community had a large role in last night's results. America's Voice crunched the numbers:
The Latino Vote Surged in Size: The Latino vote comprised at least 8% of the overall electorate, according to exit polling. This works out to approximately 10.5 million voters, given the expected 130 million votes cast. This figure represents a jump of 3 million voters since 2004, when 7.6 million Latinos cast ballots, and is almost double the Latino turnout of 2000. The Latino Vote Broke Democratic: In 2004, Democratic candidate John Kerry won the Latino vote 56-44% against George W. Bush. Yesterday, Barack Obama won the Latino vote by a 66-32% margin against John McCain, and even won a majority of Latino support in Florida, a former Latino stronghold for the GOP. Given the increased size of the Latino electorate, this means that 2.9 million more Latino votes went to the Democratic candidate compared to 2004. Barack Obama Swept the “Latino Battleground” States: Both the Obama and McCain campaigns focused their Spanish-speaking advertising and outreach on four key battleground states – CO, FL, NM, and NV. Within these states, the Latino vote’s rapid growth and break towards Democratic candidates played an important role in Democratic victories. CO: The Latino vote in CO grew from 8% of the state’s electorate in 2004 to 17% in 2008. Obama gained support of 73% of CO Latinos – key to his 53-46% victory in the state, as well as the Udall Senate victory. FL: The Latino vote’s shift towards the Democrats was essential in Obama’s win. FL Latinos broke 56-44% for Bush in 2004 and 57-42% for Obama in 2008. NM: Latinos comprised 41% of the NM 2008 electorate – a jump from their 32% in 2004. Latinos in NM supported Obama 69-30% -- a big jump from 56-44% support for Kerry. NM Latinos’ trend towards Democrats played a huge role in the Presidential race and in handing the open Senate seat and two Congressional races (NM-1 and NM-2) to the Democrats. NV: Latinos in NV supported Kerry 60-39% in 2004 and Obama 78-20% in 2008. Latinos in NV also increased from 10% of electorate in ’04 to 16% in 2008, and played a key role in handing the NV-3 Congressional seat to the Democrats. John McCain’s Support Among Latinos Was More Dole than Bush: John McCain’s received just 32% of Latinos’ support nationwide – closer to the Republicans’ low-water mark of 21% support received by Bob Dole in 1996 than the high-water mark of 44% received by George W. Bush in 2004. Voters Broadly Rejected Anti-Immigrant Candidates and Politics: Voters defeated leading anti-immigrant crusaders such as Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4), Thelma Drake (VA-02), Lou Barletta (running for Rep. Kanjorski’s seat in PA-11), and possibly Virgil Goode (VA-5) (race too close to call at press time), and supported candidates with practical and common sense approaches for fixing our nation’s broken immigration system like Dina Titus (taking Rep. Porter’s seat in NV-3), Bill Foster (IL-14), Jim Himes (taking Rep. Shays’ seat in CT-4), Rep. Giffords (AZ-8), and many others. In the Senate, new pro-reform senators include Mark Warner in VA, Jeanne Shaheen in NH, Mark Udall in CO, Kay Hagan in NC, and Tom Udall in NM. Latinos around the country can and should demand action on immigration, an issue on which they've been extraordinarily patient.
The nation's largest Kosher meat and poultry processing plant has declared bankruptcy in the wake of a massive immigration raid and criminal charges being filed against high level officials of the company.
The company is still operating, though it is down to a fraction of the staff that previously worked at the company. The company is now operating with 250 workers, down from 700 following the raid (most of whom were employees of a staffing company).
The company supplies 60% of the nation's Kosher meat and the troubles at the company have already had a serious impact on the market. According to the Associated Press:
Experts said Agriprocessors provided about 60 percent of the nation's supply of kosher meat, with most of that coming from the Postville plant. The company also operates a plant near Gordon, Neb.
"That's potentially devastating. What's worse, the Postville plant was supplying many smaller communities almost exclusively," said Joe Regenstein, a kosher food expert at Cornell University. "It had a unique distribution niche."
He said production at the plant has slowed so much in recent weeks that the impact is already being felt in smaller communities. Regenstein said the reduced supply also hurts urban Jewish communities, but they can more easily find other suppliers.
"It would have to take a major effort for someone to up their production," Regenstein said. "If they had the meat they could distribute it, but I'm not sure the infrastructure is in place for someone to step in and take over operation of the plant."
Rabbi Morris Allen of the Beth Jacob Congregation in St. Paul, Minn., said Jews throughout the country depend on Agriprocessors.
"It's a tragedy it's had to come to this," Allen said.
DHS announces that the head of ICE will be gone by November 15th. She would likely be replaced in a few months anyway when President-Elect Obama names his choice for the job.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org