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La Voz de los Líderes: Alexandra Cruz's High Hopes for the Immigration Summit

Posted by Jossie Flor Sapunar on 10/01/2012 @ 05:09 PM

Written by: Alexandra Cruz

Living in Los Angeles, California, a place where immigration is always news-worthy, it’s unavoidable to not get wrapped in conversations of immigration reform. This whirlwind of policies, laws, promises, and ideas has become an issue too complicated even for those who are going through the process. In a city of glitz and glamour, the topic of immigration is alive and well—gossip amongst comadres and compadres about these issues is typical; especially in Spanish-language media, where radio hosts report to their listeners locations of migra raids.

When I ask my father for the reason for uprooting my mother, brother, and sister, he responds by saying he wants his children to be leaders of society, clearly stating, “I want you to be educated. This opportunity of obtaining education is the only possible inheritance I can give you and your siblings.” It boggles my mind to think that education for his children was the only motivation for his drastic sacrifice. When he left Guatemala, he knew he would be a lost cause, unable to build a future at thirty-five in another country, but he was able to set aside his goals so that his children could have the potential for success.

Now look at my family almost twenty-five years later and explore the results of his sacrifice. My brother is a graduate from Georgetown University and president of a non-profit organization in Los Angeles. My sister—an honor roll graduate from the California State University, Los Angeles, and working as a child social worker for the county. Lastly myself—entering my final year as an undergraduate from the University of California, Riverside and interning at Washington D.C. with LULAC, the most prestigious Latino organization in the country.

For those attending the Immigration Summit on October 4th, I urge you to come with the mentality of helping and bettering the future of our society. We need to look forward and figure out what would be the best route for comprehensive immigration reform so that everyone may have the same prospects for success that I have had.

My hope for the Immigration Summit is to clear out biased political ideas and to set in motion a clear route towards comprehensive immigration reform. Undocumented citizens could then concentrate on academic achievement without the fear of deportation and the inability of continuing their education, emotions that have vexed my fellow classmates who lack citizenship and yet still hope to be successful. If we can find a solution that allows the youth to achieve their highest potential within society, we have found then a solution to all this chaos, in my idealistic mind. This is my hope as a first generation, Californian, Guatemalan-American, female, and LULAC intern. I am a product of the greatest sacrifice; let our future generation be a product of our compromise and sacrifice as well.

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GOP Seeks to "Woo" the Hispanic Electorate

Posted by Jossie Flor Sapunar on 08/29/2012 @ 03:30 PM

Previous Republican presidential candidate John McCain with LULAC National President Margaret Moran at the 2008 LULAC Convention.

As the GOP Convention continues to gain momentum, the Hispanic community has its ears perked high. We have indeed noticed that the Republican Party is trying to appeal to Latinos—just check out their list of speakers for the RNC.

On the first day of the convention, Reverend Sammy Rodriguez of the Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference gave the closing benediction. Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño is speaking for three days, and so is his wife, Lucé Vela. Senate Republican candidate Ted Cruz (who we blogged about before) and Puerto Rican Zoraida Fonalledas are addressing attendees today while Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico will speak tomorrow. In addition, Senator Marco Rubio will provide remarks on Thursday before Mitt Romney formally accepts the GOP nomination for president.

Oh, they’ve got our attention.

The arsenal of elected Latino officials is a clear message to the Hispanic electorate: the GOP is Latino-friendly. LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes, however, believes that Republicans will have a hard time winning over the Hispanic electorate when the party has embraced policies that voters perceive as punitive.

He pointed to the platform the party will ratify today. It calls for the federal government to complete a fence along the border with Mexico; would deny federal funds to state universities that allow illegal immigrants to pay the discounted in-state tuition; and requires all U.S. businesses to use the government’s E-Verify program that checks for immigration status.

President Obama with LULAC National President Margaret Moran at the 2008 LULAC Convention.

In addition, the platform puts the party on record as opposing “any forms of amnesty” for illegal immigrants, instead endorsing “humane procedures to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily,” also known as self-deportation.

It’s a hardline approach, Wilkes said, that makes it hard for Hispanics to embrace the GOP. And, he said, it’s a departure from past platforms and the attitude of President George W. Bush, who tried to seek immigration reforms and was rewarded at the polls. Bush, he said, received an estimated 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004, while Sen. John McCain garnered only 31 percent in 2008.

Wilkes said that Romney “doesn’t have a right to ask for Latino votes with policies” like those in GOP platform.

The other option for voters would be Obama and the Democratic Party. Even with President Obama’s recent executive action for childhood arrivals, there is disappointment that he did not deliver on the immigration reform promises he made to voters in 2008.

Latinos will just have to decide which party’s candidates best satisfy their individual needs when they vote in November.

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