By Megan Burks
Latinos React to State of the Union Address
Some Latinos expressed disappointment following President Obama’s State of the Union address, saying the President was too soft-spoken on immigration. He pressed Congress to “at least” approve the DREAM Act “if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan.” He also defended the high deportation rate during his administration.
|Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.
That doesn’t make sense.
I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office. The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now.
But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away.
Raul Rodriguez said the President’s speech wasn’t encouraging for undocumented students and their families.
Left with little sign of a possible vote this year, combined with a record number of deportations under the Obama administration (including DREAM Act students), the president’s speech seemed more aimed at garnering campaign support than enacting substantive change.
I am a supporter of our current president. However, the continuous stream of political rhetoric without clear action has slowly begun to eat away at me.
For me, as for thousands of other undocumented students who are looking ahead toward graduation, the future has never seemed more uncertain.
Pablo Alvarado of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network issued this statement on the President’s address:
We are disappointed the President had so little to say about immigration, a topic that is so central to the country’s future. President Obama has become known for the dissonance between his rhetoric and reality on immigration. In a few short sentences, tonight’s speech showed the President’s strained attempt to straddle two opposites that cannot be bridged. He cannot pay lip service to legalization while backing policies that criminalize immigrants. He cannot offer the DREAM Act to students and deportations to their parents. The President has in the past claimed that he feels our community’s pain. We’ll know he’s sincere when he ends the programs that are inflicting it.
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Attorney General Sues SANDAG Over ‘Freeways First’ Plan
Attorney General Kamala Harris announced this week she’s suing the San Diego Association of Governments over the transportation plan it approved in October.
The Regional Transportation Plan lays out how the region will prioritize road and transit projects through 2050. It was the first attempt in the state to tackle new green house gas emissions targets outlined in Senate Bill 375.
Harris joins local and state environmental groups who say the plan focuses too much on freeway expansion. Many have said they’d like to see new transit lines added before lanes for cars.
“The 3.2 million residents of the San Diego region already suffer from the seventh worst ozone pollution in the country,” Harris said in a news release. “Spending our transit dollars in the right way today will improve the economy, create sustainable jobs and ensure that future generations do not continue to suffer from heavily polluted air.”
SANDAG says the plan meets the state’s emissions reduction targets: 7 percent by 2020 and 13 percent by 2035.
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Poll: Voters Support Governor’s Tax Initiative
HealthyCal.org reports a majority of California voters support a tax increase to fill the state budget gap.
Gov. Jerry Brown released a budget proposal earlier this month that relies on voters to approve higher taxes in November. Without their support, the governor said he’ll automatically cut $5 billion from public education. The proposed budget also calls for deep cuts to CalWorks and other social services.
In a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, 68 percent of likely voters said they would support the governor’s tax initiative, which would raise taxes on the wealthy and increase the state’s sales tax. Voter approval, however, would not restore current funding levels for the state’s safety net.
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