Friday, June 04, 2004

NCM > 'Anti-Sanctuary' Vote Defeated in U.S. Congress

NCM > 'Anti-Sanctuary' Vote Defeated in U.S. Congress

'Anti-Sanctuary' Vote Defeated in U.S. Congress
El Norte Digest

NCM, News Digest,
Compiled and edited by Marcelo Ballve, Jul 24, 2003

Traducción al español.

'Anti-Sanctuary' Vote Defeated in U.S. Congress

Democrats said they defeated a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would have cut off federal funds for law enforcement agencies in so-called sanctuary cities, which bar police from reporting undocumented immigrants to federal authorities.

Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Republican from Colorado known for his efforts to put curbs on immigration, introduced a bill July 22 that would have prevented any U.S. Justice Department funds from going to Houston, San Francisco, and other cities that have sanctuary policies.

Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, a Democrat and Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said, "Once again in the dark of night, Mr. Tancredo and his Republican allies attempted to tack on yet another amendment that attempts to legislate an anti-immigrant agenda."

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said the 302-122 vote that defeated the amendment showed many Republicans do not really back a pro-Hispanic program.

Tancredo was also defeated recently in an effort to cut off U.S. Department of Homeland Security funds for cities with sanctuary policies, which he argues clash with federal immigration laws. In a speech on the House floor July 16, speaking about that vote, Tancredo said: "We could not even get a majority of the people in this body to agree that the laws that we have already passed in the United States should be enforced. Amazing."

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg was reconsidering his recent order scrapping the city's longstanding "don't tell" sanctuary policy.

A Bracero Monument Contemplated in San Jose

The braceros, Mexican guest workers who labored on U.S. farms and laying down railroad tracks beginning in the World War II years, want a monument in San Jose that recognizes their contributions, reports El Observador, a San Jose-based bilingual weekly.

The braceros have been in the news lately because of their legal struggle to regain funds they say are owed to them by the federal government. In the 1940s through the 1960s, when the bracero program was operating, the U.S. government was supposed to pay a certain amount of a workers' salary once they returned to Mexico. Many braceros say they never received that money.

Meanwhile, braceros have been able to persuade California city governments, such as Fresno and Stockton, to build monuments in their honor, according to the July 17 story in El Observador by reporter Margarita Perez. The ex-braceros living in San Jose now want the same treatment.

The ex-braceros, many of whom worked around San Jose in the bracero years and now live there as U.S. citizens, presented a letter requesting the monument to San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, who last year recognized Sept. 29 as International Bracero Day. The braceros hope that this year, a monument can be erected in time for that date. Pedro Cantor, an ex-bracero, was quoted as saying, "At the time (of the bracero program), this country was fighting fascism and with our manual labor we harvested the crops and laid down the rail lines that kept this country fed."

Salvadoran Elections Focus on Migrant Issues

With 1 million Salvadorans estimated to be living in the United States, the politicians seeking to be the country's next president in March 2004 elections can hardly afford to ignore the issues of U.S. Salvadorans, although Salvadorans cannot vote from overseas.

Oscar Ortíz, who wants to be the presidential candidate of the leftist FMLN party, told Los Angeles-based weekly El Salvador Día a Día that if elected he would create a Cabinet-level department to deal with the affairs of U.S.-based Salvadorans.

Ortiz, currently the mayor of Santa Tecla, also told the Spanish-language weekly that he would push for Salvadorans to be able to vote from overseas.

Ortiz's FMLN recently triumphed in local and legislative elections in the country of 6.4 million people. The governing ARENA party, which is conservative, is on the defensive after leading the nation through a rapid program of privatization that was supported by the United States, but has not been able to create enough jobs.

The newspaper asked Ortíz what he would do to prevent the exodus of Salvadorans overseas: "We need a government that is capable of attacking poverty, that is able to govern for a majority of Salvadorans so that we can instill optimism and hope and say that this country is theirs, and that they can invest in it."


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