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Colorado’s 6th U.S. House District—These Are The People Who Elect Immigrant Basher Tom Tancredo

  

Immigrant-basher Tom Tancredo is a U.S. Representative from Colorado and a candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination. 

As a member of the Colorado House, Mr. Tancredo was a member of a group called ” the crazies.” These were representatives engaged in extreme tax cutting in Colorado. Before joining Congress, Mr. Tancredo was head of a libertarian think tank.

Congressman Tancredo has written the book  In Mortal Danger  about immigration to the United States. ( That title might also cover the genocide of Native Americans that made white settlement in Colorado possible.) He has called Miami a “third-world country.” Mr. Tancredo wants to tax money that immigrants send back home. He may feel that Mexico is not poor enough already. 

Here is the Tancredo Watch blog which stopped adding new entries when Mr. Tancredo announced he would not be running for reelection.

I’ve wondered who would elect such a mean person to Congress? ( I know— Plenty of people would.)

Representative Tancredo represents the 6th District of Colorado.

Here is information about the 6th District of Colorado from the 2008 Almanac of American Politics.

” Two generations ago, most people in metro Denver lived inside the city itself….Today, more than three-quarters of metro Denver residents live outside the city, some in long-settled suburbs, some in huge new subdivisions raised up in the 1990’s and 2000’s…..You can see the boundaries to these areas in Littleton, originally a long-settled suburb just south of Denver, but now extending to vast new tracts; this is the site of the massacre at the Columbine High School….Just south of Littleton is Douglas County…from 1990 to 2003 it was the fastest growing county in the United States as young families moved into 35 acre “ranchettes”…and took high paying telecommunications jobs.

In 2000, Douglas was the nation’s most affluent county in median household income and had the smallest percentage of people living in poverty….This is patio land, as David Brooks has described, with a high-tech economy, a highly educated population with relatively conservative cultural values, family men and women who want to create a safe, comfortable environment for their children with the serenity if not the personal ties of the traditional small town…”The fastest growing regions of the country tend to have the highest concentrations of children, young families move away from what they perceive as disorder, vulgarity and danger and move to places like Douglas County,” Brooks wrote…”

Just a few thoughts–    

What took place at Columbine High School was awful, but can you imagine how mean some of those kids must have been to students who were different or perceived as “losers.” You don’t deserve to die for insulting people, yet one wonders what adult supervision and help there was to create a culture of respect in the schools of a community such as the one detailed above. It’s clear enough that the parents in that school district were content to have a Congressman make his name off of attacking people who are different.

I also note that the people of this district do not seem very vulnerable to losing their jobs to lower-paid immigrants. What is it they are afraid of? Denver-proper has long had a large Hispanic population. I don’t always subscribe to fully racial explanations of anti-immigrant sentiment, but in this case it seems race might play a large part.

Here in Houston many of the high-growth areas are very ethnically diverse. That does not seem to be the case in at least Mr. Tancredo’s part of the Denver-area. His district is listed as 1.9% black, 2.6% Asian and 5.8% of Hispanic origin.

I’m glad Mr. Tancredo is leaving Congress at the end of his current term.     

December 10, 2007 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Immigration, Politics, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Houston Is One Giant Day Labor Hall

The City of Houston has decided to no longer fund a day labor hall for immigrant workers. Given the economic benefit to Houston of these workers, it is difficult to understand why this is being done.

A day labor hall allows immigrant workers waiting for work to be inside instead of outside. 

Democratic Mayor Bill White says he will find private funding for this hall. I don’t vote for Democrats so that private parties can take over the functions of government.

Of course, it is true that a day labor hall in Houston is redundant. Houston is one giant day labor hall of non-unionized, underpaid, transient workers. It has been since day one in Houston for workers of all races and regardless of immigration status. 

This lousy treatment of working people is what has helped make Houston the great engine of housing foreclosures and uninsured children it is today. 

Maybe we should put a dome over the whole city. (Think of all the illegals we would need to build a dome over the whole city.)  Maybe the Astrodome was the prototype for the construction of the world’s largest day labor hall—The City of Houston, Texas.

June 28, 2007 Posted by | Houston, Immigration | 3 Comments

Immigration Protest Disrupts My Morning—I Learned Today I Live Near Senator Cornyn’s Houston Office

My morning peace today was disturbed by people outside chanting not far from where I reside.

My first hope was that the worker’s revolution was finally taking place. I went outside ready to join. Who would’ve guessed that it would start in Texas?

What I found were Hispanic activists protesting aspects of the current immigration proposal in Washington. There were maybe 15 or 20 demonstrators. They were walking up and down the sidewalk.

Most of the protestors were holding signs. Most of the signs were written in Spanish. It would have been better if more signs had been written in English so passing motorists would have had a better idea of what was taking place.

I asked one the demonstrators why they were marching in this specific location. He told me the building they were marching in front of is the location of Senator John Cornyn’s Houston office.

I had no idea I lived so close to Senator Cornyn’s office.

Should I put on a shirt and tie and go visit Senator Cornyn’s office? I could ask about the Senator’s views about the United States pulling out of North America. Or about the spacecraft from Andromeda I saw hovering over Galveston last week. I think they want to drain our oceans. 

Maybe I will do this. Doing so would waste time that Mr. Cornyn’s office would otherwise put towards the doing of immigrant bashing and other malicious works.        

June 7, 2007 Posted by | Immigration, Politics, Texas | 6 Comments

I Like All Immigrants Because My Father Told Me To Trust People With Many Vowels In Their Last Name

When I was young my father told me to trust people who have many vowels in their last name. This advice, offered 30 years ago, is at the core of why I like all immigrants in Texas and everywhere else. I think immigrants make the best Americans.  

Though not all immigrants have many vowels in their last names, I got the idea behind what my father was telling me. People from other places were okay just like the Aquino’s who got off the boat from Italy in 1910 were okay.   

The more immigrants the better. It is American voters and American politicians who have cheated people from decent wages–Not some person just off the boat or who has come across the desert.    

May 9, 2007 Posted by | Good People, Immigration | 2 Comments

Reasons Houston Hispanics Have Not Been More Politically Involved

An article in the Winter 2006 issue of The Next American City offers reasons why Hispanic activism over immigration and other issues has not taken off in Houston. 

Here are some of the given reasons— 

1. Houston does not a history of social protest. There was not a great deal of work done for Civil Rights in Houston in the 1960’s.

2. Spanish language radio stations promoted immigration rallies in Chicago and Los Angeles last year. Spanish language stations in Houston did not do the same.  

3. The Catholic Church is Texas is more conservative than in other places.

4. The sprawled-out nature of the Houston metro area makes organization difficult.

5. The anti-worker climate in Houston makes people afraid to take part in protests.

6. Houston does not have strong community organizations.

While none of this will come as a shock to people who live in Houston and in Texas, the article is well-done and is part of a larger series of articles discussing  immigration and cities.

The Next American City is a magazine I saw for the first time last week. In each issue, one topic is selected and analyzed for how that subject impacts urban America.

Even though the magazine places much of its content online, I am buying a subscription so that I will be more than a web freeloader.

February 12, 2007 Posted by | Houston, Immigration | 1 Comment

Voter Reaction To Hispanics May Mirror Similar Response To Immigrants Years Ago In Snowy Buffalo

A book I’ve been reading makes a point about Buffalo, New York in the early 20th century that may have relevance to politics today.

The book is Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography by David S. Brown. Richard Hofstadter was a political scientist and author who lived between 1916 and 1970. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning Age Of Reform. 

 

Hofstadter grew up in Buffalo. 

As Eastern European immigrants moved into Buffalo in the first third of the 20th-century, the old WASP establishment of that city knew its days of political power were numbered.

The response of the Buffalo establishment was not to work out a transfer of power or a sharing of power with the newcomers.

Instead, as author Brown quotes a Buffalo historian—“the WASP gentry strove consciously to define and to strengthen their identity and their legacies as the bearers of a noble, yet clearly threatened, New England Tradition.”

Anglo voters in Texas realize that a big demographic switch is on the way. Already Anglos are a minority of all Texans. The response of many white voters has been to support immigrant-bashing and right-wing candidates. These voters know that once power is lost it may not return in their lifetimes.

It remains to be seen if Democrats can take power in Texas without a few more years of demographic change.     

February 9, 2007 Posted by | Books, Immigration, Political History, Politics, Texas | 5 Comments

All U.S. Citizens Should Reapply For Citizenship Based On Passing Test Of American Ideals And History

A new citizenship test to be given of prospective citizens will require additional knowledge of American history and American ideals. We have many immigrants down here in Texas and I support this idea.

In fact, I support this excellent idea so much that I think all current American citizens should be made to reapply for citizenship. Successful readmission to citizenship would be based upon passing a test of American history and American ideals. 

More Americans need to understand the basic principles of this country as demonstrated by great figures such as Thomas Paine, William Lloyd Garrison, Susan B. Anthony, Eugene V. Debs and Martin Luther King.

Or, if the people can’t muster that, they should at least be able to find California on a map and know who was President during the Civil War. Our basic knowledge of America and of American history is so poor that one sometimes wonders if citizenship has real meaning to many of our fellow Americans.

December 5, 2006 Posted by | Immigration, Politics | Leave a comment

What Democrats And Hispanics Owe Each Other

USA Today reports Hispanic voters went strong for Democrats in 2006. This is good news here in Houston, in Texas and everywhere else. 

Exit polls show only 30% of Hispanics voted for Republicans. This was down from 44% in 2004. While it can’t be said for certain, it is quite possible that conservative Republican attacks on immigrants played a part in the poor GOP showing among Hispanics. 

Now it is up to Hispanic voters to make Democrats earn their ongoing support. This doesn’t mean Democrats must agree with any certain set of demands. What it means is that Democrats must pursue policies that benefit working people and must avoid a reflexive economic populism that blames people from abroad for our problems at home.

In return, Hispanic voters owe themselves and their country increased voter turnout and steady political involvement beyond media-friendly protests. 

Nobody is entitled to anything. Democrats and Hispanics must learn to trust each other and to deliver for each other. These are goals consistent with good politics and consistent with good policy for the entire nation. 

November 28, 2006 Posted by | Immigration, Politics | Leave a comment

French Election Is More Than Socialist In A Bikini

Far-right French politician Jean Marie Le Pen is once again running well in the polls as the 2007 French Presidential election approaches. Le Pen was one of the final two candidates in the 2002 French election. He is profiting from the anxiety of French working people about immigrants and job security.

National Public Radio reports Le Pen is making gains in some towns that once voted heavily for Socialists.

People will vote for who they think will deliver and for who they feel is speaking for them. Just because someone has been voting for one party for a long time doesn’t that person is a committed partisan.

Just like in the United States, mainstream French parties of both the left and right have not been able to stop industry from moving abroad. Left-leaning parties around the industrialized world have reason to fear the loss of working class support over issues of immigration and job loss.

Much of the attention given to the French election has focused on the fact the Socialist candidate Segolene Royal was photographed in a bikini. Nothing can match that. Hopefully, however, the ongoing inability of established political structures across Europe to successfully confront globalization will at least emerge as a competing storyline.  

November 27, 2006 Posted by | Immigration, Politics | 1 Comment

Harsh Laws Against Illegals May Be Racist And Reflect Real Concerns At The Same Time

The small town of Farmers Branch, Texas has passed new laws concerning illegal immigrants. Farmers Branch is a suburb of Dallas. Under the new rules, landlords will not be allowed to rent to undocumented people, police will be trained to enforce federal immigration laws and English will become the official language of the town.

It is easy to condemn people supporting these laws in Farmers Branch as racists. It is quite possible that some people in Farmers Branch are racists.  Another likely scenario is that people in Farmers Branch see their community changing and are concerned about job security and wages. Neither major political party has made any serious effort to provide leadership on these issues.

We should not let the people of Farmers Branch off the hook. If the people of Farmers Branch don’t like illegals, they should demand that local employers who use illegals fire the workers, raise prices and pass the costs on to locals.

That said, folks in Farmers Branch need guidance and help just like anybody else. They know that so far they are being left to fend for themselves against global forces way beyond the resources of a small town. They have plenty of reason to suspect that both Democrats and Republicans are selling them down the river. 

November 17, 2006 Posted by | Best Posts 2006, Immigration, Politics, Texas | 6 Comments

Democratic Wave In Dallas Points To Reason Many Texas Anglos Stick With Republicans No Matter What

Democrats made strong gains in local races in Dallas County, Texas in Tuesday’s election. Dallas County is where Dallas the city is located. Also, Democrats ran surprisingly strong in Harris County, Texas. This is where Houston is located. Roughly one-in-four Texans lives in these two counties.

Dallas County Democrats were helped by the national trend. They were also aided by demographics. According to the Houston Chronicle, the increasing number of Hispanic voters were one of the reasons progress was made in Dallas County. The same may well be said of possible upcoming political shifts in Harris County.

These results indicate where Texas is headed. They also provide insight as to why Republicans continue to run strong in Texas as a whole. Right-leaning Anglos in Texas realize, given the demographics of Texas, that once they lose power it is not coming back. No normal give-and-take of political power between the parties can take place. It’s all or nothing.

Texas Democrats must navigate immigration issues without immigrant-bashing. The appalling anti-immigrant campaign of so-called Democrat Nick Lampson in Houston-area U.S. House District 22 was an example of the wrong way to go.

Texas is a multi-ethnic state in a border region. Its identity is shifting just as it has shifted many times before. Democrats need the courage and imagination to be on the right side of the shift.

November 10, 2006 Posted by | Houston, Immigration, Politics, Texas | 4 Comments

Democrat Nick Lampson Deludes Working People & Leads Them Nowhere

A rotten Nick Lampson TV ad about immigration policy strongly suggests Lampson won’t tell the truth to Texas workers about why their wages and economic prospects often stink. 

Lampson is running for the seat once held by Tom DeLay. This is Texas U.S House District 22. The Republican candidate is right-wing Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs. Nobody should vote for her. Because of the timing of DeLay’s cowardly exit and because of Texas election law, Sekula-Gibbs is running as a write-in. Lampson is the favorite.

In his depressing ad, Lampson attacks Sekula-Gibbs’ votes on Houston City Council for various aspects of Houston’s sanctuary stance towards illegal immigrants. As a general rule, Houston police don’t ask about immigration status during an arrest. With this policy and others like it, Houston recognizes that it lacks the resources to handle federal immigration matters. It also reflects the fact that immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere are in Houston to stay. 

With his ad, Lampson conveys that it is illegals causing poor labor conditions in Texas. He says nothing about union-busting profit-crazed employers. He says nothing about reforming a Democratic Party that, so far, has often been only slightly less-willing than Republicans to sell working people down the river.

Someone must level with working people. If it won’t be Democrats—Who will it be? Someone must tell working folks that their children must study as hard as Asian kids study. Someone must tell them that they must decide if they care more about gay marriage or about their futures. 

This someone apparently won’t be Nick Lampson. Lampson seems content to feed Texas working people a lying load of crap that distracts them from what really needs to be done.

October 27, 2006 Posted by | Immigration, Politics, Texas | 6 Comments

Galveston, Texas Is Where The Muslim/Mexican Plot To Take Over America Is Beginning

A recent front page photo essay in the Galveston County Daily News showed Galveston Muslims celebrating Eid to mark the end of Ramadan. As part of the celebration, Muslim kids busted a piñata and went after the candy. This all took place at the Galveston Islamic Center which can be found not far from the sunny shores of the Gulf of Mexico. 

Seeing a photo of Muslim children celebrating an Islamic holiday with a Mexican custom at an Islamic center in a smallish Texas city is likely to elicit a reaction of one kind or another from many Americans. 

Many conservatives are telling us Muslims and Mexicans are trouble.

In my view, the message is that these folks are here to stay and we can either welcome them or fight them. My choice is to welcome them. Galveston’s Muslims seem to get the idea of America just right. They add to their own celebration by embracing a tradition from another culture. 

America is its’ people—Whoever they may be or wherever they may come from. America is not a specific religion or skin color.

Immigration policy and the willingness of new arrivals to take part in American life are legitimate issues. However, we cannot address these issues in any hopeful way until we see the people we are discussing as human beings. 

October 26, 2006 Posted by | Galveston, Immigration, Politics, Texas | 5 Comments

Texas Hispanics Not Yet Taking Steps Needed For Political Power

Analysis of demographic trends suggests that by 2040 the population of Texas will be between 53% and 59% Hispanic. Whites will comprise between 25% and 33% of the population in that year.

So far, Hispanics lag behind the population as a whole in education and are more likely than Anglos to be poor. Despite protests earlier this year against mean-spirited immigration legislation, Hispanics are seemingly failing to exert themselves in the 2006 Election. 

Conservative Anglos have run Texas since Statehood. You could argue they have run Texas into the ground. Conservative Anglo politics have often been based on maintaining white power at the expense of Blacks and Mexicans. The result of this emphasis is a poor and under-uneducated state.

What will the future look like in Texas? Will the coming demographic majority find the leadership needed to prepare itself for political rule? Or will a reactionary Anglo minority find a way to hold power?  

October 20, 2006 Posted by | Immigration, Texas | 6 Comments

For All We Know Maybe China & India Are Supposed To Run The World

A recent article about emerging and growing economies in The Economist magazine reports that up until the late 19th century China and India were the two largest economies in the world.

Someday the United States will be displaced as the world’s largest economy. Maybe this will happen in the lifetime of Americans now living. 

We often assume the times we live in are reflective of how things are supposed to be. Yet there is little that cannot change. Maybe in 100 or 200 years American economic leadership will be seen as an aberration from the more normal pattern of Chinese and Indian economic power.

People who connect their egos and personal identities to the power of the nation they live in are making a mistake. The power of nations comes and goes. Being a good person is a better foundation for figuring out who you are.       

October 12, 2006 Posted by | Immigration, Politics | 3 Comments