June 6, 2003

Notas Politicos:

¿COMO SE DICE RESPECT?

House GOP should work to correct blatant racism in English, then learn Spanish

According to an article in Congress Daily, House Republican Rep. Gerald Weller (IL), a little over 20 Republicans and 50 staffers announced that they will be starting a 10-week “crash course” to learn to speak Spanish. But communicating with Latinos requires more than just learning to speak Spanish.

“Only two weeks ago, these Members were virtually silent when Hispanic leaders called for condemnation of a group of their Republican colleagues who used a prop at a recent press conference that was deeply offensive to Hispanics,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Robert T. Matsui. “We are a country of immigrants, and those who come to this country and work hard, pay their taxes and risk their lives to defend our country deserve to be treated with respect.”

On May 23rd, GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo (CO) and about a half-dozen other Republicans stood beside a large poster that “depicted a mock consular ID card with a picture of Mexican President Vicente Fox. It was captioned ‘Office for the Issuance of Illegal Alien ID.’ It listed Fox’s occupation as ‘El Presidente,’ and the citizenship of his parents as ‘Unknown.’

Although strongly criticized by Democratic Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, the Mexican Embassy and other Hispanics, Tancredo found nothing wrong with his display “asking what other kind of picture should he have used? ‘Somebody who looks like a Swede?’” [Los Angeles Times, 5/23/03] 

In fact, Republicans have indeed shown their true colors in terms of Hispanic issues. Thirty-seven House GOP members co- sponsored a bill [H.R. 931] that calls for the elimination of bilingual education programs and voting requirements.

Senator Cedillo’s SB 60 (Drivers License Bill) Approved by 24 Senators

State Capitol - On a 24-14 vote this afternoon, the Senate Floor approved SB 60, to ensure that all California drivers are properly trained, tested, and insured. 

Senator Cedillo, author of SB 60 commented, “The goal of SB 60 is to make our local communities safer by ensuring that all drivers are given adequate training and testing as well as an opportunity to purchase auto insurance.”   

Current California law requires that all drivers license applicants provide a valid social security number (SSN) and proof of lawful presence. Over a five-year period, Senator Cedillo has argued,

”Current law forces immigrants to drive unlicensed and uninsured, undermining the Department of Motor Vehicles’ mission to ensure public safety and limiting law enforcement’s ability to effectively perform its duty.”

If SB 60 is signed into law, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) would be allowed to accept an individual taxpayer identification number from individuals who sign an affidavit stating that they are not eligible for a Social Security Number. Current security standards such as thumbprints and other positive identification, and requiring applicants to submit a valid Social Security number (SSN) are maintained in the bill. SB 60 will allow all California motorists to obtain a driver’s license and insurance only after they pass the driving and written tests, submit proof of identity, and comply with all other licensing requirements.

SB 60 now heads to the Assembly.

Senate Passes Legislation Expediting the Citizenship Process for Immigrant Soldiers

The U.S. Senate passed legislation that will expedite the citizenship process for the brave men and women who are members of the United States Armed Forces and legal permanent residents.

“Legal immigrants serving in our armed forces display tremendous bravery and patriotism for this country.  We need to recognize the sacrifice that these men and women are making in serving the nation by offering them naturalization without delay,” Boxer said.

“As a first-generation American on my mother’s side, I grew up among people who had recently arrived on our shores, and I saw the deep affection and appreciation they had for this country.  Today’s immigrant service members deserve our affection and appreciation - and they deserve to become citizens of the United States,” Boxer said.

The legislation that passed the Senate (Amendment no. 847), which is similar to the Nelson-Boxer bill introduced earlier this year, will do the following:

Reduce the required period of service for citizenship from 3 years to 2 years;

Waive naturalization fees;

Allow naturalization interviews and oath ceremonies to be performed abroad at U.S. embassies, consulates, and overseas military installations;

Grant legal permanent residents who are members of the Ready Reserves similar naturalization benefits by allowing expedited naturalization in times of war or hostile military operations;

Allow noncitizen spouses, unmarried children, and parents of those serving in the U.S. military who are killed as a result of such service, to retain the ability to apply for lawful permanent residence. 

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