Monday, February 27, 2017

What Calling Congress Achieves by Kathryn Schulz

This piece in THE NEW YORKER is illuminating regarding the role of reaching out to Congress that so many of us take on.  Is it impactful?

Yes, but the means through which this is done matters.  

As it turns out, some less egalitarian offices do discriminate, but not in the direction you might expect. According to a 2015 C.M.F. survey of almost two hundred senior congressional staffers, when it comes to influencing a lawmaker’s opinion, personalized e-mails, personalized letters, and editorials in local newspapers all beat out the telephone.
In normal times, then—which is to say, in the times we don’t currently live in—calling your members of Congress is not an intrinsically superior way to get them to listen. But what makes a particular type of message effective depends largely on what you are trying to achieve. For mass protests, such as those that have been happening recently, phone calls are a better way of contacting lawmakers, not because they get taken more seriously but because they take up more time—thereby occupying staff, obstructing business as usual, and attracting media attention.
E-mails get the message through but are comparatively swift and easy for staffers to process, while conventional mail is at a disadvantage when speed matters, since, in addition to the time spent in transit, anything sent to Congress is temporarily held for testing and decontamination, to protect employees from mail bombs and toxins. Afterward, most constituent mail is scanned and forwarded to congressional offices as an electronic image. In other words, your letter will not arrive overnight, and it will not arrive with those grains of Iowa wheat or eau de constituent you put in it. But, once it shows up, it will be taken at least as seriously as a call.
It also matters being a Congress member's constituent.  Continue reading here.


What Calling Congress Achieves

It’s said to be the most effective way to petition the government, but does it really make a difference?

Continue reading here.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Gravity of Inequality by Sam Scott

While changes in school-focused parenting in the early years together with extended pre-K opportunities are hypothesized by Stanford Sociologist Dr. Sean Reardon as resulting in significantly larger shares of children entering Kindergarten school ready, the growing economic gap between the 'have" and the "haves not"—together with school segregation tied to neighborhood segregation—is the primary culprit for this deepening divide.  Dr. Sean Reardon nevertheless cautions:
But even if the rate of improvement continues, it would take another 60 to 110 years to fully close the school readiness gap. In a country spread between Moorestowns and Pine Ridges, parenting alone isn’t enough to overcome inequality.
“Figuring out how to sustain it or build on it seems crucial because it suggests you could really do something about this,” he says. “If you can narrow the gap in readiness, you have a much better chance of keeping the gap narrow as kids go through school."
In addition to parent involvement, equitable school finance, as well.  On that note, check out my last post that suggests what you can do about deepening inequality in Texas.  Consider testifying on SB17 which if passed, could lead to less funding for public schools due to a reduction in the franchise (business) tax.

Angela Valenzuela

The Gravity of Inequality

Sean Reardon’s research reveals a stark reality: Rich students keep climbing while poor ones are falling farther behind.

Illustrations by Aad Goudappel

IT’S HARDLY NEWS THAT MONEY MATTERS in education. Scientists have recognized that affluent students do better than their poor peers for as long as anyone has had the curiosity and ability to measure the difference, says Sean Reardon, a sociologist in the Graduate School of Education.
But researchers generally assumed the gap was no better or worse today than decades ago, Reardon says. Certainly that was his sense when a colleague prodded him to take a deeper look.
A deft statistical researcher known for making sense of complex data, Reardon delved into a dozen sets of standardized test scores parsing how students at the 90th percentile of family income compared with those at the 10th percentile.
His findings took him aback. Far from a constant, the gap between haves and have-nots had yawned into a chasm. In the previous 30 years, the difference between rich and poor students had grown by about 40 percent — double the gap between black and white students, the far more familiar yardstick of inequality in American education.
The numbers didn’t suggest that the poor were stumbling, he says; rather, the rich were soaring ahead. In a period during which wealth has concentrated in the highest income brackets, the affluent are increasingly focusing their resources to give their young children a running start, with everything from more reading time to private tutoring.
“With a college degree insufficient to ensure a high-income job, or even a job as a barista, parents are now investing more time and money in their children’s cognitive development from the earliest ages,” Reardon wrote in a subsequent essay. “But even though middle-class and poor families are also increasing the time and money they invest in their children, they are not doing so as quickly or as deeply as the rich.”
Perhaps, he continued, society should take a cue from the affluent and invest more fully in educational opportunities for children from the day they are born.
Published in 2011, at the tail end of the Great Recession and amid the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Reardon’s findings resonated inside academia — the paper has been cited more than 700 times — and beyond. An account of the findings landed atop the front page of the New York Times, helping mark Reardon as a keen observer of inequality and education in America.
“He’s had a huge effect not only on scholarship but on the way people in public life think about these problems,” says Robert Putnam, a Harvard political scientist best known for his influential 2000 book, Bowling Alone, on the demise of American civic life.
Putnam calls himself a latecomer to studying inequality — but once he dove into the area for work leading to his 2015 book, Our Kids, he was amazed by the ubiquity of Reardon’s research. “Everywhere I’d go there’d be another sign saying ‘Reardon was here.’ ”
Last spring, Reardon, with a team of collaborators, released his most detailed look yet at disparity across American schools, drawing on a complex patchwork of scores from more than 200 million reading and math tests taken over five years by more than 40 million children in third through eighth grade.
It’s a mountain of data that could take lifetimes to fully mine, but perhaps one image gives its essence — a scatter graph plotting the performance of 11,280 districts against their socioeconomic status.

Sean Reardon [Photo: Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service]

At first blush, the explosion of dots — each one a district — looks like a snapshot of the Milky Way, but a pattern is soon obvious. With depressing reliability, test results and socioeconomic status move in virtual lockstep. The richest and poorest districts have average performance levels more than four grade levels apart.
“That’s the equivalent of sixth graders in an affluent community understanding algebra, geometry and even simple statistics, while sixth graders in the poorest areas struggle to master fractions,” Reardon says.
Previously, such nationwide comparisons have been thwarted by the profoundly different ways states administer and measure tests, an obstacle Reardon’s team overcame by essentially conjuring ways to align state test results to a common national scale.
“The idea you can now say unequivocally across 11,000 districts that this is a pattern, to me that is what is so powerful,” says Prudence Carter, who recently left Stanford to become dean of the Graduate School of Education at UC-Berkeley and who counts Reardon as a good friend. “It’s not just a sample. It’s not just a case study. It’s the reality.”
The results, which the New York Times published in an interactive online graphic, also show the stubborn persistence of racial achievement gaps. The only district where blacks don’t trail whites is in Detroit, and that, Reardon says, is because there, everybody is flailing. Some of the largest gaps exist in prosperous university towns like Berkeley, Evanston, Ill., and Chapel Hill, N.C.
The analysis isn’t intended as an atomically detailed confirmation of race and poverty as destiny. Despite obvious trends in the data, there is variation — and possibly clues. In Massachusetts, for example, where funding is adjusted to reduce disparities across districts, schools generally outperform their California counterparts. A few poor districts, like in Steubenville, Ohio, perform above grade level. And in more segregated areas, racial achievement gaps are exacerbated.
Such insights aren’t solutions, though they might lead that way. “If you have 12,000 school districts, you can start to potentially tease apart the features of a community that are associated with better outcomes for kids,” Reardon says. “Are they things that happen in schools? Or are they things that happen in families? Or happen in the neighborhoods?”
Reardon’s younger brother is a solar astrophysicist. In his field, moving forward requires ever more powerful telescopes. In a way, the database marks Reardon’s attempt at a similar advance. In the next year, he expects his team to have scores broken down by race, gender, ESL and other groupings for every public school in the country.
Reardon’s path to his endowed position at Stanford as a professor of poverty and inequality was a winding one. As an undergrad at Notre Dame, he majored in a great books program studying the Western canon, published poetry and minored in honors mathematics. His intention was to get a doctorate in comparative literature.
But the summer after graduating, he began to crave something more engaged with the “real world.” Too late in the year to apply for the Peace Corps or other service organizations, he looked for advice from his old Jesuit high school outside Cincinnati.
They offered him a list of some 30 other Catholic schools around the country where his skills might be needed. His eyes zeroed in on one that sounded nothing like the rest: Red Cloud Indian School.
And so Reardon soon found himself at a Catholic school on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge, S.D., located in the poorest county in the United States. For $100 a month, plus room and board, he taught English, physics and photography, and drove the school bus.

It was a wonderful experience, he says. The students at Red Cloud were eager, the community welcoming, and the school, despite nominal tuition of around $25 a year and the surrounding poverty, well-stocked. An outgoing priest had made a habit of descending on distant government surplus sales to build a darkroom, printing press and large telescope.
But the reality of lives far harsher than his was also obvious. One time he took students on a field trip to the nearby cemetery, an excursion planned in connection with poetry readings on death and mortality. It was soon clear they knew much more about the topic than he did.
In his own life, death hadn’t yet come closer than the loss of a grandmother, but his students were pointing out graves of uncles and baby siblings. That night he got an angry phone call from a mother of a student outraged at his insensitivity. “I clearly didn’t know what I was doing.”
After two years, Reardon was ready to move on, this time to a PhD program on the history of consciousness. But late-blooming anxiety about walling himself off in academia again led to a last-minute search for a teaching job, this one ending at a well-heeled Quaker school in Moorestown, N.J., outside Philadelphia.
His leafy new surroundings weren’t unlike his hometown of Wyoming, Ohio, but he was seeing the area with new eyes. In Pine Ridge, with staggering unemployment, there were scant examples of the path he had taken for granted — studying hard, going to a good college and getting a good job in your own community. In Moorestown, there hardly seemed a path that didn’t lead in that direction.
He would wander some more. He returned to Notre Dame to get a master’s in international peace studies and then headed to the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
While other factors figured in, too, his experiences in Pine Ridge and Moorestown shaped his awareness of the vast differences in America, which continues to motivate him. “Those are really different worlds, and the kinds of opportunities kids have in those places are dramatically different.”
His interest remains very much at the poles. People often assume the roots of society’s problems lie with what’s happening — or not happening — among the poor, he says. But as the increasing socioeconomic gap suggests, the cause can just as easily be at the top.
Case in point: Studies by Reardon and Kendra Bischoff, MA, ’08, PhD ’11, reveal spiking economic segregation in America. In 1970, 15 percent of families lived in neighborhoods judged either affluent or poor. By 2009, that share had more than doubled.
As a consequence, the mixed-income middle has been disappearing, and with it, a shared destiny that once made it more likely the advantages of the rich — like better services and schools and greater access to educated role models — spill over to the poor. It is a trend caused in no small part by the rich removing themselves to wealthy enclaves.
“We do a lot of pointing at the problem, the problem must be there, let’s fix those communities,” Reardon says. “If we didn’t have those communities because we had more integrated places, there’d be no fixing to do.”
Such dramatic changes in society and schools are troubling to him, but they are also strangely comforting. If something like the relationship between family income and educational success can transform in a generation, he says, it can also be changed back.
Indeed that may be happening. In a study released last summer, five years after his acclaimed paper on the growing socioeconomic gap, Reardon and collaborators from the University of Virginia and Columbia University found that, contrary to the researchers’ expectations, low-income kindergartners were entering school with stronger “school readiness” scores.
From 1998 to 2010, the school readiness gap between low- and high-income children narrowed by 10 percent in math and 16 percent in reading. At the same time, both the white-black and white-Hispanic gaps narrowed by roughly 15 percent in the same period.
Given that economic inequality had only increased in the same period, Reardon had expected to see the opposite. One possible explanation for the improvement, he says, is better access to public preschools. The percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled in state-funded preschools has doubled since 2002.
But part of the change may also lie in the home. The researchers found that low-income parents are catching up with more affluent parents on how much time and energy they spend on reading, working with computers and other educational activities, like going to the library.
And that, the researchers suspect, reflects a growing awareness of early childhood as a crucial period of cognitive development. “Thirty years ago, it wasn’t necessarily the way working-class families thought about their kids,” he says. “Now everyone thinks about their kids that way much more than they used to.”
But even if the rate of improvement continues, it would take another 60 to 110 years to fully close the school readiness gap. In a country spread between Moorestowns and Pine Ridges, parenting alone isn’t enough to overcome inequality.
“Figuring out how to sustain it or build on it seems crucial because it suggests you could really do something about this,” he says. “If you can narrow the gap in readiness, you have a much better chance of keeping the gap narrow as kids go through school.” •



Tuesday, 2/28 Senate Finance hearing on SB 17. SB 17 could lead to a reduction in the franchise (business) tax that helps fund public education. It is a priority of the Lt. Governor. Many of us will be at the Capitol for the Feb. 28 Day of Action for Immigrations and Refugees (see, but it would be great if folks can register, if not testify, against SB 17 while at the Capitol. Below are some talking points regarding the franchise tax from MALDEF's testimony against other bills last session. Those bills were different than SB 17, but the goal is the same: to reduce the business tax.

In addition, here are a few links with more information about the the role of the franchise tax in our state budget: 


Impacts of Reducing the Franchise Tax




We know that funding for economically disadvantaged and ELL children is current inadequate as is funding for pre-K programs. This has real consequences like high student-to-teacher ratios and funding for school facilities that has not kept pace with need. In light of these serious needs, it seems premature to cut the franchise tax, which would risk the sustainability of our Foundation School Program–the primary mechanism for funding Texas’ public schools.  

There is no greater return on investment for the Texas economy than the education of Texans. We urge lawmakers not to choose businesses over the needs of the very schools that provide these businesses with their future workforce. 

We know that the gap is widening between earnings for people with a high school versus college diploma. That lost earning potential impacts the very future of our tax base. In addition, we know that in the coming decades, the vast majority of jobs will require a postsecondary education. We must invest in our schools to equip students to succeed after high school. There is much discussion about attracting businesses to Texas because of our tax policy but without an educated to fill those jobs, companies will leave our state or simply choose not to come.

Texas kids are counting on you. There is a lot of conversation about ensuring that Texas has high-quality education needed to be competitive in a global workforce. It’s time to show students the money. 

"Academics of the Heart," ASHE Presidential Address by Dr. Laura Rendón

Academia Cuauhtli inauguration danza
ceremony Jan. 17, 2015
Happy to share this beautiful, powerful, and profound 1999 Presidential Address by Dr. Laura Rendón delivered at the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education in San Antonio, Texas.  It speaks powerfully to a much-needed integration of mind, body and spirit in the scientific enterprise. I conveys so much of what we in Academia Cuauhtli are about.
Like us on Facebook.  Enjoy!

Angela Valenzuela

Continue reading here.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Support Ethnic Studies in Texas NOW!

Time to put pressure on the legislature to get our Ethnic Studies bills heard this legislative session.  Please call your representatives in the House for a hearing for BOTH  HB1817 and HB366.  Also call your representative on the Senate side for a hearing of SB695.

Contact information appears below for the House and Senate Education Committee representatives, respectively.

If any of you live in the districts of any of the members listed below, do know that you are one of their constituents and call them since a call from you as one of their constituents means a whole lot more than if they receive a call from someone that is not a constituent. If you do not know who represents you, click here to find out. 

If none of the house or senate members represent you, then reach out to the chairs themselves or better yet, tell families, friends, and members of organizations that live in their districts to begin making calls.
One last, very important point.  The Texas State Board of Education may also implement this without being forced by the legislature to do so.  Yes, they are empowered to simply do the right thing.  So if they see that the legislature is getting pressured, they can move on their end without a law making them do this.
The legislative session goes very fast so we all need to get on this right away.
Angela Valenzuela c/s 

 If you have difficulty reading this, feel free to link here.
 If you have difficulty reading this, feel free to link here.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Let's not create the hideous monster that our government is becoming

Austin literally tops the charts of ICE noncriminal arrests in the country.  We are paying the price, I feel, for our city's and district's position on being a sanctuary city and safe space for our children, families, and community, as well as because of our high level of organizing and organizational capacity as any analysis of organizations concerned and involved would reveal. 

Nor does it help that we are situated in the shadow of the Texas State capitol building that is currently in session that is trying, at the urging of our governor, Greg Abbott, to pass legislation (SB4) that would make it illegal for any Texas city to be a sanctuary for our state's undocumented immigrant population.

These are terribly sad and tragic news for these families and for our community as a whole.

The piece I just posted kon When the Nazis wrote the Nuremberg laws, they looked to racist American statutes provides an important history lesson.  Genocide didn't start out right away.  It all began with laws that first turned them into second class citizens, opening a door to what ultimately became a state-sponsored genocidal project.

It is in our best interest as a policy that we learn from this history so that we do not create the hideous monster that our government is becoming.

Angela Valenzuela

Austin No. 1 in U.S. — for noncriminals arrested in ICE raids


More than half of the 51 people detained in the Austin area during a recent ICE oporation were “noncriminals.”
Records obtained by the Statesman indicate a different outcome than the one federal officials had announced.
ICE officials have said the operation was aimed at the most dangerous violent criminals.
U.S. immigration agents who conducted a recent operation in the Austin area arrested a higher percentage of people here with no previous criminal convictions compared with other regions of the country and swept up more people found guilty of drunken driving than any other offense, federal documents obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV show.
The information, compiled by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and presented late last week to several U.S. congressional officials, provides the most comprehensive data available about the national operation that sparked a furor in Austin, where 51 people were arrested.
It also intensified questions Wednesday about whom federal agents targeted as part of Operation Cross Check, which ICE officials have said was aimed at the most dangerous, violent criminals.
RELATED: On ‘Day Without Immigrants,’ call to embrace Austin workers, families
The newly obtained records indicate a somewhat different outcome than federal officials had publicly announced, prompting condemnation from some officials and immigration advocates.
“Statistics, mere numbers don’t convey the depth of the sad story of lives interrupted,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. “An indiscriminate deportation policy that does not target those that pose a real threat makes our communities less safe, divides families, and will hurt our economy.”
Austin City Council Member Greg Casar, who represents North Austin’s District 4, said the ICE operation in Austin tore hard-working families apart.
“ICE officials attempt to justify themselves by holding up the criminal records of a few people,” he said.
Documents show that of the 51 people arrested by federal immigration agents, 23 were previously identified by ICE as having criminal convictions. Yet 28 of them were deemed “noncriminals” by the immigration agency — meaning they didn’t have previous criminal convictions but were suspected of being in the country illegally.
The number of noncriminal people arrested during the operation number stands in sharp contrast to other regions where the operation took place.
STATESMAN IN-DEPTH: In ‘sanctuary’ fight, a new question of justice emerges
According to the data, in the Austin region — which includes the cities of San Antonio, Del Rio, Laredo and Waco — 55 percent of those arrested were “noncriminal,” compared with 34 percent in Atlanta, 30 percent in Chicago, 6 percent in Los Angeles and 5 percent in New York.
It was unclear why the Austin area had more noncriminal arrests, but federal officials said they suspect it could be the result of “collateral apprehensions” — the arrest of a person because they might have been with a wanted individual at the time.
“During targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws,” ICE said in a recent statement. “Those persons will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and when appropriate, arrested by ICE.”
ICE officials have declined to identify the 51 people detained as part of the operation during a four-day period during the second week of February, making it difficult to know why the immigrants were arrested and their previous criminal histories, if any.
A large number of the 51 people are thought to be from Austin, federal officials said.
The Statesman has been attempting to learn their names through other means, including family members and limited federal court records.
The operation in Austin came to light after U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, who recently condemned new Homeland Security Department directives revealed Tuesday that expand immigration enforcement across the country, confirmed on Feb. 10 rumors that immigration officials were carrying out targeted arrests in the Austin-San Antonio area.
ALSO READ: Austin immigrant arrests part of surge attributed by some to Trump
Soon after the operation became public, ICE officials highlighted the arrests of a citizen of El Salvador who had pleaded guilty to the sexual assault of a child and of a Mexican citizen convicted of repeat domestic violence offenses.
According to the data, of the 23 people with criminal convictions, nine were convicted of drunken driving, two for assault and two for sexual offenses involving children. But the data include several individuals who had been convicted of marijuana possession, obstructing the police and drug trafficking.
The operation struck fear in Austin, prompting protests and vocal responses by some City Council members.
Mayor Steve Adler sent an open letter to citizens of Austin, saying the city is a welcome, inclusive community.
“One consequence of this is the fear and panic among many of our neighbors who do not pose threats to our community,” Adler wrote. “Some family members are disappearing with their whereabouts unknown. Some parents, fearful of apprehension, aren’t sure of what will happen to their U.S.-born citizen children, not to mention the home they’ve owned for years and into which they’ve placed all their family savings.”
He added that Austin police haven’t had any role in the operation.
“The numbers of how many have been detained show that immigration (ICE) is lying, that the administration is lying in regard to the people who are being deported,” said Alejandro Caceres, an immigration organizer with the group Grassroots Leadership. “For us it doesn’t matter who was deported, for us all deportations and detentions were unjust.”


Op-Ed. When the Nazis wrote the Nuremberg laws, they looked to racist American statutes

This piece in today's Los Angeles Times written by James Q. Whitman is illuminating.  Whitman is a Yale Law School professor of comparative and foreign law and author of “Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law.”  

Super interesting.

-Angela Valenzuela

Op-Ed.  When the Nazis wrote the Nuremberg laws, they looked to racist American statutes

James Q. Whitman / February 22, 2017 / Los Angeles Times

The European far right sees much to admire in the United States, with political leaders such as Marine le Pen of France and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands celebrating events — such as the recent presidential election — that seem to bode well for their brand of ethno-nationalism. Is this cross-Atlantic bond unprecedented? A sharp break with the past? If it seems so, that’s only because we rarely acknowledge America’s place in the extremist vanguard — its history as a model, even, for the very worst European excesses.

In the late 1920s, Adolf Hitler declared in “Mein Kampf” that America was the "one state" making progress toward the creation of a healthy race-based order. He had in mind U.S. immigration law, which featured a quota system designed , as Nazi lawyers observed, to preserve the dominance of "Nordic" blood in the United States. 

The American commitment to putting race at the center of immigration policy reached back to the Naturalization Act of 1790, which opened citizenship to "any alien, being a free white person."  But immigration was only part of what made the U.S. a world leader in racist law in the age of Hitler. 

Then as now, the U.S. was the home of a uniquely bold and creative legal culture, and it was harnessed in the service of white supremacy. Legislators crafted anti-miscegenation statutes in 30 states, some of which threatened severe criminal punishment for interracial marriage.  And they developed American racial classifications, some of which deemed any person with even "one drop" of black blood to belong to the disfavored race. Widely denied the right to vote through clever devices like literacy tests, blacks were de facto second-class citizens. American lawyers also invented new forms of de jure second-class citizenship for Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and more. 

The ugly irony is that when the Nazis rejected American law, it was often because they found it too harsh.
European racists followed these toxic innovations with keen interest. Of course they were well aware that America had strong egalitarian traditions, and many of them predicted that American race law would prove inadequate to stem the rising tide of race-mixing. Hitler, however, was cautiously hopeful about America's future as a white supremacist state, and after he took power in 1933 his Nazi Party displayed the same attitude. 
This is the background to a disturbing story: the story of the American influence on the Nuremberg Laws, the notorious anti-Jewish legislation proclaimed amid the pageantry of the Nazi Party Rally at Nuremberg in September of 1935.
At a crucial 1934 planning meeting for the Nuremberg system, the Minister of Justice presented a memorandum on American law.  According to a transcript, he led a detailed discussion of miscegenation statutes from all over the United States. Moreover it is clear that the most radical Nazis were the most eager advocates of American practices. Roland Freisler, who would become president of the Nazi People's Court, declared that American jurisprudence "would suit us perfectly."
And the ugly irony is that when the Nazis rejected American law, it was often because they found it too harsh.  For example, Nazi observers shuddered at the "human hardness" of the “one drop” rule, which classified people "of predominantly white appearance" as blacks.  To them, American racism was sometimes simply too inhumane.
That may sound implausible — too awful to believe — but in their early years in power, the Nazis were not yet contemplating the "final solution.” At first, they had a different fate in mind for the German Jewry:  Jews were to be reduced to second-class citizenship and punished criminally if they sought to marry or engage in sexual contact with "Aryans."  The ultimate goal  was to terrify Germany's Jews into emigrating.
And for that program, America offered the obvious model — even if, as one Nazi lawyer put it in 1936, the Americans had "so far" not persecuted their Jews.  Of course the Nazis did not simply do a cut-and-paste job, in part because much of American law avoided open racism. (Laws intended to keep blacks from the polls did not explicitly name their target.) But American antimiscegenation law was frankly racist, and the Nazi criminalization of intermarriage followed the American lead.
In a sense, this ugly tale about the history of American racism is also about American innovation gone awry. Today, we’re leaders in the creation of corporate law; back then, it was race law. Other countries, such as Australia, put legislative obstacles in the way of mixed marriages, but the United States went so far as to threaten long prison terms.
And we must not forget how tenaciously the racist rulebook that the Nazis admired held on in the United States. Antimiscegenation laws were only struck down at the tail end of the civil rights era, in 1967. Race-based immigration policies did not fully end until 1968 — long after the Greatest Generation stormed the beaches of Normandy and liberated Nazi death camps. 

James Q. Whitman is a professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale Law School. He is the author of “Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law.”  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Who's really out of control here...Trump or California?

Excuse me... Quite the contrary.  Trump is out of control.  I'm happy to share here California scholar and colleague Dr. Ricardo Stanton-Salazar's response to this:

LA Times February 21, 2017

POTUS has cast California as “out of control” ….proposed legislation [in Sacramento] would make the entire state a sanctuary for “illegal aliens” …. [according to POTUS] “illegal aliens breed crime.”
Huge demographic change in CAL since 1980: Today the state’s population of 40 million is 40% Latino, 13% Asian, and only 38% white. Over the past two decades, CAL has seen an influx of 3.5 million immigrants, mostly Latino. An estimated 2.4 million undocumented immigrants also live in the state.
CRIMINALS!! ?? According to the FBI, the California Department of Justice and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the state has seen precipitous drops in every major category of crime and violence that can be reliable measured. In Trump terms, you might say that modern California is the opposite of “American carnage.”
The numbers are striking. Since 1980, California’s rate of reported crime overall has fallen by 62%.
[see rest of article on page A11, OP-ED]
Mike Males (Senior Researcher for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco)

And let's remember.  California and the rest of the Southwest exists because our people were invaded by Europeans. The continent, too, our Motherland.

Our lands were taken away.  And they still are getting taken away through gentrification, school charterization, and neoliberal policies that equate to land grabs and "accumulation by dispossession," to use neoliberalism scholar, David Harvey's words.

We as a community throughout the passage of time have shown admirable restraint—less, I think, because we're deferential, and more because psychically, emotionally, spiritually, and historically, we are still home.  Our ancestors never left this continent.  We never left.  Y no nos vamos!

Leave us alone, Donald Trump!  Stop wreaking havoc on our people, our children, teachers, and communities.  Not only have we not done anything to you, you and your billionaire friends are rich in great part because of their sacrifices and poorly-paid labor.  

And c'mon people.  Join us in letting your representatives know the impact of these nightmarish injustices on our communities.

If you do not know who represents you, click here to find out.

Angela Valenzuela

 (Fox News Channel)
(Fox News Channel)
Declaring California to be “out of control,” President Trump threatened to withhold federal funding to the state if it votes to declare itself a sanctuary state.
A state Senate committee on Tuesday approved a bill from State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León that would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from using officers or jails to uphold federal immigration laws, effectively a statewide version of so-called sanctuary cities.
In an interview airing during Fox’s Super Bowl pregame show, Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly asked the president about the plan.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump said, reiterating his opposition to sanctuary cities, which he said “breed crime.” He signed an executive order in his first week in office that threatened to withhold federal funding for cities that don't cooperate with federal immigration officials.
“If we have to, we’ll defund," Trump said. "We give tremendous amounts of money to California. California in many ways is out of control, as you know.”
Trump said it wasn’t his preference to do so, and that states and cities should get money they need “to properly operate.”
But, “if they’re going to have sanctuary cities, we may have to do that. Certainly that would be a weapon,” he said.

Trump's Latest Ethnic Cleansing Directive and Latino disenfranchisement

These directives by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) came out yesterday from the Trump administration and they are alarming. 
Do read every word of this post in order to inform yourself of this ethnic cleansing campaign inscribed in policy and its concomitant call for border militarization resulting, as it were, in an ethno-nationalistic police state that is reminiscent of Nazi Germany (read this in-depth, chilling exposé by Sarah Posner in case you have any doubts).

Trump puts tougher immigration policy in motion: Thousands of new immigration officers could lead to a spike in deportations.  By Josh Dawsey and Ted Hesson 02/21/17

Mexican officials riled by Trump’s new deportation memos: The release of the documents comes on the eve of Tillerson and Kelly’s trip south of the border. By

This is fully about ethnic cleansing and as a consequence, Mexican American and Latino disenfranchisement.  It makes sense when we think of changing demographics and how whites are feeling de-centered in our country, insecure about their long-enjoyed privilegesthat they either fail, or don't want, to seeparticularly among elites who simply can't accept the browning of America that, by the way, even these directives cannot ultimately stop.

Do consider making a contribution to the institute's efforts here as this is utterly terrifying and terroristic.

Also, do reach out to your representatives to share with them your thoughts.   If you do not know who represents you, click here to find out and do reach out to them right away on the wrong-headedness of this direction in policy.

Angela Valenzuela





William C. Velásquez Institute

For Immediate Release                                                        More Info: Patricia Gonzales

WCVI President Denounces Trump Administrations Directive on Deportations
Trump Policy Has Gone from Bad to Worse

(Los Angeles, Feb 21, 2017) The narrative that early Trump Administration executive orders were so controversial and amounted to such bad policy because the Trump team was in chaos has turned out to be utterly false.  After a month of self-organization, the "well written" Trump Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implementing memo spells out the worst-case scenario of mass deportations, criminalization, and border militarization.

Indeed WCVI accuses the Trump Administration of seeking to launch a sui generis ethnic cleansing campaign against undocumented immigrants, 85% of whom are from Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Definition of ethnic cleansing:  the expulsion, imprisonment, or killing of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity

The DHS Memo broadly defines who should be deported, far more so than under Obama, and in practice would cover nearly all undocumented rather than the 1% with criminal records. It also enhances the existing DHS/ICE "deportation force" with 15,000 new personnel.

Under Trumps' plan, human and civil rights violations will impact tens if not hundreds of thousands of immigrants and citizens alike. Under Obama, 20,000 US citizens were mistakenly captured in raids, this kind of ethno-racial profiling will get worse with the new directives. 

The cost to taxpayers of hunting down the 11 million undocumented will be tens of billions of dollars. 

The annual economic impact of forcibly removing seven million employed undocumented immigrants from the economy will be hundreds of billions of dollars. Entire regional economic sectors like agriculture, hospitality, and construction, in California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Arizona, and Nevada will go into contraction.

Immigrant families will suffer mightily as parents will be criminalized for uniting with their children. Federally funded private immigrant prisons along the border will reap massive profits as they are expanded and filled to the gills with obligatory incarceration of captured immigrants.

The border will become a further militarized "no - mans - land" by adding 5,000 border guards and more than a thousand miles of wall to the already existing 20,000 guards and 700 miles of fencing at a cost of 20-40 billion taxpayer dollars. This at a time when all the data shows net zero or near net zero cross border migration since 2007:

Coincidentally, unless a miracle happens, the Supreme Court will soon enable US border guards to shoot to kill Mexican immigrants on Mexican soil!

WCVI calls on "the resistance movement" to pressure Congress to deny appropriations to Trump's immigrant ethnic cleansing campaign and border militarization. Instead Congress should enact a common sense legalization program for law abiding undocumented persons and Trump should halt his ill advised cold war on Mexico.


William C. Velasquez Institute, 320 El Paso, San Antonio, TX 78207