Tag: Latino politicians

Against All Odds, Monserrate Still In The Fight

Hiram Monserrate, who was forced to resign from the NY State Senate after being convicted of attacking his girlfriend, is trying to stage a political comeback. Experts are not counting him out in his Primary race against Francisco Moya who has won numerous endorsements.

Democratic Women Rally Behind Ecuadorean-American Candidate in Queens Race

Supporters of Francisco Moya stress respect for women in his campaign for the N.Y. Assembly. His opponent, Hiram Monserrate is attempting a comeback after being forced to leave the N.Y. State Senate after a conviction in a domestic case.

With Appointment as Lt. Governor, Abel Maldonado to Become California’s Highest Ranking Latino

Abel Maldonado, a California state senator and the son of Mexican immigrant farmers, has been appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the state’s lieutenant governor.

Hate Crime Killing of an Immigrant Becomes Symbol of Hope in New York

By Merry Pool, FI2W contributor

BROOKLYN, New York — The death of José Sucuzhañay, an Ecuadorian immigrant, who last December became the victim of a hate crime aimed at the Latino and LGBT communities, has turned from tragedy into a symbol of hope with the naming of a street in his honor.

On Saturday Aug. 1, representatives from the governments of Ecuador, New York City and the State of N.Y. along with police officers from Brooklyn’s 83rd Precinct and numerous family and friends, gathered for the unveiling of Jose Sucuzhañay Place, located at Bushwick Avenue and Kossuth Place. The corner marks the spot where, on December 7, 2008, the 31-year-old Ecuadorian who had come to the United States in 1998 was attacked with a bat and beer bottles while walking home arm in arm with his brother. Witnesses heard the aggressors yell anti-immigrant and homophobic slurs before they got into a car and drove away.

Watch City Council Christine Quinn speak at the ceremony:

José Lucero, the brother of Marcelo Lucero, another Ecuadorian who was also a victim of anti-immigrant hatred when he was stabbed to death on Long Island only a month before Sucuzhañay, said that while the street naming wouldn’t take away the pain of losing a brother, it would empower people who in the past have remained silent.

“More people are speaking out about abuse and injustice, they aren’t afraid,” he said.


Obama's Choice Of One Latino Attorney Over Another Leaves Immigration Advocates Sour

At a time when Latino and immigration advocates are closely watching every decision coming from the West Wing, President Barack Obama’s appointment last week of a Dominican American attorney from Maryland as head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division has generated complaints and discomfort.

But Thomas Perez, the nominee for Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, and until now the Maryland Secretary of Labor, is not the reason for the griping.

Rather, advocates who are weighing Obama’s commitment to immigration reform are angry about the president’s decision to pass over California’s Thomas Saenz, counsel to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and a former vice president of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF.)

Obama’s change of heart –the job was reportedly offered to Saenz and then withdrawn — was interpreted as a lack of will on the part of the White House to engage in a prolonged confirmation fight that could have been a prelude to a Congressional debate on the administration’s immigration reform proposals.


Obama Talks Immigration Reform With Hispanic Legislators: Action May Come In Two Months

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

Obama said the administration will work with the CHC to address the immigration issue, The White House reported - Photo: The White House / Pete Souza

Obama said he will work with the CHC to address the immigration issue. (Photo: The White House/Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama appears to have settled some nagging doubts among his supporters in the pro-immigration ranks.

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who met with Obama at the White House Wednesday reported the president renewed his promise to tackle immigration reform and outlined some of the steps he intends to take to address the issue.

“The president said more than any of us expected him to say,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill), according to the Dallas Morning News. “He was clear, eloquent and determined in letting us know that we’re all together on the route to comprehensive immigration reform.”

Gutierrez has been travelling the country holding rallies with local churches and immigrant organizations to document the need for immigration reform. He said that the Hispanic legislators –23 Democrats and one independent– “made it absolutely clear that this is a civil rights issue of our community.”

This was the first time President Obama held an official meeting on immigration reform since taking office in January.


The Fall of Rosario Marín, California’s Favorite Mexican Republican: News Analysis from FI2W

By Pilar Marrero, La Opinión and FI2W reporter

Rosario Marín - Photo: Los Angeles Times

Rosario Marín. (Photo: Los Angeles Times)

For years, California politician Rosario Marín, a model Latina conservative, was a rising star in the Republican Party.

Last week, though, after she resigned her state cabinet position due to an investigation into her outside income, Marín saw the state’s Republican-led administration quickly distance itself from her.

As California’s Fair Political Practices Commission investigates whether she improperly pocketed tens of thousands of dollars for giving speeches to companies who had business with her agency, Marín optimistically waits, saying she has done nothing wrong.

“I am at peace with myself, thank God,” she told me the day after her resignation. “I can sleep well every night.”


Chicago Congressman Takes His Push For Immigration Reform On The Road To 14 Cities


Gutierrez at a pro-immigration vigil last week. (Photo: CNSNews.com)

While most news these days focuses on the economic crisis and its hoped-for solution, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D.-Ill.) wants to remind the Obama Administration of the need for immigration reform.

The congressman announced he is going on a five-week, 14-city tour “to document the harm caused to citizens across our nation in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform,” according to a press release.

From Providence, R.I., to Albuquerque, N.M., from El Paso, Texas, to Tampa, Fla. to Philadelphia, Gutierrez plans to hold rallies “for thousands of U.S. citizens whose families have been or risk being torn apart by our broken immigration system,” and he will gather petitions for the passage of a comprehensive reform bill.

Speaking at a recent prayer vigil on Capitol Hill, Gutierrez vowed to deliver thousands of those petitions to President Barack Obama, CNSNews.com reported. He wants to remind the president of his campaign promise of a reform that includes “a path to citizenship” for the undocumented immigrants already in the U.S.


Patterson Says He Knew Gillibrand's "Record On Immigration Was Poor"

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
El Diario/La Prensa)

Gov. David Patterson. (Photo: El Diario/La Prensa)

In the face of heated criticism from Hispanic advocates on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s voting record on immigration, New York Gov. David Patterson sat down Monday with the editorial board of the city’s biggest Spanish-language newspaper, El Diario/La Prensa, to defend his decision to appoint her to the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Still, the governor acknowledged he was not fully aware of Gillibrand’s immigration record.

“I knew that her voting record on immigration was poor,” Patterson said, when asked whether he knew that Gillibrand held hard-line views on the issue. “I knew that. I didn’t know the specifics of her voting record. I knew some of her Customs and Border Patrol remarks, but I didn’t know substantially her entire record on voting.”

Since being appointed to the Senate, Gillibrand, a former U.S. Representative from upstate New York, has met with Hispanic and pro-immigrant leaders to improve her reputation among this crucial constituency in the state. She even promised to support a moratorium on raids until Congress approves comprehensive reforms and to try to ensure an eventual temporary worker program includes a path to citizenship.

Her mellowing on immigration and other issues quickly earned her the scorn of state conservatives. Republican Congressman Pete King called her “a flip-flopper” this week, saying she is “doing contortions” on immigration, gun rights and gay marriage. King is evaluating running against Gillibrand next year, if he can raise the money to do so.


Solís Confirmation Hits Another Snag: Obama's Cabinet Could End Up With Only One Latino Member

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

While her would-be successors are already lining up in Los Angeles, the confirmation of U.S. Rep. Hilda Solís as the next secretary of labor has been held up in the Senate, apparently due to her husband’s tax problems.


Hilda Solís (Photo: USA Today/AP)

As Feet In 2 Worlds noted in December, Solís was one of the three big hopes for Latinos who are looking for greater representation in Pres. Barack Obama’s cabinet. Of the other two, former Sen. Ken Salazar, the new secretary of the interior, is the only one who has been confirmed. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson withdrew his name from consideration as secretary of commerce over a federal investigation into his administration’s dealings with a consulting company.

Solís, the 51-year-old daughter of a Mexican father and a Nicaraguan mother, is the latest Obama nominee to have to explain unpaid taxes — although the problem does not arise from her own taxes, unlike the cases of Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, and the former nominees for secretary of health and human services, Tom Daschle, and White House chief performance officer, Nancy Killefer.

The would-be labor official’s problems started after USA Today revealed Thursday there were 15 outstanding tax liens against Sam’s Foreign and Domestic Auto Center, a company owned by Solís’ husband, Sam Sayyad. A hearing by the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee was postponed Thursday afternoon to give the administration time to look into the tax matter and report back to the committee, according to the newspaper.