Archive for the ‘TX’ Category

ZILLAMOD -This is the god’s to honest truth. At the end of the day – it’s not a partisan matter. It’s a family matter. You use whatever you have to protect your family from harm. I am the same. This is my story as well.

This is a repost by Linda Vega.

Being an American citizen is one of the most powerful manifestations of our constitutional tradition as a nation and as a government. These constitutional rights and obligations reserved strictly for citizens have made man want to die to protect our nation, because they know that as citizens they have unalienable rights. However, the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration is now stripping American citizens of their citizenship. More importantly, these attacks on a population where American citizens are being denied their constitutional rights are mainly aimed at a group: elder Latino Texans who were too poor to go to a county hospital and opted, instead, to use a midwife because there was no hospital in the poor rural areas of Texas. As a result, the Obama Administration is now incarcerating and stripping some seniors of their citizenship because they are unable to “properly” prove their birth occurred on U.S. soil.

According to immigration attorney Jaime Diez, along the Rio Grande River in Texas, there are cases where Elderly Latinos have to relinquish their U.S. Citizenship because they cannot provide enough evidence to substantiate their birth on U.S. soil by either a hospital or a credible midwife.

Prior to 2009, a few cases of maybe 20-30 would arise where elderly Latinos had to produce evidence of their U.S. Citizenship. Usually a baptismal record or a birth certificate would suffice to prove their U.S. citizenship birth. However, under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, (“WHTI”), which came into full force and effect on June 1, 2009, changes implemented under this new law, have caused overzealous U.S. agents and officers to litigate case after case that seeks to strip U.S. Citizenship from Latinos that now number over 1000.

With only limited exceptions, WHTI makes it illegal for U.S. citizens to “depart from or enter the United States” without a valid U.S. passport. 8 U.S.C. §1185(b); 22 C.F.R. §53.1(a). While this may be a necessary application of law, for a group of people who did not have the conveniences of modern day hospitals or record keeping when they were born, it has become a nightmare and a loss of identity.

Long before there was a dispute regarding the demarcated boundary that separates the U.S. and Mexico, descendants of Mexicans lived along the border on the U.S. side for years without fear of having to leave their country of choice. When Texas became the 28th state under the Presidency of Polk in 1845, those who lived along the border were annexed into the U.S.

Additionally, when the two countries were unwilling to reach a compromise as to where the boundary would be set, the Mexican-American war broke out on April 25, 1846. The result of that war fixed the southern boundary between the two countries at the Rio Grande River. For generations, the people living along the Rio Grande River into Mexico where their relatives were left in their undisturbed Mexican residency and those in the U.S. were granted U.S. Citizenship. It was a matter of convenience and understanding that those U.S. Citizens who were instantly acquiesced into the U.S. territory had travel privileges back and forth between the two countries. In the years that followed, children were born through midwives and clinics who would record the births as credible state records. In 1925, more than 50 percent of babies born in Texas were delivered by midwives. However, by 2004, the number had dropped to 6.6%. Much of the change was brought about because as rural areas integrated more clinics into the area, many along the border were receiving more prenatal care and healthcare during births.

The earliest known hospital in the valley was in Harlingen, Valley Baptist medical Center, founded in 1925. Surrounded by rural areas and colonias, the hospital is at least a 25 mile distance to these areas. At present, it is not uncommon for women to give birth to children in clinics or hospitals as these facilities are not as scarce as previous years prior to 1950. The births were not the problem, it was an industry norm for registering births that had unintended consequences on what the government is now terming, “delayed birth certificate” fraud.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), many of these births recorded by midwives are either fraudulent or not legal as they were not recorded according to standards. Those affected by this new application of law, now find themselves having to defend their birth certificate and passports granted to them by the U.S. State Department.

Additionally, those affected are between the ages of 60 and older born in the 1940-50s. This is the age group that is most affected as they were more likely to be born by the assistance of a midwife and at home.

While Texas is approximately 25 million in total, it is populated by a large Latino community in the rural areas, and in South Texas where about 90% of the total population is Latino.

Texas and South Texas Population by Ethnicity, 2007

When broken down into the counties most affected by the passport requirement see the following:

Consequently, immigration attorneys in the Rio Grande Valley have noticed that these cases requiring elderly Latinos to prove their citizenship has spiked within the last two years. Attorney Jaime Diez argues that over 1000 cases have been reported but many more are not for the sake of keeping the peace. However, these are only the cases of those with financial resources to fight DHS, or USCIS in court; but many more surrender their citizenship fearing a long battle in a court that is estimated to cost between $15,000 to $20,000. Many of the elderly, living on a fixed income cannot imagine this long battle or the expense, and instead relinquish their U.S. Citizenship and leave for Mexico, a land not their home.

Immigration Attorneys, like Jaime Diez, in the Rio Grande Valley accept the cases on a pro bono capacity, but have been overwhelmed recently with unnecessary discovery requests by the government and oftentimes face over 5 U.S. attorneys for a simple case of birth certificate verification. In one such case, Jaime Diez in Brownsville. States that five U.S. Attorneys were flown in from Washington D.C. to appear in Federal District Court to ask women questions regarding her childhood in the valley. The U.S. Attorneys asked to be taken to the many places the woman played as a child and other places where she and her brother remembered family gatherings. This was not only inefficient use of government money and resources, it provided little if any comfort thinking that securing the border means stripping Latinos of their U.S. Citizenship rather than apprehending those who are “terrorists” in all aspects at the border crossing.

In 2008, Obama promised Latinos change. Unfortunately, one of these promised changes includes having to lose your birthright identity because you were born at a time when a system was inefficient and antiquated. According to the present Obama policies, if you were born in 1950 and beyond, you are expendable in the U.S. Your absence, along the Rio Grande Valley where you have lived most of your life, will be overlooked. According to this Administration, Latinos have an apathy and will not participate in elections, and so invalid deportations and stripping on U.S. Citizenship will go unnoticed because no one will dare to speak up to this injustice. It is a quiet secret that many will chose to ignore. But Latinos are strong in family ideals and are compassionate protectors for the less fortunate. And now that many do know about what is happening to the elderly along the border, I hope that this Administration is placed on alert to immediately cease and desist this action. It is a shameful way to protect the border, and frankly this behavior is anything but American or decent, it is Mr. President, monstrous.

c/o Grits for Breakfast


“If this idea had been proposed in the 1950s, it would have been discarded as reminiscent of Soviet Communism. But state Sen. Dan Patrick has SB 843 up Tuesday in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee that would expand the offense of “failure to identify” to require people to identify themselves whenever they’re legally “detained” by police. Presently, you’re only required to identify yourself upon arrest, which has been the law for many years. Here’s the description of the legislation and its intent from the bill analysis

5-11 Campaign for BTC

Lately, news is bubbling to the surface about federal ID as a way to supplant the political aims of Texas State leaders wishing to appear “tough on immigration”.
Take this exerpt from the Kilgore News Herald:

Merritt has served three terms on the Border Committee and describes himself as a strong advocate on border security. “Recently the legislature has spent $100 million on border security and sent 200 more DPS officers to the border,” he said.

“I have supported the REAL I.D. program, which would make the Texas Drivers License a form of identification that would show the person’s immigration status,” said Rep. Merritt. “This bill has received a lot of push back. One reason is the cost of the program; it was originally estimated to cost $240 million but that cost is down now to $34 million for Texas. Other border states are not wanting to spend the money and they want the federal government to fund the program.”

Even now when a person goes to vote, a photo I.D. is not required and even if a drivers license is presented to vote, it does not yet confirm citizenship. “With the REAL I.D., and a required photo I.D. to vote, only citizens would be voting,” said Merritt.

Some Texans have varied ideas about what Real ID is and should be. What Real ID will never be is a way to shore up identity security and hamper illegal immigration. No matter how much Merritt and Wayne Christian yell it from the top of their lungs – it’s all air and no earth.

While locals are taking more time to extract the truth from the lies, it is a duty to inform all who supported the anti-Real ID efforts in the past that Tommy Merritt intends to politically marry voter ID to Real ID so Voter ID has another lifetime next legislature. It’s a foolhardy prospect because even federal administrators of Real ID, namely DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, have no intentions of enforcing Real ID regulations due to 36 states nullifying the results. Civil liberty advocates are now more concerned about the fusion center intelligence hubs getting development monies from DHS appropriations bills.

Why should Texas pay a dime, much less $34 million, when there is no impetus or consequence to do anything from a federal mandate? Merritt, and others from TCCP’s cadres, insist that it’s a way to control immigration. Coyotes simply find other ways of defrauding the system using the black market for hacks. Texans continue to compete with black market labor. Real ID doesn’t stop employers from preferring under the table labor and is a hidden reason why the “immigration cause” contributed to its nullification.

I would say that Voter ID and Real ID were successfully decoupled, in concept, last session due to significant holes in the Carter Baker Commission reports. Texans may pursue a voter ID if they like [GOOD LUCK!] – but Real ID may not be on the federal books to deliver. 2 bills to repeal and dispose of Real ID Act have been in the works for close to 7 months. The more recent of the two was directly derived from Rep. Carl Isett’s resolution, HCR 180 (R-Lubbock).
If ‘R’s want voter ID, they can try again next session. However, Real ID probably won’t be around to “save” anyone for very much longer.
Voter I.D. became, by far, the bill killer of the ’09 session – good and bad. In the end, the Voter ID bill died a separate humiliating death apart from the Real ID Act of Texas, as proposed by Merritt last session. Both HCR 50 (the Texas Sovereignty resolution) and HCR 180 ( the bill to ban Real ID from TX) didn’t make it out of State Affairs due to complications from the Voter ID log jam.
Per, DPS and Governor Perry’s run on $34 million in “forfeited Real Estate” to supplement the Texas angle on the National ID scheme – it’s puzzling. One side of Perry yells ” Sovereignty!” and “Secession!” and the other yells “federal and international money is on Texas roads and land!” Texas’ current governor is tough to figure out. Especially when K-12 educators gave him credit for blocking the Real ID Act in Texas. It’s always some weird surprise with Gov. Perry.

Texas can decide what this “means”. For now Texas Republicans are sporting two divergently different narratives among the State legislature on national identity. After awhile I imagine no one will trust any of it.

“We’ve all mistaken politics for personal relationships. Our role is not to be a friend or an enemy to a politician. Our role is to encourage them when they work for what we believe is needed, and to discourage them when they move in a different direction. We can best do either of those things by remaining independent and indifferent to the childish notion of being with them or against them. And we can best do either of those things by nonviolent means. In fact, nothing would move our government in a more dangerous direction than anti-governmental violence. And nothing would encourage such violence more than insistence that everyone refrain from criticizing politicians.

David Swanson for OP-ED News

BTC – On November 5th many observed Guy Fawkes day. Thankfully, dissent, also known as expressing public disapproval of a direction of our government, is a privilege we participate in without fear of being killed or jailed by our government. Public exploration of ideas and new ways to express non-violent dissent is something we all have a healthy right to examine and observe on days like, November 5th.

However, nothing could have been further from my mind than a mass shooting to stop deployment to Iraq from within the ranks of active servicemen. The violence which took place November 5th at Ft. Hood was a complete aberration in American dissent.

The danger for millions of Americans is how this tragedy will define dissent. More specifically, dissent and non-violent dissent among those in the military. They have voices too. Had someone simply heeded more carefully the signs and signals of service members distress, 13 people would be alive today.

At the the time of the shootings, I was speaking with author & reporter Dahr Jamail. He explained the trials and tribulations of active service members trapped in a vicious cycle of redeployment. He reports that active military have been sent back to Iraq with untreated PTSD and advanced suffering from war related injuries. Many service members are held to excruciatingly painful standards. In some cases, these circumstances have caused extreme hardship and losses for some of their families. Hours later, published this article.

It is saddening on all fronts to see such misery manifest in a strikingly close and tragic way. The interpretation of this shooting on an obscure day of dissent, really observed by another country (the UK), hammers home the notion that actions speak louder than words. It is obvious today that our soldiers are leading an isolated and insular existence. They need our support and help to find healing. Their immediate families need help and support during deployment. They need our friendship and a listening ear. Call and write often to help get them through this difficult time.

We mourn with those who lost their health, family and lives in this complete psychological fracture of military conscience at Ft. Hood.

AP/National Examiner

Embedding identity documents — passports, drivers licenses, and the like — with RFID chips is a no-brainer to government officials. Increasingly, they are promoting it as a 21st century application of technology that will help speed border crossings, safeguard credentials against counterfeiters, and keep terrorists from sneaking into the country.

But with advances in tracking technologies coming at an ever-faster rate, critics say, it won’t be long before governments could be able to identify and track anyone in real time, 24-7, from a cafe in Paris to the shores of California.

The key to getting such a system to work, these opponents say, is making sure everyone carries an RFID tag linked to a biometric data file.

On June 1, it became mandatory for Americans entering the United States by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean to present identity documents embedded with RFID tags, though conventional passports remain valid until they expire.Among new options are the chipped “e-passport,” and the new, electronic PASS card — credit-card sized, with the bearer’s digital photograph and a chip that can be scanned through a pocket, backpack or purse from 30 feet.

Alternatively, travelers can use “enhanced” driver’s licenses embedded with RFID tags now being issued in some border states: Washington, Vermont, Michigan and New York. Texas and Arizona have entered into agreements with the federal government to offer chipped licenses, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recommended expansion to non-border states. Kansas and Florida officials have received DHS briefings on the licenses, agency records show.

Such assurances don’t persuade those who liken RFID-embedded documents to barcodes with antennas and contend they create risks to privacy that far outweigh the technology’s heralded benefits. They warn it will actually enable identity thieves, stalkers and other criminals to commit “contactless” crimes against victims who won’t immediately know they’ve been violated.