Loretta Sanchez mocks Native Americans at California Democratic Convention

May 16th, 2015 · No Comments

Today Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez mocked Native Americans at the California Democratic Convention in Anaheim. While in front of an audience, she recounted an incident when a member of the Indian-American community approached her about getting involved in her campaign. As she describes the incident, she puts her hand over her mouth and lets out a shout.

David Bienick of KCRA posted video of Sanchez making the remarks and gesture to his twitter feed.

When confronted by a reporter about the gesture outside of the Anaheim Convention Center, Sanchez runs. You can view the footage of Sanchez dodging questions about the gesture that many deemed offensive to Native Americans here.

Sanchez’s opponent, Attorney General Kamala Harris, called Congresswoman Sanchez’s gesture “shocking.”

But this really isn’t shocking when you put into context how Congresswoman Sanchez brings race into conversations about her political career.

Back in 2010, she said that “the Vietnamese” were trying to take her congressional seat when she was being challenged by Van Tran. She made these remarks on Spanish language television.

Last month, Sanchez told a gathering up in the Bay Area that Kamala Harris can’t speak Spanish, which would prevent her from engaging with the state’s Latino population. Sanchez seems to forget that Harris could utilize a translator or rely on staff who speak Spanish. Furthermore, I would venture to say that a majority of the state’s Latinos are at least conversant in English. This week there were many news reports about English proficiency rising among Latinos living in the U.S.

And then when she announced her candidacy this week, Sanchez tried to turn her Latino heritage into a campaign talking point by saying, “If every Latino gave at least one dollar each, we would have more money than any other candidate.” The implication is that Latinos should open their wallets and give to her campaign because she is the only declared Latino candidate.

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3 reasons why Loretta Sanchez doesn’t have a lock on Latino voters in #CASen

May 14th, 2015 · No Comments

2015-05-14_15-55-24-495x301Webmaster note: This blog has a long history of Loretta Sanchez related posts. I haven’t posted here in some time, but I figured that now is as good a time as ever to resume posting here periodically. So given today’s news of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez jumping in the California Senate race, we’ll begin again.

After denying reports that she would enter the race to replace Senator Barbara Boxer, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez officially announced that she is officially running for the U.S. Senate. Sanchez becomes the second Democrat to enter the race, challenging California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Sanchez has been counting on her Latina heritage to be a factor in the race, even knocking Harris last month for not being able to speak Spanish. In recent months, there have been rumblings in the Golden State’s Latino political class about there not being a high profile Latino in the Senate race.

Despite having been in Congress for nearly two decades and representing a largely Latino district, Loretta Sanchez doesn’t have a lock on the Latino vote. Here are three important reasons explaining why Latino voters won’t automatically support her:

1. Congresswoman Sanchez has, at times, had a contentious relationship with local DREAMERs. If there’s one group of people who are consistently viewed favorable within the Latino community, it’s the undocumented youth activists, who have advocated for deportation relief in addition to more humane immigration policies. Local DREAMers have staged sit-ins in the Congresswoman’s office demanding that she come out forcefully in favor of halting deportations as the immigration reform debate has stalled.

OC Weekly writer Gabriel San Roman documents an exchange the the Congresswoman had last year with the well known DREAMer Activist Erika Andiola last year in this piece. You can watch the video below where after being questioned by Andiola, Sanchez walked away.

DREAMers Confront Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Loretta Runs from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

The Hill reported that Congresswoman Sanchez missed two key votes today because she wasn’t in Washington, D.C. One of those was an amendment to remove language from the defense bill to allow young immigrants (DREAMers) to serve in the military. The GOP led House voted to strip language from the defense bill that would have asked the secretary of defense to review policies that would have allowed qualified undocumented young adults to serve in the military.

2. Turning out Latino voters in the primary will be key for Loretta Sanchez, but this analysis from the Washington Post shows how difficult a task this has been in the past two election cycles. White voters still have the highest turnout rates in California.

3. Loretta Sanchez has been instrumental in ramping up the militarization of the border. For years, Congresswoman Sanchez has been on the House Homeland Security Committee. Back in 2010, she touted passage of the 2010 Emergency Border Security Supplemental Appropriations Bill. That bill added 1,000 new border patrol agents, funded unmanned aircraft systems for surveillance at ports of entry, and provided $7 million to expand ICE jail programs. Is this kind of militarism something that Latino voters in California want?

Photo credit: Screenshot from NBC Los Angeles footage

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Domestic Worker Bill of Rights passes the CA Senate

September 12th, 2013 · No Comments

A bill that would give housekeepers, nannies, and elder care workers overtime passed in the California Senate on Wednesday. The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights law, known as AB 241,  passed in the California Assembly in May. Last year Governor Brown vetoed similar legislation because he felt that extending overtime was too costly.

According to a report from the National Domestic Workers Alliance, 91% of domestic workers indicate that overtime provisions don’t exist in their work contracts.

I covered an event in Los Angeles earlier this week for NBC Latino on the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. Check it out here.

Los Angeles Domestic Workers Sept. 10 2013

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Gun Control Debate Rages in Colorado with Latino Candidates at Center

July 16th, 2013 · No Comments

As Colorado becomes more “blue” (Democratic) and urban, issues like gun control have become even more contentious. Southern Colorado is more rural than the northern part of the state. In one state senate district, a recall effort has been underway because of a freshman legislator’s support for gun control legislation that was passed and signed by Governor Hickenlooper earlier this year. This happens to be a district where two Latino candidates will end up facing off against each other.

Read about it here: In Colorado, first-term Latina state Senator faces recall over gun control support.

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Immigration Showdown in the Capitol Begins

June 9th, 2013 · No Comments

On Sunday, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte indicated that she would support the gang of eight immigration bill that was crafted by a group of bipartisan senators. Just last week, an amendment to end the deferred action program (DACA) passed in the House of Representatives (read about that here) that was split largely along party lines. The Senate will begin the floor debate on immigration this week, and it is expected to take a vote on its bill before the July 4 holiday. Since the GOP holds a majority in the House, the bill that will emerge from the lower chamber is expected to be more conservative. So eyes will be on the Capitol in the next few weeks to see how the GOP maneuvers itself in the immigration debate. Given recent polling that shows Latino voters will judge Congress based on its support of a bill that includes a pathway to citizenship, the Republicans are in a position to determine the extent that they can appeal to Latino voters in advance of the upcoming midterm elections. It will likely be a contentious time for the immigration debate in the next few weeks.

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Steps toward divorcing local law enforcement from immigration enforcement

May 20th, 2013 · No Comments

While there has been a steady push in recent months for comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill, there have been a few steps in the states and in localities to limit the extent that local law enforcement participates in immigration enforcement (which has been seen as a federal duty). One of the reasons why deportations have skyrocketed in the Obama administration has to do with the roll out of the Secure Communities program, which allows for the fingerprints of anyone who has been arrested by local police to be checked against federal immigration databases and flagged for removal. Two years ago, I wrote about my experience witnessing local police involving themselves in immigration in one Southern California city.

One of the main reasons why immigration activists want the local police to be out of the immigration enforcement game is that it compromises trust between community members and the police.

To lessen the local police involvement in immigration enforcement, there are a few measures brewing. In California, the TRUST Act is moving through the legislature again. Read about it here.

And in New Orleans, the city council has passed a resolution to limit the detaining of immigrants or suspected immigrants in its jails in part because of the cost to house them.

In addition, some local counties in California are opting out of cooperation in the federal program.

That localities feel the need to lessen involvement in the federal immigration enforcement effort highlights the problems of having local police engage in an activity that has typically been reserved for the feds.


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How Terrorism Crept into the Immigration Debate & Why It Shouldn’t be a Focal Point

April 24th, 2013 · No Comments

I have a piece on BlogHer explaining how the terrorism issue become a sidebar in the current immigration debate. One thing to keep in mind is that there will always be people who want to commit crime and harm people regardless of country of origin, but if children who are brought to the U.S. are the perpetrators of terrorism, perhaps we, as a society, need to look inward at the factors here in the U.S. that may have influenced the violent acts as well.

This piece also addresses how the current immigration bill will impact women.

Click here to read.

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Latinas More Likely to Have Multiple Teen Pregnancies

April 3rd, 2013 · No Comments

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out with some new data showing that Latinas are more likely than their black or white peers to have multiple teen pregnancies. Overall, the teen birthrate has been declining.

About one in five teen births are repeat births. For young women between the ages of 15 and 19, the highest percentages of repeat teen births occur in Native American (21.6%) women and in Latinas (20.9%). Non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites follow (20.4%) and (14.8%). One positive data point is that Hispanic teens were more likely to use more effective forms of birth control.

Teen pregnancy has been on the decline in the Latino community; the community has historically had high teen birth rates, which are tied to drop out rates, college completion rates and the cycle of poverty. Experts cite better access to information and contraceptives as being major factors in declining teen pregnancy rates.

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