White House Formally Answers The Deport Bieber Petition… And It’s Lame

Talk about one really lame response. Today the White House officially answered a viral We The People petition to deport Canada’s Justin Bieber. We won’t share the whole response (you can read it here), but we will share this:

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The We the People terms of participation state that, “to avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government in its response to a petition.”

So we’ll leave it to others to comment on Mr. Bieber’s case, but we’re glad you care about immigration issues. Because our current system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers, and 11 million people are living in the shadows.

That status quo isn’t good for our economy or our country. We need common-sense immigration reform to make sure everyone plays by the same set of rules.

Not only is it the right thing to do morally, it’s the right thing for our country: Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next 20 years. For those of you counting at home, that’s 12.5 billion concert tickets — or 100 billion copies of Mr. Bieber’s debut album.

You better believe it.

Meanwhile, the White House has no problem addressing Mr. Bieber’s case, but doesn’t want to address very specific questions about hunger strikers right in front of the White House protesting an end to the separation of families.

So in summary:

A Canadian pop star at least gets a response, albeit a lame one, while real people facing immigration realities every day get nothing.

Got it.

Thank You/Gracias Mil to All Our LatinoRebels.Com Contributors

Contrary to what you hear on the Internet, LatinoRebels.com is a collective of several voices. While many of our pieces with “Rebeldes” bylines reflect the core group’s editorial voice, we also have published the works of 60 individual contributors to this site.

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That is a fact.

LatinoRebels.com is not the voice of one, it is the voice of many, voices that deserve to be heard and amplified.

As we prepare to celebrate our 4th year online (May 5, 2014), we take a moment to thank all our contributors. They are what make this page what it is. They have all written some amazing original pieces, and some of them have even gotten jobs from these bylines. That’s what it’s all about. So ¡GRACIAS! Now give them all a follow on Twitter:

  1. @aaronmiguel_
  2. @arodomus
  3. @AuthorISanchez
  4. @BellaVidaLetty
  5. @bezotes
  6. @BlancaVNYC
  7. @CarolinaADrake
  8. @charlespgarcia
  9. @ctsaenz
  10. @ludacristiano
  11. Daniel Robelo of @DrugPolicyNews
  12. @Dominizuelan
  13. @rodrigvm
  14. @Blmnob
  15. @erjusino_FBNET
  16. Edwin Pagán of @LatinHorror
  17. @efrain_nieves
  18. @ErikaLSanchez
  19. Eric Arce (he doesn’t have a Twitter handle, it’s cool)
  20. @kiki416
  21. Frank Salcedo (no Twitter handle, but a great writer from LA)
  22. @ginavergel7
  23. @HectorLuisAlamo
  24. @IcessFernandez
  25. @Iris_Estrada
  26. @GuerillaGrrl
  27. @JorgeEGalvaR
  28. @juansaaa
  29. Judi Jordan
  30. @LamontLilly
  31. @Librotraficante
  32. @marentesluis
  33. Luis Serrano of @Immigrantpower
  34. @minsd
  35. Matt Mendez of Librotraficante.com
  36. Dr. Michael Hogan
  37. @monica_promumi
  38. @muchomartinez
  39. @conrazon
  40. Rebecca Beard of RebeccaBeard.com
  41. @nickbelardes
  42. @coachomar
  43. @Mr__Christian
  44. @vato
  45. Patricia Pou Jové
  46. @Raul_Ramos
  47. @reynaldomacias
  48. @ricknajera
  49. @robvato
  50. @rscspokenword
  51. @salmendoza
  52. @sg_ndlon
  53. @SamARosado
  54. @DurgaOne
  55. @SusetLaboy
  56. @TanishaLove
  57. @taydolven
  58. @hispanictips
  59. @tonytorero
  60. @julito77

President Obama Addresses Immigration Reform Debate (VIDEO)

Today in a press conference, President Obama took two questions from Maria Peña of La Opinión about the immigration reform debate:

Did Peña’s second question even get answered?

Florida Senate President Fears Some Undocumented Students Come From Terrorist Countries

Meet Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R), who earlier today said the following about a proposed state bill (SB 1400) that would give undocumented students the ability to pay in-state tuition rates at Florida’s public universities and colleges:

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To give that quote some more context, here is more of what Gaetz said about SB 1400, a bill sponsored by state senator Jack Latvala (who, by the way is a Republican):

“I am told it is ‘good politics’ to support Sen. Latvala’s bill, that it will help Republican candidates appeal to Hispanic voters in the 2014 and 2016 elections,” he wrote. “Perhaps. It is certainly true that the Republican Party has lost much of the Hispanic support President Bush earned in 2000 and 2004 and that Gov. Jeb Bush still has in our state and across the nation.”

But Gaetz argued that SB 1400 is “not limited to Hispanics.”

“It casts a blanket of approval over non-citizens who are in this country without proper legal status from anywhere in the world, including countries which are caldrons of terrorism and anti-American violence,” he wrote. “There is no improper or careless intent behind the legislation, but this bill goes much further than merely reaching out to Hispanic voters.”

Gaetz later pointed out that undocumented students are able to enroll in public universities.

“The question posed by SB 1400 is not whether undocumented students will have access to a Florida public college or university education that is supported by Florida taxpayers — they already do,” Gaetz wrote. “The question is the extent to which parents, struggling to save for their own children’s education, and taxpayers, slowly recovering from a deep recession, should be mandated to pay for substantially increased tuition subsidies for non-citizens, who have not attained legal status in our country.”

Apparently, this whole SB 1400 bill is becoming a big issue with Florida Republicans. According to reports, state senator Joe Negron (another Republican) won’t even put in on the agenda of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Here is what Negron said today in a statement: ”After careful consideration, I have decided not to place Senate Bill 1400 on the Appropriations Committee agenda for our meeting on April 22, 2014.” Negron also said this: “Florida law does not prohibit students who are undocumented from accessing our state colleges and universities. Once these students favorably resolve their residency status, they could become eligible for in-state tuition.”

Latvala (did we mention that he is a Republican?) posted this on his Facebook yesterday:

Children should have the opportunity to receive a college education regardless of their parents’ immigration status. Here’s what others are saying about SB 1400:

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford:
“The State of Florida invests thousands of taxpayer dollars to educate children who are here through no fault of their own. The time has come to stop penalizing them for the mistakes of their parents.”

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush:
“Punishing these children for their parents’ acts by creating obstacles to a college degree isn’t in their interests, or ours. President Obama and the federal government have failed to reform our broken immigration system. This proposal would ensure Florida keeps and capitalizes on the talent of all Florida students who want to attend our exceptional colleges and universities.”

American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas:
“Granting in state tuition rights to these children, who have lived most of their lives in our state, is not only fair but most importantly smart. Most of them will make their future home in Florida and will be far more productive to our state to their families with a college education. Regardless of your feelings on immigration reform, this is a wise proposal to assure a more productive workforce for our state.”

Council of 100 Chairman Steve Halverson:
“Florida taxpayers annually make a substantial investment in the K-12 education of their children, and it is vital to the state’s economy that we support their continued learning, regardless of immigration status. The Council of 100 urges the Florida Senate to continue its thoughtful review of the topic…”

Associated Industries of Florida:
“All Florida high school graduates should qualify for in-state tuition at our public colleges, universities and independent universities regardless of their immigration status, subject to meeting all admission standards. While the federal government continues its inaction on a national immigration policy, the Legislature should do what it can to ensure our workforce is well educated and prepared for demands of a growing economy.”
Like this if you agree that these students should have the opportunity to receive an affordable college education! ‪#‎sayfie‬

And today, Latvala reportedly said this:

But back to Gaetz and his American flag backdrops:

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Seriously? Gaetz must come from a part of Florida that likes to believe that an “illegal” invasion is coming. Oh yeah, that’s exactly from where he’s from—a district where 77.7% of voters are “Single-Race Non-Hispanic White.”

By the way, you CAN help. Just go here and call.

Gabo Forever

Today the world learned of the death of Colombia’s Gabriel García Márquez, considered by many to be the greatest writer in the history of the Spanish-speaking world. Gabo, as he was so affectionately known, was 87 years old. The Nobel Prize winner died in Mexico City.

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Two years ago, we published a list of Gabo’s literary works for his 85th birthday. He was and will always be an inspiration to many of the Rebeldes, some of whom point to the following line from Cien años de soledad as the reason they began writing when they were teenagers:

Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento, el coronel Aureliano Buendía había de recordar aquella tarde remota en que su padre lo llevó a conocer el hielo.

Today we shared many posts and tweets about Gabo and what he meant to many of us. What follows are just some of the reactions from our social media community. We let their words speak for us:

About the opening lines of Cien años, one Facebook member told us: “I knew I would finish and love that book as soon as I read those lines.”

Then there were some additional testaments:

“THE GREATEST WRITER EVER. PERIOD. “ONLY GOD KNOWS HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU.” ~ LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA”

“He was the original rebel!! Grande maestro grande!!”

“Es la crónica de una muerte anunciada. Hasta siempre.”

“Descansa en Paz, Gabo! Gracias por tu mágica literatura.”

“La vida no es la que uno vivió, sino la que uno recuerda, y cómo la recuerda para contarla. en paz descanse.”

“Macondo está de luto. Vuelan ahora las mariposas amarillas…”

Twitter is also honoring and remembering Gabo with the following hashtags: #AdiósGabo and #GraciasGabo. Here are just a few of those tweets:

 

 

#GraciasGabo.

“Cae agua de luna en Macondo, limpia un pecado inmortal.” (“Moonwater falls on Macondo, washing away a immortal sing.”)

White House Avoids Record Deportation Issue and Just Blames Congress

If anyone can figure out the spin that White House’s Cecilia Muñoz is trying to weave in her interview with Fusion’s Leon Krauze, please let us know. Here is the full video of what Muñoz had to say about the latest in the whole immigration debate:

Read more here at Fusion.

Our take, the White House doesn’t get it: Don’t lead. Just blame others. As for Muñoz’s comments? They lack compassion or humanity. Just be political and spin a tale that makes no sense in the Latino court of public opinion. Meanwhile, a hunger strike by immigration activists continues right outside the area where Krauze interviewed Muñoz:

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And, as suspected, most of our community understands that the White House is just playing y’all right now:

 

“Total cop out. If states like AZ can do whatever they want with undocumented immigrants, then the President surely can. Ask George W. Bush for some advice Obama.”

Then there is this:

We know that the GOP is to blame, but Muñoz’s spin comments are out of touch as well. The White House is making a huge miscalculation if it thinks Latino voters will come out during the midterm elections just because the Obama Administration is blaming the GOP. Muñoz’s comments were purely political in nature. It’s time for a little bit more humanity. A promise was made. Act on it, Mr. President.

Actor Amaury Nolasco to Produce Documentary on the US Latino Vote

We received the following announcement today from the folks at El Voto Hispano. To learn more about the project (of which Latino Rebels and Latino Rebels Foundation is helping to promote) and give, visit the film’s Kickstarter:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The producers of the documentary film, El Voto Hispano, who are currently seeking funding on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, are pleased to announce the addition of Amaury Nolasco to the production team effective immediately.

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“His experience as an actor, working on a wide variety of sets and in some of the most elaborate productions of the past years, combined with his vast network in Hollywood and within the Latino community will be invaluable to the success of our project. His addition will also help in our immediate goal to raise funds through Kickstarter”, says Producer Alessandro Pietri.

Amaury has agreed to not only help secure the proper funding for the film, but also play an active role in the project’s development and voter outreach initiatives over the course of production.

“I’m very proud to be part of this project.  For me this film is much bigger than something we go to the theater to see. It’s a movement. It’s an educative tool that will be around for generations to come to empower our Latino youth and teach them the importance of the democratic process, and that it’s ok to speak up and have a voice. I never had tools like this, therefore, for a very long time, I didn’t vote. Now I want to make sure others don’t make that mistake”, said the actor.

“Even if you don’t know much about politics, you have the right to be heard. This is not an exclusive club that only a certain elite group of people are allowed to speak. We are all in the same boat,” he added.

Nolasco first became active in politics during President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012. Since then his passion for getting involved in the political process has continued to grow.

In fact, he says he had never voted, in the United States or his native Puerto Rico, until the 2004 Bush-Kerry election which Bush eventually won. According to him, his reason for not voting was not wanting to participate in a process he was not informed enough about.

“His newfound passion for political activism and creating awareness among Latinos is admirable. He wants to give other Latinos the opportunities that he didn’t have growing up. His interest in the project is not just professional, its personal. We’re lucky to have someone as passionate as he is on board”, says Producer and Director Gianpaolo Pietri.

These days Amaury seems more aware of what’s important to him politically, and what’s at stake for Latinos so he wants to get more involved. Working as a Producer on El Voto Hispano will give the renowned actor an opportunity to combine his passion for film with his newfound interest in finding his voice in politics.

Amaury sees El Voto Hispano as the perfect vehicle for him to educate others in a way that he was not about what the issues are, why they are important, and what the price may be for those who choose not to participate.

“I was like that before. I never got involved or wanted  to be heard because I thought I wasn’t  politically savy enough or that my knowledge of politics was not at par with everyone else’s. I never wanted to say anything because I felt I didn’t know enough. Until I had enough, and came out to vote for the first time on the elections of 2004. I was not proud that I had waited that long. But now I was on the playing field letting my voice, my opinions, my ideas be heard.  All Latinos should do the same! Your opinion counts,” concluded Nolasco.

Help Crowdfund the New El Voto Hispano Documentary

A new film about the power of the U.S. Latino vote and its role in national politics is in the final stage of Kickstarter campaign to ensure its completion and distribution. “El Voto Hispano” promises to be the definitive piece about the much-hyped yet misunderstood U.S. Latino vote. You can help by supporting the Kickstarter campaign. It is a film that should be made for the very simple reason: if the community helps now, it will help highlight a more objective approach to the project and avoid commercialization of the film.

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Here is the official Kickstarter video where the filmmakers explain why they are doing the project:

How does the project differ when it comes to exploring “the Latino vote?” Let the filmmakers explain:

The most important study done on this subject to date are the Pew Hispanic Center’s multiple reports on the last four elections (’06, ’08, ’10, ’12). There have been many articles written but their focus is usually in the wrong place. The reporting on this issue is usually a numbers game where stats are analyzed, broken down, manipulated, reinterpreted ad nauseum trying to make demographic sense of the cultural shift happening in America.

The numbers are important. Very important. But they only tell half the story. In looking at the polls, surveys, census graphs, focus groups, etc. etc. … the most important thing of all gets lost: The Human Factor. And that’s where our story begins.The drama of this story, its narrative, lies at the intersection of its three main characters: The Voter, The Politician, and the Media. We will examine the nuanced relationship between those who chose to lead, those who decide who will lead, and those who inform the public about the process.

This story has never been told on film, through characters, real people, breathing life into the numbers, the stats… and that’s what makes it dynamic and different.

You can go to Kickstarter right now and give. Minimum pledge is just $1. Spread the word. Share it with your friends. Let’s have a substantive debate about this topic. This is a film that needs to be made. Help now. Support “El Voto Hispano.” We are.

And so are others.

Twitter Users Wonder Why Would Budweiser Even Sponsor The “César Chávez” Movie

Social media is an interesting medium. Even though LatinoRebels.com had gotten the United Farm Workers to issue a statement in 2012 about its relationship with Budweiser, new users to Twitter are basically having serious issues with Budweiser’s sponsorship of Diego Luna’s “César Chávez” film. The latest is about a video Budweiser posted a few days ago:

Here is one in Spanish:

“Don’t screw it up, Diego Luna, selling out our hero to #Budweiser, alcohol is the enemy of field workers and unions.”

One user offered another alternative:

Nonetheless, not everyone has been critical:

As of April 13, the movie has earned $5,186,330 in box office sales. It has been in release for 17 days. Last weekend, it earned $285,502, a 70.3% drop from the previous weekend. The complete figures can be seen here.

What did you think of the Budweiser connection? Let us know.

The Only Video You Need to See About Current White House Hunger Strike

Just watch.

For more, go to NotOneMoreDeportation.com, Puente Arizona or follow #Not1More on Twitter.