IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – There’s a new push to bring Pastor Max Villatoro back to the United States – a bill in Washington, D.C.
Thursday U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack announced the bill “For the relief of Max Villatoro.” The bill would allow Villatoro to be issued “an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence.”
Rep. Loebsack is with Iowa’s Second District which encompasses Iowa City. That’s where Villatoro lived for many years.
Villatoro was the pastor at First Mennonite Church of Iowa City. He was deported to his native country of Honduras in March 2015. It was part of a national sweep of more than 2,000 illegal immigrants with criminal convictions.
Federal paperwork showed Villatoro illegally migrated to the U.S. in 1995. He then pleaded guilty in 1999 to drunken driving and tampering with records charges. In 2006, Homeland Security pursued deportation. Villatoro was arrested by immigration officials on his way to work March 3, 2015.
Since 1999, Villatoro married, had four kids and became a Mennonite pastor in Iowa City.
Villatoro’s impending deportation sparked several protests in Iowa City. Protestors said his case showed a flaw in the immigration system. They even delivered petitions to the Omaha Immigrations and Customs Enforcement offices calling for his release.
The Iowa City Federation of Labor passed a resolution Thursday commending Congressman Loebsack for sponsoring the bill.
Federation president Jesse Case said “Max contributed greatly to the local community, his church and his family. Ripping him from his family and community was wrong and it’s a breath of fresh air to have Congressman Loebsack work to keep the plight of Max alive and work for his return.”
At jgmimmigration.com, Gabe Ortiz writes: “As beloved faith leader in his Iowa City community for two decades, Pastor Max should not have been considered a high priority for removal under the immigration enforcement policies outlined in a November 2014 memo from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Johnson.
Timely advice from our friends at ProgressIowa
If you’re like me, you’ve got a lot of Thanksgiving food, family fun, and a heaping helping of face time with your conservative relatives.
Are you the only progressive voice at the dinner table? Will you be cornered by a conservative Uncle who wants to spit out the latest talking points from Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh?
Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. From Donald Trump to Starbucks cups, we’ll arm you with the information you need to stand your ground. And if you need additional guidance, send us a message to our email hotline: ThanksgivingHelp@progressiowa.org. Progress Iowa will be ready to assist however we can!
Once you’ve read our guide, click here to check it out online and share with your friends and family!
Thank you, good luck, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
On the Issues: How to Debate Your Conservative Uncle this Thanksgiving!
Conservative Uncle Says: “After what happened in Paris, we can’t afford to let any of the Syrian refugees into our country.”
You Say: The U.S. has highly effective and very rigorous procedures to check the background of each refugee. Unlike in Europe, it’s incredibly difficult for refugees from Syria to walk up to American soil. We have time to investigate, and we investigate very well, with the process lasting up to two years for each refugee. In addition, not one of the attackers in Paris has been identified as a Syrian refugee. Finally, it’s the right thing to do. More than two thirds of the refugees are women and children, and our country is built on the hard work of immigrants and people who came here in search of a better life.
EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN
Conservative Uncle Says: “Why are Hillary and Bernie talking about unfair pay for women, is that even real? Some women choose different jobs than men, it’s natural some of them pay less.”
You Say: The gap in pay between women and men is all too real. Women make just 78 cents for every dollar a man makes, and it’s even worse for African American women (65 cents) and Latinas (54 cents). Women are paid less despite their profession. Just two examples are women physicians and surgeons, who make just 62% of what their male counterparts make, and financial managers, a profession where women make just 67% of a male’s salary. If nothing is done to solve this crisis, women will not receive equal pay until the year 2058.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
Conservative Uncle Says: “It shouldn’t be Black Lives Matter, we should say All Lives Matter!”
You Say: Black lives have been disproportionately marginalized in this country, from discriminatory laws, income inequality, and a biased criminal justice system. Using the phrase Black Lives Matter calls out the barriers to opportunity and justice Black Americans face every day. Think of it as saying “Black Lives Matter, too,” which unfortunately is a statement that needs to be made. In addition, many black adults grew up living with racist housing policies. Black people have the right to vote, but new restrictions are trying to make it harder to vote. And every day, black people continue to face a criminal justice system that treats them harsher than everyone else.
Conservative Uncle Says: “At least he has the guts to tell the truth, you always know where he stands.”
You Say: No, not at all. Donald Trump lies, and he lies a lot. He has lied about immigrants, that Arabs cheered in New Jersey on 9/11, the race of victims of murder, and on and on. As for where he stands? Trump has flipped and flopped on issues such as Syrian refugees, taxes, and whether or not to cut military spending.
Conservative Uncle Says: “Why did Starbucks take Christmas off their cups? Isn’t this just political correctness gone wild?”
You Say: You’re joking, right? This is a completely made up controversy. Don’t you have anything better to get upset about? (If that doesn’t work, click here to show him this list of Christmas-themed products offered by Starbucks, proving that a red cup is simply a red cup).
Over the years the term “liberal” has been redefined by the right to be a dirty word. Yet the founders of this country were liberal. Most if not all of the progress in this country has taken place under the auspices of liberals. When the country was hanging on the edge in the 1930s, it took the vision of a liberal administration to refocus our country’s vision from greed for a few to opportunity and dignity for all. The video of JFK’s speech on being a liberal below is 17 minutes long. It is worth listening to closely to capture the full spirit.
What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label “Liberal?” If by “Liberal” they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer’s dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of “Liberal.” But if by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”
But first, I would like to say what I understand the word “Liberal” to mean and explain in the process why I consider myself to be a “Liberal,” and what it means in the presidential election of 1960.
In short, having set forth my view — I hope for all time — two nights ago in Houston, on the proper relationship between church and state, I want to take the opportunity to set forth my views on the proper relationship between the state and the citizen. This is my political credo:
I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, the faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith. For liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man’s ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves.
I believe also in the United States of America, in the promise that it contains and has contained throughout our history of producing a society so abundant and creative and so free and responsible that it cannot only fulfill the aspirations of its citizens, but serve equally well as a beacon for all mankind. I do not believe in a superstate. I see no magic in tax dollars which are sent to Washington and then returned. I abhor the waste and incompetence of large-scale federal bureaucracies in this administration as well as in others. I do not favor state compulsion when voluntary individual effort can do the job and do it well. But I believe in a government which acts, which exercises its full powers and full responsibilities. Government is an art and a precious obligation; and when it has a job to do, I believe it should do it. And this requires not only great ends but that we propose concrete means of achieving them.
Our responsibility is not discharged by announcement of virtuous ends. Our responsibility is to achieve these objectives with social invention, with political skill, and executive vigor. I believe for these reasons that liberalism is our best and only hope in the world today. For the liberal society is a free society, and it is at the same time and for that reason a strong society. Its strength is drawn from the will of free people committed to great ends and peacefully striving to meet them. Only liberalism, in short, can repair our national power, restore our national purpose, and liberate our national energies. And the only basic issue in the 1960 campaign is whether our government will fall in a conservative rut and die there, or whether we will move ahead in the liberal spirit of daring, of breaking new ground, of doing in our generation what Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and Adlai Stevenson did in their time of influence and responsibility.
Our liberalism has its roots in our diverse origins. Most of us are descended from that segment of the American population which was once called an immigrant minority. Today, along with our children and grandchildren, we do not feel minor. We feel proud of our origins and we are not second to any group in our sense of national purpose. For many years New York represented the new frontier to all those who came from the ends of the earth to find new opportunity and new freedom, generations of men and women who fled from the despotism of the czars, the horrors of the Nazis, the tyranny of hunger, who came here to the new frontier in the State of New York. These men and women, a living cross section of American history, indeed, a cross section of the entire world’s history of pain and hope, made of this city not only a new world of opportunity, but a new world of the spirit as well.
This speech would fit well in the political landscape today. To hear the Kennedy voice once again with its compassion and vigor reminds me once again why I am a liberal and a Democrat.
Johnny, we hardly knew ye, but the words and the spirit you left with us still guides us into the future. America needs to throw off the cloak of fear and conservatism to once more embrace liberalism and hope for the future.
The following is an email sent from the Bernie Sanders campaign:
“If politics must truly be at the service of the human person, it follows that it cannot be a slave to the economy and finance. Politics is, instead, an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life. I do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but I encourage you in this effort.” – Pope Francis addressing Congress today. (Thursday Sept. 24th)
Brothers and Sisters: I am not a theologian, an expert on the Bible, or a Catholic. I am just a U.S. senator from the small state of Vermont.
But I am emailing you today to discuss Pope Francis in the hope that we can examine the very profound lessons that he is teaching people all over this world and some of the issues for which he is advocating.
Now, there are issues on which the pope and I disagree — like choice and marriage equality — but from the moment he was elected, Pope Francis immediately let it be known that he would be a different kind of pope, a different kind of religious leader. He forces us to address some of the major issues facing humanity: war, income and wealth inequality, poverty, unemployment, greed, the death penalty and other issues that too many prefer to ignore.
He is reaching out not just to the Catholic Church. He’s reaching out to people all over the world with an incredibly strong message of social justice talking about the grotesque levels of wealth and income inequality.
Pope Francis is looking in the eyes of the wealthiest people around the world who make billions of dollars, and he is saying we cannot continue to ignore the needs of the poor, the needs of the sick, the dispossessed, the elderly people who are living alone, the young people who can’t find jobs. He is saying that the accumulation of money, that the worship of money, is not what life should be about. We cannot turn our backs on our fellow human beings.
He is asking us to create a new society where the economy works for all, and not just the wealthy and the powerful. He is asking us to be the kind of people whose happiness and well-being comes from serving others and being part of a human community, not spending our lives accumulating more and more wealth and power while oppressing others. He is saying that as a planet and as a people we have got to do better.
That’s why I was so pleased that in his address to Congress today, Pope Francis spoke of Dorothy Day, who was a tireless advocate for the impoverished and working people in America. I think it was extraordinary that he cited her as one of the most important people in recent American history.
As the founder of the Catholic Worker newspaper, Dorothy Day organized workers to stand up against the wealthy and powerful. Pope Francis said of her today in Congress:
In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.
How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. I know that many Americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem.
The fact that the pope singled out Dorothy Day — a fierce advocate in the fight for economic justice — as one of the leaders he admires most is quite remarkable. We are living in a nation which worships the acquisition of money and great wealth, but turns its back on those in need. We are admiring people with billions of dollars, while we ignore people who sleep out on the streets. That must end.
Dorothy Day fought this fight, and as Pope Francis says, we must continue it. We need to move toward an economy which works for all, and not just the few.
We have so much poverty in a land of plenty. Together, we can work to make our country more fair for everybody.
I am glad that you are with me in this fight.
This is Making America Great Again?
Since many of the liberal persuasion like to think things through. Monday’s revelation of the Donald Trump “emigration” plan for undocumented workers and now their families offered us a real chance to noodle on the logistics of moving somewhere between 10 and 20 million people in a big lump. Plus there would be ancillary consequences that Trump hasn’t spoken of that will come up as “unadvertised features.”
This is actually quite an interesting exercise, one that has only been attempted a couple times as far as I know. Both that I can think of were during WWII and on a smaller scale than Trump’s proposal. There is a similarity in that a scapegoat population that was blamed for the nation’s ills were being targeted without any factual data. One was the US moving Japanese to camps and the other was of course Germany moving Jewish people to concentration camps. For one thing those are both pretty lousy company to be keeping. But the fact that such a proposal is so horrendous won’t stop Trump, so today let’s just discuss the how.
First question is just where the heck are taking these people? Contrary to popular opinion not all of the future deportees hail from Mexico. Many come from other central American countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Some come from South America countries such as Venezuela and there are also folks from European countries such as Ireland, Poland and others. Is the plan just to take them to the Texas – Mexico border and dump them?
If that is the plan, then the fence best be built first and it better be very impenetrable. Once again we can look back in history to Germany for some insight. when the Berlin Wall was a simple brick and barb wire fence folks broke through at some regularity. Once it evolved into a two wall system with a large sand area between the two wall escapes slowed way down. They also had to encircle Berlin. Will we need to encircle the whole country, Alaska and Hawaii? Not sure the True Value carries that much cement.
Now to the questions of actually gathering and deployment. Since it is unlikely that folks will voluntarily turn themselves in for deportation. rounding up the scapegoat population will be problem one. Not even going to venture a guess how that will be done. But I will guess that it will take a large force of people who will probably be poorly trained and make huge mistakes.
As the victims are rounded up, they will need to be held some where. Current jails won’t hold enough. Building huge holding buildings seems shortsighted since their use should end after a few years. Looks like abandoned military camps and private warehouses need to be put into service. This also will call for a large force of workers to run the holding areas.
As we develop the scenario we can see that many current workers will be removed forcibly from the workforce as they are detained and held for removal. There will also be many more workers needed to find and hold the targeted group. Unless we find more workers to fill the labor pool then the price of labor will rise. This should make corporations really upset. Perhaps Trump should suspend Social Security until the undocumented problem is solved, thus forcing the elderly out of retirement. This labor shortage would be an unadvertised feature.
Now we get to actually moving the targeted population. It took Germany some 7 years to move 6 million people. The German were quite efficient, so we can use that as a gauge. What means of transport will we use? Let’s assume that the Texas – Mexico border is the chosen location. I will suggest here that trains and buses be the transport of choice so no planes get hijacked. Remember we will need several security guards for every bus or rail car. Thus another hit to the labor force. Plus we will need more drivers and mechanics and other support personnel.
How many can we move on one train or bus? I have no idea, but just for the sake of argument let’s say we can get 2,000 on a train. That is assuming we give them seats and bathroom access. If we move them in crammed freight cars like the Germans did that number could grow, but there may be some courts that have a problem with that. So 20,000,000 at 2,000 per train would mean 20,000 trains. Just for the sake of argument let’s say we could move 10 trains per day, then that would take 2,000 days or about 6 years. Remember that most railroads are tied up moving oil right now, so where do we find the extra capacity? If we use buses at @ 100 per bus then it would take 20 buses to replace a train. Do we have the capacity?
Before we start sending folks to Mexico, we will need to stop the workers who live in Mexico and work in the US who cross daily. Not sure how many, but somehow they will need to be replaced or the businesses moved. That border must be tight as a drum long before we start the deportations.
Another consideration, or maybe not if you are Trump, is what the receiving countries are to do with a huge influx of families that will need food and housing. Trump will probably say that they should have thought of that when they started sending their people over in the first place. He is a little short on humanitarian genes.
Even at a very cursory look, shipping 20 million people out of the US is not an easy task. It will also be fraught with unanticipated problems and probably be met with great resistance. You also may have noted throughout that there will be a huge effect on the labor pool within the US. There will be a huge number of jobs created identifying, holding and transporting the targeted population. There may also be jobs possibly created in building both the wall itself and perhaps train cars and buses, maybe holding areas also.
Thus the labor pool will get tight. This means wages will likely rise and unions may once again be able to get a foothold in industry. A couple of ways of dealing with this would be to increase the labor pool. Newt Gingrich wanted to end child labor laws a few years ago. A tight labor market could give impetus to that. Ending Social Security or at least profitizing has been a Republican dream for 80 years. This may be the spur that could get that really moving.
And if we look once again into the past we see that corporations have dealt with tight labor markets before. One of their preferred solutions has been to bring in workers from poorer countries as undocumented workers. They have been able to get away with this through bribery to the corrupt politicians and police that allow it to happen. They have yet to pay any price for this. All they would need is a small hole in that fence……….
Yesterday and today will be offering a dramatic contrast of the differences between what the Democratic Party stands for and what the Republican Party stands for.
Last night in Cedar Rapids, Democrats met for their annual Hall of Fame dinner. Speakers for the evening were the declared Democratic candidates for president – Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee. The general focus of remarks last night were to bring back the middle class for every group in America and reestablish a country that works for all of its citizens, not just the wealthy and well connected. In short, the focus was on putting the citizens back in charge of this country.
Other issues included climate change, student debt, access to education for all, building an economy that works for all including living wages for workers, sensible immigration solutions and many others. The focus was on issues, not personalities or rumors or made up media hype.
Half a day later and 100 miles to the west in Ames we will be seeing Republicans gathering under the auspices of a quasi-Christian group known as the FAMiLY Leader. The focus of this conference is to push the theme that America is Christian and should be run by a set of principles based on their interpretation of Christianity.
Today we will see such Republican presidential candidates as Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz pander to folks who share the Family Leaders’ version of Christianity. In that version, gays are hated and of course the idea that a gay person could marry is anathema to them. Immigrants and immigration policy will be also be in for major criticism. Policies that will come in for praise are those policies that will enrich the already wealthy while continuing low wages and no benefits for the poor and middle class. No doubt there will be veiled references to Muslims being terrorists through comments on the middle east or the new deal with Iran.
Climate change will certainly come in for derision as will science in general. Shoot, I almost wouldn’t even be surprised if someone joked that the Pluto mission was staged in a back lot in Hollywood. The only science that counts for them is that which can be exploited for a buck.
At a time when serious consideration is needed concerning the deal with Iran, Republican will use it as a cornerstone around which to build fear. There will be no sensible discussion as each of the presidential candidates tries to stake out the furthest right position.
No doubt there will also be attacks on Democratic candidates, most likely Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. There will also be attacks on Planned Parenthood which has recently been the subject of another bogus right wing “documentary.” In short, the hate will flow with no real issues discussed nor any solutions offered.
Within one day the contrast between what have become polar opposites should be quite apparent to any American. Do you want solutions? Or do you want more hate and fear?
IOWA CITY–Johnson County announced acceptance of applications for a new Community ID program on Wednesday. The county seeks to become more welcoming, and to resolve a practical public safety issue problem—undocumented residents prefer to stay in the shadows.
“Johnson County will be the first community in the Midwest, and the first outside a major metropolitan area, to offer community-issued identification,” according to a press release. “The Community ID program is designed to help people who may have difficulty getting a state-issued ID, such as seniors who no longer drive, the homeless, people in poverty or transition, and new immigrants. A Community ID can help these people interact with law enforcement, local government, pharmacies and banks.”
Rod Sullivan, Johnson County supervisor, explained the public safety aspect of the program in an April 9 email.
Why do we need a Community ID? I have a very personal story. After years of doing nothing, a few years ago, the board of supervisors finally began taking action against the criminals that own Regency Mobile Home Park. State law severely limits the ability of the board to intervene, but there were dozens of credible reports of fraud coming from Regency.
Johnson County detectives swooped in, gathered all the info they could, and began following up on leads. Then they ran into a stone wall. Most of the people they needed to speak with refused to talk to them. These folks saw law enforcement coming, and they went the other way–even when they were innocent victims!
I spoke at length with the lead detective on the case, and he said that this avoidance of law enforcement was common. When I asked why, he said it all came back to a lack of ID.
This illustrates the number one reason for instituting a Community ID – public safety. We need victims and witnesses to come forward in order to solve crimes and see to it that justice is served. The Community ID will help with this.
There have already been hundreds of applications for Community IDs. The program requires both documentary proof of identity and proof of residency. It is an open question whether the victims and witnesses Sullivan referred to will actually come forward to secure a Community ID, or change their behavior.
In an unrelated incident undocumented immigrants made news Wednesday when Rep. Steve King (R-Kiron) condemned the concept of “Sanctuary City” for the umpteenth time in the wake of the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco. The accused is a seven-time felon who has been deported to Mexico five times, according to the story.
“Sanctuary cities exist because of the left, because of the open border policy,” King told Newsmax. “Yes, there is blood on their hands and San Francisco is at fault. All of California is a sanctuary state today, and many states have these jurisdictions like this.”
Having a Community ID is not the same as being a Sanctuary City, but it may represent what is possible in governing the undocumented.
Hillary Clinton came out strong for a path to citizenship and fixing the immigration mess on Cinco de Mayo. She has previously put out strong positions for women, on greatly lessening income inequality and money in politics.
Bernie Sanders introduced a bill in the Senate to break up the mega-banks that have grown out of the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. As he did he reminded us that:
No single financial institution should be so large that its failure would cause catastrophic risk to millions of Americans or to our nation’s economic well-being. No single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure would send the world economy into crisis. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist and that is the bottom line.
Martin O’Malley staked out positions in liberal territory early on, even though he has not officially declared his candidacy yet. You can check his positions here.
Is this reality? After years of Democrats running like lukewarm Republicans, we are getting Democrats talking as if they are Democrats. This is a trend we hope continues up to election day and beyond. It may be Sanders’ entrance into the race, or it may be that Democratic leaders finally realize that Republican ideas are failed ideas.
Democratic debates will be debates on real issues talking about real solutions for real people.
But don’t forget. America not only needs a Democratic president that will face issues – as Barack Obama has done – America also needs a Democratic congress to put those concepts into reality.
* The President takes as bold of an action as he possibly can and the Speaker of the House claims this ends any co-operation that was going to happen between congress and the President. Maybe Boehner missed it, but there was never any co-operation to begin with. When you make a threat, try to operate within reality, Boehner.
* We will sure miss this guy:
* While you are sitting back digesting the turkey and taters, the Koch brothers and their ilk will be busy preparing their demands for the state politicians they own. Did I say own? I meant own. They will whine and dine them (yep I meant whine about how tough it is to be a billionaire these days) and give them a list of must dos or they will buy new politicians. I expect a new demand will be to destroy the electoral college before the next election.
* The President asks for TV network air time for a momentous speech and the networks tell him to take a hike, “Big Bang Theory” is much more important than some silly speech. Just in case you wondered how the media views Obama or any Democrat for that matter.
* If you are shopping over the holiday weekend, remember that you do vote with your dollars. Money spent at most of the big box stores will come back to haunt you when the billionaires buy politicians with the profits. Shop local if you can. Otherwise try to pick merchants who espouse policies you do: decent pay, equal pay and decent working conditions.
* There will be many things to fight against in the next congress. One that really hasn’t been talked about much but has me worried is the fate of the Post Office. As the employer with the biggest (and I daresay most cohesive) union in the country, I believe we can expect an all out assault on the Post Office to the point of totally dismantling it. In covering this story, I expect the media will give us many stories on how bad the USPO is and how private industry could do the job better. Typical media crap.
* Have a good holiday. Take a few moments to think of those less fortunate. Then try to act in ways that could help them.