photo source: AP

1986: The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 both tightens controls on illegal immigration and extends amnesty for many illegal immigrants. It requires that employers attest to employees’ immigration status and make it illegal to hire or recruit illegal immigrants. It also grants amnesty to some seasonal agricultural workers and to illegal immigrants who entered the United States prior to 1982 and have lived in the country continuously.

President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which provided amnesty to illegal immigrants who qualified.

1990: The Immigration Act of 1990 created a lottery program that randomly assigned a number of visas, and increased the number of immigrants allowed into the country each year. The law also included exceptions for the English-language portion of the naturalization test.

The green card lottery is held annually to randomly select 50,000 applicants to be awarded with green cards.

1996: Under President Bill Clinton, several pieces of legislation are enacted that crack down on various facets of immigration. Specifically, there is a sharp increase in the categories of criminal activity for which immigrants, including permanent residents, can be deported. The laws also impose mandatory detention for certain types of deportation cases, and as a result deportation rates skyrocket.

Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Sept. 11, 2001: Terrorists attack New York and Washington, D.C., killing nearly 3,000 people. The events put immigration under a microscope because the attackers were foreigners, and change the way many politicians and Americans view immigration. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox goes so far as to say that if it were not for the attacks, Congress would have passed reform legislation that benefited Mexican emigration to America.

President George W. Bush walks with Mexico President Vicente Fox, left, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin upon their arrival Wednesday, March 23, 2005, at the Bill Daniels Activity Center at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. White House photo by Eric Draper

2003: The Supreme Court upholds mandatory detention regardless of flight risk for any immigrant offender, even permanent residents.

2005: In 2005 and 2006, Congress holds field hearings on immigration and border security across the country. The Senate introduces a significant bipartisan effort to create a path for legalization for many illegal immigrants.

Pullman Daily News photo: Dean Hare

December 2005: The House passes a bill criminalizing illegal immigrants, sparking massive pro-immigrant protests nationwide. The Senate refuses to take it up.

photo source AP

May 2006: Instead of the House bill, the Senate passes a tougher version of a bill crafted by Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., which includes a path to legal residency for many illegal immigrants.

October 2006: The fiscal year 2007 budget boosts funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement by more than 20 percent, about $1 billion more than President George Bush requested, mostly for detention and transport of immigrants.

Thousands of immigrant rights advocates pack the National Mall during an immigration reform rally in Washington, Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo)

November 2008: President Barack Obama is elected, and Democrats sweep both chambers of Congress, giving hope that a major immigration reform bill will be enacted. Obama had signaled interest in reform that included enhanced border enforcement, crackdowns on people who overstay their visa and employers who hire illegal immigrants and a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants.

Body language experts interpret that a hand placed over the mouth, as Obama is pictured doing, indicates negative impulses and disapproval. photo source: AP

2009: A comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced in the House fails despite efforts by the Obama administration to get it traction.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs SB 1070 in April 2010. (Photo courtesy of the Arizona Office of the Governor)

April 2010: Saying the Congress had failed to enforce U.S. immigration laws, Arizona passes a law to crack down on various facets of illegal immigration. Most controversial is that the law directs police to ask for immigration papers from anyone they stop or arrest who they suspect may be in the country illegally.

Sep 20, 2010 – Los Angeles, California, USA – Los Angeles Mayor ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA during a rally that supports the Dream Act which allows temporary legal status for immigrant students.
(Credit Image: © Mark Samala/

December 2010: The so-called Dream Act, which would allow illegal immigrant students a path to citizenship, passes the House in the lame duck session. The Senate GOP filibusters, effectively killing the bill.

Hundreds of immigrant rights activists rallied outside the Supreme Court building Wednesday as did several dozen supporters of Arizona’s law. Photo: Creative Commons/Talk Radio News Service

April 2012: The Supreme Court takes up the Arizona law. While a decision isn’t expected until June, during initial arguments the justices appear to have little issue with provisions requiring police to check the legal status of people they stop for other reasons.

Courtesy of the AP to Read More: Washington Post

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                                                                                                                                                       Photo from the Inquisitor

15 Of Limbaugh’s Most Offensive And Controversial Comments Targeting


Rush Limbaugh, widely condemned and losing advertisers after misogynistic attacks on a college student, has a history of making offensive and controversial comments, spanning the length of his broadcasting career. This vitriol hasn’t been reserved only for women: he has attacked low-income Americans, racial and ethnic minorities, unions and union members, and the LGBT community.

Another community Limbaugh has repeatedly mocked, denigrated, and insulted are Latinos and immigrants in the United States, whom he has derided as an “invasive species.”

Here’s a rundown of some of Rush Limbaugh’s worst comments directed at immigrants and Latinos, and laying out his views of comprehensive immigration reform.

On August 15, 2011, Limbaugh said:

[S]ome people would say we’re already under attack by aliens — not space aliens, but illegal aliens.

On April 1, 2005, Limbaugh described undocumented immigrants as an “invasive species,” saying:

LIMBAUGH: So invasive species like mollusks and spermatozoa are not good, and we’ve got a federal judge say, “You can’t bring it in here,” but invasive species in the form of illegal immigration is fine and dandy — bring ’em on, as many as possible, legalize them wherever we can, wherever they go, no matter what they clog up. So we’re going to break the bank; we’re going to bend over backwards. The federal judiciary is going to do everything it can to stop spermatozoa and mollusks from coming in, but other invasive species? We’re supposed to bend over and grab the ankles and say, “Deal with it.”

On January 31, 2011, Limbaugh asked:

[H]as the CDC ever published a story about the dangers of catching diseases when you sleep with illegal aliens?

On July 1, 2010, Limbaugh said of Obama:

He always wants to expand every one’s rights: illegal aliens, terrorists, Russian spies, except American citizens.

On March 28, 2006, Limbaugh said of Mexican immigrants:

[L]ook at it from Vicente Fox‘s point of view. I mean if — if you had a renegade, potential criminal element that was poor and unwilling to work, and you had a chance to get rid of 500,000 every year, would you do it?

On April 13, 2009, Limbaugh speculated that Somali pirates were “immigrants” with “an entitlement mentality”:

I could have sworn that they were originally Americans who maybe fled. Maybe they were illegal immigrants or something who got here, come here with an entitlement mentality, didn’t like it, fled the scene because Republicans drove them out of the country in the last election, so they went over to Somalia and started pirating things. Because they have the attitude of entitlement just like a lot of American citizens do.

On May 5, 2010, Limbaugh discussed a protest against the controversial Arizona immigration law by the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and said:

LIMBAUGH: So you have the ownership of the Phoenix Suns, the Los Suns, and whoever — “We don’t want to offend the portion of our fan base. We want to appear to be politically correct. We want to appear to be all-inclusive” and so forth. Well, fine and dandy, but what happens when that contributes to the overall deterioration of the culture of this society?

On April 26, 2010, defending the controversial Arizona immigration law, Limbaugh asked:

Isn’t protecting our legal citizens from an invading army of illegal aliens who are using our services and taking our jobs, isn’t that a basic notion of fairness? Isn’t that in the Constitution? Where is the fairness to American citizens here?

On April 28, 2010, Limbaugh continued his defense of Arizona‘s immigration law, saying:

LIMBAUGH: Once the law, properly enacted, is routinely ignored, and ignored with the blessing and the promotion of the political class, then you have a breakdown of organized society. And there is nothing compassionate about what’s happening to the people of Arizona. There is nothing compassionate about the violation of private property rights. There is nothing compassionate about the abuse of the taxpayer. There is nothing compassionate about the closing of schools and hospitals. Nothing at all compassionate about increased drug trafficking and crime. Nothing compassionate about that at all.

In fact, not only is that not compassion, we are at the forefront of a dissolution of a nation.

On August 23, 2006, Limbaugh discussed the competition in a season of CBS’ Survivor, in which contestants were reportedly divided into competing “tribes” by ethnicity, and said of the “Hispanic tribe”:

[T]hese people have shown a remarkable ability, ladies and gentlemen, to cross borders, boundaries — they get anywhere they want to go. They can do it without water for a long time. They don’t get apprehended, and they will do things other people won’t do. So, our money, early money, is on the Hispanics.

On October 3, 2011, discussing the differences between a “good” school and a “poor” one as depicted in the novel, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Limbaugh said of immigrant children in the public school system:

[T]his is another reason why the children of illegals are sought for public schools: They’ll put up with it. The children of illegals will put up with these dilapidated schools because for them, it is a huge step up. And these schools become little indoctrination centers for the children of illegal immigrants, as they are brainwashed and programmed to become Democrats as adults.

On July 1, 2010, Limbaugh discussed U.S. immigration policy and said:

We are specifically keeping the best and brightest out. It is the dumb and dumbest that we are letting in. Let me rephrase that: It is the ill-educated and the uneducated that we are letting in. The VCs, college graduates, PhDs, you name it, from all over the world, they are limited. The number of people of that caliber — severely limited and tightly controlled.

On September 29, 2011, Limbaugh said of immigrants:

The Democrats need poor, dependent people if they’re gonna stay in business. And if we don’t have enough poverty at home, we’ll import it. That’s what our open-borders policy is: It’s about importing poverty and importing the number of potential registered voters for the Democrat party.

On November 15, 2011, Limbaugh defended Newt Gingrich for describing Spanish as “the language of living in a ghetto” and suggested that Spanish is an “obstacle … put in the way of prosperity and people achieving it”:

LIMBAUGH: In my mind, there’s nothing wrong with it. I don’t instinctively know what’s wrong with it. There is a language of the ghetto. There is a language of the barrio. And it’s not good. There is an attitude. There is a behavior. There is a mindset and we wouldn’t anybody to be stuck in it.


LIMBAUGH: “Mr. Limbaugh, it’s not that he said ‘the language of prosperity’; it’s that he followed it up by saying ‘the language of the barrio.’ ” Well, that makes total sense to us. I know what he means by that — and it’s not the language of prosperity. We don’t think that in America, people should be shut off from the American dream. We don’t think that people ought to be shut off from the opportunity of prosperity and we think that there are some obstacles that have been put in the way of prosperity and people achieving it. Newt’s simply saying get those out of the way. And for this he’s got to apologize?

On April 26, 2010, Limbaugh said:

LIMBAUGH: You’ve got Hezbollah in Arizona. You’ve got Mexican drug cartels operating in Arizona. You’ve got the steady stream of illegals over the border, and you’ve got people being killed now in Arizona. They are at their wits’ end. Enforcing the law is the overall thing, and if there are some civil rights violations, so be it. That’s how desperate the situation is. They want the law anyway.

See, not everybody thinks that civil rights are the end-all and be-all of every single issue. But the folks in Washington just cannot imagine that. “Civil rights violations? Oh my gosh. The worst thing we could possibly do is have civil rights violations” — because it’s code words. It’s simple code words.

Read More: Media Matters for America

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Mexico will hold its presidential election July 1 against the backdrop of a protracted war against criminal cartels in the country. Former President Vicente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN) launched that struggle; his successor, Felipe Calderon, also of the PAN, greatly expanded it. While many Mexicans apparently support action against the cartels, the Calderon government has come under much criticism for its pursuit of the cartels, contributing to Calderon’s low popularity at the moment. The PAN is widely expected to lose in July to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which controlled the Mexican presidency for most of the 20th century until Fox’s victory in 2000. According to polls, the PAN has lost credibility among many Mexican voters, many of whom also once again view the PRI as a viable alternative. Many Mexicans seem to believe that the Calderon administration could attempt to pull off some sort of last-minute political coup (in U.S. political parlance, an “October surprise”) to boost the PAN’s popularity so it can retain the presidency.

The potential election ploy most often discussed is the capture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel, who is widely believed to be the richest, most powerful drug trafficker anywhere. The reasoning goes that if the government could catch Guzman, Calderon’s (and hence the PAN’s) popularity would soar. The National Action Party, Mexico’s ruling party, on Sunday, February 5th chose Former congresswoman Josefina Vasquez Mota to run for president, the first time a major party has nominated a woman to compete for the nation’s top office.

Plata o Plomo

Mexico’s cartels have begun to form into two major groupings around the two most powerful cartels, the Sinaloa cartel and Los Zetas. These two cartels approach business quite differently. The common Mexican cartel expression “plata o plomo” (literally translated as “silver or lead,” the Spanish phrase signifying that a cartel will force one’s cooperation with either a bribe or a bullet) illustrates the different modes of operation of the two hegemonic cartels.

Los Zetas, an organization founded by former Mexican special operations soldiers, tends to apply a military solution to any problem first — plomo. They certainly bribe people, but one of their core organizational values is that it is cheaper and easier to threaten than to bribe. Rather than retain people on their payroll for years, Los Zetas also tend toward a short time horizon with bribery.
By contrast, people like Guzman and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia, founders of the Sinaloa cartel, have been producing and trafficking narcotics for decades. Guzman and Zambada got their start in the trafficking business working for Miguel “El Padrino” Angel Felix Gallardo, the leader of the powerful Guadalajara cartel in the early 1980s. Because they have been in the illicit logistics business for decades, the Sinaloa leaders are more business-oriented than military-oriented. This means that the Sinaloa cartel tends to employ plata first, preferring to buy off the people required to achieve its objectives. It also frequently provides U.S. and Mexican authorities with intelligence pertaining to its cartel enemies rather than taking direct military action against them, thus using the authorities as a weapon against rival cartels. While Sinaloa does have some powerful enforcement groups, and it certainly can (and does) resort to ruthless violence, violence is merely one of the many tools at its disposal rather than its preferred approach to a given problem.

Thus, Sinaloa and Los Zetas each use the same set of tools, they just tend to use them in a different order.

Guzman’s Web

Within his home territory of rural Sinaloa state, Guzman is respected and even revered. An almost-mythical figure, he has used his fortune to buy good will and loyalty in his home turf and elsewhere. In addition to his public largesse, Guzman has bribed people for decades. Unlike Los Zetas, the Sinaloa cartel leadership tends to take a long view on corruption. It will often recruit a low-level official and then continue to pay that person as he rises through the ranks. This long-term approach is not unlike that taken by some of the more patient intelligence services, along the lines of the Soviet recruitment of the “Cambridge Five” while they were still students. Quite simply, Guzman and the Sinaloa cartel have had police and military officers, politicians, journalists and judges on their payroll for years and even decades.
This intelligence agency-like approach has permitted the Sinaloa leadership to construct a wide web of assets with which to gather intelligence and serve as its agents of influence. At the street level, all Mexican cartels employ lookouts called “halcones,” Spanish for “falcons,” who provide their cartel masters with early warning of law enforcement or rival cartel activity in the halcones’ area of responsibility. Higher-ranking officials on a cartel’s payroll essentially serve as high-level halcones who provide early warnings when government operations against the cartel are being planned. Such advanced warning allows the cartels to protect their shipments and leadership.
Once an official or politician is on a cartel payroll (a situation similar to a network of sources run by an intelligence agency), he is subject to blackmail should he stop cooperating. And the relationship between a politician and the cartels can go beyond just cash. It can also involve the murder of a rival or provide other forms of non-cash assistance in the attainment of political power.
Whatever the relationship entails, once a cartel gets its hooks into a person, it tends not to let go — and the person thus entangled has little choice but to continue cooperating, since he can be subject to arrest and political or financial ruin if he is caught. He also can be assassinated should he decide to quit cooperating. No Mexican politician wants to become the next Raul Salinas de Gortari, the brother of former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who the U.S. government alleges made hundreds of millions of dollars in dirty money, much of it from cartel figures. Raul Salinas’ arrest in 1995 for murder, the subsequent money laundering charges brought against him, and questions about what his brother Carlos knew about his activities were important factors in the 2000 presidential election in which the PRI lost.

Featured is the PRI’s Enrique Pena Nieto presidential candidate with soap opera star and wife Angelica Rivera. He is perceived as the insurmountable favorite to become Mexico’s next president this year. Peña Nieto’s long-held advantage in public opinion polls represents the PRI’s best shot at recapturing the office that it lost in the 2000 Presidential elections. The party’s popularity is an astonishing accomplishment for a group once synonymous with the corruption and authoritarianism of Mexico’s 71-year one-party rule. Peña Nieto’s fresh image and celebrity lifestyle (he is married to former soap-star Angelica Rivera) has for the most part succeeded in rebranding his party as one of youth, idealism, and competence. The elitism that Paulina Peña Nieto’s tweet projected is exactly the type of depiction that the party has worked to disassociate itself with.

This fear of being linked to a figure like Guzman serves as a strong deterrent to his arrest. Guzman has been operating as a high-level narcotics trafficker in Mexico for decades now, and a big part of his operations has involved bribery. For example, in November 2008, Mexico’s drug czar, Noe Ramirez Mandujano, was arrested and charged with accepting $450,000 a month from Zambada and the Beltran Leyva brothers, who were aligned with Sinaloa at the time.
If Guzman were to talk to authorities after his arrest, he could implicate a number of very powerful political and business figures. Indeed, it is likely this fear led to the delicate treatment he received after his 1993 arrest in Guatemala and his subsequent conviction in Mexico for narcotics trafficking and bribery. Guzman was able to continue to run his criminal empire from behind bars, and it was only when it appeared that Guzman might face extradition to the United States that he chose to escape from his comfortable prison cell in January 2001. Since his escape, he undoubtedly has continued to add strands to the web of protection surrounding him.
We must also note that without Guzman, the dynamics that drive the Mexican cartels would continue, and other leaders or even organizations would rise to take his place. Killing or arresting an individual will not be the end of Mexico’s criminal cartels.

Mexico’s current President Felipe Calderon.

That said, a long line of powerful Mexican cartel leaders have been arrested. Guzman’s mentor, Felix Gallardo, was arrested in 1989 in large part due to U.S. pressure on the Mexican government in the wake of the torture and murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Enrique Camarena. Gulf cartel founder Juan Garcia Abrego, also a protege of Felix Gallardo, was arrested in 1996. Garcia Abrego allegedly was linked to Raul Salinas and other high-ranking officials in the government of then-President Ernesto Zedillo. Garcia Abrego’s successor as leader of the Gulf cartel, Osiel Cardenas Guillen, was arrested in 2003 and, like Garcia Abrego, was deported to the United States and convicted in a U.S. court; he is currently incarcerated in the “Supermax” penitentiary in Florence, Colo. Indeed, Guzman and Zambada are the last of Felix Gallardo’s proteges still at large.If Guzman is concerned that he could be killed rather than captured, like his former associate Arturo Beltran Leyva, it is possible that he could have prepared some type of insurance document incriminating powerful people on Sinaloa’s payroll. As a deterrent to Guzman’s killing, Sinaloa could threaten to release such a document should Guzman be killed.
Along with Zambada, Guzman has been a high-profile fugitive for three decades now. He has not survived that long by being careless or stupid. It would be very difficult to track down such an individual in a short window of time established by political calculations unless those responsible already know his exact location and have chosen not to arrest him thus far. The Calderon administration and the PAN have struggled with public perceptions for some time now, making it likely that if high-level PAN officials knew where Guzman was and wanted to arrest him for the public relations bump such an operation could provide, they already would have done so.
Still, Guzman is one of the most wanted individuals in the world, and large teams of Mexican and U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agents are trying to locate him. Therefore, it is possible that Guzman could be arrested before the election in July. Any operation to capture him would be tightly compartmentalized for fear it could leak out to high-ranking halcones in the Mexican (or U.S.) government. Indeed, special Mexican units working closely with U.S. counterparts and segregated from any outside contact so that they cannot betray their mission — or the intelligence that led to it — normally carry out such sensitive operations. This means such an operation would likely be beyond the control of Mexican politicians to mandate, although they could conceivably provide actionable intelligence to the forces involved in such an operation.
Interestingly, with all the chatter of an election surprise floating around Mexico, any arrest at this point would be met with a great deal of skepticism. The arrest of such a powerful figure would almost certainly become very politicized with all parties attempting to use it to their advantage — and dodge any connections they might have to Sinaloa. Such an environment would serve to bring more attention to the issue of corruption and collusion between the cartels and the government. And that could end up hurting rather than benefiting the PAN in the upcoming presidential election.

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