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State, national columnists

Wrong script on immigration

By From page A9 | August 03, 2014

SAN DIEGO — Just because you’re well-known doesn’t mean you’re well-informed.

Case in point: Eva Longoria, Mexican-American actress, social commentator and loyal Democrat who once mocked Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida for having “silly” ideas.

What makes Longoria look silly is that she believes that other Americans care what she thinks about the crisis involving Central American child refugees crossing the U.S.-Mexico border into her native Texas.

The actress was recently given an award for her activism by the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Latino advocacy group.
“Eva uses her platform to advocate for issues of concern for our community,” NCLR President Janet Murguia said in presenting the award at the group’s annual conference. “She takes risks and shows courage in standing up and supporting Latinos across the country.”

It is eerie to hear the head of the NCLR talk about taking risks and showing courage. The organization is so busy gobbling up corporate checks that it wouldn’t know real “activism” if its leaders tripped over it.

A few years ago, the NCLR cozied up to corporate America by calling off a tourism boycott of Arizona intended to protest that state’s racist immigration law. But it wasn’t the NCLR’s boycott, and so the organization had no right to call it off.

The NCLR has also been AWOL in the immigration debate, sitting out protests by “dreamers” – whether at the border or the halls of Congress. One reason may be that Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and the administration’s Latina spinmeister, is a former vice president of the organization.

Recently, there was a glimmer of hope that NCLR might redeem itself when Murguia called President Barack Obama the “deporter in chief” for removing more than 2 million people. But Obama suppressed that rebellion when he called a meeting of immigration activists, made sure to invite Murguia, and then, according to sources who were in the room, dressed her down in front of the group.

Longoria has enjoyed a chummier relationship with the White House. She was invited to a state dinner honoring Mexican President Felipe Calderon in May 2010, joined other Latino celebrities at the executive mansion to discuss immigration with the president in April 2011, and was named a national co-chairwoman of the Obama-Biden re-election campaign in February 2012. As Obama was vying for a second term, many Latinos were beginning to think the president wasn’t in their corner, and it was her job to convince them otherwise.

In accepting her award from the NCLR, as Longoria was reflecting on her own childhood growing up in South Texas, she veered into current events.

“And I just can’t help but think and reflect on the situation that’s happening now on the border, everything that’s unfolding on our border – 57,000 children who did not have the luck to be born in America,” Longoria told the crowd.

The next day, a tweet from The Huffington Post read: “Eva Longoria calls on U.S. to protect child refugees.” It should have been: “Eva Longoria calls on U.S. to protect child refugees from the president she helped re-elect.”

It is Obama whose administration has subjected many of the child refugees to overcrowded conditions, denied them adequate food and medicine and sanitation, and then barred the media and lawmakers from the facilities. And it is Obama who, despite his recent comments to Latino groups intended to persuade them that he has reversed course, is still trying to deport children lickety-split. The administration was recently scolded by immigration judges for scheduling asylum hearings that the kids could not be expected to attend – requiring them, for instance, to get to another state in a few days.

Humanitarians aiding these kids in Texas have figured out that Obama is not their amigo. Longoria is not there yet. She speaks in generalities.
“Americans of every background are disappointed with how the issue has been handled,” she told NCLR. “And I think it’s time for leaders from both parties to set aside partisan bickering and their own narrow political goals and get immigration reform done. How it’s been handled has been unbelievable, unacceptable and un-American.”

Unreal. Does this self-described “political news junkie” not understand that the guilty party in this drama is the same person she helped keep in office – even though, by 2012, his flaws, failures and fibs were obvious to most of us?

Longoria needs to spend less time reading scripts and more time reading newspapers.

Ruben Navarrette is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Reach him at [email protected]

Ruben Navarrette


Discussion | 7 comments

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  • rlw895August 03, 2014 - 9:34 am

    Would Mitt Romney have done better?

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  • clancyAugust 03, 2014 - 10:18 am

    Aren't illegals suppose to be deported? Isn't illegal the key word? I'm asking because I don't know.. What is the purpose of the hearing ? Is it to determine if they here legally ? If they already know the person here illegally then they not a citizen so they have no rights so why do we have to pay for all these hearings ?

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  • JagAugust 03, 2014 - 10:47 am

    No RW he probably would have not, but where I disagree with Ruben is I don’t think it is partisan bickering I think it is two core beliefs very far apart, I am not sure if we can even agree to secure the border but if we can that is where it stops, from their the beliefs go from we need to legalize the current nine million to we need to send everyone home and have them enter legally, also we need to change the anchor baby law to no it is just fine, Our very own Marco Rubio (on the right) who said we need to close the border and then let the current illegal become citizen with a bunch of hoops went from 17% up on potential presidents candidates to 10% below them all just with that one comment. I am not sure if this can be fixed until again one party gets super majority and the white house.

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  • Rick WoodAugust 03, 2014 - 6:06 pm

    J: Taking birthright citizenship out of the 14th Amendment and putting it into statute where it today belongs is the "low hanging fruit" of immigration reform. But no one in political leadership is even proposing that, let along getting political support for it. If the two parties can't agree on that, then I suspect you are right that we will have to wait for one party to take the presidency and both houses of congress. But even then, the party will have to take a stand that deals with the political realities, which are going in only one direction--looser immigration. If either side wants to tighten things up, they need to act now, which means they need to act together.

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  • JimboAugust 03, 2014 - 12:59 pm

    Yeah, sure, the border crisis is all Obama's fault. He traveled back in time to 2008 and made the congress pass the anti-trafficking law that makes it harder to deport central American children. That was passed by unanimous consent, and signed by George W. Bush.

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  • HuckleberryAugust 03, 2014 - 9:08 pm

    If the 2008 anti-trafficking law is the reason we are getting all the illegals from South American, then why didn't they come until 2012 and on? So they are leaving their counties because of the gangs and they are paying the drug cartels an coyotes upward of $6000 per person to come over here. Many have stated they were told what to say and were also told that the American President would give passage to the United States. Watching C-span has been very enlightening.

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  • CD BrooksAugust 04, 2014 - 5:58 am

    Huckleberry, well not entirely. You can go all the way back to 1986 and your hero Reagan and IRCA. Bark but no bite, no follow through.Then in 2006, GW Bush joined Democrats to offer blanket amnesty. There is plenty of blame to go around but bottom line, there were efforts made but no follow up.

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