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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Navarrette: Abuelo-gate and the nation's first Latina governor

By Ruben Navarrette
Source: Washington Post

It's not easy being New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. And the nation's first Latina governor, a potential 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate, has not made her life any easier now that she is embroiled in abuelo-gate.

Abuelo is Spanish for grandfather.

During a recent interview on Spanish-language television, the governor noted that her paternal grandfather, Adolfo Martinez, had entered the United States from Mexico in the 1920s "without documents." She gleaned this tidbit from a 1930 Census form where her grandfather's status is listed as "AL" — for alien.

Meanwhile, Martinez is trying to eliminate driver's licenses for illegal immigrants — just as she promised during the campaign.

Martinez's critics accuse her of being a hypocrite. I called her and asked her to respond.

"I can't hold other people in this state responsible for what their grandparents may or may not have done," she told me. "This is a public safety issue, not an immigration issue. I embrace my heritage. But the fact that I'm a proud American of Mexican descent has nothing to do with my responsibility and duty as governor to make sure that New Mexicans are safe."

There is a difference between a political story and a story driven by politics. This appears to be the latter.

And from the looks of it, Martinez isn't guilty of hypocrisy; she's not saying that the illegal immigrants of today shouldn't have driver's licenses but that her grandfather should have had one. But she is guilty of something far worse in the minds of some — being a Hispanic Republican. And that makes her a target.

Why? Fear. Latino activists and liberal Democrats are afraid of Hispanic Republican officials because they worry that a Hispanic senator or governor might turn into a pied piper and lead more Latinos to the GOP's doorstep. It becomes a case of destroy — or be destroyed.

That's what happened in September 2007 when U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was forced from office by a "scandal" that wasn't. Three investigations by inspectors general have all cleared Gonzales of wrongdoing. The last one was in July 2010, when an investigator appointed by the Justice Department declared that Gonzales hadn't done anything wrong in removing eight U.S. attorneys in 2006. The whole thing was a witch hunt.

Now, it's happening in New Mexico, where Martinez's critics on the left made a controversy out of whole cloth.

They're the hypocrites. Aren't liberals and Latinos the ones who — in pushing the Dream Act so undocumented college students who were brought here as youngsters can get legal status — argue that it's morally wrong to blame children for the sins of their parents? But it's totally permissible to blame Republican elected officials for the sins of their grandparents?

Besides, Martinez's exact words were not that her grandfather had come "illegally" but that he came "without documents." No doubt this is true. During much of the 1920s, the U.S.-Mexico border was just a line in the dirt. Most people went back and forth with ease. That's how it was too during the Mexican Revolution​, from 1910 to 1920. About 600,000 Mexicans migrated north — including (BEG ITAL)my(END ITAL) grandfather.

It wasn't until the Immigration Act of 1924, which sought to limit immigration from Southern Europe (read: Italy), that Congress regulated the flow of immigrants across the board.

"The fact that my grandfather came back and forth before there were documents to be presented really speaks of a very different time," Martinez said.

Lastly, the left is making a mistake by attacking the governor for opposing driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. This issue is a loser. A recent survey by Public Opinion Strategies showed that more than 70 percent of New Mexicans opposed giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, including about 69 percent of Hispanics and 60 percent of Democrats.

I'm with them. Even as a vocal supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, the issue of driver's licenses is a bridge too far. And the objective isn't really, as we are told, to give people a legal way to get to work. It's about giving undocumented immigrants, who are stuck in legal limbo, an onramp to a host of privileges from boarding an airplane to applying for college financial aid — privileges they haven't earned and shouldn't have.

The critics of Susana Martinez can fight this battle if they like. But they'll lose. As well they should.


Montreal Refugee claimant paola Ortiz to be deported to Mexico on friday

Montreal Refugee claimant Paola Ortiz, who was to be deported Tuesday but was transferred instead to a hospital after suffering a panic attack, has been ordered to return to Mexico Friday. Ms. Ortiz, a 31-year-old mother of two, has been fighting to stay in the country since she arrived in 2006, saying she was the victim of physical and sexual assault at the hands of her husband, a federal police officer in Mexico. This week, a Federal Court judge upheld Canada's Immigration Review Board's decision that she should be deported on the ground she can receive adequate support in Mexico. Ms. Ortiz, her lawyer and a growing number of women's rights groups, immigration activists and supporters argue her life will be in danger in Mexico. Ms. Ortiz said she will leave her children, ages 2 and 4, in Canada, with friends and relatives, and continue her fight to return to Montreal from Mexico.


Woman's decapitation linked to web posts about Mexican drug cartel

Marisol Macías Castañeda, who worked at local newspaper, had made posts on Nuevo Laredo en Vivo social network.

Source: The Guardian

Mexican police are investigating whether the death of a woman found decapitated at the Texan border is the third killing made in retribution for posts about drug cartels on social networking websites.
The woman, identified by local officials as Marisol Macías Castañeda, a newsroom manager for the Primera Hora newspaper, was found in Nuevo Laredo next to a handwritten note claiming she was murdered for posts about the Zetas cartel, which is believed to dominate the area's drug trade to Laredo, Texas.

Macías Castañeda held an administrative post at Primera Hora, not a reporting job, according to a colleague who wished to remain anonymous. But it was apparently what she posted on the social networking site Nuevo Laredo en Vivo (Nuevo Laredo Live), rather than her role at the newspaper, that prompted her murder.

The site prominently features tip hotlines for the Mexican army, navy and police, and includes a section for reporting the location of drug gang lookouts and drug sales points – possibly the information that angered the cartel.

The message found next to her body on the side of a main road referred to the nickname Macías Castañeda purportedly used on the site, La Nena de Laredo (Laredo Girl). Her head was found placed on a large stone piling nearby.

"Nuevo Laredo en Vivo and social networking sites, I'm The Laredo Girl, and I'm here because of my reports, and yours," the message read. "For those who don't want to believe, this happened to me because of my actions, for believing in the army and the navy. Thank you for your attention, respectfully, Laredo Girl...ZZZZ."

The letter Z refers to the Zetas drug cartel, a gang founded by military deserters who have become known for mass killings and gruesome executions. It was unclear how the killers found out Macías Castañeda's real identity.

By late Saturday, Nuevo Laredo en Vivo's chatroom was full of posters who said they knew the victim, and railing against the Zetas. They described her as a frequent poster who used a laptop or mobile phone to send reports.

"Girl why didn't she buy a gun given that she was posting reports about the RatZZZ … Why didn't she buy a gun?" wrote one chat participant under the nickname Gol.

This month a man and a woman were found hanging from an overpass in Nuevo Laredo with a similar message threatening internet posters. However, it has not been clearly established whether the two had in fact ever posted any messages, or on what sites.

Residents of Mexican border cities often post under nicknames to report drug gang violence, because the posts allow a certain degree of anonymity.

Chatrooms, blogs, and networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook are often the only outlet for residents of violent cities to find out what areas to avoid because of ongoing drug cartel shootouts or attacks. Local media outlets, whose journalists have been hit by killings, kidnappings and threats, are often too intimidated to report the violence.

Mexico's human rights commission says eight journalists have been killed in the country this year, and 74 since 2000. Other press groups cite lower numbers, and figures differ based on the definition of who is a journalist and whether the killings appeared to involve their professional work.

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