Tag Archives: Lou Dobbs

Latino In America San Francisco Edition

Last night I attended the advance screening and panel session of Latino in America a CNN produced series that will be airing tomorrow October 21 and 22nd.

By 2050, the U.S. Latino population is expected to nearly triple. This October, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien explores how Latinos are reshaping our communities and culture and forcing a nation of immigrants to rediscover what it means to be an American,” is the statement on CNN’s website to entice potential viewers. CNN has been working hard to market this four hour series by hosting advance screening parties across the nation. It’s obvious that the series is a serious effort to capture a larger share of the Hispanic market.

Despite their efforts, CNN which pledges itself as the ‘most trusted name in news’ is also the home of Lou Dobbs one of the most vitriolic anti immigrant voices in the media.  Presente.org  a national online advocacy organization has been running a very strong campaign to highlight the blatant lies Lou Dobbs spreads on his program. He has claimed that “Just about a third of our prison system is made up of illegal aliens.” But the Department of Justice reports that immigrants (legal and illegal) make just 6% of the prison population.  

After the screening there was a panel discussion led by CNN en Espanol’s anchor Gabriela Frias and a Q & A session with the audience. The panelists included a reporter from the San Jose Mercury Newspaper, one of the reporters who put together the series and retired Senator Art Torres. One of the more interesting questions asked, was about the hypocrisy of CNN promoting Latino in America while simultaneously hosting Lou Dobbs. Ms. Frias and the reporter from the series sidestepped the issue by responding that their job was to get good stories out and that Latinos in America have to be heard but they suggested contacting the powers that be of CNN to make the questioners view point’s heard. Sen. Art Torres responded that he felt Dobbs’ view points had marginalized him.

I asked the panel what they thought about the current California water policy issues and how Glen Beck and the Republican Party were using the Central Valley Latino community for their astroturf campaign. Sen. Torres said that

If they (the Republican Party) thought the Latino community was that stupid then they were in for a rude awakening akin to ‘Pee Wee Wilson’ and his disastrous Prop 187 campaign.

I was happy to hear Sen. Torres say this because that particular fight put many Latino boots on the ground in California for the Democratic Party. It was during the Prop 187 and 209 campaigns that I myself became more politically active and I see that time period as a defining point in my life for the path that I would eventually follow working full time in politics. As the Comprehensive Immigration Reform issue comes up in Congress it will be interesting to see if CNN ultimately chooses Lou Dobbs and his hate speech or Latinos in America. America’s Voice and Media Matters planned to run an ad targeting Dobbs during the broadcast of Latino in America, but CNN refused to air it.

America’s Voice says it plans to run the ad on a competing network.

Dreams Across America to Lou Dobbs: “Get on the Train!”

(cross-posted from Courage Campaign)

Yesterday, the Dreams Across America train took off from L.A.'s Union Station, one of four trains around the country carrying 100 “dreamers” to Washington, D.C. to tell the stories of their own immigration or how immigrants have touched their lives. There will be blogging from the train (Courage Campaign's own Rick Jacobs will have daily updates) to capture these stories both in written and video form, the goal being to humanize and personalize immigration the way a rally of hundreds of thousands in the street can't.

All of the immigrants on the train are legal American citizens but that didn't stop Lou Dobbs from attacking the Dreams Across America campaign yesterday. He likes to call it “The Amnesty Train” or “A Train” for short (ain't he clever!) So today, one of the dreamers, Cathy Gurney, shot back, challenging him to get on the train to hear the real stories of immigration in this country.

Cathy Gurney's statement and her story over the flip…

Her statement:

To me, talking about fixing a broken immigration system is not about policy; it’s about my life. I work hard each and everyday to live the American dream, which is really the American story:  to be my own boss, to run my own business that I can pass along to my children. My husband and I have worked very hard to build our dream.

Mr. Dobbs has one opinion on the broken immigration system in this country. I am part of a group telling a hundred stories of real people who deal with this issue everyday. Therefore, I call on Mr. Dobbs to join us on this tour, to see the real America and hear the real stories of our broken immigration system.

Gurney and her husband run a landscaping business in Chico. For her, a lack of a legal workforce could mean the end of her business, her livelihood. As she says in her video:

Am I breaking the law by trying to support my family?

She goes on:

I understand that they came to this country illegally, but I also understand that they came to this country for the same reason my grandfather, a hundred and some odd years ago, came to this country through Ellis Island from Russia because he was coming for the American dream.

Gurney makes the compelling case that lack of action on immigration reform not only stifles entrepreneurism but it threatens her livelihood. What's interesting about this story is that it hits at such so-called conservative values as the virtue of free market enterprise and the importance of the family. That's what this whole Dreams Across America project really is about, reframing what immigration reform means. There are a ton of really cool stories on the website that help do just that.

You can join the dreamers virtually on the train, letting them know you stand with them, by signing the Dreams petition HERE. And if you have an immigration story YOU want to tell, you can do that too HERE.

While the project doesn't take a side in the legislative debate, clearly a path to citizenship is central to a humane immigration policy. Stoller had an interesting piece the other day about why the issue is so difficult for progressives. As we know, conservatives are a lot clearer and a LOT more vocal on the issue, which is largely why the bill died in the Senate last week. Certainly it wasn't because the American people are opposed to reform or even a path to citizenship. A new LA Times poll shows that only 23% of Americans oppose a path to legal status for the undocumented.  Part of what Dreams Across America hopes to accomplish is to engage the progressive community on this issue by appealing to our values of fairness and the expansion of opportunity.