Title 42 Expires on May 11th and Still no Political Imagination for Reform

Title 42 is scheduled to expire on May 11th. And immigration authorities will immediately start using Title 8 of the United States Code to deal with the thousands of migrants at the U.S. southern border.

The Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Majorkas, told reporters, "Our border is not open and will not be open after May 11th." He spent this past weekend at the border using harsh language for those migrants who dare to cross the border. He also recognized that Unlike Title 42, Title 8 mandates the U.S. to give migrants a preliminary interview to those requesting asylum.

It is rumored that many smugglers in Latin American countries are telling migrants that once Title 42 ends on May 11th, getting into the United States will be a lot easier. Consequently, politicians in Washington from both political parties expect a "surge" in the number of migrants trying to come into the United States. Expeditiously, President Biden dispatched 1,500 troops to the southern border.

The economic and political problems in Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Venezuela have motivated people to leave these countries and head to the United States. They are fleeing persecution, poverty, oppression, and unstable political systems. People from these countries have swollen the number of people trying to enter the United States.

It has been widely reported that since 2019 nearly 3 million migrants were immediately expelled without processing their asylum claims using Title 42, even when the majority of them had well-documented persuasive cases.

According to Secretary Alejandro Majorka, On May 12th, a day after Title 42 has expired, an underaged child who arrives at the border will be taken into custody and transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services. Then, an effort to find a relative or a sponsor will be made so that child can be released. Secretary Majorkas contends this process is not a loophole but a humanitarian component of the law. He further stated that a family that arrives at the border after Title 42 has expired and has not filed for asylum in other countries as required will immediately be placed in removal proceedings. And individuals removed using Title 8 will be punished with a five-year ban for re-admission to the United States.

Secretary Majorkas makes it sound like everything is under control, but that conflicts with what goes on the ground. It is widely known that there are two million asylum cases in the backlog.  Immigrants who were bused to New York have gotten court dates until 2033. This is woefully insane and unacceptable. This scenario is an utter display of a broken immigration system crying out for a legislative solution.

President Biden is trying to strike a balance between stopping migrants from coming to the U.S. border with unrealistic opportunities for migrants to enter the U.S. legally. His administration is proposing to open processing centers in Guatemala and Colombia.

The Biden Administration is telling reporters that these centers will provide opportunities for family reunification programs and financial support to fight smugglers.

Although the Biden Administration is still developing details, those efforts will surely defy logic and will not do much to discourage migrants from getting into migrant caravans and taking the long journey to the U.S. border.

The asylum system was created by the Refugee Act of 1980. The U.S. agreed and promised to take people from all over the world facing persecution.  Trump and the Biden administration ignored the Refugee Act and created chaos or misery in migrants' lives when sent to Mexico or their original countries. Now that Title 42 is about to expire, anyone who wants to apply for asylum can do so once at a port of entry or in the United States. Indeed, migrants who can successfully make it to any port of entry have the legal right to request asylum.

The presidential election is moving full steam ahead with candidates using anti-immigrant rhetoric in pursuing voters. President Biden made it official last week that he was running for re-election. Astonishingly, he didn't even mention the issue of immigration. It is not hard to extrapolate what the future holds for the issue of immigration. No reform anytime soon.

When President Biden was a presidential candidate, he enthusiastically supported an immigration plan on his very first day in office. Once elected President and Democrats controlled both houses, the promise of immigration reform went unfulfilled again. In the face of electoral pressure, President Biden used former President Trump's inhumane policies, which he once harshly criticized as a presidential candidate.   Advocates for immigrants appear incapable of breaking out of this vicious cycle with Democrats who claim to be their friends.

Unequivocally, our immigration system is indisputably broken and will not disappear until both parties are willing to spend political capital and use their political imagination to solve it.

The issue of immigration has been robustly discussed in Washington this past week. Nonetheless, There was nothing about proposing reform or providing opportunities to hard-working immigrants working in this country for a better future for their families while contributing to this country.

The current conversation in Congress and the White House is about strategizing how to make it more difficult for migrants at the border. So this potential "surge" at the border with Mexico can be more manageable.

Thank you for reading

Chamba Sanchez
Teaches Politics at Los Angeles Community College District


Photo Credit: Pictures used purchased from Stockphoto.














In Light of all the Tribalism going on, Latinos Could Have Given A Second Chance To Their Leaders. They lost Two Powerful Positions

Latinos in Los Angeles were perplexed about how African Americans reacted to Mark Ridley Thomas' conviction. They were forceful in their immediate calls for the resignation of four Latino leaders after a racist audio recording was leaked.

Latinos quickly learned with Mark Ridley Thomas's convictions that tribalism here in Los Angeles is alive. Different groups demand accountability as long as the one committing the act is not one of their own—an unfortunate and destructive reality for Los Angeles.

Latinos recently lost two very influential political positions:  Nury Martinez was the city council president, and Ron Herrera was the labor leader in this city. Kevin DeLeon weathered the storm and survived at least until the next election. And Gil Cedillo's term ended on December  2022. He didn't need to resign.

Kevin De Leon, Ron Herrera, and Nury Martinez all had stellar progressive credentials and accomplishments in their times in public life. In addition, Councilwoman Martinez and labor leader Ron Herrera didn't engage in criminal activity. Most Latinos didn't care about their Latino leaders' contributions to their communities and wanted them gone in the name of accountability.

What these Latino politicians said on that audio recording can't be defended. However, it would be a stretch to call these Latino civic leaders racist. Their mistake was one of judgment, not an error of their hearts. The same mistake that San Francisco's Mayor, an African American woman, made not long ago when she blamed immigrants for all the problems facing San Francisco and called them drug dealers. She apologized, and nobody demanded her to resign. The world moved on.

Mark Ridley Thomas is a legend in L.A. politics. He has been an influential political leader who succeeded in all positions people elected him for. The African American community didn't just rally behind Thomas; they sadly defended him after he was convicted on federal bribery, conspiracy, and fraud charges.

Hours after the city learned that he had been convicted of severe crimes, It was nothing but tributes and a love fest from prominent African American leaders in the city, even though Mark Ridley Thomas had betrayed their interest.

Mayor Bass even said on the day he was convicted that "it was a sad day for L.A."  Many in this city who would like civic leaders held accountable had a field day with the Mayor's statement.

The "South L.A. Clergy for Political Accountability," an African American group, audaciously went on record saying that Mark Ridley Thoma's indictments were part of a "racial purge discussed in that leaked recording."  Rev. Kenneth Walden, a Holman United Methodist Church pastor, told Los Angeles Times that the real crime was the substance of the racist comments made in that leaked recording. He appeared not to understand why Thomas was being indicted.

That was an interesting and silly position that underscores a kind of destructive tribalism that is not good for the city. This organization "for political accountability" is all for accountability as long as the one to be held accountable is not one of their own.

Furthermore, when Jose Huizar was indicted, Latino council members immediately voted to suspend Huizar without pay. The two African American council members also voted to suspend Huizar. However, when Thomas was indicted, Marque-Harrison and Curren Price voted against suspending him. They even made ridiculous arguments about why he shouldn't be suspended in light of the massive damning evidence against Thomas' corruption reported in the media.

Latino leaders canceled Jose Huizar. He was never seen in another Latino community event. On the other hand, It was reported that Mark Ridley Thomas was sitting in the front row at Karen Bass' mayoral inauguration and continued attending community events in the African American Community. Mark Ridley Thomas' community never abandoned him, even when they knew he was guilty as hell.

African Americans defending Mark Ridley Thomas was like Latinos Defending or ignoring former Councilman Jose Huizar's transgression for his significant contributions to our community and for that awesome Sixth Street Bridge he made possible for the city.

We should foster an environment where people can air their grievances. Latinos should be able to say how they feel. Otherwise, people will do it privately, which doesn't help anyone. Granted, there were racist comments in that leaked recording, but there were also legitimate grievances about Latino representation in this city that should be discussed in open forums. According to the last census data, Latinos are 49% of the L.A. County population. It is almost the same as the city of Los Angeles. They are the largest ethnic/racial, and their numbers are not reflected well in the political landscape. These are difficult conversations, but Latino and Black leaders must be brave enough and have them.

And in December of 2022, Mark Ridley Thomas was paid around $350,000.00 for all months he was suspended. Tavis Smiley, a prominent African American in South L.A., even bragged about Thomas getting his backpay, "we don't black down. Our brother got his money," he told his new audience.

It was wrong to have paid all that money to Thomas when his corrupt behavior led to his suspension. Latinos were disgusted with Jose Huizar's crimes that paying him while being suspended never crossed their minds. In addition, the city was also paying the person who replaced Thomas a salary. Nobody voiced any outrage in light of the blatant double standards.

Angelinos are all overwhelmed by the human degradation taking place in the city of Los Angeles. Unhoused individuals sleeping on sidewalks and piles of trash as far as the eye can see appear to have replaced the majestic palms this city is known for. Nonetheless, if we dig below the surface of this city's homelessness problems, we will find profound problems dealing with a lack of ethical and competent leadership.

Accountability is the backbone of any democracy. When accountability is selectively used, then democracy dies. Voters need to get deeper engaged in this city's politics and elect individuals with the ability to renew the democratic spirit that has been lost in the City of Los Angeles.

Thank you for reading.

Chamba Sanchez
Lecturer of Politics at LACCD

Photo Credit: Bigstock photo used for this piece.


On the Immigration Issue, Latinos Have An Abusive Relationship With The Democratic Party

Looming elections on the Horizons again - Democrats and President Biden are gearing up for reelection. Sadly, Latinos voters know well what Democrats will do next. As expected, Democrats would move either to the center or even to the right of the political spectrum on the issue of immigration. They quickly forget about the promises made to Latino voters and go from embracing immigration reform to ruthless enforcement. 

In many articles recently published, U.S. Democratic Senators pleaded with President Biden not to go back to former President Trump's inhumane policies against migrants at the border. It has been reported that President Biden is seriously considering returning to President Trump's draconian immigration policies. Immigrant advocates are appalled and are asking President Biden, the so-called friend of Latinos, to keep his central campaign promise of being more compassionate to migrants at the border.

This has been the story as to why immigration is never resolved. There is always the next election where Democrats refuse to spend political capital. No courage or decisiveness to solve this complex problem.

It would not be hyperbole to say that Latinos have lost the power of their votes. The Democratic Party take them for granted, and Republicans write them off. Democrats have figured Latinos out and concluded that many Latinos would never vote for crazy-right-wing xenophobic Republicans. So Latinos don't have a place to go but to continue voting for them. 

Latinos in this country must think critically about finding ways to be more effective politically. Latinos are the largest ethnic group in the United States, and their voices need to be heard. There are roughly 65 million Latinos, and around 31 million of them are eligible to participate in their communities civic affairs by voting.

Every governmental or private research institution tells us that Latinos' economic output or GDP is around $3 trillion, and their purchasing power is about $2 trillion. Latinos need to find visionary and transformative leaders among themselves and use their economic power and numbers in politics to advance their interests. 

It is not a secret that most Latinos support the Democratic Party. It is also not a secret how democratic leaders blatantly ignored their needs. Democrat politicians also exploit Latinos' fears of perceived Republican racism. Surely, there is some of that, but the Democrats' strategy is more like, you don't need to vote for me but against them. So there is no incentive for democrats to offer policy proposals as they do for African Americans and other groups that support them. So why do Latinos keep voting for Democrats? This is an honest conversation that needs to take place as soon as possible.

It is also true that Latinos are very diverse. Many Latinos vigorously reject the analogy of "the Latino giant is now awake" because it assumes that Latinos are a single-minded voting block. Latinos are hardly a monolithic group. They also vote for Republicans, and the percentage of Latinos voting for Republicans increased while Trump was in the White House. Intriguingly, Republican leaders have no qualms about offending Latinos or proposing policies that are adverse to their interests.  

We all remember in 2015 when presidential candidate Trump glided down the escalator, calling Mexican immigrants "drug dealers." We also remember Barack Obama deporting 8,000 to 10,000 hard-working immigrants daily while citing the biblical scriptures for welcoming strangers. Leaders from both major political parties offend Latinos with impunity.

The Democratic Party used to confront working-class issues more aggressively than today. Elected Democratic politicians appropriated more social spending for the poor, including education. But all that changed in 1992 after Bill Clinton became President.

Bill Clinton's Machiavellian ways to gain power led his party in the 1990s. Democrats adopted the "triangulation" approach. It was a cynical political strategy to attract new voters.

Bill Clinton and the Democrats would embrace whatever was popular. If an extreme conservative policy proposal were popular, they would embrace it. Case in point: "The era of big government is over," Bill Clinton told Democrats as President. That was a conservative position that Ronald Reagan articulated in the 1980s in which he told the country the "government was the problem." 

This "triangulation" also opened the gateway for more conservative public safety policies such as "The Crime Bill" in 1994 that restructured the criminal justice system. This crime bill embraced by Democrats eventually led to mass incarceration for blacks and Latinos. Using this approach, Bill Clinton also radically reformed the welfare assistance program for many poor people forcing many people of color to lose their food stamps.

For a democracy to function, Latino voters must be able to politically organize and develop a culture of accountability from those they support for political offices. They will continue to be ignored or disillusioned every election cycle if they don't find ways to use their economic power and political numbers more effectively.

Latinos need to organize like African Americans, Jews, or other groups do and hold any political leader accountable for fulfilling their promises to our community.

Thank you for reading.

Chamba Sanchez
Lecturer of Politics at LACCD

Photo Credit: Bigstock photo used for this piece.














We all Lose When Our Children's Education Is Disrupted.

We all agree that workers deserve living wages. Yes, anybody who works shouldn't live in poverty.

Nevertheless, in light of the large-scale disruption that LAUSD students had in the last three years due to the pandemic that kept them home without learning. Labor leaders representing workers at LAUSD should use their imagination and explore other venues to advance their members' interests before they disrupt our students' education.

SEIU Local 99 and its 30,000 workers reached an impasse with LAUSD.   Bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, instructional aids, teacher assistants, and after-school program workers went on strike Tuesday. UTLA and its 35,000 teachers are participating in a solidarity strike and joined SEIU Local 99. Schools can't operate without teachers and these essential workers; hence they had to be closed. SEIU demands a 30% pay hike and wants $2 per hour for the lowest-paid workers.

On Friday, LAUSD made an offer of 19%, presenting a 19% ongoing increase over three years. It was reported on Monday that the district had increased its offer to a generous "23%, plus a 3% cash-in-hand bonus, a $ 20-an-hour minimum wage, and full health care benefits for those working at least four hours a day." The district has offered  77% of what is being demanded, which was insufficient for SEIU to avert the strike so students wouldn't miss class instructions.

Negotiations demand that parties understand that this process involves give and take and that parties negotiating must be able to make concessions. Local 99 is unwilling to return to the table of negotiations unless they get all they want. This approach elicits a dangerous self-assured hubris that might not advance the interest of workers.

Our student's education should never be sacrificed or factored into any strategy to help unionized workers to be lifted out of poverty. Fighting poverty by sacrificing poor Latino and Black students' education at Los Angeles Unified District makes no sense.

LAUSD, the nation’s second-largest school district, where 73% of its students are Latinos living in poverty, according to the district's website. The recent Covid-19 Pandemic immensely affected students; many reports and articles have been published showing the learning loss that occurred among our poor students. Many students were not just academically affected by the pandemic. They were also emotionally affected, as many lost family members that might have included their families.

During the pandemic, students started receiving classes online, and many struggled with access to technology and the poverty of their families. Many students never signed up for these classes and wasted months staying home doing nothing.

Furthermore, it was widely reported that half of all LAUSD students were constantly absent in 2022. Experts tell us that children by age 9 must be able to read and write to avoid falling behind academically. With all the challenges facing families with children at this age, It is not hard to extrapolate that many of our children are woefully behind—clearly, a crisis of biblical proportions.

Test scores for assessment last year showed that nearly seven in ten students could not meet the state minimum standards, and 1 in 2 students didn't meet the English standards. When these scores are compared to the year before the pandemic, the performance drop should alarm those in charge or care for the education of our children.

It is worse for low-income Black and Latino students - "84% of Black and 79% of Latino and low-income students" couldn't meet this state math standard.

To the LAUSD's credit, leaders in the district have tried to address the learning loss by increasing and extending the school day or adding additional days to the school year. But, such efforts were astonishingly rejected by UTLA, even though the district was willing to pay fully, including other benefits to those who wanted to help students. Many parents were disturbed and disappointed to see UTLA reject additional student learning.

In addition, the undue burden imposed on parents in these three days is vast. A three-day strike would affect the poorest resident in Los Angeles. Many parents are utterly confused and angry because LAUSD provides not only education for their children but also childcare and food. Schools are where many poor students eat breakfast and lunch, and many are even given food for dinner. Shutting down campuses is devastating for these needy students.

On Monday, many students brought home packages for school work, not just for the three but ten days. Who will help these children with their homework? A good 80% of the students at LAUSD live in poverty, and their parents have to work long hours, leaving them no time to help their children.

Students have no defenders. There is no secret that children's parents at the district are usually ignored in the decisions that will affect their children. The fight over resources and LAUSD's direction is consistent among the UTLA, Local 99, Charter Schools, and the district leaders. Children's parents are usually expunged from these vital conversations.

Parents need to unite and engage with a deeper level of thinking about how they can become relevant and effectively influence decisions that benefit their children's education.

This strike's guiding principle or theme is to attack poverty in Los Angeles. t is true most of the workers represented by Local 99, like other millions of workers in LA, can't afford to live in this city.   Many SEIU members truly live in poverty, which begs the question of why their union spends lavishly on politicians. They should demand more of these politicians who they send to the legislature in Sacramento.  Roughly 90% of LAUSD's funding comes from Sacramento.  UTLA and Local 99 spend a lot of money on politics. Both unions should demand the state send more money to the district.  So LAUSD can pay living wages to workers and better salaries to its teachers.

Living in Los Angeles is not easy, and surely workers represented by Local 99 need help. They are not alone; many people living in Los Angeles need help. But we can not be oblivious to the district's budget constraints. The pandemic funding for the district is no longer coming or is about to stop. And many parents with school-age children are moving to other cities or states, and the decline in enrollment will profoundly affect state funding. Back in 2000, the district had almost 750,000 students. Today's enrollment is just a little more than 400,000 students.

So much for LA being a bastion of liberalism! Come on, progressives, where is the outrage? Speak up for the poor, struggling students. This strike disproportionally impacts poor Latino students. Seven out of ten students at LAUSD are Latino students who live in poverty. And in California, 40% of the population are Latinos. There is no future in this city or this state, for that matter, if Latinos don't get educated.

Thank you for reading

Chamba Sanchez
Lecturer of Politics at LACCD

Photo Credit: Pictures used purchased from Stockphoto.


How Could the US Not Have Known? Genaro Garcia Luna's Conviction Is Not Justice For The People in Mexico

The conviction of a Mexican drug czar was received with great fanfare on both sides of the Mexico-US border. Genaro Garcia Luna, the former security minister under Mexican President Felipe Calderon, was convicted in a New York court for taking millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa drug cartel. It was also alleged that Genaro Garcia was instrumental in helping the Sinaloa cartel to move more than fifty tons of cocaine into the U.S.

The amount of money being delivered to Genaro Garcia Luna by the drug traffickers, according to some witnesses, raked many peoples' senses raw. It has been widely publicized that he received more than $200 million from Sinaloa Carter. A witness testified that on two occasions, cartel members delivered $5 million nicely packed in briefcases-nothing but Benjamin Franklin bills. On another occasion, Garcia Luna stopped at a warehouse in Chiapas and picked up $14 million in cash.

Adding insult to injury, lawyers defending Genaro Garcia Luna put his wife on the witness stand. She audaciously told the court that her family's millions were the product of her family's hard work.

The information revealed in the trial that took over a month disgusted and angered many people in Mexico and embarrassed the United States. It is difficult to fathom that the U.S. intelligence officials working closely with Garcia Luna didn't know he was helping the Sinaloa Cartel. 

Many viewed this conviction as justice being served to the people in Mexico. They praised the American justice system, hoping it would send a strong message to all corrupted Mexican officials.  

Reuters reported today, Monday, February 27, that the United States is asking for Ovidio Guzman to be extradited. So he can face criminal charges in a U.S. court.  He is the son of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.  Two Mexican government sources confirmed the request.

The U.S. bringing corrupted Mexican officials or drug cartel leaders to justice is great, but it is a pretty low bar of expectations. The United States should do and can do more. For starters, the U.S. can do a better job stopping the flow of U.S. arms going to Mexico's drug cartels. It is well-documented how these weapons have brought so much bloodshed in Mexico. It is estimated that "2.5 million guns from the U.S. crossed the southern border in the last ten years."   

Genaro Garcia Luna served as security minister during President Calderon's tenure from 2006 to 2012. His conviction in New York is a blatant indictment of former president Calderon's leadership abilities. At the very least, it was a massive display of incompetence.

In 2006 when Felipe Calderon was newly elected, he was very receptive to Washington's demands. Calderon had barely defeated left-wing populist candidate Manuel Lopez Obrador by almost one percentage point. U.S. President in 2006, President Bush seized on the opportunity of Calderon's vision of fighting cartels and other organized crime. Hence the "Merida Initiative" was structured and implemented. It was a partnership in which the U.S. provided around $350 o $400 million a year in military aid to Mexico. The literature as to how this foreign policy initiative epically failed is thick. The number of people killed related to drugs grotesquely increased. Almost 10,000 Mexican people were killed just in 2009.

After Garcia Luna's conviction was known, former President Calderon made no apologies and told BBC News that he had done more than any president to take on organized crime. "I fought to build an authentic rule of law, without which there is no freedom, justice, or development," he told the news organization.

It is very telling that not much information came up in the trial about how U.S. intelligence folks worked with this corrupted man and were in the dark about this man's illegal activities. One might have assumed that based on the information that came up during this trial, Washington would be conducting congressional investigations as to what happened during these years that U.S. law enforcement officials were working with a corrupt official. 

After all, Garcia Luna worked closely with U.S. counter-narcotics and intelligence agencies. He also met with top U.S. officials, including then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder. How could the U.S. agencies not have known? 

Many, including current Mexican President Amador, are calling for an investigation of all those U.S. law enforcement officials who worked closely with Garcia Luna. It is not beyond the possibility that Garcia Luna might have corrupted them. The Biden administration has yet to release a statement on this demand.

It is surreal that at one point, Genaro Garcia Luna was the good cop that everybody thought was saving Mexico.   And now, he has been convicted of corruption and illicit enrichment. Many were skeptical about the charges. After all, this man was working closely with American intelligence agencies officials. He even got a CIA award from then-director General David Petraeus.

If the U.S. wants to help people in Mexico and other countries in Latin America, it must make a genuine effort to help these countries to build social and economic conditions. So people in Latin American countries can feel safe and find employment to support their families. Convicting corrupt Mexican officials and drug cartel leader is easy; developing well-thought solutions to the drug trade and even solving the immigration problem will require strength. 


Latinos don't usually speak in unison but the great majority responds with a resounding "no" to "Latinx"

At the end of 2021, Pew Research Center discovered what many of us already knew about the term "Latinx" - most Latinos do not like it and do not use it. According to the research, only an abysmal 3% of Latinos used it.

Furthermore, two in five Latinos point blank said that any political candidate who tries to pander to them using the term would immediately lose their vote. White liberal political consultants, who run political consulting firms locally and nationally, went back to the political "war rooms" to strategize how best to reach Latino voters.

"Latino" and "Hispanic" have been widely used, but some Latinos profoundly disliked both terms. "Latino" is viewed as anti-indigenous, and "Hispanic" as paying homage to Spanish colonizers. However, in the end, many Latinos have learned to live with "Hispanic," and the majority use it to describe themselves, while some prefer Latino/a. Others use other terms, and some reject anything to do with Latinos and joined other ethnic groups.

"Latinx" emerged in the last decade as an effort to include transgender and non-binary individuals. Latinx allows people to opt out of the gender binary. It is used as a gendered-neutral or non-binary option for Latinos/as.

Many Latinos tend to reject labels that lump them together and unfairly describe them as individuals or omit their culture or history. Latinos, whose primary language is Spanish, find the term "Latinx" so horrendous and irrational that they respond venomously. Some asserted that using "Latinx" is silly as it disrupts the gendered nature of Spanish.

Some Latinos even argue that "Latinx" is nothing but "linguistic imperialism" of the Spanish language or some "politically correct lexicon" that the "woke white" liberals want to impose on them. It is also viewed as an elitist term with the potential to destroy their culture and history.

Selling the term "Latinx" to Latinos was an ambitious endeavor and a profound display of the lack of knowledge of Latinos in this country. Among all the groups in American society, Latinos are the most diverse and complex group. Latin with the x, to many native Spanish speakers, makes no sense. "Latinx" defies the basic rules of pronunciation. It was a huge undertaking that was doomed to fail.

Those who came up with this term didn't understand the gendered form of Spanish and the profound diversity among Latinos. We, Latinos as a group, are very diverse. Latinos don't just roll over. We are thinking beings who do not just embrace superficial labels that we find inadequate or silly.

And many news organizations, without much research, started using the term "Latinx" in their articles when they refer to Latinos. Almost half of all residents in Los Angeles are Latinos. To reach out to Latinos in this city, Los Angeles Times hired young and hip journalists in an effort to legitimize the term. They even developed a section called "LatinX files."

Some Latino organizations have also dropped the term "Latinx." The League of United Latin American Citizens [LULAC], a Latino civil rights organization, stopped using "Latinx" in 2021. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus also does not use the term.

Superficial labels do nothing for the people they intend to help. Changing the dictionary or adding words to it will not do anything for transgender and non-binary individuals who are constantly attacked. We need to create policies that protect them.

There have been published articles about the real struggles facing transgender and non-binary individuals and how their rights are grossly violated.  Uber being an exhibit A, personal documents transgender individuals presented to the company were considered fraudulent, and many were dropped from Uber's platform.   That was tragic and unfair.  These individuals couldn't make a living. Here is where advocates need to focus, these transgender people need jobs to support themselves and provide for their families.

Yes, we, all Latinos, should continue to endeavor to understand the complexity of the gender identity movement in our community with an open mind. The majority of Latinos are for all people to be themselves and be included and for their rights to be respected. Nonetheless, imposing "Latinx" in the name of inclusivity creates unnecessary tensions that derail its purpose or goals of inclusion among the diverse Latino communities. Our community does not need a divisive fight over a superficial term.

Thank you for reading.

Chamba Sanchez
Photo Credit: Stock photo used


Stop Using Title 42 and Fix not Exploit the Massive Immigration Problem

On Monday, the Supreme Court dashed a glimmer of hope for many immigrants hoping that Titled 42 would be lifted this week. Chief Justice John Roberts put a temporary hold on the termination of Title 42.  Whatever is in place will stay the same, and Title 42 will not end this week.  Many immigrants from different countries stranded at the southern border were anxious and hopeful that Title 42 would be lifted this week so their application for political asylum could move forward.

Lawyers representing families seeking asylum had filed a lawsuit, and a federal judge ordered President Biden to stop using Title 42 by this coming Wednesday, December 21, 2022. It was claimed in this case that Title 42 is "arbitrary and capricious."  The Biden Administration tried to stop using it, but a federal court in Louisiana immediately blocked it. States controlled by Republicans argued that Title 42 was needed and that if it were lifted, that would create chaos in their states.

Title 42 is a public health order that the Border Patrol enforces. It gives the power to detain and immediately expel immigrants trying to enter the US.  Title 42 is used to keep diseases out of the United States.  The head of the executive branch of the government, via the Department of Homeland Security, uses this public health law.

Before October 2022, Venezuelans were exempted from Title 42. Because both countries, Venezuela and Mexico, wouldn't accept them once they had been expelled. Ukrainians who showed up at the southern border with valid documentation from Ukraine and would not pose a risk to this country's public safety were also exempted. Undoubtedly, immigration advocates immediately accused Biden's administration of racism.

Year in and year out, we see the immigration system in this country crying out for reform with no fix in sight.

Most Americans tell news organizations that our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. Their demand for fixing this problem has fallen on deaf ears for the last three decades.

The political paralysis continues in Washington on the issue of immigration. This new surge of immigrants at the southern border has forced many cities to declare public emergencies while seeking federal financial help to accommodate these newly arrived immigrants.

It is reported by MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News that the number of immigrants currently crossing the southern border ranges from 6,000 to 8,000 daily. Border patrol people complain that they don't have the resources to deal with this crisis and blame the Biden administration privately for their approach to this immigration problem.

Many states being led by Republicans fretted about what could happen if Title 42 were lifted. That would be the end of the Republic as we know it, some of them assertively argue while being interviewed by the usual talking heads on Fox News and other conservative news outlets.

Both political parties use the immigration issue to campaign during elections, and they never legislate on it once the elections are done. This issue has been debated for over two decades. Leaders from both political parties never went beyond posturing to serious deal-making.

Both political parties have disgustingly exploited the issue to advance their political goals. When we had Trump in the White House, we saw Democratic Congressional Representatives going to the southern border and engaging in partisan grandstanding. Now that we have President Biden, we see Republican Congressional Representatives doing the same thing.

It has been reported that the new incoming Republican Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, will be holding hearings at the border next year and is planning to impeach the secretary leading the Homeless Security. Another partisan-political grandstanding that offers no real proposal to deal with the immigration issue.

Florida and Texas governors have removed recently arrived immigrants from their states and sent them to other state municipalities unapologetically.

Republicans use the immigration issue to mobilize their base and offer draconian enforcement, while Democrats use immigration to mobilize the Latino vote. Trump's evil approach to immigration flipped the foundational belief about immigrants. Their hard work and contributions to this country were questioned. President Trump literally cast them as an imminent threat to the well-being of this country.

Democrats are just as guilty, President Obama promised immigration reform, and Latinos who voted for him got draconian immigration enforcement instead. He even used the scriptures in his speeches when discussing the immigration issue. Obama told crowds not to oppress the stranger while deporting 10,000 hardworking non-criminal immigrants daily.

The immigration issue is very complex, and finding common ground or compromising on this issue is nearly impossible. Activists, non-profits, and other advocates must abandon whatever they have been doing for the last three decades because it has not worked. Their advocacy needs a deeper level of thinking to help this country's 11 million undocumented people.

President Biden and Republican leaders in Washington need to be lectured that the 11 million undocumented people in this country are a source of income for their home countries back in Latin American countries. The yearly remittances these undocumented immigrants send are in the billions, vastly exceeding the US aid to these countries.

The Biden Administration pledged $5 or $6 billion over four years to countries in Central America. In this very same year, immigrants from just Guatemala sent more than $10 billion in remittances. It can also be argued that these immigrants' remittances stop massive waves of immigration heading north. The eleven million undocumented immigrants send money to their relatives back home.  Hence they don't have to head north. If these immigrants get some legalization, they will make more money and send more to their relatives back home.

If our political leaders in Washington use the virtues of common sense, they will legalize the eleven million undocumented immigrants.

Thank you for reading.

Chamba Sanchez
Lecturer of Politics at LACCD

Photo Credit: Pictures used purchased from Stockphoto.


Here Is What Bothers Latinos In The Struggle For Political Power With African Americans In LA

It has been a chaotic week in Los Angeles. City Council President Nury Martinez's vile remarks have been an immense distraction that has obscured all the crises of biblical proportions that this city is facing. That political meteorite shook up the entire L.A. political firmament.

Latino and African American political leaders have had macro and micro tensions for a long time. This city is doomed if African Americans and Latinos don't find a way of finding common ground in asking questions of justice for their communities. Both groups must summon their courage and be brave enough to engage in an honest conversation about what bothers them.

At the macro level, there is discontent among Latino leaders that nearly 50% of all residents are Latinos in this city, yet they only hold four council seats. In comparison, African Americans have three council seats when they are roughly 8% of the population. Latino leaders say in private that the demographics in city council districts 8, 9, and 10 have become browner. Yet, they can't run serious Latino candidates there because they will be called "racist" for trying to disenfranchise black people.

After the audio recording was leaked, Council President Martinez was accused by black leaders of wanting to diminish the power of the black community while drawing the district border lines for all fifteen districts. Where were these people when Council President Wesson dismantled a district of the only black woman in the city council, Jean Perry, Latinos ask? Wesson, as Council President, blessed the final border district lines for the 15 districts. Wesson gave community assets from Perry's district to corrupted Councilman Jose Huizar. Nobody complained, and nobody was called "racist," Latinos contend. It might not be suitable for the city, but this is an established process used by those running city hall.   It is about preserving the current politicians in power who agree and want to protect the status quo. Herb Wesson did the very exact thing when he was running the city.

Another problem for Latinos with black leaders was when the entire council voted to suspend Mark Ridley Thomas. The African American city council members, Marquee-Harris and Curren Price, voted "no," while both voted "yes" to suspend embattled Councilman Jose Huizar. Latino council members were visibly agitated seeing black council members protecting a corrupted person just because he was black. And then, Curren Price and Marqueece Harris-Dawson took the council floor and made silly arguments about why Thomas should not have been suspended. De Leon, Cedillo, and Martinez couldn't believe their ears of what these Black Council persons were saying to defend Thomas.

In addition, Latinos politicians also see how Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell has become a kingmaker and how she selects the next assembly person, the next state senator, and the next member of Congress in South Central. They are all African Americans, even when districts' demographics have changed. Supervisor Mitchell will only support a Latino candidate if such an individual is outside her area. Her protege, Sydney Kamlager, went from being on the board of trustees of L.A. Community Colleges to the state assembly to the state senate. And, now, Sydney Kamlager is nearly going to Congress roughly in less than five years. Where is the outrage? Latinos ask. No Latino agenda is moving forward even when these districts have become browner, Latino leaders privately argue.

Latinos also feel woefully ignored in the conversations of diversity. Discussions solely focus on opportunities for African Americans, even when Latinos are making noises for opportunities for everyone.

And then there are tensions at the micro level that have never been fully addressed.

African Americans and Latinos are lumped together in many communities in Los Angeles. They can't seem to see a common agenda with Latinos. Both groups clash over jobs and resources in their communities. African Americans resent seeing Latinos invading their communities and that they are unable to communicate with them. Indeed, they see these immigrants moving into communities known as Black communities and changing them for the worse. It has been the replacement of Marvin Gay for Vicente Fernandez. Recently arrived immigrants tend not to understand the African Americans' struggle and dislike them. They hardly ever have been exposed to black people, and the ones they had were unpleasant. Hence these immigrants unfairly generalize the entire group based on those experiences.

There is so much misunderstanding between the two groups. Case in point, In a mayoral debate, Representative Bass was asked about Latinos and homelessness, and she replied that the first thing she would do was to address the questions of citizenship. So Latinos homeless wouldn't be afraid to apply for services. Then, another debate revealed that a powerful Latino club in L.A. had endorsed Rick Caruso. She immediately asked Caruso how much he had paid for such an endorsement. Both responses by Representative Bass were troubling and disappointing.

I was taken aback by Representative Bass' responses. She should have known that not all Latinos need legalization. And on the endorsement for Caruso, that off-the-cuff comment could be construed as racist. Not all of us are dumb, unethical, and sell out for money.

This poor city has been under tremendous stress since Eric Garcetti took over. We have had sitting council members indicted and then pleading guilty to corruption charges. There have also been attorneys at the L.A. City Attorney's Office involved in scandals and might go to jail. Then, the person in charge of the DWP is in prison for bribery. And, of course, we have Mayor Garcetti's opportunity in India evaporating because his top aide was a sexual predator who used his power to attack people sexually. And we have some people alleging that Garcetti looked the other way.

This city's stability is not sustainable when these two groups are all in open warfare. African Americans see political power essentially as a zero-sum competition with Latinos. Yes, that is true if one sees it with ethnocentric political lenses used in the past. But it is not true if one realizes that coalitions need to be formed to advance progressive policies that benefit both groups.

These are sad and sobering times in L.A. We should all still make an effort to elevate ourselves and see that these times are also offering opportunities for examining the foundation and effectiveness of our democratic institutions. We should do whatever we can to preserve the multicultural mecca of this city where all groups get along and work together. We are in this together, and the future of this city connects us. We should be able to see that what binds us together is much stronger than what might divide us.

There would have never been Mayor Villaraigosa without the support of African Americans. And there would have never been Speaker Bass without the support of Latinos in the Assembly.

P.S. My observations above are analytical in nature and are not intended to be anything more.

Thank you for reading.

Chamba Sanchez
Lecturer of Politics at LACCD

Photo Credit: Pictures used purchased from Stockphoto.

Sources consulted.

Dakota, Smith, et al. "L.A. City Council votes to suspend Mark Ridley-Thomas amid federal charges." Los Angeles Times 20 Oct. 2021
Waldie, D. J. "The Wrath of Wesson: Friday's Redistricting Fiasco." KCET-So Cal Focus 19 March 2012.



New emerging LA's political class: Self-proclaimed "police abolitionists."

Progressive leaders currently leading our city have literally proven that they are genetically incapable of solving the profound challenges facing Angelinos. Known as a bastion of progressiveness, this city’s political leadership has failed the poor. People in LA want leadership, In the absence of leadership, people listen to whoever steps up to the microphone.

The newly elected socialist individuals now calling themselves “progressives” are telling the poor in this city that help is on the way. And that they will use the power of their offices to advance their interest. They swear they are committed to justice and that the poor in L.A. will no longer be expunged from the official narrative of power. Is this real?

I am unsure how to interpret the L.A. city elections on June 7. Some experts say a new tidal wave of left-wing politics is washing over this city. Others argue that the structural change in the voting process made it easier for left-wing candidates to mobilize non-conventional voters.

I have noticed visible new groups with energized activists. I have had lefty activists knocking on my door in the last couple of city elections.

Emerging leftist candidates have been active with Democratic Socialists of America-Los Angeles, People-Budget-LA, a coalition led by Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, and Ground Game L.A., to mention some. They were all inspired by Bernie Sander's two runs for the presidency.

Ground Game L.A.is the main group behind these activists; the organization emerged from an electoral campaign in district 13 in 2017. Those leading this organization understood that building communities in L.A. must be connected with building electoral power.

Jessica Salans, a candidate who challenged Mitch O'Ferrel in 2017, is credited with igniting this movement. After losing to O'Ferrel in 2017, Jessical Salans called for a meeting with her volunteers who were unhappy with progressive leadership in Los Angeles. Salans was determined to change what had happened to her campaign that lacked money and creativity.   She called on all Bernie Sanders' young progressives who were frustrated with the current state of affairs of the city. This group eventually morphed into Ground Game L.A.

Three years after that meeting, Jessica Salams had the first chance to practice what they had learned, and she successfully ran the Nithya Raman's campaign for the L.A. council.   They defeated a sitting councilman, David Rye. A movement set in, activists began to raise money, motivated people to volunteer, and became savvy in using social media platforms. They even created catchy videos with powerful messages for recruiting new members.

People were shocked when Nithya Raman, the first South-Asian-American woman, defeated a sitting councilman in 2019. Raman was not part of the circle of those holding power in this city who determine who should be next in line to serve in this city, on the county, board of supervisors, or state legislature. Organized labor has checked out of electoral politics. They used to be a force in this city and would speak with one voice. Now, labor unions are divided into supporting different candidates.

This past Tuesday, we learned that sitting Councilman Gilberto Cedillo has also been defeated by Eunisses Hernandez, an activist backed by Game LA's people. It is a done deal. It is statically impossible for the incumbent Councilman to reverse the current results.  The final results will be available at the end of June.  These groups of activists have worked hard and finally started getting dividends.

Current Councilwoman Nithya Raman and Kenneth Mejia, leading the race for city controller, are the most polished candidates among these new emerging candidates. Councilwoman Raman is calm and can articulate solutions to this city's problems. Her views on public safety are not always welcome in the communities she serves. Kenneth Mejia has excellent research skills and a business degree that would make him a competent and knowledgeable city controller. He will be scrutinized in the looming run-off. There have been allegations of him saying some silly things.

I will venture to say that the weakest link among these activists running for office is Hugo Soto-Martnez.  Although he managed to make it to run off in district 13. He is the least articulated and he is visibly not ready for prime time.  He uses socialist language loosely, and his lack of understanding of socialism he uses is notable. He openly talks about a silly "common enemy" in our communities. And his dislike for law enforcement has shown while campaigning. Soto-Martinez can't seem to understand that the highly caffeinated and latte drinkers folks in Silverlake and Los Feliz, whom he wants to represent, own property.  The last thing these voters want to hear is "defunding the police." Soto-Martinez will be a suitable candidate in either district one or the seven district.

Another candidate who is part of this movement and might be the one replacing Mike Bonis is Eric Darlin. He got the outgoing councilman's blessings, and it looks like he is coming to city hall, joining Councilwoman Nitya Raman and Councilwoman elect Eunice Hernandez. Three councilman members with policy-focused on helping renters in this city is a big start for building political power at city hall. It will be interesting to see if they are able to establish a paradigm shift needed for the creation of more progressive policies for the poor.

These self-proclaimed new candidates, "police abolitionists," have seen some communities pushing back in candidates' forums.  They heard the message and turned down their rhetoric. They all argue that all the money spent on the police department should be spent on more productive endeavors that would make communities better. Their optimism is palpable and well-intentioned but utterly disconnected from reality on the ground.

In light of the brutal, brazen crimes in L.A., these candidates don't understand that nobody needs more public safety resources than the poor. Unlike the poor, wealthy folks in Silverlake, Los Feliz, Hollywood and the west part of the city have their own security. Granted, police officers can be abusive and can easily disregard people's rights. These candidates should focus on radical reforms that would lead to constitutional policing instead.

With these incoming newly elected individuals, Los Angeles is about to get interesting. We might end up with a "law and order" mayor and a handful of candidates who aggressively advocate for defunding the police.

The underlying question is whether these candidates are ready to lead in a very diverse Los Angeles. And if they will have the ability to pivot and make the needed changes that will advance the interest of the poor they claim to represent. They will need to understand the line between compromising and selling out. Furthermore, these new leaders should endeavor to form coalitions with those whom they might dislike. Most of them have never had the experience of running a significant organization. Marching and giving the finger to the establishment is easy. Now, at one point they will have to realize that they have become the establishment.

Thank you for reading.

Chamba Sanchez
Lecturer of Politics at LACCD

Photo Credit: Pictures used in this piece were taken from candidates' websites and organizations they belong to

Sources consulted.
Nieves, Alexander. "L.A. campaigns enter a new phase." Politico 6 June 2022.
Wick, Julia. "Unseating an L.A. City Council incumbent is exceedingly rare. Will it happen in 2022?." Los Angeles Times 3 March 2022.
Zahniser, David. "Urban planner Nithya Raman unseats Los Angeles City Councilman David Ry." Los Angele Times 6 November 2020.


Progressives Have Massively Failed L.A.

Voters who like to vote on election day in Los Angeles will be heading to polling places and voting for a whole bunch of people next week-June 7th.  We will be handed a massive eight-page ballot.

In 2015 civic leaders hoping to increase turnout in Los Angeles asked voters to amend the city charter. Voters agreed and mayoral elections were moved to even-numbered years.  Next week, California will hold its primaries; candidates of all parties will be participating in a non-partisan primary.  Party affiliation will play no role, and the two top vote-getters will advance to the general election in November.

I was recently asked how Caruso's candidacy gained traction in this liberal city.  Yes, money is a factor but not the overall factor.  We have had candidates with so much money who didn't win the office.  Money without a message will not go far. Candidate Caruso has capitalized on the profound lack of progressive leadership in this town.

Progressives leading this city have spectacularly failed us.  Voters are angry; their anger and discontent are palpable. They want a new leadership fueled with action.

Piles of trash everywhere, people being followed to their homes and then robbed at gunpoint, civic leaders indicted for betraying the public trust, tents at every other block with homeless individuals, and communities of color have been flooded with marijuana dispensaries.  The quality of life in this city has been significantly reduced. L.A., a city, once known as a bastion of progressiveness, has become a place of chaos and filth.

This is why Representative Bass and Councilman Kevin De Leon have not generated enthusiasm in this mayoral race.  Both candidates represent a nod to continuity at a time when continuity is not warranted.

I had voted and helped De Leon and Karen Bass when they first ran for the assembly.  Yes, they are decent, intelligent, and well-liked people, but the city's profound problems are beyond their paygrade.  They both have been in leadership positions in this state.  Kevin De Leon was the President of the State Senate, and Karen Bass was the speaker.  Moreover, Kevin De Leon became a councilman not long ago and is now looking for another job.  He is an illustration of the so-called progressive politicians in California. They get elected to an office and begin looking for the next gig the following day.  They are not interested in solving problems. They all think about the next job whenever they make decisions.

According to recent polls, homelessness is in everyone's mind. I don't think I have ever seen a community problem with considerable public resources getting such a slight incremental improvement. We, voters, agreed to pay more taxes, hoping the homeless problem would significantly decrease. No, outgoing Mayor Garcetti monumentally wasted resources.

Los Angeles Times has reported that those mobile restrooms we see around the city serving homeless individuals cost $339,000.00 a year.  And then the housing units insanely cost $837,000.00.  It is a glaring display of the high-level incompetence of outgoing mayor Garcetti.  The next mayor should immediately stop whatever Garcetti was doing and fire anybody connected to him.  Yes, this new mayor must carefully evaluate all contracts dealing with these housing units.

Serious crimes have also spiraled out of control.  Even those who truly believe that we have to invest more in proactive endeavors and less in LAPD cringe when the "woke left" demands "defunding of the police department."   The rich have their own security in their gated communities. They don't need police departments; poor communities of color do.  Representative Bass skeptically revealed that she would increase LAPD by 100 officers.  We all saw how ruthlessly the woke left went after her.

I have been following this mayoral race closely with an open mind. I have watched most of the debates, and I have attended two.  Like many people in this city, I feel helpless and hopeless.  I pay attention to what the candidates say and do and I could see that a persuasive narrative is escaping Representative Bass. She likes to improvise and says many things. I am still not clear what her plan of action is.  I see her at events with the same advisors who have been advising other establishment candidates here in L.A. for years.

In addition, Karen Bass recently told Steve Lopez from LA Times that she didn't have big ideas. And at debates, it shows that she doesn't have the fire in the belly displayed by politicians who want to win elections. Representative Bass' responses to these debates don't go beyond her conducting audits and identifying waste and fraud.

She offers nothing new. She recycles proposals other candidates had previously offered.

Rick Caruso's narrative centers on the city's challenges and how his background in building empires gave him the foundation needed to take on the major underlying tasks to fix L.A.  He tells voters that the city teeters on the brink and that other candidates have been in positions of leadership way too long and didn't do anything significant for the city. He also tells them, I am not your candidate if you want more of the same.

Caruso's message resonates very well with the non-frequent voters and those who are not politically connected. He also mocks other candidates; they have spent their lives in politics protecting the status quo, he tells audiences.

At least 40% of voters have not decided who to vote for.  Most people, including me, see Representative Bass and Rick Caruso moving to the general election next Tuesday.  A lot of money is being spent on those undecided voters. Candidate Caruso has barraged voters with slick ads about his candidacy.  He has been relentless that some pundits are whispering that he might win this thing outright next week by getting over the 50% and avoiding a runoff.  It is doubtful that this will happen.

If you have not heard from the mayoral candidates, Los Angeles Times interviewed the major candidates. Here are links for three of them still running: the link for Karen Bass, link for Caruso, and the link for De Leon.

Thank you for reading.

Chamba Sanchez

P.S. In the interest of full disclosure, I am voting for Rick Caruso next week.
Photo Credit: Bigstock photo used for this piece.

Resources consulted.
Karen Bass for Los Angeles mayor." Editorial. Los Angeles Times 1st May 2022.
"Los Angeles is spending up to $837,000 to house a single homeless person." KTLA 24 Feb. 2022.
Lopez, Steve. "Karen Bass wants to end homelessness. Are know-how and connections enough?" Los Angeles Times 7 May 2022.
Reyes, Emily R. "$339,000 for a restroom? L.A. politicians balk at the cost of toilets for homeless people." Los Angeles Times 10 June 2019.