Thursday, July 24, 2008

LULAC Treasurer Jaime Martinez Grills Obama and McCain on Family Detention

July 23, San Antonio Current:  Patty Delgado interviews LULAC national treasurer about his conversations with presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama.  The whole interview is worth a read, but here are Obama and McCain's responses to questioning about family detention:

When you talked to Senator Barack Obama, what did he say?

He said in his first year as president he will bring immigration reform to the very forefront and that he will not run away from the issue if it gets politically uncomfortable. That’s the key. I asked him about Hutto. I looked him straight in the eye, and said, ‘I’m from Texas, there are prisons for profit that are holding families who do not have any documents. There are American children who are behind bars because Homeland Security put them there.’ He said, ‘I will address that issue as soon as I get elected President. We’re going to take care of those issues.’ He was very serious on the fact that he would make a change in immigration during his presidency.

 And did you get the same feeling from McCain?

I asked him the same question and McCain said, ‘I cannot address that right now, until I become President. But that issue is not an issue that has a lot of support.’

 That’s all he said?


 What about the millions of immigrant workers and families in America? Are they not support?

He said he won’t address it until people start pushing the issue. But right now he can’t do anything about it. There is not question in my heart and those that heard Obama speak that he is speaking to the bread and butter issues that we need to change in America.

 So do you think as the Latino community begins to rise and become more and more important in voting, do you think issues like Hutto will be brought to the forefront?

Definitely. We made [Hutto] an issue with LULAC’s press conference, now there are many organizations all over the United States supporting us. Our people are the largest growing population in America. We are making a difference and that’s why [candidates] are courting us. I believe that’s also why they are making it so difficult to get citizenship. They don’t want us to vote. The want to make it so difficult for us to become citizens and for us to vote, because once we vote, we’re going to have a brown-faced president in the United States in the future.

 So what we are seeing with Hutto and immigrant criminalization is like the Jim Crow laws?

Yes. Those laws are racist and deprive people of their rights. No taxation without representation. So once we have legal taxation, we’re going to have legal representation, not only in the school boards, but in state legislation to governors to the Presidency of the United States.