Arizona Congressman Ed Pastor

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A visit with Arizona Congressman Ed Pastor of the 4th district. He will discuss the latest issues from Washington D.C.

>>Jose: Good evening, I'm Jose Cardenas. Welcome to "Horizonte". Tonight we'll talk with Congressman Ed Pastor about the Student Dream Act, immigration and other issues We'll profile educator Rene Diaz who was recently lauded for his work in the community. We'll also talk about the recent purchase by the Arizona Republic of one of the Valley's top Spanish language newspapers.

>>Jose: Two bills are making their way through Congress that would affect Arizona students. One is the Dream Act in the Senate, and the other is the Student Adjustment Act in the House of Representatives. The outcome of these bills could be life altering for many Arizona students who are here without proper documentation. Juliana is one of them and here is her story.

>>Reporter: A daughter of Mexican immigrants, Juliana had no idea she was not an American citizen until a trip to Buffalo, New York, for a national competition.

>>Yuliana Huicochea: Since we had everything prepared on the day we were supposed to quality, we qualified right then and there so we got the day free, so we decided to go to Niagara Falls.

>>Reporter: Upon re-entry into the United States, immigration officials stopped her and three other students.

>>Yuliana: They wouldn't let us talk to our parents, wouldn't tell us anything. They talked among themselves, filled out papers.

>>Reporter Those papers were the beginning of the deportation process.

>>Yuliana: The hearing in September was at the INS office. The next was at a court with Judge Richardson and he set the date for November 28.

>>Reporter: With November 28 fast approaching, she and her lawyer and other students have taken an active role to promote the Dream Act.

>>Yuliana: I hope when you get to Washington D.C. you represent us. You tell them that we want to give back to the country that has given us so much. We want to be great lawyers, doctors, surgeons, whatever. We want to be there, we want to succeed.

>>Judy Flanagan: There is a possibility there is going be a hearing in the Senate next week. It's an important and first step for making its way to becoming a law.

>>Reporter: This important step could pave the way for Juliana and others in her situation to succeed.

>>Yuliana: Thousands of students, not just in Arizona but in the whole United States, that were brought here when they were little kids and have grown up, gone to school, have graduated from high school, gone to college and want to succeed, want to be somebody. The United States has given so much to us and one day we would like to compensate, pay taxes, have a good job that helps our community and the people we represent.

>>Reporter: But to help their community, they have to be able to stay in this country.

>>Judy: They are remarkable young people and they truly are our future. They are doing well in school, they are staying out of trouble. They want to give back to this community and this is a vehicle for that to happen if the Dream Act can pass.

>>Reporter: If it does pass, it will allow Juliana and others like her to realize their American dream.

>>Yuliana: We are not going to give up our education, families, our lives in the United States.

>>Jose: The Dream Act went into the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 2nd. Here to tell us more about the Dream Act, the Student Adjustment Act and other issues is Democratic Representative Ed Pastor of District 4. Thank you for joining us.

>>Ed Pastor: Thank you, Jose.

>>Jose: Tell us about the two acts, the Dream Act and Student Adjustment Act.

>>Ed Pastor: Basically, they take a student who has completed high school and qualifies to go on to college or university, you're talking about kids who are bright, kids that we want to make sure continue to stay here because they are educated. Student Adjustment has no age requirement. They have to be here a reasonable time, five years, and they're about to enter a university or college, community college, higher education. It also allows the state, there are states who say that they are willing to give public assistance to people who are here, students who are here undocumented. This bill says that those states that have those requirements or want to have those requirements, they can have them and create the status for students who are, have finished high school and going on to seek a higher education. They give them a temporary residence status.

>>Jose: Both bills would allow students to have in-state tuition.

>>Ed Pastor: It allows the states, yes to do that. There is a Dream Act age requirement, someone under 21 would not qualify. And also under Dream Act it allows students who are going into the military to complete two years in the military and students who would do X hours of community service, they would also allowed the non-deportable status or temporary residential status.

>>Jose: Does the Dream Act impose more requirements than the Student Adjustment Act?

>>Ed Pastor: Age is probably the one that is the biggest problem. In some cases, these kids have been here and now they are 18, 19 and are graduating or some put off school and so in the Student Adjustment, the age requirement is probably more flexible.

>>Jose: What is the age requirement in Dream Act?

>>Ed Pastor: In the Dream Act you have to be under 21.

>>Jose: Which one has the greatest likelihood of passing?

>>Ed Pastor: I think both. People have realized you have these students who are very bright, in some cases they are graduating number one in their class, and yet they can't continue their education. I think we're getting a sense of realism and being practical and saying it would be better to keep these students here. It would be better since we have educated them, it would be better to allow them to get a higher education and they can continue to give more to our country.

>>Jose: How soon is something likely to happen in Congress?

>>Ed Pastor: The bills have been introduced. The expectation and hope is that hearings will start and movement will start at the end of this year. That's the expectation. I hope it happens.

>>Jose: Do you think one of them will pass in this legislative session?

>>Ed Pastor: My expectation is the Senate will probably go forward. In the House, we have about 60, 65 members of the House who belong to anti-immigration and anything but deportation, they're not supportive of. So I would think in the Senate you have a better chance.

>>Jose: Even in the Senate you have some opposition. As I understand it, Senator Kyle of Arizona is one of the leaders of the opposition on this particular legislation.

>>Ed Pastor: That I don't know. He has never told me. I would hope that the residents in Arizona, his constituents, will impress on him how important it is to have these bright kids to continue with higher education because they will contribute to our state and to our country.

>>Jose: As I understand, the rationale for opposing these two pieces of legislation is that you are rewarding people who have broken the law and providing incentives for more to come to this country without proper documentation. How do you respond to that?

>>Ed Pastor: I don't think the Dream Act is going to make people flee Mexico and come here. I think it's the work situation. The kids, as you heard in the story, they were brought here without documents. They have gone to American schools, graduated from American schools. They are in the highest caliber in terms of grades. They are high ranking and we should get them into universities. What you are doing is rewarding kids who have shown great promise, great grades and said, you know what, you're someone we want to keep in this country and we're going allow you to continue your education and keep you here on a residential status and hopefully you will become a citizen when that turn comes.

>>Jose: How many students would benefit?

>>Ed Pastor: I don't know, 50, 60,000. I think it's going to be more. They're going to remain in this country. So let's make sure they are educated and contribute to the best of their ability.

>>Jose: There are several other pieces of legislation related to immigration pending in Congress right now. Two have to do with workers. One is the ag jobs bill and the other is the guest worker program.

>>Ed Pastor: Right.

>>Jose: Let's talk about the ag jobs bill. Can you give some of the background on that?

>>Ed Pastor: Basically, if you were here March 2000 and the period to August 2003, if you were here during that period, and you worked at least 100 days in agriculture, that puts you in the pool that qualifies. So then you are in the pool. For those people that are in the pool, then they have to continue working in agriculture, they will be in a six year period, they have to spend so many years working in agriculture, and that allows them to stay here legally, and get kind of an amnesty program and their status will be legal. If you have been here a period of time, then you qualify for this program and if you continue working in agriculture, we will make you a legal resident.

>>Jose: Speaking of amnesty, some have described this bill as most dramatic attempt at immigration reform since the amnesty of 1986.

>>Ed Pastor: I agree because you have the growers part of the coalition, the farm workers, part of the coalition, and you have many members of Congress, both from the Democratic and Republican side who are supportive. It's the notion of being realistic. You have the workers here. Move them from under the shadow. Let's find out who they are. Give security to the United States. Right now, we don't know who these people are. When they come in the program, we know who they are, we know they will continue in agriculture. The farmers are happy, the workers are happy and it's a win-win.

>>Jose: I understand there are some immigrants rights groups who are unhappy because the bill does not provide a provision for the wage increase.

>>Ed Pastor: The wage increase deals with what they call the adverse wage adjustment. That's if you bring too many, the wages will go down and so, therefore, the market is depressed and the wages go down. The agreement was that we would allow the growers to freeze at the wages they are today. And, in turn, they agreed to support this reform. You had to give a little, you had to take a little. And then negotiations, that became what the growers will willing to sacrifice or at least take on as their compromise so that this bill would go forward. It's a three year window. If this doesn't happen in three years -- or if it does happen, it will only happen for three years. at the end of three years, then you begin the growth pattern. It was a bill, it was a coalition, it was a compromise and it will be a three year window where we will have the wage freeze.

>>Jose: The ag jobs still affect as many as 500,000 workers. Despite that, it's not as broad as the guest worker program in terms of its impact proposed by Senator McCain, Congressmen Flake and Kolbe. Those don't seem to have as broad support as the ag jobs bill does. To what do you attribute that?

>>Ed Pastor: well, again, to the argument that people have been here un documented, they come in illegally, why do you reward them? Because in their bills they have a visa program that deals with a guest worker, someone is coming from a foreign country to work. They also have to deal with the people that are here undocumented. They developed another visa program as part of the whole package that requires them to work a longer period of time and then, if they complete that, that would allow them to remain here, to become legal. It's the people who say someone who came here illegally, undocumented, should not be rewarded. And so what they're trying to do is address that particular rationale for not passing the bill.

>>Jose: Do you support either of the proposals on the guest worker program?

>>Ed Pastor: I support the farm worker one. What it does, and what I prefer is, you have people who have been here many years. They now have children in this country, U.S. citizens. They have been working. They have been paying taxes. They have no legal problems and it's people that you want to continue to keep here. I believe that you can take that population and allow them an amnesty program. They don't like the word amnesty so I'll say a regularization program that would allow that population to remain here. The guest worker, if we can sell it in the Congress and if it's moves forward, obviously all of us have to give a little to take a little. At this point I'm holding firm for an amnesty program. You never know what's down the road.

>>Jose: We've been talking about legislation that would help people stay in this country. Just a few days ago, the immigration authorities concluded a program, the lateral repatriation program. It would take people apprehended in Arizona to Texas and then sending them back to Mexico. What can you tell us about that?

>>Ed Pastor: They've done it before. It's not new, because they have done that in past years. In fact, one of our members, a former border patrol administrator, implemented it when he was still at border patrol. Basically, it's to take someone caught in Arizona, take them to Texas, release them across the border in Texas, so the probability that person is not going to re-enter immediately but may go to his home, which may not be and probably is not close to Arizona.

>>Jose: What's your opinion of this program?

>>Ed Pastor: The people are going to be deported. To be honest, the people who are coming are coming from way south in Mexico. Whether you send them back to Nogales or you send them back to San Diego or you send them back to Juarez, I don't think it makes a difference for them because obviously they're going to have to go down to Oaxaca, Guanajuato or Puebla, further south. I think it was a test, we have to wait for the results.

>>Jose: We just have a few seconds left. Earlier, the Democratic candidates for president were involved in debates here in Phoenix. What's the significance of the fact that Arizona will be one of the early primaries?

>>Ed Pastor: Well, the anticipation is that Gephardt is going to win in Iowa; that Dean and Carey are going to battle out in New Hampshire. In the south, possibly Edwards, Graham and then Howard Dean and maybe Gephardt, so then we come to Arizona. For Joe Lieberman, it's very important that he win in Arizona. For all the other ones, this is the next state that can give them a peak in their campaign.

>>Jose: Congressman Ed Pastor, thank you for joining us.

>>Ed Pastor: I hope to come back soon.

>>Jose: Thank you. Valle del Sol is a community organization that helps serves the behavioral health needs of the community. Each year it honors Hispanic leaders for their contribution to the community. One of those honored this year, Rene Diaz. 35 years as a teacher, principal and superintendent would certainly qualify anyone for a hall of fame. Phoenix elementary school district superintendent Rene Diaz has retired from education once, but he is back on the job leading principals and teachers to encourage and inspire thousands of inner city school children. 12 News Lyn Sue Cooney reports.

>>Reporter: Rene knows this door to door push is the first step toward getting his students to class.

>>Rene Diaz: We are here for the education of your kids. And it's important for us to reach out to them and to talk to them and to make them feel welcome in Phoenix elementary. >>Reporter: Rene's passion for learning is evident.

>>Rene: We are here to remind you school starts on Monday. It's our responsibility as educators to make sure they are ready to be successful in the future, because they are the future.

>>Reporter: In the classroom, Rene's philosophy is basic.

>>Rene: Where they can grow, learn, have fun.

>>Reporter: Rene looks for opportunities to nurture his champions, his teachers and principals.

>>Rene: We have the power to make today for our kids either an exciting day or a dull day. Either a rewarding day or a punishing day.

>>Reporter: When Rene retires again, he hopes his legacy will reflect the man who inspired him.

>>Rene: I'm going to quote Cesar Chavez. I want my legacy to be yes, it can be done. Yes, you can do it. You, being the principals, you being the teachers, you being the students.

>>Jose: La Voz, the Spanish language newspaper, was recently purchased by the Arizona Republic newspaper. Joining us to talk about the sale is the Arizona Republic executive vice president, John Zidich, and La Voz founder and president, Ricardo Torres. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Ricardo, let's start with a little bit of information about La Voz. Would you give us some information about the demographics of the readership of La Voz?

>>Ricardo Torres: Most of the readers are between the ages of 25-35. The market, well I'll speak to the demographics first and then I'll talk briefly about the market. As far as our breakdown, male-female, 52% female, 48% male. The market has driven La Voz forward from the very founding. '98-'99 when we started planning the launch of La Voz and we started with the concept of a Spanish language newspaper, we felt there would be over 800,000 Hispanics counted in the 2000 census, and we were very close to that target. That's what's been driving La Voz since its founding.

>>Jose: How many readers are monolingual?

>>Ricardo: If my memory serves me correctly, and it has been awhile since I've looked at the statistics that closely, about two-thirds are monolingual and one-third are bilingual.

>>Jose: John, what was there about this market that the Arizona Republic was trying to reach when it decided to purchase La Voz?

>>John Zidich: I think it's just the pure size of the market. When you have a Hispanic population approaching 27% of the market, and in certain areas of this area, the Phoenix area will be dominant within the next 10 to 12 years, it was important for us to understand how we can play a role and continue to provide content to the marketplace. As Ricardo said, the market from his perspective, being heavily monolingual, was one of the issues we need to deal with as we decided what role we would play. We looked at, do we become more in tune with what we're doing with the English-based speaking population or do we look at the Hispanic preference population. And from our perspective, it's almost half now. Our ability to communicate through many of our products, both from a Spanish preference and an English preference, was key in our long-term strategy.

>>Jose: The readership is half predominantly Spanish and half bilingual?

>>John: The Spanish language market, about half of the market would rather see the information in Spanish. Important for us to understand that as the market is growing and we position ourselves to understand role we want to play and what our product needs to look like. In this case, it was important for us to become involved in the Spanish language media.

>>Jose: Ricardo, John was talking about content. What effect will the acquisition have on the content of La Voz?

>>Ricardo: The content of La Voz will receive added resources. There's a very good reporter in Mexico City and we are looking forward to her contributions into our pages. We have information about Mexico City that we feel is important to our readers. The resources we have had to deal with and that we have had at our disposal certainly have not been as deep or strong as the Arizona Republic, so we're going to have access to this. We're going to have access to a lot more resources along the border with many of their reporters and contacts. I think that in the beginning, that is really the only change that our readers are going to notice. It's going to be the enrichment of our pages and our information.

>>Jose: Are the two editorial staffs function independently with the exception of using reporters from both papers?

>>Ricardo: Absolutely. Editorial integrity and independence is important for both papers La Voz and The Arizona Republic.

>>Jose: John, there are at least two major Spanish language newspapers. How did you come to choose La Voz?

>>John: We chose that from the media. Actually, media has both English language publications, as well as Spanish language. The fit was great for our fit and needs in the marketplace. From the Spanish side, TV y Mas, which is a dominant shopper in the Phoenix area, publishes almost 160 pages of information and La Voz is a well-respected newspaper. On the other side of it, AZ Mail is another project that delivers a shared mail package to the state zones. And their TV Shopper. It really was a well-rounded approach to filling up the needs that the newspaper had. We were very focused on the Spanish language pieces, but the English pieces were a bonus in this acquisition.

>>Jose: Competition is generally considered to be a good thing. But in this market, if the combination of La Voz and the financial power of Gannett drives the other competitors out, what does that mean?

>>Ricardo: I want to first say that when you talk about competition, you're right, competition is good. What we have always tried to do from the beginning is to build the very best product that the market can support. Really, the decision as to what happens in the market is not made by us, we can sit here and speculate and talk about it and plan, but the market makes the decisions. The market will decide how far La Voz will go or how far other niches that appear in the market and other companies move to fill those niches, how far they will go. That's really all determined and it's market driven.

>>Jose: Will the market support two very strong Spanish language weekly newspapers?

>>Ricardo: The history in other cities across the United States has been that in some cities it has supported it, in some cities it supported them for a long time, and other cities, namely here in Phoenix, as well, used to be the Arizona Republic and Gazette and the Republic is the only newspaper that's around. It's impossible to tell where it will go, but the market will make that decision.

>>Jose: John, can we expect to see one of Gannett's competitors and acquiring the other major Spanish language newspaper?

>>John: I don't know. We're focused on what's best for our company. We are seeing some acquisitions across the country, but I really don't know what will happen with that. I think Ricardo is right, one thing that emerges, that is Spanish language newspaper. Spanish language radio and television are a little more developed. The newspapers are really an emerging marketplace when you talk about Spanish language media. We think there will be strong growth, we will participate, we will do what's right for the community. I don't know what another competitor might be thinking.

>>Jose: How soon before we see a daily Spanish language newspaper?

>>Ricardo: That's a good question. I have to go back to my previous answer. The market will determine that. John touched on this a little bit. When you look at the trend across the country, and we certainly look at that and what's happening at other Spanish language newspapers, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Orlando, if those markets support a daily Spanish language newspaper, then it is the market making that decision. We have no immediate plans for that at the moment, but it's not something that we will never discuss, I'm sure.

>>Jose: Ricardo Torres, John Zidich, thank you for joining us tonight on "Horizonte". That's our show for tonight. Join us next Thursday at 7:30 as we discuss other issues of importance to Latinos.

Ed Pastor: U.S. Congressman;

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