Latino Vote

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Arizona Republic reporters Daniel Gonzalez, Robbie Sherwood and editorial columnist Ricardo Pimental talk about the top stories affecting Latinos.

>> José Cárdenas:
Good evening, I'm José Cárdenas. Welcome to "Horizonte." Tonight the impact of the Latino vote in the upcoming Arizona democratic primary. President Bush's recent visit to the Valley. And there are four guest worker proposals on the table. Which if any are Hispanics backing. We'll discuss these issues and more tonight. Plus "Horizonte" brings you the story of a behind the scenes mover and shaker in the Chicano movement. Joining us now are three journalists from "The Arizona Republic," editorial columnist Ricardo Pimentel, and reporters Daniel Gonzalez and Robbie Sherwood. Gentlement, welcome to "Horizonte." Ricardo, Iowa and now New Hampshire have generated a lot more excitement in the democratic primaries than we expected and now that's coming to Arizona. What's the significance of the Arizona primary?

>> Ricardo Pimentel:
Well, it's a test for several of the candidates whether they can survive, but as far as Latinos goes, it's being billed as the first test of Latino vote and what that means is it's the first test of how engaged they are in the election.

>> José Cárdenas:
How do you think it's going to turn out?

>> Ricardo Pimintel:
I think anyone who tells you how the Latino votes are going to go is probably lying to you.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
I think that the real test, this is the first test, the most significant test will obviously be the general election when you have a Republican George Bush who is probably the first Republican to really successfully go out and court Latino votes, versus a Democrat who may, from indication right now, be an east coast senator, maybe a John Kerry or one of those guys, who may not be as in touch with the Latino community, and it's going to be a true battle for those votes.

>> José Cárdenas:
Daniel, we have President Bush coming out with a rather significant proposal on immigration and some suggestion by critics that the motivation was to get the Latino vote. Let's talk about the impact of that proposal, first with respect to the Latino community itself in Arizona.

>> Daniel Gonzalez:
I think as far as Latinos are concerned, they're really taking a kind of wait and see approach and see -- I think Latinos are happy to see that this is an issue that's back on the table after the September 11th terrorist attacks. I think they're excited to see something being talked about, that this seems to have emerged again as a front-burner issue but I think in general Latinos are going to take a wait and see approach officer the next year and see if this materializes into something more concrete -- The president has just proposed a set of principles, it's not an actual piece of legislation, and so that's, I think, what's going to happen that will we'll see what happens over the next year.

>> José Cárdenas:
If it becomes more concrete s it going to pick up votes for President Bush?

>> Daniel Gonzalez:
I think it has that possibility. I think it will also depend on how the democratic candidates respond, what kind of proposals they come up with, but I think it does have a chance to influence some Latinos.

>> Ricardo Pimentel:
But Latinos are generally looking for some form of earned legalization, lacking in the broad outline that Bush gave us two weeks ago. There are bills that give some form of earned legalization. They're going to look for the most streamlined urged legal legalization.

>> José Cárdenas:
Where are the democratic candidates on that?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
They're definitely for at least a version of the same thing, some sort of guest worker program, but there is a paranoia, though, probably -- that President Bush is bringing this issue out right now really in an effort to win votes in Florida and Texas with --

>> And California.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
With no real expectation of this becoming law, and it's -- ironically, it's the is a same motivation they ascribed to him wanting to go to Mars, because those same states Florida and Texas is where the space program is located. He's throwing things out to try to carry those states because they will be very important in the election.

>> José Cárdenas:
How does it get him votes from the Latino community in Florida which is predominantly Cuban and Republican already?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Maybe that's the Mars part.

>> Ricardo Pimentel:
Actually the Florida Hispanic population is changing from predominantly Cuban to more Puerto Rican and Dominican. So there is a shift there, although the Cuban are staunchly Republican.

>> José Cárdenas:
The president was talking about this kind of immigration reform before 9/11. So at least his defenders would say that indicates that motivation is not political. Do you disagree?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Well, I don't know. I don't know what the motivation is. You would hope it's a sincere attempted to do something practical about the problem. The fact that he hasn't backed down from it in the face of erosion in his conservative base who are upset for going this direction, maybe shows a measure of sincerity.

>> Ricardo Pimentel:
I agree it was a pure political ploy. I don't think it has any chance of passage this year, broad immigration reform and I think he knows that.

>> José Cárdenas:
Daniel, in terms of the erosion of the president's political base, I understand a resolution recently by the Maricopa County Republican party.

>> Daniel Gonzalez:
About a week after the president proposed his set of principles, the Maricopa County executive guidance committee voted on a resolution that was brought forth by some of the more conservative members of the Republican party basically demanding that the United States enforce existing immigration laws saying, in a sense, that before we look at anything like an amnesty or guest worker program, what we need to do first is enforce the existing immigration laws, including sanction young employers who hire undocumented immigrants. What was interesting about that resolution, it showed some of the rift within the Republican party but also how Republicans -- there's a -- there's a moderate part of the Republican party who didn't want to chastise the president. There was some original language in that bill that called for denouncing both guest worker and amnesty. The guest worker of that was stricken and the resolution passed on a very narrow -- a 12-11 vote.

>> José Cárdenas:
What's been receipt action of the immigrant community in Arizona -- reaction of the immigrant community in Arizona?

>> Daniel Gonzalez:
One of the big concerns that we're seeing is that this bill -- the president's proposal is just a proposal, but there is a lot of widespread misconception in the immigrant community that this is actually -- has actually become a law. Apparently there's that -- that misconception stems from the way things are done in Mexico, when the president makes an announcement, it's usually -- it's something that's already become a law.

>> José Cárdenas:
I think president fox is finding things a little bit different.

>> Daniel Gonzalez:
Yes, that is true, but regardless, immigration attorneys, people who work closely with immigrants are really being flooded -- have been flooded in the last two weeks with telephone calls from immigrants who are under the misconception that this is -- has passed and they want to see how they can sign up for a work visa, and there's a very large concern that these same immigrants will be vulnerable to the types of scams that we've seen in the past, people preying on some of their vulnerabilities.

>> José Cárdenas:
Are the authorities taking any steps to prevent that kind of fraud?

>> Daniel Gonzalez:
Well, it's interesting, the Texas Attorney General shortly after president bush made his proposal anticipated this could be a problem and said that they would be on a lookout for this kind of thing and they would prosecute those kinds of crimes. We haven't seen the same kind of thing here in Arizona, but the Attorney General's office has said that if that kind of thing is happening, people should contact the Attorney General's office and they would investigate it.

>> José Cárdenas:
Robbie, another election issue, and that is the decision just announced by the redistricting commission to appeal.

>> José Cárdenas:
Field's opinion that was issued last week.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Right.

>> José Cárdenas:
Any thoughts on that?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Yeah, no surprise there. The impact of that, if -- if they win the appeal on the election would be zero. This if they lose that appeal Coit throw the 2004 legislative elections into a -- some sort of chaos as the commission will have to rapidly go back and redraw districts. And what they'll be forced to if they lose that appeal is create more swing districts, and that will come at the expense of Hispanic registered voters packed into certain kind of superdistricts that led to maybe increased participation of Latinos but fewer swing districts and other seats. They're doing this with the blessing of a lot of Latino leaders because I think they see a need to have more participation. If you have -- if you're able to elect more Latino leaders to the legislature but you've cost yourself seats in the Democratic Party where most Latino legislators are registered, then they have no -- no seat at the table.

>> Ricardo Pimentel:
Ironically, some of the same Latino leaders were for majority, minority districts pressing hard for it earlier, and I opined even that that would be a good thing and I think even I have seen the light. I think Pete Rios was right the first time.

>> Robbie Sherwood:
They didn't listen to old salty dogs like Pete Rios who has been in the legislature for 27 years and knows what it's like to be at the end of a small minority party and see your agenda go up in flames year after year.

>> José Cárdenas:
Where do you see it coming down?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
I don't know that they'll win the appeal. But the -- the voter approved initiative did say they should do everything they can to make competitive districts and the commission put that sort of at the end of a lot of other things. The Justice Department has to sign off on this thing, and the Justice Department has historically tried to protect minority interests in these districts, and they don't like it when those districts are bisected and and those votes are minimized.

>> Ricardo Pimentel:
However, if the Latino community is as one and comes to -- says this is what we want, that could have an impact on it, too.

>> José Cárdenas:
Let's move on to the local legislative scene, and specifically the governor's budget. We've now seen her budget, we've seen JLBC's budget. Certainly one point of difference has to do with all-day kindergarten and child care. How does that impact the Latino community?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Well, in the sense that a large number of people in the lower socioeconomic rungs happen to be Latino, it many impacts them quite a bit. What the governor wants to do is all-day kindergarten, which could increase literacy, particularly if a child is struggling to learn a new language. The child care issue affects families who are working and trying to stay off of welfare and state services but can't do so without help taking care of the children because both parents work. The governor's budget tries to take about half of an 8,000 child waiting list off of that waiting list with child care. The JLBC budget, which is just a starting point and they have a lot of debate to go on, but it would not only not take the kids off the list, it would also -- wouldn't backfill some federal fund they're losing for the same child care. So it essentially would add another 8,000 kid to the list.

>> José Cárdenas:
Should Latinos be any more or less concerned than anybody else on the issue?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
On the issue of the budget, I don't know they need to be any more or less concerned but for those specific things, if there are a large number of Latinos on there, they certainly need to make themselves heard, I would think.

>> José Cárdenas:
The governor's proposal has a phase-in on voluntary all-day kindergarten, and the districts she's targeting, are they ones that would have a higher number of Latino kids?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
Absolutely. Almost -- the -- probably the highest number of Latino kids in the first year because she's phasing it in with 250 schools who have over, I believe, 90% of their population is on the free lunch program. Those are going to be the schools in your poorest neighborhoods, and because of the socioeconomic situation, those are going to be largely Latino. So they are going to be the first served by this plan if its ever approved.

>> José Cárdenas:
It seems there aren't as many overtly antiimmigrant measures here, but Daniel, we were talking before about a bill that's been introduced to prohibit undocumented students from getting in-state tuition. Can you elaborate on that?

>> Daniel Gonzalez:
There's a bill that's been introduced in the house that would basically prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving in-state tuition. Nerd, they would have to pay out of state fees and what's interesting about this bill is that it goes counter to -- the trend has been in the rest of the country in the last year or so. We've seen California and Texas and, I believe, two other states have been looking at the possibility of adopting laws that make it easier for undocumented immigrants to receive -- or pay in-state tuition. So we've got a bill that's -- that would go -- go backwards. We've had a policy in Arizona for, I think, dating back to 1980s that basically says if you graduate from a high school in Arizona, if you've lived here for a year, you are entitled to pay in-state tuition regardless of your immigration status and there are some folks who want to take that away.

>> José Cárdenas:
On another related issue relating to undocumented people, we have sheriff Arpaio's program to have inmates sign up for the draft. What's been the reaction to that?

>> Daniel Gonzalez:
Well, that's -- that was a move that's actually gaining quite -- it seems to be gaining more and more attention on a national level, basically the sheriff said -- looked through his records and said he found about 1600 people who had not registered for the draft. 500 of those were undocumented immigrants. According to the selective service, anyone between the age of 18 and 26, I believe, is required to register for the selective service.

>> José Cárdenas:
Except when they're incarcerated, right?

>> Ricardo Pimentel:
And what sheriff Joe neglects to say, if you are an undocumented immigrant, you can't serve.

>> Daniel Gonzalez:
That's right. Also he seemed to be kind of speaking out of both sides of his mouth saying on one hand undocumented immigrants who are living in this country and using services should be willing to go and fight for this country when they're not eligible, but also at the end of this he said, but if you sign up, then I'd like to see you be eligible for a green card. So he seemed to be kind of cutting it both ways. What was interesting is after that happened the U.S. embassy in Mexico City issued a press release saying basically that there was a misconception that just by signing up you would qualify for -- that would put you on the road to a green card and citizenship, and that's not the case.

>> José Cárdenas:
Let me touch briefly, and unfortunately it's briefly because there is this is a huge subject and I suspect we will be dealing with it a lot more, Ricardo, you have written recently on the black-brownish, the "New York Times" came out with a major article recently. What's going on in Maricopa County?

>> Ricardo Pimentel:
Well, there's a book out called "presumed alliance," and I think that's what's happening in Maricopa County, there's a presumed alliance, where we believe we should find common ground, we're not really, and where each group has interests, we butt heads. Two -- a council race in district 8. A majority of Latino district. A black councilman won. And more power to him because he had the better organization. And recently in Maricopa County community college district, Hispanic forum is very upset because the board would not -- apparently would not consider Latino canned candidates.

>> José Cárdenas:
Robbie, let me ask you, is this something new?

>> Robbie Sherwood:
I don't think it's new, but I do think that it's more pronounced as the Latino population grows. He mentioned the district 8 council race with Mike Johnson. Historically a black seat on the council. Yet that district is overwhelmingly Hispanic and, like he said, more power to him winning. He got the most votes. But a couple lawmakers -- he has no Hispanic members on his staff.

>> José Cárdenas:
And as I said, this is an important subject. We will be back to it. We're out of time. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us today on "Horizonte." Appreciate it. Cesar Chavez, Ed Pastor, Ed Delci. Chavez you may know as the leader of the farmworker movement. Pastor is the first Latino elected to Congress from Arizona. But Ed Delci? He never ran for office and he wasn't in the news much, but that's because this long-time grass roots organizer worked behind the scenes time prove the Hispanic community. Along the way he mentored hundreds of leaders and today serve as a role model for generations to come. Paul Atkinson has his story.

>> Paul Atkinson:
Ed Delci always had a camera, always took pictures, thousands of them over the years.

>> Ed Delci:
The photographs to me document a historical experience that I never really valued when taking the pictures because I just took pictures knowing late or in life I would have a chance to collate them and put them together in some sense of order.

>> Paul Atkinson:
The pictures tell you a lot about Ed. He's rarely in them. It was always about someone else, about a cause, something greater than himself.

>> Cordelia Candelaria:
He is one of the most idealistic people I've met, if not the most idealistic I've met in Arizona. We all have ideals. We all have great beliefs, but he has for me this evolved idealism that believes in something, principles that are larger than him, but he also acts on them.

>> Paul Atkinson:
Ed did the behind the scenes work that needed to be done. In the peace corps, the farm labor movement, local communities and college campuses.

>> Stephen Montoya:
Who he is, he's an interesting man because he really doesn't seek a lot of public attention, and I think the greatest impact that he's had is training other people to be leaders. He's a mentor. He's a nurturer. I would say he's a gardener of future leaders.

>> Paul Atkinson:
A gardener who fertilized his crop with the inspiration of those who fought discrimination.

>> Maria Elena Coronado:
Whatever the issue that faces a Latino community, Ed was really at the forefront of a lot of these individual coming forth and sharing that information with students and we left here with the knowledge of going, wow, we have a lot to do once we leave this institution.

>> Paul Atkinson:
Ed Delci was born in Mesa, Arizona, in 1940 but grew up in nearby Chandler, the oldest of seven children. His father owned a small hay bailing business.

>> Ed Delci:
My father and mother were the greatest inspirations as far as real role models that one would see. He was a very quiet, humble man, very low education, but tremendously smart, intelligent, enterprising, willing to give. My mother was a perpetual volunteer for from the March of dimes to working at the cafeteria in the school to keepness school.

>> Paul Atkinson:
Ed went to college at Arizona State University, graduating with a degree in Latin American studies. He planned to teach Spanish but a new initiative from president John F. Kennedy captured his attention. Soon Ed was training in rural New Mexico as a peace corps volunteer.

>> Ed Delci:
It gave me an entirely eye-opening experience about that area and the community of the hiss pan owe Mexicano community of northern New Mexico which translated and transferred to rural Ecuador where my peace corps assignment was in the southern Andean region of the country and much to my surprise in part of that region many of the same family connections seemed to be there.

>> Paul Atkinson:
After three years in Ecuador, Ed returned home. He went to work for an antipoverty agency in rural New Mexico. He helped start a credit union based on one opened by the united farm workers union. That's when he crossed paths with Cesar Chavez.

>> Ed Delci:
As it turned out we worked closely and became much a part of his network, his national network when his international boycott of California table grapes came about. So it gave me an opportunity to revisit, reconnect with his movement and develop a very personal relationship with him.

>> Paul Atkinson:
Arizona is where Ed wanted to raise his family, so he returned home. He went back to ASU and got a master's degree in social work graduating in 1983. Ed remarried the next year to ASU professor Virginia Pasquira. He was asked to direct ASU's minority recruitments efforts, then became an academic advisor in the college of liberal arts and sciences. He also advised a student organization called MECHA.

>> Maria Elena Coronado:
MECHA is an acronym for (in Spanish). The role it plays on university campuses is more the role of showing individuals about the history of Chicanos throughout this part of the country, about how Chicano students would organize, become politically active.

>> Paul Atkinson:
Maria Elena Coronado was an ASU student involved in MECHA. She is one of hundreds mentored by Ed Delci.

>> Maria Elena Coronado:
I think Ed is one of those individuals that carries a lot of passion and for someone to be at the educational institution, to be so rooted in grass roots and community, that was very rare to find.

>> Paul Atkinson:
That passion and grass roots activism led him to seek an honorary doctoral degree for Cesar Chavez in 1992. It was the only one he received. Chavez died the next year.

>> Police dispatcher:
31 to any available motor. We have another vehicle leaving southbound.

>> Paul Atkinson:
In 1997, Chandler police targeted illegal immigrants in what became known as the Chandler roundup. Some 432 undocumented immigrants were arrested, put on immigration buses and deported. But in the process, dozens of U.S. citizens who spoke Spanish or looked Mexican were stopped or detained.

>> Stephen Montoya:
You can only stop someone if you believe you have probable cause to believe they violated a state law. That's not what happened in this case.

>> Paul Atkinson:
Phoenix civil rights attorney Steven monitor yeah was asked to meet with those in Chandler upset over the immigration roundup.

>> Stephen Montoya:
There was this one gray-haired dude who's very tempered in his criticism of the police but very determined, that was really acting as the de facto leader of the critics of the roundup, and that turned out to be Ed Delci.

>> Paul Atkinson:
Ed, his wife Virginia, and former students helped organize ensuing protests.

>> Ed Delci:
All of us collaborated, and we just refused to take no for an answer because what the Chandler police department was doing was wrong, and it had to be stopped and the only way that we could see that that could be stopped was bringing it to the public attention.

>> Paul Atkinson:
Ed also played a key role in bringing people together to file a $35 million civil rights lawsuit against the city. The suit was later settled out of court, but not before those who pursued it were labeled as out of town trouble makers.

>> Stephen Montoya:
Really was able to, I think, conclusively rebut that mischaracterization because he was from Chandler, and everybody knew him, and everybody liked him, and everybody knew that he wasn't crazy, and everybody knew that he wasn't someone to falsely accuse anyone of perpetrating misconduct. So he gave us a lot of credibility.

>> Paul Montoya:
Chandler was not the defining moment in Ed Delci's life, just one of many snapshots that make up a remarkable journey. Delci retired from ASU in December 2003, marking the end of a one adventure and the beginning of another.

>> Cordelia Candelaria:
I think that his principles and commitment and beliefs are deep, his sense of advocacy for people who need help is -- his sense of concern for fair play and getting those issues out, social justice issues, they're so strong in him, that just because he's retired from ASU doesn't mean that that's gone. He hasn't retired from who he is.

>> José Cárdenas:
In a couple of years Ed Delci and his wife Virginia want to move to Patagonia along the Arizona-Mexico border to work on immigration issues. He plans on bringing his camera. That's our program for tonight. Join us next Thursday for more in depth coverage of issues affecting the Latino community. Congratulations to Ed and Virginia. Thanks for joining us. Enjoy the rest of your evening.

Ricardo Pimentel.: Editorial columnist, The Arizona Republic;

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