Tag: immigration

politics spot: Great questions, not so great candidates (Republican Primary Debate #1)

politics spot: Great questions, not so great candidates (Republican Primary Debate #1)

The moderators of the evening's debate.  (Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The moderators of the evening’s debate. (Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

I never thought I would say this, but Fox News did an excellent job hosting the first official Primetime Republican Primary Debate last night. Moderators Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace, and Brett Baier had the task of wrangling together the top ten national polling candidates and get them to attempt to respect some simple debate guidelines. While the format was easy enough, of course the group of men couldn’t respect anything. The questions posed to the ten candidates were well structured, but the answers varied from somewhat sensible to absolutely out of touch. Here are some brief takeaways and clips from last night.

#GOPDebate, Issue by Issue

Women & Women’s Rights.

  • An initial slammer was delivered by Megyn Kelly when she asked Trump to comment on his degrading comments towards women. There’s something to be said when you can visibly hear laughing in the audience at the idea of calling women “fat pigs, slobs, and disgusting animals.”
  • In another delightful exchange, Kelly asked Trump when he actually became a Republican, given that he’s sounded off on pro-choice opinions before and has even on some occasions referred to himself as a Democrat in most choices. Trump’s response? Well, he’s just as Reagan as the rest of them.
  • When pushed by Kelly (if you couldn’t tell, she was on fire that night), Sen. Marco Rubio (R- FL) said he actually didn’t favor a rape and incest exception to abortion laws, noting he thinks “future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live.”

More applause. It’s a rowdy republican time in Cleveland, Ohio – and an unfortunate time to be a woman listening to these candidates.


  • Donald Trump correctly remarked the following during a question on immigration: “So, if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris. You wouldn’t even be talking about it.” He’s right; thanks to his crude remarks about Mexicans during his announcement speech, immigration will now define part of the election.
  • Probably the most interesting answer on this topic went to Jeb Bush, who acknowledged the moral complexities of immigration. However, he then slammed into the sanctuary city policies, which are known to shelter and protect immigrant communities from draconian federal immigration laws.

LGBT Rights.

  • Ohio Governor John Kasich gave the most startling answer on this topic, almost mirroring that of any traditional Democrat: “Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do, doesn’t mean that I can’t care about them or can’t love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what? That’s what we’re taught when we have strong faith.” 
  • Cut to Sen. Rand Paul (R- KY), with a classic Libertarian position of less government regulation of individual activities and more freedom for individual liberty.

Foreign Policy.

War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Well, the GOP ten that night would beg to differ.

  • You’ll read this quote from Mike Huckabee for a while: “The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is kill people and break things.”
  • Ben Carson’s not satisfied with the size of our military. “You know, we turned our back on Israel, our ally. You know, and a situation like that, of course Obama’s not going to be able to do anything. I would shore up our military first, because if you don’t get the military right, nothing else is going to work.”


Let’s be real, we all weren’t expecting this subject to come up whatsoever. Yet Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) was asked the following well-composed question:

Governor Walker, many in the Black Live Matter movement, and beyond, believe that overly-aggressive police officers targeting young African Americans is the civil rights issue of our time. Do you agree? And if so, how do you plan to address it? And if not, why not?

  • Walker’s answer wasn’t half bad, either: “It’s about making sure that law enforcement professionals, not only in the way in to their positions but all the way through their time, have the proper training, particularly when it comes to the use of force. And that we protect and stand up and support those men and women who are doing their jobs in law enforcement.” 

What’s missing? Was there a winner?

Well, plenty. But here are some key issues that weren’t discussed:

  • Student debt
  • Climate change

And some other things I’m sure I’ve missed. Did anyone “win” the debate? Well, it’s August. The Republican candidate will not be announced until the Republican National Convention in Cleveland sometime during summer 2016. Between now and then, there is plenty of time for candidates to rise and fall in the polls and within public opinion. No one did enough to answer the questions asked of them; hopefully future debates will continue to push the candidates to make clearer stances. One thing’s for sure – we haven’t seen anything yet. -Celene Barrera

The next debate is scheduled for September 16, 2015 and will be hosted by CNN. Details to follow. For live tweeting during any and all 2016 related events & news, follow Celene @celenebeats

Image Credit: Northeast Ohio Media Group


spot updates: an invitation to another ongoing project

My apologies for the delay in posting; I have been in a geographic whirlwind these last eight months, and I’m finally settling down into my last year as an undergraduate. With that, I would like to invite the few (but beloved) readers I have to view a new project I’m doing: a blog documenting my experience writing a senior thesis.

Here is a post I recently wrote for it (it’s quite hot off the press). I will occasionally cross-post, but for the most part, you’ll find it over there. Without further ado, here’s a post from my blog, “F-ck Your Borders:”

Tonight, I went to a discussion about “Going Big” and what it means to pursue the concept of a “human family” in the midst of inequities, violence, overworking, underpayment, etc. The conversation was, to put it lightly, abstract and at times scattered. Some days I leave events at my school feeling disheartened instead of invigorated.

I pulled out the book that I quoted yesterday, Reform Without Justice: Latino Migrant Politics and the Homeland Security State and read some of the passages that I had already furiously begun to mark. So often at idealistic schools such as my own college we celebrate our promise to do, when in fact there is so much that needs to be done.

It made me think of the motivations behind this giant senior thesis I’m embarking on. Immigration is something that does not seem to affect me from the outside, but weighs heavily on my mind often. I am a privileged person, and I recognize that almost instantly.

It is because I know that when I step into college classrooms, I am doing something that my great grandmother did not, that my grandmother did not. I am doing something that my mom did while she carried me inside of her. I think about the young Latina mothers who feel that they can’t pursue their education because they need to work or sustain their family. I think about all the nights that my mother went without so that she could give to me. She crossed the border as a child, not even knowing that she would bring into this world a child who would study the very concepts of migration.

I have been asked many times why it is that I am so interested in immigration reform and migration politics. Typically I say something about my geographic location (Southern California) and how it’s an issue that permeates into the consciousness of most Californian residents.

But it’s so much more than that. It’s about the fact that I think of the pure sacrifice and struggle that my family and other Latin@ and other migrant families are undergoing just to live in this global capitalist society. Just to survive in this place we call the land of the “free.”

I think about that. I think about the fact that the United States is indeed what I call home, but it is not my heart. My heart is in my ancestry, it is in my blood, and it is with the countless migrant dreamers who are fighting to sustain their visions for a brighter future.

This project is going to take a lot out of me, but I am going to give it everything I have.