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CotturAl Aos Divbtioe 41. It EDITORIAL Ah-ha! H ere at the Observer we don’t like to say, “I told you so.” Instead we prefer to say, “You read it here first.” In our May 5 issue, Forrest Wilder wrote, “For the savvy investor looking for a growth industry, South Texas offers a sure thing… More immigrants than ever are being apprehended. That means that the federal government needs more detention centers?’ Maybe that’s why we were struck with one of those “Ah-ha!” moments on June 21, when we read an AP story indicating that “ground has been broken for a 2,000-bed detention center to help end the ‘catch and release’ policy for non-Mexican legal immigrants.” The location? Raymondville, Texas. That AP story was one of several we collected in a 48-hour period. \(Must have been the excess ozone or the sumlibrary board of a suburban Georgia county where one in six residents is Latino “has axed money budgeted to buy more ‘adult Spanish fiction’books like the latest John Grisham thriller in Spanish or a Marcela Serrano novel in its original language.” \(Gwinnett Daily Post, Protect Our Citizens wants a ballot referendum that would give city police the authority to ask people about their immigration status. \(Houston Chronicle, 1965 Voting Rights Act was canceled in the U.S. House of Representatives “after rank-and-file Republicans revolted over provisions that require bilingual ballots in many places and continued federal oversight of voting practices in Southern states.” \(The Washington Post, prised Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and his lieutenants?’ came in the wake of Hastert’s own surprise announcement that GOP House members would hold an unusual series of summer hearings around the nation on immigration. The hearings ; Hastert said, are intended to educated the public about the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill. With all its flaws, the Senate bill had called for a gradual legalization program. The House prefers its own draconian bill. Or as party fundamentalists repeatedly said during the Texas GOP convention earlier this month, “No amnesty! No how. No way.” Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced he would hold his own hearings early next month “to ensure all issues are fully aired.” Whew. Got that? Enough excitement to keep the pundits busy all summer as they ponder the split between President Bush and his “base.” Time to whip up even more anti-immigrant hysteria out in the provincesa nice distraction to keep the voters from thinking about Iraq and a hard place. Should be really interesting. But we’re getting one of those “Ah-ha!” moments again. We suspect you won’t be hearing much about historical and economic forces that drive migration. Or the truly Byzantine aspects of our truly Byzantine law. To borrow a phrase from immigration lawyer and occasional Observer contributor Dan Kowalski, the law “allocates the same number of green cards per year for Mexico as it does for every other country, from the smallest to the largest, from Liechtenstein to China: 25,620.” In other words, if a U.S. citizen petitions for a green card for her sister in Mexico, she has a 40-year wait: Yes, amigos. Forty years. \(Austin AmericanStatesman, But ni modo. Don’t bother us with the facts. Let the dueling hearings begin. \(Check out Laredo, for example, on July students in Georgia who might want to read a book by Chilean novelist Marcela Serrano in the original Spanish. THE TEXAS OBSERVER I VOLUME 98, NO. 13 I A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954 Founding Editor Ronnie Dugger Executive Editor Jake Bernstein Editor Barbara Belejack Associate Editor Dave Mann Publisher Charlotte McCann Associate Publisher Julia Austin Circulation Manager Lara George Art Director/Webmaster Matt Omohundro Poetry Editor Naomi Shihab Nye Copy Editors Rusty Todd, Laurie Baker Staff Writers Forrest Wilder, Tim Eaton Editorial Interns Rachel Mehendale, Victoria Sanchez, Kelly Sharp, Richard Whittaker Contributing Writers Nate Blakeslee, Gabriela Bocagrande, Robert Bryce, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, Steven G. Kellman, Lucius Lomax, James McWilliams, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, Karen Olsson, John Ross, Andrew Wheat Staff Photographers Alan Pogue, Jana Birchum, Steve Satterwhite Contributing Artists Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Gary Oliver, Doug Potter Editorial Advisory Board David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Sissy Farenthold, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid Texas Democracy Foundation Board Lou Dubose, Molly Ivins, Susan Hays, D’Ann Johnson, Jim Marston, Gilberto Ocanas, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips, Sharron Rush, Ronnie Dugger In Memoriam Bob Eckhardt, 1913-2001, Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 The Texas Observer \(ISSN 0040-4519/ righted 2006, is published biweekly except during January and August when there is a 4 week break between non-profit foundation, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone E-mail [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page . Periodicals Postage paid at Austin, TX and at additional mailing offices. Subscriptions One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13 per year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Books & the Culture is funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. JUNE 30, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3