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September 17th, 2010
07:46 PM ET

Navarrette: 'Terror babies:' The new immigration scare tactic

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

By spending a few days here in America's fifth-largest city - which also happens to be at the heart of the nation's immigration debate - I had the chance to see this volatile issue from many different vantage points.

But as far I know, I didn't see any terror babies.

Regular viewers of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" will recognize that term as referring to children born on U.S. soil to illegal immigrants. The children are automatically granted U.S. citizenship under the 14th Amendment and then are smuggled back to their home countries to be raised as pint-sized, America-hating terrorists. Then decades later, when the children have grown into adults, they could easily - because of their U.S. citizenship - re-enter the United States to attack it from within.

So terror babies are sort of like a sleeper cell, one that has to be put down for a nap every few hours or it gets fussy.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Immigration • Opinion • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
August 13th, 2010
10:45 AM ET

Navarrette: 'Terror babies:' The new immigration scare tactic

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

By spending a few days here in America's fifth-largest city - which also happens to be at the heart of the nation's immigration debate - I had the chance to see this volatile issue from many different vantage points.

But as far I know, I didn't see any terror babies.

Regular viewers of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" will recognize that term as referring to children born on U.S. soil to illegal immigrants. The children are automatically granted U.S. citizenship under the 14th Amendment and then are smuggled back to their home countries to be raised as pint-sized, America-hating terrorists. Then decades later, when the children have grown into adults, they could easily - because of their U.S. citizenship - re-enter the United States to attack it from within.

So terror babies are sort of like a sleeper cell, one that has to be put down for a nap every few hours or it gets fussy.

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Filed under: Immigration • Opinion • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
August 4th, 2010
10:21 AM ET

Fear walks the streets of Phoenix

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a nationally syndicated columnist, an NPR commentator and a regular contributor to CNN.com.

It was an ethnic twist on an American classic, the kind of thing that some people consider appealing and others frightening. Pinto beans, diced tomatoes, salsa and jalapenos top a hot dog that's grilled to perfection.

It's 10 o'clock on a Saturday night at ground zero in the immigration debate.

The hot dog vendor, a woman from the Mexican state of Sinaloa, would normally be doing a brisk business. Her cart is across the street from a popular Latino dance club that used to be frequented by Mexican-Americans but is now normally crammed with Mexican immigrants.

No mas.

"The city feels abandoned," the woman tells me in Spanish. "Everyone has left."

It sure looks that way during a drive though the city's predominantly Latino west side, with its abandoned buildings, deserted homes and empty parks.

Since April, when Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 to punish illegal immigrants for the sins of the employers who hire them, estimates are that tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have left Arizona for a warmer climate in Utah, Colorado, Texas or New Mexico.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Immigration • Opinion • Raw Politics • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
June 17th, 2010
11:37 AM ET

Opinion: Arizona citizenship bill targets children

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a member of the San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board, a nationally syndicated columnist and a regular contributor to CNN.com.

San Diego, California (CNN) - And then they came for the children.

Just when you thought Arizona lawmakers couldn't stoop any lower, these cowardly and shameful politicians grab a shovel and put in a basement.

This fall, the Arizona legislature is expected to debate a bill that would deny birth certificates to U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants - the "anchor babies" that some Republicans have been trying to marginalize for years.

The lawmakers are cowards because, first, they go after illegal immigrants who don't vote, lobby or contribute to political campaigns. And now they're going after children who don't vote, lobby or contribute to political campaigns.

Whom are they not going after? Employers of illegal immigrants. You know why? Because they vote, lobby and contribute to political campaigns.

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Filed under: Arizona • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
June 2nd, 2010
02:26 PM ET

Navarrette: Jindal's passion on spill is presidential

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

Navarrette says Jindal is once again seen as a worthy rival to President Obama

Navarrette says Jindal is once again seen as a worthy rival to President Obama

Out: Harvard Law School graduates who are scary smart - having served as editor of the Harvard Law Review - but come across as unemotional, aloof and uninterested in the demands of leadership even during a national catastrophe.

In: Rhodes scholars who are scary smart - having been admitted to and turned down both Harvard Medical School and Yale Law School - but also known to show flashes of rage at federal bureaucratic ineptitude during a national catastrophe.

For the last few years, Republicans have wondered if Bobby Jindal was their answer to Barack Obama. After the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it's awfully clear that Democrats should start trying to come up with an answer to Jindal.

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Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill • Opinion • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
May 6th, 2010
11:46 AM ET

Stop profiling on terrorism and in Arizona

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

Navarrette: Many people have no trouble condoning profiling when it's done to other groups

Navarrette: Many people have no trouble condoning profiling when it's done to other groups

Michael Bloomberg is out a quarter. That's how much New York's mayor, who has an estimated net worth north of $15 billion, wagered that he knew exactly what type of person would try to set off a car bomb in Times Square.

I'm sorry for Bloomberg's financial setback. But he can take comfort from the fact that he taught Americans a valuable and timely lesson about the dangers and limits of profiling.

The lesson: Profiling - especially of the racial and ethnic variety - isn't just wrong. It's also imperfect. It can lead police to focus on the wrong people while the right ones get away.

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Filed under: Opinion • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
April 23rd, 2010
12:03 PM ET

What happened to McCain the maverick?

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

Dear Sen. John McCain:

Say it ain't so. For many of us who have - over the years - admired your courage in tackling difficult issues, this was a painful and disappointing week.

A dozen years ago, I was writing a column for the Arizona Republic when I saw a story about your jaw-dropping support from Latino voters. You earned 60 to 70 percent of the Latino vote in re-election campaigns. You were quoted as saying that it was your "honor" to be well thought of by a population for which you had great respect.

I wrote a column commending you and saying that someone who spent 5½ years as a guest at the Hanoi Hilton probably doesn't take lightly a word like "honor."

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Filed under: Immigration • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
April 15th, 2010
11:44 AM ET

Both parties gutless on immigration

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

As a typical American who shuns the hard work my grandfathers did, last week on this site, I took responsibility for creating the problem of illegal immigration.

Good thing. Because this week, it became clear that, in Congress, neither Republicans nor Democrats have the guts to take responsibility for fixing the problem of illegal immigration.

Republican Sen. John Kyl is having trouble reconciling his recent threat to filibuster a comprehensive immigration bill with the fact that, in 2007, he co-sponsored, along with a bipartisan group of senators, a comprehensive immigration bill.

And that was a giant leap forward from where Kyl was in 2005, when he co-sponsored with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a much simpler and less plausible enforcement-only bill that looked like the senators sketched it out on a cocktail napkin.

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Filed under: Immigration • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
April 2nd, 2010
01:02 PM ET

Jaime Escalante's lesson for teachers

Escalante died this week after a battle with cancer.

Escalante died this week after a battle with cancer.

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

Jaime Escalante was ahead of his time. And today, more than 30 years after the Bolivian-born math teacher put East Los Angeles' Garfield High School on the map by convening 14 students in his very first AP calculus class, the rest of the educational establishment is still trying to catch up.

Escalante - who was immortalized in the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver" - died this week at his son's home in Roseville, California, after a bout with cancer.

It was way back in 1978 when Escalante began teaching calculus to Mexican-American kids from the barrio. That's more than two decades before President George W. Bush challenged the nation's public schools to acknowledge and overcome the "soft bigotry of low expectations," and Escalante was already fighting that battle. He knew all about low expectations - most of them coming from jealous colleagues and visionless administrators.

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Filed under: Education • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
February 22nd, 2010
10:53 AM ET

Palin 'Family Guy' joke is hateful

Palin was the intended target of the 'Family Guy' joke, says Navarrette.

Palin was the intended target of the 'Family Guy' joke, says Navarrette.

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

Sarah Palin has awesome power. We already knew that she had the power to drive liberal Democrats crazy. They don't respect her, but they sure do fear her.

And this week we learned that Palin also has the power to make those same liberal Democrats forget all the preaching they've shared with the rest of us over the years about the importance of tolerance and defending those with special needs.

Like, say, a little boy with Down syndrome who will be two years old in April but who has already been the butt of a national joke by the brainless and heartless creator and producers of the Fox animated comedy, "Family Guy."

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Filed under: Opinion • Ruben Navarrette Jr. • Sarah Palin
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