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December 6, 2012

Host: José Cárdenas

Achieve Act

  |   Video
  • Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson from Texas and Arizona Senator Jon Kyl have introduced a new plan for immigration reform called the Achieve Act that grants legal status, but not citizenship, to young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States by their parents. Regina Jefferies, immigration attorney and chair of the Arizona chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, talks about the proposal.
Category: Law   |   Keywords: immigration, citizenship, law,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: Two retiring Republican Senators, Kay Bailey Hutchinson from Texas and our own Arizona senator Jon Kyl, have introduced a new plan for immigration reform that grants legal status but not citizenship to young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents. Joining me to talk about this proposal, as well as the latest on the lawsuit ACLU filed seeking to overturn governor Jan Brewer's order denying driver's licenses who have received work permits under President Obama's deferred action policy, is immigration attorney Regina Jefferies, who chairs the Arizona chapter of the American immigration lawyers association. Welcome back to "Horizonte." Lots happening post-election on the immigration front, a lot of talk, a lot of proposals and maybe not necessarily a surprise but you had these two Republican Senators who are retiring coming up with something called the Achieve act. Is this a good thing?

Regina Jefferies: Well, I think it's certainly encouraging that Congress is looking at immigration reform. I think two years ago, if you had told me that this was happening, I probably would think you were crazy. But I think that this is, it's definitely an encouraging sign and it's a sign that Congress sees they need to get serious about solving this issue. Whether it's a good thing ultimately for dreamers who are here, no, it's not. It's definitely not the best solution. It's not actually a real solution at all. What it essentially does is it creates sort of a permanent sort of underclass, essentially, a permanent class of individuals that aren't able to become permanent residents, and eventually citizens.

Jose Cardenas: So it's not just that they can't become citizens. They can't get permanent residency?

Regina Jefferies: What it actually does is they couldn't get permanent residency through the program itself. And Jon Kyl actually mentioned this as well that they could become permanent residents, maybe based on a marriage to a U.S. citizen or through other means. But the act itself would not give individuals a path to remain in the U.S. permanently, which is extremely problematic when you are talking about a group of kids that has essentially been living as Americans their entire lives.

Jose Cardenas: This is not a comprehensive immigration proposal. This is focusing on the group that we refer to as the dreamers because of the various versions of the Dream Act that have been proposed. This in many represents, while it's encouraging people are talking about it, seems to be a step backward.

Regina Jefferies: I think that, you know, it's maybe a first shot. And a first proposal from a couple of Republican Senators that are retiring, as you mentioned. And maybe it's to gauge reaction. But I think, you know, it's not necessarily a step backwards in the sense that at least they're talking about it. I don't think this is going to be any type of permanent solution, obviously. I don't think this is what we'll end up with because there's such huge support for a Dream Act that is more comprehensive than this, that would actually allow kids who are brought here as minors to be able to eventually become permanent residents, to remain in the U.S. permanently, and to possibly become citizens if they meet the criteria. But you can't have a law that would essentially recognize that, yes, these kids are going to stay here and contribute, but we're not really going to allow them to stay on a permanent basis. They're just being to be able to stay in a permanent limbo.

Jose Cardenas: In years past, the Dream Act, which of all the various immigration proposals is far more popular with more people in the country, has sort of been held hostage to comprehensive immigration reform. And the natural assumption that fix the whole thing and make that part of it. Do you think that's going to happen again?

Regina Jefferies: I'm not sure. I think it remains to be seen what's going to happen in the next Congress. I think Congress has a lot of issues on its plate for the next session. I do think we are in a very different place than we were four, six years ago with the immigration conversation. I think many people recognize that this is something that's not going to go away, that does need to be addressed in a constructive way.

Jose Cardenas: Part of the motivation being the huge Latino turnout for Democrats.

Regina Jefferies: Certainly that has pushed it to the forefront. I think that that's definitely part of the conversation and this is a growing block of individuals who don't only care about immigration but when you are talking about a group of individuals that may have firsthand experience with a family member who may not be able to get immigration status or something like that, real firsthand knowledge of the situation and the harm that it can do, I mean it's definitely going to make an impact in voting patterns.

Jose Cardenas: Let's talk about what's going on in Arizona. That same group of people, students who under the, it was actually the Department of Homeland security that issued the order that allows them to obtain deferred action status, and thereby obtain work permits and at least under Arizona state law is worded, driver's licenses. The governor decide she's not going to let that happen.

Regina Jefferies: Right.

Jose Cardenas: And the ACLU has filed suit. Tell us about that.

Regina Jefferies: Well, I think one of the interesting things, the ACLU lawsuit actually is filed in Federal court so it focuses on the federal civil rights claims, equal protection and due process and that type of thing. What you are mentioning with the governor's order and what state law currently says is that individuals who are in, who have lawful authority to be here given by the Federal government are allowed to apply for driver's licenses and these kids are no different. Under state law it is allowed. In fact, there were some recent news reports, I think Arizona channel 12 about how the state of Arizona is continuing and has in the past given driver's licenses to individuals who are authorized to be in the U.S. with these work permits. However, they are not in lawful status.

Jose Cardenas: And those are terms of art. I think a lot of people would say what's the difference between lawful presence and lawful status. Lawful presence is what the Arizona statutes refer to. As you point out people who have had deferred action in the past have been considered to be here lawfully. And therefore entitled to driver's licenses and so forth.

Regina Jefferies: Yes.

Jose Cardenas: So why would the governor take the position that she's taken? She seems to be blaming it on the Federal government. She seems to be treating these deferred action people differently.

Regina Jefferies: That's exactly the point. That this group of individuals is essentially being singled out. And to be honest with you, it's a lot of politics. If you look at the history, if you look at the date that the order was issued, it happened on the first day that individuals could apply for deferred action under the Department of Homeland security's announcement. I don't think there's really much else going on here. Because her order certainly isn't based on the law.

Jose Cardenas: Just a quick update on that process of applying for deferred action by these people. How is it going? Are we seeing a lot of people out there applying for and receiving deferred action?

Regina Jefferies: There have been many, many applications, at this point over 300,000 people have applied.

Jose Cardenas: How many in Arizona?

Regina Jefferies: That's, it's hard to say. Because I don't keep numbers based on each state as far as I know. I do know that there are potentially 50,000 or 60,000 people here who could be eligible to apply for deferred action. I think it's probably safe to say that a large number of individuals in Arizona have applied.

Jose Cardenas: Regina, thank you for joining us on "Horizonte" to talk about this issue. Hope to have you back soon.

Remembering Pedro Guerrero

  |   Video
  • Pedro E. Guerrero was the personal photographer of famous architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. He passed away at the age of 95. His photographs have been part of exhibits at New York's Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum, among others. We'll talk to Suzanne Johnson, Executive Director of Gnosis Ltd., who produced a documentary about Pedro Guerrero; and Dr. Bernard Michael Boyle, Arizona State University Professor Emeritus and author of Wright in Arizona: The Early Work of Pedro E. Guerrero, about his work and life.
  • Suzanne Johnson - Executive Director, Gnosis Ltd.
  • Dr. Bernard Michael Boyle - Author and Professor Emeritus, Arizona State University
Category: Culture   |   Keywords: remembering, pedro, guerrero, ,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: Pedro E. Guerrero, a photographer whose early work with architect Frank Lloyd Wright sparked a long and distinguished career in fine art and magazines. He passed away in September at his home in Florence, Arizona. He was 95 years old. We will talk to a producer who worked on a documentary about Guerrero, as well as an ASU professor, about his life and work in a minute. But first here is a sample of the film, "Pedro E. Guerrero: Portrait of an image maker."

Pedro E. Guerrero: The only one that has taken good photographs of Frank Lloyd Wright has been me. And I dare anybody to challenge that. Mr. Wright opened the door and said, everything here is important. So photograph anything that moves you. I started working the next day. And I was completely baffled because Taliesin was something I had never seen before but I recognize it. It was sculpture and so Iapproached it as sculpture.

Joining me tonight to talk about the late Pedro E. Guerrero is Suzanne Johnson, executive director of Gnosis limited, who produced the documentary you just saw. Also here is Dr. Bernard Michael Boyle, Arizona State University professor emeritus and author of "Wright in Arizona: The early work of Pedro E. Guerrero." Thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte." Suzanne, tell us a little bit about how the documentary came to be.

Suzanne Johnson: Well, in my library, in my husband's library, were many books about Frank Lloyd Wright. And I was curious about the fellow that took images that we are all so familiar with. And I learned that he lived in Arizona. And that he was easily accessible. I picked up the phone and called Mr. Guerrero and asked if I could talk to him and if he might be interested in my pursuing an investigation of his life.

Jose Cardenas: How long ago was this?

Suzanne Johnson: It started 2002, I think.

Jose Cardenas: Over the years you got to know him pretty well.

Suzanne Johnson: I got to know him very well.

Jose Cardenas: And you produced this documentary we saw a clip of. How widely available is it?

Suzanne Johnson: Well, you know, it's been available now for a few years. Through the Gnosis website. It's aired and shown in schools.

Jose Cardenas: We will have the website on the screen so people will know where to go to take a look at it. He was very proud.

Suzanne Johnson: Very proud.

Jose Cardenas: As is obvious of the fact that he was Frank Lloyd Wright's photographer. And he wrote a number of books both about his work with Frank Lloyd Wright and then about himself and you have a stack of them in front of you. The top one actually is professor Boyle's and we will talk about that in a moment. He was in this sense prolific.

Suzanne Johnson: He was a very creative man. And until he died, he was always puttering in the arts. His last project involved making sculptures, mobiles, and his porch was filled with them hanging off the porch.

Jose Cardenas: Professor Boyle, you also knew Pedro Guerrero.

Dr. Bernard Michael Boyle: Yes.

Jose Cardenas: And as we noted you prepared a book about his early work. And has some of his photographs. We do have one photograph we are going to put up on the screen of Taliesin. It's a photograph he took. You and I talked about this a little bit off screen. People fully appreciate how significant a figure Pedro Guerrero was.

Dr. Bernard Michael Boyle: No, they don't. He was a self-effacing person in many ways. That's the way I knew him in the last 20 years of his life. It was just his personality. But that was not his personality as a photographer. As a photographer he knew he was in charge of his medium. That's what makes his work interesting. He once said, I think hits in one of the books that the work he did when he was a student at school was meaningless and a waste of time. But the moment that he came back to Arizona from school, and started photographing at Taliesin, he realized that he wasn't an amateur, he really was a professional photographer which, of course, he worked at. But I mean he knew that he had a voice, if you can use that for photography. And he did. You only had to put his photographs side by side with that of famous photographers who were his contemporaries to see how different and individual his work was.

Jose Cardenas: And there's that whole category of photographers devoted to photographing the works of the famous architect.

Dr. Bernard Michael Boyle: Oh. yes. It's a specialty. There are people who specialize only in that.

Jose Cardenas: Where does he rank?

Dr. Bernard Michael Boyle: I put him at the top rank. In fact, I put him better than most of the well known ones. I won't mention their names because it's not fair but there's at least one extremely famous photographer still alive, I think, at a great age in Los Angeles. He died recently. Who made a career off the photographing famous works of architecture in Los Angeles. Pedro Guerrero was a better photographer than he was.

Jose Cardenas: I don't think it's unfair to mention Julian Schulman.

Dr. Bernard Michael Boyle: What I mean by that was, I mention this in the book in the introduction, what I mean by that is that Julius Schulman was the subject of the photograph. Every building he photographed was about him. Every building that Pedro Guerrero photographed was about the building. That's what I mean by self-effacing. The buildings were always the object. You can tell his photographs at once. You could always tell a Julius Schulman photograph. It's all Hollywood. That's why. And Pedro just, it was another -- he was in another world. He lived elsewhere.

Jose Cardenas: Suzanne, was part of that due to the unique relationship he had with Frank Lloyd Wright?

Suzanne Johnson: I think Mr. Wright gave him free rein and told Pedro very clearly when he didn't like something. So Pedro learned to do, to shoot on behalf of what Mr. Wright saw or what Mr. Wright wanted to see. And he also referred to Frank Lloyd Wright as Mr. Wright. But he had free rein, I would say.

Jose Cardenas: He was very proud of that relationship.

Suzanne Johnson: It was a sincere friendship.

Jose Cardenas: And just a little bit more about his life and his work. Because there were other things I understand, Vogue.

Suzanne Johnson: After working with Mr. Wright and he was Frank Lloyd Wright's personal photographer for the last 14 years of Wright's life, he went on to, he moved back east and went on to become the personal photographer of Alexander Calder, creator of the mobile and Louise Nevelson who was a great American sculptor. He became a working photographer and shot for many shelter magazines and had a legitimate career with Conde Nast and publications like that.

Jose Cardenas: Why is it we don't know more about Pedro Guerrero and his work?

Dr. Bernard Michael Boyle: You are asking me a cultural historical question. I am not sure I am qualified to answer.

Jose Cardenas: But you agree he hasn't gotten the recognition he deserves?

Dr. Bernard Michael Boyle: Absolutely. I think it's partly because after his service in World War II, he moved to New York and Connecticut. And the work that he did was all done there in the Northeast, just about all of it. So it would never have had any resonance here in Arizona. Because he wasn't here. When he returned here around 1990, something like that, something like that, yes, then, he became visible as a significant person.

Jose Cardenas: To you and to Suzanne and I'm terribly sorry but we're out of time. We will have to end the interview there. But thank you so much for joining us to talk about this fascinating individual. And that is our show for this Thursday evening. From all of us here at "Horizonte," I'm José Cardenas. Have a good night.

The Immigration Paradox

  |   Video
  • The film "The Immigration Paradox" takes a look at different viewpoints on immigration. Local filmmaker, Lourdes Lee Vasquez, discusses the documentary.
Category: Immigration   |   Keywords: immigration, federal, solution, ,

View Transcript
Jose Cardenas: The film "Immigration Paradox" premiered in Phoenix in September. The documentary takes a look at immigration debate. We'll talk to the local filmmaker in a moment but first, here's a short film clip from "The Immigration Paradox."

Video: You are going to die in poverty and your children won't have the opportunities you did. It's time to rethink the way that you are living your life.

We got rid of the blacks and the Mexicans and Chinese.

The natural state of things is for there to be significant inequalities.

It's ridiculous.

When they are called out on the contradiction it's a flat out denial or you playing the race card.

Why should anyone be offended if you are asked if you are in the country illegally?

How the hell I did end up over here?

I've never been asked questions like these before.

No matter if you are white, black, brown.

Jose Cardenas: Joining me now to talk about the documentary is filmmaker Lourdes Lee Vasquez. Welcome to "Horizonte."

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: Thank you.

Jose Cardenas: It took seven years to get it all together. But as I understand it it wasn't typical delays that result maybe from lack of funding or something. It was intentional. You had a lot of work to do.

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: Definitely. Part of taking so long because it was because we were trying to be conscious in the kind of images we were putting out there. As a filmmaker we realized the power behind images. So we wanted to be constructive with the images we put out there. We realize with the immigration issue, we already have a lot of chaos. We already have a lot of sensationalism. We have a lot of conversations that are creating division in our community. So we wanted to be responsible and conscious filmmakers that would eventually create a documentary that would be constructive to the issue of immigration so that we might be able to find, you know, comprehensive solutions to an issue that has been in our communities for many, many years.

Jose Cardenas: One of the reasons that it took so long, and the reason why it is as constructive as you put it, you interviewed a very diverse group of people. I want to talk about that but first of all, a little bit about your background and how it came to be that you made this documentary.

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: A little bit about my back ground, I don't know how far back you want to go.

Jose Cardenas: You were born in Mexico and live there had until you were seven.

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: Yes. I was born in Mexico City. I came here to Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona, at the age of seven. Pretty much grew up in an immigrant community, working class family, single mother. And eventually just realized, you know, how the plight of the immigrant, how we have been with this issue of immigration that has been repeating throughout history and eventually, you know, just wanting to find solutions.

Jose Cardenas: Some of your materials talk about meeting people crossing the desert, and that's what inspired you to begin this project.

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: Uh-huh. Fortunately, my family and I, we didn't cross the desert. We were fortunate enough not to go through that type of journey. But it was something very impactful for me once I saw and came face to face with an immigrant who was crossing the desert, you know, seeing his face who just was pretty mulch hopeless, lack of dignity, and it was just really hard for me to see that. For someone who loves our humanity, always want to advance our humanity, and allow for every individual to achieve maximum potential, it was really hard for me to see someone lose their whole hope and dignity there in the desert. I really wanted to find solutions, root cause to this immigration issue that has been haunting us forever so that, you know, our humanity doesn't have to stop losing a lot of the potential that they can actually be achieving.

Jose Cardenas: And while that was the inspiration meeting one of the desert crossers, you went off the your way to make this as balanced a presentation of the different points of view as you could. I looked at some of the materials of the kinds of people. You interviewed people on what some would consider the far right on this issue, a Tea Party members, people who are very outspoken against immigration, both legal and illegal. And on the other side, people who are very much pro immigration and would probably be in favor of dealing with the issue of undocumented by giving everybody documents. So how did you decide, for example, that you were going to interview people like the couple that you mention in some of your materials who are Tea Party, very strong supporters?

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: Well, I felt that in order to be constructive, you always have to look at the -- at a diverse group of people and cultures and ideologies as well. Otherwise, you are just either following a specific agenda or you are not trying to really understand what's going on. So I felt that it was really important to try to understand other people even though for me it was difficult, growing up as an immigrant, in an immigrant community and viewing the minute men as perhaps like my enemy. I felt like why is it I have so much fear and perhaps hate towards them? And after analyzing more just realizing that that wasn't something that I had concluded on my own. It was a lot of images that I had gained from the mainstream media, a lot of information I had gathered from third parties. But I had never gone there and introduced myself and actually got to know them. So there was a lot of interviews that we did that didn't make it to the documentary, but part of the process was to write, try to get a better sense of what's going on with this issue of immigration. A lot of their interviews were two to four hours just so we can sit down and peel the onion and not just look at stereotype or the superficial aspect of this issue that we usually get in a lot of the top, a lot of debates that we have.

Jose Cardenas: And of the people you interviewed, did you find anybody who lived up to their stereotype either, very conservative or very liberal?

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: No. Once you sit down with people and have a constructive communication with them and really try to understand them instead of yelling at them, you really find that we're actually more alike than we're different.

Jose Cardenas: When you talk in your promotional materials about the shocking things that people will find out, is that part of it? That people really are probably more open-mind both sides of the issue than the general public thinks?

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: Yeah, yeah, definitely. In fact, that was one of the shocking things for myself as well. As I was telling you that going into Tea Party home and actually advertising to us that they had a shotgun in the house so that we may be aware of it sitting down with them for three hours and we end up having coffee and pie and it was a whole different story. They wanted us to come back and visit and they gave us their blessing and so it was very, very shocking for myself and as I'm sure for any viewers who go out and watch the documentary, they will see how different people could be.

Jose Cardenas: And speaking of watching the documentary, I know it's already premiered in one location. Where do things stand. where can people go to see it?

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: Currently right now we don't have any schedules showings here in Arizona. Next week we will be showing it in L.A. But we will be having some more showings that are in the works here in Arizona. If they just go through our website, they will be able to get more information where our next showing is or if they're on Facebook, like the page, the Immigration Paradox, and we will advertising there.

Jose Cardenas: Just one last question. We are almost out of time. Title, the Immigration Paradox, in what way?

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: There are so many contradictions to this whole issue of immigration. You would think it's such a simplistic issue that, oh, we need to do is get rid of the 11 million or legalize the 11 million we have here when it's a whole lot more complicated than that and that's what we wanted to show in the documentary to show the interconnection that there is in this issue so that we can find the root cause and tackle it at that, at the root cause. Unless, if you don't know the root cause, how can you actually achieve comprehensive immigration reform.

Jose Cardenas: On that note, Lourdes Lee Vasquez, thank you for joining us on "Horizonte." We will certainly have you back to discuss this more. Thank you very much.

Lourdes Lee Vasquez: Thank you. I appreciate it.