Immigration reform discussed during LBJ Civil Rights Summit

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson approved a law that changed the quota system for immigration, signing the Immigration and Nationality Act on New York’s Liberty Island. During the first day of the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Julián Castro, mayor of San Antonio, and Haley Barbour, former Mississippi governor, discussed immigration reform in the 21st century, touching on the history and current state of immigration in the U.S. and examining opportunities for future updates.

Overall, the two leaders shared the belief that there is a need for realistic modifications in immigration policy, calling on government leaders to set aside politics for change.

“Pure and simple, it is in the best interest of America, economically and for other reasons, that we have immigration reform and that we take the 11 million people that are here and give them the opportunity to be here legally so that they, as the term is, ‘get out of the shadows,’” Barbour said.

The two discussed financial issues of immigration reform, acknowledged border issues and a current challenge of defining “border security,” and tackled the topic of people who overstay their visas.

“I can usually tell the people that are serious about the policy and the folks who are just using it as a political wedge issue because the people who are serious about the policy and actually care about the issue always speak to the issue of overstay or give a full picture of the problem,” Castro said.

Prompted by moderator Brian Sweany, senior executive editor at Texas Monthly, Barbour and Castro also touched on the GOP’s tone surrounding immigration laws, namely Jeb Bush’s recent comments that some illegal immigration is the result of an “act of love.” Barbour said that more candidates should express how they actually feel about the subject of immigration—not just how they think voters want them to respond. Castro noted that candidates will likely feel more comfortable expressing honest opinions following the primaries and predicted that more 2016 Republican candidates than not will hold views closer to Bush’s position. Additionally, the DREAM Act came into the conversation when a woman in the audience, identified by the AP as a “DREAMer,” shouted to Castro to urge Obama to stop deportations of families.

As the panel came to a close, Castro used the opportunity to remind the audience that throughout history, groups of immigrants that were once seen as bothersome were finally welcomed, and America was strengthened for it. “We need them as much as they need us,” he said.

The three-day summit, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, continues today. Visit www.civilrightssummit.org for more information.

 

 

LBJ daughter, library director to speak at SBOT Annual Meeting

The State Bar of Texas today is pleased to announce additional keynote speakers for its 2014 Annual Meeting in Austin, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson, who signed the act, and LBJ Presidential Library director Mark Updegrove will speak at the Bench Bar Breakfast on Friday, June 27.

Later that day, National Constitution Center President & CEO Jeffrey Rosen will speak at the meeting’s General Session Luncheon.

The events are part of the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, set for June 26-27 at the Hilton Austin and Austin Convention Center. Online registration begins Feb. 1.

The State Bar previously announced that retired U.S. Navy Admiral Bobby R. Inman, a former National Security Agency director and former deputy director of Central Intelligence, will speak on national security at the meeting’s Bar Leaders Recognition Luncheon on June 26.

Click here for more information about the meeting or to reserve a hotel room at the group rate.

Follow the State Bar of Texas on Facebook and Twitter for more updates as the meeting approaches.

"Texas Trailblazer" series features two Texas lawyers

As part of its "Texas Trailblazer" series, North Texas public television station KERA-TV will feature two veteran Texas attorneys, Harold Barefoot Sanders and Louise Raggio, and journalist Vivian Castleberry. All three Texans were chosen for their active role in and impact on civil rights and women's rights not only in Texas, but also the country.

Harold Barefoot Sanders (pictured) was a force behind desegregating the public schools in Dallas. He was Assistant Deputy Attorney General in the Justice Department under President Lyndon Johnson, and he helped pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that ended discriminatory voting practices. Sanders went on to influence public policy and became a federal judge, serving for 27 years.

Louise Raggio was a role model for the women of Texas in the mid century. After World War II, she went to law school to help support her family. She helped to secure women's rights in Texas, leading the effort to pass the Marital Property Act of 1967. She continued to help pave the way for more rights for women, including equal property rights and individual rights for both married and unmarried women.

Vivian Castleberry helped change the face of journalism by changing the subject matter covered by the Dallas Times-Herald, focusing more on humanitarian issues than on entertainment. She was the first female editor of the Times-Herald in 1957, and she founded Peacemakers Incorporated and co-founded the Women’s Center of Dallas and The Dallas Women’s Foundation. She was also inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1984.

The "Texas Trailblazer" series is in three-parts and airs on Sundays, May 3, 10, and 18, at 8:00 p.m. and rebroadcasts the following Sundays at 12:30 p.m. All three parts will be rebroadcast beginning at 4:30 p.m., Sunday, May 24 on KERA-TV. The series will also be available online after the broadcasts at kera.org/trailblazer.