New Poll Shows More Young, Poor People of Color Identify as LGBT

New Poll Shows More Young, Poor People of Color Identify as LGBT

The largest population-based survey of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender people ever conducted in the U.S. found LGBT identity is highest among those who are younger, non-white and low income. The Gallup survey released Thursday found 4.6% of blacks, 4.3% of Asians, 4% of Latinos and 3.2% of whites identify themselves as LGBT.

The Gallup poll was released the same day a Pew Hispanic Center study that found “rapidly growing support for same-sex marriage among Latinos, mirroring growing support among the general public.”

The Pew report found more Latinos favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally (52%) than oppose same-sex marriage (34%). Among Latino Catholics that favor allowing gays and lesbians that number is even higher (54%).

The Gallup Survey found nonwhite individuals are more likely to identify as LGBT:

Nonwhites are more likely than white segments of the U.S. population to identify as LGBT. The survey results show that 4.6% of African-Americans identify as LGBT, along with 4.0% of Hispanics and 4.3% of Asians. The disproportionately higher representation of LGBT status among nonwhite population segments corresponds to the slightly below-average 3.2% of white Americans who identified as LGBT.

Overall, a third of LGBT-identifiers are nonwhite (33%), compared with 27% of non-LGBT individuals.

Gallup Survey: LGBT Americans Tend to Have Lower Income

More than 5% of those with incomes of less than $24,000 a year identify as LGBT, a higher proportion than among those with higher incomes — including 2.8% of those making $60,000 a year or more.

Among those who report income, about 16% of LGBT-identified individuals have incomes above $90,000 per year, compared with 21% of the overall adult population. Additionally, 35% of those who identify as LGBT report incomes of less than $24,000 a year, significantly higher than the 24% for the population in general. These findings are consistent with research showing that LGBT people are at a higher risk of poverty.

These data also explain why LGBT Americans are less satisfied with their standard of living than non-LGBT Americans. Nearly three-quarters of non-LGBT individuals (73%) say they are satisfied with their standard of living, compared with less than two-thirds (65%) of LGBT individuals.

“It helps to counter what I think are some inappropriate stereotypes of the LGBT community,” the report’s lead author, demographer Gary Gates of the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles told USA Today. “If you spend a lot of time watching network television, you would think most LGBT people are rich white men who live in big cities. These data suggest the LGBT community reflects more of the diversity in the U.S. population.”

The Gallup and Pew study released this week debunks many stereotypes about blacks and Latinos being overwhelmingly homophobic.

In 2008, after Californians voters passed Prop. 8 and banned same-sex marriage many news outlets including national agencies like CNN blamed blacks and Latinos for banning gay marriage because of their increase turnout. That was quickly debunked.

Most recently, in an apparent outreach to Latino voters, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney regularly reminds them that as president he’ll protect the sanctity of marriage—as if gay marriage trumps immigration, economy, education and healthcare reform for Latinos.

“These findings show that Latinos aren’t going to be as easy to mobilize against gay marriage as the right might wish,” said Rinku Sen, president of the Applied Research Center,’s publisher.

“There are a numerous examples of Latino organizations like Causa and PCUN in Oregon taking up LGBT rights and emerging organizations representing gay Latinos, while LGBT organizations have spoken out on immigrant rights issues like the DREAM Act and police harassment of day laborers.

Oregon’s Causa, an immigrant rights organization, and PCUN, a farmworker union, are profiled in ARC’s “Better Together” report. The study highlights racial justice groups currently engaging lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) constituencies and equity issues to improve opportunities to greater engagement.

Most recently in Los Angeles, home to the nation’s largest enclave of undocumented immigrants, The LA Gay & Lesbian Center; Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund and City of West Hollywood hosted a discussion called “Coming Out of the Shadows - LGBTQ and Undocumented.” The discussion that included LGBTQ undocumented teens was organized to “heighten awareness about the realities faced by many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people living in America without legal citizenship.”

DOJ Monitoring Early Voting in True the Vote’s Homebase

Today the U.S. Department of Justice announced that they will be monitoring early voting in Dallas and Harris County, Texas to make sure Voting Rights Act laws are being followed. Coincidentally, DOJ visited Harris County to monitor voting during congressional elections in 2010 also. And it just so happens that Harris County is the homebase for True the Vote, and the King Street Patriots tea party group they grew from.

It was also during those 2010 elections that DOJ began looking into True the Vote’s activities after waves of complaints came in from Harris County voters — mostly black and Latino — that poll watchers were getting all up in their faces, as reported by Talking Points Memo’s Ryan Reilly and American Prospect’s Abby Rapaport.

DOJ’s announcement today doesn’t say their monitoring is related to True the Vote. Meanwhile, the “election integrity” group referred to by civil rights groups as “ballot bullies” have suffered quite a pummeling in the past month with lawyers and government officials responding to their elections tampering and Rep. Elijah Cummings demanding documents that show their poll watching and voter registration list research operations. Earlier this week, I reported that True the Vote is now trying to cash out by suing states over spurious “injury” claims to collect taxpayer money to fund their operations.

Read more about Voting Rights Watch 2012’s True the Vote coverage here.

How are Obama and Romney Spending Their Campaign Money?

How are Obama and Romney Spending Their Campaign Money?

Over the past four months, President Barack Obama’s campaign travel expenses have totaled a cool $3 million. But GOP challenger Mitt Romney has tripled that and then some: the former governor has poured close to $10 million into travel for himself and his staff, according to FlipKey. Check out the breakdown below.

FlipKey is a vacation rental site majority owned by travel site TripAdvisor. The story was submitted by reader Daniel W., who happens to work at FlipKey.

(If you’ve got a story idea tweet me @thisisjorge.)

Zimmerman Defense Turns To Trayvon Martin’s Facebook, School Records

Zimmerman Defense Turns To Trayvon Martin's Facebook, School Records

Attorneys for former neighborhood watch leader George Zimmerman are expected to argue for the right to subpoena the social media accounts of Trayvon Martin. The attorneys for the man who shot Trayvon Martin to death will make the request Friday.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara says Martin’s social media pages have disappeared from the Internet.

“We have not been able to find accounts that we know were there or that we have anecdotal evidence that they existed at one point, which means they were there and now they are not,” said attorney Mark O’Mara, according to WFTV.

O’Mara also said he wants to see school records from two high schools and a middle school, alongside archives of Martin’s activity on Twitter and Facebook.

Martin’s parents released a statement through their attorney saying, “Trayvon’s parents maintain that his school records and Facebook page are completely irrelevant. Is this going to be a new legal standard we are setting for a murderer to review the school records and Facebook page of his teenage victim to determine whether or not he should have killed him?”

Man Wins Lottery After Dropping Out of College to Help Single Mom

Man Wins Lottery After Dropping Out of College to Help Single Mom

Sandeep Singh, 22, from Cape Cod, had been working two jobs to help his single mom pay their mortgage. But now he can quit both jobs because he just won the $30 Mega Millions jackpot.

Singh started working when he was 14 to help his mom pay bills after his father passed away. At a press conference Wednesday he told reporters the prize money will allow him to stop working at Best Buy and Citizens Bank, and will enable him to return to college. His mother, a cook at a local resort, will also have the option of leaving her job now.

When asked if there was a lucky lady in his life with whom to share his winnings, Singh said: “No lucky girlfriend, just broke up with her.”

“Thank god,” he said before clarifying that she in fact dumped him.

A reporter went on to ask Singh if he planned moving out of mom’s house now that he’s a millionaire.

“We’ll probably all move—she’s a single mom, I mean, she doesn’t want to live alone so she can live with me,” Singh answered.

The charming $30.5 million rich Singh mentioned his mother at least a dozen times during the conference. He also repeatedly referred to his win as “our family’s” win.

Singh says he’ll take the lump sum.

DREAMers Call Romney’s Latest Spanish Language Ad Deceptive

Mitt Romney is repeating big promises he made to the immigrant community this week during the presidential debate. And this time, his campaign’s doing it in a new Spanish language ad. But immigrant rights groups say Romney’s misrepresenting his hardline anti-immigrant agenda, and today called on the Romney campaign to take the ad down.

“We need real solutions on immigration, and real talk,” said Erika Andiola, the political director of the Dream Action Coalition. “And we need to stop using empty words for the Latino community.” The empty words Andiola was referring to are from the ad released yesterday, wherein a narrator highlights President Obama’s well-known failure to get comprehensive immigration reform passed in his first term the way he promised to on the 2008 campaign trail. “Now, the Democrats say they never made a promise,” the woman says.

The narrator then says that Romney, meanwhile, has worked on a bipartisan plan to reunite families, establish a system for work permits and offer “permanent solutions” for undocumented young people, against a backdrop of images of a rather pleased looking Romney signing a bill, and Romney standing next tea party darling and Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. The implication being that Romney would do what President Obama didn’t.

Andiola and other undocumented youth joined by other immigrant rights organizations said that the reality of Romney’s immigration record—in which he vetoed a state version of the DREAM Act when he was governor of Massachusetts, and during which he’s praised Arizona’s SB 1070 and staffed his immigration advisory committee with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the famed architect of SB 1070 and copycat laws like it—tells a very different story.

“I have to say the ad is a fraud,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, the D.C.-based immigration reform advocacy organization. Sharry said that much like other statements on immigration Romney’s made this fall, one day announcing a pro-immigrant stance and the next day having those remarks “clarified,” which is to say recanted, this ad represents more of that kind of tactic.

For instance, just this month, Romney declared that he’d protect the two-year deferred action program for undocumented youth if elected.

“The people who received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid,” Romney told the Denver Post in a surprise announcement. And yet, the very next day his campaign said that actually, Romney would not continue the program once elected.

The real evidence of Romney’s actual leanings lie in who he’s taking his immigration advice from, Sharry said. Kobach and Roy Beck, founder of the immigration restrictionnist organization NumbersUSA, which has attempted to roll back birthright citizenship for children born in the U.S. to immigrant parents, and tried to tie environmental concerns to his anti-immigrant agenda, among just a few of his pet projects.

Despite the warm tone Romney’s projecting toward Latino voters, who prefer President Obama by a wide margin, immigrant rights groups say Romney’s actual stance on immigration policy is far less friendly to the Latino community.

A True Army Responds to True the Vote Threats

Whatever shenanigans True the Vote and their tea party cells had or has in plans for November will run up against a brick wall in the form of civil rights lawyers and government officials who are striking back against threats to corrupt voting rights. News reports from across the nation this week are showing a formidable resistance to True the Vote’s operations, which include recruiting “a million” poll watchers and poll workers, and making voters feel “like driving and seeing the police follow you.”

It’s clear at this point that they won’t come anywhere close to a million, but whoever they recruit will be met at the polls by a much larger squad, an election protection team consisting of thousands of lawyers and poll watchers trained to answer any questions voters may have if approached or challenged by tea partiers who try to kirk out at the polls.

A few examples:

  • A group of Ohio state senators sent a letter to Sec. of State Jon Husted warning him of plans from True the Vote and their state affiliate Ohio Voter Integrity Project to challenge voters illegally. Sec. Husted responded by stating “he will act swiftly to investigate and seek prosecution of any offenders,” of voter intimidation, as reported by the Columbus Dispatch.
  • The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights (IREHR) released a report about True the Vote’s infiltration and influence throughout the North Carolina electoral landscape, particularly through their local affiliate North Carolina Voter Integrity Project. While True the Vote says that they don’t target communities of color, the IREHR has mapped out predominantly African American communities where it reports True the Vote’s recruits will be focused (see below).


  • The labor group AFL-CIO held a conference call this morning where it discussed the deployment of its Lawyers Coordinating Committee, part of their My Vote, My Right voter protection program. Lawyers from Florida, Pennsylvania and Nevada described how they have already been fending off challenges and voter suppression efforts from True the Vote and their affiliates, well in advance of Election Day. Florida attorney Alma Gonzalez said their lawyer team is in regular communications with all but one of Florida’s county elections supervisors about True the Vote and have successfully blunted purges demanded by True the Vote’s recruits — the lone standout being Collier County, where purging has commenced. Said Gonzalez, “We have also communicated directly to True the Vote and (their local affiliate) Tampa Vote Fair that we are ready and we are watching them. We will also have poll monitors where we have seen Tampa Fair Vote’s efforts undertaken in order to protect those voters in those areas.”

  • Ari Berman reports in this week’s The Nation about the national Election Protection team, known by most voters by their help line 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Berman zoned in on Virginia where True the Vote’s affiliate Virginia Voters Alliance has been drumming up pipe dreams about “a tsunami of voter fraud” while recruiting and training hundreds of tea partiers for Election Day confrontations. But “The Election Protection coalition has been preparing for months to deal with voter suppression laws and vigilante groups,” writes Berman.

It’s probably especially important to have election protection forces in place in Virginia given that one of True the Vote’s most trusted advisors, Hans von Spakovsky, will be running elections there in Fairfax County. And that’s the thing — many people are focused on the damage True the Vote could do outside the polls, as watchers. But few are looking at their inside game, where they have positioned themselves to be selected as poll workers, the actual front line between you and the poll booth, and the eyes and hands handling provisional ballots. Thanks to a lot of great reporting and coverage, though, election protectors are hip to True the Vote’s game.

Mark Your Calendars: Trial Date Set for George Zimmerman

Mark Your Calendars: Trial Date Set for George Zimmerman

At a hearing on Wednesday, a trial date was announced for the man who killed Trayvon Martin. And it’s far away. George Zimmerman, the self-appointed neighborhood watchman who shot and killed the Florida teen in February will finally face his second-degree murder charges on June 10, 2013.

But, writes Los Angeles Times reporter Michael Muskal, there’s a chance Zimmerman could avoid a trial altogether:

Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson set the date, but the defense said there were still several issues pending, including a self-defense immunity hearing. Zimmerman has argued that he shot Martin in self-defense and acted legally under Florida’s “stand uour ground” law.

In a later tweet, defense attorneys said they would seek a stand-your-ground hearing in April or May. If they are successful, Zimmerman would not face trial in the shooting.

Trial details may be yet be uncertain, but some facts are undisputed. Martin was walking home the night of February 26 from the corner store, armed with those lethal weapons known as a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. And Zimmerman, on his neighborhood watch and armed with a gun, left his car against the directions of a 911 dispatcher he called. In a matter of minutes Martin was dead.

Catch up on the details of the initial incident here.

For-Profit Giant University of Phoenix to Close 115 Locations

For-Profit Giant University of Phoenix to Close 115 Locations

With profits on a sharp decline, University of Phoenix is doing what any publicly traded corporation would do—cutting its losses. Except the University of Phoenix is not just any company selling widgets and doodads. It’s the nation’s largest for-profit university, and it plans on closing 115 brick and mortar campuses, a move which the company’s owners estimate will affect some 13,000 students.

The news, announced Wednesday, comes on the heels of a dismal fourth quarter revenue report from the for-profit giant’s parent company, the Apollo Group. Revenue for that quarter dropped by 60 percent, the AP reported. The drop in revenue followed a parallel drop in enrollment. At its height the University of Phoenix had 400,000 students enrolled in programs offering everything from certificates to Ph.D.’s to students. Current enrollment is 328,000.

University of Phoenix President Bill Pepicello attributed the enrollment drop to the stagnating economy and students’ unwillingness to invest in their education at a time when their futures were so “uncertain.” But the enrollment drop has also coincided with the institution of federal regulations seeking to rein in the for-profit college industry.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Woman Starts Native American Fashion Mag

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Woman Starts Native American Fashion Mag

Here’s another reason to love good fashion. A 21-year-old woman who grew up on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation has created a new fashion magazine. It’s geared toward Native men and women, and non-Native Americans who want to learn about the culture.

Kelly Holmes says she founded “Native Max” magazine after getting tired of thumbing through issues of “Seventeen” or “Vogue” and not seeing models that looked like her.

The premiere issue cover of “Native Max” features Mariah Watchman, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, who rose to fame following her appearance on “America’s Next Top Model” as the first Native woman to compete.

“Native Max” features interviews with Native artists, musicians, designers and models, as well as sections on health, beauty and sports. The magazine is also expected to tackle heavy issues like domestic violence.

“A lot happens in Indian Country, and we got them covered. News stories and headliners involving Natives. We’ll also pick out personal stories that can make an impact on lives and tell it. We also plan to pick out one troubled issue in Indian Country every quarter publication and raise awareness,” states the magazine’s ‘about’ page.

“There’s really no magazine, a Native-owned and operated, Native-designed magazine. There’s nothing like this magazine out there. The ones that do have stuff focused on younger people, they’re really vulgar and very revealing,” Holmes, who now lives in Denver, told the Associated Press.

The magazine’s nine staff members come from all over North America, including the Navajo Nation in Arizona and the Otomi and Yaqui nations in Mexico, the AP reports. Holmes has invested $1,000 of her own money in the project and is hoping the magazine pays for itself with advertising.

Holmes says the magazine is geared towards both Native men and women and non-Native Americans who want to learn about the culture.

New York City Terrorism Sting Latest In Line of ‘Entrapment’ Cases

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man named Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis for attempting on Wednesday to to blow up the Federal Reserve building with what he believed was a 1,000 pound bomb.

But, the NY Times reports:

[T]he entire plot played out under the surveillance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department as part of an elaborate sting operation, according to court papers.

The case is just the latest in a string of New York City terrorism cases that involve the use of informants and concocted plots. In each case, federal agents or NYPD officers connect with young Muslim men who the agents aid in imagining, planning and orchestrating attacks. The agents then arrest the targets for conspiring to commit acts of terrorism.

Latino Worker Cooked to Death in Bumble Bee Tuna Cooker

Latino Worker Cooked to Death in Bumble Bee Tuna Cooker

A 62-year-old man was recently found dead inside a cooking device called a “steamer machine” at a Bumble Bee Tuna factory in Los Angeles. Paramedics declared him dead at the scene.

Jose Malena died last Thursday when he became trapped inside the industrial-size pressure cooker and his family claims the company has offered no explanation to them.

“All they came and did was notify my mother that he had lost his life in an accident, and that’s it,” Tony Melena, one of the victim’s six children told the AP. “We don’t have any official report.”

“He was a hard worker,” his daughter Sara Melena told the Whittier Daily News. “A very hard worker.”

“He dedicated himself to providing for the family,” the daughter said. “He was very loving.”

“I believe he is with God,” Sara went on to say. “I can’t say, `God, why us?’ I just think everything has a purpose. God is not going to leave us alone.”

According to police records local authorities received a 911 call from the Bumble Bee plant Thursday morning to report an industrial accident. When officers arrived, they found the man dead.

Craig Harvey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner’s office told the AP the man died in a device described as a pressure cooker.

Obama Won the Prize for Authentically Hugging His Wife at the Debate

Obama Won the Prize for Authentically Hugging His Wife at the Debate

Left: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney kisses wife Ann Romney after a town hall style debate with U.S. President Barack Obama at Hofstra University October 16, 2012 in Hempstead, New York.

Right: U.S. President Barack Obama hugs wife Michelle Obama.

(Photos by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

What You Need to Know: The ‘Binders Full of Women’ Directory

What You Need to Know: The 'Binders Full of Women' Directory

Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” sound bite from last night’s debate spawned its own Twitter account, Facebook page  — with more than 271,000 likes, and counting — a Tumblr and countless other online memes.

Here’s the commend that led to it all: ‘I went to a number of women’s groups and … they brought us whole binders full of women,’ former Gov. Romney said at last night’s debate about his search to find more women candidates to work in his Massachusetts cabinet.

For starters, the statement was misleading. Romney did not direct women’s groups to bring him female candidates, Boston Phoenix reporter David Bernstein points out:

What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

That, and the number of women working in Romney’s cabinet, actually declined by 27 percent. The Huff Post reports:

While 42 percent of Romney’s appointments during his first two and a half years as governor were women, the number of women in high-level appointed positions actually declined to 27.6 percent during his full tenure as governor, according to a 2007 MassGAP study.

In the end, whether it’s a Romney campaign or any corporate office ‘binders full of women’ do end up creating jobs. Amanda Hess at says she hopes the meme ends soon because ‘binders full of women create cabinets full of women:’

Romney’s lieutenant governor and chief of staff were both women. That puts Romney’s record on hiring women well above the national average. Binders full of women mean cabinets full of women.

Romney ended up dodging the question about equal pay for women. Akiba Solomon,’s ‘Gender Matters’ blogger, says he ended up advocating for cheaper labor instead.

By emphasizing the recruitment of women, straight-up ignoring the issue of equal pay, and classifying a standard end of the workday as a perk, Romney is actually advocating for cheaper labor along gender lines!

Romney Cares About All Immigrant Children, But Only After They Join the Military

Leave it to an undecided U.S. voter to force Mitt Romney to do what journalists the country over have been largely struggling to do for months—pin the GOP presidential hopeful down on his immigration agenda. Romney again reminded voters, despite his smooth talking, that he would pursue a plan even more aggressively anti-immigrant and hawkish than President Obama, who has deported a record-breaking 1.4 million immigrants during his presidency.

For starters, if elected president, Romney would support a federal military-only DREAM Act law which gives immigrant youth at most a green card. Such a move is in line with the Republican Party’s narrowing of the decade-old legalization bill for undocumented youth. But it’s a sharp departure from the DREAM Act’s long history as a bipartisan bill which would allow undocumented youth who commit two years to the military or higher education and clear a host of other prerequisites to be eligible for eventual citizenship. Romney’s plan would gut the DREAM Act. But furthermore, in Romney’s vision immigrant youth would have to put their lives at risk to fight for the country, but ought not to be given the right to vote in exchange.

Perhaps the biggest whammy of the night on immigration came when Romney interrupted President Obama, who was in the middle of describing Republican obstruction of any effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform that extended beyond enforcement-only policies. He talked over the president, claiming with what sounded like a retort and a move of uncalculated desperation at the same time, “I’ll get it done. I’ll get it done. First year.” As in, Romney pledged to get comprehensive immigration reform, a task that’s proven too difficult for the last two presidents, done in the first year. It was a bold statement. But, as Obama well knows, hardly the kind of thing worth throwing out casually. Obama made that same promise while he was campaigning in 2008, but repeatedly, and as a pledge to immigrant communities. It’s something immigrant communities won’t soon forget.

W. Kamau Bell Explains Why He Hates Science — Just Like Mitt Romney [Video]

W. Kamau Bell Explains Why He Hates Science -- Just Like Mitt Romney [Video]

In the second video in the “Actually…” series, comedian W. Kamau Bell explains why, like Mitt Romney, he hates science.

Bell’s video, published on on Tuesday, is a collaboration between American Bridge 21st Century and the Jewish Council for Education and Research (JCER.) The founders of say they plan to work with other comedians to make sure lies don’t go unchecked in politics.

Actress and comedian Rosie Perez released an “Actually…” video earlier this week also.

Who Are Those ‘Gangbangers’ Obama’s So Proud of Deporting?

Who Are Those 'Gangbangers' Obama's So Proud of Deporting?

President Obama used a new word during the presidential debate on Tuesday night to describe the masses of immigrants he’s deported during his tenure. He called them “gangbangers,” as in:

What I’ve also said is if we’re going to go after folks who are here illegally, we should do it smartly and go after folks who are criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they’re trying to figure out how to feed their families. And that’s what we’ve done.

The line was a curious one, given the reality of Obama’s deportation record, which has been marked by mass deportations to the tune of nearly 400,000 every year carried out at a clip unseen by any prior president. The Obama administration has defended its “smart” enforcement tactics by, as Obama did on Tuesday night, pointing out that it makes a point to deport those who have committed serious crimes and are a threat to their communities and national security. And yet, data collected over Obama’s tenure show that among the close to 400,000 people who are deported annually, far from being “gangbangers,” the vast majority have no criminal record whatsoever.

In preliminary data for the January-March 2012 quarter collected by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, for example, just 14 percent of those deported had any criminal record. (Immigration violations are typically considered civil violations, and do not constitute a criminal offense.) But, a closer look at the data shows that just 4 percent of those deported had a so-called “aggravated felon” on their record, an immigration court-specific designation of crimes that can include crimes as serious as rape and murder, but has also been expanded to include violations like theft or non-violent drug offenses.

The Scary, Familiar Way Romney Would Shrink the Food Stamp Rolls

The Scary, Familiar Way Romney Would Shrink the Food Stamp Rolls

Mitt Romney has taken to lambasting President Obama for record levels of food stamp enrollment, wielding the figures on the safety-net program to attack Obama’s economic policies. “How about food stamps?” Romney said at last night’s debate. “When [Obama] took office, 32 million people were on food stamps. Today, 47 million people are on food stamps.”

Indeed, Romney’s numbers are right. As a result of the recession, the food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, added nearly 15 million new people to its rolls since Obama took office.

While Romney’s point is that his economic plan will foster growth and therefore lift all boats—“We don’t have to settle” for that, he said—when it comes to food stamps, Romney has plans for shrinking enrollment that have little to do with economic growth. Mainly, he’d just shrink the food stamp rolls, whether people need the program or not.

Romney Uses the Term ‘Undocumented Illegals’ in Second Presidential Debate

Romney Uses the Term 'Undocumented Illegals' in Second Presidential Debate

It was awkward from the start. Her name was Lorainne and Mitt Romney wanted to call her “Loraina.”

At last night’s debate, host Candy Crowley introduced a Latina speaker as Lorraine Osorio, and it appears the GOP presidential candidate wanted to one-up the host and make sure this Latina wasn’t a Lorena.

CROWLEY: Lorraine Osorio has a question for you about a topic we have not…

OBAMA: This is for Governor Romney?

CROWLEY: It’s for Governor Romney, and we’ll be right with you, Mr. President. Thanks. < ROMNEY: Is it Loraina?

QUESTION: Lorraine.

ROMNEY: Lorraine?

QUESTION: Yes, Lorraine.

ROMNEY: Lorraine.

QUESTION: Mr. Romney, what do you plan on doing with immigrants without their green cards that are currently living here as productive members of society?

Notice how Lorainne used “immigrants without their green cards” to phrase her question. Now take a look at how Romney answered.

“We’re not going to round up 12 million people, undocumented illegals, and take them out of the nation,” Romney said last night. “Instead, let people make their own choice.”

Self-deportation questions aside, was Romney about to use the more neutral “undocumented immigrant”? Maybe he caught himself and ended up saying “undocumented illegals”?

According to the more recent survey of Latino voters, Obama enjoys the backing of 70 percent of likely Latino voters. The CNN/ORC International survey also points out that number is slightly higher than the 67 percent of Latinos who voted for him in 2008.

An Illustrated Guide to All The Finger Pointing at Last Night’s Debate

My mother always said you should never point at people.

But at last night’s second presidential debate, pointing and sometimes wagging fingers sparred. GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s fingers thrived throughout the debate but so did President Obama’s fingers. At one point even host Candy Crowley got in to it.

The fingers pointed everywhere. Just take a look below.

Romney and Obama pointed at each other.


(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Both candidates pointed to get Crowley’s attention.


finger-pointing-debate-3.jpg (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Sometimes Crowley would point back.


(Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

Sometimes Romney pointed to the sky. finger-pointing-debate-5.jpg (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

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