Sunday, December 28, 2014

In defense of in-state college tuition for undocumented students

(Author's note: I was recently asked by columnist Mercedes Olivera of The Dallas Morning News to comment on Texas Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick's initiative to repeal in-state college tuition for undocumented immigrant students. You can click here to read the Morning News column, including my thoughts. I provided The Dallas Morning News with a full statement (excerpts from which were used in Olivera's column), but I have included the complete statement here to explain why in-state tuition makes sense.   

Republicans had previously supported the in-state tuition program, and Gov. Rick Perry signed it into law and continues to support it. Patrick, however, has led a vindictive, anti-immigrant campaign that led to his election as lieutenant governor this fall. Here is why I feel repealing the in-state tuition discount would be a serious mistake.)

Dan Patrick continues to cloud the immigration issue by using words like “invaders” and “criminals” to disparage immigrants, especially using the term “illegal” over the legally correct term of “undocumented.” He fails to grasp the intricacies of the immigration issue, particularly the fact that no immigrant, regardless of entry, is “illegal” until designated as such by an immigration judge. His inability to differentiate the complexities of immigration law makes him wholly unqualified to comment on the issue, much less lead the charge to change a law that could have disastrous consequences on the future of our state.

Dan Patrick
The concept of in-state tuition is based on the idea that those who live in Texas and contribute taxes to fund our college education system should be awarded a discount. These taxes are collected regardless of one’s legal residency status, so undocumented immigrants and their children pay into the system just as much as a documented citizen. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates that undocumented immigrants contribute over $1.6 billion in taxes to the Texas economy, so the contention that immigrants (legal, illegal, or undocumented) do not contribute to the Texas economy is false. They pay in as much as any other citizen, and deserve to partake in the benefits of paying into the system.

The hard truth is most undocumented immigrant children qualify for legal residency and eventual citizenship under current immigration law, and not any special directive from the President, Congress, or ICE. They are going to eventually become legal citizens of Texas. They are in this position because they cannot afford an attorney to help settle their residency status, and ICE offers no help except the option of deportation without due process. It’s a problem I’ve seen over and over in my work with the Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment in Oak Cliff.

By denying these young Texans the chance to earn a college education, we will create a permanent underclass that will have ramifications both for their families and our state, as a whole, in the future. I find it disgusting that Mr. Patrick, in order to score some cheap political points and advance his own career, would sacrifice the futures of kids who want to learn, who want to better themselves, and want to contribute to our great state. These kids have known no other home but Texas. They deserve a fighting chance.

There is a reason in-state tuition was championed by Gov. Rick Perry and other Republicans, as well as Democrats. It is a stand based on principle, not restricted by party.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Clay Jenkins thinks concerned Dallas citizens are "crazy"

You likely didn't see this during live coverage today, but here's what Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who is running for reelection, said when asked if Dallas County would hold town hall meetings to keep residents informed of the Ebola crisis. Ron Natinsky, who is running against Jenkins, posted the video on his Facebook page. Remember, this statement is coming from a man who sat next to John Wiley Price on the Commissioner's Court for years, and never said anything to him about his antics, and yet he will readily throw Dallas citizens under the bus. If you don't see the video load, click the black box in the post to play the video.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Oak Cliff Chamber hosts state reps for "Legislative Summit" Oct. 9

The Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual legislative summit on Thursday, October 9 at the historic Texas Theatre. "A Preview of Plans for the 2015 Legislative Session" will give attendees a chance to get informed on the upcoming legislative session with a panel discussion among members of the Texas House who represent Oak Cliff.

State Representatives Rafael Anchia (District 103), Toni Rose (District 110), and Helen Giddings (District 109) will all participate in the event, providing their input and plans for the next legislative session. Brad Nitschke of Jackson Walker LLP will moderate the discussion. The event will run from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and is free to attend. To RSVP or learn about sponsorship opportunities of the event, contact Taylor Basped at the Oak Cliff Chamber at 214-943-4567,  ext. 17. The Texas Theatre is located at 231 W. Jefferson Blvd.

The mission of the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce is to promote economic development and the quality of life in Oak Cliff. For more information on the Chamber, visit

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Did the Texas Racing Commission overstep its authority?

Here's something you don't see every day: a politician looking out for our best interests.

On Friday, the Texas Racing Commission voted to change their own current policy and allow "historic racing" betting at race tracks across Texas. "Historic racing machines" closely resemble slot machines, but use the idea that you are betting on an actual historical race, only with any identifying information (like horse names) removed.

Critics argue this is the TRC's attempt to bypass the Texas Legislature and the public and allow slot machines in race tracks without their approval.

To combat this move, Texas State Rep. Matt Krause filed a preemptive lawsuit on Thursday to stop the action, suing the Commission and its individual members. He also filed to have a restraining order issued to stop the rule change. You can read Krause's statement about it right here. A judge has yet to rule on Krause's suits.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Check out the "Gringo Schindler" documentary trailer

Here is the trailer for "Gringo Schindler," an upcoming documentary about Ralph Isenberg and The Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment (ICIE) in Dallas, an organization that assists foreign nationals struggling with our broken immigration system and the heavy-handed tactics of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The immigrants featured in the documentary are people I have had the opportunity to write about for ICIE, and I am excited that their story is about to be told on film. It will hopefully change the way many see our immigration system and the people they brand as illegal criminals.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ralph Isenberg responds to the border crisis

Ralph Isenberg, founder of The Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment (ICIE), calls his organization "A Resort of Last Hope." ICIE, whose efforts are personally funded by Isenberg, assists immigrants facing the bureaucratic red tape of the immigration process. Many are already facing deportation due to a lack of proper representation and assistance, and nearly all are parents who only want a better life for their family.

The border crisis may be new to most Americans following the news, but Isenberg has seen this situation building over time. ICIE is currently assisting over a dozen innocent immigrants, mostly from El Salvador, who have a credible fear of death from gang members and drug cartels should they be deported back into their country. Yet, our government continues to put them on the fast track to deportation.

I recently discussed the crisis with Isenberg, who has some pointed opinions on the subject. He rightfully assigns blame at every level, from immigrants who think America will welcome them, to Republicans and Democrats who grandstand and offer no solutions, to President Obama for claiming he wants to help the refugees while changing the law to expedite deportations without due process.

Click the links below to read his thoughts on the matter. Because of length, I've separated them into two parts.

Ralph Isenberg responds to the border crisis, part 1

Ralph Isenberg responds to the border crisis, part 2

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Dallas Morning News' Mercedes Olivera pens column on the child refugee crisis

I had the honor of being quoted by Mercedes Olivera in her column for The Dallas Morning News on June 21. The column, "Surge in immigrant kids challenges both parties," explored how politicians are responding to the refugee crisis. Sadly, while many Democrats see the obvious humanitarian crisis, Republicans are playing demagogue to the anti-immigrant crowd. I'm glad that as a member of the Cafe con Leche Republicans, we are working to change the tone in our party.

To read Mercedes' column, click right here to visit

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Responding to the child refugee crisis on our border

As a member of the Cafe con Leche Republicans, a GOP group dedicated to making the party more welcoming and accessible to Hispanics, I had the chance to join our group president, Bob Quasisus, in speaking out about the refugee crisis along our border.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a directive to expand resources at the border to enhance security in response to the large number of children coming here from violent countries ripped apart by the drug trade. This includes Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. However, Gov. Perry missed a prime opportunity to address the child refugee issue directly, and show we have concern and compassion for these children.

Our moral obligation to help these refugee children is not limited to any political party. Giving them an opportunity for a better life in America is part of our immigration law, and being a true patriot includes helping those tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

You can read the statement, including the thoughts of myself and CCLR President Bob Quasisus, by clicking right here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Old Oak Cliff Conservation League releases 'Architecture at Risk' list

The Old Oak Cliff Conservation League has released their annual list of "Architecture at Risk," including some notable and historic structures that they hope to save. The OOCCL has been directly responsible for saving a number of our neighborhood's beautiful buildings and homes, and saving some of our local heritage. Here is the list for 2014, and you can find out more info about the League at

1. Oak Cliff Pump Station at Oak Farms Dairy c.1913
2. Lancaster Avenue Commercial National Register Historic District c.1910-1944
3. 635 N. Zang - Mayor George Sergeant's Home c.1910
4. 1045 N. Zang Blvd. - Zang's Storefront c.1914
5. 500 N. Ewing - J.G. Davis c.1910
6. 211 E. Colorado - Oak Cliff Floral c.1938
7. 1207 N. Zang Blvd. - Polar Bear c.1932
8. N. Bishop Ave. and the Miller-Stemmons National Register Historic District c.1910 - 1930's
9. Kovandovitch Concrete House - 523 Eads c.1914
10. McKinney Lamar Viaduct / Continental Viaduct c.1931

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Remembering "the least of these" on Father's Day

On this Father's Day, we should be dedicated to following the example of not only our earthly fathers, but our Heavenly Father as well. Sadly, I see some forsaking that example within my own party. That includes Pastor Stephen Broden, whom I supported when he ran for Congress. In some misguided attempt to pander to some political activists, he is demonizing the Central American refugee children arriving at our border, stating yesterday on Facebook that "illegal children are bum rushing our border," as if they are shoppers at a Black Friday sale. He states that we should "push back in Jesus' name."

Worse yet, his supporters are using his post to find some Biblical justification for this statement, saying things that are un-Christian, anti-Republican, and inhuman. If you are unaware of the situation in El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras (where these children are from), I suggest you get to know Ralph Isenberg, a local activist who works with these people on a daily basis and knows the situation. Helping these children and their families, and giving them safe harbor in our country, will not be easy or inexpensive, but it is a solemn duty our country and our God requires of us. Anything less is a sin. Patriotism and righteousness requires sacrifice.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My interview with filmmaker Fanny Veliz

I recently had the opportunity to interview Fanny Veliz, an actress and filmmaker whose first feature-length film, Homebound, is screening around the country. We discussed true independent filmmaking and the current state of Latinos in Hollywood. You can click right here to read my interview with Fanny for, and you can click right here to read my Cinelinx review of her film Homebound (which is quite good actually).

You can see Homebound in your town using Tugg, a service which will arrange screenings at local theaters when a certain number of tickets have been pre-sold. You can check out the official Homebound page on Tugg right here, and set up a screening near you!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Stories of the Immigrants

I have created a special section collecting my articles on the issue of immigration. Over a year ago, I met Ralph Isenberg of the Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment, located in the north Oak Cliff section of Dallas. He introduced me to the human toll exacted by our broken immigration system by introducing me to the foreign nationals his group assists. I hope you'll take the time to read the stories and discover the truth beyond the rhetoric. You can view the stories by clicking here.

Vote for me in the 2014 Rondo Awards!

Each year, the Rondo Awards recognize the best in classic horror, sci-fi, and fantasy in film, television, and other media. Among the categories is an award for Reviewer of the Year (Category 29). It's a write-in category, and as lead DVD/Blu-ray reviewer for, I've had the honor of being nominated by readers for the past three years. I've yet to win, and I must confess, I'd really like to have that award sitting on my desk (the bust of Rondo Hatton you see in the image above is the actual award).

Voting for the Rondos closes this Sunday night, May 4, at midnight. Anyone can vote, and I would like to ask for your consideration! You can check out a sampling of my reviews at Cinelinx by clicking right here. There are many more reviews available to read at Cinelinx if you search my name.

To vote, click right here to visit the official Rondo Awards website. They will explain the process, which entails copying and pasting the ballot into an email, with your selections. You can vote for me in Category 29 by listing your choice as "Victor Medina," You don't have to vote in every category. It is a bit of work to vote, but it is necessary to prevent ballot box stuffing.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Monday, March 17, 2014

An immigration lesson on St. Patrick's Day

On this St. Patrick's Day, it is important to remember that our current furor over Mexican immigrants is nearly identical to the Irish influx over a century ago. At the time, The Chicago Post wrote, "The Irish fill our prisons, our poor houses...Scratch a convict or a pauper, and the chances are that you tickle the skin of an Irish Catholic. Putting them on a boat and sending them home would end crime in this country." Yet, the Irish assimilated.

It is easy to make crass, ignorant generalizations, but much harder to admit that our country is strong enough, and the willingness of immigrants to succeed and assimilate deep enough, to weather such trends. It is key to remember that studies show that current immigrants are assimilating much quicker than previous generations. America will endure.

To read more about the Irish immigration movement, click right here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meet Tom Nowak, candidate for Dallas County District Attorney

I recently had the opportunity to speak with attorney Tom Nowak, who is running in the Republican primary for Dallas District Attorney. Nowak once worked in the D.A.'s office, but was fired by Craig Watkins after he discovered Nowak had attended a GOP election night watch party. Now, Nowak is ready to return the favor, and he discussed Watkins, what he wants to accomplish as D.A., and his primary opponent Susan Hawk with me. Here is the full article, originally posted at

In 2010, Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins fired one of his top prosecutors, apparently for attending a GOP election night watch party. In 2014, that fired prosecutor could return the favor by having Watkins, a Democrat, voted out of office and taking his job.

Welcome to the world of Tom Nowak, Republican candidate for Dallas District Attorney.

As a prosecutor, Nowak was once a rising star in the Dallas County District Attorney’s office. Although he was hired under former D.A. Bill Hill, Watkins promoted him to the child abuse division, where he prosecuted what Nowak describes as “the worst of the worst cases…aggravated assault against children, the continuous sexual abuse of children, those kinds of cases.”

That all changed in November 2010, after Nowak attended a Republican election night watch party, the same night Watkins was reelected as D.A. “I went to the Republican watch party that Tuesday because many of my friends were in judicial races. I went to support them, and it had nothing to do with the district attorney’s office. I didn’t donate money to candidates, I didn’t put up signs in my yard for candidates, and I didn’t go to rallies or anything like that.”

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dallas GOP candidate's Twitter account still says she's a Democrat

The primaries are coming up, with early voting starting in a few weeks. Among those running is Susan Hawk, a former criminal district court judge who wants to be Dallas' next district attorney. However, to do so, Hawk had to switch her political party from Democrat to Republican, something she had already done back in 2010. However, she forgot to update her Twitter account. Kinda hard to appeal to GOP voters when you still wear the D-label. To read more about the political blunder, click here to read my story at

Friday, January 10, 2014

Oak Cliff immigration advocacy group fights ICE abuse

Over the past year or so, I've gotten to know Oak Cliff businessman and philanthropist Ralph Isenberg, and his work through the Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment. Ralph and his staff spend each day helping the most vulnerable among us: foreign nationals trying to navigate our burdensome and bureaucratic immigration system.

I've had the opportunity to write about some of the families his group helps, who are often at the end of their rope when it comes to dealing with our government and their ineptitude. That included Salomon Guevara, who escaped the violence in his home country of El Salvador and lived here legally until a paperwork error and the staff of Dallas Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decided to separate him from his family and deport him. It is a shocking miscarriage of justice and proof our current system is broken. To read more about his story, click right here. To find out more about The Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment, click right here.