Haley Barbour

Civil Rights Summit

Photo Credit: Shweta Gulati | Daily Texan Staff

Former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour and San Antonio mayor Julian Castro both said they felt optimistic that immigration laws would be passed in 2014, and agreed the U.S. government must do more to address the issue of immigrants who overstay their visa.

Castro said Congress must define border security more clearly before passing a law for immigration reform. Also, the U.S. hasn’t adequately addressed who have overstayed their visa, Castro said.

“We haven’t done much about people who overstayed their visa and ensuring that we have a way to track who comes in and then whether they leave in a more effective and efficient way is an important part of this,” Castro said.  

Barbour said he thinks U.S. citizens are willing to spend money on a secure border, and he thinks the Senate bill focuses on this. Barbour said the U.S. shouldn’t deport employed immigrants because it wouldn’t be economically practical.

“Three, four, five million of these people who have had the same jobs for years, for decades, about the stupidest thing we could do economically is make them leave,” Barbour said. “We don’t have anybody to replace them with. The impracticality of sending everybody home should be obvious to everybody.”

According to Barbour, between four and five million immigrants - out of 11 million - could account for those who do not leave the U.S. once their visas expire. Barbour said this created a problem while passing laws through Congress because Americans do not want people to be rewarded for breaking the law.

“The two big issues and the underlying issue [are] that you have to deal with is you’re not rewarding people for breaking the law, and I think that can be done in a way that’s very appropriate and right,” Barbour said.

Near the end of the discussion, a woman in the audience yelled at Castro, asking him to stand up for "dreamers," referring to the DREAM Act, which would allow current, former and future undocumented high-school graduates and GED recipients to obtain citizenship through either college or the armed services.

"Mayor Castro, I am a dreamer... Our families are under attack... We need you to act now," the woman said.

Castro said the one of the most prominent issues was how border security is defined. Since 2001, the U.S. has increased the number of agents along the 110-kilometer Mexican-U.S. border by 117 percent, mediator Brian Sweany said.

In a press conference after the panel, Castro said there is always room for improvement in methods of securing the border, and he hopes to promote a more robust and active legal system.

“There’s no question that there’s been a frustration among many dreamers,” Castro said.

Although Castro and Barbour said they were optimistic about laws being passed for immigration reform, sociology professor Nestor Rodriguez said he did not see changes happening in the near future.

“I think it’s unlikely at this point,” Rodriguez said. “This requires more discussion, how long this will take — I don’t know. I’m not optimistic it’s going to happen any time soon.”

Rodriguez said Congress members’ inability to make decisions hurts the country.

“Nobody wins in the present situation,” Rodriguez said. “We need to decide who can stay and who can go, but just being in limbo, we all lose.”

Javier Huamani, treasurer for University Leadership Initiative, said as an undocumented student, he hopes the Obama administration will push for administrative reform in the near future.

“It’s the fact that people and families are being torn apart on a daily basis,” Huamani said. “That’s the main problem. People shouldn’t have to live in fear.”

According to Huamani, there are about 500 undocumented students on campus who deal with the constant fear he faces.

“I would like my parents to be eligible for it as well and be able to be protected so they don't have to live in fear,” Huamani said.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Click here for full coverage of the second day of the Civil Rights Summit.

Updated: (8:26 p.m.) For the full story on former President Jimmy Carter's conversation with LBJ Library Director Mark Updegrove at the Civil Rights Summit, click here.

Updated: (7:47 p.m.) Former President Jimmy Carter said there are still racial and women’s rights issues the United States needs to address in a conversation at the Civil Rights Summit on Tuesday.

According to Carter, sexual abuse is major problem not only in the countries around the world that he and the Carter Center work with, but also in universities in the U.S.

“In this country, we are not above—I hate to say condemnation—but we are not hove reproach,” Carter said. “The number one place for sexual abuse is the United States universities.”

Carter also said segregation still exists, especially in public schools in the Deep South.

“We still have gross disparity between black and white people on employment [and] the quality of public education,” Carter said. “A lot of so-called segregation academies were founded so white people could send their kids to a very segregated school.”

—Alyssa Mahoney

Updated: (5:12 p.m.) Mavis Staples and Graham Nash spoke about how their involvement in the civil rights movement affected their songwriting and careers in music at the third panel of the Civil Rights Summit, “Music and Social Consciousness.”

Staples, a rhythm and blues and gospel artist from soul group The Staples Singers, attributes her lifetime as a gospel singer to meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. early in her career.

“I think that if he can preach it, we can sing it,” Staples said.

Updated: (4:02 p.m.) For the full story on the second panel of the Civil Rights Summit, "Pathway to the American Dream: Immigration Policy in the 21st Century," click here.

Updated: (3:05 p.m.) San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour discussed immigrations issues, including the lack of a solid definition of “border security,” as well as students overstaying their visas, during the second panel of the Civil Rights Summit, “Pathway to the American Dream: Immigration Policy in the 21st Century.”

Castro said the U.S. has not “even defined what border security would be.”

Barbour said people who overstay their visas could make up a significant portion of the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

“People who come on a legal visa and don’t go when they’re supposed to… could be four or five million of the 11 million,” Barbour said. 

— Amanda Voeller

Updated: (2:46 p.m.) Though attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson once argued against each other in front of the Supreme Court, they said they are of one mind about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. To read a full recap of "Gay Marriage: A Civil Right?" click here.​

(From left) John Avalon, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, attorney David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, attorney and former U.S. Solicitor General, speak at the "Gay Marriage: A Civil Right?" panel Tuesday at the LBJ Auditorium. Photo by Jonathan Garza / Daily Texan Staff.

Updated: (1:54 p.m.) The Gay Liberation Front, UT's first gay student activist group, was founded in 1970. Read Eleanor Dearman's story here to find out more about gay students' experiences at UT in the 70's and today. 

Updated: (12:47 p.m.) Although Robert Schenkkan’s family had a longtime relationship with the Johnson family even before Lyndon B. Johnson became president, Schenkkan is perhaps best known for his play “All the Way,” which examines the first months of Lyndon B Johnson’s Presidency and the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

According to Schenkkan, Johnson’s was a Shakespearean figure that was rarely captured in his public image as president.

“He was not just physically big but large in his appetites, his ambitions, his flaws, his faults [and] virtues,” Schenkkan said. “[When] people talk about Lyndon Johnson, it’s always in this combination of the most generous man I ever met, the most savage man I ever met.”

Schenkkan said he thinks the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the state of civil rights today offer many comparisons.

“I think it’s a great time right now, I think in particular, to be reexamining these issues because [of] the widely-held frustration of both sides of the aisle about the gridlock in Congress and seeming inability to accomplish even the most trivial of matters,” Schenkkan said.

— Alyssa Mahoney

Updated (10:26 a.m.): Bob Hutchings, LBJ School of Public Affairs dean, said the LBJ School of Public Affairs will open a center in Washington, D.C. for graduate students who want to spend more time in the capitol.

Hutchings said the LBJ School Washington Center will have an office, permanent staff and classroom space. According to Hutchings, the center will begin enrolling students next year. Although the location has not yet been determined, Hutchings said he hopes it will be located centrally in downtown Washington, D.C. near UT’s Archer Center.

“This is the probably best thing we can do as a public policy school to honor the legacy of President Johnson, namely to empower the next generation, the next get-it-done generation,” Hutchings said at the Civil Rights Summit.

According to LBJ Foundation president Elizabeth Christian, Hutchings' statement is the first public announcement of the LBJ School’s plans to create a Washington, D.C. center.

Hutchings said a major priority of the LBJ School is to continue the legacy of Johnson, which he said he thinks will be aided by establishing the center in Washington, D.C.

“Too few are going into public service,” Hutchings said. “If you don’t like what you see in Washington, get in the arena and change it.”

— Alyssa Mahoney

Updated (9:40 a.m.): The first panel of the summit is titled, "Gay Marriage: A Civil Right?" The panel will be moderated by John Avlon, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast and will feature attorneys David Boies and Theodore B. Olson who teamed up in 2010 to challenge Proposition 8 in California, a constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage in the state. The two prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 when the court ruled upheld the district court's decision that deemed Proposition 8 unconstitutional. 

— Alyssa Mahoney

Updated (9:30 a.m.): Here's a quick, 40-second primer on what the Civil Rights Summit will be about.

— Bryce Seifert