Gabriel Arana

Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The New Republic, The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast.

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Recent Articles

DADT Repeal: Not an HRC Victory.

As Paul mentioned this morning, a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal appears imminent. In response, the media's go-to gay spokesperson Joe Solmnese of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) put out a celebratory release saying that the government is on the "brink of historic action." But the reaction among grassroots gay-rights supporters and the gay blogosphere has basically been a frustrated "finally!" -- directed both at the Obama administration and the leaders of the HRC and other established gay-rights organizations, which critics perceive as complacent, influence-peddling politicos. At the last minute, the HRC may have joined the bandwagon by calling for a DADT repeal "not tomorrow, not next year, now" and asking their members to call their representatives. But they failed to apply that same pressure last year when things were reaching a boiling point. On the eve of Obama's speech at their annual fundraising dinner, Solomnese sent out an e-mail blast admonishing the administration's...

Powerless in Arizona

How did such a draconian anti-immigration bill pass in a state where the population is 30 percent Hispanic?

The May Day immigrant-rights rally at the Seattle Center. (Flickr/Brittney Bush)
Nogales, Arizona's largest city on the Mexican border, is situated about 70 miles south of Tucson, along a desert valley spotted with Spanish-era missions. Home to 20,000 people, 97 percent of whom are Hispanic, one would expect the city to be ground zero for impassioned demonstrations against SB 1070, the controversial immigration-enforcement law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer three weeks ago. But for the largely immigrant community here, the prevailing sentiment is one of resignation -- and fear for those relatives and friends who are here illegally. "My friends and I used to go out to eat on Sundays, but now you're afraid of just going out on the street," says Maria, an undocumented immigrant who has worked as a housekeeper for over 20 years. (Maria asked that her name be changed to protect her identity.) "But that's the law here; what's there to do?" Critics claim that SB 1070 -- which criminalizes undocumented presence in the state and requires police to question those suspected of...

Schumer and Graham Draft Enforcement-Heavy Immigration Plan.

Today, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer released their extended plan for immigration reform. I still need to read over the document more carefully, but just a glance gives you an idea of what they have in mind: Their proposal is 26 pages long, and 17 of those pages detail ways of improving enforcement. First, the good news. The last three pages include the Holy Grail of immigration-reform advocates: a "path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants. The proposal would also forbid individual states and municipalities from enacting their own rules on immigration -- say goodbye to Arizona's SB 1070. But these provisions come at a high cost. First, the framework specifies that the enforcement provisions must take place before the legalization process begins. Broadly, the enforcement plan calls for hiring thousands of new border patrol agents, building more Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, and installing "high-tech ground sensors throughout the southern border." (A...

The Immigration Enforcement Trap

Progressives are trying to win on immigrant rights by veering right, but this will ultimately make comprehensive reform harder to achieve.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at the Center for American Progress (CAP)
After Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a draconian new immigration bill last week, immigration reform vaulted to the top of the progressive priority list. On Saturday, immigrant-rights demonstrators in nearly a hundred cities will call on the president to pass reform legislation to override the Arizona law, which criminalizes undocumented immigrants' presence and requires officers to question anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. The Center for American Progress (CAP), the country's premier liberal think tank, and America's Voice, a pro-immigration lobbying group, were quick to join Democratic lawmakers in denouncing the bill. But the Arizona law is actually a more extreme version of "tough on immigration" policies these organizations have espoused in recent years. Since the last push for immigration reform failed in 2007, CAP, America's Voice, and their allies on the left have been actively advocating for stricter enforcement, which usually means sealing our...

Lindsey Graham's Hotheadedness on Climate Change.

I'm finding Sen. Lindsey Graham 's climate bill hissy fit over the weekend hard to understand. Days before the legislation was announced, the senator reportedly walked out of talks on the bill because Democrats -- including Sen. Harry Reid -- plan to prioritize immigration reform. Graham said he thinks immigration is being rushed for political reasons: Moving forward on immigration — in this hurried, panicked manner — is nothing more than a cynical political ploy. ... I know from my own personal experience the tremendous amounts of time, energy and effort that must be devoted to this issue to make even limited progress. It's probably true that Reid is trying to curry favor with Hispanic voters in anticipation of the November elections, in which his own seat is up for grabs. But part of the "panic" was also brought on by the passage of SB 1070 in Arizona, which makes undocumented presence in the country a crime and requires police to question anyone that they suspect might...