Sunday, December 30, 2007

Let's Clear The Air On Carolin Requiz Smith

As readers of this blog know, I have expressed great disappointment with the people Mayor-elect Greg Ballard chose to exclude from his transition--namely the grassroots folks who won this past election for him, and the people he has chosen to fill key posts in city government. If he had remembered those who won this election for him, I suspect he would not have fallen down so badly on the latter. The fierce opposition to one of his appointees in the blogosphere, however, is deeply troubling to me. I am, of course, referring to Carolin Requiz Smith, the person Ballard tapped to serve as Director of Latino Affairs. The venomous attacks on her legal status have been nothing short of appalling.

Let me begin by saying that I'm extremely upset that the new administration has chosen to waste taxpayer dollars by creating a make-work position for the sole purpose of pandering to an ethnic constituency. Ballard has also named a Director of minority business development. There is already an agency within city government which handles minority business certification and contracting matters, and we don't need to duplicate those efforts by creating an entirely different layer of bureaucracy. The Deputy Mayor of neighborhoods should be an articulate person with the ability to reach out to people of all socio-economic backgrounds. Ballard's choice for that position, unfortunately, fails on both counts.

Now, back to Requiz Smith, attacks on her center on allegations that she once lived and worked in this country illegally, that she is currently a permanent resident card holder (commonly referred to as a green card) and that she is not an American citizen. As an immigration attorney, this is a subject I know a little bit about. I'm not familiar with Requiz Smith's past circumstances, but what I do know is that our immigration laws have in the past and continue to permit aliens, who may have been present in the U.S. unlawfully at one point, to attain legal status and eventually become American citizens. I assist people who are deemed to be in the U.S. unlawfully every day in my practice who become eligible for permanent resident status based on their marriage to a U.S. citizen. The law permits such persons under certain circumstances to adjust to a legal status, notwithstanding past unlawful time in the U.S. and any unauthorized work in which the person may have engaged. After the passage of the requisite period of time, such persons may also become naturalized citizens. Our own Mayor-elect's wife, Winnie, an immigrant from the Philippines, went through a similar process of first becoming a permanent resident and later a U.S. citizen. What should matter to us is whether Requiz Smith is a green card holder. As a green card holder, she is entitled to seek and obtain employment in the U.S. like any other American citizen.

The only legitimate question which is worthy of consideration is whether a person who is not an American citizen should be hired for key positions in government. It is my strong belief key positions in government should be limited to U.S. citizens. I'm not sure Ms. Requiz Smith's position qualifies as a key position in government, and as I stated earlier in this post, I don't think it's even a position which should exist in city government. Having said that, I think Ballard would do well to put questions about Requiz Smith's status to rest as soon as possible. Nobody is served well by allowing this issue to continue to fester, not the least of which is Requiz Smith.

The question of illegal immigration is an issue to which all of our elected officials need to be sensitive. It is estimated there are at least 12 million persons in the U.S. illegally, and I suspect that includes close to 50,000 here in the City of Indianapolis. Many working class Americans believe they are losing out to job opportunities because of the large influx of undocumented workers in the country. This problem is exacerbated in cities like Indianapolis where the high-paying manufacturing jobs are rapidly disappearing. If you look at the color-coded map the Star published after this year's election, it is not hard to figure out what demographic carried the election for Ballard. Unmistakably, his victory came as a result of the overwhelming support he received from working class white neighborhoods. Ironically, this demographic has been completely ignored in the shaping of his new administration--a mistake which will most assuredly seal his fate as a one-term mayor if not quickly corrected.

Ballard's openness to diversity should be welcomed. Mayor Bart Peterson offered us the most diverse administration in the city's history. As this past election demonstrated, however, diversity for the sake of diversity can easily become a double-edged sword. People first and foremost want competent and dedicated persons working in government. If you simply place a person in a particular position for the sake of pandering to a particular race or ethnicity, you are going to damage morale within the ranks of your workforce. As a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Marines, Ballard should be more sensitive to this observation than most people.

48 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

It would be interesting to hear exactly what steps the Indianapolis Director of Latino Affairs is currently taking to become a U.S. citizen...

Anonymous said...

There are some questions that need
to be asked in regard to her prior
status.

#1 Did she utilize a fake Social Security number when she worked for IPS?

#2 Did she file state and federal income tax returns using such a fake SS number or did she just not bother to file income tax returns
then until she obtained her own
real number?

Remember, state and federal income tax returns, when filed are made under penalties of perjury.

Integrity is important for all political appointments. If, for example, you were going to submit your name for a judicial vacancy, I can assure you that you had better have your income tax returns handy for your background check.

This leads to the last question:
How extensive, if any, was a background check performed on
all of these appointments to
assure that these folks were
squeaky clean?

Peter said...

I don't practice immigration law - but doesn't discriminating against green card holders violate the 1986 immigration reform control act, at least in most instances?

Shofar said...

As one who has worked extensively in the Latino community here in Indianapolis for the past 10 years, both personally and professionally, I would offer that your estimate of 50,000 is probably 30% short of the actual number.

As to the need for a Director of Latino Affairs, I can see the need to have someone who is able to make significant inroads to the Latino community. Currently, in Indianapolis, there is a growing influx of Latino gang activity. While the MSM and the current city leaders have down played this problem, it is growing.

Gangs such as the Latin Kings, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), SureƱos (aka Mexican Mafia), 18th Street Gang, Brown Pride among others have made their presence know in the Latino community. These gangs rely on the fact that many of those living "under the radar" in the Latino community will NOT report crimes committed against those in the community. Fear of arrest, deportation, separation from loved ones or retaliation by these gangs causes a silence to descend upon the Latino community.

Having someone within the structure of city government that can reach out to and be accepted by Latinos is important, if this city is serious about ending the endless waves of violence that has swept all communities.

I am not saying that all of the violence we have endured under the Peterson administration is due to Latinos, on the contrary, the majority of REPORTED crimes come from historically violent areas. However, from personal experience, I know of many victims who have refused to contact the police due to a deep seated fear of the government (rooted in the experiences from their home countries) and a fear of reprisal by the perpetrators. To many in the Latino community it is better to deal with the devil they know, than with one they don't.

A Director of Latino Affairs, whom ever that may be, hopefully will be in a position to break down the walls of distrust and allow for a free flow of information and assistance to this community.

I also do not see this as pandering to a specific demographic, but rather as an opportunity to bring about a safer and more secure community, thereby adding to all of our safety. Latinos are here, whether legal or not, and to call it pandering is like calling Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka pandering to African-Americans. It was the right decision by the Warren Court, as is having someone to reach out to the Latino community.

Anonymous said...

I don't practice immigration law - but doesn't discriminating against green card holders violate the 1986 immigration reform control act, at least in most instances?

It depends. Permanent residents are protected from discrimination under the INA, however permanent residents who do not apply for naturalization within six months of becoming eligible are NOT protected against discrimination.

Permanent residents are generally able to apply for naturalization after five years of being a permanent resident, though certain individuals are eligible after three years.

Anonymous said...

And this is what we worked our asses off and contributed hard earned money to his campaign for?

Anonymous said...

Also Gary, do you get the feeling that it is really one person running a smear campaign against Carolin Requiz Smith?

I noticed the same comments/questions appeared to start on the IndyStar discussions, and those comments all appeared to be from the same person using different display names. Later, I saw some of the same comments/questions posted verbatim on some of the local blogs.

From the comments that I had read, I thought it was probably a disgruntled former subordinate taking an opportunity to smear that woman.

Anonymous said...

If my information is good it looks like CNN is coming to see Mr.Ballard on the Carolin Requiz Smith issue.
Hope Ballard has his ass covered.

Wilson46201 said...

I suspect this issue of Carolin Requiz Smith is more of an issue for the Elwood, Pittsboro and Monrovia Republicans than in Indianapolis...

Advance Indiana said...

I wouldn't attribute the rumblings over her hiring to just one person. It seems the person in question has history with people in previous jobs who may be trying to settle old scores, including service in state government. It makes it all the more important to clear the matter up quickly rather than let it fester. As to what her status may have been in the past, I would remind people that our current law effectively provides forgiveness for past unauthorized work and unlawful stay in the country. The issue of whether a person used false documents in the past is a legitimate line of inquiry in the context of government service. That's all just speculation at this point. Let's get this matter vented quickly so we can move on.

Advance Indiana said...

Let me add that almost every major employer in Indianapolis employs green card holders and other aliens with work visas. The state of Indiana has many workers, particularly in the IT field, who are either H-1B visa holders or green card holders. Typically, these people are hired through temporary employment agencies.

Advance Indiana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

But he’s a Republican, and she’s potentially a past illegal. If she were gay, she’d basically represent evil incarnate to the Republican Party.

In other words, you can’t have a party that relies on bashing two groups as part of its campaign strategy and then appoint someone who is potentially a member of one of those groups without expecting questions to be raised.

Anonymous said...

1:32 just hit a home run.

In an odd sort of way, this Democrat respects the hell out of Greg Ballard, precisely because he owes nobody anything.

But I have to tell you, the old-guard Republicans are setting this man up to fail miserably. I honestly hope that's not the case.

It demonstrates how difficult it is to run a large city, without help form the establishment. I can only hope Ballard keeps his independent streak. And, if he makes an error, that he steps up quickly to resolve it. I have the sense he will, if that establishment lets him.

He's a very attractive populist politician. If he remains true to that cause, he can do good things. If not, he won't.

My prediction on first to bale on him if things get sticky: this shaky council majority. There are just enough old-line fingers in that pie, that they'll be like rats on a sinking ship after moderate setbacks.

And he'll have them--no mayor is perfect.

But the thought that he's basically taken away a top Republican wedge issue is hilariously ironic.

Sarge said...

What message does this give We The People? The Mayor gives a illegal immigrant - Green card or not - she came here illegally- the job of
managing Latino Affairs. What message does that give We The People of Indinapolis about his stand on illegal immigrants?


Sarge

Advance Indiana said...

Sarge, I for one don't know that she came here illegally so let's not state it as a fact until all the information is put on the table. Again, someone from the Ballard team needs put this issue to rest by putting the facts out on the table so we can put this matter behind us and move on?

And Shofar, Indianapolis also has a growing Asian-American community and an Indian-American community. Should we establish government offices to direct their issues as well? Our government servants should be there to serve all members of the community equally, regardless of their ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to DARLA WILLIAMS?
Ballard was quick to appoint her as his first pick on his heralded "Transition Team".
If memory serves me correctly wasn't she supposed to be a the go between for Ballard and the outgoing Peterson Administration?
Looks like she must have been tossed aside.
I know Darla is a US citizen so that can't be the reason for her disappearance.
Where did she go?

We haven't heard from MELYSSA for a loooooong time. Ballard had no use for her either so the street says now that she's gearing up for a run as a Libertarian Candidate for the 7th District Congressional seat. That's rich!

Anonymous said...

That's how our country has got into this state of affairs-overlooking and making excuses for those who are not obeying the laws. 2nd post 10:48 re the questions: they should be asked. In addition re the other appointment and not paying property taxes. I wonder how many off the books forgiven property tax obligations there are? There should be a major audit going on of the collection of property taxes. I do believe there will be some suprising results from that. How about that inquiry, Advance Indiana?

Anonymous said...

How did we get to this point. How could Greg Ballard have thought that the overriding message the people who elected him wanted to hear was how half the people he chose for the key positions in his administration are minorities? Wasn't part of this election about the backlash to the race-baiting politics of Peterson and the Democrats? We want competence, Mr. Mayor-elect, above and beyond diversity. You insult us by using your key appointments to pander to minority groups. If this is what I had wanted, I would have voted to re-elect Peterson.

Anonymous said...

Sarge, I for one don't know that she came here illegally so let's not state it as a fact until all the information is put on the table. Again, someone from the Ballard team needs put this issue to rest by putting the facts out on the table so we can put this matter behind us and move on?

While I agree with you that the Latino Affairs position is wholly unnecessary, I disagree with what you've said here.

At this time, there is absolutely no evidence that Requiz-Smith was ever illegally present in the U.S., or that she is a permanent resident. If there had been any evidence presented to support these claims, I'd support further inquiry.

Without either having evidence or even someone identifiable willing to come forward to make these claims, there is no reason for further inquiry. At this point, it appears that these allegations are being made solely because of Requiz-Smith's ethnicity.

If Ballard were to appoint an openly gay male to a high-profile position and an anonymous commenter started a smear campaign calling him a child molester, I certainly wouldn't expect Ballard to address that claim unless some proof was offered, and this situation is no different.

Anonymous said...

When will Ballard announce who will be the Indianapolis Director of Caucasian Affairs.
As a virtual minority in Center Township they need all the representation they can get.
It would be silly if it weren't true.

Wilson46201 said...

Caucasians are now and have always been the majority in Center Township ... we return you now to your regularly scheduled Lou Dobbs Show!

Anonymous said...

Next I'll be more careful what I wish for.

Clyde said...

According to Lou Dobbs the White Folks enjoyed a 53.8% population advantage over all other combined race populations in Center Township.
Of course that was based on the 2000 Census that's 7 years old now.
So if you dial in the illegals in Center then if I were a betting man the I'd say the White Folk still left in Center are under represented.
By the way Wilson, I think that post stated a "virtual minority".

Anonymous said...

Advance, Jen Wagner appears to be the source of these allegations about Requiz Smith. This dates back to her earlier reporting on Ms. Watson in the governor's office and her handling of a matter involving a Latino affairs advisor. Why don't you ask her what the basis for the claims against her are?

Anonymous said...

Clyde....in your race baiting comment, please explain what you mean by VIRTUAL MINORITY...it is numbers and you are either in the minority or the majority........Wilson is right again...Whites have been are are now the majority in Center Twp, the 2010 census will probably increase the white percentage in Center twp.

Anonymous said...

Clyde....in your race baiting comment, please explain what you mean by VIRTUAL MINORITY...it is numbers and you are either in the minority or the majority........Wilson is right again...Whites have been are are now the majority in Center Twp, the 2010 census will probably increase the white percentage in Center twp.

Wake up said...

If Ballard wants to reduce the cost of government, the first thing that he should have done was eliminate the positions of Director of Latino Affairs and Director of Minority Business Development. He did not even have to announce that he was going to eliminate them. He just should have not have appointed anyone for those positions. If questioned, he should have indicated that there are several existing agencies that handle such matters.

Frankly, I did not know that their was such a position as the Director of Minority Business Development.

Did he just make that one up?

If so, that would make that appointment all the more insulting.

Yeah, and I (as a city employee) don't like someone being hired for a relatively high-paid position who may or may not be a citizen. I have doubts that that person would represent the best interests of the citizens (not as if that ever happens anyway).

Some of these appointments will definitely create resentment among city employees as well as the general public.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wilson, Did Peterson do EVERYTHING by the book? You are so quick to point out the flaws that Ballard has, yet you refuse to acknowledge that Peterson was not perfect.
Ballards appointments will be his downfall. They are all Petersons people.
We wanted change, we got it. Too bad all that change will be is the name on the door.

Anonymous said...

3:39, The white population of Center Township is 53.8%.
A 3.8% advantage is hardly a majority. Looks even to me.
More whites in Center Township after the next cenus. LMAO!
Do you realize that since 1971 the population in the pre-Unigov "old city limits" of Indianapolis has decreased by 165,000!
That's right, 165,000 nearly all white people have moved out of the central core of the city of Indianapolis and you think they are all going to move back in?
Those are the facts. If that's race baiting then take up the problem with the Census Bureau.
The political reality for Ballard? He was elected by the white majority neighborhoods not black ones that stayed away from the polls.

Anonymous said...

Why was Darla Williams shut out by Ballard?

Advance Indiana said...

I suspect that's you, Wilson. She served on his transition team. How is that being shut out?

Wilson46201 said...

Twasn't me - check the IP addresses - I always post from just my home cable modem.

Anonymous said...

8:16pm. Your Census data is flat wrong! Obviously you don't know the first thing about population data and demographics. Fact: The 1970 Census documented that total Marion County populaion was 793,769. Total "old city limits" population - 450,644. Total "old suburbs" population - 343,125. The 2000 Census documents that Total Marion County population was 860,454. Population in the "old city limits", which for Census geography purposes in the IPS school district boundaries, was 328,785. The total population decline in the "old city limits" from 1970 to 2000 was 121,859; not your 165,000. At the same time, total population in the "old suburbs" of the city/county rose from 343,125 in 1970 to 531,669 in 2000. That's a gain of 188,544.
While there was a total decrease in non-Hispanic white population in the county from 1970 to 2000, many whites moves from the "old city" to the "old suburbs". Who do you think live in those houses in Perry, Decatur, Franklin townships that have been built int he past 30 years. If you're going to cite stats on the blog. Be very sure of your facts. Check them out on the census website at www.census.gov; factfinder.census.gov; nces.ed.gov; ibrc.indiana.edu.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a problem appointee, Gary. Jen Wagner posted the following at Accidental Mayor on Requiz Smith:

"I can tell you that she married a lobbyist in March of this year, and the ceremony was performed by John Okeson, brother of Ballard's new chief of staff and senior legal counsel to Mitch Daniels.

I can also tell you that she's involved in a local Latino health care group that's been publicly tied to a Section 8 housing fraud case.

Finally, it doesn't appear that she's registered to vote, which doesn't mean anything in and of itself, but it does make me wonder whether she's legally able to vote. I can definitely see where some people would be upset if she's not a citizen. That's a bit different than, say, living in Hamilton County.

I agree that if the rumors about her are true, Ballard looks like an inexperienced fool, and he hasn't even made a dozen appointments yet."

Anonymous said...

So Ballard's top appointees include a convicted felon, an illegal alien, an out-of-towner, an inexperienced attorney whose management of the state's website allowed a hacker to access the social security numbers of 71,000 health care workers, an incompetent political hack, a conflicted has-been prosecutor and a pastor turned press secretary. What next?

Anonymous said...

This is what Ballard gets for choosing a bunch of people who don't give a shit about him running his transition team. They're all out to make a fast buck for themselves and could care less if anything good comes of his administration.

Anonymous said...

9:41,Sounds great but your figures are still misleading based on relative Census data.

It's refreshing to know that ONLY 122,000 people have moved out of the city's central core.

Indianapolis has lost more residents from it's central core "old city limits" than the ENTIRE CURRENT POPULATIONS OF MUNCIE AND TERRE HAUTE COMBINED!

Ballard's appointments, based on your data, are not representative of the population and demographics of present day, Unigov area of Indianapolis. Ballard's appointments reflect those areas from which he received the lowest amount of support and votes.

fla said...

as for the transition team, one the short initial list announcement was made, there was later a list distributed w. names, phone # & emails for about 120 people on it on different groups or sub-teams. These groups were chaired by the people later listed in the IBJ article, but contained mainly other lawyers, and there was a B&T lawyer on almost every team. Also a number of state governement types and local corporate types- many of them lobbyists who work for businesses, insurance cos, etc. in the statehouse.

Darla Williams was not on the list, nor was Ike Randolph nor Bob Turner. I thought at the time this was possibly because they were candidates for appointments. But they were not on the working groups that made the reports. That doesn't mean they didn't meet with Ballard or the team members though, or that they still might not appointed to positions. Okeson was on the team.

Probably only Darla herself could shed light on what role she may actually have had in crafting the transition reports or making recommendations to appointments.

As for the Requiz-Smith matter: 1. Ballard ought to clear the air, simply because the postings have made the allegations, to put it to rest and move on. 2. I don't think it started with Jen Wagner, as one poster suggested. I think those in conflict- which may be a small handful of individuals-- simply used her website, as well as IndyStar and others. There has been conflict in that community (Latino government and non-proft groups) locally for several years, and dates back to the first state Latino affairs commissioner- under O'Bannon. It includes board members of non-profit organizations (some of which merged in recent years). Not all, I'm suggesting. But there are conflicts w/i those groups. Since the rise of blogs the past couple years, it's probably just spilling out in a more public way. 3. As for need for the office- I don't think it needs to be a cabinet level position. Nor a way to "pander" to a group of citizens. However, having a large population of Latino immigrants in a city- good, bad, or indifferent- does create "issues" that a government needs to deal with. Whether you want them here, like them here, or not, the police, the courts, the hospitals, etc. have to deal with a large population with many non-English speakers, a growing crime/gang problem, etc. The mayor does need someone to help deal with the issues that arise. Whether the appointee will serve that role well, remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

Please correct some of this mis-information Gary.

The way that I understand it, you can be here legally with a green card, but not be a citizen, correct? With that status, you cannot vote, is this correct?

I don't know this woman or her circumstances but I'm sick of the "illegal" BS. There are various "legal" ways to be a resident here without citizenship, is this correct?

If you want to become a citizen, how many years (appr) does it take?

Anonymous said...

8:47am. You harp on population loss from 1970 to 2000 in the "core city" yet you ignore the population gain throughout the rest of the city/county. While the "old city" may have lost a total of the combined populaions of Muncie and Terre Haute, the "old suburbs" gained the equivalent of the populations of Muncie, Terre Haute and Layfayette. Regarding the demographics in the UniGov area, the combined city/county, as of the 2006 Census population estimates, Indy/Marion County is 27.2% Black, 64.5% non-Hispanic white, 6.6% Hispanic, the rest other races. If you were expecting a city government that's 75% or more white, move to Maine, Utah or Iowa.

Advance Indiana said...

anon 9:56, there are a number of ways you can live and work in the U.S. legally short of being a U.S. citizen. A permanent resident is not eligible to become a citizen until they have been a permanent resident for at least 3 continuous years, in the case of a marriage to a U.S. citizen, or 5 years in all other cases. Hundreds of thousands of work visas are issued annually to persons to work in the U.S. You may be legally in the country based upon an asylum application and be permitted to work legally. Some persons originally enter legally but overstay their visas. These out of status persons are subject to deportation and are not permitted to legally work; however, if they marry a U.S. citizen, they may be eligible to adjust status to permanent resident status and obtain work authorization. I don't know Requiz-Smith's circumstances. Jen Wagner reports that she is not a registered voter, which may mean she is a green card holder. Wagner also reports that she married a U.S. citizen earlier this year, in which case she could have been eligible to adjust status to permanent resident status, even if she had fallen out of status prior to her marriage.

Anonymous said...

10:31, I don't need to move to those states to get the representation that demographics dictate, I only need move across the Marion County line like every other white family that has had the means to get out.
The only population that the townships have gained has been those fleeing the "old city limits" that is primarily Center Township, all 122,000 of them.
And your suburban townships,look at the areas of Washington Square Mall and Lafayette Square Mall. Suburban blight and high crime all over the townships and still creeping further out.
Marion County is on it's deathbed.
If Unigov had never been created the old Indianapolis would have been more than the urban wasteland that it already is twenty year ago.
15,000 abandoned houses and businesss and Indianapolis is thriving?
Every major corridor in the townships are in decline as the inner city cesspool moves itself futher into old deteriorationg former white neighborhoods in the townships.
The only areas thriving are the white donut counties. No different that far exurbs of Detroit.
Countywide white population at 64%.
What was it in 1957?
End of story.

Anonymous said...

I was in Court today waiting for a
case, so while I waited I watched
a Hispanic man plead guilty to
"Counterfeiting" as a Class D Felony for possessing a fake Social Security card. Some pointed
questions need to be asked by the
media about this appointee.

Wilson46201 said...

I once saw a LEO arrest a white man for assault and battery -- it's obviously time to investigate every Caucasian male appointed by Ballard!

Anonymous said...

2:36. It's sad that you believe that only a city that's 85% or more white is an acceptable place in which to live. So depart for your slice of undiverse suburbia, and let those of us who wish to live in a racially and economically diverse city (like most in the United States) deal with our problems. Your dislike of anything that doesn't reflect your 1950's, Father Knows Best, Eisenhower/Faubus view of the world is not the Indianapolis that should exist in the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

yet again, Dems and Libs showing how racist they are. Dem Latinos, that is fine, but Latinos who are independent, must have been sold. Get with the program, only Republicans view the soul and mind as what counts, not skin color, sex, or other Dem litmus tests.