Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Why would anyone in their right mind leave their country of origin unless they absolutely had to? While a number of immigrants have financial stability (and success) at home, most come to the United States because they have no other choice. Would you leave your family, your community and a language you know for any other reason than survival? Would you cross a desert, knowing there is a good chance your could die or be raped (men or women) just to have an "adventure?"
Some people who are against immigration agree that things are bad in Mexico and other Latin American countries, but that the U.S. should not pay the price for "helping out." The truth is that the U.S. greatly benefits from helping out. As many of you already know, immigrants bring lots of buying power, productive labor, and pay taxes that will support our aging population (yes of course they pay taxes)
Here is an op-ed piece in the LA Times by Professor Gregory Clark of UC Davis:
Illegal immigration: our best foreign aid
As long as the southern border divides prosperity and poverty, the natural flow of migrants cannot be stopped.
By By Gregory Clark
July 31, 2007
About 160 million people with incomes a fifth or less than the average U.S. income now reside less than 1,500 miles from our southern border. Given this huge income gap, more border agents and more miles of fence cannot prevent substantial illegal migration. But such migration is actually the United States' most effective foreign aid program, helping some of the poorest people in the world. Some believe such migration should be tolerated, not fought to the death.
... since..., the world economy has experienced a process called the "great divergence." Paradoxically, as barriers to the flow of goods and information have declined, the differences in living standards between the rich and poor economies have widened.
The U.S. happens to be located on one of the stark fault lines of the great divergence. Despite the liberalization of the Mexican economy since 1982 and trade liberalization measures such as the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1993, income per person in Mexico has recently declined compared with that in the U.S. Per capita income in Mexico now averages 22% of that in the U.S. -- the biggest gap since 1950. But Mexico is rich compared to Central America and the Caribbean. Other countries have seen more dramatic declines and have incomes per capita less than 10% that of the U.S.: Honduras and Haiti at 6%, Nicaragua at 9%. Mexico now has its own problem of illegal migration from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador...
for complete article: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-clark31jul31,1,3002288.story
Monday, July 30, 2007
The telephone number for the Committee for Immigrant Rights of Sonoma County (CIRSC) is
SR rally targets immigration enforcement
Deputies' cooperation with feds unfair to Latinos, advocates say
By KATY HILLENMEYER
AND MARTIN ESPINOZA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Santa Rosa, CA
Immigrant rights and minority groups Saturday called on Sonoma County sheriff's deputies to stop cooperating with agents who enforce federal immigration law.
Young Latinos are being unfairly deported because deputies on a multiagency gang prevention team work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, said Davin Cardenas of the Committee for Immigrant Rights of Sonoma County.
"Crime, in general, runs the risk of not being reported when you do not know if law enforcement is collaborating with immigration services," Cardenas said before Saturday's rally at Juilliard Park in Santa Rosa. "We don't think our community should be targeted when they're living productive lives, working and going to school."... Organizers dubbed the event ICE capades, and in a symbolic act, froze a number of small dolls in blocks of ice that melted throughout the day in the warm afternoon sun.
for complete article:
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Nasty anti-immigration laws frequently accompany other problems... As William Henry reminds us, we should "look at the record."
Letter to the Editor
from William E. Henry
How many of you have noticed how mean-spirited -- even downright nasty -- the Republican Party has become as a governing body. Well, now this has even reached into Prince William County and the Board of County Supervisors, which wants to put the muscle on the Hispanic community. I am sure they have their good talking points, but hardly do the draconian measures they have passed fit the crime.
One supervisor not only wants to stop Hispanic kids from going to public schools (a right already affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court) but also to do away with the "elected" School Board.
It seems to me if you want to turn what might be termed a bad situation into a catastrophe, just deny education to a bunch of kids so they can grow up ignorant and illiterate. Such thinking is not only pure nonsense but so flawed logically that it defies good sense.
It is idiot-speak at its worst. (This same supervisor has become so power hungry, apparently, he thinks adding a bureaucratic institution in the field of education will change things. He wants the supervisors to take over. May God help us!)
I also need to mention the gosh-awful mess in Richmond with Republican control of the General Assembly. Our Prince William delegates are among the most reactionary, voting no on practically every forward-looking idea that comes down the pike. Just look at the record...
for complete letter:
Citizenship checks strain trust in police
Georgia law [SB 529] puts illegal immigrants at risk as victims of crime and racial profiling, Latino activists say.
By Jenny Jarvie, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times
July 29, 2007
ATLANTA — Emelina Ramirez called police to tell them her roommates were attacking her, punching and kicking her in the stomach. When the police arrived, they handcuffed her, took her to jail and ran her fingerprints through a federal database. She is now in an Alabama cell awaiting deportation.
In the last month, Ramirez's story has spread beyond the Latino community in Carrollton, the small rural town west of Atlanta where she lived, and across Georgia, which has just enacted one of the nation's toughest laws against illegal immigration. It is a story that, for many undocumented immigrants, has one moral: Do not trust the police.
"People are living in fear," said Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Assn. of Latino Elected Officials, which is providing Latino residents information on the new law. That is difficult, he said, because of the vast differences in how local enforcement officials are interpreting the law.
The Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, which took effect July 1, requires law enforcement officers to investigate the citizenship status of anyone charged with a felony or driving under the influence. It also directs the state Public Safety Department to select and train Georgia state patrol officers to enforce federal immigration law while carrying out regular duties.
Across the state, however, Latino activists say that local officials are increasingly running background checks on Latinos who commit misdemeanors, such as minor traffic violations, or even those who go to the police to report thefts or fraud.
At the same time, criminals are targeting undocumented immigrants, aware that they tend to have large amounts of cash and are wary of reporting crimes.
"It's the Wild West out here," said Rich Pellegrino, director of the Cobb Cherokee Immigrant Alliance, which has been working with Cobb County's crime prevention police unit to persuade undocumented immigrants to report crimes and serve as witnesses after a string of home invasions had targeted Latinos living in trailer parks.
This month, Pellegrino said, patrol officers checked the immigration status of a woman driving with a suspended tag, or license plate. She is now awaiting deportation.
Police plan forum to explain their role in illegal immigration
By Victor Miller
Dalton Daily Citizen
July 29, 2007
Chris McDonald says Dalton Police Department officials can’t just up and say they are “tired of waiting on the feds” and “round up anybody we think is illegal and put them on a bus and drive them down to Mexico and dump them off.”
“We can’t do that,” said Officer McDonald, the police department’s spokesman. “There’s no state statute that allows us to be able to do something like that.”
To help residents better understand the police department’s role concerning illegal immigration, the department will hold a public forum on Sept. 13 from 6 to 9 p.m. at City Hall...
McDonald said the department is waiting on guidelines expected to be developed between the state and the federal government under Georgia Senate Bill 529, parts of which went into effect on July 1. McDonald said SB529 mandates that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) be entered into between the state commissioner of public safety, currently the head of the Georgia State Patrol, and the federal Department of Homeland Security.
...The Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office is seeking training for several of its deputies that would help them better assist ICE in identifying illegal aliens for removal. Sheriff Scott Chitwood has applied for the federal program.
“Basically, ICE will train state and local officers to be able to ‘enforce’ federal law,” McDonald said. “I use the word ‘enforce’ loosely. It gives them a little bit more power to be able to go out there and assist with these immigration issues.”
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Arlington County Human Rights Commission 703-228-3929
Prince William County Human Rights Commission 703-792-4680
The Washington Post article states that a hotline has been setup for discrimination reports. Perhaps places like P.W. County and Hazelton, PA believe that they can pass draconian laws and no one will notice. Now that the Hazelton law was struck down, there is at least some hope that the courts will have some understanding for the current crisis. P.W. County officials underestimate what a coalition of immigrants (and their supporters) can do.
There are no comments to this WaPo article from 2:30 am to 1 pm. Were there so many responses that the commentary address had to shut down?
Latinos Unite to Turn Fear Into Activism
Pr. William Policy on Illegal Immigrants Prompts Call for Boycott, Other Actions
By Pamela Constable
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 28, 2007; Page A01
Latinos in Prince William County, angered and panicked by a county resolution to crack down on illegal immigrants, are swiftly banding together against what they see as an assault on their community. They vowed this week to block the resolution through a boycott, a petition drive and possibly a labor strike or lawsuit.
At packed public meetings in three towns this week, organizers signed up volunteers, circulated petitions, set up a hotline for reports of discrimination and announced a campaign of phone calls and e-mails to county officials. They also said they would organize caravans to visit Loudoun County and other communities where Latinos feel targeted....
for complete article
Friday, July 27, 2007
Senator Arlen Specter
Specter is going to try again - No comment on the Dream Act
Specter has new immigration package
By Elana Schor
July 27, 2007
The Senate Judiciary Committee’s senior Republican said on Thursday that he is on the verge of offering a new immigration reform package, making significant changes that could win over recalcitrant members from both parties...
..Specter explained the new measure would omit the controversial “Z visa” program, which would have given the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship. Removing the Z visa would offer conservatives less opening to tag the bill as “amnesty.” But he would leave intact the family reunification standard that this spring’s defunct immigration bill partially replaced with a skills-based system...
The lone change in the status of the 12 million, Specter said, would be removing their status as fugitives from justice, an attempt to diminish their incentive to remain outside the system and in fear of deportation.
...Offering green cards to immigrants seeking employment in the high-tech industry is under consideration, he said.
Senators Compromise on Border Security
By ANDREW TAYLOR
The Associated Press
Thursday, July 26, 2007; 4:00 PM
..Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said he is circulating a plan that would grant some legal status to illegal immigrants but would stop short of giving them citizenship.
That approach "would take the teeth out of the amnesty argument," Specter said. "I think we can act this year. I think this bill is very close to doable."
for complete article:
Thursday, July 26, 2007
This was just published today as a response to the debate going on in the senate- particularly with the DREAM Act and Ag Jobs.... where do we go now?
Border security proposal doesn't fly
Senators reject GOP attempt to add enforcement measures to spending bill.
The Orange County Register
WASHINGTON – For a few hours on Wednesday, the immigration debate was back on the floor of the Senate. And the result was the same: nothing happened.
The Senate refused to act on a Republican amendment to the Homeland Security spending bill that would have added $3 billion for border security and made changes in immigration enforcement policy. And because of the objections of one senator, lawmakers were also blocked from just adding the money without amending policy.
The amendment, authored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was an attempt by the GOP to enact the part of the immigration bill the Senate rejected last month that they say the public wants most.
"Border security is the gate that you must pass through to get overall comprehensive reform,'' said Graham, who was one of the original senators pushing for a broad overhaul.
Democratic leaders were scrambling after the Republican senators announced their proposal. The leadership did not want to put its members in the position of having to vote against border security. But there were parts of Graham's amendment that Democrats could not accept, such as mandatory jail time for people who crossed the border illegally after having once been deported.
At one point, Majority Leader Harry Reid offered an amendment to Graham's amendment that would have tacked on the Ag Jobs guest worker and legalization plan and the DREAM Act.
But in the end, Reid used a procedural maneuver to sideline the Republican amendment as well as his addition to it. He objected to the amendment because its provisions, he said, would be making legislative policy on a spending bill, something the Senate does not do.
The Senate voted 52-44 on that procedural vote. It would have taken 60 votes to make it possible to vote on the Republicans' measure.
Then Reid tried to get just the $3 billion added to the spending bill, something that would have been problematic since the spending bill is already larger than President Bush's request and the White House has threatened a veto.
But Reid was not successful because Sen. Jon Cornyn, R-Texas, objected.
"I'm very sorry that there will not be the money for border security but that's the way it is,'' Reid said.
Cornyn objected to just adding the money because he wanted to include a crackdown on people who overstay their visas in the list of items eligible for the $3 billion in new spending.
Minutes after it became clear that once again action on anything having to do with immigration was impossible, Sens. Larry Craig, R-Id., and Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., gave impassioned pleas for action on the Ag Jobs bill.
"Agriculture is in crisis,'' Feinstein shouted at her colleagues. "We have a $45 billion industry'' whose labor force is down by 30 percent. "Farmers are renting land in Mexico. What will happen to the land in California and Idaho and other places? It will lie fallow.''
Reid told Feinstein he was sympathetic to the needs of agriculture and would try to find a way to get Ag Jobs passed this year.
Feinstein asked Reid if he'd agree to try and add it to the farm bill, expected to come before the Senate in September. Reid said he would.
Contact the writer: (202) 628-6381 or email@example.com
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Immigration is a Proxy for Anti-Latino Racism?*
THE OPPENHEIMER REPORT
Time to hit back against anti-Latino bigotry
BY ANDRES OPPENHEIMER
..The recent immigration debate in the Senate, which ended with the defeat of a bill that would have given a path to citizenship to many of the 12 million undocumented workers, has given way to the biggest explosion of antiHispanic sentiment I have seen since I arrived in this country three decades ago.
Prominent academics such as Harvard University political scientist Samuel Huntington are getting away with sweeping statements such as ``America's Latino immigration deluge . . . constitutes a major potential threat to the cultural and possibly political integrity of the United States.''
While the 44 million Hispanics are the biggest minority in America, you don't see the kind of nationwide protests, legal actions or calls for boycotts on a scale that you would probably see if these statement were directed against African Americans or Jewish Americans...
My opinion: The National Council of La Raza and its sister institutions are doing the right thing with their ''Ya es hora!'' citizenship drive. But they should also launch a nationwide ''Ya basta!'' campaign to identify, name and shame those who systematically bash Hispanics.
If anti-Hispanic sentiment is allowed to keep growing, we will soon have an underclass of 12 million immigrants that will feel not only frustrated by not having a legal path to citizenship but increasingly insulted by the mainstream media.
And social exclusion mixed with frustration can be a dangerous cocktail, as we've seen in the violent 2005 riots by Muslim youths in the suburbs of Paris.
The time for Hispanics to say ''Ya basta!'' is now, before it's too late.
for entire article:
*immigration prof blog posted on Oppenheimer's book earlier today
In this network from California people commented on the subtle racism and the some of the ads for example being bought by FAIR or anti-immigrant organizations of the sort. I had not noticed it until they brought this to our attention.
The article was a major stepstone regardless of what we know is true. Great story- Ricardos' story- read on!
Latino leaders in O.C. raise funds for undocumented student's schooling When Ricardo Lopez came up short on funds to attend grad school, Latino leaders in Orange County got to work.
By Jennifer Delson Los Angeles Times,
July 24, 2007
Ricardo Lopez earned a bachelor's degree and then a master's, but the jobs never rolled in. His spirits were buoyed this summer when he was accepted to another, yearlong graduate program, one that would prepare him for medical school — a dream he had chased since childhood.
The price tag for tuition and other student fees at a public university, however, wasn't cheap. In all, he figured, the education would set him back $10,000.
Treat illegal immigrants decently
By Jagdish Bhagwati
Published: July 24 2007 16:44 | Last updated: July 24 2007 16:44
Financial Times (London)
Americans should be ready to see that a way must be found to treat illegals with the decency and respect that humanity requires, while respecting equally the innate American sense that laws matter. After all, America’s identity has been formed by immigration and an ever-expanding set of human rights. Perhaps a different and more realistic approach might get us what we could not achieve with uncompromising proposals.
In particular, why not build on the unappreciated fact that the illegals are not today the underclass with few rights that they were for many years? Immigration experts Guillermina Jasso and Mark Rosenzweig have shown that, under existing laws, almost 30 per cent of the new legal immigrants have had some illegal experience. With vastly increased ethnic minority populations, especially Hispanic, the illegals enjoy a higher comfort level than at the time of the IRCA. The Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa gave his response in 2006 to Mr Bush’s State of the Union speech in Spanish. There are numerous non-governmental organisations, such as the National Council of La Raza and civil rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, that give the illegals a substantial sense of protection.
If asking for full citizenship through the amnesty is currently impossible, we can work instead to raise this comfort level to something much closer to what citizenship brings, without asking for full citizenship. Cities such as New Haven have begun to do this. It never makes sense for the best to be the enemy of the good.
The writer is a university professor of economics and law at Columbia University, and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is writing a book entitled An Unfinished Agenda: Managing International Migration
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
With Iraq still in the Equation, Its a Bad Idea
The Iraq Bill that would have contained the Dream Act stalled again in the Senate last week. It doesn't look like our lawmakers want to stand up to the administration and the Republican Party. This is a dangerous position, combining the Dream Act with the military bill is unfair to students who cannot go to college.
Joe Biden's speech in the Senate tells of what could happen if the DREAM Act is passed as part of the Military Bill while we are still in Iraq.
I realize that I wrote endorsing the the DREAM Act being tied to the military bill in previous posts. During NON-WARTIME - it can be a reasonable option. But now, especially after seeing our President continue to throw away lives in a illogical "surge" and our Senate being too afraid to stop this insanity, it looks like a very deadly idea.
Open Congress is sponsored by the Sunlight Foundation:
About the Sunlight Foundation
The Sunlight Foundation was founded in January 2006 with the goal of using the revolutionary power of the Internet and new information technology to enable citizens to learn more about what Congress and their elected representatives are doing, and thus help reduce corruption, ensure greater transparency and accountability by government, and foster public trust in the vital institutions of democracy. We are unique in that technology and the power of the Internet are at the core of every one of our efforts.
Our initial projects – from the establishment of a Congresspedia, the making of “transparency grants” for the development and enhancement of databases and websites, and two separate efforts to engage the public in distributed journalism and offer online tutorials on the role of money in politics efforts – are based on the premise that the collective power of citizens to demand greater accountability is the clearest route to reform.
Sunlight’s work is committed to helping citizens, journalists and bloggers be their own best watchdogs, both by improving access to existing information and digitizing new information, and by creating new tools and websites to enable all of us to pool our intelligence in new, and yet to be imagined, ways.
OpenCongress.org was recommended by Immigration Prof Blog
Monday, July 23, 2007
Amtrack ICE raid in Rochester, NY?
A note to everyone. If you are a U.S. resident or citizen carry your documents with you. For undocumented people, perhaps its best to find other modes of transportation. Raiding a train, a public mode of transportation, is intimidating for everyone, especially those who may fit some type of ICE profile.
mp3 of a speech Victor Toro made on July 10, 2007.
Posting on http://rochester.indymedia.org/feature/display/19766/index.php
in response to: Chilean Activist Victor Toro Detained By Homeland Security in Rochester--Held in Auburn
Subject: Victor Toro arrested by MIGRA
Victor Toro was arrested by the US Immigration authorities on July 6th.
Victor is a well known Chilean activist,(La Pena del Bronx) and was
tortured by the Pinochet regime. He is currently in Cayuga County
Jail in Auburn N.Y. The office of the Attorney Carlos Moreno is
petitioning for habeus corpus and to win his freedom with bail. The
phone number of the
attorney is 212-631-7555 e mail: MrsCris (at) aol.com for solidarity
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Mahony
All These Little Girls Will Vote Someday
Just another reminder of the upcoming power of the Latino vote - if Mahony can survive this latest pedophile scandal within his archdiocese- that says a lot for the influence of Latino immigrant Catholics. (not that any pedophile scandal is ever really forgivable)-
The Teflon cardinal
Mahony's history [with Latinos], going back to his days as a seminarian, could help him weather the abuse scandal.
By David Rieff
Los Angeles Times
July 22, 2007
"...How to account for the "Teflon" quality of L.A.'s cardinal? In large measure, the answer lies in the enormous changes in the Catholic Church in the United States in recent years -- changes whose ground zero is to be found in the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Above all, this means the deepening Latinoization of the L.A. flock and Mahony's role as perhaps the most powerful friend Latino immigrants have, not just in the Catholic Church but in the country as a whole.
Anyone who has any sense at all of Roman Catholic America knows how fundamentally the church has changed over the last several decades. Once largely composed of people with European roots, the church now increasingly serves Latinos, both immigrant and native-born. Nationally, Latinos account for 39% of the Catholic population. In Los Angeles, the archdiocese estimates that Latinos make up more than 70% of the total Catholic population. It is a huge increase both proportionally and in absolute numbers, and is almost entirely attributable to the vast and continuing immigration from Mexico and Central America of the last three decades. Demography is destiny, and it is simply a fact that the fate of the Catholic Church in the United States is now bound up with the destiny of these immigrants and their children and grandchildren..."
for complete article
Friday, July 20, 2007
Several activist groups and individuals are demanding the immediate passage of the so call D.R.E.A.M Act. The proposed legislation would give high school and college students a path to citizenship.
The bill is supposed to reach the floor for vote this week. As a result of the failure of the Immigration Reform bill students and activists for the immigration's rights were protesting in front of Senator John Cornyn's office in Houston.
If the D.R.E.A.M Act is approved undocumented students could apply for a permanent resident visa based on some requirements
FIEL, CRECEN, the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, Young Immigrants of a Better Future, Maria Jimenez, and other activists are demanding the passage of the act. Currently undocumented students once they graduate can't find employment because their lack of legal documents to live and work in the U.S.
At the University of California System, a recent report states that:
"Twenty-three percent of the students reported they were born outside the United States, and another 37 percent said they have at least one parent born outside the country. Thirty-five (35%!) percent said English was not their first language."
Since getting into (and graduating from) the UC University system is no easy thing, having a language other than English as their first language did not stop those 35%.
There goes the myth that only all American apple pie, English only students are the most successful....
article is from
DAILY BREEZE.COM - LAX to LA HARBOR
Study: UC students diverse, Internet savvy
By Michelle Locke
The Associated Press
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Just a note to let you know that Senator Bayh is now one of the cosponsors of the Dream Act, check link below. Thank you for your contacts to our office and please keep in touch.
http://thomas. loc.gov/cgi- bin/bdquery/ z?d110:s. 00774 :
Hispanic Outreach Liaison
U.S. Senator Evan Bayh
10 West Market Street
Indianapolis , Indiana 46203
martha_pabon@ bayh.senate. gov
An amendment that would attach the Development, Relief and Education for
Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to the Department of Defense authorization bill never
made it to the Senate floor Wednesday after Democratic leaders, unsuccessful in
their bid to compel a withdrawal of troops from Iraq, shifted gears to focus on
student loan legislation. Still, the attempt to connect a critical defense bill
with the DREAM Act — which would, among other things, provide a pathway to
permanent residency for undocumented immigrants who undertake at least two years
of college or military service – may represent a shift in strategy for advocates
who have watched the bill long languish amidst contentious and inconclusive
immigration reform battles.
U.S. Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck
Hagel (R-Neb.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) were expected to introduce an
amendment encompassing the DREAM Act during the debate of the defense
authorization bill that was cut short Wednesday. Sandra Abrevaya, a spokeswoman
for Senator Durbin, said Wednesday afternoon that the majority whip will still
be looking to introduce the amendment whenever the Senate next returns its
attention to the defense authorization bill, and added that, should this
approach ultimately fail, “He’ll look at the very next opportunity.”
addition to offering the permanent residency pathway to illegal immigrants who
entered the country before age 16, the amendment also would clarify these
students’ eligibility for in-state tuition (a murky and much-debated issue at present) and, for the first
time, render them eligible for federal student loans and work study. Although
the original DREAM Act was first proposed in Congress in 2001, and was included
in the Senate’s unsuccessful stab at comprehensive immigration reform
this spring, the full House and Senate chambers have yet to take a vote on
the act as a stand-alone measure.
“I think we have a shot at passage; we’re
expecting that it will need 60 votes to prevail because most of the amendments
that have come up have faced a filibuster,” said Jim Hermes, senior legislative
associate for the American Association of Community Colleges, one of 11 higher
education associations that registered support for the DREAM Act in a Tuesday letter from David Ward, president of the American
Council on Education.
“Obviously this is something that is connected to the
overall issue of immigration reform, but this particular issue in terms of
expanding the opportunity to people who were brought here as kids we think is 1)
a less controversial issue and 2) one that speaks to basic issues of fairness
and justice,” Hermes said.
The measure, though less controversial than other
immigration reform proposals, is still likely to face some significant
opposition from lawmakers who don’t want to reward illegal entry into the United
States. “My heart goes out to all those who aren’t in control of their destiny
... but by the same token, the United States needs to be in control of its own
destiny,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said during a Congressional hearing on undocumented student
issues in May.
Despite the impasse over Iraq that forced the bill off the
floor Wednesday, the authorization act, in some form, is “a must-pass bill,”
Hermes pointed out. “At some point, they’ll have to come back to it.”
are a lot of questions on the broader-based [defense authorization] bill,” said
Melissa Lazarin, associate director for education policy for the National
Council of La Raza. “We’re hopeful that we will have an opportunity to debate
this amendment. But if this vehicle does not work out, we will be identifying
other vehicles to pass this.”
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
F O R
I MM E D I A T E
R E L E A S E
Press Conference in Downtown Los AngelesLatino teacher and student
organizations to publicly state their OPPOSTION to the DREAM ACT at the Downtown
Federal Building !
July 18, 2007
The Association of Raza Educators Raza Graduate Student Association of
UCLA, Collation Against Militarization of the Schools, Union Del Barrio- Los
Angeles, Comite de Mujeres Patricia Marin- Los Angeles, Somos Raza- Los Angeles,
Coordinadora Estudiantil de la Raza, MEChA de Santee, Coaltion Against the
Militarization of Schools (CAMS) and other Latino, Asian, White and
African-American community and student organizations will state their opposition
to the DREAM ACT.The central objectives will be:
1) To publicly state our Total Opposition to the DREAM ACT! Its military
provisions will create a de facto military draft of poor and undocumented
2) To promote Higher Education and Full Legalization for ALL people without
ANY military related provisions.
3) To publicly challenge mainstream Latino and Hispanic organizations who
are actively supporting the militarization of undocumented students.
Contact: Jose Lara at: firstname.lastname@example.orgWhat: Latino teacher and student organizations to
publicly state their OPPOSTION to the DREAM ACT at the Downtown Federal Building
!Where: Edward Roybal Federal Building255 East Temple StreetLos Angeles, CA
90012When: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 Time: 5:00 P.M.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The focus on my blog today is vision, baby. We have to catch it, and begin to run with the wolves and not the prairie dogs on this stuff.
Sunday, and I was grading papers at Starbucks in Southwest Houston. I counted a dozen nationalities around me. A street down is the posh digs of Royal Oaks, where a house on the cheap runs $400,000 and a McMansion fit for a Saudi Prince runs 4 million. Okay, cheap by the standards of River Oaks, but still the neighborhood is gated, and the folks inside have a mote and bridges keeping the likes of school teachers like me at bay.
Papers in hand, I picked up the New York Times, and flipped through it quickly. Stuff on Iraq, Iran, the death of Lady Bird, an article about the growing disparity between wealthy and middle class, and then boom this amazing article by Robert Pear “A Million faxes Later, a Little-Known Group Claims a Victory on Immigration.” http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/us/politics/15immig.html
For weeks, I’ve been wondering how the right has out-flanked all of the hard work of immigrant rights activists. I know a lot of people are concerned about boarder security, but to be so upset that you place millions of faxes and calls to put the brakes on comprehensive immigration astounded me. I’m not naïve. I grew up in South Texas, and I know first hand the hate that some folks have towards people from south of the border. But I never thought of these everyday Joe’s launching a well organized guerilla insurgency of calls and faxes that would quell Senators, making many of them into braying donkeys.
Now let me introduce you to my buddy Roy H. Peck, who is the president of Numbers USA. Back in 1996 he wrote a little old book called “The Case against Immigration.”
Nothing fancy or deceitful in the title. The guy tells you what he believes, and then proceeds to map out why immigrants are the scourge of the pristine lily white land called U.S.A. You have urban sprawl in your town. Blame them immigrants! You have ecological problems. Blame them immigrants! You have ants in you pants. Okay, he doesn’t go that far, but you get the idea.
What Peck did was amazing. Back in 2004, his group had 50,000 members. Not small, but get this. By 2007 they count 447,000, with an 83 percent increase since January! Currently their budget is 3 million, and that will be raised to 4.5 million for activities next year.
With money like that coming at us, I think we haven’t done that bad of a job in keeping the fight alive for immigrants. But if we count 12 million undocumented folks in the country, and then we add their children, extended family members, and friends who support--then why can’t we get a million plus faxes burning the lines for immigration reform?
First we have to recognize that our people are not conditioned to be politically involved. African-Americans faced this same issue in the first half of the 20th century. It took this community years to organize their base of support (African-Americans, Jews, and progressive Anglos) into a political force that could withstand KKK attacks, a crooked Southern legal system, and 400 years of being told that they were somehow less worthy of the pursuit of happiness than whites.
There have been several articles lately about the increasing political activities of immigrant youths and immigrants who have become U.S. citizens. There’s a contingent in our immigrant community (slow be it) that is awaking to the realization that anti-immigrant sentiment is just that. It doesn’t discriminate between legal and illegal. Actually, when you dig deep into the anit-immigrant rhetoric you’ll find pieces that are aimed at working class folks in regards to the tax contributions working people make verses benefits they take from government.
What is the solution for how we can ‘beat’ back the well funded Beck’s of the world. In the short term, we must keep up our work of organizing and networking the folks we know support us. But this strategy only goes so far. For a few years, every time I spoke with an HB 1403 student I’d tell them about JIFM, and I’d invite them to a couple of meetings. A few would show, but most didn’t and I can count on one hand the ones that actually became real leaders in the immigrant community. Over the years, I’ve laid off the JIFM plug when I work with immigrants. These guys want to get into college, not listen to a white guy talk about the fight for immigration. So, I give the populous what they want; sweat stories about how great it is they are going to college. Occasionally, I’ll have a set of brown eyes that will twinkle with recognition that simply going to college isn’t enough.
“Mr. J, will I be able to work with my degree?” the question comes, and I kick back in my chair and try to gauge if the kid really wants to dig in and work on changing immigration law or just is stating the obvious. Most of the time, the kid is voicing what he’s always known (life sucks in the U.S. without papers), but sometimes I get lucky and I find a kid who is really thinking about immigration in a mature way. (I’ll save that for another day).
So, if the slow grind of recruiting young people into the cause isn’t going to save the day, then what’s left? Guys, we have to start dreaming a little bit bigger. What would happen if we wrote a grant for a few thousand, and put somebody in our group on pay? It might be we need to start thinking of groups like JIFM more as a business. We have a product to sell. Products need customers. Customers have wants and needs. If they don’t, then it’s our job to create that sense of need and want in them: business 101 kind of stuff.
What do we sell? The truth? Awe shucks folks no one really wants to hear the truth. We want our drug companies to tell us that little pills can make us slim and lower our heart rate. Screw the truth about exercise and good diet. What we sell is propaganda! Immigrants are a blessing of manna that Jehovah has bestowed on the tribe of white, Christian protestants who live in the promise land of (you guessed it) the U.S.A.! Immigrants lower crime in the worst neighborhoods. Immigrant babies are healthier. Immigrants expand the tax base. Oh, wait, I’m sorry all of this is true.
Maybe for once we’ve found an issue where truth and propaganda intersect and begin to run parallel. In that case what we need is a propaganda machine that forces the truth on those who’ve been brainwashed that all that is wrong in our country comes from a scary place called Mexico. A propaganda machine is what Beck has created. It’s the focused message, the faxes, the talk radio, and the networking of like-minded activist who have been primed by xenophobic fears.
Our propaganda machine will look very different. We sell compassion for your fellow man and hope. We market corndog things like, ‘We all live on one big planet’ and ‘If your brother needs a drink on a hot day, you buy him a Coke, man.’
Why does Coke sell more sugar water than the next guy? Propaganda! When you sip down on a coke, you’re teaching the whole world to sing. A little goodness has seeped from you and made the world just a bit happier. Yes, it’s nauseating sentiment when it’s deconstructed but that message has made a bunch of folks working at Coke’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia very wealthy!
We must develop a larger vision, and begin to run with the wolves and not the prairie dogs on this stuff. There’s folks with lots of money and a real need for immigrant workers. I just heard that a major player in soft-ware development has moved research operations into Canada because the company cannot secure enough high-tech visas.
Let’s get our 501c4 status cleaned up or maybe we can try creating a 501c3 in the meantime. We have a great story to sell (immigrant youths with much to offer), and there are folks with deep pockets waiting to fund organizations that seek to return civility and truth back into the immigration debate.
Peace and love, my fellow troubadours.
Perhaps the nation is unaware of the millions of advocates ready to help with the DREAM ACT and other legislative issues. The current immigration debate has mobilized Latino voters. There will probably be a big surprise in November - when the nation realizes that the Latino population has decided to use its political clout.
Remember that every undocumented immigrant (or DREAM ACT student) has a relative, friend, colleague, neighbor or employer who knows and respects him/her and will be willing to go to bat for his/her rights. If you start multiplying the numbers, the total is much more than anyone has realized.
Raising Young Voices for Illegal Mexican Immigrants
New York Times
By DAVID GONZALEZ
Published: July 16, 2007
Who knew a civics lesson awaited every time Daisy and Moises Mendoza looked around their neighborhood in East Harlem? Their parents came to New York from Mexico and raised them the hard way, earning pennies at a time handing out fliers on street corners and selling shaved ice snacks in parks. Other teenagers gave up on school to deliver food or bake pizzas. Their neighbors often slipped into the dreary low-profile routine of the illegal immigrant, sweating in gardens or construction sites and not complaining.
That is where the civics lesson kicked in. Lucky enough to be born in New York, Daisy and Moises are citizens, for whom voting and civic participation are a birthright and duty. They grew up as pint-size bilingual guides helping their parents understand what was happening at school meetings and visits to the doctor’s office. They are active in a youth group at Esperanza del Barrio, a local advocacy group that started out helping street vendors. And while they have to wait to cast their first ballots — Daisy is 17 and Moises 15 — they already feel a special responsibility to help their neighbors...
...Robert C. Smith, a professor of public affairs at Baruch College who has extensively studied New York’s Mexican population, estimated that the city’s half-million Mexicans could have as many as 150,000 children born in the United States. Another big chunk of children came to New York in the early 1990s, when they were reunited with parents who benefited from a 1986 amnesty law that made them legal residents, allowed them to bring their children here and put them on the path to citizenship. And many more are on the way right here, thanks to a rising birthrate.
“We’re beginning to see people coming of voting age,” Dr. Smith said. “Already Mexicans have surpassed Dominicans in terms of birth. For the next 20 years, Mexicans have the tremendous potential to become a political force.”
The image of the Mexican community for years was one of an illegal and politically apathetic group. But in recent years there have been signs that the younger generation is willing to speak out, starting with issues that most directly affect it, especially education.
In 2002, immigrants successfully pushed for the City University system to preserve in-state tuition rates for students here illegally. Currently, they are seeking to keep alive the Dream Act, federal legislation that proposes to offer tuition help and a path to citizenship to immigrant high school graduates....
for complete article:
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Rick Noriega with a group of University of Houston students
Rick Noriega has done an outstanding job in helping DREAM ACT students go to college. First, by helping establish in-state tuition, and in 2007 fighting to keep the law intact. Anyone associated with a DREAM ACT student should do their best to help Noriega in his quest for the U.S. Senate.
from the Houston Chronicle - July 12, 2007
State Rep. Rick Noriega, 49, of Houston plans to hold a news conference Monday on the south lawn of the Texas Capitol to announce the formation of his exploratory committee for the Democratic nomination.
Noriega political consultant James Aldrete said it is unfortunate that Cornyn would attack Watts as a trial lawyer. Aldrete said pounding on trial lawyers has been a favorite tactic of Republicans for a long time.
"While we respect what trial lawyers do, there's a fear among many that he (Watts) becomes an easy target of Cornyn," Aldrete said. "He's going to be a fundraising tool not only for Cornyn but for national Republicans as well."
Cornyn's trip with Rove might seem surprising because the senator recently began distancing himself from the president on the issue of immigration. But from his 2002 election until recently, Cornyn has been a staunch Bush supporter.
Rove helped Cornyn win election to the Texas Supreme Court in 1996, recruited Cornyn to run for state attorney general in 1998 and again to run for the U.S. Senate in 2002.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Dr. Robert Birgeneau, Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley
Dr. Robert Birgeneau says that undocumented immigrant students are "our" students. He wrote a op-ed piece in the LA Times on July 7, 2007. He is supporting the DREAM Act and financial aide for undocumented students. Since then he has been blasted by the anti-immigrant crowd.
He reminds us that the students "have excelled academically in our high schools" but are left without much recourse now that comprehensive immigration reform failed.
Los Angeles Times
Undocumented students deserve aid too
College is out of reach financially, or at least a big stretch, for the children of illegals.
By Robert J. Birgeneau, ROBERT J. BIRGENEAU is the chancellor of UC Berkeley.
July 7, 2007
I say "our students" because that is just who they are. We have invested in these children, providing them access to public education in our K-12 schools. Our teachers have encouraged them to learn, to compete and to succeed. It is only after these eager and ambitious young people gain college admission and apply for state or federal financial aid that we turn them away. We must not penalize these young people because their parents brought them here illegally.
Macario Garcia receiving his Congressional Medal of Honor from President Truman. 1945.
Many people had to pressure Ken Burns to include soldiers of Mexican descent in his upcoming series on World War II - Apparently he didn't know about Macario Garcia and many Latino military heroes. There have been a number of immigrant soldiers who brought honor to their units during World War II and later (my father and uncle were two of them).
Macario Garcia was one of the most important soldiers of WWII. He was an immigrant (who probably came without documents) from northern Mexico and came to Texas with his family when he was ten. He lived near Sugar Land, Texas and joined the U.S. Army in 1943. He won the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945 for extreme valor during a campaign in the Hurtegen Forest in Germany..
As our senators consider joining the DREAM ACT to a military bill, perhaps they can think of Macario Garcia... immigrants make great soldiers --
Now - I would rather young immigrants all go to college... but the military is also honorable- if the Congress decides to pull out our troops from Iraq, new recruits will not be in so much danger...
ADDENDUM: see post of July 24, 2007
Dream and and the Military- with Iraq still in the Equation, Its a Bad Idea
The Iraq Bill that would have contained the Dream Act stalled again in the Senate. It doesn't look like our lawmakers want to stand up to the administration and the Republican Party. With this dangerous position (or lack of) combining the Dream Act with the military bill is unfair to students who cannot go to college.
We Need Engineers and Scientists? Many of Them are Already in the U.S. - With the DREAM Act they can work in our corporations...
We don’t have to look beyond our borders for well-trained engineers and scientists. There are thousands of college students in U.S. universities who would qualify for these positions. Yet they cannot apply for these jobs because they are undocumented - and do not have legal residency in the United States, even though they have lived here most of their lives.
I personally know a number of these young people. Some of them have been my students, others I know because of current research I’m doing on immigration. For those graduating this semester - they are facing an impossible situation. The only way they can stay legally in the United States is to join the U.S. Armed Forces and serve in a combat zone. As they see article after article in the newspapers about immigration raids, the construction of a wall on the U.S.-México border, and of immigrants being killed as they cross the border, they begin to feel desperation. They realize that Congress is not moving towards comprehensive immigration reform that would (hopefully) pass the DREAM Act - a bill that would give these bright college graduates the right to live and work in the United States.
Perhaps Mr. Gates could use his political (and financial) influence make the DREAM Act a reality, which would let these young people work as the American professionals they are trained to be.
Why Won't We Let Them Fill the Ranks?
By Brigid Schulte
Sunday, June 3, 2007; Page B01
"...Jonathan doesn't feel foreign. He feels American.
He is one of an estimated 750,000 undocumented youths of military age living in the United States, a small portion of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants who are at the heart of the contentious debate in Congress on immigration reform. The proposed legislation includes provisions of the Dream Act, a bill knocking around the Hill since 2001 that would create a path to a green card and citizenship for any undocumented youths who were brought to the United States before they were 16, have lived here for five years and either attend college or serve honorably in the military for at least two years. The bill would allow youths without proper documentation to circumvent current military regulations that open doors only to those with green cards..."
for complete article:
*The Migration Policy Institute published a report in October 2006 stating there are approximately 360,000 non-status young people in the U.S. that are eligible for the Dream Act.
"A Question of Assimilation"
U.S. New and World Report
Vol. 140, No. 9, 34,36
March 13, 2006
by Marcelo M. Suarez-Orozco, Professor at New York University
" ...In the United States...[o]ur record in educating immigrant students is uneven, to be sure, but it is a lot more hopeful than the European record. Immigrant kids here win more than their share of the nation's most competitive and prestigious awards, like the Intel Science Awards and National Spelling Bee championships. New data show that immigrant students in the United States have more positive attitudes toward schools and teachers than their nonimmigrant counterparts. A study of 400 immigrant families and their children revealed that fully 40 percent of the immigrant students from Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America who enrolled in American schools received, on average, grades of A or B over a five-year period. The fact that immigrant girls in the United States are outperforming immigrant boys augurs for an even brighter future, for there is no better return on investment in education than the success of girls. Immigrants and the children of immigrants--from Ghana, Jamaica, Colombia, Korea--are overrepresented on every one of the campuses where I have taught over the years, including Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, and New York University. The same, sadly, cannot be said of the leading universities in Europe..."
San Francisco Chronicle
Immigrant advocates demand radio station fire host for remarks
Hunger strikers should starve to death, he said
Kantele Franko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, July 13, 2007
Bay Area immigrant rights advocates say radio host Michael Savage should be fired for using hateful language when suggesting supporters of an immigration reform bill who fasted in San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza last week should starve to death.
During a July 5 broadcast of "The Savage Nation," his nationally syndicated talk show, Savage said, "I would say let them fast till they starve to death ... because then we won't have a problem about giving them green cards because they're illegal aliens."
for complete article
Friday, July 13, 2007
The provisions of the DREAM Act amendment are expected to be word for word identical to S. 774, the bill that Senators Durbin, Hagel, and Lugar introduced earlier this Spring. It would provide a 6-year path to permanent residence and eventual citizenship for individuals brought to the U.S. years ago as undocumented children if they graduate from high school and continue on to college or military service.
We do not yet know when the vote will be, and it is possible that procedural obstacles could prevent one from occurring at all. But regardless, it is imperative for all DREAM Act supporters to call your Senators and click here to send an e-mail message to them today, and again tomorrow, and again every day until the vote occurs. You can find your Senators' phone numbers here.
We expect anti-immigrant groups to spread falsehoods about the DREAM Act and to try to inflame their base to intimidate Senators like they did in the recent Senate debate about immigration reform. But DREAM Act supporters are passionate too. We can and must fight back and match their intensity.
CALL BOTH OF YOUR SENATORS AND TELL THEM
"PLEASE VOTE FOR THE DURBIN-HAGEL-LUGAR DREAM ACT AMENDMENT TO H.R. 1585SO THAT IMMIGRANT STUDENTS BROUGHT HERE AS CHILDRENCAN REALIZE THEIR POTENTIAL"
Your Senators' phone numbers are online at: http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=380694724&url_num=4&url=http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
To send an e-mail message to your Senators please go to:http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=380694724&url_num=5&url=http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/NILC/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY%3D12129
What else you can do:
Forward this message to every listserv and everyone you know
Post it on blogs, MySpace, Facebook, or other on-line networking tools
Call in to C-SPAN or other radio or television shows where there is some hope of a sympathetic audience (not anti-immigrant propaganda sites)
The DREAM Act is narrowly tailored
It would apply only to individuals brought to the U.S. at least 5 years ago as children, who have grown up here, and who have remained in school and out of trouble. They could get a green card 6 years after graduating from high school if during that time they continue on to college or serve in the military.
The DREAM Act is not a "mini-amnesty"
At its core, amnesty is forgiveness for wrongdoing. That does not apply to DREAM Act students who were all brought here years ago as children. The DREAM Act rewards them for staying in school or serving our country.
The DREAM Act would benefit taxpayers
The DREAM Act would provide hope to immigrant students and lead many more of them to remain in school. As an example of the fiscal benefits of this, a RAND study showed that a 30-year-old Mexican immigrant woman who graduates from college will pay $5,300 more in taxes and cost $3,900 less in government expenses each year than if she had dropped out of high school. This amounts to an annual fiscal benefit of over $9,000 per person every year, money that can be used to pay for the education of other children. State and local taxpayers have already invested in the education of these children in elementary and secondary school and deserve to get a return on their investment
You can find more information about the DREAM Act at the National Immigration Law Center @ http://www.nilc.org/