Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fact Check on Immigration

Today in a meeting I had at the university I realized that many people still have lots of mis-information about immigrants and the U.S. immigration process.  Here are a few bits of information that I hope can correct the misinformation spread by Fox, CNN, and other news outlets that irresponsibly send out information that makes the lives of undocumented immigrants much more difficult.

1.  The children of immigrants learn English quickly.  Almost always (unless there is a serious physical or mental disability) they are fluent by third grade.  It doesn't take 2 generations for the children of immigrants to become English speaking.

2.  Undocumented immigrants pay taxes - through the rent they pay - the landlord charges rent that will cover real estate taxes.  In states like Texas that have a sales tax -  everybody pays tax when they make a purchase - immigrant or not.  Plus, most undocumented immigrants receive paychecks and have federal with-holding taken out.  Many lose thousands to the Social Security fund that they will never be able to withdraw - even when they reach retirement age.

3.  Young people who are recent immigrants make great students - the problem usually arises a generation or two later when the kids have become embedded into American culture and bad neighborhood schools - and face a deadening institutional racism.

4. Letting DREAMers go to college and work as professionals when they graduate will actually add to our economy. They will pay much more in taxes and will contribute to our society in many ways as teachers, health care providers, law enforcement officers, attorneys, and many other professions.  They will pay more in taxes which will make more services available to native born U.S. citizens.

5. Undocumented immigrants (especially from Mexico) have low levels of education because the educational systems in their home countries are seriously lacking.  It is almost impossible in most parts of Mexico for a child to get past the 6th grade.

6.  Adult immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries do not learn English quickly because they are not able to take language classes.  Most have to work several jobs which makes it impossible to go to night class.  Most classes charge tuition, which they cannot afford.  Many women do not take classes because they are not encouraged or allowed by their husbands.

As an cultural anthropologist I have done research on U.S. immigration policy and worked with undocumented college students and other immigrants from Latin America.  I also conducted research and wrote a book on northern Mexico.  I lived in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon in 1998-1999.


Diary: DREAMer Driven to Despondence

Today I have been thinking about Joaquin Luna, the young man from Mission Texas who committed suicide.  He was a DREAMer -a young person living in the U.S. without a VISA -  he was brought to the U.S. by his family as a small child.

Joaquin was despondent because there was no way to go to college. He saw no way out. Knowing about Joaquin makes me wonder about the thousands of DREAMers in the U.S.  How do they feel about the limitations placed on them because of this lack of a VISA.  Believe me they would stand in line in a minute if they could - but the truth is that there is no line.  For most, there is no way for they to regularize.

These past few days I have been wondering about all the lost DREAMers who used to attend the University of Houston (and all the other Texas State colleges and universities)- who can no longer study because the money provided them by the State of Texas is no longer there.  A few years ago, through the hard work of a number of Texas Legislators, the state put together a fund to assist DREAMers with their tuition.  In the 2009-2010 academic year there were over 500 recipients of this money at UH.  The Texas budget shortfall ended all of this.  One young man who wanted to be a doctor is now at a local community college.  Another former student of mine - a fine photographer - is no longer studying. They were both excellent students.

While the media beat up Rick Perry for signing a bill granting in-state tuition for DREAMers in Texas - the reality is that most people think its a fair idea.  There are just a few that really hate.  The problem is that the haters scream the loudest..

How many DREAMers see things like the sign proudly displayed at the front door of the Soup Plantation near Upland California that says "WE USE E-VERIFY" (in other words we call ICE on undocumented immigrants) - or the video showing Congressman Mo Brooks from Alabama saying he will do everything but shoot undocumented immigrants. What can these terrible things do to a young impressionable mind?


Why have most U.S. Newspapers Ignored Joaquin Luna's Death?

The London Guardian, the Tucson Citizen and Fox News have written about DREAMer Joaquin Luna's death.  Why has everyone else ignored it?  Where are the big Texas papers?


Joaquin Luna: undocumented migrant whose lack of hope drove him to suicide

Family says teen feared harsh anti-immigration laws in Texas, and became especially distressed after Dream Act failed to pass
  • Joaquin Luna, a teenager who killed himself fearing new anti-immigration laws in Texas. Photograph: KGBT Action 4 News/Tucson Citizen

Before he died, Joaquin Luna put on his best suit, white shirt and black skinny tie, the same outfit he wore every Sunday without fail to the Pan de Vida church in his home town of Mission, Texas. As his brother put it: "He dressed himself to go to God."

Then he shot himself in the shower room, leaving behind a note that explained why he ended such a promising life. He spoke of his desperation at what he felt to be the wall blocking out his future and preventing him from attaining his dreams.

A wall reserved for undocumented immigrants in America.

Aged 18, and in his last year at Juarez-Lincoln High School in La Joya, Luna appeared to have it all going for him. He spoke fluent English, had grades that were regularly 100% and never below 85%, and was skilled at operating computer graphics.

"He was one of the smartest kids at school. His passion was for math and engineering, and he had developed his own blueprint for designing houses by computer programme," his elder brother, Carlos Mendoza, says.
The one thing that Luna did not have was the paperwork to grant him legal status in the US. He was born in Ciudad Miguel Alemán in Mexico, right on the border with Texas.

When he was six months old his family, including his parents and five siblings, crossed the border without visas and travelled just about 40 miles to Mission, on the US side of the frontier.

As he grew older, Luna grew more and more anxious about his lack of a social security number that he would need were he ever to find a job. He used to talk about it often to his brothers and sisters, fretting that even if he gained a good college education, he would never be able to find work or support a family of his own.

He also followed politics closely, reading in the newspapers about the harsh immigration laws passed in other southern states such as Alabama and Arizona. "He got angry," Mendoza says. "He said the people passing these laws had no heart: how could they leave so many kids without parents and destroy so many lives?"
When the Dream Act – a law that would have granted undocumented immigrants in higher education such as himself permanent residency status – failed to pass the US senate last year, Luna took it heavily.

"He got depressed real bad," Mendoza recalls. "Every one of us, we all get depressed. Some of us can handle it, some of us can't. Joaquin couldn't."

Shortly after 9pm on Friday, Mendoza received a call on his cellphone from his younger brother. Luna was at their mother's house and sounded strange on the phone.

"He told me to have a good life, and when I asked him why he was saying that to me, he said: 'Because I'm not going to be here.'" In his last words to his brother, Luna said that he felt he couldn't accomplish his dreams because there was a big wall in front of him.

Fearing the worst, Mendoza began running to his mother's house, but arrived only in time to hear the retort of the gun.

The note Luna left is in the keeping of police investigating his death. Detectives have told family members that in it, he tells them that his main motive for suicide was his lack of legal status and the failure of the Dream Act.
Mendoza believes that his brother took his own life for a purpose. "Everybody has a mission in life and I think this was his – to communicate to people what's going on in America."

The family is planning a small funeral for Joaquin Luna on Wednesday.

At the weekend a letter arrived for him from the University of Texas-Pan American. It offered him a place for next year in its undergraduate course in engineering.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eating too much during the holidays?

It is now three days after Thanksgiving.  How much did you eat this past Thursday?  And you know this is just the beginning.  There are the holiday parties, the family get togethers, Christmas and New Years.... It feels hopeless.

So --- How can you prepare for the typical American holiday overeating orgy?

The Dallas Morning News has an article titled

How to compensate for Thanksgiving overeating - that provides a few suggestions:

1.  Burn extra calories before the big day and select one dietary indiscretion that makes it feel like a holiday. Use light recipes for the rest of the meal, such as butternut squash soup made with fat-free condensed milk instead of cream.

2.  Modify recipes rather than expect everyone to eat less; reduce the butter in grandma's cake by substituting applesauce.

3.  Consider a big salad and a vegetable plate or a broth- based soup as starters.

4.  Drink water before, during and after the meal.

5.  Have larger portions of lighter foods and smaller portions of heavier ones.

U.S. Banks and the Cartels

Money launderers for ruthless Mexican drug gangs have long had a formidable ally: international banks.

Despite strict rules set by international regulatory bodies that require banks to "know their customer," make inquiries about the source of large deposits of cash and report suspicious activity, they have failed to do so in a number of high-profile cases and instead have allowed billions in dirty money to be laundered...MORE

---------DIRTY MONEY

U.S. blacklisting seems to have little consequence in Mexico

Washington employs sanctions in an effort to deter money launderers and others who serve drug traffickers, but evidence shows that being put on the 'kingpin designation list' doesn't cause hardship.

The U.S. government has blacklisted more Mexican individuals and companies this year than any other single country or group — and that includes North Korea, Iran, Syria and Al Qaeda.

Three hundred Mexicans and 180 Mexican companies are on the so-called kingpin designation list, the Treasury Department's roster of people and entities suspected of laundering money for drug traffickers or working for them in other capacities...MORE

Is Alabama in the United States?

As linked in a previous dreamacttexas post - an Alabama Congressman actually stated he "would do anything short of shoot" undocumented immigrants.  Click HERE for link to video and go to 44 seconds.


Click HERE  to see NYT slide show of
A New Civil Rights Movement

November 27, 2011 -New York Times Editorial

The Price of Intolerance

It’s early yet for a full accounting of the economic damage Alabama has done to itself with its radical new immigration law.

Farmers can tally the cost of crops left to rot as workers flee. Governments can calculate the loss of revenues when taxpayers flee. It’s harder to measure the price of a ruined business reputation or the value of investments lost or productivity lost as Alabamians stand in line for hours to prove their citizenship in any transaction with the government...MORE

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lagging in a Country that Hates You - Education & Immigration

In the past two decades, the Mexican population in New York City has grown more than fivefold, with immigrants settling across the five boroughs. Many adults have demonstrated remarkable success at finding work, filling restaurant kitchens and construction sites, and opening hundreds of businesses.    

 But their children, in one crucial respect, have fared far differently.  About 41 percent of all Mexicans between ages 16 and 19 in the city have dropped out of school, according to census data.

No other major immigrant group has a dropout rate higher than 20 percent, and the overall rate for the city is less than 9 percent, the statistics show... MORE

Exercise, sleep and health

By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog 2:24 PM PST, November 23, 2011

Exercise now, sleep better tonight: A study finds that 150 minutes of exercise a week significantly improves sleep quality. About 3,000 adults age 18 to 85 wore an accelerometer for a week so researchers could determine just how much physical activity they were getting. Accelerometers not only measure movement but the intensity of that movement as well, making them a more comprehensive gauge of movement than a device such as a pedometer. Getting 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous exercise paid off in a 65% improvement in quality of sleep. Participants who were more active had significant improvements in feeling alert during the day and had fewer leg cramps compared with people who did not meet the 150-minute standard. The frequent exercisers also had an easier time concentrating when they were tired....

Link :,0,3887445.story

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gingrich in Santa Costume

I hesitate to give Gingrich any attention.  He has a history of being by far the most caustic and hateful of most nationally known Republicans.  Yet his latest foray into the immigration discussion has hit the headlines.  Don't for a moment imagine that he has become an empathic, fair-minded politician.  


The lost cause of Newt Gingrich's immigration gambit

That the only GOP debater offering realism on immigration is not a serious contender will speak volumes to 2012's Latino voters
You're a mean one, Mr. Gingrich - from blog "pie2012"
...the new "frontrunner", Newt Gingrich, broke ranks by suggesting that we "be humane" in enforcing immigration law and consider normalising the legal status of at least some of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants. Referring to the Kiebler Foundation's Red Card Solution (pdf), Gingrich's plan would offer two legal paths for the nation's undocumented: one granting citizenship for those wishing to reside in the United States in the long term, and another path offering employer-managed temporary work permits to seasonal workers and other short-term laborers.

The Red Card Solution has a number of faults: no right to US citizenship for children of temporary workers; no provisions regulating the treatment and protection of employer-managed workers; as well as an ominous and dehumanising system for tracking workers through electronic "red cards". But the proposal at least offers something that the GOP's nativist tendency could begin to consider..MORE

German Mercedes Free - Not Immigrants from Mexico

While the German Mercedes executive was able to easily work out of his arrest, thousands of others are not so lucky. His passport and driver's license were sent to him - he presented them to the judge and then he was freed.  It could be said that he didn't really break the law, he just didn't have the documents on him.  Yet the real difference is that he is a wealthy man - a "high end" foreign visitor.  As noted on our post on "DREAMers as High Skilled Immigrants" we desperately need people like the German Mercedes executive.  Money is the real issue.  If you are wealthy you can buy your way into America ((I assume that they avoid Alabama however).  Just interview a few wealthy Mexicans that live in the Woodlands area of Houston.  They are moving here in droves- running away from Mexico's narco-violence.  Immigration is a simple process for them.  All they need is a few hundred thousand dollars....


Click here to find out more!

Authorities in Alabama dropped charges Wednesday against a German Mercedes-Benz executive who was arrested under the state's stringent new illegal-immigration law after a police officer caught him driving without required identification....An associate of Hager's was able to retrieve his passport and a German driver's license, which led to executive being released soon after the arrest. Hager then presented the documents in municipal court and the charges were dropped, Anderson said Wednesday...MORE

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pepper Spray for Police - an ironic image

pepperspraying Picture: Lalo Alcaraz/

from an article in the London Guardian:
The pepper-spraying cop gets Photoshop justice by Xeni Jardin
Nature abhors a vacuum, it is said; and the internet abhors unexplained dissonance. When photographs emerged of police lieutenant John Pike pepper-spraying University of California Davis students, it wasn't just the violence in those images that captured the world's attention – it was the surreal juxtaposition of that violence with Pike's oddly casual body language and facial expression..  more

DREAMers as High Skilled Immigrants

Today I saw a video of a hearing on High Skilled Immigrants -  Pia Orrenius, an economist from the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas gave an interesting presentation on the need for highly skilled immigrant workers in the U.S.  I find it odd that DREAMers have not been considered as a possibility to fill this need - considering they have U.S. university educations and are already here and embedded in U.S. culture.

Click HERE to watch the C-SPAN 3 video, go to 1 hr. 6 minutes for Ms. Orrenius' testimony

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pepper Spray

from Scientific American:

 commercial grade pepper spray leaves even the most painful of natural peppers (the Himalayan ghost pepper) far behind. It’s listed at between 2 million and 5.3 million Scoville units. The lower number refers to the kind of pepper spray that you and I might be able to purchase for self-protective uses. And the higher number? It’s the kind of spray that police use, the super-high dose given in the orange-colored spray used at UC-Davis.

The reason pepper-spray ends up on the Scoville chart is that – you probably guessed this -  it’s literally derived from pepper chemistry, the compounds that make habaneros so much more formidable than the comparatively wimpy bells. Those compounds are called capsaicins and – in fact – pepper spray is more formally called Oleoresin Capsicum or OC Spray.


From a 2004 paper: Health Hazards of Pepper Spray, written by health researchers at the University of North Carolina and Duke University

"Depending on brand, an OC spray may contain water, alcohols, or organic solvents as liquid carriers; and nitrogen, carbon dioxide, or halogenated hydrocarbons (such as Freon, tetrachloroethylene, and methylene chloride) as propellants to discharge the canister contents.(3) Inhalation of high doses of some of these chemicals can produce adverse cardiac, respiratory, and neurologic effects, including arrhythmias and sudden death. The health effects of solvents and propellants are beyond the scope of this article, but they too need to be considered in evaluating potential hazards and effects of exposure to specific brands of OC spray."

A German Mercedes in Alabama

EDITORIAL - New York Times - November 22, 2011

Last week, a manager for Mercedes-Benz [executive Detlev Hager], visiting from Germany, was pulled over in his rental car by a police officer in Tuscaloosa near where a Mercedes plant builds sport-utility vehicles. The manager didn’t have his driver’s license with him...The manager was arrested and taken to police headquarters....

According to The Associated Press, this not-so-trivial traffic stop came to the attention of Gov. Robert Bentley, who called his homeland security director, Spencer Collier, who called the Tuscaloosa police chief, Steven Anderson. “It sounds like the officer followed the statute correctly,” Mr. Collier told The A.P. Unfortunately, that is the truth...MORE    

Monday, November 21, 2011

About Mexico's Drug War - from Human Rights Watch

Neither Rights Nor Security - Los Angeles Times
Killings, Torture, and Disappearances in Mexico’s “War on Drugs”
November 9, 2011
...a new report by Human Rights Watch indicates that drug cartels and organized crime aren't solely responsible for the bloodletting. The military, deployed to protect civilians, may have caused many of their deaths, according to the group's study.

...This report examines the human rights consequences of President Felipe Calderón’s approach to confronting Mexico’s powerful drug cartels. Through in-depth research in five of Mexico’s most violent states, Human Rights Watch found evidence that strongly suggests the participation of security forces in more than 170 cases of torture, 39 “disappearances,” and 24 extrajudicial killings since Calderón took office in December 2006....MORE

click HERE to read Human Rights Report

Renal Disease and High Blood Pressure

BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the health world

Blood pressure in early adulthood matters later

High blood pressure usually concerns only people middle-aged and older. But a new study suggests that high blood pressure in early adulthood spells future heart problems and that it shouldn't be ignored...MORE

Avoiding Diabetes - Eat Brown Rice

June 15, 2010, 12:08 pm

Eating Brown Rice to Cut Diabetes Risk from researchers at Harvard reports that Americans who eat two or more servings of brown rice a week reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by about 10 percent compared to people who eat it less than once a month. And those who eat white rice on a regular basis — five or more times a week — are almost 20 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who eat it less than once a month.

Just replacing a third of a serving of white rice with brown each day could reduce one’s risk of Type 2 diabetes by 16 percent, a statistical analysis showed. A serving is half a cup of cooked rice...MORE

Avoiding Diabetes - Eat like a Greek,0,382891.story

Eat like a Mediterranean — but how?

Lentil Salad

Here's what the research says — and doesn't say — about the Mediterranean diet.

"no diet in the world has been studied more thoroughly or associated with more positive outcomes. But questions remain. Scientists still can't say for sure how the diet does everything it seems to do — or if some parts of it do more than others. (For example, is the red meat you don't eat more important than the olive oil you do?) And if you're looking for precise rules on exactly how much to eat of exactly what foods, you won't find them here — because they don't exist."

"Around the middle of the 20th century, scientists noticed that people living in Mediterranean areas had longer, healthier lives than people in many other parts of the world — even though smoking rates were high and healthcare wasn't that great in some of those countries. Some of the first hard evidence supporting this observation came from the so-called Seven Countries Study, published in 1970: It found that Greece — as exemplified by the island of Crete — had lower rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer than the other six countries in the study: the United States, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, the former Yugoslavia and Japan."...MORE

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pancho Ramos Detained by ICE


Tell Alameda County Sheriff Gregory J. Ahern: No More ICE Holds

Yesterday, a peaceful protestor was turned over to ICE for possible deportation. Pancho Ramos was arrested while meditating during the eviction of Occupy Oakland on Monday. Due to the S-Comm (misnamed Secure Communities) program, Pancho was caught in this dragnet that unfairly sweeps up community members for detention and deportation. As Pancho’s case shows, S-Comm’s focus is more spin than safety. Under S-Comm, immigration officials pressure local governments to hold community members like Pancho in jail for extra time so they can be picked up for deportation. In Alameda County, 1,095 residents have been torn from their families and deported since S-Comm was imposed last spring. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requested that the Sheriff hold Pancho so that they can start deportation proceedings - and the Sherriff agreed.

After pressure from many of you, and the work of the communities he is a part of, Pancho has been released on his own recognizance. This is something unusual (most people are kept in ICE custody for months, or even years) and clearly shows the power that we have when we organize!

Unfortunately, what's happening to Pancho happens every day in Oakland and across the country. The movement is pushing back and counties like Santa Clara, CA and Cook, IL are putting an end to all collaboration and cooperation with ICE by not acknowledging ICE holds. This is their way out of participation in S-Comm.

Now Alameda County needs to do the same. As the federal government has repeatedly and unequivocally stated, ICE holds are merely a request. Mass deportations serve no one but the 1% - the CEOs of private prison companies and the banks that invest in them profit heavily off of the immigration detention system. Threat of deportation silences communities. Another way is possible.

So that no one else ends up in Pancho's situation. So everyone can freely participate in the Occupy Movement. So that families can stay together.

How many soft drinks do you have everyday?

Booster Shots: Oddities, musings and news from the health world

Study: Sugary drinks can boost women's heart disease risk

Two or more sugar-sweetened drinks a day have been associated with a larger waist and a higher risk of heart disease in adult women, according to research released Sunday.

Women ages 45 to 84 who drank at least two sugar-sweetened drinks a day -- such as soda or flavored waters with added sugar -- were nearly four times as likely to develop high triglycerides as women who drank one or fewer of those beverages.

..Women who drink sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages pay a higher price than men because women require fewer calories than men per day. Calories from a couple of sodas add up fast..MORE

Survey on DREAM Act Support

Many Californians worry that they are being priced out of the state's public university systems, and they object to allowing illegal immigrants the same financial aid that U.S. citizens can receive at the campuses, a new poll has found.

...But there is a huge ethnic divide on the issue, according to the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times survey: 79% of Latinos approve of the law, while only 30% of whites do...

...The survey was conducted for the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and The Times by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic firm, with American Viewpoint, a Republican company...MORE,0,4108035.story


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Alabama Rep. says he will "do anything short of shooting" undocumented immigrants

U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks says (on video) that he will  "do anything short of shooting" undocumented immigrants in Alabama.  Brooks makes his statement 44 seconds into the video.

click HERE to link youtube audio with photos on Alabama law - with detailed description of community reaction to the law by William Anderson, student at the University of Alabama

13 arrested in protest against Alabama's immigration law

Two activists are arrested for refusing to leave a state office building and 11 for blocking a street in Montgomery, in actions reminiscent of the city's civil rights-era confrontations.

By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
November 16, 2011
Reporting from Montgomery, Ala.

One of the most dramatic protests against Alabama's tough illegal immigration law unfolded here Tuesday as 13 activists, most of them from out of state, were arrested for blocking a street near the Capitol and refusing to leave a legislative office building as a crowd chanted, "Undocumented, unafraid!"

 ... organizers were...targeting the Alabama law, which is considered the nation's strictest, and which has drawn activists into the state to organize and protest to a degree rarely seen here since the civil rights turmoil of the 1960s...MORE


Help Texas DREAMers Keep In-State Tuition

From University Leadership Initiative

Help Us Preserve In-State Tuition 
Deadline is Tomorrow: Friday, November 18, 2011
The law permitting certain immigrant students who are long term residents of the state to qualify for in-state tuition in Texas has received a lot of national attention since Governor Perry announced he was running for the President. As you know, most of this attention was negative. Many elected officials in Texas have already announced they will file bills to repeal this legislation next session.

We cannot sit around idly while our opposition destroys good public policy that has benefitted students and Texas. Instead, we are launching a campaign to mobilize all of the supporters of this legislation, and particularly those who are registered to vote.

If you are a registered voter in Texas who is not voting in the Republican Primary, please sign the petition to add a proposition supporting in-state tuition and the DREAM Act to the Democratic Party primary ballot. 
You can download the petition here. Once you and your family and friends complete all blanks, please fax to 512-480-2500 or email to Or you can mail it to ULI at 
3106 Duval St. #310
Austin, TX, 78705. 
We are trying to reach 35,000 signatures state-wide, 
so each signature counts. 
Our DEADLINE is Friday, November 18, 2011

Thank you for your continued support, 

University Leadership Initiative

NOTE: We are a non-partisan organization. However, we feel that this petition would best allow us to demonstrate that this legislation has broad support amongst United States citizens who are registered voters.

District of Columbia Bill Protects Immigrants with no criminal record

Posted at 04:17 PM ET, 11/15/2011 - From Washington Post LOCAL

Bill will make it harder to detain suspected illegal
undocumented immigrants

All 13 D.C. Council members are co-sponsoring a bill to restrict the city’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration officials by making it more difficult to detain suspected illegalundocumented immigrants.

Under the bill introduced Tuesday, the Department of Corrections can only detain suspected illegal immigrants who have previous convictions for violent crime.

And even then, according to the legislation, a suspect would be released after 24 hours if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials fail to pick them up.

“What we are saying is we want to maintain the bright line between what federal immigration officials do and what our local police do,” said Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At large), the chief sponsor of the legislation. “We have for years tried to maintain that bright line. We want local police dedicated to crime solving in the District of Columbia and we don’t want to create mistrust with our immigrant populations.”

Mendelson said his bill, modeled after similar proposals in New York and Chicago, would be an official break between the city and federal officials over the new Secure Communities program.

Being rolled out nationwide, the program is designed to bolster cooperation between local and federal officials to try to combat some crimes associated with illegal immigration. But some local officials complain the program hampers relationships with local immigrant populations...MORE
By  |  04:17 PM ET, 11/15/2011

"Anything Short of Shooting" Undocumented Immigrants in the New Jim Crow South

U.S. Congressman Mo Brooks says (on video) that he will  "do anything short of shooting" undocumented immigrants in Alabama.  Brooks makes his statement 44 seconds into the video.

click HERE to link youtube audio with photos on Alabama law - with details description of community reaction to the law by William Anderson, student at the University of Alabama

13 arrested in protest against Alabama's immigration law

Two activists are arrested for refusing to leave a state office building and 11 for blocking a street in Montgomery, in actions reminiscent of the city's civil rights-era confrontations.

By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
November 16, 2011
Reporting from Montgomery, Ala.

One of the most dramatic protests against Alabama's tough illegal immigration law unfolded here Tuesday as 13 activists, most of them from out of state, were arrested for blocking a street near the Capitol and refusing to leave a legislative office building as a crowd chanted, "Undocumented, unafraid!"

 ... organizers were...targeting the Alabama law, which is considered the nation's strictest, and which has drawn activists into the state to organize and protest to a degree rarely seen here since the civil rights turmoil of the 1960s...MORE


A Break for the DREAMers?

U.S. to Review Cases Seeking Deportations

The Department of Homeland Security will begin a review on Thursday of all deportation cases before the immigration courts and start a nationwide training program for enforcement agents and prosecuting lawyers, with the goal of speeding deportations of convicted criminals and halting those of many illegal immigrants with no criminal record..MORE.        

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Police Throw 5,000 Books Out at OWS - Bloomberg's Office Says They Are in Storage

5,000 books reportedly thrown out in Occupy Wall Street raid

More than 5,000 books in the Occupy Wall Street library were reportedly thrown away when police moved in to remove protesters from Zuccotti Park in New York early Tuesday.

During the police raid, Occupy Wall Street librarians tweeted, "NYPD destroying american cultural history, they’re destroying the documents, the books, the artwork of an event in our nation’s history," Galleycat reports. "Right now, the NYPD are throwing over 5,000 books from our library into a dumpster. Will they burn them? … Call 311 or 212-639-9675 now and ask why Mayor Bloomberg is throwing the 5,554 books from our library into a dumpster."
The Village Voice has asked city officials what happened to the library books, but has not yet recieved a response.
"I watched the stuff thrown into sanitation trucks and just crushed," Lopi LaRoe, a 47-year-old Brooklyn artist, told a reporter.

The library, which started out as a box of books and grew to a collection of more than 5,000, was originally out in the open air. Rocker, poet and National Book Award winner Patti Smith donated a tent to house the library and protect the books from the weather...MORE

Huffington Post:
UPDATE II: The Twitter feed of the Mayor's office took a picture of the books and said that they are "safely stored @ 57th St Sanit Garage; can be picked up Weds."

Diabetes Worldwide

Today the Diane Rehm Show that airs on Houston's KUHF presented a very informative program on diabetes.  Click HERE to listen

The Looming Worldwide Diabetes Epidemic

The Diane Rehm Show
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 10:06 a.m.
A new report predicts one in 10 adults worldwide could have diabetes by 2030. More than 350 million people already have the disease. For years, global resources have been aimed at fighting infectious diseases like malaria and swine flu. Now, developing countries are ill-equipped to provide the long-term care needed for diabetes patients. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) projects one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050. While diabetes awareness has increased in the U.S., more than 25 percent of Americans don't even know they have it. Diane and her guests examine the causes and costs of the diabetes epidemic and efforts to reverse the trend.


Leonor Guariguata
epidemiologist, International Diabetes Federation
Maya Rockeymoore
director, Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Dr. Rita Kalyani
assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University; and editor, Johns Hopkins Diabetes Guide
Dr. Judith Fradkin
director, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, & Metabolic Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Ann Albright
director, division of diabetes translation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hit & Miss Deportations

Shamir Ali (age 24) is saved but not Rubén Quinteros (aged 43).  Both should have been able to stay. 


Deportations Under New U.S. Policy Are Inconsistent

A new Obama administration policy to avoid deportations of illegal immigrants who are not criminals has been applied very unevenly across the country and has led to vast confusion both in immigrant communities and among agents charged with carrying it out.      

 Since June, when the policy was unveiled, frustrated lawyers and advocates have seen a steady march of deportations of immigrants with no criminal record and with extensive roots in the United States, who seemed to fit the administration’s profile of those who should be allowed to remain.

But at the same time, in other cases, immigrants on the brink of expulsion saw their deportations halted at the last minute, sometimes after public protests. In some instances, immigration prosecutors acted, with no prodding from advocates, to abandon deportations of immigrants with strong ties to this country whose only violation was their illegal status. ..MORE

Maids are Welcome in Alabama

Did you know that if you are an undocumented immigrant in Alabama you cannot 
1.  rent a house
2. buy a house
3.  start an account with the light, water, or gas company
4.  catch a ride with a citizen
However, it is legal to work as a maid.

Birmingham News editorial board - August 9, 2011
"John and Jane Doe can hire an illegal immigrant to be a maid, because Alabama's new immigration law exempts "casual domestic labor" from having to be verified as legal."
November 13, 2011 - NEW YORK TIMES - Editorial
"The law was written to deny immigrants without papers the ability to work or travel, to own or rent a home, to enter contracts of any kind. Fear is causing an exodus as Latinos abandon homes and jobs and crops in the fields. Utilities are preparing to shut off water, power and heat to customers who cannot show the right papers" MORE