Saturday, June 17, 2006
CNN's famously blunt anchor Lou Dobbs took on ideological foes Friday, telling an audience of Hispanic journalists that the United States was the "candy-rock mountain of the world" being chipped away by immigration policies meant to protect corporate interests.
Dobbs debated with former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; and the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. It was an immigration debate punctuated by jokes and sharp jabs. Click here.
A survey last year by the Pew Hispanic Center underscores the divergence of opinions among Latinos on undocumented immigration.
While proud of their heritage, some Latinos say they are just as proud of the American flag and denounce the idea of singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in Spanish, as was done during the height of this spring's protests in support of amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
When hundreds of thousands were televised marching in the streets, Rene Hernandez Jr. of north suburban Round Lake realized he did not want those Latinos to speak for him and wrote about it in his blog, titled Mexican Republican. Click here.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Colorado Gov. Bill Owens says he "likely" will call lawmakers back into session this summer to resurrect a ballot measure to deny government services to illegal immigrants. Democrats, who control the legislature, accused the governor and other Republicans of grandstanding during an election year. Owens' threat came one day after the state Supreme Court disqualified the proposed ballot initiative, saying it addressed more than one topic, a violation of the state constitution.
Nice essay from Professor Maria Chavez:
Imagine living in an agricultural community that, since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, has suffered tremendous financial hardship. Local corn, grown there for generations, can no longer compete against the corn imports from the United States, which are heavily subsidized by the U.S. government.
To clothe your children, your wife has taken to sewing their underwear out of old flour sacks. They lack shoes. Your family eats protein maybe once a week. Meals mostly consist of "chicken" soup, without the chicken — a watery broth of tortillas. The only hope seems to be to go work in the U.S. Click here for the full essay.
With no resolution of immigration-reform legislation at the federal
level, states have been pressing ahead with their own measures intended
to discourage undocumented immigration and curtail costs of providing
services to that population.
Lawmakers in Kansas, Iowa, and Arizona have voted this year to
restrict certain social services to undocumented immigrants, following
similar action last year in Virginia. Other states have passed
legislation cracking down on employers of undocumented immigrants and those
who sell forged documents to them. In all, state legislatures have seen some 500
immigration-reform bills introduced in 2006, according to the National
Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Click here. bh
Lawmakers in Kansas, Iowa, and Arizona have voted this year to restrict certain social services to undocumented immigrants, following similar action last year in Virginia. Other states have passed legislation cracking down on employers of undocumented immigrants and those who sell forged documents to them.
In all, state legislatures have seen some 500
immigration-reform bills introduced in 2006, according to the National
Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Click here.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
The Board of Immigration Appeals issued an important ruling today (June 15) on the meaning of "particular social group" for purposes of asylum. The case (Matter of C-A-0 is likely to be important. Here are some highlights from the headnotes:
(1) The members of a particular social group must share a common, immutable characteristic, which may be an innate one, such as sex, color, or kinship ties, or a shared past experience, such as former military leadership or land ownership, but it must be one that members of the group either cannot change, or should not be required to change, because it is fundamental to their individual identities or consciences. Matter of Acosta, 19 I&N Dec. 211(BIA 1985), followed.
(2) The social visibility of the members of a claimed social group is an important consideration in identifying the existence of a particular social group for the purpose of determining whether a person qualifies as a refugee.
(3) The group of former noncriminal drug informants working against the Cali drug carteldoes not have the requisite social visibility to constitute a particular social group.
Click here to see the ruling.
In a nationwide sweep, law enforcement officials have arrested more than 2,100 people in the past three weeks for immigration violations, including 116 in New Jersey and 114 in New York State, the Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday. About a third of those arrested were in California. Click here.
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a champion of Utah taking its place in the global economy, finds himself in an awkward position after shutting down a state-owned online information site because it is in Spanish. Huntsman's spokesman Mike Mower says the site will remain down until the governor's legal counsel can determine if its translations of basic state information violate a 2000 Utah law that makes English the state's official language. But critics say Huntsman overreacted to a xenophobic backlash that followed the recent visit of Mexican President Vicente Fox and that continues to be fueled by the immigration reform debate. Two weeks ago, the state launched www.espanol.utah.gov, a Spanish-language companion to the state's informational Web site www.utah.gov. The Spanish-language site offered 10 pages of information on taxes, health services, driver licences, and work-force services selected from the state's 400-page Web site. But within days, callers complained to the governor's office that the site violated Utah's law making English the state's official language. The Spanish-language site was quickly taken down until its content can be reviewed, said Mower.
bA federal judge in Brooklyn ruled yesterday that the government has wide latitude under immigration law to detain noncitizens on the basis of religion, race or national origin, and to hold them indefinitely without explanation. The ruling came in a class-action lawsuit by Muslim immigrants detained after 9/11, and it dismissed several key claims the detainees had made against the government. But the judge, John Gleeson of United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, allowed the lawsuit to continue on other claims, mostly that the conditions of confinement were abusive and unconstitutional. Judge Gleeson's decision requires top federal officials, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft and Robert S. Mueller III, the F.B.I. director, to answer to those accusations under oath. This is the first time a federal judge has addressed the issue of discrimination in the treatment of hundreds of Muslim immigrants who were swept up in the weeks after the 2001 terror attacks and held for months before they were cleared of links to terrorism and deported. The roundups drew intense criticism, not only from immigrant rights advocates, but also from the inspector general of the Justice Department, who issued reports saying that the government had made little or no effort to distinguish between genuine suspects and Muslim immigrants with minor visa violations. Click here for the full story. For a copy of the opinion, click here.
Jim Smith and Chris Todd of the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic won a big victory in Ortega-Mendez v. Gonzales. The court ruled that battery under California Penal Code § 242 was not categorically a "crime of violence." Click here to see the opinion.
Congressman Tom Tancredo has made immigration reform his key issue and has been active in organizing efforts to pass tough immigration enforcement laws. if you want to talk with him, check out his re-election website (click here). For a small $150 contribution, you can go skeet shooting and cigar smoking with the Congressman. For you journalists, just imagine in the story. For you scholars, just imagine what you can get off your chest.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
U.S. immigration officers have arrested more than 2,000 illegal immigrants in a nationwide sweep, officials announced Wednesday. In a blitz that began May 26, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 2,179 illegal immigrant gang members, pedophiles, violent felons and others who have sneaked back in the country after being deported. About half the immigrants arrested in "Operation Return to Sender" have criminal records, said Julie Myers, assistant secretary for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. More than 360 were members or associates of violent gangs, including the notorious Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, she said. Click here for the CNN story.
Generals gathered in their masses, just like witches at black masses.
Evil minds that plot destruction, sorcerers of death's construction.
In the fields the bodies burning, as the war machine keeps turning.
Death and hatred to mankind, poisoning their brainwashed minds. Oh lord, yeah!
Politicians hide themselves away. They only started the war. Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor, yeah.
Time will tell on their power minds, making war just for fun.
Treating people just like pawns in chess, wait till their judgement day comes, yeah.
Now in darkness world stops turning, ashes where the bodies burning.
No more War Pigs have the power, Hand of God has struck the hour.
Day of judgement, God is calling, on their knees the war pigs crawling.
Begging mercies for their sins, Satan, laughing, spreads his wings. Oh lord, yeah!
-- Black Sabbath, War Pigs
First were the Minutemen, self-appointed citizens who took up arms and binoculars last year to patrol for undocumented immigrants.
Now come the Paul Revere Riders, five motorcyclists cruising from one state capital to the next "to warn Americans of this destructive invasion of lawless foreigners." Click here.
"I was introduced to Deng Chen through an attorney who had helped him with some legal matters. Her specialty is trafficking, and when I told her I was doing some research on human smuggling and its victims, she cautioned me to be careful about using the word "victim" and, more to the point, not to confuse trafficking, which involves coercion, with smuggling, which is by choice. But then she told me about Chen, who at age 14 was sent by his parents to this country from China, by himself, with the assistance of smugglers; over the next four years, Chen worked to pay off a smuggling debt of $45,000, plus interest."
Interesting story from this past Sunday's NY Times Magazine by Alex Kotlowitz. Click here for the full story.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
In the course of the national immigration debate, the issue of the bureaucratic nightmare sometimes faced by legal immirgants was not front and center. But it is a problem. The latest example: because the Department of Homeland Security missed its deadline for creating a new form that would collect legislatively mandated information from visa sponsors of foreign brides, about 10,000 couples have been unable to proceed with their marriages. For more detail, see the AP story here.
LUIS J. RODRIGUEZ
Early this morning, at 5 AM, a squadron of helicopters, squad cars, and bulldozers came to remove the 350 families from Mexico and Central America who have made 14 acres in an urban blighted area into a garden oasis in South Central LA (41st and Alameda streets). The South Central Farm is the largest urban farm in the United States. Last reports were that bulldozers were tearing down the fences and tearing into the carefully plotted trees and plants.
This battle to save the amazing gardens and farm has been waged for weeks when a wealthy developer demanded to get the land back from the city so he can build warehouses and industrial sites (in an area chock full of warehouses and industrial sites). The farmers, however, have been on this land for 14 years.
Celebrities such as Darryl Hannah, John Quigley, and Danny Glover have recently taken part in supporting the farmers. All the protests in support of the farmers have been peaceful. The attack this morning shows that LA City, like most cities in this country, cater to the rich and powerful.
South Central LA needs another industrial development like a hole in the head. Any possible new jobs would be miniscule for the vast needs in this community. The farmers were creating their own healthy food source, working long hours, insuring the land would be used to help others.
One woman supporter of the farm, Rufina Juarez, on June 10 started a fast and sit-up on the tallest walnut tree, replacing Julia Butterfly, a renowned environmentalist.
The bulldozers and strong sheriff's presence is reminiscent of the Chavez Ravine evictions in the 1950s of mostly poor Mexicans that eventually laid the way for the building of Dodger Stadium. Mexicans and other poor people have been routinely evicted from their homes and creative work spaces throughout LA history.
In East LA, the largest Mexican community in the country, the building of several freeways for mostly suburban commuters in the 1950s and 1960s destroyed many other neighborhoods. More recently the largest housing projects west of the Mississippi were destroyed or renovated in East LA, and largely privatized, to remove most of the poor people (what we call the "Cabrini Greening" of America, after the planned destruction of subsidized poor people's housing in Chicago's large and mostly African American Cabrini Green Housing Projects for upscale townhouses and businesses).
This ongoing taking of land goes back to the Native removals, to the conquest of half of Mexico, to the removal of poor black and white sharecroppers in the South, and countless "urban renewal" projects in America's poor cities. All poor, regardless of color or nationality, have been affected. We must not let these kinds of removals continue in the name of "progress" (read: to enrich the coffers of the already wealthy).
The South Central Farmers represented self-determination and self-sufficiency. Now many of these families will probably need to be dependent on other people and industries for work and lodgings.
We need to spread the word about this outrage. The poor have to come together, organize, and win back their dignity and ability to rule and survive by their own means.
POSTED BY LUIS J. RODRIGUEZ