Saturday, June 30, 2007

$3Million Border Fence Mistake

CBS News (citing AP) reports:

The 1.5-mile barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border was designed to keep cars from illegally crossing into the United States. There's just one problem: It was accidentally built on Mexican soil.

Now embarrassed border officials say the mistake could cost the federal government more than $3 million to fix. Click herefor the rest of the story.

bh

June 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pelosi Statement on Senate Bill Crash

June 28, 2007

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi published the following statement on the Senate’s failure to invoke cloture on comprehensive immigration reform bill:

“Today, Republicans in the Senate had an historic chance to act in the interests of the American people, but chose not to. Although the immigration bill before the Senate was far from perfect, it would have served as a starting point to address this critical issue for our nation.

“During the entire process, newly elected Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate have been committed to fixing a problem that past Republican Congresses have ignored for years. The President had an obligation to the American people to persuade his fellow Republicans to pass a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill. Unfortunately, he was unable to do so.

“Instead, Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill that attempted to fix our nation's dysfunctional immigration system. In doing so, they have failed the American people.

“Our immigration system needs to honor the promise of America and recognize the enormous contributions that immigrants make to our nation. But it must do so in a way that makes our nation safer, protects all workers, and restores the rule of law.”

bh

June 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

MAPA Statement on Crash of Senate Bill

NO HUMAN BEING IS ILLEGAL – Workers Will Inherit the Earth

A Bittersweet Victory with the Defeat of S.1639 – Kennedy-Kyl Bill

The U.S. Senate lacked the appropriate political leadership to approve fair and humane immigration reform as desired by the millions of immigrants that live, work, study, and pray in thousands of cities across the length and breadth of America. The legislation, S.1639 authored by Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kyle, proved to be too flawed to pass muster with the majority of Senate members and the American public, and rightly deserved to die a second death. The frame-work of their "comprehensive" reform was from the start enforcement heavy and legalization light, and continued to move more and more in the direction of enforcement of a criminalizing and militarizing character.

While the immigrant community had high hopes that the Senate would do them justice, the recurring criticism was that they were being required to pay too high a price for the remote possibility of regularizing their status and eventually be allowed live and work in peace in the U.S.

Yes, the legislation crashed on the Senate floor, but the hopes of millions of immigrants also crashed with it even if it did not meet the needs of immigrant families. The latter occurred due to the rank manipulation of the legitimate hopes and sentiments of the immigrant community by the Spanish language media and the funded agencies, and even some unions, that sought to impose this legislation as the only possibility for fair reform and eventual legalization. Their position is encapsulated in the often repeated phrase by Jorge Ramos of Univision – Peor es nada (nothing is worst). This was and is a paternalistic, defeatist, and demoralizing posture that was repeatedly imposed on the psyche of the Spanish-speaking immigrants.

On the contrary, we have every right to celebrate that we defeated the proposed further construction of the border wall, the construction of 20 massive detention facilities, the criminalization of the work-place with invasive government intervention to determine who has the right to work, a massive bracero-type program designed to exploit the immigrant and assault the prevailing wage, the criminalization of immigrants merely due to their physical presence in the U.S. without inspection, the 20,000 build-up of border patrol agents, and other onerous and repressive provisions.

The House of Representatives now has an opportunity to demonstrate courage and leadership to craft legislation, if not comprehensive, at least that which addresses some of the most pressing issues before the country.

We call on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to immediately pursue action on the following areas in single piece legislation that require reform:

1. Passage of the DREAM ACT;

2. Restoration of the 245(i) clause;

3. Restoration of judicial review rights for immigrants;

4. Passage of an agricultural labor program that affirms FREE labor and immediate permanent resident status;

5. No budget allocation for the construction of a border wall;

6. Immediate permanent resident status for all holders of TPS permits;

7. Repeal of the Patriot Act;

8. Repeal the REAL I.D. Act

An immediate moratorium of the random raids and deportations is on the order of the day. Such invasive interventions into the peace of our neighborhoods only result in the separation of families, heighten fear, and distrust of the government.

We stand ready to work with all unions, churches, community-based organizations, and immigrant organizations and coalitions that support respect for the integrity of families, family values, and the reunification of families. This is the cornerstone of the immigrant’s rights movement.

Nativo V. Lopez

National President of the Mexican American Political Association and Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana

bh

June 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Pelosi Sponsors Naturalization Workshop

Dear Friends:

On Saturday, July 21, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will host a citizenship workshop in San Francisco to provide free assistance to residents who are eligible to become American citizens. With the cost of filing fees scheduled to increase from $400 to $675 on July 28, we are urging all eligible residents to attend.

For most immigrants, becoming a United States’ citizen is the culmination of many years of hard work. Yet many permanent residents who are eligible to apply for citizenship fail to do so because they do not know they are eligible, do not know where to begin the process, or cannot afford to hire someone to assist them with the complicated form.

Speaker Pelosi's Citizenship Workshop will take place on Saturday, July 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove Street (at Polk Street), 4th Floor, in San Francisco.

Please circulate the attached flyer (information is also below) to your networks and anyone you believe would be eligible to apply for citizenship, and do not hesitate to contact me if you would like more information.

Thank you,

Dan Bernal, District Director
Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
415-556-4862

Speaker of the House Invites You to a

CITIZENSHIP WORKSHOP

Saturday, July 21, 2007
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
99 Grove Street (at Polk Street) 4th Floor
San Francisco

BECOME A U.S. CITIZEN BEFORE FILING FEES INCREASE FROM $400 to $675 AFTER JULY 28, 2007

Eligible applicants will receive free assistance with their citizenship applications at the workshop as time permits. Participants can also obtain answers to questions regarding their applications or the citizenship process.

To be eligible to apply for citizenship you MUST meet the following requirements:

Be a legal permanent resident for at least 5 years (3 years if married to a US citizen)

Speak, read, and write basic English (unless you have a serious disability or you have held your green card more than 15 years and are over 55 years old)

To complete your application on site you MUST bring the following:

Your green card, Social Security card, and state ID or driver’s license

All passports you have used since you received your green card, with a list of places you have traveled outside the USA, including dates of departure and return

A list of addresses where you have lived and worked for the past 5 years, with dates

Information about your spouse (if any), including name, date of birth, social security number, alien number and/or date of naturalization

Information about your children (if any): name, address, date of birth, alien number

Information about spouses from previous marriages (if any), including date of marriage and date the marriage ended

Information about any arrests, including reason for the arrest, date, place and court disposition

For men who arrived in the USA before age 26: Selective Service number & registration date

Check or Money order made out to Dept. of Homeland Security for $400, and $10 in cash for photos

For more information or to RSVP please call Congresswoman Pelosi’s office at 888-841-8801

RSVP IS ENCOURAGED

bh

June 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Students Fast in Support of Immigration Reform

Student Advocates for Higher Education (SAHE) at San José State University

Student Fast in San José California for Immigration Reform and Passage of the DREAM Act

WHAT:           A daily press conference at 12:00pm to announce to announce the status of the fasters and the statewide movement from July 2nd through July 5th, in San Jose.  Local students will be Fasting in front of Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren’s office to demonstrate their strong support for an immigration reform bill.  On July 5th Student Fasters from all over California will gather in San Jose and travel in the California for Immigration Reform Fast Caravan to House leader Nancy Pelosi’s office in San Francisco, to continue the Fast and finish on July 9th.

The Demands are:

ü     Legalization with a Path to Citizenship

ü     Reunification of Families, NO to the Point System

ü     Full Worker’s Rights Protections

ü     Preserve and Restore Civil Liberties and Due Process for All

ü     Stop Deportations and ICE Raids

ü     Enact the DREAM Act

WHEN:                       July 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 2007 at 12:00pm

WHERE:        In front of Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren’s office – 635 North 1st Street, San Jose, 95112

WHO:              Student Advocates for Higher Education (SAHE) at San José State University, Escuela Popular Student Club, MAIZ, Evergreen Valley College MEChA & Latinas for Change.

WHY:              To update the media on the status of the fasters and the Statewide movement.  The Fast seeks to call attention to Immigration Reform proposal.  Through this effort, students want to urge US Senators and US Representatives to support the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S.774; H.R.1645). This act would enable and motivate more than 60,000 students who graduate each year to attend an institution of higher education and utilize their degrees once graduate. If the DREAM Act becomes enacted, undocumented students who entered the US as minors will have the opportunity to a documented status upon maintaining good moral character and completing a college degree or service in the US military.  “The DREAM Act would open the doors to have an equal and fair treatment at the university I am currently attending. It would also make it possible to reach my Dream of becoming a high school teacher and be able to help my community,” says an undocumented AB540 student enrolled at San José State University.
Contact:  Francisco Alvarado
(408) 813-0581                                                                                                                                 alvarado.francisco@yahoo.com

bh

June 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

New Immigration Articles

Banias, Bradley B. Comment. "Membership in a particular social group": does America comply with its international obligation? 1 Charleston L. Rev. 123-145 (2007).

Gilbert, Lauren. Facing justice: ethical choices in representing immigrant clients. 20 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 219-260 (2007).

Lam, Julie. Note. Show me the green: civil RICO actions against employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. 84 Wash. U. L. Rev. 717-745 (2006).

Legomsky, Stephen H. A new path of immigration law: asymmetric incorporation of criminal justice norms. 64 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 469-528 (2007).

Moore, Andrew F. Unsafe in America: a review of the U.S.-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement. 47 Santa Clara L. Rev. 201-284 (2007).

Suzuki, Carol M. Unpacking Pandora's Box: innovative techniques for effectively counseling asylum applicants suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. 4 Hastings Race & Pov. L.J. 235-280 (2007).

Yuengert, Andrew. From prophecy to policy: bishops, prudence, and immigration politics. 4 U. St. Thomas L.J. 66-86 (2006).

21 GEORGETOWN IMMIGRATION LAW JOURNAL, NO. 2, WINTER, 2007.

Parker, Lynette M. Increasing law students' effectiveness when representing traumatized clients: a case study of the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center. 21 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 163-199 (2007).

Morawetz, Nancy. The invisible border: restrictions on short-term travel by noncitizens. 21 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 201-238 (2007).

Johnson, Richard A. Note. Twenty years of the IRCA: the urgent need for an updated legislative response to the current undocumented immigrant situation in the United States. 21 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 239-276 (2007).

Krezalek, Martin S. Note. How to minimize the risk of violating due process rights while preserving the BIA's ability to affirm without opinion. 21 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 277-318 (2007).

CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS

Toce, Joseph. Current development. Legislative branch: prospects for new bipartisan immigration reform with a Democratic majority in Congress. 21 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 321-323 (2007).

Shook, Jessica. Current development. Executive branch: new identification requirements for travelers by air. 21 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 325-327 (2007).

Musser, Emily. Current development. Judicial branch: the recent decision ... (Lopez v. Gonzales, 127 S. Ct. 625, 2006.) 21 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 329-332 (2007).

Fenlon, Randall. Current development. International: creation of a new Iraq refugee task force. 21 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 333-335 (2007).

KJ

June 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What Will the Fallout Be of the Failure of Immigration Reform 2007?

Bill Hing has a posted a number of posts of the reactions of immigrant rights, unions, and other groups to the demise of immigration reform.  The N.Y. Times (here) has an article about the views of immigrants and others to the latest inaction on immigration. The question now is "what next?"  AP speculates (here) that we may see a series of piecemeal immigration reform proposals in Congress, such as the DREAM Act, AgJobs, or increased border enforcement measures. CQPolitics.com (here) wonders whether the Senate Republicans' stance on immigration reform will injure Republicans's standing with Latinos in the 2008 Presidential elections.  It seems pretty clear that the defeat of immigration reform will not help the Reps attract the Latino vote.

What do our readers think?

KJ      

June 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Daily Challenges CNN for Lou Dobbs' Leprosy Claim

We have had a number of posts of Lou Dobbs wild (and unsubstantiated) claim about immigrants contributing to an increase in leprosy in the United States.  For an example, click here.  Well, Immigration Daily (www.ilw.com) today has called CNN out:

"On May 7, 2007, CNN's Lou Dobbs inaccurately reported on `Lou Dobbs Tonight' that there had been 7,000 new cases of leprosy in the US over a recent three-year period, and he further suggested that an increase in leprosy was due in part to "unscreened illegal immigrants coming into this country."CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl challenged the leprosy figure citing a US Department of Health and Human Services document that reported 7,029 cases over the past 30 years - not three (please find details at SPLC here). A factual error has been made on CNN and yet no correction has been issued by CNN. Do profits trump accuracy at CNN? We welcome readers to share their opinion and ideas with us by writing to mailto:editor@ilw.com"

KJ

June 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Comment on Orange County Raids

Here's a response from Robert Sorensen, who is at the University of Washington, to our postings on the ICE raids that have occurred in Orange County:

This story makes an impression on my because Santa Ana is my home turf. I can't be there now to keep vigil on the ICE raids, but I recall a similar strong and sweeping police presence by the Border Patrol back in the day leading up to and near the time of Operation Gatekeeper. They used to hit Santa Ana because it was the first major city inland from the frontier.

Freshly arrived immigrants were then an easy prey for unscrupulous merchants and landlords, street criminals, fake immigration experts, and the gestapoesque Border Patrol round ups.

It seems as though history is trying to imitate itself with regard to the round up sweeps. Only this time the enforcement is carried out by a much bigger and more specialized branch of the anti immigrant bureaucracy. It is my hope that the raid will stop. I sense that the sweeps represent a temporary political posturing by a desperate government mega-bureaucracy that has to pander to nativist outcry in order to justify its own existence. I am under the impression that the raids won't last. For one thing, I don't think the residents of Orange County will tolerate the strong arm posturing.

Southern California is too dependent on and intertwined with the Hispanic immigrant community to allow the raids to go on. What may be necessary is a stronger protest reaction by the communities surrounding Santa Ana including some prominent religionists and non Latino leaders to denounce the raids.

As for your monitoring the situation as it plays out in Santa Ana today, I would hope that the blogsters would pick up the ball and get the word out that the raids are going on through out the country. Not enough people know that this is going on, but if they did they would protest. We experienced the Portland del Monte raids here in the Pacific Northwest on June 12. Quite a few of us turned out at the ICE prison in protest of the gestapoesque raids. ICE has a live public information phone line (weekdays) EST. Voice opinions a 1 202 514 2648

bh

June 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

Democratic Presidential Debate at Howard University

Patresp The Democratic Forum, the first of the All American Presidential Forums on PBS hosted by Tavis Smiley, was held on June 28, 2007 at Howard University in Washington, DC. Sen. Joseph Biden, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Christopher Dodd, former Sen. John Edwards, Sen. Mike Gravel, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Sen. Barack Obama, and Gov. Bill Richardson, participated. The All American Presidential Forums mark the irst time that a panel exclusively comprised of journalists of color has been represented in primetime.  Massachusetts Governor (and Harvard educated) Deval Patrick eloquently introduced the debate and candidates.  Questions to the candidates were posed by Tavis Smiley and journalists Michel Martin of National Public Radio, nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, Jr. and USA Today and Gannett News Service columnist DeWayne Wickham.   Interestingly, one of the questioners, Ruben Navarette, later (here) criticized the debate (really the questioners) for failing to raise issues of special importance to Hispanics.

Given that immigration reform died earlier in the day, it seemed odd that immigration reform did not come up in the debate (especially since one of the questions involved the federal government's response to the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, with the flow of immigrants coming to the region to labor in the reconstruction efforts generating tension and controversy).  The candidates did extensively discuss critically important issues of racism and racial equality, including the Supreme Court's ruling earlier in the day limiting the consideration of race in public school assignments.  Of course, immigration raises important issues of race and class that warrant careful discussion and scrutiny.  Hopefully, in the coming months, we can have an in-depth discussion of immigration reform among all of the candidates.

For a transcript to the debate, click here.  Links to an audio and video of the debate, click hereSherrilyn Ifill (Maryland) was one of the official live bloggers for the debate.  Her entries can be found at www.blackprof.com .

KJ

June 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant of the Day: Senator Mel Martinez

160pxmel_martinez Melquíades Rafael "Mel" Martínez (born October 23, 1946) is a Cuban-born American politician, who is currently the junior United States Senator from Florida and the General Chairman of the Republican Party. Previously, Martinez served as the 12th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush.

Martinez was born in Sagua La Grande, Cuba. He came to the United States in 1962 as part of a Roman Catholic humanitarian effort called Operation Peter Pan, which brought into the U.S. more than 14,000 children. Upon arrival in the U.S., Martinez was alone and spoke virtually no English. After living with two foster families, he was reunited with his family in Orlando in 1966.

Martinez attended Bishop Moore High School in Orlando on scholarship. After graduation, he attended Florida State as an undergrad and as a law student.

Martinez resigned his cabinet post in December 2003 to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Florida being vacated by retiring Democratic Senator Bob Graham.  Martinez secured the Republican nomination and narrowly defeated the Democratic nominee, Betty Castor. His election made him the first Cuban-American to serve in the U.S. Senate.  Martinez and Ken Salazar were the first Latino U.S. Senators since 1977. They were joined by Bob Menendez in January 2006.

Martinez and his wife Kitty have three children and two grandchildren.

KJ

June 29, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

NILC Statement on Senate Vote

We are extremely distressed by the course of events leading to the 46-53 defeat of comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate this morning. Not because we supported passage of the bill under debate -- we did not -- but because the state of discourse over immigration and the choices given to the American people have become so poor.

The discourse brought us to a lose-lose situation where a bill containing so many harmful provisions -- one likely to become even more harsh as the process unfolded -- could be presented as the only opportunity to achieve some limited measure of humanity for the undocumented workers and their families who disproportionately perform some of the nation's toughest and lowest paying jobs. It brought us to a situation where those arguing passionately on the Senate floor for such a problematic bill included many of the Senators who are most committed to the cause of fairness for immigrants. They pleaded for the Senate to let the process go forward, in the hope that the bill would be fundamentally improved prior to enactment.

Now we will never know whether that would have happened, though there is reason to believe that the same dynamics that pulled the bill further and further from decency in the Senate would also have prevailed in the House. That is very sad.

Still, this is not the end of the quest for just and humane immigration reform. Realistically, no one bill was ever going to solve all of our immigration problems. Likewise, no single vote can be allowed to end our struggle. We are in now in the middle of one of the periodic flare-ups of anti-immigrant hostility that have recurred throughout the nation's history. Those flames, like the previous ones, will eventually die down, whereas the demographic and economic realities that require resolution will endure and continue to grow, as will the movement for justice by immigrant communities and their supporters.

For more information contact Josh Bernstein, Director of Federal Policy, National Immigration Law Center, at bernstein@nilc-dc.org

bh

June 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Border Angels' Reaction to Senate Vote

To all those of us opposed to inhumanity of it all, please remember this was a bad bill and do not let the extremist right bask in defeat of bill as politics make strange bed fellows and while extreme right was motivated by hate and fear, those of us on Humane side are motivated by justice and this bill was not just or humane….we will continue to lobby for HUMANE REFORM and realize that we will have to wait longer …but true change for justice takes time…let’s continue to peacefully lobby, educate, organize etc…lets register more people to vote…protect all our people as humane reform will take place…so when media or opposition calls…we need to advise that we did not accept this bill or expect it  to pass…we are more galvanized and united than ever…el pueblo unido….jamas sera vencido ! Tomorrow as today media will be all over this BE POSITIVE !!! I will be on Fox National News in AM (Fox and Friends) I am aware, very aware…they are not friends… also join me as we continue to lobby to remove racist Lou Dobbs from CNN..HASTA LA VICTORIA!

IN SOLIDARITY

Enrique Morones

Border Angels
P.O. Box 86598
San Diego, CA 92138
www.borderangels.org

bh

June 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

NALEO and MALDEF Statements on Senate Vote

STATEMENT OF MALDEF PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL JOHNTRASVIÑA ON U.S. SENATE VOTE ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

June 28, 2007 - Today, the forces of delay and divide teamed up to defeat comprehensive immigration reform legislation.  But the hopes and needs of the American people - native and newcomer alike - will not be deterred.  The status quo is simply indefensible.  Families remain at risk of being split up; businesses remain unable to hire legal workers for all their jobs; and the immigration system can not effectively devote resources to protect America's security or future.

We thank those Senators who, on a bipartisan basis, carried out their duties under the Constitution to craft immigration policy.  The remainder leaves America with neither solution nor vision.  Congress has two houses and we now call upon the House of Representatives to address, and not ignore, our immigration policies so they can serve our families, our security and our economy.                           

----

NALEO CONDEMNS SENATE VOTE TO KILL COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
Nation’s Elected and Appointed Latino Officials Call on U.S House and White House
to “Finish the Job the Senate Could Not”

Orlando, FL —The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), the leading organization that facilitates full Latino participation in the political process, today issued the following statement in response to today’s vote in the United States Senate to kill comprehensive immigration reform:

As more than 1,000 Latino elected and appointed officials from across the country convene in the battleground state of Florida at the NALEO 24th Annual Conference, the United States Senate today killed the comprehensive immigration reform bill (S.1639) by a vote of 46 to 53, forcing millions of undocumented immigrants to continue living in the shadows.

NALEO is deeply disappointed at the Senate’s failure to fulfill the mandate of the American people to fix our broken immigration system. 

Further, our Latino elected officials from across the country, at every level of elected office, are concerned that the Senate’s failure now opens the door to more anti-immigrant, anti-Latino measures across the nation.

We now call on the United States House of Representatives and the White House to take on this issue and finish the job that the Senate did not.  We strongly reject the notion that the Senate’s failure today means immigration reform is dead. 

NALEO has adopted principles on comprehensive immigration reform [click here] that provide a road map to the work that needs to be done, including the need for a path to U.S. citizenship for those immigrants who have played by the rules and are contributing to our society. 

We also envision a system which promotes family reunification and reduces immigration backlogs; provides a meaningful opportunity for immigrant students to pursue a college education; protects our national security with effective and fair enforcement measures; and promotes the civic integration of newcomers. 

We urge the President and the House of Representatives to work toward those principles for true comprehensive immigration reform.

bh

June 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Peter Schey's Reaction to the Senate

This is NOT the end of immigration reform. Its a sad day for the country, for immigrants, for US workers, and for immigrants’ sending communities. However, to be perfectly frank, the Senate Grand Bargain was a horrible proposal and many elected officials who truly support immigration reform, like Congressman Xavier Bacerra and Senator Robert Menendez honestly told us and others that there was very little chance of improving the bill in the House.

Just so that you remember what went down to defeat: Over 300 miles of new border walls (more deaths), 20 new detention centers able to hold 25,000 new immigrants per day, massive new criminal penalties (5 years in prison for illegal reentry after deportation, which the vast majority of immigrants have done; 10 years in prison for “immigration fraud” such as using your cousin’s green card to find work, something tons of immigrants do), substantially increased worksite and community raids, local police involvement in immigration enforcement, no fix for the 1996 “bars” that prevent hundreds of thousands or millions of immigrants with US citizen and lawful resident family members through whom they could traditionally immigrate (pre-1996) from doing so all because they had some minor violation of the immigration laws, a massive new guest worker program with NO path to lawful permanent resident status, a new immigration “point” system that effectively wiped out family-based immigration and replaced it with one that would reduce Latino lawful immigration by about 75% (points based on type of work, education, etc.), etc etc. In return for all of these totally regressive proposals, undocumented immigrants were offered a “non-immigrant” status (Z visas), forced labor or forfeit your visa, no family unification, no confidentiality (so, get denied, get deported), no effective judicial review of arbitrary denials, and no guaranteed path to lawful permanent resident status because Z visa holders were required to apply in 8 years under the new “point” system. In summary, a terrible legalization in return for a package of terrible enforcement measures.

Many groups came to the difficult decision to oppose the Senate bill. Others made the equally difficult decision to support it. Nobody liked it.

For a plan B, check out the Unity Blueprint at http://www.unityblueprint.org

Its time for advocates to promote a positive bill, rather than react to terrible proposals made by elected officials pandering to corporations tat want guest workers and the Lou Dobbs crowd. Its time to begin a social movement in favor of real immigration reform, organized in the field, not by beltway groups. Its gotta come from the bottom up. Its time to organize to get Lou Dobbs off CNN. Its time to call for reform that looks at the root causes of undocumented migration and how to address those causes through sustainable economic development in sending communities and revisiting agreements like NAFTA. Its time to push for increased visas to meet the real demand. Its time to push for the Dream Act, AgJobs, protection of families, increased labor rights for US and immigrant workers, etc., possibly in smaller proposals introduced in the House. Its time to fight the raids through litigation, Congressional hearings, etc.

It took us from 1980 to 1986 to get the IRCA passed with a real legalization program. It didn’t happen in one or two years.

Finally, remember that even if a positive immigration reform law is enacted in 2009, with a reasonably prompt path to legalization, undocumented immigrants could easily get lawful permanent resident status and citizenship much sooner than if the Senate proposal was enacted into law today.

Don’t mourn – organize.

Regards,
Peter Schey

bh

June 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

SEIU Expresses Disappointment on Senate Inaction

Statement of SEIU Executive Vice President Eliseo Medina

Senate Republicans Fail America on Immigration

WASHINGTON, DC – This afternoon, the Senate’s minority Republicans and the Bush White House could not deliver the votes necessary to advance the immigration reform bill.  Their inaction forces Americans to accept an intolerable status quo and threatens any real possibility to overhaul our nation’s immigration system in this Congress.   

We are extremely disappointed with today’s Senate vote on immigration reform.  It was a vote against America’s character, values, and best interests.  The vote reaffirms that Senate Republicans are deeply out of touch with the American majority.  Despite being the primary bill drafters, the fact that so few Republicans voted to proceed demonstrates that politics—not good public policy— ruled the day.  They have failed their own principles, immigrants, and the country as whole. 

We know that the Senate bill was imperfect and that creating a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system is hard work.  But the choice by Senate Republicans to do nothing inflicts a much greater cost on America.  They have abandoned their responsibility to the American people, and they have turned their backs on millions of immigrants.  They have sent immigrants an unmistakable message: you are not welcome in our big tent. We will not forget. 

The price of the Bush Administration and Senate’s failure means more people dying in the desert.  It means more work place raids and families separated.  It means that wages and benefits will continue to decline as bottom feeding employers use immigration status as a tool to increase profits.  It means more public anger, and it means more punitive state and local laws that target immigrants.

Republican leaders have failed to accept the results of 2006 elections that saw anti-immigrant candidates defeated.  This Republican minority is set upon passing restrictionist measures that offer no solutions and divide America.  They are determined to erase our proud history as a nation of immigrants in exchange for petty political gains.

Our leaders have the potential to restore the rule of law, improve our security, protect our workers, strengthen our economy, and bring us back in line with our most cherished values. It may take longer than anyone would want, but whether it’s tomorrow, next week, or next year, we will not give up until our leaders fix this broken immigration system once and for all. 

bh

June 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Senate Vote

As Kevin Johnson just reported, the senate Immigration bill was blocked on a procedural vote.

According to the Washington Post, "the 46-53 tally fell dramatically short of the 60 votes needed to overcome opponents' dilatory tactics and parliamentary maneuvers that have dogged the bill for weeks."

bh

June 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

Kill (the) Bill: Immigration Bill Dead!

CNN (here) reports that the immigration bill suffered a defeat day in the Senate, when members voted against advancing the controversial legislation.   The Washington Post reports (here) that the final vote was he 46-53 against cloture, far short of the 60 votes necessary for the bill to move forward.

KJ

June 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

More Immigrant Rights Advocates Oppose Senate Bill

MEDIA ADVISORY -- PRESS CONFERENCE
For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 28, 2007

Immigrant Rights Groups Press Congress to Stop Repressive Senate Bill and to Restore Rights as Part of Deliberations at the U.S. Social Forum

Contact:
Arnoldo García, (510) 928-0685, agarcia@nnirr.org (English / Spanish)
Colin Rajah, (415) 203-8763, crajah@nnirr.org (English / Bahasa Melayu-Indonesia)
Catherine Tactaquin, (510) 459-4457, ctactaquin@nnirr.org (English)
Diana Pei Wu, (510) 847-9339, diana@nnirr.org (English / Spanish / Mandarin)

WHAT: A media conference to address the hotly debated immigration reform bill before the Senate and other concerns being expressed by immigrant and refugee communities during the U.S. Social Forum.

WHEN: 9:30-10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, Thursday, June 28, 2007

WHERE: At the Immigrant Rights Tent at the Atlanta Civic Center (in back corner, in front of the registration site entrance), site of the U.S. Social Forum proceedings.

WHO: Members and allies of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights with participants of the "Immigrant Rights Caucus" at the U.S. Social Forum. (See caucus list and national immigrant and refugee rights contact list for media below), representing African, African American, Latino, Asian & Asian American, Pacific Islander, South Asian and other communities.

WHY: Ignoring broad immigrant community opposition, the U.S. Senate continues pushing forward an immigration reform bill (S.1639) that offers little relief for immigrant communities seeking legalization and family reunification. S.1639 would continue criminalizing immigrants, eroding the civil rights and liberties of the foreign-born. Based on a new guest worker program, S.1639 would dismantle the family unity basis of current immigration policies and impose a "merit" point system that favors skilled, educated, and English speaking workers considered more beneficial to the U.S. economy. The bill will deepen the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, expanding immigrant prison construction, interior immigration policing, detention and deportations.

MEDIA CONTACTS
Immigrant Rights Caucus at the U.S. Social Forum (partial list)
June 26-July 1, 2007 - Atlanta, GA

Carol Barton
United Methodist Women's Division, New York, NY
Cell/Telephone numbers: (917) 584-9726 (cell); Atlanta Marriott
Email: cbarton@gbgm-umc.org
URL http://www.umwmission.org http://gbgm-umc.org/umw
Language(s) spoken: English (Spanish)

Gabriel Camacho
American Friends Service Committee, Project Voice, Boston, MA
Cell (617) 947-7019
Email gcamacho@afsc.org
Languages Spoken  English, Spanish

Viola Cásares and Alejandra Bergemann
Fuerza Unida, San Antonio, Texas
Cell (210) 273-5510
Email: insolita98@hotmail.com and admin@lafuerzaunida.org
URL: www.lafuerzaunida.org
Language(s) spoken: Español/Spanish, English

Trishala Deb
Audre Lorde Project, New York, NY
Cell (917) 488-6701
Email tdeb@alp.org
Languages Spoken: Hindi, Urdu, English

Lillian Galedo
Filipinos for Affirmative Action, Oakland, CA
Cell & Telephone numbers (510) 409-1679 cell;  (510) 465-9876 (w)
Email:  lgaledo@filipinos4action.org
URL  www.filipinos4action.org
Language spoken: English

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Arnoldo García, cell (510) 928-0685, agarcia@nnirr.org (English, Spanish)
Colin Rajah, cell (415) 203-8763, crajah@nnirr.org (English, Bahasa Melayu / Bahasa Indonesia)
Catherine Tactaquin, cell (510) 459-4457 (English)
Diana Pei Wu, cell (510) 847-9339, Diana@nnirr.org (English, Spanish, Mandarin)
www.nnirr.org
www.migrantdiaries.blogspot.com
www.nnirr.blogspot.com
www.myspace.com/nnirr
migrantsrights.wiki.zoho.com

Isabel Garcia and Alexis Mazón
Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Tucson, AZ
Cell/Telephone (520) 891-6169  and (520) 390-1604)
Email: chita.garcia@yahoo.com and alexismazon@yahoo.com)
URL www.derechoshumanosaz.net
Language(s) spoken: English, Spanish

Adriana Jasso
American Friends Service Committee, San Diego, CA
Cell (619) 808-7277
Email ajasso@afsc.org
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish

Hamid Khan
South Asian Network, Los Angeles, CA
Cell Voice 562-403-0488 x 105
Email hamid@southasiannetwork.org
URL www.southasiannetwork.org
Languages Spoken English; Urdu; Punjabi

Gerald Lenoir
Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Berkeley, California
Cell: (510) 435-0382 (510) 849-9940 (voice)
Email: bajimail@yahoo.com
URL www.blackalliance.org
Languages spoken: English

B. Lowe and Francisco Pacheco
Latino Union of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Cell (773) 791-4668 (Loewe) and (240) 463-6410
Email ludevelopment@sbcglobal.net
Languages Soke Spanish/English

Monami Maulik
DRUM: Desis Rising Up & Moving and the Immigrant Community Action coalition, Queens, NY
Cell: (347) 385 9113
Email: monami@drumnation.org
URL: www.drumnation.org
Languages spoken: Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, English

María Poblet
St. Peter's Housing Committee, San Francisco, CA
Cell (510) 725-9646
Email maria@comitedevivienda.org
Languages Spoke: Spanish/English

Janis Rosheuvel and Prince Brown
Families for Freedom, Brooklyn, NY
Cell (917) 526-1136
Email janis@familiesforfreedom.org, princeofbrooklyn@gmail.com
URL www.familiesforfreedom.org
Languages Spoken English (both); French (Ms. Rosheuvel)

Pedro Rios
American Friends Service Committee; US/Mexico Border Program, San Diego, CA
Cell 619/370-5908
Email PRios@afsc.org
Languages Spoke: Spanish/English

Rafael Samanez
(VAMOS) Vendedores Ambulantes Mobilizando y Organizando en Solidaridad; New York, NY
Cell: (646) 330-1951
Email: vamosunidos@gmail.com
Languages Spoken: English and Spanish

Lily Xiong
Hmong American Women Association,
Tel (414) 342-0858.
Email lily@hawa-inc.org
URL www.hawa-inc.org
Languages Spoken: Hmong, English*

For more information, the full schedule of events and links to the latest news & analysis:

NNIRR Network News & Analysis: http://nnirr.blogspot.com
Immigrants Rights Caucus: http://migrantsrights.wiki.zoho.com
NNIRR Dispatches on the Road: http://migrantdiaries.blogspot.com
U.S. Social Forum homepage: http://www.ussf2007.org
NNIRR Homepage: http://www.nnirr.org

About The Immigrants Rights Caucus at the US Social Forum (partial list)

The Immigrant Rights Caucus is convened by the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (www.nnirr.org).

The Caucus includes members and advocates from over 25 organizations, including the following groups and partner organizations:

· AFL-CIO
· American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
· Audre Lorde Project (ALP)
· Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (BAIRC)
· Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
· CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities
· Center for Parrticipatory Change (CPC-NC)
· Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)
· Coalicion de Derechos Humanos
· Coalicion de Organizaciones Latino Americanas (COLA)
· Colectivo Flatlander
· Colonias Development Council
· Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM)
· Esperanza del Barrio
· Families for Freedom
· Farmworker Association of Florida, Inc.
· Fuerza Unida
· Grassroots Global Justice
· Highlander Research and Education Center
· Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA)
· Movement for Justice in el Barrio
· Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA)
· Multiethnic Immigrant Workers Organizing Network (MIWON)
· National Immigration Project (NLG)
· National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
· Priority African Network (PAN)
· Progressive Communicators Network (PCN)
· Queers for Economic Justice (Q4EJ)
· South Asian Network (SAN)
· Southeast Regional Economic Justice Network (REJN)
· Southwest Workers Union (SWU)
· St. Peter's Housing Committee
· Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research & Action (TIGRA)
· United Methodist Church - Women's Division
· Vendedores Ambulantes Mobilizando y Organizando en Solidaridad (VAMOS)

bh

June 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ICE Raids Continue in Orange County

Last week reported on a 5-day ICE sweep in Orange County. Apparently, the activity continues. This is an account from one community observer:

I am writing with tears of rage flowing my eyes right now. I keep waiting to learn that somehow the situation with the raids surely is not as bad as we thought, or there was this out-of-the-blue sweep of raids that began and ENDED last week in the O.C. and now everything is growing more tranquil. But the reports we continue to learn and hear from people on the streets, in the communities, tell us something different.

Today, a half-dozen or so people hit the streets of Santa Ana around 4th and Main, carrying signs that say "DEPORT ICE" and "ALTO A LOS REDADAS" and fliers abouto the upcoming meeting (Thurs) and march (Sat.). We were following up on a report from a team of folks who last night learned that there had been ICE agents at a nearby market (Northgate Gonzales) and suspected that an ICE raid might perhaps be in the works. The report was that last Saturday morning, around 11am, these agents were spotted talking to businesses and checking entrances and exits. We thought it was possibe a raid was being planned for this area, so we wanted to check it out without causing any alarm to community members.

What we learned today, walking to and around the store and surrounding area, was that apparantly a raid did take place. A separate report from a local person was that Friday and Saturday, around 10 or 11am and then again around 3pm, that ICE appeared and just started taking people. This report said the agents entered Carisol marketplace (same vicinity as the other) and took away 15 people, plus several other reports of seeing the vans and ICE officials walking around their streets.

The time and location corresponds enough to the first report that it sounds valid. It is difficult to confirm the actuality of the numbers reported, right now there is so little documentation of what is happening that all we have to rely on is the word on the streets.

As we approached another street vendor and surrounding clientele, we heard more stories. We met a family who said they called Univision already to tell them their story--that the ICE agents are targeting bike trails where parents walk their kids home from school. We were asked repeatedly by this family to please go there if we wanted to help, to go there when school is getting out that that is when the agents arrive to grab people. The school in particular the spoke of is Roosevelt school on Chestnut and Holiday.

We heard other stories--of agents stopping people in their cars (perhaps this is the checkpoint others reported of occuring last night??). After a while, it grew difficult to continue writing down all the street corners and locations where they had heard immigration agents had been appearinng because there were just so many--15th and Surgeon by Davis school,
17th St. at a 7-11,
1st and Grand,
Chapman St. in the city of Orange, and so on.

Another group of women we encountered on the street today said that we had just missed agents earlier this morning. They said that at 9:30 this morning, 2 vans that said HOMELAND SECURITY parked, one on each side of the street, and 3 men in black/ navy blue uniforms that said "immigration" on it, each carrying pistols around their waste, walked into theirs and other peoples businesses and starting asking questions, with little children standing nearby and families on streets surrounding. At this point, the ladies we spoke to said they were told by others to go inside and not come out until they (the immigration officials) had left.

When we walked down another block, I peered ahead to inspect an unmarked white van parked on the strip. As I walked forward, carrying my sign, I was greeted with something that caught me by great surprise to receive. I was greeted by a standing ovation (clapping and standing up) by the vendors and women gathered on that particular location. I almost couldn't believe my eyes (or ears). I walked over to them to share the flier and information about events, and they told us about several other locations of raids; they spoke to us of how empty their streets were (on the main strip in Santa Ana) all through the weekend; they told us of how much fear people are in, that they are too afraid to come out and shop. The group of people took the fliers, promised to come to the meeting tomorrow night, and thanked us repeatedly for being there.

Another uncofirmed report is also that yesterday immigration officials corned off streets at the end of the work day at 3 different janitorial work sites near Irvine. More details are coming in later today on that report.

Tomorrow, we call for continued walks through the community. We are asking for a team to depart from Centro (the corner of 5th and Broadway) at noon (come early if possible to make signs), but either way--depart at noon to make the same walk down 4th street as the community was greatly appreciative of our presence.

Secondly, we'd like a second team to go to Roosevelt school on Chestnut and Holiday when the kids get let out to provide a presence of safety for the parents walking their children home from school. The exact address and time of release needs to be confirmed--anyonoe is welcome to research that and post it back to the recipients of this email, or look it up yourself and just show up tomorrow at the end of the school day.

What is happening is clearly horrible, and based on the growing numbers of people responding, this will NOT be taken quietly. We met people on the streets today who had already received our fleirs, copied them, and was distributing them to their friends and/or posting on their market windows. We expect a significant community response and participation in tomorrow's meeting, and suggest for people to help by providing or bringing refreshments? a pitcher of aguas? pan dulce?

bh

June 28, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)