Saturday, November 24, 2007
From the Washington Post:
"THE SPEAKER was discussing the human face of illegal immigration. "People are continuing dying in the Sonoran desert, and it's just a very sad thing to see," he said. "One 3-year-old baby died, a 16-year-old girl with a rosary in her hand. There's a side of this that grieves me terribly. These are God's children. They're not from another planet, and the whole thing . . . frankly, this whole issue saddens me a great deal." "
Hint Number 2: It is not Tom Tancredo.
In Arizona, federal agents arrested an border crosser who cared for a 9-year-old boy found wandering alone after his mother died in a canyon crash in southern Arizona. The boy was looking for help after his mother crashed her van off a cliff on Thanksgiving Day. Sheriff Tony Estrada told reporters that the mother had been in an accident and that her son, who was unhurt but disoriented, crawled out to get help and was found about two hours later by Jesus Manuel Cordova, 26. Unable to pull the mother out, Cordova comforted the boy while they waited for help. The woman unfortunately died a short time later. "He stayed with [the boy], told him that everything was going to be all right," Estrada said. As temperatures dropped, he gave him a jacket, built a bonfire and stayed with him until about 8 a.m. Friday, when a group of hunters passed by and called authorities, Estrada said.
Cordova, meanwhile, was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents. He had been trying to walk into the U.S. when he came across the boy. Sheriff Estrada said Cordova likely saved the boy and his actions should remind people not to quickly characterize all illegal immigrants as criminals. "They do get demonized for a lot of reasons and they do a lot of good. Obviously this is one example of what an individual can do," he said.
Friday, November 23, 2007
David Brooks has an op/ed suggesting that the "real" Rudy Guiliani is generous to immigrants and that the recent incarnation of Rudy G on immigration is a fake. Whatever you conclude, it is clear that Guiliani has said some very different things about immigration and immigrants in the past than he is saying today in the heat of a presidential campaign. For example, in 1996, at Harvard's JFK School, he stated emphatically that “I believe the anti-immigrant movement in America is one of our most serious public problems.”
Will the real Rudy Guiliani please stand up? In some ways, this is much more important than answer to the the old punch line on the television show "To Tell the Truth."
HISTORICAL MEETING IN EL PASO, TX TO DEVELOP POLICY PROPOSALS ADDRESSING IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT AND BORDER SECURITY
Members of the US Congress, mayors, local elected officials, law enforcement chiefs, academics, faith and business leaders and community activists from all US-Mexico Border States are scheduled to participate at the Border Policy Conference
The immigration reform initiatives that Congress debated and failed to approve earlier this year completely ignored the views and experiences of border communities. It is possible to fix the immigration crisis without sacrificing national security, infringing the human rights of individuals, and disrupting bi-national commerce.
During the last few months the US/Mexico Border and Immigration Task Force fought to include several legislative initiatives in the immigration reform bills that were discussed in Congress. Now, in a collaborative effort, the Border Network for Human Rights, the Border Action Network and the Task Force are summoning local elected officials, law enforcement agencies, faith and business leaders, attorneys, academics and community organizations from all four US-Mexico border states, to develop immigration and national security policy that t considers a new “vision of the border”. The “new vision of the border” is rooted in the belief that effective border security must integrate community security, human rights protections, government accountability and economic integration.
On November 28 and 29, 2007, during the 2-day conference on border policy “Building a New Vision of the Border” in El Paso Texas, more that 150 participants will use their unique perspective of living in the border to discuss and develop new policy to address immigration and border security issues. The Task Force will be bringing together the opinions, expertise and insight of several sectors of border communities to present policy recommendations and testimonies on the current border security and immigration reform debate to members of Congress for possible inclusion in future legislation.
Who: US/Mexico Immigration Task Force members, federal, state and local elected officials, community activists, academics, lawyers and religious leaders
What: Press conference announcing the “Building a New Vision of the Border: a Conference on Border Policy”
When: November 28th 2007, at 12:00 p.m.
Where: 2nd Floor of the El Paso Camino Real Hotel
101 S. El Paso Street, El Paso, TX 79901
# # #
About the Texas/Mexico Border and Immigration Task Force: Includes members of the Border Human Rights Collaborative, local elected officials, community organizations, academics, lawyers, church and community leaders of border cities and counties in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
About the Border Human Rights Collaborative: The Collaborative includes Arizona-based Border Action Network and Texas and New Mexico-based Border Network for Human Rights.
For more information contact:
Fernando Garcia (Texas-New Mexico) 915.577.0722
Jennifer Allen (Arizona) 520.820.0360
Elhiu Domínguez (General) 915.492.1354
Andrés Martinez on Stumped thoughtfully responds to the question whether the Republican candidates will try to make "Immigration This Year's Gay Marriage?" Among other things, Martinez discusses the oft-unexplored linkages between trade and migration.
On a related note, efforts are being made to place anti-affirmative action initiatives, like those passed in California, Washington, and, most recently, Michigan, on the 2008 ballot in a number of states. This might affect the Presidential election in those states, just like the gay marriage measures did in sveral states in 2004. We wil see but stay tuned!
Joel Stein in the L.A. Times writes of his lunch with Tom Tancredo on the Iowa camaign circuit. Suprisingly enough, Tancredo is a big fan of Mexican food (even though his immigration policies would keep many Mexican immigrants out of the country). Stein's column in a light-hearted way reveals some of Tancredo's complexities.
On Immigration: "When is our party going to show a little backbone and strength and courage and speak up for those people who have been left behind?"
The N.Y Times has a thoughtful analysis of the current politces of immigration. It ends appropriately with this:
"America is waiting for a leader to risk saying that the best answer is not the simplest one. As John Edwards said at the last debate, “When is our party going to show a little backbone and strength and courage and speak up for those people who have been left behind?”
He was talking about the poor and people without health insurance, but he could — and should — have included a host of others: Business owners who want to hire legal workers. Americans who don’t want their opportunities undermined by the off-the-books economy. Children whose dreams of education and advancement are thwarted by their parents’ hopeless immigration status. And the immigrants, here and abroad, who want to find their place in a society that once welcomed their honest labor, but can’t find a way to do it anymore. "
This is not really "news" but is worth repeating. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) calls on our nation’s news media to use accurate terminology in its coverage of immigration and to stop dehumanizing undocumented immigrants. NAHJ is concerned with the increasing use of pejorative terms to describe the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the United States. NAHJ is particularly troubled with the growing trend of the news media to use the word “illegals” as a noun, shorthand for "illegal aliens." Using the word in this way is grammatically incorrect and crosses the line by criminalizing the person, not the action they are purported to have committed. NAHJ calls on the media to never use “illegals” in headlines.
Angered by what they perceive as a hardening US stance on immigration-related issues, Mexicans from a variety of political forces are mobilizing to support migrants north of their border. For the first time, leaders of Mexican immigrants residing in the US and Canada convened a meeting in the Mexican capital to demand stronger action from the government of President Felipe Calderon. Held November 16-17, the sometimes raucous First Parliament of Mexican Migrant Leaders November attracted nearly 600 participants. Twenty Mexican legislators from different political parties and representatives of the National Migration Institute (INM) were on hand for the proceedings. Fired up by the mounting deportations of undocumented Mexicans from the US, some activists at the Mexico City meeting called on the Calderon administration to cease trade, investment, anti-crime and security negotiations with the US until Washington puts a moratorium on immigration law enforcement raids and deportations. "Immigration reform and a path to citizenship could be the next steps to take," said Ema Lozano, president of the Chicago-based Centro Sin Fronteras. "What's urgent at this moment is to negotiate a halt to deportations."
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The Houston Chronicle has a fun exercise that allows readers to match up their immigration policy preferences with those of the Presidential candidates. Somewhat surprising to me, my answers to the questions placed me most in agreement with Senator Hillary Clinton, with Senator Christopher Dodd and Govenor Bill Richardson tied for second.
Give it a try!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
To Friends of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights:
As we witness ever worsening treatment of immigrants and a trampling of human rights in this country, we as a movement of immigrant rights activists are preparing for an inspiring and timely conference in Houston this January: Claiming our Rights, Envisioning our Future: COMMUNITIES ORGANIZING FOR JUSTICE. We have several important announcements and resources to share with you in this newsletter. All of the links included in this email can be found on our website at: http://www.nnirr.org/events/conference/2008/english.html
Confused about Visas, Green Card or Citizenship Delays?
Come and learn more about the Process
TOWN HALL MEETING: An overview of immigration law and how to check the status of your case!
Guest Speakers- Janna Evans (Regional Lead for Community Outreach); Michael Biggs (Sacramento Field Office Director)
U.S. Citizenship & immigration services; U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security
Saturday December 1, 2007 from 11 am to 12 pm
Legal clinic: Free consultation with an Attorney! Reserve a slot TODAY!
Please contact CAIR to schedule an appointment. Deadline to reserve a free session with a Lawyer is Wednesday November 28, 2007
To register, please send the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
1. Contact info (Name, Address, and Telephone Number)
2. Legal Matter (Job Discrimination, Immigration, or other Civil Rights case)
3. Language Help (if needed, i.e. Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, Spanish, etc.)
Saturday, December 1, 2007, 12 pm to 3 pm
Islamic Center of Stockton, 1130 S. Pilgrim St, Stockton, CA
For more information please contact:
Council on American-Islamic Relations Sacramento Valley (CAIR-SV) Email: email@example.com / Phone: (916) 441-6269
San Francisco will begin issuing municipal identification cards to undocumented immigrants next year, becoming only the second city in the country to create such a program in the wake of stalled immigration reform efforts in Washington. The board of supervisors Tuesday gave the final OK needed to create the ID card program.
The cards will be available to anyone living in the city next August and used as proof of identity when it comes to most facets of city business, from library service to police stops. Although immigrants are the prime target for the ID program, the cards will be available to anyone who wants them. The program becomes the most significant piece in San Francisco's efforts to offer a safe haven for illegal immigrants, which includes prohibiting city employees and police from asking anyone about their immigration status. Many other cities in the Bay Area, including San Jose, offer some of those safe-haven protections to immigrants.
I guess that it is unfair to suggest this morning that ALL the Presidential candidates are espousing toufgh on immigrant views. Indeed, Ruben Navarrette Jr. had very kind words for Gov. Bill Richardson's response on immigration last week during the Democratic Presidentiul debate in Las Vegas. His column begins:
"What can I say? Bill Richardson rocks.
While John Edwards and Barack Obama were taking shots at Hillary Clinton during the recent CNN Democratic debate in Las Vegas, the New Mexico governor was focusing on his own candidacy and delivering one of the best performances of the night.
Even those who believe that Richardson is really auditioning for a vice presidential nomination would have to concede that the audition is going well.
Just think about the novel way in which Richardson, in answering a question from the audience about the tone of the immigration debate, did something that is practically unheard of in the dizzying pander-monium of the 2008 campaign: He scolded the audience and told them that not only do we have a dysfunctional border that is being breached by illegal immigrants, a dysfunctional system that makes it too hard for people to enter legally, and a dysfunctional Congress that won't tackle the issue in an honest and productive way, but even the way we discuss these issues is dysfunctional.
Richardson seized on the question to make a pitch for more civility in our discourse. "We should stop demonizing immigrants," he said. "We should stop doing that.""
We have reported on regularly efforts by various Presdiential candidates to appear the toughest on immigration. The N.Y. Times today has a story on the latest skirmishes between Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney in their efforts to look the toughest on undocumented immigration.
We learned about our Immigrant of the Day from a NPR report. Catalino Tapia crossed the border from Mexico into the United States 40 years ago with a sixth-grade education and only $6 in his pocket. He became a legal resident and raised a family by working in a donut shop, a machine shop and then plant nurseries, before starting his own gardening business.
But Tapia, 63, always had his eyes on the future, especially for his children's education. Even before his first child was born, he says he was saving money for them to go to school. Tapia's youngest son attended UCLA and then went onto to the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He is now a lawyer in Los Angeles.
Tapia wanted to do something to help the less-fortunate children in his community in Redwood City, south of San Francisco. His son suggested Tapia start a foundation that would give scholarships to students. It took a year and a half to prepare the legal documents, but then the Bay Area Gardeners Foundation was born. Tapia sent letters to his clients asking for donations. To his surprise, he raised $10,000 in two weeks. And the donations kept coming in, with $75,000 raised so far. But the foundation also needed startup money, so Tapia approached the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Program Officer Manuel Santamaria says his foundation was impressed with Tapia's approach. And the success continues.
The Foundation does not ask the immigration status of the scholarship applicants. Undocumented students, who are not eligible for federally-subsiddized financial aid, have benefited from the Foundation scholarships.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
We reported earlier in the week about a CNN report on the delays in the processing of naturalization petitions. Now, AP reports that millions of people who applied for naturalization and other immigration benefits to beat a midsummer fee increase are caught in a paperwork pileup that threatens the chance for some to become U.S. citizens in time to vote in next year's presidential election.
Paul Jenkins on the Huffington Post has blogged on "Democrats' Uneasy Dance with Xenophobia Posted." He writes that " It is easy (and appropriate) to demonize Republicans for demonizing immigrants, but Democrats share some responsibility, not only for not fighting back more vigorously on the issue, but also because they are uncomfortable talking about it, let alone leading on it."
Unfortunately, Democrats cannot be counted on with respect to immigration. Look at how the Democratic Presidential candidates have scattered on the issue of driver's licenses. More generally, immigration is not an easy Red State/Blue State issue. indeed, my general political leanings lean liberal but I am much more in agreement on some immigration fundamentals with President Bush than with Bill Clinton.