Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Orange County is southern California is a hotbed of immigration activity. The Orange County Register newspaper is offering special notification of its immigration articles:
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The N.Y. Times reports on a troubling trend: "The pattern has become familiar: Customs officers wave in vehicles filled with illegal immigrants, drugs or other contraband. A Border Patrol agent acts as a scout for smugglers. Trusted officers fall prey to temptation and begin taking bribes."
News report from Tennessee:
"For the first time in a decade, immigration status won't stop couples from obtaining marriage licenses in Davidson County and marrying anywhere in Tennessee. Counties across the state could follow suit depending on the outcome of the Nashville case that sparked the policy change. Davidson County Clerk John Arriola switched direction Thursday after a state attorney general's opinion sided with a couple who sued him for refusing to issue a marriage license based on the prospective groom's lack of documents. Since at least 1998, county clerks in Tennessee asked for a Social Security card, or, failing in that, a valid passport and visa. "This is a very big deal," Nashville immigration lawyer Linda Rose said. "This is very good news for the immigrant community because now it restores a fundamental right. … It gives due respect and credit to the institution of marriage.""
Good news for those truly devoted to family values!
Groups Demand Justice for Guest Workers on Day 12 of Hunger Strike in Front of the White House Call on U.S. Congress and State Legislatures to Halt Expansion of Legalized Slavery Under Guest Worker Programs
The Coalición de Derechos Humanos (DH) and the South Asian Network (SAN) joined hundreds of immigrant rights, human rights and labor organizations across the country in expressing resounding support for immigrant workers from India currently on a hunger strike in front of the White House. They called on the U.S. Congress and state legislatures to investigate the slave-like conditions to which employers routinely subject guest workers and to immediately halt the expansion of all guest worker visa programs. Now on the 12th day of their hunger strike, these guest workers were lured from India by Signal International, a Northrop-Grumman subcontractor, which promised them green cards and decent wages only to subsequently force them into indentured servitude, effectively imprisoning them at a Gulf Coast shipyard. The workers escaped the Signal labor camp in March 2008 and recently won an important victory in getting the U.S. Department of Justice to open an investigation into Signal’s involvement in an international labor trafficking ring. However, the workers are now having to fight to stay in the country to participate in the investigation. Since beginning their hunger strike on May 14, four of the hunger strikers have been hospitalized. (Video, photos and updates of the hunger strike are available at http://www.neworleansworkerjustice.org/).
“We are proud to stand with these courageous hunger strikers who have marched in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from Mississippi to the White House, placing themselves and their families at great risk, to tell Congress the terrible truth about the U.S. guest worker program,” said Violeta Domínguez, a board member of DH, based in Tucson, AZ, and former organizer of Mexican ex-Braceros, or guest workers, who are still awaiting payment of their back wages more than four decades after the U.S.Bracero program ended, in 1965. Violations of the most basic worker protections and corrupt labor recruitment practices have been widespread in both past and current guest worker programs. Guest workers who report serious injuries on the job, or speak out when they go unpaid are often threatened with firing and deportation by employers. “Instead of continuing to blindly support guest worker programs, members of Congress and state legislators from both political parties have a responsibility to hear directly from the experts on this issue -- the Signal hunger strikers and the hundreds of thousands of other guest workers who have survived incredible brutality on the job,” Domínguez added. The groups condemned two proposals currently in the Arizona legislature that would create the first-everstate-run guest worker program. Earlier this year, Arizona became the first state to enact an employer sanctions law, which effectively makes holding a job a criminal act, and has erected the country’s toughest state-run policing apparatus to arrest immigrants. Consequently, many immigrant workers have fledArizona, leaving crops unharvested and jobs unfilled. Pointing out the irony in Arizona now attempting to attract immigrant workers, the groups called the state guest worker bills “exceptionally hypocritical.” Hamid Khan, director of SAN, based in Los Angeles, CA, declared, “Like the sweeping ICE raids terrorizing immigrant families across the country, guest worker programs are intended to keep immigrant workers disempowered. Guest workers face relentless intimidation, surveillance and policing by their corporate employers under these programs, whether they are from India or Latin America, whether they build ships or pick strawberries.” Khan continued, “The millions of immigrants who bravely marched in the streets during the last two years demanded full worker rights and human rights and real legalization, not corporate-led schemes to crush wages and bodies. The only thing guest worker programs legalize is modern-day slavery.” The groups further called attention to the fact that Northrop Grumman has recently won numerous lucrative contracts from the Department of Homeland Security under SBInet, a multi-billion dollar government-corporate partnership to privatize all border enforcement operations. “Our compañeros on hunger strike in front of the White House, together with their family members who are fasting back in India, have set an extraordinary example for workers everywhere by standing up to Signal and Northrop Grumman, one of the biggest military contractors in the world. We know Northrop Grumman here on the border well since they are part of the gang of corporate profiteers building up the surveillance and policing infrastructure in our communities to round up and imprison immigrants on a massive scale,” said Isabel García, co-chair of DH. “Be it here in Tucson, or on the Gulf Coast, or in Iraq, U.S. policy on guest worker programs, immigration and military intervention are allowing these corporations to make billions of dollars off of human suffering.”
Elliott, Sean. Comment. Staying within the lines: the question of post- stabilization treatment for illegal immigrants under Emergency Medicaid. 24 J. Contemp. Health L. & Pol'y 149-180 (2007).
Marksity, Drew. Comment. Judicial review of agency action: federal appellate review of Board of Immigration Appeals streamlining procedure. 76 U. Cin. L. Rev. 645-679 (2008).
Meade, Linda Bertling. Note. Human rights and the current immigration debate: legislative proposals' effects on the Mexican immigrant population. 3 S.C. J. Int'l L. & Bus. 107-145 (2007).
Sasser, Lauren E. Note. Waiting in immigration limbo: the federal court split over suits to compel action on stalled adjustment of status applications. 76 Fordham L. Rev. 2511-2560 (2008).
Wilson, Robert S., Jr. Note. Growing dispute over transatlantic visa reciprocity could lead to US vs. EU legal battle. 3 S.C. J. Int'l L. & Bus. 147-165 (2007).
Lou Dobbs' spewing of anti-immigrant falsehoods is attracting attacks from mainstream media. Joe Klein writes for Time:
Now, I know that Dobbs brings in some serious ratings. And he is certainly entitled to his own opinion. But he is not entitled to his own facts--especially not on a network that makes a real effort to separate truth from falsehood and represent all sides of the political debate. Shouldn't someone be editing this swill? Doesn't CNN have a responsibility to tell its viewers that, in this case, one of their presenters is engaged in flat-out anti-immigrant fearmongering? Perhaps the network could employ a simple superimposed title--THIS IS NOT TRUE...or LOU HAS JUMPED THE SHARK ON THIS ONE--whenever Dobbs pretends that there is such a thing as the NAFTA Superhighway. This sort of thing diminishes the credibility and hard work of the other journalists on the network. (And no, I do not count the execrable Glenn Beck as a journalist.)
Here is his latest confrontation with Paul Waldman of Media Matters about the fictional NAFTA superhighway. Indeed, the Washington Post's Fact Checker gave the NAFTA Superhighway myth four Pinocchios.
Click here for the whole entry.
Is John McCain reversing his position on immigration reform once again? According to Steve Benen he is:
When John McCain's presidential campaign faltered badly last summer, there were a variety of problems, but near the top of the list was McCain's work on a comprehensive immigration reform measure, which most Republican activists hated with a vengeance. McCain ultimately decided to abandon his own legislation, and announced earlier this year that he wouldn't even vote for his own bill.
Now that he's locked down the Republican nomination, McCain has decided to reverse course again, re-embracing the position he abandoned in order to gain GOP support.
In yet another sign of his pivoting toward the general election, Senator John McCain said at a roundtable with business leaders here today that comprehensive immigration reform should be a top priority for the next president. […]
Mr. McCain largely stopped talking about the issue and repeatedly invoked a mantra that he had gotten the message from voters that the borders needed to be secured first, before any solution for the illegal immigrants already here is addressed.
Sure, but that was when he was pandering to far-right activists, who he needed to get the GOP nomination. Now that he's vanquished his Republican rivals, McCain feels comfortable pulling the hard-to-execute flip-flop-flip, gambling that conservatives will hate Obama enough to give McCain a pass. Click here for the rest of the opinion.
The Washington Times visited eight churches in the sanctuary movement to interview activists, pastors and undocumewnted immigrants. The subjects offered firsthand accounts of living on the run, insights into the goals of the movement and spiritually based justifications for their actions.
Born in Canada, Shauna Robertson is a film producer who has produced a number of recent hit movies. Robertson dropped out of high school and moved to Los Angeles at age 16. Later married and divorced, she has been dating actor Edward Norton since fall of 2006.
Shauna Robertson's films include The Pineapple Express (forthcoming), Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad (see far left), Knocked Up, and The 40 Year Old Virgin.
One of the best characters in a Shauna Robertson film is McLovin from Superbad. (See picture on the right).
Monday, May 26, 2008
A self-made millionaire has been stepping forward to help victims of ICE operations:
Wendy Sefsaf reports for New American Media:
Robert Hildreth, a self-made multimillionaire who built his fortune trading in Latin American bonds, wants to create a national fund that would help post bail for undocumented workers seized by immigration authorities.
Hildreth began posting bail out of his own pocket after seeing what he considered to be "un-American" images on TV of shackled workers being deported. Hildreth , the son of high school teachers, called the Greater Boston Legal Services and told them to contact him if they needed help posting bonds for undocumented workers.
After doing this a few times, in a few different states, Hildreth decided his program should go national. His idea is to create a non-profit bond fund that would match 50 percent of bail funds in most cases, and provide 100 percent bail only in extreme cases. Advocates say this is crucial for workers who are coerced into signing deportation orders before talking to a lawyer or having their day in court. Helping them post bond enables them to get out of detention, contact a lawyer and regroup with their families.
By matching the funds, Hildreth is helping legal service groups and others get the ball rolling. But having the other half matched by the families themselves, Hildreth says, forces them to have a stake in the outcome and makes an individual less likely to “jump bail.”
“Immigrants are the greatest savers in this country. If I put up half of the funds, the families can usually come up with the rest,” Hildreth observes. “For example, I paid $130,000 to bail out the immigrants rounded up in the New Bedford raids -- and within three weeks they came up with $130,000 of their own. I know the money is there and there is an extended family structure that is able to pool the necessary funds.” Click here for the rest of the story.
While we today pay tribute to all veterans who have given so much to this country, we should note the important contributions of immigrants to protect our freedom. Congressman Raul Grijvalva recently gave a speech on "Recognizing the contributions of immigrant Veterans," which seemed appropriate for today.
Here is a passage from a recent MSNBC story about the delays in processing citizenship paper work for immigrant vets:
Throughout the history of the U.S., immigrants have served in the armed forces, often in disproportionately larger numbers than their percentage of the general population. During the Civil War, entire regiments were composed of recently-arrived foreigners, mostly Germans and Irish. And in the World War II, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, composed almost completely of Japanese-Americans who had been classified as enemy aliens, taken from their homes and interned in camps, became the Army’s most highly decorated unit.
Here are some abstracts to new immigration articles from the Social Science Research Network (www.ssrn.com)
The Difference Place Makes/The Place Difference Makes: Latina/os in the Rural South Lisa R. Pruitt, University of California, Davis - School of Law
Why is the Policeman Asking for My Visa? The Future of Federalism and Immigration Enforcement Anne Chandler, University of Houston
Blood, Timber, and the State in West Kalimantan, Indonesia Gerry van Klinken, Affiliation Unknown
Revisiting Hamdan v. Rumsfeld's Analysis of the Laws of Armed Conflict Eran Shamir-Borer, NYU School of Law
Love and War: Family Migration in Time of National Emergency Liav Orgad, Columbia University - Columbia Law School
In Translation for the Latino Market Today: Acknowledging the Rights of Consumers in a Multilingual Housing Market Jo J. Carrillo, Hastings College of the Law
Sunday, May 25, 2008
The violence in South Africa directed at immigrants this past week has been tragic. It recalled a speech by an immigrant rights advocate on xenophobia in Johannesburg back in December of 2006 that raises issues that are relevant in the United States:
The immigrants become the scapegoat for the very problems of unemployment and poverty the ruling class has created. The immigrants are divided from the local masses, forced to live in the shadows, unprotected by unions, lacking human rights.This is exactly the situation here in South Africa, where we are told to be “Proudly South African,” blame everything on immigrants, and cheer our local ruling class for persecuting the immigrants – all the while we are supposed to forget what that ruling class – which is now brown, black and white – does to the masses everyday. 1 million jobs have been lost in 10 years, new jobs are mostly casual jobs, old jobs are increasingly unprotected, industrial accidents soar, 500,000 people are evicted off the farms, 10 million people have electricity cut-off – all by the local ruling class – and yet we are supposed to think poor immigrants are to blame! It is a disgrace, and an insult to our intelligence.
And here we come to the second big reason for xenophobia: the conditions of the immigrants make them into cheap labour, which benefits the local ruling class. Then the immigrants get blamed for being cheap labour, and accused of stealing jobs! The working class is divided between national and foreigner, and unable to fight back against the elite, which orchestrates the whole situation. Immigrants do become cheap labour, but this is the result of the actions of the local elite, and believe you me, the ruling class benefits. Click here for the full speech.
The UN News Service issued this report late this week:
The United Nations refugee agency said that it remains "deeply concerned" over the recent xenophobic violence in South Africa, which has claimed dozens of lives and has displaced some 17,000 people, including refugees and asylum-seekers.
Many of those who have been attacked in the past two weeks - a large percentage of them being Zimbabweans - had originally moved to South Africa to escape persecution in their own countries.
"We are present on the ground and have been assessing the needs at sites near police stations where the displaced have gathered," Jennifer Pagonis, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said today.
On Wednesday, the agency distributed blankets and mats to survivors, with additional supplies being released from emergency stocks yesterday. Ms. Pagonis said UNHCR is in close contact with the South African Government regarding further assistance.
Among the displaced Zimbabweans are many asylum-seekers who urgently require both assistance and protection, UNHCR said.
"While thousands of Mozambicans are reportedly streaming home, many Zimbabweans cannot consider returning home due to the well-known situation in their country," Ms. Pagonis observed.
Since many of the Zimbabweans need international protection, she called for those seeking asylum to have access to national asylum procedures in South Africa or other nations. "Zimbabweans who are refugees should be recognized as such," she noted." Click here for the rest of the story.
About 2,000 demonstrators in South Africa Saturday protested a wave of recent violence against foreigners, something the county president described as a disgrace.
During a speech, President Thabo Mbeki said a small number of people are carrying out the attacks which have brought humiliation to the entire country.
Protesters took to the streets in Johannesburg Saturday carrying signs that read "We stand against Xenophobia" and "Xenophobia hurts like apartheid". See here.
The Appleseed Network released a report titled "Forcing Our Blues Into Gray Areas, Local Police and Federal Immigration Enforcement" (A Legal Guide for Advocates), analyzing whether local law enforcement should be enforcing federal immigration law. Appleseed's report outlines the legal history behind the enforcement of federal immigration laws by local agencies, and points out the reasons why an increase in this type of collaboration is a "bad public policy" decision. Many police departments, local governments, and organizations around the country are opposing increased local police involvement in federal immigration laws. Cities like Phoenix, Arizona, and its Police Department have expanded their role to report undocumented individuals to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Download local_police_and_immigration_enforcement.pdf