Saturday, June 5, 2010
Yesterday, we posted a blog about a mural in Prescott, Arizona, that a local city councilman (Steve Blair) has targeted to get Black and Latino faces in the mural whitened! Jack Wilson, the former mayor of Prescott, has denounced councilman Blair with this letter to the Prescott News:
Steve, if you truly love Prescott you need to resign.
I spent 5-6 hours yesterday on Twitter trying to do "damage control" that resulted from the remarks of Councilman Steve Blair on the Miller Valley School "Going Green" mural. Yesterday was a firestorm of bad publicity for Prescott and it was worldwide.
Several major newspapers, including the Arizona Republic, USA Today, Washington Post, etc. picked up the story of the mural. The story was also picked up by the Associated Press which means up to 1,000 papers could reprint the story.
Many of the most influential Internet blogs also picked up the story, including The Huffington Post, The Daily Kos, etc. The Twitterverse has been super active and I have replied to a couple hundred Tweets to try to protect Prescott's image.
Steve, you have sullied the image of Prescott worldwide. Yes, I understand you love Prescott, but the firestorm of controversy that you have created has reverberated all the way to Melbourne, Australia where you and your comments on the mural are a hot topic. I cannot reprint many of the Twitter Tweets because of the language used in them – your comments have hit a nerve across America and the world and it was not a good nerve.
As the former Mayor of Prescott Arizona I have done my best yesterday and today to respond to hundred of Tweets and blog posts and tell the world that most of Prescott residents do not share your views. That has helped somewhat. However, this firestorm of bad publicity for Prescott will not subside until you do the right thing.
If you truly love Prescott, you need to resign from the Prescott City Council.
Here's the mural. I must say, it's beautiful.
From the National Network on Immigrant and Refugee Rights:
Dear NNIRR Members and Friends,
NNIRR is going to be in Detroit later this month for the US Social Forum (USSF) and we are putting out a general call to all members, friends and allies to join us!
Some 10,000 progressive activists and advocates are expected to attend the Social Forum, which will provide a unique opportunity to connect with friends and allies from across the country. Through the hundreds of workshops and other activities, participants will be introduced to the diverse issues and concerns that are part of our broad movement for social and economic justice, or can take part in more in-depth analysis and discussions. For more information about the US Social Forum go to USSF 2010.
We know that times are really tough for grassroots groups and that a trip to Detroit would be challenging, but we want to urge folks to participate with NNIRR. Together with members and partners, we are organizing several workshops and activities to strengthen our political agenda and relationships.
We are holding a membership meeting on June 21 & June 22 in Detroit, just before the USSF formally opens.
The meeting will be an opportunity to build a common analysis of the past year and expectations for the near future and strategize on campaigns and organizing efforts from the grassroots that will build the movement to defend and expand rights and justice for immigrants and refugees, confront events such as with Arizona and ensure we are heard in D.C. as legislators make deals that threaten the integrity of our communities.
Justin Berton writes for the San Francisco Chronicle:
California's white population has declined since 2000 at an unprecedented rate, hastening the day when Hispanics will be the state's largest population group, according to newly released state figures.
There were half a million fewer whites in California in 2008 than in 2000, a period when the state's overall population grew by 4 million to 38.1 million, according to a study released Thursday by the state Department of Finance.
By 2008, whites made up 40 percent of Californians, down from 47 percent at the turn of the century. In 2000, Hispanics comprised 32 percent of the population; that number grew to 37 percent in 2008.
Analysts said the decline can be attributed to two main causes - a natural population decrease as Baby Boomers enter their later years and die at a faster rate than younger whites have children, and a migration from California since 2001 among whites who sought affordable housing as real estate costs soared.
"This is the first decade to see a year-over-year consistent population decrease due to natural causes," said Mary Heim, chief of the Finance Department's demographic research unit.
The study also confirmed projections that a steadily growing Hispanic population will surpass whites as the state's largest racial demographic in 2016. Hispanics are expected to become a majority of all Californians in 2042, Heim said. Click here for the rest of the story.
Friday, June 4, 2010
It's all hands on deck for helping with the oil spill fiasco in Gulf--unless you're undocumented. From Kai Wright and Racewire.org
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have been targeting BP’s job sites in Louisiana in a hunt for undocumented workers who are risking their lives to clean up the disastrous oil spill. El Diario/La Prensa and Feet in 2 Worlds, a public radio investigative journalism project, broke the shocking story today. ICE spokesperson Temple H. Black confirmed the report (via Erin Polgreen):
ICE, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, visited two command centers, one in Venice and the other in Hopedale, twice in May. ICE agents arrived at the staging areas without prior notice, rounded up workers, and asked for documentation of their legal status, according to Black.
The command centers, located in the marshes a few hours east of New Orleans, are among the largest, with hundreds of workers employed at each site.
“We don’t normally go and check people’s papers—we’re mostly focused on transnational gangs, predators, drugs. This was a special circumstance because of the oil spill,” said Black.
There were no arrests at either site, according to the ICE spokesman. But he said if undocumented workers had been discovered, they “would have been detained on the spot and taken to Orleans Parish Prison.”
Workers report that federal officials showed up in unmarked cars and out of uniform. Black insisted, “These weren’t raids—they were investigations.”
They certainly weren’t investigations into worker safety, though. As ColorLines’ Julianne Hing reported Tuesday, BP has not only failed to provide proper training and haz-mat gear for workers braving its toxic stew; it has also threatened to fire workers who use their own protective gear, provided by the Louisiana Environmental Action Network.
But if ICE spokesperson Black is to be believed, federal oversight is more concerned with scapegoating immigrant workers for the region's downward-spiralling economy. El Dairo/La Prensa and Feet in 2 Worlds report:
“We visited just to ensure that people who are legally here can compete for those jobs—those people who are having so many problems,” said Temple H. Black, a spokesman for ICE in Louisiana.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, thousands of Hispanic workers, many of them undocumented, flocked to the region to help in the reconstruction of Louisiana’s coastal towns. Many stayed, building communities on the outskirts of New Orleans or finding employment outside the city in oil refineries and in the fishing industry.
These Hispanic workers have been accused of taking away jobs from longtime Louisiana residents, and the tension has grown as fishing and tourism jobs dry up, leaving idle workers to compete for jobs on the oil spill clean-up effort.
Hard to find even the Gallows Humor in this story, so maybe we won’t even try. Maybe it’s time to admit that large chunks of America are in the hands of unreconstructed racists and vulgar idiots, and that the popular election of a black man as president just might’ve pushed these furious, economically doomed old white people into a final rage that is going to end very, very badly. Ready? Here you go: An Arizona elementary school mural featuring the faces of kids who attend the school has been the subject of constant daytime drive-by racist screaming, from adults, as well as a radio talk-show campaign (by an actual city councilman, who has an AM talk-radio show) to remove the black student’s face, and now the school principal has ordered the faces of the Latino and Black students to be changed to Caucasian skin.
This is America, in 2010, and there’s a dozen more states and endless white-trash municipalities ready to Officially Adopt this same Official Racist Insanity.
From the Arizona Republic:
A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school. The project’s leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children’s ethnicity ….
R.E. Wall, director of Prescott’s Downtown Mural Project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town’s most prominent intersections.
“We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars,” Wall said. “We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics).”
The children depicted on the mural, as we mentioned before but feel compelled to repeat, are little kids who go to the school — “a K-5 school with 380 students and the highest ethnic mix of any school in Prescott. Wall said thousands of town residents volunteered or donated to the project.”
And these children, for the past several months as this happy mural encouraging “green transportation” was being painted by local artists, have been treated to the city of Prescott’s finest citizens driving by and yelling “Nigger” and “Spic” at this school wall painted with pictures of the children who attend the school. And this has been encouraged by a city councilman, Steve Blair, who uses his local radio talk show to rile up these people and demand the mural be destroyed.
And now the faces are being painted white, “because of the controversy.”
Remember where you were, when you could still laugh about teabaggers and racists and Arizonans, because funny time is almost over. If the unemployment keeps up — one in five adult white males has no job and will never have a job again — and people keep walking away from their stucco heaps they can’t afford and the states and cities and counties and towns keep passing their aggressive racist laws to rile up the trash even more, shit’s going to very soon become very bad, and whether it’s the National Guard having wars in the Sunbelt Exurbs against armies of crazy old white people who are finally using their hundreds of millions of guns, or whole Latino neighborhoods burned to the ground the way the Klan used to burn down black neighborhoods a century ago, we are in for a long dark night and no light-colored paint is going to fix that.
Dana Wakiji writes for FOX Sports Detroit
Charles Barkley once famously said that he was not a role model.
Because of what has happened in the last 18 hours, the Domincan-born Galarraga has now transcended the sport of baseball. He's an example to everyone, including his manager.
"Galarraga was probably calmer than everyone, really, even last night," Jim Leyland said.
By now everyone has seen the replay many times. With two outs in the ninth Wednesday, Miguel Cabrera fielded Jason Donald's grounder. Galarraga covered first and beat Donald to the bag, but first base umpire Jim Joyce called him safe.
Joyce later saw the replay himself and felt horrible. Galarraga never yelled at Joyce on the field, as Leyland and other Tigers did. He just smiled wryly and finished the game, even acknowledging the crowd as he left the field.
Even after the game, he wasn't mad, didn't throw things or punch any walls.
"I believe a lot of people, most of the guys, they'd do the same as I do," the modest pitcher said. "It's something that happened. It's the game. It's part of the game.
"When you go and think about it better, when you take a shower or go in your bed and go to sleep and think about it, you know nobody's perfect. I'm happy with the guy."
Chevrolet and the Tigers were so happy with Galarraga that they presented him with a shiny, red Corvette before the game.
"That was crazy," Galarraga said. "I still don't' believe it. I was in shock. I did not expect that at all. Just walk in and see the crowd give you some love. I'm just happy. I had a good time. I see the car and they tell me it's going to be yours. I was like, Oh, my God. I don't even have the words."
Galarraga's teammates were as surprised as he was but happy for him.
"I think the car for Galarraga, if there was ever an award that was very deserved, it was that one right there," Brandon Inge said. "It was a good sportsmanship award right there."
Gerald Laird, who said he apologized to Joyce for yelling at him after the game, said no one deserved an award more than Galarraga.
"That was awesome," Laird said. "It was nice. Armando handled it with complete class. It was nice to see that they stepped up and they did something for him because that was a special moment for him.
"Even though it's not going to go down in the record books, in our eyes it was a perfect game. It was nice to see someone step up and give him what he deserved."
Said Magglio Ordonez, who would have gotten his own Corvette had he hit a single to complete the cycle: "It was nice for Galarraga. He really deserved it because he pitched one of the best games in baseball. He's being a professional. Galarraga's a really nice guy. He handled it like a big boy."
The Detroit fans reflected Galarraga's classiness before and during the game. They applauded as the umpires came onto the field and only offered a smattering of boos when Joyce's name was announced as home-plate umpire. Click here for the rest of the story.
Border crossing deaths are a humanitarian crisis, according to a report from the ACLU and Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights. The article, "Death Rate Climbs Despite Economic Decline and Drop in Migration and Apprehensions," is available here. The complete 2009 report from the ACLU and NCHR can be found here.
Right-Wing Extremists Organize and Promote Violence on Facebook -- Should the Feds Bust Them Or Leave Them Alone?
What's all the fuss about alledged danger and violence at the border? The Associated Press has an interesting analysis conducted as a result of an FOIA finding.
Martha Mendoza writes for the Associated Press:
It's the U.S.-Mexico border, and even as politicians say more federal troops are needed to fight rising violence, government data obtained by The Associated Press show it actually isn't so dangerous after all.
The top four big cities in America with the lowest rates of violent crime are all in border states: San Diego, Phoenix, El Paso and Austin, according to a new FBI report. And an in-house Customs and Border Protection report shows that Border Patrol agents face far less danger than street cops in most U.S. cities.
The Customs and Border Protection study, obtained with a Freedom of Information Act request, shows 3 percent of Border Patrol agents and officers were assaulted last year, mostly when assailants threw rocks at them. That compares with 11 percent of police officers and sheriff's deputies assaulted during the same period, usually with guns or knives.
In addition, violent attacks against agents declined in 2009 along most of the border for the first time in seven years. So far this year assaults are slightly up, but data is incomplete.
"The border is safer now than it's ever been," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Lloyd Easterling. Click here for the rest of the story.
From the Book Shelves: Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration: Engendering Transnational Ties by Luz María Gordillo
Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration: Engendering Transnational Ties By Luz María Gordillo. ABSTRACT: Weaving narratives with gendered analysis and historiography of Mexicans in the Midwest, Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration examines the unique transnational community created between San Ignacio Cerro Gordo, Jalisco, and Detroit, Michigan, in the last three decades of the twentieth century, asserting that both the community of origin and the receiving community are integral to an immigrant's everyday life, though the manifestations of this are rife with contradictions. Exploring the challenges faced by this population since the inception of the Bracero Program in 1942 in constantly re-creating, adapting, accommodating, shaping, and creating new meanings of their environments, Luz María Gordillo emphasizes the gender-specific aspects of these situations. While other studies of Mexican transnational identity focus on social institutions, Gordillo's work introduces the concept of transnational sexualities, particularly the social construction of working-class sexuality. Her findings indicate that many female San Ignacians shattered stereotypes, transgressing traditionally male roles while their husbands lived abroad. When the women themselves immigrated as well, these transgressions facilitated their adaptation in Detroit. Placed within the larger context of globalization, Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration is a timely excavation of oral histories, archival documents, and the remnants of three decades of memory.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
On Wednesday, June 30, 2010, at 7:30 P.M. in the Annapolis Room, Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center, AILA Convention, Brent Renison will be honored as the recipient of the Ninth Annual Daniel Levy Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in Immigration Law, presented by Matthew Bender LexisNexis. Brent led the fight that ended the "Widow Penalty" in 2009 following years of advocacy.
Michelle Chen on RaceWire reports on the the claims of some Arizona school officials that parents and students have told them they plan to leave the state this summer and that Latino enrollment could drop at some schools.
Bob Egelko writes for the San Francisco Chronicle:
San Mateo County man who entered the United States legally as an infant 37 years ago, and recently served prison time for burglary and possessing stolen property, has lost a court appeal and faces deportation to the Philippines.
The form that Mark Matute signed when he pleaded no contest informed him clearly that a noncitizen who committed the crime could be deported, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said last week. The court denied Matute's request to withdraw his plea and reopen the case.
Federal law allows immigration authorities to deport noncitizens, including legal residents, if they have been convicted of "aggravated felonies," a category that includes most felony charges.
Matute immigrated with his family in 1973 when he was 4 months old. He pleaded no contest to burglary in 2005, served six months in jail and was placed on probation.
After his release, he pleaded no contest in March 2006 to possessing a stolen vehicle. The judge then revoked his probation and sentenced him to 16 months in prison for both convictions. Click here for the rest of the story.
It's stories like this that demand the reinstitution of 212(c)-like waivers that were available to aggravated felons prior to 1996 as a matter of discretion. Congress should at least give immigration judges the option to let the person stay or to order a probation-like period. See my book Deporting Our Souls (2006), or the article Detention to Deportation—Rethinking the Removal of Cambodian Refugees, 38 U.C. Davis. L.Rev. 891 (2005)
The Immigration Policy Center has developed a Q&A Guide to Arizona's New Immigration Law. This guide provides key answers to basic questions about Arizona's law - from the substance of the law and myths surrounding it to the legal and fiscal implications. As other states contemplate similar legislation, knowing the answers to basic questions about Arizona's law will prove to be critically important in furthering the discussion.
While some Latino immigrants to the United States may be accepted as "white" by the wider society, a new American Sociological Review (ASR) study finds that many of them face discrimination based on skin color. In fact, the research showed that relatively darker-skinned Latinos earned less than their lighter-skinned counterparts.The study found that Latinos who were most integrated into U.S. society—those who were proficient in English, spent more time in the country, and those who had children—were more likely than others to not choose a racial category. "We believe the more-integrated immigrants have faced discrimination in the country, and realize that 'white' is not an identity that is open to them. They may be trying to develop a new alternative Latino racial category," Frank said. Along with more-integrated immigrants, darker-skinned Latinos will also have trouble being accepted as "white" and will face discrimination as a result. The results suggest that the rapid influx of Latino immigrants will shift the boundaries of race in the United States, but will not end skin-color-based discrimination.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
“Arizona Meet BP,” by Alvaro Huerta Ph.D. Candidate, UC Berkeley’s Dept. of City and Regional Planning & Visiting Scholar, UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center
What does the State of Arizona have in common with PB, the British global energy corporation? Well, let me count the ways….
First, both have been spewing toxics into America’s environment since late April. In the case of Arizona, on April 23rd, Governor Jan Brewer signed into law an unconstitutional and racist measure (SB 1070), whereby criminalizing undocumented workers and legalizing racial profiling against Latinos. As for BP, on April 20th, this corporate mammoth, in the spirit of the “drill-baby-drill” chorus, caused the largest oil leak disaster since the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill over two decades ago.
Secondly, both have been grossly inaccurate regarding their data to rationalize their claims. The supporters of Arizona’s immigration law, for example, argue that since undocumented workers account for the “rise of crime” in this state, the state government had no choice but to pass a law aimed at curtailing these so-called criminals. Yet, recent reports show that crime has actually declined in the desert state and the cheerleaders of this draconian law have yet to produce any legitimate data correlating recent immigrants with crime.
On the contrary, recent research shows that undocumented immigrants on average commit less crime than native-born Americans, especially once we take into account for age, gender and other factors to make valid comparisons. We need to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. For example, if we know that recent immigrants are younger (and most likely male) compared to Americans, then we can’t compare these two groups equally when it comes to crime, especially since we know that young people are more likely to commit a crime than older folks.
Writing for the American Conservative magazine in a recently published essay, Ron Unz does an excellent job of examining the complex nature of Latinos (and other groups) vis-à-vis crime rates where he analyzes hard data to debunk myths perpetuated by Republicans and others in this country about the so-called Latino immigrant menace. Despite being a leading force against bilingual education in California in the 1990s, Unz actually puts his Harvard and Stanford educational background to some good use by closely examining the complex relationships between ethnic groups (whites included) and crime in this country.
As for BP, when the corporation first estimated the magnitude of the oil leak, corporate officials dramatically underreported the amount of oil being released daily in the ocean and, consequently, U.S. states in the Gulf of Mexico. For instance, corporate officials, according to news agencies, originally calculated the leak 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) per day, while U.S. Government officials estimated it at 12,000-19,000 barrels (504,000 to 798,000 gallons) per day. Other scientists, based on video evidence, have estimated it at 70,000 to 100,000 per day.
Thirdly, the actions of both the Arizona government and BP corporate leaders have caused more economic hardship for the residents of the already economically depressed regions. In the case of Arizona, the growing national boycotts against this financially struggling state have resulted in the loss of revenue (both current and future) that will further damage to the fragile economy caused by the housing crises, credit crises and, overall, current recession.
This includes major cities (and counties) like Los Angeles and other municipalities officially joining the economic boycott against this racist state, in addition to countless individuals, trade groups, unions and others that have already cancelled reservations and vacation trips. These collective actions represent a major blow to a state that depends heavily on out-of-state business and tourists to support the local economies, especially in tourism where hotels, spa resorts, restaurants and gift shops depend on outsiders to spend money and consume goods. In the case of BP, the massive oil leak, which apparently will continue to spew oil until late this summer, has resulted in another financial blow to Louisiana’s local economy, not to mention other Southern states like Alabama. Still recovering from the hurricane Katrina disaster, Louisiana and its residents in particular now face the ecological and financial consequences of this ongoing oil leak. For instance, for those who depend on revenue from the fishing industry for commercial and recreational purposes, this uncontrollable oil leak amounts to financial hardship for decades to come.
Lastly, in both cases, the Obama Administration has failed to act swiftly and decisively to resolve these human-made disasters. In the case of Arizona, President Obama has used mild words to condemn this racist law. When a racist cop arrested Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.—a renowned African American scholar—at his home last year, Obama originally used the word “stupidly” in describing this incident, yet in the case of the racist immigrant law in Arizona, he used the word “misguided.”
As a former constitutional law professor and, now, the most powerful person in the world, Obama should deliver a legal viewpoint and moral condemnation of a law that goes back to the dark days of Jim Crow during the mid-20th century with legalized racism. Apart from shunning Arizona Governor Jan Brewer—the modern day version of the late Alabama Governor George C. Wallace who strongly defended segregation—Obama should take a bold position against this rogue state government and its disregard for the humane treatment of immigrants and racial equality. This immigration law not only violates federal law, for example, since the federal government ultimately overseas immigration enforcement, but also creates a new round of civil rights violations in this country against a particular racial group: Latinos.
As for BP, the Obama Administration has also been too slow regarding the out of control oil leak. From the start, Obama should’ve been on the ground to put pressure on BP and, by a particular juncture, should’ve taken full control of the operations to fix the leak (and corporate assets) since the London-based corporation doesn’t appear to be capable of stopping it anytime soon and may renegade on paying for all economical and environmental incurred costs. This is the same corporation that didn’t have an adequate back-up plan in place to either prevent or quickly stop this type of leak. This is the same corporation that took the risk in the first place to extract oil at an unprecedented 5,000 feet under water. This is the same corporation that hasn’t been fully transparent about the magnitude of this leak and long term dangers to the impacted ecosystem.
To be fair to Obama, however, this type of offshore drilling comes from the pro-big energy, Bush-Cheney Administration. Not only have Republicans (and now more conservative Democrats) been more than willing to explore for offshore oil at any cost, but the regulatory agencies responsible for preventing or minimizing disasters of this scale in the first place have been too cozy and in cahoots with mega-oil corporations like BP and others.
In short, in order to stop racist laws and disastrous oil leaks from occurring in this country, the federal government, in conjunction with the public, needs to take more proactive and aggressive measures to prevent state governments and corporate officials from spewing pollutants into our environment, resulting in both short and long term disastrous costs.
Did you know that in seven countries - Tajikistan, Tonga, Moldova, Kyrgyz Republic, Lesotho, Samoa, and Lebanon - remittances equaled more than 25 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009? Remittances flows, which represent the most tangible link between migration and development, totaled over US$414 billion worldwide in 2009, with more than three-quarters (US$316 billion) sent to developing countries. The economic recession made it more difficult for migrants to find work and send remittances to their families back home. The 2009 officially recorded remittances were nearly 7 percent lower than those in 2008, when the all-time high of $443.4 billion was reached. The World Bank projects that with improved global economy prospects, remittances to developing countries will rise by 6 percent in 2010 and 7 percent in 2011.
The Migration Policy Institute's updated Global Remittances Guide presents just-released World Bank remittances data and allows you to quickly get information about remittance trends and patterns in the top remittances-receiving countries in terms of volume and share of GDP. In the guide, we use data on "formal" remittances, i.e., those sent through official channels such as banks and money transfer operators. In addition, each country profile includes many useful indicators related to migration and development, including the share of remittances by region of origin, share of migrants by continent of destination, and the most recent numbers of international migrants and refugees.