Saturday, June 26, 2010
Ginger Rough writes for the Arizona Republic:
Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday reiterated her assertion that the majority of illegal immigrants are coming to the United States for reasons other than work, saying most are committing crimes and being used as drug mules by the cartels.
Brewer's remarks are an expansion of comments she made last week during a televised debate between the four Republican gubernatorial candidates.
In the first exchange, she was responding to opponent Matt Jette of Apache Junction, who opposes the state's tough new immigration law and is pushing a moderate platform that includes calls for comprehensive immigration reform.
In the debate, Jette said that most people who cross illegally into Arizona are "just trying to feed their families." Brewer disputed that, saying, "They're coming here, and they're bringing drugs.
And they're doing drop houses, and they're extorting people and they're terrorizing the families." The governor, who has become a national media figure since signing Senate Bill 1070 into law on April 23, went further on Friday, saying that the "majority of the illegal trespassers that are coming (into) the state of Arizona are under the direction and control of organized drug cartels."
When pressed, Brewer said that even those who do come to the United States looking for work are often ensnared by the cartels.
"They are accosted, and they become subjects of the drug cartels."
Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Friday that they could not provide statistics on criminal-smuggling activity; U.S. Customs and Border Protection referred all calls to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Washington, D.C., press office, where no one was immediately available to comment.
But local advocacy groups and other data dispute the validity of Brewer's claims.
According to a February 2007 report from the University of Arizona's Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, "most immigrants who come to the United States illegally – especially those from less-developed nations – do so because U.S. employers hire them at wages substantially higher than they could earn in their native countries."
And data from the Washington, D.C.,-based Pew Hispanic Center suggests that visa violators represent nearly half of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. According to the center, as of May 2006, 4 million to 5.5 million people had entered the U.S. legally and then remained after their visas had expired. An additional 250,000 to 500,000 people entered legally with temporary border-crossing cards and then stayed.
The numbers represent the most recent data available.
"I find the (governor's) statements embarrassing," said Jennifer Allen executive director of the Border Action Network. "They are so without basis or fact. There is more than likely a case where that has happened, but not to the extent that the governor should be making that assertion." Click here for the rest of the story.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Four leading Asian American civil rights organizations announced during their annual conference today that they are formally affiliating under a new name, Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.
The announcement coincides with the second annual Advancing Justice Conference, a three-day event focusing on issues of special interest to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The four affiliating organizations—the Asian American Institute (AAI), Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), Asian Law Caucus (ALC) and Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC)—jointly host the conference, which has brought together hundreds of participants from across the country.
“This represents a tremendous opportunity not only for the Asian Law Caucus and our sister organizations, but for the larger Asian American community,” said Titi Liu, executive director of ALC, the nation’s oldest Asian American civil rights organization. “Through Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, we will have a larger platform from which to speak about issues that affect our community.”
Asian American Center for Advancing Justice will address many of the issues that are currently the focus of headlines across the country, including immigration, LGBT, civil rights and worker’s rights.
“We are very excited to be part of this partnership of equals at a time when Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a greater presence—both in numbers and in prominence—than ever before,” said Stewart Kwoh, president and executive director of APALC, the nation’s largest organization addressing the civil rights and legal services of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The four groups will adopt their shared identity in stages over the coming years, explained AAI Executive Director Tuyet Le. “By affiliating gradually, we will maintain our identity and presence in our local communities. AAI is the leading pan-Asian organization in the Midwest, and we will continue to speak to local issues. Asian American Center for Advancing Justice gives us a voice to speak to national ones as well.”
Each organization will continue to be based in its home city: AAJC in Washington, D.C., APALC in Los Angeles, AAI in Chicago and ALC in San Francisco. AAJC will continue to serve as the lead on federal policy as well as other areas in which it has expertise. However, all member organizations do some work at the national level. On a given issue or area, any one of the member organizations may be the national lead for Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.
“As independent organizations coordinating around a set of shared vision and values, we will work to promote a fair and equitable society for all; strengthen civil and human rights; and empower the Asian American, Pacific Islander and other marginalized communities’” said Karen K. Narasaki, president and executive director of AAJC, one of the premier national Asian American civil and human rights organizations. “In formalizing relationships that have existed for many years, we are expanding our reach and effectiveness and speaking with one unified and powerful voice.”
For more information on Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, please visit www.advancingjustice.org.
UFW’s national ‘Take Our Jobs’ campaign invites U.S. citizens to replace immigrant farm workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the majority of U.S. farm workers undocumented, the United Farm Workers is launching a national campaign challenging U.S. citizens and legal residents to replace immigrant field laborers.
To survive, the agricultural industry would need at least half a million citizens or legal residents, UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez announced. He was joined in kicking off the “Take Our Jobs” campaign by Rob Williams, director of the Migrant Farmworker Justice Project, and Kern County Supervisor Michael Rubio during a telephonic news conference today.
Organizers of the campaign plan to take it to Members of Congress and the general public through a national broadcast appearance on the Colbert Show set for July 8 in an effort to generate public interest in the plan. The effort spotlights the immigrant labor issue and underscores the need for reforms without which the domestic agricultural industry could be crippled, leading to more jobs moving off shore.
“The farm worker population of the United States is overwhelmingly immigrant with about 85 percent of them born outside of the United States. Today, the vast majority of farm workers are unauthorized,” Williams said.
County Supervisor Rubio, who represents the second largest agricultural county in the nation, said the industry is utterly dependant on a foreign-born workforce. And even with double digit unemployment rates, few legal residents are seeking jobs on the farm, he said. Rodriguez said the deplorable status quo is hurting growers, farm workers and consumers.
"We support farm workers regardless of their legal status or nationality,” Rodriguez said. “Farm workers do the work that most Americans are not willing to do. Our current labor force is comprised of professional farm workers who possess essential skills needed to maintain the viability of the agricultural industry. But our nation’s struggling economy has fueled an increasingly ugly debate on immigration policy and many Americans believe that undocumented farm workers are taking jobs from our citizens and legal residents.
“Either Congress acts to bring a solution, or we will continue to see our food production move to other countries. The United States depends on these farms and farm workers for food,” the UFW president added.
The UFW has negotiated the AgJOBS bill with the agricultural industry that would give undocumented farm workers presently here the right to earn legal status by continuing to work in agriculture. Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Lugar (R-IN) are the principal co-authors in the Senate and Congressman Adam Putnam (R-FL) and Howard Berman (D-CA) in the House.
Visit the campaign website at: www.takeourjobs.org
Friday, June 25, 2010
Tyche Hendricks, The Wind Does Not Need a Passport: Stories From the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (University of California Press 2010). ABSTRACT: Award-winning journalist Tyche Hendricks has explored the U.S.-Mexico borderlands by car and by foot, on horseback, and in the back of a pickup truck. She has shared meals with border residents, listened to their stories, and visited their homes, churches, hospitals, farms, and jails. In this dazzling portrait of one of the least understood and most debated regions in the country, Hendricks introduces us to the ordinary Americans and Mexicans who live there—cowboys and Indians, factory workers and physicians, naturalists and nuns. A new picture of the borderlands emerges, and we find that this region is not the dividing line so often imagined by Americans, but is a common ground alive with the energy of cultural exchange and international commerce, burdened with too-rapid growth and binational conflict, and underlain with a deep sense of history.
David Taylor, Working the Line (Radious Books, 2010). ABSTRACT: David Taylor's photographic examination of the contentious territory that is the U.S./Mexico border is organized around a series of approximately 260 obelisks that demarcate this boundary, and which were installed in the late 1880s. In the course of pursuing this project, Taylor earned a remarkable degree of access to U.S. Border Patrol, the agents of which often refer to their job in the field as “line work”—a term that is also an apt description of the time Taylor has spent documenting these obelisks. He has acquired a privileged insight into the intertwined issues of border security, human and drug smuggling, the construction of the border fence and its impact on the land, and has portrayed immigration issues in a way that humanizes a difficult and sensitive social and political issue. Taylor's compelling images capture the deep complexity of the politics and people of this terrain.
California Statewide Immigrant Rights Call
Secure Communities Teach-In
Thursday, July 8, 2010
2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Join a statewide teach-in call to learn more about S-COMM (so called "Secure Communities") and what we can do to halt the expansion of this harmful program in California.
While Arizona's SB1070 is in the spotlight, S-COMM is expanding rapidly in California and could bring similar results. Twenty counties are already participating and more will be go "live" in the coming months.
Click to RSVP today!
How can communities opt-out and organize against this harmful program?
The teach-in will include discussion with legal experts and community organizers, and will feature:
Legal overview of S-COMM with Q&A
Report-backs from counties that already have S-COMM
Best practices for political organizing and media
Strategy discussion for local and state advocacy
Review of counties facing implementation next (including Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, and Santa Cruz in mid-July)
Click to RSVP today!
Join us to ensure that we choose safety, not separation, for immigrant communities in California.
This teach-in is hosted jointly by the following organizations:
American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial Counties, American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality, Asian Law Caucus, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, California Immigrant Policy Center, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Committee on Immigrant Rights of Sonoma County, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, National Immigration Law Center, San Francisco Immigrant Legal Education Network, Services Immigrant Rights and Education Network, Warren Institute at BerkeleyLaw.
(This call is closed to the press.)
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Stephanie Rose, the prosecutor in the Postville, Iowa immigration raid case and now U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, offers her perspective on the case, the treatment of undocumented workers in the Agriprocessors plant, and the larger issues at stake. For a critical response, click here.
From the office of the New York City Mayor:
MAYOR BLOOMBERG JOINS MAYORS AND BUSINESS LEADERS TO FORM PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW AMERICAN ECONOMY
National Partnership Will Push for Immigration Reform to Fix Broken Borders and Keep America Open to the Best, Brightest and Hardest-Working People From Around the World
Mayor Bloomberg Announces Co-Chairs Mark Hurd, Chairman, CEO and President of Hewlett-Packard; Robert Iger, President and CEO, Walt Disney Co.; J.W. Marriott, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Marriott International, Inc.; Jim McNerney, Chairman, President and CEO of Boeing; Rupert Murdoch, Chairman, CEO and Founder of News Corporation; Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio; Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix; Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia; and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was joined by News Corporation Chairman, CEO and Founder Rupert Murdoch to launch the “Partnership for a New American Economy,” a coalition of mayors and business leaders from across the country that will make an economic case for sensible immigration reform. The partnership will recruit members that support comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders and helps America remain economically competitive by keeping and attracting the world’s best, brightest and hardest-working. America has the most dynamic entrepreneurs and workers in the world, but currently it is too difficult to draw global talent that helps fuel economic growth. The partnership will enable Mayors and CEOs to demonstrate to policymakers the vital role that immigration plays in our economy by publishing studies, conducting polls, convening forums, and sponsoring public education campaigns.
“Immigrants have always been an essential part of America’s economic strength,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This coalition was formed to change our current immigration policy, which is undermining our economy and threatening our status as the world’s leading power. Too many innovative new companies, and the jobs they create, are being formed overseas because entrepreneurs can’t get a green card to start them here. We need to break the legislative stalemate that has taken over Congress if we want the U.S. to remain competitive in the 21st century.”
"American ingenuity is a product of the openness and diversity of this society,” said Rupert Murdoch. “Immigrants have made America great as the world leader in business, science, higher education and innovation. As an immigrant myself, I believe that this country can and must enact new immigration policies that fulfill our employment needs, provide a careful pathway to legal status for undocumented residents, and end illegal immigration.”
According to studies, twenty-five percent of US high-tech startups created in the last ten years have at least one immigrant as a founder ; immigrants generate over 5 percent of America’s gross domestic product ; and immigrant-owned companies have created over 400,000 jobs since 1990 .
The co-chairs from the business community direct companies that are leaders in their industries and combined employ nearly 800,000 people and make over $260 billion in annual sales; the mayors represent some of the country’s largest cities, with a combined population of over 16 million residents. The coalition’s membership will recruit other business leaders and mayors who see the economic value to immigration reform.
Promoting continued US leadership in the global technology industry requires balanced immigration reform,” said Hewlett-Packard Chairman, CEO and President Mark Hurd. “Mayor Bloomberg’s Partnership provides the right roadmap for improving U.S. immigration policy.”
“This country is built on the contributions of immigrants, whose different perspectives and ideas create new possibilities,” said Walt Disney Company President and CEO Robert Iger. “It’s our great strength as a nation, and it’s also critical for continued economic growth. To remain competitive in the 21st century, we need effective immigration reform that invites people to contribute to our shared success by building their own American dream.”
“We couldn’t operate our hotels in the U.S. without workers from other countries,” said Marriott International Chairman and CEO J.W. Marriott, Jr. “In some of our hotels, we have upwards of 50 languages spoken—and that diversity represents our customers who travel from around the world to visit our great country. Our business isn’t easy; it is 24/7 and great service to guests can’t be automated or outsourced. We rely on the best, service-oriented talent from the U.S. and around the world to sustain and grow our business.”
“I commend Mayor Bloomberg for his leadership in establishing the Partnership for a New American Economy to open the dialogue and inspire action on a critically important issue – one that will play a big part in our nation’s competitiveness and ability to create and sustain jobs for years to come,” said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney.
“We need to hit the reset button to bring the immigration debate out of the realm of political theater and into the arena of public policy,” said San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. “To succeed in the 21st century economy, America must balance the need for border security against the realities of our aging workforce and the spirit of entrepreneurial innovation that has made this country great.”
Many Americans celebrated the U.S. soccer team's victory over Algeria yesterday and advance to the next round in the World Cup. Keep in mind that, absent immigration, our team might not have done nearly as well. For more on the immigration roots of Team USA, click here.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The "enforcement now, enforcement forever" policy of the Obama administration continues. The administration asked Congress on Tuesday for $600 million in emergency funds to hire another 1,000 Border Patrol agents, acquire two drones and enhance security along the Southwest border. This is the kind of conduct that provoked one commentator to observe that President Obama is the most anti-immigrant President since President Eisenhower, whose administration oversaw Operation "Wetback" in 1954. So far, President Obama has been even tougher on immigration than President Clinton, who brought the nation Operation Gatekeeper and similar border enforcement operations, signed into law the draconian 1996 immigration reforms and welfare reform, increased immigrant detention, and similar tough-on-immigrant measures.
In remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano outlined the Administration's progress in implementing tough, smart border and interior immigration enforcement and security measures. The Secretary rejected the notion that states can implement their own immigration enforcement policies, asserting that immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility and mandate. She also squarely asserted that the entire immigration system must be fixed in order for border/interior enforcement to be effective, and renewed her call on Congress to implement changes to our nation's immigration system with a comprehensive set of reforms.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. & Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Announce a 6-DAY IMMIGRATION TRAINING!
This intensive six-day training is designed to provide staff working at not-for-profit agencies with the training foundation to practice before USCIS.
Deadline to apply is June 30th.
When: Wednesday, August 11th to Wednesday, August 18th (No training Saturday and Sunday)
ICIRR Office (Corner of Jackson & Wabash)
55 East Jackson, Ste. 2075
Chicago, IL 60604
$500 for staff of ICIRR member agencies and CLINIC affiliates
$650 for staff of non-member agencies**
$800 for staff of for-profit non-member Agencies (space permitting)
This fee covers registration, course materials (but not statute and regulations), and breakfast & lunch.
For: This training is designed to help paralegals for non-profits acquire BIA accreditation. (Attorneys or paralegals in private practice will be admitted on a limited basis.)
**Space is limited. Preference will be given to staff of ICIRR member agencies who have not attended the training in the past, and then to staff of non-member agencies.
A certain number of slots will be reserved for out-of-state applicants. Deadline to apply is June 30th.
For more information or for an application contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-332-7360 x221.
From the Immigration Policy Center:
The 2000 Census found that immigrants, while accounting for 12 percent of the population, made up nearly half of the all scientists and engineers with doctorate degrees in the United States. Nearly 70 percent of the men and women who entered the fields of science and engineering from 1995 to 2006 were immigrants. So it should come as no surprise that immigrants will help drive the green revolution. America's young scientists and engineers, especially the ones drawn to emerging industries like alternative energy, tend to speak with an accent. Yet, the connection between immigration and the development and commercialization of alternative energy technology is rarely discussed.
In IPC's lastest Perspective on Immigration piece, Why Immigrants Can Drive the Green Economy, Richard T. Herman and Robert L. Smith explain how policymakers envision millions of new jobs as the nation pursues renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power, and hightlight the voices that warn that much of the clean-technology talent lies overseas, in nations that began pursuing alternative energy sources decades ago.
To read this Perspective see:
Why Immigrants Can Drive the Green Economy (IPC Perspectives, June 23, 2010)
Sarah Ovaska writes for the Charlotte Observer:
Three young women living illegally in the U.S. since childhood haven't eaten in more than a week in the hope of persuading U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan to back a bill that could make them legal residents.
The women - Rosario Lopez, 25; Viridiana Martinez, 23; and Loida Silva, 22 - set up tents across the street from the state legislative building in downtown Raleigh and have subsisted on water, Pedialyte and Gatorade since June 14.
But they were unable to convince Hagan, a Democrat whose staff announced Tuesday afternoon she will not co-sponsor a bill that would allow illegal immigrants who arrived as children a chance at becoming permanent residents. U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina's Republican senator, also will not back the bill, according to his spokesman.
The women are part of the N.C. Dream Team, a group formed this spring to push for the bill's passage. All three freely admit they are living in the country illegally - Martinez and Silva's families overstayed travel visas, and Lopez entered illegally as a young teenager.
They say they're angry and frustrated at the barriers in immigration laws that leave them with slim chances of going to college or getting jobs other than under-the-table work.
They plan to continue their hunger strike, hoping to pressure Hagan to change her stance on the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act).
The federal legislation, which has floated around Congress for years, would give children who came to the U.S. illegally a chance to get permanent residency if they attend college or join the military. It could also open up chances to take out federal student loans and or allow them to pay in-state tuition in their home states. Click here for the rest of the story.
Their supporters ask you to take 5 minutes of your day today to support the NC Dream Team who have been on the hunger strike and call Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina to urge her support of the DREAM Act:
DC Office: 202-224-6342
Raleigh Office: 919-856-4630
Script: "Hi my name is _________ and I am calling to urge Senator Kay Hagan to co-sponsor the Dream ACT" 3 immigrant youth have been starving for their Dreams near her Raleigh office for over a week. It is unacceptable that the Senator has not met with these students and that she has not come out in support of the Dream Act"
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
From Julianne Hing at RaceWire.org:
New recruits for Major League Baseball teams are headed to Arizona this week for the Arizona Rookie League, and teams don’t want their players getting into trouble with the law. Not because they’re worried players will commit a crime, but because many are from Latin America, and teams fear their players’ brown skin could attract the attention of law enforcement officers who are getting ready to start enforcing SB 1070 when it goes into effect on July 29.
AP reports that both the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians equip their players with photo ID cards that have contact information for a representative from the team for police to contact, should a player be stopped. Teams are also holding seminars so players know about the political and social environment of the state.
The program, a rookie-level professional league, starts today in the Phoenix area, and will host 150 players from Latin America alone through August.
Latino players make up a significant part of the MLB ranks. Many are from the Dominican Republican, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba. And in the weeks immediately after Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law, players of all nationalities spoke out against the law, which allows law enforcement to detain and question any person they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in the country without papers. San Diego Padres’ star Adrian Gonzalez has said he will boycott the 2011 All-Star game in Phoenix if the MLB does not respond to calls to move the game.
New York Mets' catcher Rod Barajas told the NY Times: "“If they happen to pull someone over who looks like they are of Latin descent, even if they are a U.S. citizen, that is the first question that is going to be asked. But if a blond-haired, blue-eyed Canadian gets pulled over, do you think they are going to ask for their papers? No.”
A coalition of groups including MALDEF, the ACLU, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the NAACP and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center filed a lawsuit challenging the law in May. And in early June the same coalition filed for injunctive relief to stop the law from going into effect.
But MLB teams aren't waiting to hear back from the judge. "We brought in a local police officer to explain the situation and issued each player an ID card so they don't have to rely on carrying around their visas and paperwork with them," Cleveland Indians' player development Ross Atkins told the AP. If only every other immigrant in the state had the confidence of that kind of protection.
In honor of LGBT Pride month, Restore Fairness has prepared a powerful new immigration video/blog post about Shirley Tan, who came from the Philippines decades ago, and built a life with her partner Jay, giving birth to twin boys and becoming a full-time mom. Shirley faced the biggest challenge of her life as she fought to stay on in the United States, crippled by laws that do not allow gay and lesbian couples to sponsor their partners.