Saturday, December 18, 2010
The Senate fell 5 votes short to proceed to a vote on the DREAM Act: 55-41. Sixty votes were needed on the cloture vote. This is very disappointing; and it's a sad day in U.S. history. Once again, the Senate and the Nation have failed to do the right thing. Read more...
Four years ago, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists launched a campaign to change the terms that news organizations use to refer to people who enter the country illegally. Rather than referring to them as "illegal immigrants," as the Associated Press Stylebook recommends, or the more loaded "illegal alien," NAHJ proposed using the term "undocumented immigrant." "It is much easier to dehumanize and to silence somebody when you're calling them an illegal," says Ivan Roman, executive director of NAHJ. "When you don't give credibility to people, and you don't give respect to people, it is really easy for politicians to not take them into account when they are establishing policy."
The American Journalism Review reports that a recent analysis of the frequency with which "illegal immigrant" turns up in U.S. newspapers and wire services reveals that usage has declined since 2006―but the term still shows up fairly frequently, as it has for decades."
Friday, December 17, 2010
ICE Agrees To Improve Health Care Provided To Immigration Detainees As Part Of Settlement Of ACLU Lawsuit: Lawsuit Charged Lack Of Medical And Mental Health Care Led To Unnecessary Suffering And Death
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have agreed to provide immigration detainees with constitutionally adequate levels of medical and mental health care as part of an agreement to settle an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit charging that deficient care at the San Diego Correctional Facility (SDCF) caused unnecessary suffering and death. As part of the settlement, ICE has also agreed to change its policy on medical care that had led to the denial of what ICE deemed to be "non-emergency" care, including heart surgeries and cancer biopsies.
Among the settlement agreement's provisions are requirements that detainees at SDCF receive health care that meets or exceeds National Commission on Correctional Health Care standards and that an additional full-time psychiatrist and four full-time psychiatric nurses be hired to ensure that detainees receive adequate mental health care. The settlement also requires immigration officials to remove from existing policies all statements suggesting that detainees will receive only emergency medical services and to include in the same policies explicit statements mandating that detainees shall be provided medical care whenever it is necessary to address a serious medical need.
Originally filed in June 2007 by the ACLU, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties and the law firm Cooley LLP, the complaint stated that detainees at SDCF were routinely subjected to long delays before treatment, denied necessary medication for chronic illnesses and refused essential referrals prescribed by medical staff.
The lawsuit specifically cited the cases of 11 detainees, including several whose bipolar disorders and depression went untreated, a man who was forced to wait more than eight months for eye surgery and nearly suffered permanent disfigurement and detainees who never received medical attention despite suffering from a variety of maladies including Type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, abscessed and broken teeth and severe chest pains.
The lawsuit charged that the refusal of immigration officials to provide appropriate medical care punished immigration detainees in violation of the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering on federal detainees. Because SDCF holds civil immigrant detainees not serving a criminal sentence, the Fifth Amendment applies to protect their civil rights.
From the University Leadership Initiative:
As you all know the DREAM Vote will be on Saturday. We are documenting actions on the ground in DC in our blog in www.unitedwedream.org.
Would appreciate if you spread the word.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - As children, we are each taught that if you work hard, you will have the opportunity to succeed.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of immigrant children who were brought here by their parents at a young age work hard to succeed in school and just want the opportunity to go to college or serve in the U.S. Armed Services.
The DREAM Act will help turn these dreams of opportunity into reality!
For the last decade, MALDEF has advocated on behalf of helping these hard-working students achieve their dreams of an opportunity to pursue higher education or service in the armed forces.
On December 8, the DREAM Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but there is still critical work to be done. Before President Obama can sign the bill and the DREAM Act can become law, the bill must pass the U.S. Senate.
The DREAM is Within Reach!
After a long fight, the time for passage of the DREAM Act is near. We are in the final Senate stretch as Senator Harry Reid has pledged to called up the bill to the Senate floor for a vote on Saturday, December 18.
We are only one day away from achieving our goal of passing the DREAM Act!
The DREAM Act, as recently amended, would provide a qualified path to citizenship otherwise not available to roughly 755,000 immigrant youth and young adults, particularly for those completing two years of college or military service.
How You Can Help - Call Key Senators Today!
The following Senators need to hear from you before Saturday.
Make calls TODAY to key Senators to demonstrate broad support for the DREAM Act.
Ben Nelson (D-NE), 202-224-6551
Kay Hagan (D-NC), 202-224-6342
Claire McCaskill (D-MO), 202-224-6154
Mary Landrieu (D-LA), 202-224-5824
Lindsey Graham (R-SC), 202-224-5972
Richard Lugar (R-IN), 202-224-4814
Olympia Snowe (R-ME), 202-224-5344
Susan Collins (R-ME), 202-224-2523
George Voinovich (R-OH), 202-224-3353
George LeMieux (R-FL), 202-224-3041
Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), 202-224-5922
Robert Bennett (R-UT), 202-224-5444
Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), 202-224-6665
John Cornyn (R-TX), 202-224-2934
John McCain (R-AZ), 202-224-2235
Jon Kyl (R-AZ), (202) 224-4521
Orrin Hatch (R-UT), 202-224-5251
John Ensign (R-NV), 202-224-6244
Mark Kirk (R-IL), 202-224-2854
Scott Brown (R-MA), 202-224-4543
Judd Gregg (R-NH), 202-224-3324
Sam Brownback (R-KS), 202-224-6521
Reasons the Above Senators Should Vote YES on the DREAM Act
Because the public supports the DREAM Act -- 70%, according to a recent poll by First Focus, and 66 %, according to Lake Research Partners.
Because the military needs the DREAM Act -- Secretary of Defense Bill Gates, Retired Gen. Colin Powell, and many other military leaders support the DREAM Act.
Because taxpayers deserve a return on their investment -- the Congressional Budget Office estimates the DREAM Act would reduce the deficit by $2.2 billion and UCLA estimates that successful DREAM Act-relief holders will generate $3.6 to $1.4 trillion of income (in current dollars) of the next four decades.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid has scheduled votes on the DREAM Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for this Saturday — apparently defying the White House, which had reportedly been lobbying for the Senate to tackle the START arms control treaty first.
It was announced earlier Thursday that Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden — a crucial vote for both the DREAM Act and DADT repeal — would be missing Senate votes “tomorrow and possibly next week” due to prostate cancer surgery, but his staff clarified that he will be on the Senate floor this weekend. His absence Friday is for pre-surgery testing, not the surgery itself, and will not prevent him from casting DREAM and DADT votes Saturday.
DADT repeal looks like a winner Saturday, with 61 Senators pledged to vote for cloture — one more than the 60 needed. The DREAM Act faces a much tougher road, but is by no means doomed to fail.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
CONSERVATIVE EVANGELICAL LEADERS TO SENATORS: WILL THERE BE ROOM AT THE INN FOR IMMIGRANT CHILDREN THIS CHRISTMAS?
Conservative Evangelical leaders from multiple Evangelical denominations united on a telephonic press conference today calling on Senate leaders to pass the DREAM Act and give 500,000 youths the Christmas gift of their American Dreams. The telephonic was convened by Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CfCIR) in support of the DREAM Act, bipartisan legislation that enables high-achieving young people – immigrants who have been raised in the U.S, have worked hard in school, and then pursue higher education or serve in the United States Armed Forces – to access a path to legalization and achieve the American Dream.
“The DREAM Act is the most pro-family, pro-military, pro-self-reliance and traditional piece of legislation in years. Opposition to the DREAM act must be interpreted as both politically naïve and morally irreconcilable with any pro-family agenda. By supporting DREAM, Republicans and conservatives stand poised to reconnect with an electorate that continues to distance itself from a party that is perceived now to be anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant,” said Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “2,000 years ago a little boy was born in the manger because there was no room at the inn. In 2010, here’s the question: Is there room at the inn for immigrant children? Is there room at the inn for the innocent? In the spirit of Christmas and with our hearts open to the boy in the manger, I encourage the Senate to pass the DREAM Act. It would be the greatest Christmas gift these children could possibly receive.”
“I strongly believe in the rule of law. However, law has to be just. It cannot be devoid of compassion or morality, otherwise it is a cold instrument of brute force,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel and Dean of the Liberty University School of Law. “Each year I have the pleasure of putting the hood around those who have graduated from the Liberty University School of Law. On one hand, I have the pleasure of being able to see how those three short years open up incredible opportunities for these students. On the other hand are those children who have been in this country for many years without documentation. They love America, but when the time comes for them to choose where they want to go and where God has called them to exercise their God-given talents to help their fellow brothers and sisters, the door to those opportunities is closed…we are not asking that these children walk through that door with any special treatment. We are asking that that door be opened with the DREAM Act.”
Commenting on Republican criticism of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid potentially calling the Senate back after Christmas, Rev. Jerry Dykstra, Executive Director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America said, “Even Jesus, who was a high respecter of the Sabbath, which was the day of complete rest in his culture, said that on the Sabbath we need to do what is right. If doing what is right means working through the Christmas holiday, then we work through the Christmas holiday. I think that we’ve got to set aside partisan politics. We have to deal with the issue before us honestly and quickly, and I think that maneuvering is simply inappropriate.”
Former Hispanic Presidential Campaign coordinator for John McCain and CfCIR cofounder Dr. Juan Hernandez, addressed this point as well: “Members of Congress work for us, the citizens of the United States, and we will be glad to give them Christmas off, we will be glad to give them New Year’s off, but the rest of the days they need to work for us. We have sent them to Congress to work on these difficult issue and they need to do the right thing: Pass the DREAM Act.”
From the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights:
Thank you, friends, for keeping the DREAM alive! Update below!
LET US REMEMBER THE MANY YOUNG PEOPLE WHOSE DETERMINATION, COURAGE & HOPES HAVE CARRIED IT THIS FAR & THEIR REQUEST FOR OUR CONTINUED PRAYER & ACTION.
Yesterday 100 religious leaders from 10 key states (LA, TX, OH, NC, FL, ME, MO, NH, IL, KS) and DREAM students circled the US Senate Building in a "Jericho March" proclaiming that now is the time for Senators to show moral courage and break down the barriers obstructing passage of the DREAM Act. This evocative event drew inspiration from the Old Testament story of Joshua, who overcame adversity with faithfulness, marching around the city of Jericho seven times and sounding trumpets until the walls fell.
All across the country, faith leaders are saying 'now is the time.'
Read story here
1) Last weeks, for the first time in 10 years, the HOUSE voted on, and passed the DREAM ACT- a historic and hugely important win.
2) Last week the Senate Democrats moved to postpone the DREAM Act vote until AFTER the tax bill to give it a better chance. There are enough Senate votes to pass in simple majority, but because of Republican filibuster, 60 votes are needed. Still need few more Democrats and Republicans to vote YES to get to 60.
3) Last night we publically heard from Senators Durbin and Menendez the commitment of Democratic Senators to make sure the DREAM ACT comes up for a vote before the holiday break. They mentioned Pres. Obama is also making calls to try to get some more votes. They following bills will likely be voted on first: Tax Bill, START Treaty, Spending Bill.
They expected a vote may occur on Monday.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Please continue to call your Senators, and tell them how much this means to you and your loved ones and this country.
Ask them to convince their undecided colleagues.
The number to call is 1-202-224-3121.
Special focus is on Senators in the following states:
McCaskill: (202) 224-6154
Landrieu: (202) 224-5824
Hagan: (202) 224-6342
Lugar: (202) 224-4814
Bennett: (202) 224-5444
Hatch: (202) 224-5251
Voinovich: (202) 224-3353
Collins: (202) 224-2523
Snowe: (202) 224-5344
LeMieux: (202) 224-3041
Hutchison: (202) 224-5922
Gregg: (202) 224-3324
Brown: (202) 224-2315
Brownback: (202) 224-6521
Graham: (202) 224-5972
Stabenow: (202) 224-4822
Warner: (202) 224-2023
Webb: (202) 224-4024
Manchin: (202) 224-3954
Murkowski: (202) 224-6665
Thank you! Gracias! Salamat!
Tostitos, Chavez foundation set up $500,000 scholarship fund for Arizona Latino students
Eleven annual scholarships, named to honor Arizona native Cesar Chavez, will promote academic success
The Tostitos brand has announced creation of the Tostitos Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship Fund to benefit Latino students across the state of Arizona. Administered in partnership with the Cesar Chavez Foundation, the fund will provide $500,000 over the next five years to qualified Latino students in Arizona in an effort to promote academic success.
The fund will support 11 scholarships awarded annually by Tostitos and the Chavez foundation. Scholarships will be granted based on academic excellence, leadership in extra-curricular activities, commitment to volunteer service in the community and financial need.
"We are so proud to partner with the Cesar Chavez Foundation to recognize Arizona's Latino youth through the creation of the Tostitos Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship Fund," said Justin Lambeth, vice president of marketing for Frito-Lay North America. "The Tostitos brand is all about helping people make connections. Through this scholarship fund, we're helping create one of the most meaningful connections possible for Latino students throughout Arizona: the chance to continue their educations and fulfill their dreams."
“At a time of heightening ethnic and racial tensions, these scholarships will recognize deserving young Latino students who are continuing Cesar Chavez’s legacy of self-sacrifice, diversity, community service and championing equality and respect for all human beings, no matter who they are or where they come from,” said Paul Chavez, Cesar Chavez’s middle son and president and CEO of the Chavez foundation.
The 2011 Tostitos Cesar Chavez Latino Scholarship Fund program will be featured during the annual Si Se Puede Gala organized in Phoenix around Chavez’s March 31 birthday. Presented by the Chavez foundation, the gala honors the values, traditions and legacy of the legendary farm labor and civil rights leader who was born on his family’s homestead in the North Gila River Valley near Yuma, Ariz. in 1927.
Upon receipt of their awards, scholarship recipients will be asked to complete 30 hours of service to the PepsiCo/Frito-Lay Adelante Employee Group. Adelante, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is Frito-Lay's employee resource group that works across the company's many locations and business functions to create a more inclusive corporate culture and support the many diverse communities in which Frito-Lay operates.
Tostitos is one of the many brands that make up Frito-Lay North America, the $13 billion convenient foods business unit of PepsiCo headquartered in Purchase, New York. In addition to Frito-Lay, PepsiCo business units include Pepsi-Cola, Quaker Foods, Gatorade and Tropicana. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate Web site, http://www.fritolay.com/, the Snack Chat blog, http://www.snacks.com/ and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/fritolay.
The Cesar Chavez Foundation, a (501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, was founded by the Chavez family in the wake of Chavez’s passing in 1993, to maximize human potential and improve communities by preserving, promoting and applying Chavez’s legacy and universal values. Learn more about the Chavez foundation at its Web site, http://www.chavezfoundation.org/
Education, Immigrant Students, Refugee Students, and English Learners Edited by Christian Faltis and Guadalupe Valdes
Education, Immigrant Students, Refugee Students, and English Learners Volume 109, Issue 2 Edited by Christian Faltis and Guadalupe Valdes This volume draws attention to how teachers at both the elementary and secondary levels teach, advocate for, and learn from and about immigrant students, the children of immigrants, their families, and refugees and their families, many of whom are also English language learners. Common to all of the contributions to this volume is the stance that educators and teachers can improve education for immigrant, refugee, and English language learner students.
A new blog has been launched for the new University of Pennsylvania Press journal Humanity. The blog will feature editorials along with journal contributors and invited guests debating the big issues and small in human rights, humanitarianism and development. And of course the site will feature a lively and relevant comments section.
This timeline shows how the U.S. immigration system became focused on enforcement and criminalization. Click to watch videos and learn how the Founding Fathers allotted power to decide who can enter, and who will be deported. Context is key to understanding the “deportation delirium” that has led to a record number of removals under the Obama administration. Law Prof Dan Kanstroom and Migration Policy Institute's Donald Kerwin star in the videos.
Here is a nice immigrant story from "We Are America: Stories of Today's Immigrants." Mauricio Bautista fled to Virginia in the late 1980s during the civil war in El Salvador. He applied for asylum and waited more than a decade for a response. In the meantime he was granted a work permit, married a US citizen, and became the father of two boys. But 20 years after he first entered the country he still lacked legal residency. Earlier this year his case went to court and the bi-lingual school in Washington DC where he works rallied around him. In a triumphant and emotional victory, Mauricio was granted legal residency and now can confidently continue his work with children. And for the first time in 25 years, he is able to return home and see his mother, and introduce his sons to their grandmother.
Congress has passed two private bills that await the President's signature. The House passed the bills, which had previously passed the Senate, on Wednesday. According to the Huffington Post, they are the first private bills passed by in more than five years. "One bill would clear the way for the granting of legal status to the widow of a Tennessee Marine who gave birth to their son after he was killed in Iraq in 2008. Another would provide relief to a Japanese man living in California whose mother was killed in a car crash when he was a teenager and who was never legally adopted." Click here for more details.
When will we see more far-reaching immigration, such as the DREAM Act or comprehensive immigration reform, pass in Congress?
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Today at 4 pm, and Saturday at 8 pm on the History Channel, the Jon Stewart produced show "The Naturalized" will be aired. Stewart produced the show last year.
The Naturalized, produced by Busboy, Stewart's company, follows eight individuals through the bureaucratic morass of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The special also includes interviews with undocumented and deported immigrants. Read more here....
From Julie Gutman, Executive Director of Program for Torture Victims:
On December 10, the international community marked the 60th annual Human Rights Day, celebrating the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
But how did the world fare this year in the arena of human rights?
On many fronts, the news was dismal, with murder, torture and severe political repression remaining commonplace across the globe. Here at home the Obama Administration continued the previous administration's widely disparaged policies of secret detention and torture, while former President Bush, in a new memoir, shamelessly defended his decision to approve the use of waterboarding.
Somewhat lost amidst the torrent of bad news, however, were a number of landmark developments. Many of these achievements were years in the making, the result of determined advocacy by activists who often go unheralded.
Here, then, is a guide to some of the most encouraging human rights stories of 2010.
Treaty Outlawing Forced Disappearance: After years of work by human rights activists, a landmark treaty aimed at abolishing forced disappearances will take effect. The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly, will enter into force on December 23 following its ratification by Iraq. Citing the convention, Amnesty International has called on all countries to end disappearances.
Repeal of Argentina's Dirty War Law: Argentina took a major step toward bringing to justice those responsible for its infamous "Dirty War" of the 1970s, repealing laws that protected military officials from prosecution for crimes committed during this period. Hundreds of perpetrators including ex-General Videla and ex-General Menendez are now imprisoned.
Release of Aung San Suu Kyi: This could be a major step toward reform, or just another empty gesture by the brutal military regime in Burma that has reversed itself more than once when it comes to the Nobel Prize-winning dissident. Human rights advocates are hopeful that Kyi's release could lead to an easing of repressive government policies and the eventual restoration of democratic rule.
Arrest Warrant for Sudan President: In July, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced a second arrest warrant for Sudan's president Omar Al-Bashir, charging him with three counts of genocide. Bashir has presided over the genocide in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have been murdered, raped and driven from their homes.
British Settlement With Guantanamo Detainees: In November, the British government announced that it had reached a settlement to pay compensation to 16 former Guantanamo Bay detainees for the abuses they suffered in U.S. custody. This landmark agreement sent a strong signal that, at least in Great Britain, there will be accountability for the extra-legal measures that flourished at the notorious prison camp.
Cambodian War Crimes Conviction: More than three decades after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, the first conviction was handed down for atrocities committed in one of the 20th Century's worst genocides. Comrade Duch, who ran a prison where thousands were tortured and killed, was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Removal of Nuremberg Clause: The American Psychological Association (APA) finally removed the so-called "Nuremberg Defense" from its code of conduct. This clause, which was added in 2002 at the height of the Bush administration's influence, allowed mental health professionals to dispense with professional ethics when they conflicted with "law, regulations, and other governing legal authority."
Election of Torture Victim as Brazilian President: In October, Dilma Rousseff completed her astounding journey from fugitive guerrilla to the highest office in the land, becoming president of Brazil. After fighting against the country's military dictatorship in the late 1960s, Rouseff was arrested and tortured, but with the return of democratic rule in the 1980s, she began her political ascent.
Juan Mendez Appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Torture: Mendez took on this position with the United Nations in November. Having been detained and tortured in Argentina himself for over a year during the 1970s dictatorship, he has a personal understanding of and sensitivity toward human rights abuses.
US Supreme Court Landmark Ruling Against Human Rights Abuses: For the first time, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Samantar v. Yousuf that foreign government officials, who commit atrocities and then avail themselves of the benefits of living in the U.S., are not immune for torture, rape and other war crimes.
"Immigrants fanned out across the United States in the last decade, settling in greater numbers in small towns and suburbs rather than in the cities where they typically moved when they first came to this country, new census data show." For details, click here.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights has released a report “Sak Vid Pa Kanpe: The Impact of U.S. Food Aid on Human Rights in Haiti.” The title of this report draws on a Haitian proverb which laments that a sack cannot stand if it is empty—a powerful metaphor for the importance of food and sustenance to one’s capacity to “stand” and function. Living in the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere, the Haitian people know all too well how vital access to food is to their daily survival. However, many Haitians have also experienced the unintended negative consequences of U.S. food aid programs. While these programs often help people in times of crisis, many also run afoul of the human right to food by undermining the local economy, eroding agricultural self-reliance, and failing to include Haitians in their design and implementation.
This report presents the findings of a study on the right to food in Haiti jointly undertaken by four organizations--the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law, Partners In Health, the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, and Zanmi Lasante--based on a survey undertaken in the town of Hinche and additional desk research and interviews. This report draws on both human rights and public health methodologies to assess the impact of food aid programs on the right to food in Hinche. It finds that while U.S. food aid may provide nourishment to many people, the way in which it is procured, delivered, and administered often interferes with Haitians’ human rights by failing to improve long-term food security. The report sets out concrete recommendations calling on the U.S. government to transform food aid in accordance with human rights principles so that food in Haiti is: economically and physically accessible; adequate in quantity, quality, and nutrition; culturally acceptable; available; and sustainable. At a time when the Haitian people are facing the monumental task of rebuilding their country after the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake, it is vital that donor countries and NGOs adopt approaches that advance and respect Haitians’ human rights. Only then will U.S. policy respond to the Haitian people as they “stand up” and lead themselves into a more promising future.