Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas DREAMers!

Dear DREAMers,

Merry Christmas. Thank you for all that you and your families do for our society. Keep your faith and hopes alive.

bh

December 25, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 24, 2010

HO HO HO -- A Christmas Story? Marine urging leniency for father facing deportation

220px-Jonathan_G_Meath_portrays_Santa_Claus 
Read the anti-Christmas story
about a Marine who returns home on leave who finds his father facing deportation -- and who was only apprehended because he was translating for a non-Englsih speaking friend at an ICE office.

KJ

December 24, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Where is the Christmas Spirit? The Mean-Spirited Debate Over Immigration Continues

Every once in a while, I will comment on the mean-spirited comments posted about op/eds and commentary on immigration on mainstream news websites.  One can find such comments in papers with their primary circulations in suburban and rural areas.  More surprising, the readers of the Washington Post can be just as irrational and mean.  Here is just one comment to an op/ed in the Post by Professor Edward Schumacher-Matos on the failure of Congress to pass the DREAM ACT: 

"How many of those politicians live in a neighborhood that has been overrun with Mexicans?

How many have Mexican gangs hang out on their property and do thousands of dollars worth of damage?

How many live in areas where Mexican LA RAZA groups force the police to treat gangs like endangered species?

How many of these politicians have seen senior citizens on the way to church get attacked by illegals who want money not education?

How many people know that Luis Gutierrez moved out of his 4th district to get away from the crime that his people commit?

What exactly do Americans owe Mexicans as they never lifted a finger to help fight any of the wars Americans did during the 20th century?

How many people know that Mexicans overpopulated Mexico by quadrupling its population over the last 60 years?

How many people know that there are more than 125 countries that are poorer than Mexico yet Mexicans want to be fed first.

How many people know that the supposedly religious Mexican in America doesn't even go to church or contribute yet they seem to drive brand new SUVs.

How many people know that Mexicans have been getting loans for homes even though qualified Americans are denied.

How many Americans know that Mexicans contribute very little to the education of their own children as they claim poverty and live in areas that get aid from state and federal funds that are denied to Americans."

KJ

December 24, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Gift to Cardozo Law to Aid Immigrants

The Wall Street Journal reports on a very nice holiday gift to Benjam N. Cardozo School of LawKathy Greenberg, a public-interest lawyer, is giving $500,000 to the Law School to support the law school's immigration law clinic, which represents needy immigrants facing deportation.  Mrs. Greenberg's husband, Alan, is vice chairman emeritus of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.   The recent gift by the Greenbergs will also go to fund scholarships for students in financial need, as well as for stipends for 10-week summer internships and postgraduate fellowships for positions in public-interest law. Last summer, 240 students received grants of $4,000 to $5,000 to work in public-service internships in government agencies and legal aid nonprofits.

KJ

December 24, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Immigrant of the Day: Manuel Lara Lopez (Mexico)

Manuel Lara Lopez recently was sworn in as a naturalized U.S. citizen and was, in his own words, "muy feliz" (very happy).  The Austin Statesman reports that "Lara, who has been a legal U.S. resident for the past 20 years, came to Texas from Mexico in 1979 or 1980 seeking a better life, he said. He cooked in taquerias in Houston for 20 years and in Austin for 10 years, until he was diagnosed with advanced intestinal cancer in May. Because he is too weak to leave his home, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sent an officer to his home Tuesday to administer the test for citizenship. Lara passed the test."


KJ

December 23, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Juan Osuna Named Acting Director for the Executive Office for Immigration Review

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced the appointment of Juan Osuna as Acting Director for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) was created on Jan. 9, 1983, through an internal department reorganization which combined the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) with the Immigration Judge function previously performed by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) (now part of the Department of Homeland Security). The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) was added in 1987. EOIR is headed by a Director who is responsible for the supervision of the Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the Chief Immigration Judge, the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer and all agency personnel.

Since earlier this year, Osuna has worked as an Associate Deputy Attorney General working on immigration policy, Indian country matters, pardons and commutations, and other issues. Prior to that, he worked in the department’s Civil Division, where, in addition to handling immigration policy, he also oversaw civil immigration-related litigation in the federal courts. Previously he served as chairman of the BIA, where he managed the highest administrative tribunal on immigration matters in the United States, comprised of 250 employees, including 15 Board Members, 135 attorneys and support personnel. He was first appointed to the BIA in 2000 and became the chairman in 2008.

While at the BIA, Osuna put in place a number of reforms and oversaw the Attorney General’s 2006 reform plan, which increased the quality and transparency of the Board’s decisions, and he adjudicated hundreds of appeals from decisions of Immigration Judges made in removal proceedings.

Osuna also teaches immigration policy at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Va.

Osuna received a B.A. from George Washington University, a law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law and a master’s degree in law and international affairs from American University’s School of International Service.

KJ

December 23, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Governor Patrick Should Reconsider Secure Communities Initiative

GREEN-RAINBOW PARTY DEPLORE'S PATRICK'S SUPPORT FOR IMMIGRANT CRACKDOWN

Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party

Contacts:Michael Horan, Co-Chair, 617-515-2139 or Jill Stein, Co-Chair, 781-674-1377

December 21, 2010

BOSTON - Labeling the Deval Patrick administration's decision to sign on to the "Secure Communities Act" as a mistake, the Green-Rainbow Party declared its unequivocal support for efforts by the immigrant group Centro Presente  to halt harsh police enforcement against "undocumented" immigrants.

Noting that criticism of the Secure Communities Act has come from The New York Times,  the Congressional General Accounting Office, law enforcement officials, and city councils across the country, the Green-Rainbow Party called upon Governor Patrick to reconsider his commitment to the federal mandate.

According to the Green-Rainbow leaders, the measure has flagrantly missed its stated priority of targeting violent criminals, resulting instead in the harassment, detention, and deportation of many non-criminals.

It has also stripped local law enforcement agencies of their right to adopt more flexible ways of dealing with immigrant issues within their own jurisdiction.

According to Green-Rainbow Party co-chair Michael Horan, "The Secure Communities initiative was created to ensure that dangerous (`Level 1') criminals would face additional scrutiny by ICE, resulting in their possible deportation. In practice, however, more than half of those deported following ICE investigations in Boston have turned out be non-criminals.

One credible report notes that `traffic violators and day laborers' have become the central target of this operation.
The system is not only misleading and unjust, but creates a barrier between local police and the very people they are entrusted to serve and protect.

Safe, strong, and secure communities do not arise from policies that sow fear and distrust."

The initiative, which turns over the fingerprints of everyone arrested and booked, was rolled out in October 2008 under the auspices of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which expects it to be fully implemented nationwide by 2013.

In providing no clear-cut means for communities to opt-out, ICE prevents local law enforcement from using their experience to handle local issues, which explains why towns like San Francisco, The District of Columbia, and Virginia's Fairfax County have petitioned the Justice Department to allow them to withdraw.

Until this week, civil rights advocates had hopes that the Patrick administration might join them.

The Governor was non-committal during the campaign, declaring that the program hadn't been in effect long enough to warrant his support, and as recently as a month ago stated that "The concern over illegal immigration has become so shrill that all immigrants get swept up in that emotion.

I want you to know that you are welcome here in this commonwealth."

Horan noted that "in bowing to anti-immigrant political pressure, Governor Patrick is endorsing the type of ill-conceived programs that he claimed to oppose.

His real message seems to be: You actually aren't all that welcome after all."

Jill Stein, GRP co-chair and 2010 gubernatorial candidate, deplored the gap between Governor Patrick's words and his actions as Governor. "When seeking votes from the immigrant community Governor Patrick repeatedly portrayed himself as their friend, and implied that he would protect them from harsher anti-immigrant actions. 
But this action speaks much louder than his words. It has come as a shock to those who took his pronouncements at face value."

Claribel Santiago, a member of the Green-Rainbow Greater Boston Chapter, called Governor Patrick's about-face "another sad example of the Democratic Party establishment's willingness to bow to oppressive forces rather than stand up for people."

"Here in Boston, the political leadership has displayed a callous indifference to the real reasons behind the street crime that plagues our neighborhoods.
To pretend that rounding up and deporting immigrant traffic offenders will help to make our streets safer is a cruel joke.  It's just another excuse for not providing what we really need for security communities-safe housing, strong schools, and the opportunity for good jobs.  It amounts to a betrayal of those whom the Governor promised to serve."

Centre Presente is coordinating an action against the Secure Communities program tomorrow, Wednesday, December 22, at 11:00 AM, in front of the State House.

The Green-Rainbow Party is one of the co-sponsors of this event, and has called upon Party members to lend their support by turning out.

bh

December 23, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Defeat of DREAM Act will hurt opponents by Alvaro Huerta

140px-Nancy_Reagan_reopens_Statue_of_Liberty_1986 
Alvaro Huerta
claims that Republicans willpay for defeating the DREAM Act on The ProgrssiveRead on.

KJ

 

December 23, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Census Shows Population Gains Due to Growing Latino Population

Michele Waslin on Immigration Impact reports that the first 2010 Decennial Census data was made available this week, and the U.S. population rose 9.7% since 2000. As a result of population changes, reapportionment will likely shift the political balance in Congress. Some states (Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina) will gain seats, in part due to the growth in their Latino populations over the past decade. While many media outlets have focused on the fact that the states gaining Congressional seats tend to be red states, and those losing seats are blue, immigrant advocates have pointed out that Members of Congress from those states with growing Latino populations, regardless of party affiliation, will have to be responsive to their Latino constituencies if they want to keep their seats.

KJ

December 23, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Support Eddy Zheng's Request for a Pardon

Eddy Zheng needs your support now!

After serving over 20 years behind bars for a robbery he committed at age 16, Chinese American community leader Eddy Zheng now faces deportation to China, a huge loss to the Bay Area community. Released from prison in 2007, Eddy has dedicated his life to preventing youth violence and delinquency through his work at the Community Youth Center, Community Response Network, and many other SF Bay Area programs and organizations.  Flawed immigration laws make Eddy deportable to China, although Eddy has already served his sentence and was found suitable to re-enter society by Governor Schwarzenegger himself.

Eddy Zheng has submitted an application for clemency with Governor Schwarzenegger. Please tell the Governor to grant Eddy a pardon, which may prevent Eddy’s deportation to China.

Why is this an important time to take action?
Governor Schwarzenegger will be termed out when the new Governor takes office on January 3, 2011. Many governors have historically granted pardons before they leave office. We want to take advantage of this opportunity by making a strong PUSH for Eddy's pardon during the governor’s last week in office.

What can you do?!

http://www.change.org/petitions/view/tell_gov_schwarzenegger_to_pardon_eddy_zheng_2

Sign the Change.org petition to show that there is community support for Eddy! Pass it along and ask your friends to sign too. This is a different petition from one that was recently circulated on Change.org, so even if you think you've signed it double check and sign again.

Why does Eddy deserve a pardon?

After being convicted as an adult for a crime he committed when he was 16 years old, Eddy served over 20 years behind bars where he transformed himself into a renowned prisoner rights advocate, youth mentor, poet, and author. In 2005, Eddy won his parole only by demonstrating to the parole board and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that he was a model inmate who acknowledged his mistakes, expressed remorse for his crime, and did everything he could to improve himself. At his parole hearing Eddy had letters of support from the judge who originally sentenced him, the Assistant District Attorney who prosecuted him, a former director of the California Department of Corrections, and dozens of state legislators, local politicians, and community leaders.

Today, as a Program Manager for youth outreach programs in the San Francisco Bay Area, Eddy is an asset to the community. Eddy’s immigrant teenage years in Oakland and his incarceration experience have enabled him to conduct effective outreach and intervention strategies for youth, many of whom who are at-risk for entering the criminal justice system.

Eddy has already served his time for his crime. It is unfair for him to be punished twice for the same crime. Keep Eddy at home with his family and his community!

Background info on Eddy Zheng:

SF Weekly: http://www.sfweekly.com/2002-06-05/news/throwing-away-the-key/

East Bay Express: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/eastbay/the-last-stand-of-eddie-zheng/Content?oid=1078670

Hyphen Magazine: http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/magazine/issue-14-spaces/inside-men

Eddy's blog: http://eddyzheng.blogspot.com/

Facebook event link: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=122495144479516 

List of Awards and Committees:

- 2009 Department of Children Youth and their Families Roots Fellow

- 2008 “Outstanding Leadership Award” from the Bay Area Asian Pacific American Law Students Association

- 2007 “Community Hero Award” from the Chinese language newspaper World Journal

- Mayor appointed council member of the San Francisco Safe Community Reentry Council

- Member of the San Francisco central police station Citizen Advisory Board

- National Advisory board member of Asian American Law Journal

- Co-Chair of Asian Prisoners’ Support Committee based in Oakland

- Co-Author of “Other: An Asian and Pacific Islander Prisoners’ Anthology”

Partial List of Supporters for Eddy’s release from prison and immigration detention:

• San Francisco Board of Supervisors

• San Francisco Youth Commission

• Michael Honda, US Congressman

• Barbara Lee, US Congresswoman

• Mark Leno, CA State Senator

• Leland Yee, CA State Senator

• Loni Hancock, CA State Senator

• Carol Liu, CA State Senator

• Gloria Romero, CA State Senator

• Don Perata, former CA Senate President Pro Tem

• John Burton, former CA Senate President Pro Tem

• Sheila Kuehl, former CA State Senator

• Byron Sher, former CA State Senator

• John Vasconcellos, former CA State Senator

• Judy Chu, U.S. Congresswoman

• Phil Ting, SF Assessor-Recorder

• Jane Kim, SF Board of Education

• Eric Mar, SF Board of Supervisors

• Alice Lai-Bitker, Alameda County Supervisor

• Wilma Chan, Alameda County Supervisor

• Jerry Enomoto, former Director, CA Dept of Corrections

• Chris Nedeau, former SF District Attorney who prosecuted Eddy Zheng

• Rev. Norman Fong, SF Chinatown Presbyterian Church

• Dale Minami, Minami Tamaki LLP

• Victor Hwang, SF Assistant District Attorney

• Yuri Kochiyama, Community Activist

• Isami Arifuku, National Council on Crime and Delinquency

* organizations listed for ID purposes only

bh

December 23, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

THE MIGRANT HOTEL - WHERE DEPORTEES FIND SHELTER IN MEXICALI By David Bacon

New America Media, 12/22/10  MEXICALI, Mexico

Last year, almost 400,000 people were deported from the United States. That's the largest wave of deportations in U.S. history, even larger than the notorious "Operation Wetback" of the 1950s, or the mass deportations during the Great Depression.

Often the Border Patrol empties buses of deportees at the border gates of cities like Mexicali in the middle of the night, pushing people through at a time when nothing is open, and no services are available to provide them with food or shelter. Most deportees are young people. They had no money in their pockets coming to the United States, and have nothing more as they get deported back to Mexico.

These are invisible people. In the wave of anti-immigrant hysteria gripping the United States, no one asks what happens to the deportees once they're sent back to Mexico.

In Mexicali, a group of deportees and migrant rights activists have taken over an old, abandoned hotel, formerly the Hotel Centenario (the Hundred Year Hotel). They've renamed it the Hotel Migrante, or the Migrant Hotel. Just a block from the border crossing, it gives people deported from the United States a place to sleep and food to eat for a few days before they go home, or try to cross the border again. The government gives it nothing. Border Angels, the U.S.-based immigrant rights group, provides what little support the hotel gets. A cooperative of deportees cooks the food and works on fixing the building.

During the winter, about 50-60 people live there at any given time, while five or six more knock on its doors every night. Last summer, at the peak of the season when people try to cross the border looking for work, the number of deportees seeking shelter at the hotel rose to over 300.

"A lot of people get hurt trying to walk through the mountains around Mexicali," says Benjamin Campista, a cooperative member. "It's very cold there now, and when they get caught and deported, many are just wearing a T-shirt and tennis shoes. Some get sick -- those we take to the hospital. The rest stay here a few days until their family can send them money to get home, or until they decide to try to cross again."

Border Angels and the hotel collective agreed to pay the landlord 11,000 pesos a month in rent (about $900 USD), but they're already six months behind. Every day hotel residents go out to the long lines of people waiting to cross through the garita (the legal border crossing). They ask for money to support the hotel, and each person gets to keep half of what they're given. The other half goes mostly for food for the evening meal. Deportees have plenty of time to explain their situation to people standing in line, since on a recent afternoon the wait to get through the garita was two hours.

Every day Campista hears deportees tell their stories. "Three brothers stayed here last summer, before they tried to cross. A month later one came back. I saw him on the roof, crying as he looked at the mountains where the other two had died from the heat. A woman came here with her two-month-old baby. Her husband had died in the desert too."

"We're human beings!" Campista exclaims. "We're just going north to try to work. Why should we die for this? Our governments should end these violations of human rights. Then our hotel wouldn't even be necessary.

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December 23, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

UC San Diego Wayne Cornelius: Why the DREAM Act Failed

Headshot-cornelius-new 
Here is UC San Diego Wayne Cornelius's analysis of why the DREAM Act failed:

"The larger problem is that the entire Obama immigration policy strategy was based on a high-risk gamble that winning credibility on border and interior enforcement among members of Congress would buy the political space needed to enact comprehensive immigration reform. This strategy was fundamentally misconceived because Republicans in Congress have found tough immigration stances to be reliably effective in mobilizing their base, and because the Great Recession heightened public anxiety and anger about immigration."

For more of the interview, click here.

Obama_portrait 
As ImmigrationProf noted months ago
, the Obama administration has pursued an "enforcement now, enforcement forever" approach to immigration.  The hope ostensibly was to convince Republicans to support comprehensive immigration reform after the border was "secured" through increased enforcement.  The result is deeply disappointing:  more enforcement, more deaths on the border, record levels of deportations (indeed, more deportations than any President in U.S. history), and more detentions.  To add insult to real life injury, we do not have comprehensive immigration reform and Congress rejected a relatively limited reform measure, the DREAM Act, last weekend.

Please forgive those who support the rights of immigrants for failing to wish the Obama administration a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

KJ

December 22, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Buoys on the American Canal to Reduce Border Deaths

Tony Perry and Richard Marosi write for the Los Angeles Times:

AmericanCanal 
The All-American Canal has long been known as an engineering, hydrological and agricultural marvel, delivering enormous amounts of Colorado River water to arid Imperial County and turning a desert into one of the world's most productive farming regions.

But in recent years, it has had another reputation: the spot where hundreds of people have drowned, most of them undocumented migrants from Mexico trying desperately to cross the canal on their way north.

By most estimates, more than 500 people have drowned in the canal since it was completed in 1942. The peak year was 1998, when 31 died.

Now, after much controversy and some reluctance, the governmental owners and operators of the canal have begun a safety push along the 82-mile gravity-flow conveyance, long stretches of which parallel the border. Read more....

bh

December 22, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Economist on Migrant Farmworkers

The Economist has an interesting piece on migrant farmworkers. Here is an excerpt:

Fields of tears: They came to America illegally, for the best of reasons . . .Often they take the same roads on which the “Okies” travelled en masse in the 1930s as they fled the depressed dust bowl of Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas to seek a living in California. These Okies are for ever etched into America’s psyche as the Joad family in “The Grapes of Wrath”. Comparing the Mexicans who toil California’s fields to the Okies in John Steinbeck’s classic novel is a staple of the Latino left. That does not make it any less accurate. Joads then and Vegas now are pushed by the same need, pulled by the same promise. Now as then, there is no clearing house for jobs in the fields, so the migrants follow tips and rumours. Often, like the Joads, they end up in the right places at the wrong times. Felix Vega and three of his group, including his wife, were dropped off in Oxnard, famous for its strawberries. But they arrived out of season, so they slept on the streets, then in a doghouse, then in somebody’s car. For two months they did not bathe and barely ate. Finally, they found jobs picking strawberries and made their first money in America.

And thus they joined the vast undocumented workforce that undergirds America’s food supply. The government estimates that more than 80% of America’s crop workers are Hispanic (mostly Mexican), and more than half are illegal aliens. But Rob Williams, the director of the Migrant Farmworker Justice Project (which represents farmworkers in court), considers those numbers grossly misleading because they rely on self-reporting. He estimates that more than 90% of farmworkers are sin papeles (without papers), just as the Vegas are.  Read more....

bh

December 22, 2010 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

From the Believe It If I See It Department: President Tells Congressional Hispanic Caucus that He WIll Push for CIR

225px-Official_portrait_of_Barack_Obama 
Politico
reports that "President Barack Obama told Congressional Hispanic Caucus members Tuesday that he’ll renew his push for comprehensive immigration reform in 2011 — even though such an effort would face even longer odds in a Congress where Republicans control the House." After two years of frustration -- and record-setting numbers of deportations, I will believe it when I see it!

Actually, at this point, I would be happy to see the administration do something to reform its own policies.  As the Washington Post reported today,

"Despite vows by the Obama administration to focus its immigration enforcement efforts on criminals, a quarter of those who have been deported through a program called Secure Communities had not been convicted of committing any crime, government statistics show. And that percentage was vastly higher in some jurisdictions, including Prince George's County, where two-thirds of the 86 undocumented immigrants were not criminals."

KJ

December 21, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

U.S. GOVERNMENT CONTINUES UNNECESSARY DETENTION OF ASYLUM SEEKERS; REFUSES TO IMPLEMENT REGULATIONS TO PROTECT BASIC RIGHTS Statement of Mary Meg McCarthy Executive Director, National Immigrant Justice Center

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has rejected a petition submitted by Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center and 30 other immigrant and human rights organizations, think tanks, and academics calling on the government to issue regulations favoring the release of detained asylum seekers. The current parole policy violates the U.S. government’s obligations under international and domestic law. The petition for rulemaking requested the government create enforceable rules to establish a presumption that any asylum seeker who passes a “credible fear” interview with an asylum officer and has no criminal history should be released from immigration detention. Immigration judges should have the authority to release asylum seekers from detention, allowing them better access to the lawyers, documentation, and information they need for a meaningful day in court. The petition recognizes that the government retains the authority to produce evidence that would support the continued detention of an asylum seeker under certain circumstances. There is no logical reason for DHS to detain asylum seekers who pass credible fear interviews and are not dangers to the community. In fact, DHS issued asylum parole guidelines in December 2009 which established that the government should hold custody hearings and consider releasing asylum seekers who pass credible fear interviews. While these 2009 guidelines are a significant improvement over the agency’s previous parole policies, they are not enforceable by law and local immigration offices are not held accountable to comply. The National Immigrant Justice Center has worked with several clients who are asylum seekers and who passed credible fear interviews but were never provided custody reviews. Recently, NIJC staff met an asylum seeker from Moldova. After she passed her credible fear interview, DHS continued to detain her for three months until NIJC attorneys intervened. The woman was eight months pregnant. Once again, NIJC calls upon DHS to create fair and enforceable regulations – within 60 days – that respect our nation’s commitment to fair and humane treatment of asylum seekers, comply with U.S. and international laws, and are upheld consistently by DHS officers across the country. Link to this statement and DHS’s response at http://www.immigrantjustice.org/press/detention/asylumparolepetitionrejected.html

December 21, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New Documentary Explores Humanitarian Response to U.S.-Mexico cross-border migration

In “Of Human Bondage,” his classic exploration of aspiration and servitude, W. Somerset Maugham wrote that poverty exposes one to endless humiliation, cuts one’s wings, and eats into the soul like a cancer. And yet, Maugham continues, “It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.”

Maugham was in fact writing about artists, but application to the economic migrant can readily be seen. How intriguing it is, then, that a new documentary film just beginning production proposes to integrate those two realms of human endeavor.

“The Art of Survival,” helmed by experienced filmmaker and UC Davis law graduate Bryce Newell, will examine social and political controversies surrounding cross-border migration, but primarily as background and context for its primary focus: humanitarian response to the migration, and most notably the artistic expression and activity that is emerging from the front lines of the migration. Newell has organized an impressive list of interview subjects, including scholars, playwrights, visual artists, poets and digital media visionaries.

Reaching well beyond politics, this full-length documentary film will go deep into the heart of an unusual and fascinating humanitarian response to U.S.-Mexico cross-border migration: a high-risk, highly mobile and highly sophisticated network of volunteers from the north side of the border that is caching water supplies, distributing recycled cell phones running encrypted GPS trail-finding software, even sending transmissions of haiku poetry— to keep migrants from dying in the desert.

Though the film’s producers have secured 501(c)3 tax status for the film and are pursuing arts-grant funding, a timely production launch requires “jumpstart” funds from other sources— meaning, individuals and organizations with “personal” and/or political commitment to the project. They have posted extensive information about the film and a funding mechanism (powered by Kickstarter.com) on the film’s website, www.humanitarianfilm.org. All donations of $1 or more are appreciated, and those making donations of at least $10 will receive copies of the completed film before it is available to the public.

SUBMITTED BY BRYCE NEWELL 

December 21, 2010 in Current Affairs, Film | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

What the Obama Administration Can Do Right Now to Fix Immigration

Here are some thoughts from Mary Giovagnoli from Immigration Impact about "What the Obama Administration Can Do Right Now to Fix Immigration."  Here are some possibilities:

"Over the next year, the Obama administration must take a page from its predecessors and use the numerous tools available to it—executive orders, administrative rule-making, prosecutorial discretion, policy directives, and good old common sense—to craft immigration policies that extract every last bit of justice and fairness out of the laws we currently have. The administration must also acknowledge that its increased enforcement efforts have not resulted in any bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform, but it has contributed to a drive towards deportation as the default immigration policy of this country and all of the harmful consequences that come with it."


KJ

December 21, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

2011: The International Year for People of African Descent

The United Nations has declared 2011 "The International Year for People of African Descent."  Professor Vernellia Randall (Dayton) plans to a conduct a Series of Webinars on "Health Status, Social Determinants of Health and African Americans." She is looking for panelists to join the interdisciplinary webinars that will be scheduled throughout the year.

Social determinants of health are the key factors in the health status gap between blacks and whites. Social determinants of health are the social, economic and political forces under which people live that affect their health. Social determinants include wealth/income, education, physical environment, health care, housing, employment, stress and racism/discrimination. In fact, for blacks racism is a key factor. Even when economics are controlled, blacks have poorer health. That is, middle-class blacks have poorer health than middle-class whites. In fact, middle-class whites live 10 years longer than middle-class blacks. The stress of living in a racialized discriminatory society accounts for these racial health disparities.

Each webinar will consider a particular social determinant, inequities and the role of the law in promoting inequities or eliminating inequities. Each webinar will be 1.5 to 2 hours. There will be 2 to 3 panelist for each webinar. Each panelist will be approximately 20 to 30 minutes. There will be a 30 minute Question and Answer.   Professor Randall is looking for experts in (1) health status of African Americans (2) inequality in specific area and/or (3) the role of law in promoting or eliminating inequality. The webinars will be free and open to the public. They will be interdisciplinary. Professor Randall will arrange the dates to accommodate the schedule of the panelist.

The tentative monthly schedule is below. The schedule can be change. If you are interested please email Vernellia Randall, randall@udayton.edu  Identify the panel you are interested in, include a brief description of your experience relevant to this webinar. If you have relevant scholarship, please include relevant citations. Please share this email with others.

January      Health Policy and Law as a Social Determinant

February     Racial Inequality, Racism and Chronic Stress

March         Wealth and Income

April           Jobs, Employment and Working Conditions

May             Education: k-12, Higher Education and Professional

June            Housing and Neighborhoods

July              Environmental Racism

August          Targeting: Guns, Drugs and Fast Foods

September     Food Insecurity

October         Transportation

November      Criminal and Civil Justice

December      Pulling it all Together: Anti-Discrimination Law for the 21st Century

KJ

December 21, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Constitution Project Seeks Staff Director for Task Force on Detainee Treatment

The Constitution Project (TCP) seeks a staff director to work with its newly-created, bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment. The goal of the Task Force is to bring to the American people a comprehensive understanding of what is known and what may still be unknown about the past and current treatment of detainees by the U.S. government, as part of the counterterrorism policies of the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. The Task Force will help policymakers and the public confront alleged past abuses-including torture and cruel treatment-by following the facts. The Task Force will review available information, determine where the holes are and then pass the baton to the administration, Congress and ultimately-to the American people-who will determine what steps should be taken next. The members of the Task Force represent a full spectrum of political views and a wide range of professional backgrounds-legal, public policy, intelligence, military, law enforcement, religious, academic, public service, and medical. The staff director, working under the direction of TCP's president and with the support of its staff, will guide the Task Force in its investigation and in the development of its report and recommendations.

To assist in this work, the staff director will help hire and manage a team that will include investigators, legal counsel, and others as appropriate. This is a full-time, temporary position with an expected duration of 12-18 months.

The ideal candidate will have:

Extensive experience with oversight and investigations, policymaking, and policy analysis Knowledge of international, human rights, constitutional, and national security laws and policies.

Outstanding research and writing skills.

A proven ability to manage a team The ability to manage competing demands and thrive in a challenging, fast-paced environment.

A commitment to consensus-building and to working in a bipartisan environment.

Timeframe: The Task Force will begin the research and investigation phases of its work as soon as the staff director and support team are hired. A final report will be released in 12-18 months.

A competitive salary and benefits are available. Please submit a resume, references, and a writing sample to the attention of Scott Messinger via email at smessinger@constitutionproject.org (including "Task Force Staff Director Application" in the subject line) or via mail at 1200 18th Street, NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20036.

KJ

December 20, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)