January 22, 2011
Charles Barkley on Immigrant and Gay Rights
David Zirin writes in the Nation:
. . . I am always astounded by Charles Barkley (the former NBA basketball star-turned sports analyst). It's not just that the NBA Hall of Famer-turned-announcer speaks without a filter. There is many a Howard Stern–Kathy Griffin–Jersey Shore–fungal spawn who do that on a nightly basis. It's that Barkley actually has something to say. . .
Barkley is no dilettante on the issue of LGBT rights, especially impressive in the often-homophobic hamlet of professional sports. As early as August 2006 on Fox Sports, the NBA Hall of Famer said,  "I'm a big advocate of gay marriage If they want to get married, God bless them."
In 2008, speaking to a rather rattled Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Barkley said, "Every time I hear the word 'conservative,' it makes me sick to my stomach, because they're really just fake Christians, as I call them. That's all they are.... I think they want to be judge and jury. Like, I'm for gay marriage. It's none of my business if gay people want to get married. I'm prochoice. And I think these Christians, first of all, they're not supposed to judge other people. But they're the most hypocritical judge of people we have in the country. And it bugs the hell out of me. They act like they're Christians. They're not forgiving at all."
On MLK day, Barkley also didn't stop there. He said "We have discrimination against Hispanic people in this country and we need to answer to that."
This echoed his comments last Cinco de Mayo, after the passage of Arizona's SB 1070 law where he said, "Immigrants aren't the problem. The only people screwing it up are the politicians. You know, living in Arizona for a long time, the Hispanic community, they're like the fabric of the cloth. They're part of our community and any time you try to do any type of racial profiling or racial discrimination is wrong." Click here for more.
January 21, 2011
Bullfrog Immigration Documentaries
Bullfrog Films is pleased to announce the release of two documentaries dealing with the issue of immigration and the relationships between the United States and the countries from which these migrants depart in search of work and opportunity.
Brother Towns/Pueblos Hermanos is a story of two towns linked by immigration, family, and work: Jacaltenango, a highland Maya town in Guatemala; and Jupiter, Florida, a coastal resort town where many Jacaltecos have settled. Brother Towns chronicles a story of how and why people migrate across borders, how people make and remake their communities thousands of miles from home, and how people maintain families despite their travel. This is a universal human story, and a quintessential American one.
News of undocumented immigrants is familiar in nearly every U.S. community, and citizens must choose how they respond to this issue. Brother Towns includes voices of those opposed to undocumented immigrants as well as advocates helping migrants who seek work and hope, whether documented or not.
Taking a different approach, director Rebecca Cammisa’s Which Way Home shows the personal side of immigration through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers with enormous courage and resourcefulness as they endeavor to make it to the United States.
The film follows several unaccompanied child migrants as they journey through Mexico en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call “The Beast.” Director Rebecca Cammisa tracks the stories of children including: Olga and Freddy, nine-year-old Hondurans who are desperately trying to reach their families in Minnesota; Jose, a ten-year-old El Salvadoran who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center; Kevin, a canny, streetwise 14-year-old Honduran, fleeing an abusive stepfather, whose mother hopes that he will reach New York City and send money back to his family; and, Fito, abandoned by his mother and father at a young age, looking for a new family.
These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow. They are the ones you never hear about – the invisible ones. Click here for purchase information.
Stories Behind Bars
Stories Behind Bars was inspired by Tona Wilson's job as a Spanish court interpreter. It is comprised of four silkscreen printed booklets, housed in a slipcase, and tells stories of immigrants in U.S. prisons, jails, and immigration detention. It was produced by hand at Women's Studio Workshop in 2010.
From the Book Shelves: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
In The Warmth of Other Suns, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves. Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a successful medical career. Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work.
Here is a telling passage from one of the early chapters of the book:
"From the early years of the twentieth century to well past its middle age, nearly every black family in the American South, which meant nearly every black family in America, had a decision to make. There were sharecroppes losing at settlement. Typists wanting to work in an office. Yard boys scared that a single gesture near the planter's wife could leave them hanging from an oak tree. They were all stuck in a caste system as hard and unyielding as the red Georgia clay, and they each had a decision before them. In this, they were not unlike anyone who ever longed to cross the Atlantic or the Rio Grande." (emphasis added).
For the N.Y Times review of the book, click here.
10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Martin Luther King, Jr
January 20, 2011
AILA issues warning about the status of expungements in the Ninth Circuit
Following contentious oral arguments in Nuñez-Reyes v. Holder, 602 F.3d 1102 (9th Cir. 2010)(per curiam), vacated 2010 WL 3816719 (9th Cir. September 24, 2010). AILA is warning practitioners about the possible demise of Lujan-Armendariz v. INS, 222 F.3d 728 (9th Cir. 2000).To hear or view the Nuñez-Reyes v. Holder oral arguments click here. To read a practice advisory issued by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center click here
Mayor Bloomberg Calls for Immigration Reform
From the New York Immigration Coalition:
Immigration Coalition Responds to Mayor's State of the City Address
(Wednesday, January 19th, 2010) Following is a statement from Ms. Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition:
"In his remarks today, the Mayor said with conviction that immigration reform 'is the single biggest step we can take' to promote innovation and economic growth. This simple truth should resonate deeply not only with immigrants but with all those who care about the future of our city and nation.
"In the face of federal inaction on immigration reform, Mayor Bloomberg has committed to working nationally to push for reform and continues to articulate a positive message about immigrants’ economic contributions. What a breath of fresh air, and what a welcome antidote, to the localities across the nation who are jumping through hoops to outdo Arizona in pushing for ever more punitive, divisive, anti-immigrant policies.
"We hope the Mayor’s steadfast commitment to immigration reform will bolster President Obama in his determination to achieve immigration reform, and help stem the tide against the increasingly hostile political climate immigrants face in the new Congress.
"At the same time that we are buoyed by his comments on immigration reform, we are also concerned that immigrant students still learning English have been left out of the graduation-rate gains he cited in his speech. Students still learning English have significantly lower graduation rates, and we need to see the Mayor make a real commitment to improving outcomes for these students, who otherwise represent an enormous loss of economic potential that our city cannot afford.
"We look forward to working with the Mayor to ensure that immigrants are included as key players in the various promising initiatives he cited. That means making sure that development projects include affordable housing and take into account immigrant community needs; and that initiatives around summer youth employment, workforce development, and other areas are inclusive of immigrants as vital contributors to our city’s vitality and identity.
And finally, we call on the Mayor to recognize that all sectors—business, labor, faith, civic, human service—must come together as valued partners to achieve real progress for all New Yorkers."
Full text of Mayor’s speech: http://www.nyc.gov/html/om/html/2011a/pr020-11.html
Club 907 Women Freed
The Ms. blog reports that the 80-plus women who were arrested during the November raid of Club 907 in downtown Los Angeles have been released. Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department raided the club on suspicion of prostitution on November 5, but ended up arresting 78 dancers on documentation charges. Although some of the women are still facing immigration proceedings, this is a victory for the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights in Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and the Raids Response Network of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
International Network on Migration and Development Conference
The International Network on Migration and Development is cosponsoring a May conference in Quito, Ecuador. This meeting will be fully translated between English, French, and Spanish. To submit proposals and learn about the INMD, see http://rimd.reduaz.mx/pagina/indexing Proposals can also be submitted through FLACSO/ Quito. The deadline for receiving summaries of presentations is January 24th. http://www.flacsoandes.org/congreso/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=54
January 19, 2011
UCLA Immigration Law and Criminal Law Symposium
Here is but another immigration law symposium, this one by the UCLA Law Review -- Symposia, Immigration Law and Criminal Law: Defining the Outsider, January 28, 2011, at the UCLA School of Law.
Immigration Law Symposium February 17-18, 2011 University of California, Irvine School of Law
Our labor markets rely heavily on unauthorized workers, yet the law affords these workers only modest workplace protections. Restrictionists condemn sanctuary cities while praising Arizona's S.B. 1070. Immigrants' rights advocates argue that localities should be allowed to opt out of Secure Communities while battling local anti-immigrant ordinances on preemption grounds. Immigration enforcement efforts are promoted as necessary to restore the rule of law, yet ongoing enforcement efforts sometimes unfold with apparent disregard for due process rights guaranteed by the Constitution. What are the sources of these impossible choices and contradictory impulses? Can the law be used to alleviate these tensions, or must we look beyond law’s boundaries? Is political compromise the only answer, or will one agenda emerge to the exclusion of others? Is change destined to be incremental or are there opportunities for sweeping overhaul? These are just some of the questions this symposium hopes to answer.
Santa Clara Social Justice Workshop: Citizenship and Immigration Spring 2011
An immigration law based on Arizona’s has passed the Mississippi State Senate.
The bill, passed Tuesday, will allow state law enforcement officers check the status of people they think might be in the United States without proper status.
The legislation passed by a wide margin with 34 state Senators voting in favor. Fifteen rejected their support after nearly four hours of debate.
The bill’s passage makes Mississippi the first state to pass a bill similar to the one passed and signed into law in Arizona. A number of states, including Colorado, are considering bills modeled off of the one in Arizona.
The bill’s chief sponsor, Republican Sen. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall, said after questioning from opponents that it’s impossible to know how many undocumented immigrants are living in Mississippi.
It is unclear whether the bill will pass the Mississippi House. It is expected that Republican Governor Haley Barbour will sign the legislation into law, however, the governor’s office has not released an official response.
Should the bill pass, it could have national implication. Mr. Barbour continues to float the possibility of a presidential run and any action taken on the bill will likely face scrutiny. Read more....
Asian American Workers Benefit From Unions
Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers Among the Fastest Growing Groups n the Union Workforce
Benefits and wage gains from unionization large by any measure.
Contact: Alan Barber,
Washington, D.C.- A new report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) documents a large wage and benefit advantage for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers in unions, relative to their non-union counterparts.
The report, "Unions and Upward Mobility for Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers," updates an earlier analysis of AAPI workers in organized labor and incorporates the latest data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) for the period 2003-2009 to reveal a number of advantages of unionization for AAPI workers."
As a share of the union workforce, only Latinos are growing at a rate faster than Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” said Nicole Woo, Director of Domestic Policy at CEPR and an author of the report. “While this is reflective of workforce trends in general, the data show that joining a union makes a big difference in the wages and benefits of AAPI workers."
The report finds that unionization raises the pay of Asian American and Pacific Islander workers by about $2.50 per hour. AAPI workers are 16 percentage points more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and 22 percentage points more likely to have an employer-provided pension plan than their non-union counterparts.
Among the other findings in the study:
• about one-in-eight (12.5 percent) of Asian American and Pacific Islander workers were in a union or represented by a union at their workplace
• almost half (48.8 percent) of AAPI workers in unions were women
• in 2003-2009, on average, two-thirds (67.0 percent) of unionized AAPI workers were immigrants
• half (50.5 percent) of unionized AAPI workers had a four year college degree or more
• more than four-in-ten (43.4 percent) unionized Asian American and Pacific Islander workers were in the public sector
• unionized AAPI workers are heavily concentrated in several states, with about six-of-ten (60.0 percent) in the Pacific states and about four-in-ten (40.5 percent) in California alone
The full analysis can be found here.
Jorge Gutierrez: College BB Player from Mexico
Earlier this week, Bill Hing blogged about Cal Bear basketball fan favorite Bak Bak, a refugee from the violence of the Sudan. Showing the changing face of college basketball, one of Bak's teammates is Jorge Gutierrez, a native of Chihuahua, Mexico. Known for his scrappiness, Gutierrez plays ball in the United States, thinking about the violence ongoing in his hometown. For the details, click here.
Immigrant Champion/Cardinal of LA to Retire
The Catholic Church has been criticized in recent years for many things including its conservative stances on social issues and its protection of wayward priests. What is often buried in the public consciousness is the church's embrace of immigrants and immigration. In that regard, the L.A. Times reports Cardinal Roger Mahony, who is retiring as the leader of Los Angeles's Roman Catholic diocese and has been an erstwhile champion of immigration reform.
"[H]e's still vigorous and plans to remain very much engaged, not only as a priest but also as an influential voice in the debates over an issue that has preoccupied him throughout his ministry: Immigration. In a statement to be distributed throughout the archdiocese this week, Mahony outlines his plans in a deeply personal document headed, `STANDING with the ELEVEN MILLION: Welcoming the Strangers in Our Midst.' The title is a reference to the estimated 11 million immigrants currently making a life in the United States without legal documents."
January 18, 2011
Earned Legalization: Effects of Proposed Requirements on Unauthorized Men, Women, and Children, by the Migration Policy Institute
When immigration policy discussions ultimately return to legalization, policymakers will have to define the overall scope of any program. In doing so, they would do well to remember that certain requirements for gaining legal status could disproportionately exclude unauthorized women and children, and could prevent millions of applicants from legalizing. In a new report out today, Earned Legalization: Effects of Proposed Requirements on Unauthorized Men, Women, and Children, Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Senior Policy Analyst Marc Rosenblum and coauthors Randy Capps and Serena Yi-Ying Lin (Download Legalization-requirements) examine the impact on unauthorized men, women, and children of four criteria for earned legalization (English proficiency, employment, continuous presence, and monetary fines) found in the major legalization bills that Congress has considered since 2006. The analysis finds that language provisions could exclude the largest number of unauthorized immigrants; employment requirements would disproportionately affect women, who are less likely than unauthorized men to be in the workforce; continuous presence rules would omit many children who (in general) have lived in the country for less time than unauthorized adults; and high fees and fines would significantly burden low-wage applicants. Total fines under some legislative proposals have been as high as $10,000, more than half the annual family income for some 2.5 million unauthorized immigrants.
This report is the fourth in an MPI series on how to shape and administer a legalization program. The series addresses the core issues that policymakers in Congress and the administration would need to consider in designing and implementing effective legislation. The first report in the series, Structuring and Implementing an Immigrant Legalization Program: Registration as the First Step, argues that an essential first step to any legalization program would be a registration process that rapidly identifies, screens, and processes potential applicants. The second,More than IRCA: US Legalization Programs and the Current Policy Debate, provides an historical overview and yearly data on US legalization programs since the 1920s, a discussion of the debate over the nation's estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants, and a primer on the statutory language used to describe the differing types of legalization programs. The third, Immigrant Legalization in the United States and European Union: Policy Goals and Program Design, examines policy parameters on both sides of the Atlantic that characterize legalization programs, such as qualifications, requirements, benefits, and program design and implementation. The legalization series and other MPI research on US immigration policy can be found at www.migrationpolicy.org/research/usimmigration.php
Rivera Language Rights Case Goes Forward
From the Employment Law Center:
On Monday, January 10, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously let stand an appeals court decision in Rivera v. Nibco, a widely-watched civil rights case brought by LAS–ELC on behalf of 23 Latina and Southeast Asian workers who were discriminatorily fired by Nibco, Inc., an Indiana-based multinational corporation, because of their language and national origin. The appeals court ordered a new trial because Nibco had removed a prospective juror from the Rivera jury because she was Latina.
“We’re very gratified the Court saw no need to change the appeals court’s conclusion that Nibco excluded at least one prospective juror solely because of her race,” said LAS–ELC attorney Christopher Ho, lead counsel for the Rivera plaintiffs. “Now our clients will have an opportunity to put their case forward before a fairly chosen jury.”
Rivera, filed in 1999, is a challenge to Nibco’s use of a supposed “job skills” test, administered entirely in English, to lay off scores of Latina/o and Asian workers before all others at an irrigation manufacturing plant in Fresno, California. Although these immigrant workers had performed their jobs successfully for years with only limited English proficiency, Nibco’s test—which required a perfect, 100% score to pass—effectively singled out these and other workers of color for failure. After a seven-week trial in late 2008, an overwhelmingly Caucasian jury in Fresno returned a verdict in Nibco’s favor.
The Rivera plaintiffs appealed that adverse verdict to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, pointing out that Nibco had repeatedly misrepresented facts about three Latina/o prospective jurors in a successful effort to persuade the trial judge that they should not be allowed to serve on the jury. The plaintiffs also argued that Nibco used entirely different patterns of questioning jurors, depending upon whether they were Latina/o or Caucasian. Read more...
January 17, 2011
Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
January 16, 2011
Child of Sudan Happy to Play Basketball at Cal
Vittorio Tafur writes for the San Francisco Chronicle:
As he walks to get a burrito with his teammates, headphones around his neck and books in his backpack, Bak Bak looks like just another Cal student. A tall one, mind you, but the 6-foot-9 sophomore wears an easygoing nature and excitedness about the future as comfortably as he wears his Cal basketball sweats.
Bak has every reason to be thrilled about what lies ahead. He has bounced back from some academic troubles his freshman year and is doing well at one of the toughest schools in the country. After adding 25 pounds to his slender frame over the past two years, Bak is coming off the bench for the Bears, even scoring 12 points in a win over UC Davis last month.
And he is alive.
"I should be dead probably," Bak said. "Two or three times, I got very lucky."
He was born on Dec. 27, 1989, during the Second Civil War in Sudan that left an estimated 2 million people dead. Included in that number were Bak's sister and three uncles. Read more....