Saturday, August 20, 2011
The telenovela Los Americans is a series that focuses on a multi-generational, middle-income Latino family living in Los Angeles. The Valenzuela family deals with many issues facing American families today, including unemployment, cultural identity, and alcoholism. The series features Latino-Americans in a realistic and complex manner seldom seen on television or the Internet. Here is a trailer that piqued my interest in the series.
While the series portrays some of the experiences unique to the Latino community, such as the challenges of straddling two cultures, the series also shows that much of the family’s struggles can be identified with families from various socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Following each episode of Los Americans, viewers will be directed to online resources and information offering solutions and help for the issues portrayed in the program.
The series is written and directed by Dennis Leoni, who is best known for having created and produced the award-winning, television series Resurrection Blvd. for Showtime. Los Americans feature Esai Morales (Caprica, Jericho, La Mamba), Lupe Ontiveros (Southland, Family Guy) Raymond Cruz (The Closer, Breaking Bad) and Tony Plana (Ugly Betty, 24).
The web series is funded through a grant of the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program, made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to promote broadband and technology use to help people improve their lives.
It was announced earlier this week that Los Americans will be shown on Metro buses in Los Angeles
AP (and here) reports that Antonio Diaz Chacon, a hero for chasing down an alleged child abductor and saving a 6-year-old girl in Albuquerque, New Mexico is undocumented. The publicity surrounding his heroics -- and immigration status -- has made him "a poster child of sorts for immigration rights."
Diaz Chacon, 23, is a Mexican citizen married to aU.S. citizen with two children and has been in the United States for four years. According to AP, "Chacon says he abandoned attempts to get legal residency because the process was difficult and expensive."
Friday, August 19, 2011
From the California Immigration Policy Center:
To truly begin fixing immigration system, administration must scrap failed S-Comm program
In response to the announcement made by Senior Officials that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would review its caseload of 300,000 currently in deportation proceedings, the California Immigrant Policy Center issued this statement:
While we hope the review announced [yesterday] of the current caseload does indeed occur, the proof will come in the pudding. Will immigrants who are “Americans in waiting” be allowed to stay with their families and continue contributing to our communities, or will they be torn from their loved ones by an outdated immigration system?
We are deeply concerned by DHS and ICE's long track record of deceiving local governments and acting in bad faith, particularly concerning the failed “Secure” Communities or S-Comm program. This week's release of hundreds of "embarrassing" emails only solidifies our doubts that these agencies will suddenly begin to clean up their act.
Moreover, [yesterday's] announcement does nothing to address the serious and well-documented public safety and transparency concerns that have sparked a nationwide outcry against the failed "Secure" Communities or S-Comm deportation program and other initiatives which force local police to act as immigration agents.
For the sake of transparency and public safety, we call upon the Obama administration to end S-Comm and other programs like it. The misnamed "Secure" Communities program was forced on local governments under a cloud of deception, has ensnared community members from victims of domestic violence to ice cream vendors, and made victims and witnesses to crime fearful of working with our local police. The threat of deportation that breaks apart countless families and undermines public safety for all of us will continue to be a reality until the Administration truly exercises its power to begin to repair our broken immigration system.
USCIS reminds eligible nationals of Haiti to file for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The final day for TPS-Haiti beneficiaries to re-register is Aug. 22, 2011.
TPS was originally designated for Haiti in January 2010 in response to a catastrophic earthquake that devastated that country. The current 18-month extension of TPS for Haiti will remain in effect through Jan. 22, 2013. The following three groups are covered under the Haiti TPS extension and re-designation:
Individuals filing for the first time
Individuals with pending TPS application
Individuals re-registering for TPS (Individuals who were initially granted TPS for Haiti through July 22, 2011 and who plan to remain in the United States., must re-register no later than Aug. 22, 2011) Check uscis.gov for requirements and procedures.
From Filipino Advocates for Justice:
Dear friends and domestic worker supporters,
We are nearing the end of the California Legislative year, and now more than ever AB 889 the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights needs our support. We have succeeded in getting the bill passed in the CA State Assembly, and through the Senate Labor Committee. The bill is now in the Senate Appropriations Committee. If the Appropriations Committee does not vote to pass our bill on Thursday 8/25, this historic bill will die.
You can help in a few ways:
1) JOIN US IN SACRAMENTO on 8/22, more info on this below.
2) MAKE CALLS. If you cannot go to Sacramento on 8/22, please call each Senate Appropriations Committee member that morning and every day until the vote on Aug 25th. Their numbers and a sample script are below. ASK YOUR FRIENDS TO MAKE CALLS.
3) SEND A FAX: You can use this LINK to send a FAX to Appropriations.
4) POST on Facebook: I just made a call to support the Domestic Workers Bill of Right make a make a CALL. LINK
5) POST on Twitter: I support the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights #Ab889. Show your support make a call. http://bit.ly/DWACT
6) DONATE. Help us pay for transportation and campaign costs. Any amount will help.
COME WITH US TO SACRAMENTO
Board buses in SF, Oakland and Los Angeles and flood Sacramento with supporters of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. If you have not yet RSVPed through the National Domestic Worker Alliance, please RSVP below by Fri. 8/19 at 4pm.
The Bay Area buses will load Mon. 8/22 at 7am in SF (474 Valencia at 16th St.) and Oakland (Fruitvale BART). We will have an orientation to to the campaign and lobby visits on the buses and arrive in Sacramento at 9am. We have a press conference 12pm - 1pm and make visits to Senators all day. There are buses returning from Sacramento at 3:30pm and 4:30pm and arriving in SF and Oakland by 5:30pm and 6:30pm. If you have any questions, please contact Katie at kjoaquin[at]filipinos4justice.org or 510-465-9876
CALL APPROPRIATION COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Sample Script: “Please support the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (AB889) in the next appropriations committee hearing. Domestic workers are the bedrock of our state’s workforce. A vote in support for AB889 is a step forward in shared economic prosperity and growth.”
Christine Kehoe (D- San Diego) (916) 651-4039
Mimi Walter (R- Laguna Hills) (916) 651-4033
Elaine Alquist (D- San Jose) (916) 651-4013
Bill Emmerson (D-Riverside) (916) 651-4031
Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrance) (916) 651-4028
Fran Pavley (D-Santa Monica) (916) 651-4023
Curren Price (D- Los Angeles) (916) 651-4026
Sharon Runner (R- Santa Clarita) (916) 651-4017
Darrell Steinberg (D- Sacramento) (916) 651-4006
Thank you for your support!
Julianne Hing writes for Colorlines:
Manuel Guerra Casas was 14 days away from his last immigration hearing. As the days inched closer to his September 1 hearing date, he was running out of legal options. Guerra, who’s undocumented, had been the victim of an immigration scam years ago. An unscrupulous notario had promised to help him get work authorization. The papers never materialized, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement did.
Yesterday, ICE called his attorney to tell him they’d dropped his case. The phone call came on the same day that the Obama administration announced that it would review its 300,000 open deportation cases, and pull people out of the queue who aren’t a high priority for removal, people who have no criminal record and came to the U.S. as kids and pose no threat to the country’s national security. Guerra was one of them.
“It was the biggest news I have ever seen,” Guerra said by phone from his home in West Palm Beach in Florida. Guerra had been fighting his deportation since 2006. “This news just yesterday from the White House, this was awesome. I was in shock.”
So are many immigrant rights advocates, whom have celebrated yesterday’s news even as others point out how few people it will help and that the move still leaves those who win a stay in a precarious position. Those who are undocumented will remain so.
. . . .Michael Tan, an attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrant Rights Project urged caution around the news, because much is still unknown about how this policy change will be carried out.
“People with criminal histories often have the equities that warrant closure of their cases under this new policy,” Tan said.
How, for instance, will the administration deal with the many people with criminal convictions on their record, whose convictions are old or extremely minor, and who may also otherwise be eligible for relief because they too came to the U.S. as children and have deep family ties in the country and are no threat to national security? Indeed, many young people who are otherwise eligible for the DREAM Act have also had interactions with the criminal justice system. What will happen to them is still yet to be determined. The lives of immigrants are far more complex than policymakers would make it seem.
“We don’t know how serious the administration is going to be in recognition of this,” he said. “As we know there is a significant disconnect between D.C. and how ICE operates on the ground, so the devil is in the details.” Read more...
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Julianne Hing on ColorLines reports that the the Department of Homeland Security has issued new guidelines that will allow some people who are currently facing deportation to have their cases stayed. Authorities from DHS and the Department of Justice will review on a case by case basis the 300,000 people facing deportation. Immigrants facing deportation who are not a high priority for deportation, such as those with no criminal record or those who immigrated to the U.S. as young children, will be removed from the queue.
The new administration directive builds on DHS policy on prosecutorial discretion released earlier this year. We hope for the best as the new direction is implemented. See the White House blog for an explanation of its new removals priority policy.
UPDATE (Aug. 19): For somewhat skeptical take on the administration's announcement with which I am sympathetic, see Dan Kowalski's post on Bender's Immigration Bulletin.
In a new Migration Policy Institute report, US Immigration Policy and Mexican/Central American Migration Flows: Then and Now, Marc Rosenblum and Kate Brick look at migration from the region through three major migration periods: the mostly laissez faire policies prior to the 1930s; the large-scale temporary worker program (the Bracero Program) during and after World War II that increased migration flows from Mexico enormously; and the mostly illegal system that emerged after the program’s end in 1964. The report delves into the push-and-pull factors that drive migration from this region, showcasing more recent communities of Mexican and Central American origin, as they have spread to new destinations throughout the United States, and the changed occupational profiles of these immigrants.
From Guadeloupe-Haiti USA Tour Committee
Attention: Colia L. Clark
U.S./UN Out of Haiti Now!
Delegation Travels to UN to Present Findings of
International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
On Aug. 25, 2011, a three-person delegation from the Association of Workers and Peoples of the Caribbean (Lawond a Travayè é Pèp an Karayib'la in creolle) will be at the United Nations in New York to present the findings of the International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti (ICI-H) and the follow-up deliberations of the Continuations Committee of this commission.
The delegation will demand the immediate withdrawal of all UN troops -- MINUSTAH troops -- from Haiti at a moment when the UN is set to meet and renew its yearly mandate to maintain so-called "peace-keeping" troops in Haiti. The delegation will demand respect for the right to self-determination of the Haitian people.
The three people on the delegation are Fignolé St-Cyr, general secretary of the Autonomous Workers Confederation of Haiti (CATH); Jocelyn Lapitre, a member of the Steering Committee of the LKP (Coalition Against Exploitation) in Guadeloupe; and Adriano Diogo, State Deputy from the Workers Party (PT) in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
[Brazil has headed the U.S./UN occupation troops -- MINUSTAH troops -- ever since the overthrow of democratically elected President Bertrand Aristide in a U.S.-backed coup. The campaign to demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Brazilian troops from Haiti has received widespread support from the Unified Workers Central (CUT) trade union federation and from leading bodies in the Workers Party (PT). Deputy Diogo has been an outspoken opponent of Brazilian troops in Haiti.]
During their brief tour in New York City, the three international delegates will also appear at forums held in Harlem on Aug. 24 and in Newark, N.J., on Aug. 25 (sponsored by the People's Organization for Progress). Please see the announcement of these events below.
The tour is being hosted by the Guadeloupe-Haiti USA Tour Committee, which in the summer of 2009 organized a seven-city U.S. tour of Fignolé St. Cyr of the CATH in Haiti and Eli Domota, coordinator of the LKP Coalition in Guadeloupe.
We are reprinting below, following the announcement of the New York region events, the Letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon requesting that he, or a person designated by him, meet on Aug. 25 with the three-person delegation of the Association of Workers and Peoples of the Caribbean.
Also below you will find the three resolutions adopted by the 6th Congress of the CATH at the end of June 2011. (Two reports on this congress were printed in Haiti-Liberté, which is published in New York and Haiti.)
The Guadeloupe-Haiti USA Tour Committee needs to raise immediately $2,500 to help defray the tour costs of the delegation -- including the airline ticket of Brother St.-Cyr from Haiti.
Your tax-deductible contribution can be sent to our committee's financial sponsor: the Interreligious Foundation of Community Organizations (IFCO), 418 W 145th Street, NY, NY 10031. IFCO is a 501c3 organization.
Please make your check payable to IFCO and write Guadeloupe-Haiti Tour on the memo line of your check. (Please fill out the pledge coupon below and return it to us asap to let us know that your check is in the mail.)
Many thanks, in advance, for your support,
Colia L. Clark and Alan Benjamin,
Guadeloupe-Haiti USA Tour Committee
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SPEAKOUTS FOR HAITI:
U.S./UN Out of Haiti Now!
Respect the Right to Self-Determination
Of the Haitian People!
* Fignolé St-Cyr, General Secretary, Autonomous Workers Confederation of Haiti (CATH)
* Jocelyn Lapitre, Coordinating Committee, LKP - Guadeloupe
* Adriano Diogo, State Deputy (Sao Paulo State), Workers Party (PT) of Brazil
* ALSO: Local Unionists and Activists (to be announced)
[These three international delegates are in New York City to present the findings of the International Commission on Haiti (ICI-H) to the United Nations on Aug. 25. The ICI-H has prepared an extensive dossier - based on interviews, first-hand observation, official documents, press reports, etc. - on the devastating effects of the U.S./UN occupation of Haiti.]
Wed., Aug. 24
6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Prince Hall Plaza
460 W. 155th St.
(between St. Nicholas & Amsterdam)
Thurs., Aug. 25 @ 6:30 p.m.
Abyssinia Baptist Church
224 West Kinney St.
For more info, please contact Colia Clark at <email@example.com> or phone: 646-657-7207. To make a greatly needed financial contribution to help defray the tour costs, please send your check to IFCO, 418 W 145th Street, NY, NY 10031. IFCO - the acronym for the Interreligious Foundation of Community Organizations - is a 501c3 organization.
Sponsored by Guadeloupe-Haiti USA Tour Committee
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LETTER TO UN SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI-MOON
(from the Association of Workers and Peoples of the Caribbean)
July 4, 2011
Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
United Nations 1st Ave. and 46th St.
New York, NY, 10017
Mr. Secretary General,
The International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti (ICI-H) -- which was held on September 16-20, 2009 in Port au Prince, Haiti, at the request of many Haiti associations, grassroots organizations, cultural groups and trade unions -- has mandated us to write this letter to request a meeting with you.
We wish to let you know that the members who made up this International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti came from Algeria, Brazil, the United States, Guadeloupe and Martinique. They carried out the following three objectives, namely:
1) To investigate the situation in Haiti, especially concerning the situation of the working class and the abuses of power by the UN occupation force (MINUSTAH).
2) To produce a report on this situation and to expose it nationally and internationally.
3) To prove that the MINUSTAH force is an occupation force, which, as a result, must leave the country immediately.
The International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti has conducted its work based on documents and materials provided by a Haitian Preparatory Committee, then by a Continuations Committee, and finally from field visits.
It heard from individuals, associations, trade unions and political organizations across Haiti.
It examined newspapers (Haiti-Liberté, Le Nouvelliste), photographs, and various reports.
Also examined were the "Agreement between the UN and the Haitian government on the status of the United Nation's operation in Haiti of July 9, 2004" and the documents adopted by the 3rd Conference of the Association of Workers and Peoples of the Caribbean (ATPC in its French acronym).
Members of the International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti also met with Major General Floriano Peixoto Vieira Neto, commander of the MINUSTAH forces in Haiti, as well as with Colonel Toro, second-in-command, and Gerard Le Chevalier, advisor for political affairs.
The International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti reached the conclusion, based on all these observations and analyses, that the country's social, economic and political reality is rapidly degenerating:
There is a growing discontent, which is being expressed through the questioning of the military intervention. Testimonies presented to the International Commission of Inquiry only confirmed this assessment -- in its various social, economic and political aspects.
The situation after the earthquake and after the cholera outbreak in Haiti in 2010, as well as other supporting testimonials, strengthen our assessment of the situation.
Accordingly, we have been mandated to ask you to please receive a delegation of the International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti on Thursday, August 25, 2011, at a time that best suits you in order to present to you the report produced by our Commission as well as complementary documents gathered since our last meeting.
Ms. Colia Clark, and myself, Mr. Victor Fabert, on behalf of ICI-H, are charged with monitoring this request for you to receive our delegation.
Ms. Clark can be reached at the following:
Cell phone: 646-657-7207
We thank you in advance for your prompt reply to our request for this meeting, which we will hope be answered favorably.
For the International Commission of Inquiry on Haiti,
- Victor Fabert, coordinator
- Colia Clark, U.S. representative based in New York
- Jose Candido de Souza (PT/SP), Deputy of the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Adriano Diogo (PT/SP), Deputy of the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil
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Autonomous Confederation of Haitian Workers (CATH) Holds 6th Congress
General Resolutions adopted by the 6th National Congress of the Autonomous Confederation of Haitian Workers (CATH) Bon Repos (Port au Prince, Haiti), June 23-25, 2011
At its June 23-25, 2011 gathering at Bon Repos (Port au Prince), after having heard and discussed the activity and advisory reports, the delegates of the Sixth Congress of the CATH:
1) Confirm that the domination and occupation of Haiti by foreign forces not only is still continuing, but is being reinforced. With the intensification of said occupation, we are witnessing a new guardianship of the country that is preventing the nation of Haiti from exercising its sovereignty.
This situation inevitably fosters a chaos that is being imposed on workers, youth and all the Haitian people by imperialism, particularly the governments of the United States, France and Canada. This has been happening for decades through the application of structural adjustment plans, the extortion of the foreign debt and the creation of sweatshop "free trade" zones.
It is a chaos that has translated into the dismantling of public services, layoffs, horrendous working conditions, obstruction of the enforcement of union rights, and unemployment affecting 80 percent of the active population.
2) Affirm the need to fight for:
- Free, quality schools and education for all children. - Public services capable of helping the population. - An emergency plan for the development of national production, one which allows humble peasants to participate. - The re-nationalization of privatized public services and the reinstatement of all fired public employees (APN, TELCO). - The ability of trade unions to fully exercise their powers. - For the protection of workers in their workplace, particularly in the "free trade" zones. - The right to housing for hundreds of thousands of homeless people. - A real minimum wage, taking into account our true needs. This means a minimum of 300 gourdes ($6.50).
3) Ask those in charge of professional fields to communicate between themselves to prepare for mobilization.
4) To affirm that this fight must be closely related to the fight for Haitian sovereignty.
As a result, the delegates at the Sixth Congress of CATH, which met June 23-25 at Bon Repos (Port au Prince), demand:
- The total and unconditional cancellation of all Haitian debts. - The immediate withdrawal of all occupation forces in the country -- MINUSTAH and others. - The repayment by France of the $21 billion it extorted from the Haitian Republic. - Compensation for the damages caused by cholera, which was brought into the country by the MINUSTAH troops.
We also agreed join and support all the initiatives with the same goals, and we confirmed our active participation in the preparation of the Nov. 16-18, 2011 Caribbean Workers and Peoples Conference in Cape Haitien. Also, with other Haitian organizations and a Caribbean level of international support, we will launch a campaign to require restitution of the $21 billion extorted by France.
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Resolution on Health Crisis:
Whereas the dismantling of public health services is being organized by U.S., Canadian and French governments to the detriment of the workers and the Haitian people;
Whereas the Haitian state has left the country in the hands of the NGOs and the forces of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH ), which are occupying the country and plundering all its resources;
Whereas the terrible earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, wounded the Haitian people to their very core, causing more than 300,000 deaths; followed by the cholera outbreak, which was brought to the country by the forces of MINUSTAH -- particularly by the Nepalese forces -- and is seriously affecting the health of Haitians;
The Sixth Congress of the Autonomous Confederation of Haitian Workers (CATH) met June 23-25, 2011 in Bon Repos (Port Au Prince) and resolved:
To mobilize all means to promote trade union action in the health sector and to ensure proper working, hygiene and security conditions, on the basis of workers' demands.
To invite workers from all professional sectors to organize with the goal of demanding the creation of a genuine public health service in the service of workers and the Haitian people.
To ask the workers of all professional sectors and the Haitian people to organize mass actions, in unity, in order to obtain satisfaction of their demands.
Resolution on Trade Union Independence:
Whereas various governments are attempting to silence the organizations of class struggle and the masses;
Given the existence of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on the labor rights of workers to organize to defend their interests; and
Given the policy initiated by the IMF, pointing to a co-management attempt to use trade unions to better organize social deregulation, destruction of collective-bargaining agreements, the labor code and workers' gains.
The Sixth Congress of the CATH, which met June 23-25, 2011 in Port au Prince, therefore affirms:
The independence of the CATH union is an indispensable tool in the present situation to defend the interests of the masses.
Therefore, all necessary steps must be taken to preserve trade union independence (through the strengthening of unionization), which is a fundamental element for the preservation of the financial independence of the working class and its organizations and for never having to depend on our class enemies or its surrogates.
It will also launch a broad unionization campaign around the country to allow workers to better defend their interests. In addition, it will arrange informational meetings in different districts on trade union rights as well as create a brochure to affiliate members.
The 6th Congress of the CATH, meeting on 23, 24 and 25 June 2011 in Bon-repos (Port au Prince), resolves:
To use all means to develop trade union activity in the healthcare sector and to achieve proper working, health and safety conditions on the basis of workers' demands;
Invites all workers in all sectors to organise to demand the introduction of a genuine public healthcare service an sèvis a travayè é pèp Ayisen;
Calls on all workers in all sectors and on the Haitian people to organise mass action on a united basis in order to achieve their demands.
As we previously reported, taco truck regulation has increased coincidentally with the national concern with immigration from Mexico, a land filled with some true fans of the taco. Rumor even has it that the capital of the state of California, Sacramento is considering a change to its food truck ordinance to deal with the taco truck "problem."
A clinic of the University of Chicago Law School, well-known for its law-and-economics approach to law, has started a campaign to defend street vendors in Chicago. Should the city of Chicago be allowed to turn business districts into No-Vending Zones to protect brick-and-mortar restaurants from competition? That is the question that surrounds a grassroots campaign being launched earlier this week — My Streets! My Eats! — by the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship. The Clinic, which brings together law students to assist low-income entrepreneurs, will advocate for freedom for "mobile chefs" to prepare food on-the-go and serve their customers wherever they can do so safely.
Taco expert (and law professor) Ernesto Hernández will be speaking at the Second National Street Food Conference in San Francisco next Monday on a panel tantalizingly titled "The Life and Death of the Great American Food Truck." See Professor Hernández's scholarship on the subject here. The conference is being organized by La Cocina, a nonprofit with a laudable mission: "to cultivate low-income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market opportunities. We focus primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities. Our vision is that entrepreneurs will become economically self-sufficient and contribute to a vibrant economy doing what they love to do."
Our Immigrant of the Day is Hamid Chaudry, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, who runs a community oriented Dairy Queen just outside of Reading, Pennsylvania. This wonderful success story sounds as American as Apple pie (or Diary Queen ice cream)!
Immigration Protests Heat Up, White House Ducks and Covers: When Will Congress Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform?
Preston reported that SComm "is central to President Obama’s immigration enforcement strategy [and] has drawn protests by Latino and immigrant organizations in six cities in the last two days, as those groups stepped up their confrontation with the administration over the fast pace of deportations."
As Julianne Hing has observed, the White House appears nothing less than deaf to the protests and the cries for justice. Ignoring the fact that the many of the so-called criminal violators are guilty of petty crimes and are not a public safety risk, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House, who should know better, states on a post on a White House blog that
"The Secure Communities Program is a powerful tool to keep the government’s immigration enforcement resources focused where they belong – on those who fit within DHS’s highest enforcement priorities, such as those who have committed crimes in the United States."
When will the Obama administration recognize that efforts to facilitate mass deportations, separating families, destroying communities, and making people live in terror, is not acceptable -- especially without any meaningful efforts to bring forward comprehensive immigration reform that allows for more legal immigration, provides a path to legalization, etc.?
Some activists claim that President Obama is worse on immigration than President Bush. It is true that the administration''s "enforcement now, enforcement forever" strategy has resulted in record levels of deportations, breaking the records of the Bush administration. Readers can judge for themselves.
Migration Information Source provides information about an oft-ignored group of immigrants to the United States. 1.5 million African immigrants resided in the United States in 2009, accounting for 3.9 percent of all US immigrants. Kristen McCabe examines the origins, socioeconomic characteristics, and legal status of the African-born immigrant population.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Julianne Hing writes for Colorlines:
The resistance to the immigration enforcement program Secure Communities has reached a deafening roar as immigrant rights groups ramp up their organizing to demand an end to the Obama administration’s aggressive deportation initiative.
Tuesday marked what immigrant rights groups labeled a national day of action as they continue to urge the Obama administration to halt the program. Protests in sixteen cities were announced for the day, which coincided with the release of a scathing report by more than a dozen immigrant rights groups which condemned the program and also recommended its immediate termination. The White House responded late Tuesday by defending Secure Communities, and its record-breaking deportation rate.
“The Secure Communities Program is a powerful tool to keep the government’s immigration enforcement resources focused where they belong - on those who fit within DHS’s highest enforcement priorities, such as those who have committed crimes in the United States,” Cecilia Munoz, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, wrote in a blog post late Tuesday.
The program’s critics, and ICE’s own statistics, dispute Munoz’s claims. While Munoz noted that Secure Communities is responsible for the deportation of an unprecedented number of people with criminal records, the majority of that growth is due to a major uptick in the arrest and deportation of people who’d been convicted of what ICE classifies as Level 1 offenses, which are minor crimes and misdemeanors. Taken together, the vast majority of people being kicked out of the country under Secure Communities either have no criminal record whatsoever, or are being deported for crimes like traffic offenses or shoplifting.
Munoz’s response indicates that the White House will likely not back down from its deportation efforts, even in the face of mounting criticism from elected officials, law enforcement and immigrant rights groups over the program’s impacts on immigrant communities. Read more...
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
This week has featured mountains of protests by immigrants and advocates over the treachery of the Secure Communities initiative. The White House responds:
In the Debate Over Immigration and Deportations, the Facts Matter
By Cecilia Muñoz
As too often happens in the debate over immigration, anger and heated rhetoric from all sides dominate while the facts tend to get lost along the way. So it’s important to set the record straight. Fixing the broken immigration system so that it meets America’s economic and security needs has been and continues to be a priority for President Obama. The President has laid out a clear, detailed blueprint for reform, but the only way to do what’s necessary is for Congress to act and pass bipartisan legislation the President can sign into law. Failing to act simply perpetuates a broken system. Unfortunately, as the President has said, he needs a dance partner across the aisle to move legislation forward, and so far the floor is empty.
While the President continues to work every day to fix what’s broken about our immigration system, he has also been clear that the executive branch has a responsibility to enforce the law, and to do it in a way which is both vigorous and smart. So while legislation is pending, this Administration has focused on improving our immigration system by making enforcement smarter and more effective. The fact is, Congressional funding for immigration enforcement and deportations has been on the rise for the past decade. For the first time ever, those resources are being used in a strategic and targeted way to ensure we’re maximizing public safety.
Under the President’s direction, the Department of Homeland Security for the first time ever has prioritized the removal of people who have been convicted of crimes in the United States. The Secure Communities Program, which relies on a federal information sharing program that utilizes FBI fingerprint checks conducted by law enforcement officials as they fight crime in their communities, is central to this strategy. It is the primary reason that the deportation statistics show a dramatic increase in the number of criminals deported from the United States. The results of this strategy are striking:
There was a greater than 70% increase in the deportation of those with criminal records from FY2008 to FY2010, and a decrease of those without criminal records.
Today more than half of all removals are people with criminal records.
And among those removed who had no criminal records, more than two thirds were either apprehended as they crossed the border, were recent arrivals, or were repeat violators of immigration law, meaning that they had previously been deported.
Those statistics matter. While we have more work to do, the statistics demonstrate that the strategy DHS put in place is working. At the same time, the Administration has also been open and receptive to feedback from communities across the country. On June 17, DHS announced important changes to the Secure Communities Program, including creating an ongoing review of the program so that DHS can assess its effectiveness, and taking care to protect witnesses or victims of crimes. Nothing can make up for the lack of comprehensive reform, but the facts show this has been a good strategy we can be proud of.
The Secure Communities Program is a powerful tool to keep the government’s immigration enforcement resources focused where they belong – on those who fit within DHS’s highest enforcement priorities, such as those who have committed crimes in the United States.
Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House
A decade after fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo for the United States, having endured rape, imprisonment, and torture in her homeland, Regina Bakala found herself locked in a U.S. prison facing deportation to almost certain death. This harrowing true story of an asylum seeker and young mother of two tells how her husband, a feisty nun, a pit bull lawyer, and a group of volunteers set aside political differences to galvanize a movement to save Regina. Their struggle reveals the vast underbelly of injustice in America's harsh detention and deportation system and frighteningly arbitrary asylum process. The book Rescuing Regina (and here) uncovers the very real dangers faced by asylum seekers in the United States, not only from the country they left behind, but also from the country they thought would keep them safe.
As Bob Dylan said in the 1960s, the times they are a changin'. It once was the case that traveling or returning to Mexico from the United States was a walk in the park. Not so anymore reports Marc Lacey for the N.Y. Times. With the crackdown on guns and drug money headed South, U.S. law enforcement is now questioning returning migrants -- which just may encourage some migrants not to make the return to Mexico.
Moreover, immigration authorities in the interior of the United States reportedly are checkinging th eimmigration papers of peole using buses amd trains. Sounds like a serious disincentive to the use of public transportation.
AP/Fox News Latino report that "Less than 1 percent of Mexico's population has left the country in the last year, according to the government. The Mexican government's statistical unit says the country's net outflow of migrants has fallen to "almost nothing."
Do you think it is the U.S. economy of S.B. 1070 that is having the major impact on migration to the United States from Mexico?