Saturday, October 1, 2011

Recommit to Fix '96

From Michelle Fei:

Fifteen Years Too Many: Let’s Fix ’96 and Stop the Deportation Machinery
On September 30, 1996, President Clinton signed into effect the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), one of two draconian immigration laws enacted that year. These laws compounded the injustices of the criminal justice system with an inflexible immigration regime that denies due process to nearly all of those ensnared. Today, on the fifteenth anniversary of IIRIRA, we at the Immigrant Defense Project mourn the loss of millions of immigrants from their families and communities, and call for renewed efforts to overhaul these laws.
The Obama Administration’s announcement about prosecutorial discretion last month only serves to further highlight the need to seriously repair our deportation system. We are glad that this announcement will benefit some immigrants, albeit only a small fraction of those at risk of deportation. We must fight to continue to get Immigration and Customs Enforcement to exercise its power to keep immigrant families and communities united and to use this power broadly.
But the reality is that prosecutorial discretion is only a band-aid measure that diverts attention from the fundamental unfairness of our deportation system and obscures the significant flaws of a criminal injustice system in which the odds are stacked significantly against low-income, of color, and immigrant populations. It fails to restore the fundamental rights that have been stripped from immigrants facing deportation. It does nothing to stop the mass funneling of immigrants from police stations, jails, and prisons into detention and deportation. And coupled with ICE’s intensified efforts to focus deportations on so-called criminal aliens, it does not even attempt to reduce the destruction of immigrant families across the country.
With prosecutorial discretion as its cover, ICE has now inflicted on us Operation Cross Check, through which it arrested nearly 3,000 immigrants this week. This frightening roundup was capped by Director John Morton’s flippant reassurance that “[t]hese are not people who are making a positive contribution to their communities…They are not the kind of people we want walking our streets.”
We can argue about the reliability of ICE’s statistics, the seriousness of the offenses allegedly committed by those arrested, the “rehabilitation” that many of these immigrants likely have demonstrated or potentially could have given needed resources. All those are, to be sure, critical points that deserve extensive debate.
But perhaps what strikes us at IDP most deeply and immediately is Morton’s dismissiveness of and contempt for immigrants who have encountered the criminal justice system. He most definitely does not speak for us or for the thousands of families and communities to whom these immigrants belong. We are proud to care about and to fight for the rights for immigrants with criminal arrests and convictions. And we want them back as part of our communities.
We know there’s no easy road ahead. But if we are to work for real safety in our communities and due process for us all, we must stop these deportations. There’s just no way around it – we have to completely reform the immigration laws that have created the devastating situation we now find ourselves in. So let us mark the 15th anniversary of IIRIRA by committing to work together to Fix ’96.
-Michelle Fei
Co-Director, Immigrant Defense Project


October 1, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Symposium Call for Papers

From San Jose State University:

Call for Papers: 2012 SJSU Immigration Symposium: Immigration: Policy and Reality

When:  April 12-13, 2012
Where:   San José State University’ MLK Library

San José State University’s Silicon Valley Center for Global Studies will host a symposium, “Immigration:  Policy and Reality.”  This symposium will be held on April 12-13, 2012 at San José State University.

Our feature keynote presentations are: Dr. Kelly Hernandez, Associate Professor of the History Department at UCLA, and the author of MIGRA! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol, and Mr. Andrew Lam, the author of Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora and East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres.

Abstract or Summary Submission Guidelines
We solicit abstracts for panels, workshops, and poster sessions on immigration-related topics, such as economic issues, education, health, culture, race relations, religions, arts, immigration law, immigration reform, and immigration and social policy.

We welcome abstract submissions from scholars of various disciplines, community members and activists, artists and students.

For all Abstract submissions, please include an overall aim of the presentation, the type of proposed presentation (Panel, Workshop, Poster Session), a description of the problem or issues that the presentation would address (including its relevance to one of the areas mentioned above or other area relevant to immigrants and immigration policy), one or two learning objectives, and a brief summary of the background of the topic as space allows (see word limit below).

We have limited a total number of the panel sessions to three each day, and because of the small number of the panel sessions, the acceptance of your abstract will be based on its quality and the theme of the symposium.

The deadline for a title and 200 words or less abstract/summary, and your biographical information, is Friday, December 2, 2011.

Online Submission
Please send your abstract to

Mail Submission
Please mail your submission to Yoko Baba, Department of Justice Studies, San José State University, San José, CA 95192-0050.

Please email any questions to Yoko Baba at

This event is sponsored by the College of Social Sciences, San José State University, San José, CA 95192-0107.


October 1, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Some Students Intimidated and Flee Alabama Schools

Jay Reeves reports for Associated Press:

Immigrant students have started vanishing from Alabama public schools in the wake of a court ruling that upheld the state's tough new law cracking down on illegal immigration.

Education officials say scores of immigrant families have withdrawn their children from classes or kept them home this week, afraid that sending the kids to school would draw attention from authorities.

There are no precise statewide numbers. But several school districts with large immigrant enrollments — from small towns to large urban districts — reported a sudden exodus of children, some of whose parents told officials they planned to leave the state to avoid trouble with the law, which requires schools to check first-time enrollees immigration status.

The anxiety has become so intense that the superintendent in one of the state's largest cities, Huntsville, went on a Spanish-language television show Thursday to try to calm widespread worries.

"In the case of this law, our students do not have anything to fear," Casey Wardynski said in Spanish. He urged families to send students to class and explained that the state is only trying to compile statistics.

Police, he insisted, were not getting involved in schools.

In Montgomery County, more than 200 students were absent the morning after the judge's Wednesday ruling. A handful withdrew.

In tiny Albertville, 35 students withdrew in one day. And about 20 students in Shelby County, in suburban Birmingham, either withdrew or told teachers they were leaving.

Local and state officials are pleading with immigrant families to keep their children enrolled. The law does not ban anyone from school, they say, and neither students nor parents will be arrested for trying to get an education. Read more...


October 1, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Leniency isn’t automatic under new deportation policy

There has been much hope among undocumented immigrants after the Obama administration announced that it would be reviewing roughly 300,000 removal cases and focusing on proceeding on removal in only those cases of the highest priority. Some applauded, while others criticized, this "admistrative amnesty." Well, the policy to this point has been somewhat uneven, with, as Leslie Berestein Rojas reports, some undocumented immigrants given a reprieve while others are facing removal.

In certain respects, the Obama administration's policy seems like a version of the old "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" U.S. military rule on homosexuality. Certainly, the message is that undocumented immigrants should not "tell" the U.S. government of their presence in this country, even if they are a low priority in the government's hierarchy of priorities. If they do, they risk deportation.


October 1, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Might Latino Voters Trend to the Right?

From Public Radio International:

Latino voters were a large reason why Barack Obama was able to win the 2008 election so overwhelmingly. But Obama's approval ratings have been down lately, leaving some to wonder if the GOP can entice Latinos away from Obama and get them voting Republican in 2012.

"Latinos are naturally Republican," according to Gustavo Arellano, author of the syndicated column Ask a Mexican. "They really believe in small government, a big chunk of them do not like gays and lesbians. But at least out here in California, the Republican Party -- ever since 1994 -- they've turned off a generation, if not two generations, of Latinos with their anti-Mexican rhetoric."

That may be changing. "Hispanics over the next generation are going to continue to trend more toward the right," according to Leslie Sanchez, author of "Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans Need Each Other," and former adviser to George W. Bush. "A lot of that has to do with the fact that you're seeing the acculturation, the assimilation, the economic upward mobility." Read more...


September 30, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrants and the Construction Industry

Guest Blog by Chuck Lorrell:

How New Immigration Laws Affect the Construction Industry

New immigration laws meant to increase employment opportunities for Americans, such as the one recently passed in Alabama, can actually have a negative impact on labor-intensive industries such as construction.
This has been noted by many experts in business and economics such as Jeremy Thornton, an associate professor of economics at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. In an article from the Birmingham News, Thornton spoke of the fact that undocumented immigrants often find work in the construction industry, which offers low-paid jobs in manual labor that many Americans don’t want to do.

Similar to the controversial Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007, the Alabama law allows law enforcement officers to arrest and detain anyone they suspect to be an illegal immigrant. It also makes it a crime to hire undocumented immigrants and gives the state the power to shut down businesses that hire undocumented workers.

While this law purports to provide more job opportunities for American citizens, it will also have a negative effect on employers in labor industries like construction which often employ undocumented immigrants. The cost of worker recruitment will increase and American workers will likely expect higher wages.

The Alabama law and others like it also require federal, state, and private construction projects to use the “E-Verify” system, which electronically checks to see if a worker’s social security number matches their name. While E-Verify is already required on federally-funded projects in every state, certain states including Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, and South Carolina now require the system on all projects.  In addition, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Utah require it for state projects. Due to the variation in these laws, it is important for contractors to stay updated on the regulations in their specific state, as a mistake could be costly.

Chuck Lorrell is a construction management enthusiast who writes about various topics including everything related to construction and is the owner of the site


September 30, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant Contributions in Alabama

From the Immigration Policy Center:

Alabama’s Immigrants, Latinos and Asians: An Economic and Demographic Snapshot

Washington D.C. - This week, portions of Alabama’s harsh new immigration law, HB 56, take effect in Alabama. While the governor of the state proclaimed that this is the toughest immigration law in the country, Alabama businesses, state agencies, and taxpayers will ultimately pay the price for this economically damaging legislation.

In order to provide the latest economic and demographic information on immigrants, Latinos, and Asians in Alabama, the Immigration Policy Center has updated its Alabama state fact sheet, New Americans in the Yellowhammer State. 

Highlights of the data show that immigrants, Latinos, and Asians are a growing and important part of Alabama’s state economy as workers, taxpayers, and consumers.  For example:

Immigrants are important to Alabama’s economy as workers.

Immigrants comprised 4.9% of the state’s workforce in 2010 (or 111,670 workers), according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Unauthorized immigrants are important to Alabama’s economy as workers and taxpayers.

Unauthorized immigrants in Alabama paid $130.3 million in state and local taxes in 2010, according to data from the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy.  This includes:

$25.8 million in state income taxes.
$5.8 million in property taxes.
$98.7 million in sales taxes.

Unauthorized immigrants comprised roughly 4.2% of the state’s workforce (or 95,000 workers) in 2010, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
 If all unauthorized immigrants were removed from Alabama, the state would lose $2.6 billion in economic activity, $1.1 billion in gross state product, and approximately 17,819 jobs, even accounting for adequate market adjustment time, according to a report by the Perryman Group.

To view the fact sheet in its entirety see:
New Americans in the Yellowhammer State (IPC Fact Check, September 30, 2011) 


September 30, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

At the Movies: Under the Bridge (2011)

Under the Bridge (2011) is an observational documentary on Mexican-American identity that challenges audiences to think about immigration in a whole new way. Telling the story of San Diego’s Chicano Park, created in 1970 in the heart of one of America’s oldest Mexican communities, the film, directed by Mike Todd, reveals a cultural revolution that has refused to go away. For more information about this documentary, visit the film’s Facebook page.


September 30, 2011 in Current Affairs, Film & Television | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

From the Bookshelves: Rascuache Lawyer Toward a Theory of Ordinary Litigation by Alfredo Mirandé

Rascuache Lawyer Toward a Theory of Ordinary Litigation by Alfredo Mirandé

Alfredo Mirandé, a sociology professor, Stanford Law graduate, and part-time pro bono attorney, represents clients who are rascuache—a Spanish word for “poor” or even “wretched”—and on the margins of society. For Mirandé, however, rascuache means to be “down but not out,” an underdog who is still holding its ground. Rascuache Lawyer offers a unique perspective on providing legal services to poor, usually minority, folks who are often just one short step from jail. Not only a passionate argument for rascuache lawyering, it is also a thoughtful, practical attempt to apply and test critical race theory—particularly Latino critical race theory—in day-to-day legal practice. Every chapter presents an actual case from Mirandé’s experience (only the names and places have been changed). His clients have been charged with everything from carrying a concealed weapon, indecent exposure, and trespassing to attempted murder, domestic violence, and child abuse. Among them are recent Mexican immigrants, drug addicts, gang members, and the homeless. All of them are destitute, and many are victims of racial profiling. Some “pay” Mirandé with bartered services such as painting, home repairs, or mechanical work on his car. And Mirandé doesn’t always win their cases. But, as he recounts, he certainly works tirelessly to pursue all legal remedies. Each case is presented as a letter to a fascinating (fictional) “Super Chicana” named Fermina Gabriel, who we are told is an accomplished lawyer, author, and singer. This narrative device allows the author to present his cases as if he were recounting them to a friend, drawing in the reader as a friend as well. Bookending the individual cases, Mirandé’s introductions and conclusions offer a compelling vision of progressive legal practice grounded in rascuache lawyering.


September 30, 2011 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Lucha Libre USA: Wrestling Series Spins Anti-Immigrant Storyline To Connect With Latino Fans

It has been a tough week, with the disappointing district court decision on Alabama's immigration law and all. So it is nice to pront a story on the lighter side. Huffington Post has a great story about a wrestling character, RJ Brewer, fictitious son of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (who readers of this blog have heard about before). RJ supports his mom's anti-immigrant agenda and wants to rid professional wrestling of Mexican "lucha libra" wrestlers.

Watch RJ on YouTube.


September 30, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Racism in Major League Baseball

With so many international players in major league baseball today, this is an interesting blog from by David Sirota:

Despite recent odes to "post-racial" sensibilities, persistent racial wage and unemployment gaps show that prejudice is alive and well in America. Nonetheless, that truism is often angrily denied or willfully ignored in our society, in part, because prejudice is so much more difficult to recognize on a day-to-day basis. As opposed to the Jim Crow era of white hoods and lynch mobs, 21st century American bigotry is now more often an unseen crime of the subtle and the reflexive -- and the crime scene tends to be the shadowy nuances of hiring decisions, performance evaluations and plausible deniability.

Thankfully, though, we now have baseball to help shine a light on the problem so that everyone can see it for what it really is.

Today, Major League Baseball games using QuesTec's computerized pitch-monitoring system are the most statistically quantifiable workplaces in America. Match up QuesTec's accumulated data with demographic information about who is pitching and who is calling balls and strikes, and you get the indisputable proof of how ethnicity does indeed play a part in discretionary decisions of those in power positions.

This is exactly what Southern Methodist University's researchers did when they examined more than 3.5 million pitches from 2004 to 2008. Their findings say as much about the enduring relationship between sports and bigotry as they do about the synaptic nature of racism in all of American society.

First and foremost, SMU found that home-plate umpires call disproportionately more strikes for pitchers in their same ethnic group. Because most home-plate umpires are white, this has been a big form of racial privilege for white pitchers, who researchers show are, on average, getting disproportionately more of the benefit of the doubt on close calls.

Second, SMU researchers found that "minority pitchers reacted to umpire bias by playing it safe with the pitches they threw in a way that actually harmed their performance and statistics." Basically, these hurlers adjusted to the white umpires' artificially narrower strike zone by throwing pitches down the heart of the plate, where they were easier for batters to hit.

Finally, and perhaps most important, the data suggest that racial bias is probably operating at a subconscious level, where the umpire doesn't even recognize it.

To document this, SMU compared the percentage of strikes called in QuesTec-equipped ballparks versus non-QuesTec parks. Researchers found that umpires' racial biases diminished when they knew they were being monitored by the computer.

Same thing for high-profile moments. During those important points in games when umpires knew fans were more carefully watching the calls, the racial bias all but vanished. Likewise, the same-race preference was less pronounced at high-attendance games, where umps knew there would be more crowd scrutiny.

Though gleaned from baseball, these findings transcend athletics by providing a larger lesson about conditioned behavior in an institutionally racist society.

Whether the workplace is a baseball diamond, a factory floor or an office, when authority figures realize they are being scrutinized, they are more cognizant of their own biases -- and more likely to try to stop them before they unduly influence their behavior. But in lower-profile interludes, when the workplace isn't scrutinized and decisions are happening on psychological autopilot, pre-programmed biases can take over.

Thus, the inherent problem of today's pervasive "post-racial" fallacy. By perpetuating the lie that racism doesn't exist, pretending that bigotry is not a workplace problem anymore, and resisting governmental efforts to halt such prejudice, we create the environment for our ugly subconscious to rule. In doing so, we consequently reduce the potential for much-needed self-correction.


September 30, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Conservatives Repond to Ron Unz on Immigration

Last week, ImmigrationProf posted about an immigration article ("Immigration, the Republicans, and the End of White America Share| The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution") by Ron Unz in American Conservative. The article has provoked a response, especially from conservative circles, including a five part series in in the National Review:

Part I: Thoughts on Paleoconservatism, by Reihan Salam

Part II: The Immigration Enforcement Dilemma, by Reihan Salam

Part III: What's the Matter with California?, by Reihan Salam

Part IV: Strange Bedfellows", by Reihan Salam

Part V: Repatriation, by Reihan Salam

Libertarian economist Bryan Caplan declared Unz's article as a "a bizarrely mixed bag."


September 30, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Society of Professional Journalists Votes to End Use of Term ‘Illegal Alien’

The Society of Professional Journalists voted this week to support the recommendation that newsrooms abandon the terms “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien.”

The full text of the resolution is:

"WHEREAS, the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics urges all journalists to be ‘honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information’ and;

“WHEREAS, mainstream news reports are increasingly using the politically charged phrase ‘illegal immigrant’ and the more offensive and bureaucratic ‘illegal alien’ to describe undocumented immigrants, particularly Latinos and;

“WHEREAS, a fundamental principle embedded in our U.S. Constitution is that everyone (including non-citizens) is considered innocent of any crime until proven guilty in a court of law and;

“WHEREAS, this constitutional doctrine, often described as ‘innocent-until-proven-guilty,’ applies not just to U.S. Citizens but to everyone in the United States and;

“WHEREAS, only the court system, not reporters and editors, can decide when a person has committed an illegal act and;

“WHEREAS, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists is also concerned with the increasing use of pejorative and potentially inaccurate terms to describe the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the United States;

“THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Society of Professional Journalists convention of delegates: urges journalists and style guide editors to stop the use of illegal alien and encourage continuous discussion and re-evaluation of the use of illegal immigrant in news stories.”


September 30, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

More Fallout From the Alabama Immigration Law Ruling

Here is more criticism -- this from Immigration Impact -- of the district court rulings in the challenges to the Alabama immigration law. Several parts of the ruling are somewhat surprising, upholding: (1) the provision requiring immigrants to carry alien registration documents; (2) the requirement that state and local law enforcement verify the immiugration status of persons stopped who they have a "reasonable suspicion" of being undocumented; and (3) the requirement that school officials collect information on the immigration status of enrolling students. The first two conflict with the Ninth Circuit's ruling (and the Ninth Circuit was unanimous on (1)) and the third seems to be in tension with Plyler v. Doe (1982), in which the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that in effect barred undocumented children from a K-12 public education. Indeed, collecting the immigration status information seems designed to chill or inhibit the parents of undocumented students from enrolling in the public schools and thus of exercising a federal right.

As Immigration Impact summarizes, the district court did not uphold all of the Alabama law:

"Judge Blackburn did in fact enter a preliminary injunction against a slew of provision in H.B. 56, including: Section 8, which would have prevented many legal immigrants from attending state colleges, including refugees and persons with Temporary Protected Status; Section 11, which would have outlawed the solicitation or performance of work by “unauthorized aliens”; Section 13, which would have made transporting or renting to an undocumented immigrant a state crime; and Sections 16 and 17, which would have forbidden employers from deducting compensation paid to undocumented workers as business expenses, and allowed other workers to sue the companies for damages in court. "


September 30, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Commentary on Alabama Ruling

Julianne Hing writes for Colorlines:

Alabama has prevailed where four other states which enacted anti-immigrant state laws, including Arizona, did not. Today Alabama law enforcement officers will have the right to question and detain anyone they suspect may be an undocumented immigrant, Gov. Robert Bentley said, after a federal judge upheld key provisions of the state’s immigration law on Wednesday.

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn returned her ruling for the Department of Justice’s challenge to Alabama’s recently passed HB 56, widely recognized as the harshest state immigration law on the books. Blackburn blocked several parts of the law, but let stand provisions that no other judge considering these laws so far has, including provisions that give law enforcement officers unprecedented power to act as immigration agents.

“Today is a dark day for Alabama,” Mary Bauer, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s legal director, said Wednesday in a statement. “This decision not only places Alabama on the wrong side of history but also demonstrates that the rights and freedoms so fundamental to our nation and its history can be manipulated by hate and political agendas - at least for a time.”

Blackburn blocked a provision that would have made it illegal for undocumented immigrants and other non-citizens from enrolling in Alabama public colleges and universities from going into effect. She also enjoined the enforcement of provision targeting day laborers’ rights to look for work and be picked up for a job, as well as a provision that would have criminalized undocumented immigrants’ attempts to look for and get a job. Blackburn also blocked a portion of the law that would have made it illegal to give a ride to or harbor a person who’s undocumented.

However, she was unconvinced by arguments from the Department of Justice, faith groups and a civil rights coalition that other severe parts of the law ought to be blocked as well. Blackburn refused to enjoin provisions that equip law enforcement agents with the power to question and detain anyone who they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe may be undocumented. Immigrant and civil rights groups have argued that this provision all but legalizes racial profiling, because it’s impossible to determine a person’s immigration status on sight alone, and any inference would rely on profiling.

“This is precisely contrary to the decision that courts that have looked at similar provision in Arizona and Georgia enjoined,” Linton Joaquin, general counsel for the National Immigration Law Center told Colorlines. NILC is one of the plaintiffs in a coalition of civil rights groups’ legal challenge to the law. “It’s a classic example of an area for states not to be legislating in.”

Blackburn also let stand a provision that demands that K-12 schools track the immigration statuses of their students, and let stand a provision that makes any business contract that an undocumented immigrant enters into unenforceable. Even though the Supreme Court has upheld elementary and secondary education as a constitutional right, undocumented immigrant parents who fear being tracked by the government will likely be too fearful to send their kids to school, said Kevin Johnson, a professor of immigration law at the University of California, Davis.

. . . .Where others were moved by the arguments that state immigration laws interfered with the federal government’s own strategy and scheme for enforcing immigration laws, Blackburn instead took the tack of looking into Congress’s record to understand what federal law had and hadn’t dealt with. If Congress had not explicitly laid out its intent for how it intended to handle specific matters—like whether or not undocumented immigrants’ contracts ought to be enforceable—Blackburn ruled that states had the right to enact their own laws on the matter, essentially approaching the matter from a states’ rights perspective. The provisions that Blackburn enjoined were provisions that she felt Congress had dealt with and had specific opinions about.

“What she appears to have said is that she’s not persuaded that what the state is doing is actually going to interfere with the way that the federal government regulates immigration,” said Aarti Kohli, director of immigration policy at UC Berkeley’s Warren Institute. “She’s also not persuaded that Congress has said in these various provisions that they don’t want the states to be part of this scheme.” Read more...


September 29, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Toll of the Great Recession: What About Latino Children?

The Toll of the Great Recession released by the Pew Hispanic Center documents and analyzes the spread of poverty across the United States that began at the onset of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 and accelerated last year.  Poverty has hit one fast-growing demographic group especially hard: Latino children. More Latino children are living in poverty—6.1 million in 2010—than children of any other racial or ethnic group. This marks the first time in U.S. history that the single largest group of poor children is not white. In 2010, 37.3% of poor children were Latino, 30.5% were white and 26.6% were black.


September 29, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Ethiopian Refugee Wins Prestigious Scholarship

Amy Crawford writes in the SF Examiner:

Betsaida Abraham moved to California from her native Ethiopia at age 12. She didn’t know any English and had never attended school. Back then, her dream of being a doctor seemed unattainable.

Ten years later, the young woman who now goes by Betty is a senior at San Francisco State University, taking classes for her microbiology major and studying for the medical school admissions test.

For her triumph against the odds, Abraham learned this month that she had won the William Randolph Hearst Award, a $3,000 scholarship bestowed by the California State University trustees. She was one of 23 winners across the 400,000-student system.

“I’ve gone through so much,” Abraham said. “I feel like I’m finally hitting my stride and going where I want to go, whereas before I was just keeping my head above water.”

Abraham’s father fled political persecution in Ethiopia when Betty was a baby, leaving his wife and two daughters behind. They planned to follow him, but applying for asylum took longer than they expected. Read more...


September 29, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Apprehensions by the U.S. Border Patrol: 2005–2010

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security Fact Sheet on trends of apprehensions by the Border Patrol summarizes as follows:

"The number of Border Patrol apprehensions declined 61 percent from 1,189,000 in 2005 to 463,000 in 2010 (see Figure 1). The decrease in apprehensions between 2005 and 2010 may be due to a number of factors including changes in U.S. economic conditions and border enforcement efforts. Border apprehensions in 2010 were at their lowest level since 1972. Apprehensions previously peaked at 1,676,000 in 2000. The all-time apprehension record was 1,693,000 in 1986 immediately preceding passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which allowed the legalization of several million unauthorized immigrants, established sanctions for employers who knowingly hired unauthorized immigrants, and provided for increased border enforcement."


September 29, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

An "Undocumented" Texas Student's Story

Watch a video of Karla Reséndiz, an undocumented student (and resident of Texas) who was able to attend the University of Texas because she paid in-state tuition rates. The Texas Tribune reports on the debate among Republican Presidential candidates -- with Texas Governor Rick Perry under fire for signing the law allowing Karla to pay in-state fees -- about the Texas law that allowed Reséndiz to attend UT.


September 29, 2011 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

End Mandatory Detention

From Detention Watch Network:

ICE Raid 
Dear Colleague,
Last year, Detention Watch Network launched its first organizing campaign for Dignity not Detention, which calls for the restoration of fundamental human rights and due process in the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system.
During its first year, the campaign supported organizing at local sites in Arizona, Texas and Georgia to demand an end to rampant human rights violations in the immigration detention system and to stop local detention expansion, and engaged members in complementary education and advocacy efforts at the national level. Through the campaign hundreds of individuals around the country have participated in activities that put the spotlight on the expansion of enforcement actions, how these actions are driving the growth of the detention system and the government’s systemic failure to protect basic human rights and due process.
Beginning Fall 2011, the Dignity not Detention Campaign is rolling out a national organizing strategy focused on the repeal of mandatory detention. Contrary to international human rights standards, our government’s mandatory detention policies require whole categories of people to be imprisoned without any individualized judicial assessment of their risk to public safety or flight or of their vulnerability in detention while the government makes its decision whether to deport them.
Mandatory detention is a driving force behind the rapid expansion of immigration detention: already over 200,000 immigrants are impacted by mandatory detention each year. The increasing numbers of people subject to mandatory detention are creating pressure to add more beds to the system which benefits private prison corporations and those invested in for-profit incarceration while separating families and sowing fear in communities across the country.
In order to restore due process to the immigration system, mandatory detention must be repealed. Join the Dignity not Detention Campaign to Repeal Mandatory Detention. Endorse the campaign here. 
Without the repeal of mandatory detention laws, immigrants will never have a fair opportunity to pursue their right to live in the U.S. and stay with their families and communities.
To learn more about Dignity not Detention and why mandatory detention must be repealed, visit
Thank you for your support!
Andrea Black
Executive Director


September 28, 2011 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)