Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The full text of the bill can be located by going to http://thomas.loc.gov/ and typing in “S. 2611” in the “Search Bill Text” box. Select the “Bill Number” radio dial button and click “Search.”) For a pdf version updated as of June 2, click here. The New York Times published a concise comparison of pending immigration reform legislation with the President’s plan. It is available by clicking here.
For the home building industry, the immigration debate raging in Washington is anything but abstract. It's the biggest issue nobody wants to talk about.
Frank Fuentes, president of the Hispanic Contractors Association, queried his 20 largest member firms about speaking with Fortune Magazine, and not one was willing. "They're scared to death of being raided," says Fuentes.
By Fortune's estimate, up to 40 percent of new-home construction in the U.S. is being done wholly or partly by undocumented immigrants. Fuentes suspects the percentage in his home state of Texas is closer to 80 percent.
According to a study by the Pew Hispanic Center, 36 percent of insulation workers, 29 percent of roofers, and 28 percent of drywall installers are "unauthorized workers. Click here.
The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History is determined to secure the braceros' stories before they go — for scholars, for a traveling museum exhibition that's planned several years down the road, and for the sake of the children and grandchildren in the United States and Mexico, who often have gotten the story piecemeal, if at all. Last July, the Bracero History Project began an ongoing cross-country, cross-border effort to record the voices of the men who worked in the program, of the family members they left behind for hitches that could last up to 18 months, and of Americans who interacted with them along the way.
David A. Martin, Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law University of Virginia Dear, published an op-ed in Legal Times yesterday with some thoughts on the immigration reform legislation and President Bush's recent speech on the subject. Check it out by clicking Download legal_times_imm_reform_oped_52906.pdf
Border Network for Human Rights
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Border Network for Human Rights: Fernando Garcia (915) 577-0724
The Communities of East El Paso Demand the Resignation of Sheriff Leo Samaniego
Residents of the Colonias will Present a Petition Signed by more than 2000 Community Members to Decry the Lack of Community Security and the Continued Violation of Civil Rights by the Sheriff’s Office
May 30th, 2005, El Paso, Texas- Community residents of East El Paso, including Montana Vista, San Elizario, Agua Dulce and Sparks, have experienced a decrease in trust and loss of sense of security in their communities due to recent and recurrent activities of the Office of the El Paso County Sheriff, under the guise of Operation Linebacker. In the past months, the Sheriff’s Department has been conducting unwarranted and illegal immigration raids in community stores and homes, and illegal immigration checkpoints outside of schools and community streets.
Those detained for minor traffic violations are often then asked for proof of immigration status. The Sheriff’s Department officers have called immigration, driven victims to immigration detention centers, or personally dropped people off at the ports of entry to return them to Mexico, often accompanied by racist and abusive comments. The result is an atmosphere of extreme insecurity, a fear on the part of community members to leave their homes to go to the store or retrieve their children from school. The role of the Sheriff’s Department should be to protect the public, not to terrorize them.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 31, 2006 residents will gather at Montana Vista Hall located at 14697 Greg Drive in Montana Vista, El Paso to present testimonies and a petition with more than 2,000 signatures from community members which demonstrates their dissatisfaction with Sheriff Leo Samaniego’s work, to demand his resignation, and to put a halt to the unwarranted immigration raids and roadblocks in their communities.
Why: Present Testimonies and a Petition Signed by +2000 residents asking Sheriff Leo Samaniego to Step Down the Sheriff Office
Who: Residents of East of El Paso Communities (Montana Vista, Sparks, Agua Dulce, San Elizario.)
When and Where: Wednesday 31st at 12 Noon At Montana Vista Hall (14697 Greg Dr.)
Stop Saying This Is a Nation of Immigrants! by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
A nation of immigrants: This is a convenient myth developed as a response to the 1960s movements against colonialism, neocolonialism, and white supremacy. The ruling class and its brain trust offered multiculturalism, diversity, and affirmative action in response to demands for decolonization, justice, reparations, social equality, an end of imperialism, and the rewriting of history -- not to be "inclusive" -- but to be accurate. What emerged to replace the liberal melting pot idea and the nationalist triumphal interpretation of the "greatest country on earth and in history," was the "nation of immigrants" story.
Click here for the full story.
Desiree Cooper, Detroit Free Press
It's not the first time that the United States has vigorously debated its immigration policy. But what's different now is that we're talking about immigrants who, even if they spoke the King's English, donned Brooks Brothers suits and sported Ivy League degrees, will never be white. . . . The Mexicans' dilemma As the "model minority," some Asian subgroups may have already achieved honorary white status, as have some Hispanics, including Cubans. But not the Mexicans. The current debates over controlling our Southern border and abolishing bilingual education have as much to do with immigration as they have to do with one question: Will they ever earn the right to be white?
Click here to read more.
Why "Fixing the Border First" is Backwards "Many in Congress and the media advocate 'fixing the border first,' then reforming our immigration laws later, after the border is 'under control.' They've got it precisely backwards." Click here for the article.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
After the Senate finished consideration and passed their Immigration bill (S. 2611,) Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, Chair of Congressional Hispanic Caucus Civil Rights Task Force, issued the following statement:
"While I was encouraged that the Senate proceeded in a far more bipartisan manner than the House did when considering its immigration bill, I am concerned that a number of amendments offered were designed to appease fringe constituencies and possibly derail the bill. Moreover, some provisions have nothing to do with immigration law reform and could be detrimental to communities with large Hispanic populations who are citizens of this country. This bill is not as balanced as I would have liked, but I commend the Senate Leadership, particularly Senators Reid and Specter, for their persistence in stewarding this bill through the Senate. I am pleased that a path to earned citizenship is included in the Senate immigration bill because it is not reasonable to expect that we will deport 12 millions workers and their families. At first glance, the Senate bill seems much more comprehensive. Still, we will need time to study the final bill and determine the long-term consequences before moving forward. Of course, any legislation that reaches the President must come from a conference committee and the enforcement-only bill the House passed in December is significantly different than the more comprehensive Senate bill. It is my hope that a genuine dialog will occur that engages both Republicans and Democrats so we can enact a bill that is designed to honestly address the problem of undocumented workers and promotes both our country’s economic wellbeing and respect for our laws.”
A New York Times story today reveals the impact of the debate over immigration on thw white supremacist movement. Here is an excerpt from the story:
Pugnacious anthems and racist diatribes have never been in short supply at Nordic Fest, an annual white-power Woodstock held over the Memorial Day break near the former mining town of Dawson Springs, Ky. And this past weekend was no exception. On the agenda were a Triumph of the Will--themed running event and a cross "lighting" sponsored by the Imperial Klans of America. But something new did arise at Nordic Fest this year: bellicose talk and plans of action against illegal immigrants. Among the scheduled guest speakers was Hal Turner, a New Jersey Internet radio talk-show host who recently instructed his audience to "clean your guns, have plenty of ammunition ... and then do what has to be done" to undocumented workers.
For the full story, click here.
It is true that not all of those who advocate increased border enforcement, immigration restrictions, English language requirements, etc. are racist. It is true, however, that white surpemacists support many of these measures and feel encouraged from the tenor of the immigration debate to voice their true feelings.
A USA TODAY breakdown of public opinion, based on Gallup polls taken in April and May, finds Americans falling into four clusters that are roughly equal in size but vary dramatically in point of view. The groups can be characterized as "hard-liners," "unconcerned," "ambivalent" and "welcoming."
Among the findings in the USA TODAY analysis:
• Traditional partisanship doesn't drive views on immigration. Gender, education and family history seem to do as much to shape attitudes as political party or ideology. Significant numbers of liberals and conservatives are divided among three of the four groups. Moderates spread across all four.
• Those who want to take the toughest steps against illegal immigration also feel the most urgency about the subject. Two-thirds of the "hard-liners" call the issue "extremely important." No one in the most lenient group, the "unconcerned," feels that way.
Undocumented immigration is the key theme of a
debate in the Spanish parliament on the state of the nation. Nearly 9,000
people have attempted to enter the country illegally this year so far, double
the number who tried for the same period last year.
Despite stepping up patrols, Spain's Socialist government is struggling to contain the flow. But Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says Madrid is working with several other African countries, notably Mauritania and Senegal, in order to obtain the same drastic reductions that it has had by cooperating with Morocco. Click here.
Out here in the Central Valley of california, the criminal prosecution of two Pakistani's accused of being members of a terrorist cell received much attention. One jury deadlocked on the charges for one defendant (an ice cream triuck driver) and conviocted the other. The LA Times recently ran a story about a decorated FBI agent who reviewed the video of the interrogation on which the cases were based:
Before the wins and losses are tallied up and the war on terror goes down in the books as either wisdom or folly, it might be recalled what took place this spring on the 13th floor of the federal courthouse in Sacramento. There, in a perfectly dignified room, in front of prosecutors, defense attorneys and judge, a tall, gaunt man named James Wedick Jr. was fighting for a chance to testify, to tell jurors about the 35 years he spent in the FBI and how it came to be that he was standing before them not on the side of the U.S. government but next to two Pakistani Muslims, son and father, whose books and prayers and immigrant dreams were now being picked over in the first terrorism trial in California.
If the whole story sounded too bizarre to be true, the 22-year-old jihadist and his 47-year-old father—the neighborhood ice cream man—had confessed to everything on camera. At home in the Gold River suburbs of Sacramento, Jim Wedick agreed to study the FBI video as a favor to one of the defense attorneys. He was fully expecting to call the attorney back and advise him that son and father, guilty as charged, needed to strike a quick plea deal. It was hard to trump a confession, and in this instance the feds were holding not one confession but two. Even so, Wedick always had been the kind of investigator who needed to measure every bit of evidence for himself. So he stuck the video in his player and sat back on the couch to watch. . . . The video ended and Wedick picked up the phone and called defense attorney Johnny L. Griffin. Whatever hesitation he had about taking on the FBI office that he, more than anyone, had put on the map—the office where his wife still worked as an agent—was now gone. "Johnny, it's the sorriest interrogation, the sorriest confession, I've ever seen."
Balram, Indira K. Comment. The evolving, yet still inadequate, legal protections afforded battered immigrant women. 5 U. Md. L.J. Race, Religion, Gender & Class 387-410 (2005).
Durham, Dory Mitros. Note. The once and future judge: the rise and fall (and rise?) of independence in U.S. immigration courts. 81 Notre Dame L. Rev. 655-691 (2006).
Voss, Michele A. Note. Young and marked for death: expanding the definition of "particular social group" in asylum law to include youth victims of gang persecution. 37 Rutgers L.J. 235-275 (2005).
Symposium: Broken Fences: Legal and Practical Realities of Immigration Reform in the Post-9/11 Age. Articles by Katherine L. Vaughns, Jeanne A. Butterfield, Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Christopher Nugent and Maureen A. Sweeney. 5 U. Md. L.J. Race, Religion, Gender & Class 151-267 (2005).
Fresh from Tejas:
Instead of stationing soldiers along the Mexican border to keep out the illegal immigrants, Bush should deploy the military along the Texas-New Mexico border to keep you high-rollin' Californians from driving into the Lone Star State. Your typical La La Land dude unloads his 1,500-square-foot home back in California for $1.5 mil. Then he moves to Austin and buys some dump in 78704 for half the price. And pretty soon, only people who would spring for a $95 'rita can afford to live here. Stop this before I scream again.
Click here for more of this rant.
Thanks to Texas correspondent Cappy White for this news tip!
Monday, May 29, 2006
Bender's Immigration Bulletin includes complete immigration news. Click here to check it out and see news like this story.
Border Patrol union boss: Tighter border won't help "After describing what he considers decades of failed policies, Bonner said the solution isn't more Border Patrol agents, National Guard troops, technology or walls on the U.S.-Mexico border. The answer, he said, is to 'turn off the employer magnet (and) focus on the reason people are crossing borders.'" Las Vegas Sun, May 29, 2006.
The Washington state Republican Party has adopted a resolution calling for an end to the Constitution's guarantee of automatic citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants (as interpreted since U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark).
Delegates at the state Republican Party’s convention supporting that platform said their concerns included the cost to public hospitals and the expense of welfare for the children of indigent or deported illegal immigrants. Click here.