Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Congress: Don't Raise Taxes on Immigrant Families

From the National Immigration Law Center:

Though 2012 has just begun, Congress is right now considering a tax change that will hurt children in mixed status families.  Legislators have proposed funding a payroll tax break extension by denying critical tax credits for children in the lowest income immigrant families – even as millionaires are protected.  

Call (202) 224-3121 to connect with House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and members of the tax package conference.
Say you OPPOSE funding the payroll tax credit on the backs of working families. 

Under the House of Representatives’ proposal, a taxpayer or spouse must have a Social Security Number to be eligible for the Child Tax Credit – a tax credit that is designed to keep working families from falling into poverty.  This means that millions of  working immigrant families who file using the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number will effectively receive tax increases.  It is expected that these families will lose on average $1,800 of much-needed tax credits, forcing immigrant parents to cut back on essential items for their children.

We need you to help us fight this change! On Wednesday and Thursday, NILC and other organizations are organizing a national call-in day to protect working immigrant families. Please call (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected with House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and members of the tax package conference, and  your representative to tell them that you OPPOSE funding the payroll tax credit on the backs of working families.

Together, we must tell our legislators to live up to their pledge of fairness and equality and reject any changes to eligibility for the Child Tax Credit.  

Thank you,

Tyler Moran
Policy Director
National Immigration Law Center


January 31, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Connecting the Tea Party with the Anti-Immigrant Movement

From Immigration Impact:

The lines between the anti-immigrant movement and the Tea Party movement are blurred. That is the most important finding of a new report from the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR), entitled Beyond FAIR: The Decline of the Established Anti-Immigrant Organizations and the Rise of Tea Party Nativism. As its title suggests, the report finds that the revenue and membership of traditional anti-immigrant groups have declined in recent years, at the same time some of the Tea Parties have become hot beds of anti-immigrant activism. The report, however, overstates its case in concluding that “to a significant extent, the Tea Parties have usurped the Nativist Establishment and in the process swallowed up many of its activists.” This conclusion discounts the large amount of money and political power that some of the traditional anti-immigrant groups still possess. After all, it is the anti-immigrant groups and not the Tea Parties that have been moving anti-immigrant legislation through state legislatures and town councils from Arizona to Alabama over the past few years. Read more..


January 31, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Book of the Day: War along the Border: The Mexican Revolution and Tejano Communities Edited by Arnoldo De León


War along the Border: The Mexican Revolution and Tejano Communities Edited by Arnoldo De León

ABSTRACT:  In 1910 Francisco Madero, in exile in San Antonio, Texas, launched a revolution that changed the face of Mexico. The conflict also unleashed violence and instigated political actions that kept that nation unsettled for more than a decade. As in other major uprisings around the world, the revolution’s effects were not contained within the borders of the embattled country. Indeed, the Mexican Revolution touched communities on the Texas side of the Rio Grande from Brownsville to El Paso. Fleeing refugees swelled the populations of South Texas towns and villages and introduced nationalist activity as exiles and refugees sought to extend moral, financial, and even military aid to those they supported in Mexico. Raiders from Mexico clashed with Texas ranchers over livestock and property, and bystanders as well as partisans died in the conflict. One hundred years later, Mexico celebrated the memory of the revolution, and scholars in Mexico and the United States sought to understand the effects of the violence on their own communities. War along the Border, edited by noted Tejano scholar Arnoldo De León, is the result of an important conference hosted by the University of Houston’s Center for Mexican American Studies. Scholars contributing to this volume consider topics ranging from the effects of the Mexican Revolution on Tejano and African American communities to its impact on Texas’ economy and agriculture. Other essays consider the ways that Mexican Americans north of the border affected the course of the revolution itself. The work collected in this important book not only recaps the scholarship done to date but also suggests fruitful lines for future inquiry. War along the Border suggests new ways of looking at a watershed moment in Mexican American history and reaffirms the trans-national scope of Texas history.


January 31, 2012 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigration Article of the Day: The Prospects and Challenges of Educational Reform for Latino Undocumented Children: An Essay Examining Alabama’s H.B. 56 and Other State Immigration Measures

Maria lopez

"The Prospects and Challenges of Educational Reform for Latino Undocumented Children: An Essay Examining Alabama’s H.B. 56 and Other State Immigration Measures" Loyola New Orleans Law Research Paper MARIA PABON LOPEZ, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law; DIOMEDES J. TSITOURAS, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; PIERCE C. AZUMA, Attorney at Law, New Orleans.

ABSTRACT:  This essay analyzes the provisions of Alabama’s recent anti-illegal immigration law that affect the education of undocumented children and examines their constitutionality in view of current federal law, as embodied in Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982). As immigration law is an area of federal legislative authority, a key constitutional concern is whether Alabama’s law is preempted. This essay further discusses the recent litigation filed following the passage of this act. This essay also examines other recently enacted state anti-immigrant measures which pose obstacles to undocumented students and concludes by offering thoughts regarding the use of children as pawns in the raging immigration debate in the United States.


January 31, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

How US Policies Fueled Mexico's Great Migration

The Nation (Jan. 23, 2012) features an article by David Bacon analyzing Mexico's "Great Migration." It describes NAFTA's effect on Mexican migration to the United States.


January 31, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Guest Post: The faulty logic of self-deportation by Alexandra Filindra

The faulty logic of self-deportation Alexandra Filindra, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Political Science William Paterson University filindraa@wpunj.edu

At a recent debate in Florida, Republican candidate Mitt Romney suggested that the solution to the problem of undocumented immigration is to make it so difficult for undocumented people to get a job and remain in the United States that they will “self-deport.” Romney’s idea comes from a simple, though flawed, line of reasoning that was first proposed by restriction advocates in the legal community. The reasoning is that individuals will act in a “rational” manner which means that they will calculate the benefits of staying in the United States against the new, increased cost resulting from intensified enforcement and employment restrictions. The calculation goes something like this: I now make $7 an hour washing dishes. With these new measures, it is likely that I will lose my job and also likely that I will be caught at a traffic stop, arrested, maybe imprisoned for a time, and then deported. This is not a good bet to take, so I better “self-deport.”

As you may have noticed, there are three basic assumptions at play here. To make rational analysis work, first, we must assume that people’s response to risk is fixed, and second that they generally tolerate only small risks. Finally, the theory of rationality assumes that individuals disregard sunk costs. Sunk costs are the investments that a person has already made: in the case of the immigrant, “sunk costs” reflect the home she has made and other assets she has accumulated, not to mention the family and community ties. If individuals are intolerant to risk and willing to disregard “sunk costs,” then “self-deportation” would be a preferred response to intensified enforcement.

If only humans behaved in the way expected by rational economic logic, Mr. Romney would have an effective, if harsh and inhumane, policy. However, research in behavioral economics exposes the faults in the logic of “self-deportation.” Through a series of experiments, scientists have determined that people do not seek to maximize what they have. Rather, humans are concerned about positive and negative change in assets from a specific reference point known as “the status quo.” In essence, our happiness is reflected in winning and losing not in how much we have.

Because people care most about change in assets not about the absolute value of their assets, they worry about avoiding losses not achieving maximum wealth. The experiments also suggest that when people expect losses from their current position, they tend to take on risks that otherwise they would not. The economic logic requires that people are risk averse asset maximizers; the human logic suggests that people tend to accept more and more risk in hopes of avoiding setbacks.

The first implication of these findings is that humans do take into account “sunk costs” when making decisions. In the case of the undocumented immigrant, this means that what she stands to lose by leaving the U.S. will weigh heavily on her decisions. The second implication of the behavioral theory is that when faced with tighter enforcement and employer penalties, immigrants will take on more risk in order to not lose their lives in the United States. This suggests that people will go deeper underground, rely more on the private economy and accept more exploitation. Behavioral economics thus tells us that “self-deportation” as a result of intensified enforcement will be marginal and surely not proportionate to the financial cost to states.

Empirically, we already know the limited effectiveness of restrictions from the failure of earlier attempts such as California’s Proposition 187. We also know it from history and sociology: many persecuted people did not seek to leave their homes in the face of major restrictions. Most people don’t leave their homes just because they are poor or getting poorer. If they did, international migration flows would be much larger than they are today. It takes mass violence and organized removal, as in the case of Nazi Germany, 15th century Spain, or the Balkans in the 1920s for large numbers of people to seek exit.

What intensified enforcement will produce is not an exodus to the border. Instead, it will create a permanent underclass of scared immigrant families with bleak opportunities and no access to justice. An enforcement-based response to the problem of undocumented immigration will not be effective except at the margins. Behavioral economics tells us as much. But it will be inhumane and unjust, inconsistent with the founding principles of this country.

January 31, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Latinos and Immigrants in Florida

From the Center for American Progress:

As Floridians Head to the Polls for the GOP Primary Here Is What You Need to Know About Latinos and Immigrants in the State

Tomorrow Floridians will go to the polls in their state’s GOP primary. Latino voters make up 16 percent of the eligible voting population, and will play a significant role in deciding the outcome of the contest. The Center for American Progress Action Fund has put together these resources on the role of Latinos and immigrants in Florida.

Ann Garcia and Philip E. Wolgin review the “Top 10 Things You Should Know About Florida’s Latinos and Immigrants,” (CAP) which looks at the power of Latino voters in the state, the role that they played in handing Sen. John McCain a win over Gov. Mitt Romney in the 2008 primaries, and how voters in the state feel about immigration. Both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have taken a tough approach to immigration that might ultimately alienate Latino voters.


January 30, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

East Haven Police Chief Resigns

From Center for Community Change:

East Haven Police Chief Steps Down After Immigration Rights Group Calls on Him to Resign
More than 15,000 People Signed Reform Immigration FOR America’s Petition
8,000 People Text ‘Taco’ for Justice in East Haven
(WASHINGTON)—Reform Immigration FOR America (RI4A) is pleased with East Haven Police Chief Leonard Gallo’s announcement he is stepping down but the immigration rights group says the history of racism in the community will not be overcome by this single act.
“This is a real victory for racial understanding and a clear indication of the power of our community.  Going forward, we are committed to holding the leadership of East Haven accountable to the needs, desires and hopes of the residents,” said RI4A spokesman Henry Fernandez. “We are ready to talk, we are committed to monitoring the next steps and rhetoric of the mayor, and we are watching the police department, which must take advantage of this transition to institute new policies and a new culture.”
“Everyone in East Haven must come together to work toward improving relations with the Latino community, and we intend to be heard on this issue, loud and clear,” said Latrina Kelly, interim Executive Director of JUNTA for Progressive Action. JUNTA, an RI4A member, is based in New Haven.
Fernandez and Kelly called on East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo to include strong representation of the Latino community on the search committee for a new police chief.
“Maturo said today the search process would be transparent. We would go further and demand that the Latino community should be involved in the selection process and the U.S. Department of Justice should participate as well,” Fernandez said.
RI4A sent out an online petition, http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-mayor-maturo-replace-east-haven-chief-of-police-and-send-a-clear-message-that-racial-profiling-wont-be-tolerated, last Wednesday calling on Gallo to resign. The petition has garnered more than 15,000 signatures in a few short days.
The petition followed RI4A’s ‘text a taco’ social media campaign initiated to blast Maturo for his quip that he “might have tacos” when asked what he would do to reach out to the Latino community in light of a federal probe into four of East Haven’s police officers charged with terrorizing Latinos. As of today, nearly 8,000 texts have been sent in solidarity for the Latino community.


January 30, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Not-So-Secret negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement

As I've written, free trade agreements have resulted in massive migration pressures from many industrializing countries that cannot compete with certain U.S. economic policies. Here's information on more proposals that should be closely monitored.

From the California Fair Trade Coalition:

Dear fair traders,
This is just a quick reminder about the events we have planned around the secret negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Southern California this week. As you know, the Trans-Pacific FTA, which include nine countries from around the Pacific Rim, are angled to be the latest NAFTA expansion. While over 600 "corporate advisors" have access to the negotiations, civil society is effectively shut out.
Join us to help bring the Trans-Pacific FTA out of the shadows and to demand a "Fair Deal or No Deal!:
PANEL: Trans-Pacific FTA: Is this a NAFTA of the Pacific?, Monday, Jan. 30 at 6PM, USC University Club, 645 West Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90089.

RALLY: "Fair Deal or No Deal!" Wednesday, Feb. 1 at noon, Hotel Sofitel Los Angeles, 8555 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.
RALLY: Say NO! to a "Free Trade Ring of Fire!" Friday, Feb. 3 at noon, UC San Diego, Library Walk.
For more information, contact tim@citizenstrade.org, or you can RSVP here!
Hope to see you there!
Tim Robertson, California Fair Trade Coalition


January 30, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

San Jose Sate University Immigration Symposium

From San Jose State University:

Save the Date Announcement
Immigration Symposium
Immigration: Policy and Reality
MLK Library 225/229 and 255/257
San José State University, San José, CA
April 12 (Thursday) and April 13 (Friday), 2012

TO:    Communities of Academics and Practitioners
FR:    Yoko Baba, Coordinator of SJSU’s Silicon Valley Center for Global Studies
RE:    Immigration Symposium on April 12 and 13, 2012
The title of this year’s immigration symposium is: Immigration: Policy and Reality.
Keynote speakers are: Mr. Andrew Lam, Author, Editor of New America Media, and Dr. Kelly Lytle Hernández, History Professor at UCLA.  Mr. Lam’s title of speech is “Beyond Leal vs. Illegal: Telling The Stories of Immigrant America” and his presentation will be held on Thursday, April 12, 2012.  Dr. Hernández will speak about “Amnesty or Abolition?: Felons, Illegals and America’s Unfinished Abolition Movement” on Friday, April 13, 2012.
Topics include immigrant workers, Asian and Mexican mental health and domestic violence, international migration, state immigration politics, immigrant youths and families, role of Congress in illegal immigration policy, the Indian Diaspora, Immigration and new black diversity in the U.S., documentary film on the Bracero Program, etc.
The presenters consist of diverse groups, with respect to disciplines, interests, training, etc., of scholars and community partners around the Bay area as well as across the U.S. and around the world. 
The symposium is free of charge, and everyone is invited to attend.
We hope that you will join us.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact yoko.baba@sjsu.edu


January 30, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Immigrant Rights Groups Available to Discuss the Taco Mayor

From Cener for Community Change:

Immigration Rights Group That Called on East Haven Police Chief to Step Down and That Sent Tacos to Mayor Maturo to Hold Media Availability
Representatives and members of Reform Immigration FOR America (RI4A) will be available today to talk to the media following Mayor Joseph Maturo’s news conference. Last Wednesday, RI4A sent out an online petition calling on Police Chief Leonard Gallo to resign. The petition has garnered more than 15,000 signatures.
The petition followed RI4A’s ‘text a taco’ social media campaign initiated to blast Maturo for his quip that he “might have tacos” when asked what he would do to reach out to the Latino community in light of a federal probe into four of East Haven’s police officers charged with terrorizing Latinos. As of today, nearly 8,000 texts have been sent in solidarity for the Latino community.
RI4A, a national campaign of more than 800,000 immigration leaders and grassroots activists committed to achieving humane comprehensive immigration reform, has:
*Posted a petition, http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-mayor-maturo-replace-east-haven-chief-of-police-and-send-a-clear-message-that-racial-profiling-wont-be-tolerated, to send a message to East Haven officials that racial profiling will not be tolerated.
*Sent 500 tacos to Mayor Maturo’s office. One was given to the mayor along with an invitation to attend a community dinner to open up a dialogue with the Latino community to improve relations. The remaining tacos were sent to a local community kitchen.
*Called attention to East Haven’s unfortunate history of poor treatment of the Latino community for years.
*Supported the federal probe of the East Haven police department.
Available to talk to reporters:
In Connecticut:
*Latrina Kelly, Junta for Progressive Action (a member of RI4A): (203) 787-0191, ext. 16
*Henry Fernandez, RI4A spokesman: (203) 889-1104
In Washington:
*Donna De La Cruz, press secretary, Center for Community Change (202) 339-9331

January 30, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Celebrating Fred Korematsu Day

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson encouraged all Californians to observe the annual Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on Korematsu’s birthday, Monday, January 30, 2012.

Korematsu was born in Oakland, California in 1919. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, he defied President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which authorized the U.S. military to forcibly remove more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent from their homes and incarcerate them in camps throughout the country. Two-thirds of the people were American citizens. Korematsu was arrested and convicted of violating the federal order. He lost appeals all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Four decades later, after a legal historian discovered evidence proving that U.S. intelligence agencies knew that Japanese Americans posed no military threat to the country during World War II, Korematsu’s conviction was overturned in federal court.

Fred Korematsu went on to champion the cause of civil liberties, not only seeking redress for Japanese Americans who were wrongfully incarcerated, but also traveling the country to advocate for the civil rights of other victims, especially after 9/11. He received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton. Korematsu passed away in 2005 at the age of 86.

California legislation made January 30 Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. California Education Code Section 37222.15 encourages schools and local educational agencies to “conduct exercises remembering the life of Fred Korematsu and recognizing the importance of preserving civil liberties, even in times of real or perceived crisis.”

For more educational resources on civil rights and the U.S. Constitution, please visit the California Department of Education’s website. To learn more about Fred Korematsu, download free teaching kits developed through private donations, and access online educational resources, please visit the Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education website. The Seattle University School of Law Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality seeks through reasearch, advocacy, and education to promote Korematsu's vision for equality and justice for all.


January 30, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Angelo Paparelli: "I Hate [Bleep]ing Immigration Law"

Angelo Paperelli on Nation of Immigrators has thoughtful suggestions for practitioners on how to appropriately respond to Requests for Additional Evidence from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


January 30, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sin Yen Ling to be Honored by the American Constitution Society

Sin Yen Ling, a prominent immigrant rights and civil rights advocate and leader, will be honored on March 7 by the American Constitution Society:

From the American Constitution Society:

Third Annual Gala Reception.Wednesday, March 7, 2012 - 6:00pm
University of California Hastings College of Law Alumni Reception Center
200 McAllister Street, First Floor
San Francisco, CA
Chapter(s): Bay Area (San Francisco and Oakland area) Lawyer Chapter
The Bay Area Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society presents:

Third Annual Gala Reception

Featuring a keynote address by:

•Honorable Carlos Moreno, Retired Associate Justice, California Supreme Court; Of Counsel, Irell & Manella LLP

•Jeffrey L. Fisher, Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director, Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Stanford Law School
•Sin Yen Ling, Staff Attorney, Asian Law Caucus
•Donald Specter, Director, Prison Law Office

RSVP here


January 29, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Nominations for Immigrant and Refugee Justice Awards

From the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project:

Now Accepting Nominations for the Golden Door and Amicus Awards!

Do you know of another organization or individual doing outstanding work to promote justice for immigrants and refugees? 

Nominate your unsung hero today for NWIRP's Golden Door or Amicus Award!  Awards will be presented at our 28th Anniversary Celebration on May 4, 2012.

The Golden Door Award is presented to one organization or individual who has furthered the cause of immigrant and refugee rights on a national, state, or local level, while the Amicus Award is presented to a law firm which has shown exceptional participation in legal proceedings that assist and further the rights of low-income immigrants and refugees.

Click here for the nomination packet and a list of past recipients. 

Deadline for nominations:  February 20, 2012.


January 29, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl) Weighs In on Immigration

Professor Ediberto Román on Huffington Post passionately praises Senator Marco Rubio's (R-Florida) speech yesterday on immigration. On the heels of the Republican Presidential debate on Thursday night in which the candidates sounded tough on immigration (although not as tough as they sounded in South Carolina),the Senator called on Republicans and others to set aside the harsh rehtoric that divides, not unites, and reform the immigration laws. Professor Román hopes for more in the future from Senator Rubio and the U.S. Congress, possibly even passage of the long-awaited DREAM Act.

For more on Senator Rubio's speech, click here.


January 28, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Judge Removes Arizona Candidate with Limited English Proficiency

From the NY Times:

Lawyers for Alejandrina Cabrera, a candidate for the City Council in the border community of San Luis, Ariz., said Thursday that they might appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court a lower-court ruling that Ms. Cabrera be removed from the ballot because she did not speak English proficiently.

Judge John Nelson of the Yuma County Superior Court ruled late Wednesday night that Ms. Cabrera be struck from the ballot because she did not know enough English to do the job. In removing Ms. Cabrera, Judge Nelson agreed with the recommendation of a linguist who had conducted tests of Ms. Cabrera and found her English skills lacking. Read more...


January 27, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Amnesty International: Migrants Need Socks

From Amnesty International:

Migrants Making Dangerous Journey Through Mexico 'Desperately Need Socks,' says Amnesty International

Human rights organization launches new migrant rights campaign: www.sendsocks.org urges Mexican authorities to take action

(Washington, D.C.) -- A thought-provoking new campaign by Amnesty International highlights the plight of thousands of Central American migrants travelling across the region every year by calling for donations of a particular, humble item of clothing.

When Amnesty International asked migrants what one thing they would take if leaving the country, the answer was: "socks."  

"Most migrants told us that they had no possessions with them at all because they expected to be attacked and robbed on the journey and that anything of value would increase their chances of kidnap," said Rupert Knox, Mexico researcher at Amnesty International. "Much to our surprise, the migrants did tell us that one thing they desperately needed on their journey were socks. On journeys that can be up to hundreds of miles, untreated blisters risk lives and a fresh pair of socks can make all the difference."

In a three-minute campaign video filmed in Mexico, members of the public are asked: "If you had to leave your country and could only take one thing, what would it be?" Residents of Mexico City gave answers ranging from "identity cards" to "Tabasco sauce."

Their responses starkly contrasted with those given by migrants, whose request for socks has led to the launch of a website - sendsocks.org - where the public can watch the campaign video and make donations.

Migrant rights advocates will gather at the Interior Ministry in Mexico City on Thursday, January 26, at 7 pm (Mexico time). Hundreds of pairs of old shoes that symbolize the difficult conditions migrants go through will be hung in front of the building, while the campaign video is projected onto the building. Amnesty International experts will be on hand to speak to the media about their experiences working with migrants.

Driven by grinding poverty and insecurity, Central American migrants travel north to Mexico in the hope of eventually reaching the United States. Many face kidnap, rape and murder at the hands of criminal gangs, often in collusion with authorities, during their passage through Mexico.

Those responsible for the abuses are rarely held to account and many cases of abducted or murdered migrants are not adequately investigated.

"Migrants are determined to risk all in the hope of a better future, but the reality is that for many the journey through Mexico - one of the most dangerous journeys in the world - will be devastating," said Knox.

The Mexican government has failed to live up to promises to protect migrants from widespread human rights abuses.

"Despite the Mexican government’s promise of change, laws and other official measures are having little or no impact and systematic abuses of migrants continue unabated," said Knox. "For the past two years we’ve been calling on Mexico’s federal authorities to develop and implement an action plan to protect migrants. We hope this new campaign will put pressure on the government to turn promises into action."

Amnesty International stands in solidarity with the many brave migrants who travel across Mexico and asks the public to donate socks via sendsocks.org.

There are no official figures for the numbers of migrants travelling illegally through Mexico but 60,000 were detained and repatriated in 2011. Every year tens of thousands of women, men and children travel through Mexico without legal permission as irregular migrants. More than nine in every 10 are Central Americans, mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras or Nicaragua. The vast majority are headed for the U.S. border hoping for a new life.

Mexico is one of the few countries in the world that is both a destination and transit route for migrants, as well as a starting point for emigration as thousands of Mexicans try to cross the border with the United States in search of work.

In February 2011, the National Human Rights Commission reported that 11,000 migrants had been kidnapped in the previous six months. Throughout 2011, migrant rights defenders have been subject to attack, death threats and intimidation in reprisal for their efforts to support migrants. Fray Tomas, who runs "La 72"” migrants’ shelter in Tenosique, Tabasco state, has received anonymous death threats over the phone and been insulted by state police and members of the military.

During Mexico’s appearance before the U.N. Committee on the Protection of all Migrant Workers in April 2011, it was clear that the government lacked a concrete plan of action to tackle the migrants’ rights crisis in the country.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom and dignity are denied.

For images including stills from the video and images of migrants please contact Gwen Fitzgerald at gfitzerald@aiusa.org. For more information, please visit www.amnestyusa.org


January 27, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The Real Meaning of "Self-Deportation"

From the Immigration Policy Center:

The term “self-deportation” has found its way into the GOP presidential primary race, with candidate Mitt Romney outlining a vague immigration platform which includes "self-deportation," or the idea that unauthorized immigrants will voluntarily choose to leave the U.S. if life here is made unbearable enough. While "self-deportation" may be a new idea to some, those who monitor immigration policy understand that it is code for “attrition through enforcement” - a plan pursued by extremist immigration-control organizations in Congress and state houses across the nation. 

Mr. Romney explains how he thinks "self-deportation" would work by saying “if people don’t get work here, they’re going to self-deport to a place they can get work.”  However, as described in a forthcoming report from the Immigration Policy Center, "self-deportation" - or, more accurately, "attrition through enforcement" - goes far beyond denying unauthorized immigrants work. The strategy is currently embodied in state laws that include provisions denying education, transportation, and even basic services like water and housing to anyone who cannot prove legal immigration status. So far, the states that have attempted to roll out this plan have done little more than undermine basic human rights, devastate local economies, and place unnecessary burdens on U.S. citizens and lawful immigrants.

There is little evidence that "attrition through enforcement" is causing unauthorized immigrants to leave. In fact, a July 2011 study from the RAND Corporation found that, despite improved economic conditions in Mexico and worsened conditions in the United States, fewer Mexican immigrants returned to Mexico in 2008 and 2009 than in the two years before the recession.

The Urban Institute’s Juan Pedrozo has also pointed out that “it’s tough to tell whether (and how many) immigrants have left a community if you are looking right after a state passes a law. It can take years of evidence to test claims of a mass exodus.” Moreover, “growing evidence suggests that most immigrants (especially families with school-age children) are here to stay, except perhaps where local economies are particularly weak.”

Furthermore, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, “nearly two-thirds of the 10.2 million unauthorized adult immigrants in the United States have lived in this country for at least 10 years, and nearly half are parents of minor children,” most of whom are U.S. citizens. There is no reason to believe that they are going to “self-deport” as their ties to the country have grown much deeper.

Whether you call it “self-deportation” or “attrition through enforcement,” this is a policy that offers no genuine solution to the growing instability of our immigration system. Relying on a strategy conceived by immigration restrictionists and pursued by opportunistic politicians is no game plan. This country deserves to hear more detailed and thoughtful approaches from politicians and policy makers—ones that will offer a way forward, rather than ones grounded in divisive and punitive approaches to unauthorized immigration.

For more information, contact Wendy Sefsaf at wsefsaf@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7524.


January 27, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Romney's Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric is Nothing New

From the Center for American Progress:

History Repeats Itself as Romney Takes a Hardline on Immigration   
  GOP Frontrunner Embracing Harsh Anti-Immigration Rhetoric

 Mitt Romney's recent embrace of hardline anti-immigration rhetoric could cost him in key states like Florida and Nevada.
By Ann Garcia, Philip E. Wolgin

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney once tacitly supported immigration reform. Sadly, his recent embrace of hardline immigration positions is a show we’ve seen before with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008, and it targets the fastest-growing demographic in the country. With his new stance Romney risks losing not only the Latino vote but many non-Latino voters as well.

In the last few weeks we’ve seen Romney take a hard right-turn on immigration, first telling an audience that he would veto the DREAM Act if president, and then accepting the endorsement of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), the author of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 and Alabama’s H.B. 56, among a slew of state and local anti-immigrant bills. Read more...


January 27, 2012 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)