Saturday, November 30, 2013
On Friday, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama visited with a group of activists who are fasting in Washington, D.C. in an effort to pressure Congress to pass an immigration bill. The Obamas praised organizers Eliseo Medina and Dae Joong Yoon and thanked "all of the fasters for their sacrifice and dedication, and told them that the country is behind them on immigration reform," according to a White House statement.
Friday, November 29, 2013
David Bacon at New America Media offers sobering thoughts for farmworkers' Thanksgiving. As families celebrated Thanksgiving, farmworkers across the country who help harvest the food they will prepare continue to struggle under bitter working and living conditions.
Jose Lopez told his story to NAM associate editor David Bacon, as part of a cooperative project with Farmworker Justice.
Catholic Bishops on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border are showing their displeasure with the current state of immigration reform by releasing a letter to their parishes and elected officials. This collaboration of priests hopes to change misconceptions about undocumented immigrants.
The letter, Family Beyond Borders, written by Bishop Daniel Flores of the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville and 12 other border bishops from Texas and Mexico. The letter states that the church must be conscious of how to help families that are facing separation because of deportation procedures.
As Thanksgoving dinner is behind us, Black Friday is dominating the thoughts of many Americans today. I thought I might offer some ideas on immigration books that might be worth a look (and perhaps a purchase).
5. Social Control and Justice: Crimmigration in the Age of Fear (2013) Editors: Maria João Guia, Maartje van der Woude and Joanne van der Leun Nominated for the Stein Rokkan Prize 2013 for Comparative Social Science Research
Abstract: Every year, international athletes come to play professional sports in the United States. Are they stealing jobs from Americans, or should they be welcomed for their talents? Should they be entitled to special treatment with regard to immigration and labor laws, or should they have to go through the same procedures as any immigrant applying for United States citizenship? The purpose of this article is to determine the historical and cultural framework with regard to the use of sports as a vehicle to achieve immigrant assimilation in the United States. This article also addresses the topic of athletes coming into the United States to “steal” jobs from Americans. Second, this article discusses the legal issues as well as the overlapping labor issues concerning immigration and worker migration. Third, the article is also important in the post-9/11 period because of immigration and security issues.
"[S]tates [are] passing laws benefiting illegal immigrants [and rejecting] a years-long history of unfriendliness. From January to June this year, 43 states and the District of Columbia enacted such laws or resolutions related to immigration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Much of the measures seek to make life easier for immigrants or simply praise their contributions. In granting in-state tuition and driver’s licenses to people here illegally, several states were reacting to President Obama’s deferred action for childhood arrivals program. Under it, eligible young people in the country illegally are allowed to stay and work without being deported."
State and local governments, in my estimation, are moving in the right direction in seeking to better integrate immigrants into their communities, as opposed to adopting immigration enforcement strategies trying to keep "them" out.
UPDATE (12/1); The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times criticized cities continuing to pass immigration enforcement ordinances, such as Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Fremont, Nebraska, and Farmer's Branch, Texas, and hope that the Supreme Court will not review any of the lower court decisions stroking down the ordinances.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Immigration Article of the Day: Truly Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Span the Migrant Labor Lifecycle by Emma Aguila and John Godges
Truly Comprehensive Immigration Reform Would Span the Migrant Labor Lifecycle By Emma Aguila and John Godges
What the United States and Mexico ultimately need goes beyond immigration reform. What they need is a binational effort at labor reform. The scope of this effort should span the entire lifecycle of migrant labor, from the root causes that drive Mexican workers northward to the retirements of those workers either in Mexico or in the United States.
The Showtime show Homeland has received many awards on accolades. It obviously has grabbed the imagination of television critics and viewers. But is it anti-Muslim? For the argument that it depicts all Arabs and Muslims as terrorist suspects, read this article by Hillary Crosley at The Root.
This raises the broader question whether cable television shows are more likely than those on the mainstream networks to go to the edges of tasteful racial sensibilities. AMC's Breaking Bad, which made a a massive media sensation with its recent series finale, has been challenged as racist and portraying virtually every Latina/o in New Mexico, as well as the Mexican cartels, as unabashedly evil or damaged in some way.
Viewpoints: Immigration reform can be a win for workers, families By Richard Trumka and Stephen Blaire
Unions and Catholic leaders have long found common cause in advocating for policies that defend the dignity of workers and protect immigrant families. Over the past several years, we have worked together to win congressional approval of comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Although such legislation has passed the U.S. Senate in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion, the House of Representatives is now delaying consideration of either the Senate bill or its own version of reform. Click the link above for the full op/ed.
Richard Trumka is the president of the AFL-CIO. Stephen Blaire is the Catholic bishop of Stockton and a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ domestic policy committee.
CNN reports on a video that appears to show a Saudi man beating a migrant worker is causing growing outrage in Saudi Arabia. In the video, which went viral after it was posted on YouTube, a male worker in an orange jumpsuit is first seen sitting on a floor, scared and submissive. A man who government officials believe is Saudi begins tormenting the victim, angry because he thinks the worker has spoken to his wife.
The problem appears to go beyond this individual incident, with avuse of migrant workers more common than one would hope.
Before the inaugeration, Award-winning actress Eva Longoria told “This Week” that immigration reform should be a top priority in President Obama’s second term. “People say, ‘Oh, get in the back of the line,’ [but] people don’t realize there’s a hundred lines to get into,” said Longoria of the immigration process. ”It’s a very broken system.”
Photos above courtesy of Wikipedia
Many Americans will be watching professional football today. Here is a criossover piece of immigration and NFL trivia. Born in Denmark, Morten Andersen, nicknamed "The Great Dane", is a former National Football League kicker and holds the distinction of being the all-time leading scorer in NFL history, as well as being the all-time leading scorer for two different rival teams; the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The big immigration news this week is that President Obama was heckled by a pro-reform advocate at the talk at which the President was advocating immigration reform. Often in agreement with critics of this administration, Ruben Navarette agrees with the heckler.
Silvia L. Mazzula, Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY) and President-Elect of the Latino Psychological Association of New Jersey, writes about microaggressions on atina/os. Last month marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and across the U.S., many Americans proclaimed that Dr. King’s dream had indeed come true. Perhaps many people believe this because overt acts of racism aren’t as common and are typically frowned upon. However, covert forms of racism are all too common. These more subtle forms of racism are called “microaggressions” and communicate hostile and racial insults. Microaggressions are things said or done – many times unconsciously – that reflect a person’s inner thinking, stereotypes and prejudices. They are difficult to recognize because they are brief, innocuous, and often difficult to see. Why are they important to talk about? Because microaggressions are pervasive and have a detrimental impact on people’s psychological and physiological well-being.
As Kevin Johnson noted this morning, activists at the National Mall are going into their third week of fasting for immigration reform. First Lady, Michelle Obama, tweeted about them.
From the Hill:
First lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday recognized the group of activists fasting for immigration reform on the National Mall.
As families begin to gather for Thanksgiving, I’m thinking of the brave #Fast4Families immigration reform advocates. We're with you. -mo
— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) November 26, 2013
Obama wrote the tweet herself.
The first lady is just the latest figure from the White House to have recognized the fasters. Vice President Biden met with the activists last week.
During remarks Monday in San Francisco, President Obama also gave a shout-out to the "Fast4Families" advocates who have been fasting for two weeks now.
“I want to say to Eliseo Medina, my friend from SEIU, and the other fasters who are there as we speak, I want them to know we hear you. We're with you. The whole country hears you,” Obama said.
Biden made a surprise visit to the group on the Mall Friday. Read more...
The Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) released today a comprehensive report titled Bordering on Failure: Canada-U.S. Border Policy and the Politics of Refugee Exclusion. The result of extensive research and fact-finding investigations led by HIRC affiliates Dr. Efrat Arbel (SJD ’12) and Alletta Brenner (JD ’14), the report finds that Canada is systematically closing its borders to asylum seekers, and failing in its refugee protection obligations under domestic and international law.
This report shows a deteriorating trend in Canada, and is quite disturbing.” The report examines Canadian border measures designed to intercept and deflect “undesirable travellers,” including asylum seekers, before they set foot on Canadian soil and make a claim for refugee protection. It also examines the U.S.-Canada Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), a bilateral agreement implemented by Canada and the United States to exercise more control over their shared border. In effect since 2004, the Agreement forces refugee claimants to seek protection in the first country they reach – either the U.S. or Canada. The report finds that the STCA has triggered a sharp decline in asylum claims made at the Canadian border.
The report concludes the STCA is not achieving the goal of protecting the border.
In addition to its criticism of Canadian border policy, the report identifies key aspects of the U.S. asylum system that do not meet international protection standards and put asylum seekers at risk, including misuse and overuse of immigration detention and expedited removal before claimants have a fair chance to prove their asylum claim.
Most Americans are preparing for Thanksgiving Day. The big news is the bad weather that many in the United States face as they make the journey home for celebrating the holiday.
ABC News reports on a different way of "celebrating" Thanksgiving: "For three immigration activists in Washington, D.C., this Thanksgiving won’t include plates of turkey, stuffing or pumpkin pie. Instead, they will be fasting on the National Mall in the name of immigration reform."
I am rooting for them.
UPDATE (Thanksgiving Morning): The Los Angeles Times reported on the fasters, including retired labor leader Eliseo Medina. Sadly, some of the comments were rather callous, showing again how hard it is to even discuss the issue of immigration:
"No soup for you.........................NEXT!"
"Let's save him the starvation diet and deport him. Problem solved"
"It's a good thimg that they are going on a diet, everyone knows how fattening Mexican food is, that's why Mexico is one of the leading counties on obesity LOL !!! I hope they starve to death. They want reform. Then do something legal for once. Deport the illegals and we will start over with those who wish to immigrant legally."
"After the press goes home for their Thanksgiving dinner, that's when the unmarked churro carts and taco trucks show up."
"Thanksgiving is an American holiday and we don't celebrate it with tacos. If you want to eat tacos on the last Thursday in November, go back to wherever you came from and eat them there. I get real tired of all the garbage about how we have to preserve this foreign culture or that. If things were so great wherever you came from, what are you doing here in the first place? America has its own language, culture and traditions. I can remember a time, not so very long ago, when there was no such thing as hyphenated Americans. We were one people and we flew one flag. We used to say, "Give us your tired, your hungry, your poor." However, we figured once you had a nap and a bite to eat, you'd go to work and take care of the poor part yourself. If every illegal alien in the US got a tent and starved to death, well, I see that as more of a solution than a problem. We do need "immigration reform". We need a zero tolerance of foreign invaders policy. We need a streamlined process to deportation. We need to close the anchor baby loophole. We need tough criminal penalties against harboring and employing illegal aliens. And, more than anything else, we need strict inforcement of our immigration laws. If you want to learn our language, become part of our culture, and be an American without any hyphens, obey our laws and do it legally."
Immigration Article of the Day: A Multidimensional Analysis of What Not to Wear in the Workplace: Hijabs and Natural Hair by D. Wendy Greene
A Multidimensional Analysis of What Not to Wear in the Workplace: Hijabs and Natural Hair by D. Wendy Greene Samford University - Cumberland School of Law August 21, 2013 Florida International University Law Review, Vol. 8, 2013
Abstract: This Article challenges a relatively universal judicial and societal assumption that employers’ enactment and enforcement of grooming codes are inconsequential to women’s access to, and inclusion in, American workplaces. Specifically, this Article provides a multidimensional analysis of workplace grooming codes, shedding light on the comparable journeys of discrimination that Black and Muslim women experience when their hair and hair coverings are subject to employer regulation. Further, it illustrates that since Black and Muslim women’s identities are not mutually exclusive, Black women who are Muslim may also suffer a double form of discrimination if an employer bans both hijabs and natural hairstyles in the workplace. Thus, for the first time, this Article specifically contemplates the interconnectivity between the socio-politically constructed identity of Black and Muslim women, the socio-political and personal meaning of Black women’s natural hairstyles and Muslim women’s hijabs and resulting discrimination — under the law and in society. In so doing, this Article illuminates how these women, who are racialized as non-white due to their physical appearance and/or their religious faith and observances, share similar experiences as it relates to workplace inclusion and exclusion vis à vis what adorns their heads. This Article also demonstrates that workplace prohibitions against Black women’s natural hairstyles and Muslim women’s donning of a hijab are closely aligned forms of race and gender-based discrimination, triggering parallel actual as well as perceived stigmatization, vulnerability, and exclusion for these women of color, which civil rights constituencies have not fully exposed and addressed. This Article draws upon the works of notable critical race and sexuality theorists in its contention that a “multidimensional” analysis of the discrimination that women of color as a collective experience in the workplace — at the intersection of race, religion, and gender — is vital for a deeper understanding of the civil rights issues at stake, as well as for increased and sustained civil rights advocacy challenging the legality of such grooming codes. Thus, this Article calls for cross-cultural advocacy among civil and workers’ rights constituencies so that antidiscrimination law, doctrine, and advocacy can more meaningfully attend to the deprivation of equal conditions, privileges, dignity, and personhood that Black and Muslim women suffer due to the arbitrary enactment and enforcement of workplace grooming codes banning natural hairstyles and hijabs in the workplace.