Tuesday, December 31, 2013
From Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees:
We're looking for a Director of Programs and a Manager of Strategic Initiatives.
Both positions will be based in one of our two San Francisco Bay Area offices. The application deadline is January 20, 2014, with a target start date of March 1, 2014. Click here for more information.
The California Supreme Court has announced that it will issue an opinion -- parhaps opinions -- in the admission of Sergio Garcia, an undocumented immigrant who has passed the bar examination and moral character check, to the California State Bar. The opinion will be released at 10 A.M. PST on January 2, 2014.
A New Year’s Message of Hope for Immigration Reform By Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and Robert Gittelson, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
A New Year’s Message of Hope for Immigration Reform By Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and Robert Gittelson, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Together, we are writing this New Year’s Message of Hope regarding the possible passage of immigration reform legislation in the upcoming New Year. Because we are, by nature, optimists, many of the messages that we have been writing for years have speculated that the upcoming year would probably bring reform. This year is no exception. However, we must admit that we are more optimistic than we have ever been that next year will be the year.
True, immigration reform advocates are currently quite frustrated that immigration reform did not reach the President’s desk in 2013. We share in that frustration. And yet, we look at this issue as the glass being half full. 2013 brought us passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the Senate. That was no small achievement. Furthermore, we are convinced that the House is poised to move on this issue. The stars are about to align.
The other day, we were having a meeting with one of the Republican members of House Leadership. As our discussion turned to immigration - and because he understood that we have been meeting with many House Republicans about this issue - he asked us how many of his members are for immigration reform? He wanted an outside opinion. We told him what we are quite certain is the truth. We told him that if the House voted on the type of legislation that has been envisioned and articulated by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, that he would have a majority of the majority that would vote for the bills.
It is important to note the specific distinction that we explained to him. The Goodlatte plan would offer the undocumented a pathway to legalization, and the opportunity to pursue citizenship through our previously established legal channels, but would differ from the Senate plan, in that it would not offer a specific and separate pathway to citizenship.
Is that a difference without a distinction? No. The Goodlatte plan, while not yet introduced by any Republican member, envisions an opportunity for many, perhaps even a majority of the undocumented to eventually attain citizenship. However, and by his own admission, this new plan would not necessarily cover all of the undocumented population. His plan would be meant to thread the difficult needle that represents the dividing line between “amnesty,” and the “Rule of Law.”
We note that Congressman Steve Stockman, one of the few House Republicans opposed to any type of change to immigration law, recently tried to put together a coalition to sign a letter addressed to Speaker Boehner arguing against any type of immigration reform. Our understanding is that he was only able to receive 18 signatures for his letter. Another prominent Republican Committee Chairman involved with the debate over immigration reform recently speculated to us that perhaps as many as 60, but at the most 80 Republicans would oppose the type of immigration reform as proposed by Chairman Goodlatte. While that is a lot of no votes, it is certainly well short of a majority of the majority – the imaginary dividing line as specified by the “Hastert” rule preferred by Speaker Boehner to pass immigration reform.
The recent Budget agreement that passed both the House and the Senate has many of the progressive immigration reform advocates speculating that Congress might now be willing to come together in a Kumbaya moment to start to pass the President’s Agenda. They couldn’t be more wrong. There are any number of issues that House Republicans can and will unite behind that will stand in stark disagreement with President Obama’s Agenda for this Congress. Republicans are almost universally united against Obamacare, the President’s Climate Change and Energy Agenda’s, and the President’s new willingness to stand down on sanctions against Iran. The fact that the President just hired Washington insider John Podesta in an effort to shore up his Energy and Climate Change legislative strategies will mean that the House will certainly have its work cut out for itself opposing the parts of the President’s agenda that they disagree with, well into next year.
So where does that leave immigration reform? In our opinion, immigration reform is in pretty good shape. It is one of the few issues in which common ground actually does, in fact, exist. I would caution my fellow immigration advocates, (first the advocates on our side – the right – but particularly our progressive friends on the opposite side of the aisle), to continue to work on this issue diligently, but agreeably. Actions that “demand” immediate immigration reform, or seek to shut down offices occupied by Republican members, does not create an affable or affirmative work environment. In fact, it gets otherwise agreeable members to back away in their willingness to proceed on this issue. We know this, because we have heard it directly from the members, and have seen how these tactics affected members on this issue going back to 2010.
We now have an opportunity to have both sides of the aisle, and both Houses in Congress, work together to forge an immigration solution that can work effectively for years, even decades to come. We would say that to date, the House has bipartisan agreement on well over 90% of the issues surrounding the discussion about the most effective, fair, and moral ways in which our Nation can solve this crisis. Therefore, we urge all Americans, regardless of political ideology, to work together to solve this complex but resolvable problem. We believe that a bipartisan solution is at hand. We should hold our elected officials accountable to work together to get this issue fixed, once and for all. Our national security demands it. Our economy depends on it. Our faith compels it. Finally, we cannot forget that there are multi-millions of families praying for the opportunity to live in dignity, in safety, and for the ability to emerge out of the shadows of society, and to pursue their own American dreams.
By Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Robert Gittelson, Vice President for Governmental Affairs, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Monday, December 30, 2013
Immigration Article of the Day: At the Edge of US Immigration’s “Halt of Folly:” Data, Information, and Research Needs in the Event of Legalization by Fernando Riosmena
Executive Summary Virtually all accounts of the state of the US immigration system point to its patently broken condition, with the presence of almost 12 million people without legal status paramount to this characterization. Because of several recent developments including continued and renewed interest in regularizing the status of most unauthorized migrants in executive and legislative branch agendas, the Center for Migration Studies of New York, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, convened a group of immigration specialists, researchers, scholars, and advocates in Washington, DC in September 2013 to discuss potential data, information, and research needs in the event of the enactment of large-scale legalization programs for the unauthorized population.
This paper describes the results of this one-and-a-half day discussion. It begins with a description of the contours of a legalization program if it were to follow a similar form as S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act passed by the Senate in June 2013. In addition to being the most recent effort in this area, S. 744 includes a relatively complex set of conditions for “earning” legalization. A number of data, information, and research needs would need to be met to ensure the proper implementation of such a program. First, planning for effective local outreach and service delivery efforts requires estimating the eligible population at finer-scale geographies; understanding financial and time disincentives to apply and adhere to the program and skill levels required; assessing capacity in service delivery relative to the size and service needs of the local eligible population; tracking the progress of applicants through the legalization process; and understanding effective forms of outreach and service delivery. Second, assessing the effects of legalization on immigrant integration, future immigration, and fiscal and economic life in the United States would include anticipating the effects of legalization on eligibility and use of locally- and state-provided services by the legalized and their families.
Within the discussion of these issues, the paper describes recent and potential efforts to develop methodologies, partnerships, and evaluation and tracking systems by different stakeholders and organizations to ensure and assess the short- and long-term effectiveness of legalization efforts. In doing this, it alludes to the lessons of past regularization programs addressed during the meeting including the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Although the volatile political climate may make a full-fledged legalization program unlikely in the near future, waiting to plan for such a possibility until after legislation passes would be ill-advised. Because such a discussion may also help shape the parameters of how legalization takes place, fora like that provided by this meeting are valuable vehicles to organize and mobilize knowledge, and should be thus continued and expanded.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Disappointing enrollment figures for Latinos are causing Covered California officials to rethink they way they reach out to this population, which is considered key to the success of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act in the state.
Latinos account for more than half the state's nearly 7 million uninsured residents, but they accounted for only about 13 percent of the enrollees in Covered California during the first two months of operation. They are important to the success of the Affordable Care Act in the state because they tend to be younger and healthier than the average population, and their participation will help create a balanced and affordable insurance pool. Read more...
More Immigration Means More Jobs for Americans Immigrants are 13% of the U.S. population, but they make up nearly 20% of the owners of small businesses.
"This past month, I left my job in Congress to return to community organizing. It was a hard decision, but I could no longer just sit there in a place full of political games -- games that are causing too much pain in our community. After the country helped stop my mother's deportation, I came to realize that our community and the American people have the power, not politicians inside the beltway.
In the beginning of the year, I was hit with the most unexpected and painful experience of my life: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) tried to rip apart my family by detaining my 55-year-old mother and older brother from my home -- a haven I thought would be the safest place for any family.
After seeing my mother in handcuffs, I realized that I was perhaps wrong about the President I encouraged my community to support. I realized that the words President Obama said as a keynote speaker at my Arizona State University graduation in 2009 were empty words."
Tamar Jacoby offers an optimistic perspective on the possibility for immigration reform in 2014. Building on the momentum for change that grew in 2013, she believes that 2014 holds good things to come. Hope she is right.
I must say that reading the comments on her CNN op/ed made me feel less, not more optimistic.
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Friday, December 27, 2013
Alvaro Huerta on Counterpunch tells how Christmas -- and 2013 generally -- has not been so great for Latino immigrants, with Congress failing to pass immigration reform, 350,000+ removals, deaths on the border due to increased border enforcement, etc.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
This Urban Institute Fact Sheet by Maria E. Enchautegui shows how the effects of immigration reform proposals will extend well beyond the 11 million unauthorized U.S. residents. Those unauthorized immigrants share their homes with 8.7 million people who legally reside in the United States. Three quarters of those legal residents are U.S. born citizens and 60 percent are children.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
From The Hill:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) predicted Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will negotiate on comprehensive immigration reform next year, despite Boehner's declarations to the contrary.
The Democratic leader argued that Boehner has a new willingness to confront Tea Party groups and this, in turn, gives Reid confidence he will not have to break up the Senate immigration bill to negotiate a series of piecemeal reforms with the House.. . .
Boehner has vowed he would not let the Senate bill, which spans more than 1,200 pages, reach the negotiating table. . . .
“We have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” Boehner told reporters last month. . .
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a Boehner ally, told The Hill the House could move immigration legislation by next summer, depending on how the battle over the debt limit and other issues shape the start of 2014. Read more....
Gallup's self-reported household income data across 131 countries indicate that more than one in five residents (22%) live on $1.25 per day or less -- the World Bank's definition of "extreme poverty." About one in three (34%) live on no more than $2 per day. The World Bank Group recently set a new goal of reducing the worldwide rate of extreme poverty to no more than 3% by 2030, but Gallup's data suggest meeting that goal will require substantial growth and job creation in many countries. In 86 countries, more than 3% of the population lives on $1.25 per day or less.
Monday, December 23, 2013
From Daniela Conde:
President Obama: Stop deportations now
The New York Times reports on its front page today that New Orleans has become the new frontier of ICE enforcement:
“Our people feel they can’t go to the store to buy food or walk their children to school,” said Santos Alvarado, 51, a Honduran construction worker [and member of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice]. “We couldn’t be quiet any longer.”
Without immediate action, the race-based raids being piloted in New Orleans will become the new normal across the country. Please join our demand to President Obama to stop it.
As 2013 comes to a close, members of Congress are home for the holidays without having passed immigration reform. Meanwhile, immigrants across the United States continue to live under siege. The Obama Administration is continuing to deport immigrants at the blistering rate of 1,100 a day, separating people from their families and uprooting them from their communities. At the current rate, 16,500 more will be deported by the time Congress returns on January 7. By this time next year, 401,500 more will be deported.
Immigrants in New Orleans are already facing the new frontier of immigration enforcement: indiscriminate community raids by ICE squads at apartment complexes, grocery stores, laundromats, Bible study groups, and parks based purely on racial profiling. Often working with local law enforcement, New Orleans ICE arrests people who appear Latino and uses high-tech mobile biometric devices, first created for U.S. military use in Iraq and Afghanistan, to conduct immediate biometric record checks. Most people are handcuffed before the fingerprinting begins, and based on the results, many are immediately separated from their families and transported to ICE detention centers for deportation.
Who is being snared in these dragnets? Juan Ramon Pena-Mendoza, a father ICE arrested while he was dropping off his 5-year-old U.S. citizen daughter at the school bus stop. Jimmy Barraza, who watched ICE agents handcuff his 16-year-old U.S. citizen stepson and throw him against a wall when the boy asked questions about his father’s arrest. Karen Elizabeth Sandoval, a mother left to raise two children alone after ICE arrested her partner in a “driving while Latino” stop while the family was on their way to buy school supplies. All these people have done is struggle to be reunited with their families and loved ones—or refuse to "self-deport" from the communities they helped rebuild. (Read the new NOWCRJ report on the raids: The Criminal Alien Removal Initiative in New Orleans: The Obama Administration’s Brutal New Frontier in Immigration Enforcement.)
These race-based immigration raids are “stop and frisk” for the immigrant community. The outcome of this quota-driven enforcement in New Orleans is that driving, shopping, dropping kids off at the bus stop, or attending a Bible study—while appearing Latino—is grounds for handcuffing and forced submission to fingerprinting at a mobile fingerprinting device. Criminalizing communities based on racial appearance is never good law enforcement practice.
On December 12, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond wrote to ICE Director John Sandweg expressing grave concerns about the recent ICE raids. His letter stated: “Profiling any race is not the American way and no one should be subject to unethical pursuit; especially not while accompanying your son at his school bus stop, while attending weekly Bible study meetings, or while purchasing food for your family at the local supermarket.”
President Obama has the legal authority and moral responsibility to stop the deportations. And as the New York Times reports, New Orleans shows exactly why across the country, the movement for immigration reform is now urging the President to use that authority. The first step on the path to citizenship for the 11 million is to stop deporting today the citizens of tomorrow.
Don’t let New Orleans become the new normal. Please add your organization to our letter to President Obama and join us in the following demands:
End the quota-driven immigration enforcement that focuses on prior immigration history, separating families and undercutting workers’ rights.
Stop the community raids in New Orleans and put a moratorium on the use of mobile biometrics devices.
End collaboration between ICE and local law enforcement, starting with the CARI taskforces in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany parishes.
Grant immediate deferred action to the community members and civil rights leaders who have exposed the CARI raids.
Adopt a policy not to pursue deportations based on arrests that are unconstitutional or violate ICE’s own guidelines.
Provide full information on the enforcement programs in effect in the region, including the information NOWCRJ is seeking on CARI, and hold a public forum to dialogue on the impact of this enforcement and plans for future enforcement programs.
This is a fight not just for Juan, Jimmy, and Karen, and not just for New Orleans. It’s a fight to stop race-based community raids from becoming the new normal in every corner of the country—to stop them from coming soon to laundromats, markets, barrios, and Bible studies near you.
New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice
National Guestworker Alliance