May 2008 Archives

An AZ Hospital That Will Make You Sick at DMI Blog.

According to the Arizona Republic, when St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix decided to deport Iscoa, she was being fed through a tube, had non-functioning kidneys and a brain injury.
Here's a link to the ABC story on Iscoa Del Cid.

There are a few candidates in the upcoming election using an anti-immigrant stance to propel their campaign. These include Gayle Harrell in Florida, Charles Gonyo in South Dakota, Donald Cresitello in New Jersey, Lou Barletta in Pennsylvania and now Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina. I guess these candidates didn't get the hint that vilification of undocumented migrants is not what Americans are looking for. None of us are so easily duped into believing that migrants are the cause of all our problems.

You don't need a weathervane to see which way the wind blows at Migra Matters.

With Republican electoral prospects looking dim, and a top of the ticket that will be struggling for dear life at best, the coming campaign season looks to be shaping up to be the year where all Republican hopes will rest on stirring up as much ant-immigrant hate and fear as possible.

Hutto Rally: An Introspection at Para Justicia y Libertad. This is a great post. Here is a short quote:

Occasionally, we are caught up in our own little blogging world that suddenly one feels they are shouting in an empty chasm. With so many battles going it, it is not far fetched that one may feel they are alone in the struggle. Nevertheless, these small gatherings can actually help clear the mental fog by helping a person find the light at the end of the tunnel by becoming more enlightened to the best and worst that humanity has to offer. Personally, it tends to renew my own commitment to be more conscious human being.

RNC Crony ´Agriprocessors´ Still in Business. Owners Unpunished! at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.

Read Who is (un)FAIR? at Standing FIRM where the Center For New Community examines the connection between FAIR and white supremacist groups. Also read the State Legislation Round-up.

Thumbnail image for Karimov_Rumsfeld.jpg

[Image: AP/Wide World Photos - Donald Rumsfeld and Islam Karimov]

Sabrina Tavernise wrote yesterday in the NY Times about how the U.S. is starting to remember that Uzbekistan is resource-rich and strategically located while starting to forget that its government slaughtered hundreds of its own citizens three years ago at Andijan. 

Western governments say further ostracizing Uzbekistan by extending sanctions -- America's come up for consideration in June -- will cause it to close back up, increasing instability in a region of vital energy transportation routes and strategic proximity to the war in Afghanistan.

A newly softened tone has already paid political dividends. After Andijon and a volley of criticism from Washington, Uzbekistan ejected the United States from a military base that was supplying the war effort in Afghanistan. Though there are not yet plans for the base to reopen, the Uzbeks have allowed the Americans limited access to a German base at Termez, and Uzbekistan recently offered NATO the use of its railway to ship goods to Afghanistan.

That highlights the difficult questions that relations with Uzbekistan raise for American foreign policy: How much influence should the United States try to exercise -- if any at all -- over another country's behavior? And will that country be receptive, given the abuse, indefinite detentions and closed tribunals that have been part of the United States' record in recent years?

Silent Raids in Kentucky! at Standing FIRM. "While the country had our eyes glued to Postville, Iowa, smaller raids are occuring everyday in the US." Also read First-hand Account of Injustice in Postville and learn of the injustices against migrants in that raid.

Goof-up - Arkansas Governor on Instate-Tuition for Undocumented Students at A Dream Deferred.  I had stated incorrectly that Beebe was defending DREAMers.  Apparently it's just the opposite.

The things we say about you at Immigration Equality. For those DREAMers and migrants that read this blog go to Immigration Equality and let them know how you feel about the things they say about you.

scared baby.jpg

Leslie Kaufman and Dan Frosch at the Times have a story today about the effects on young FLDS children of separation from their parents after the Texas state government raided the compound.  

As they await a ruling by the highest court in Texas on whether child-welfare authorities had the right to take 468 children from the ranch early last month, the mothers have started speaking out more forcefully about what they think the separation has already done to their children.

The mothers and their lawyers are undoubtedly trying to make their best pitch for public sympathy as the Supreme Court of Texas deliberates on the fate of their children. Last Thursday, an appeals court in Austin found that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services had illegally removed the children without sufficient evidence that they were in immediate danger.

I think the state went too far in this instance, but my purpose here is not to get into the complicated issue of weighing the best interests of the children against the individual rights of members of the community.  (Though it appears that the state of Texas has not fully considered the scarring effects of separation from parents in its calculation of the children's best interests.)

Instead, I want to focus on what the article says about the severe mental and emotional consequences of removal on small children.

A few weeks back, I ran across the story at RaceWire of Armando, a Honduran who had lived all but 9 months of his 26 years in the U.S.  Armando wrote to RaceWire's Raha Jorjani from immigration detention about his thoughts and experiences:

I have been "detained" by the Department of Homeland Security for over ten months now, as I had been fighting my deportation case and hoping for a second chance. I really don't like the word detained because I feel it is a word used by "them" in an attempt to lessen the truth; that I am their prisoner.

It seems all I have been doing in my life is adapting to major changes, one after the other. From the loss of my father at seventeen, to adapting to military life, to getting used to a 6x9 cell. I have had to make some major adjustments and I have come to learn that change is inevitable.

However, I never would have guessed that I would now be getting ready to be deported to a country I know nothing about. I never thought I would be preparing to be banished from the only country I have known, the country I volunteered to fight for, and not to mention the country that my family lives in.

Read Crossing over to the dark side at Dream Act Texas.

In the following article the NYT talks about the agents that have gone over to the dark side. My contention is that with the current anti-immigration climate and the notorious reputation gained by ICE agents - just joining DHS is like crossing over the DARK SIDE.

Juan Crow Grows More Violent: Latino Activists Face Death Threats in Georgia at Of América.

The forces of anti-immigrant, anti-Latino hate have opened up another front in their relentless war: death threats targeting not just immigrants, but the activists who support them.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the newly formed U.S. pro-migrant communications war room, America's Voice, has laid out what looks to be Sharry's new strategy for victory in a post on Alternet.  Let's see if we can come up with catchy phrases, a la nativist, that describe the new strategy.
Wow, this is a first.  Joe Klein at Time Magazine's Swampland blog calls out Lou Dobbs in a post entitled "Lou Demagogue." 

I've got to wonder why the network allows Lou Dobbs to continue spewing false, inflammatory nonsense under the guise of objective journalism...I know that Dobbs brings in some serious ratings. And he is certainly entitled to his own opinion. But he is not entitled to his own facts.
Joe Klein - Swampland (25 May 2008)
The part that's a first is that the comments are actually supportive, and the thread hasn't been overrun by nativists.  We might win this fight yet. (sombrero tip to Greg Siskind).   
It looks like majority world migrants aren't the only ones getting rounded up and shipped back to their countries.  Watch this Real News Network video on a U.S. soldier who deserted to Canada to avoid fighting the War in Iraq, and is now being deported back to the U.S. where he will likely go to prison. (sombrero tip to Renata Avila of Global Voices Guatemala).
Don't ever forget that one of the first U.S. soldiers to die in Iraq was a Guatemalan undocumented migrant.

Julia Preston at the New York Times reported yesterday on an alarming development in the Postville debacle:

In temporary courtrooms at a fairgrounds here, 270 illegal immigrants were sentenced this week to five months in prison for working at a meatpacking plant with false documents.

The prosecutions, which ended Friday, signal a sharp escalation in the Bush administration's crackdown on illegal workers, with prosecutors bringing tough federal criminal charges against most of the immigrants arrested in a May 12 raid. Until now, unauthorized workers have generally been detained by immigration officials for civil violations and rapidly deported.

Why do we watch and say nothing while ICE traumatizes the children of the undocumented? at Latina Lista.

You don't have to be Dr. Phil to know that these raids are traumatizing children and yet the stories barely make Page 1 of the newspapers.
It seems that San Rafael's problems as a result of last years raids where just meat for ICE who decided to see what further damage they could do this week. Raids are a no-win, no-solution, callous and horrible tactic in response to an issue that is less about borders and more about humanity.
Also read Is Lou Dobbs the Sheriff Arpaio of Primetime?.

To DREAM (Act) the Impossible Dream at Immigration Prof Blog.  Also watch the ICE Raid Video on the San Rafael Raids. (Actually this video has been removed, but I hope it will be reposted or maybe somebody downloaded it from You Tube.)

One large step for migrant kind.  Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission laid the smack-down on those pesky prepaid calling cards that advertise more minutes than they actually offer.  This is a major victory for migrants whose only connection to their home, sometimes, are these cheap calling cards.  Hopefully this is one less way that migrants will get ripped off in the future.  If you don't read spanish, USA Today also has an article on this.
Dave Neiwart comments on Paul Waldman's appearance on Lou Dobbs' show last night.  As was expected, the only defense nativists have of substantive critiques of their positions is to shout, "amnesty" and "open-borders". 

If you haven't read Paul Waldman's post on The Sanctuary yet, you should. 
In the U.S. the federal government terrorizes migrants.  In South Africa, the federal government sends in the army to protect migrants from terror.
As usual, the talking heads are up in arms over recent statements by McCain that migrants are actually human, and that the federal government needs to enact comprehensive immigration reform:

After several of the business leaders complained about the difficulty in obtaining temporary H1B visas for scientists and engineers, something the Senate immigration bill was supposed to address, Mr. McCain expressed regret the measure did not pass, calling it a personal “failure,” as well as one by the federal government.

“Senator Kennedy and I tried very hard to get immigration reform, a comprehensive plan, through the Congress of the United States,” he said. “It is a federal responsibility and because of our failure as a federal obligation, we’re seeing all these various conflicts and problems throughout our nation as different towns, cities, counties, whatever they are, implement different policies and different programs which makes things even worse and even more confusing.”

I just saw a video on the plight of Indian guest workers working for Signal International in New Orleans.  This just goes to show that we're fighting for more than just rights here.  We're fighting for migrant freedom.

Contact the New Orleans' Workers Center for Racial Justice to find out how you can help.
Picture from the Boston Herald.

What a sad day.  Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who was elected with a wave of hope, has turned his back on migrants. 

Governor Deval Patrick has decided against taking action to allow illegal immigrants to pay resident tuition and fees at state colleges and universities this fall, an administration official said yesterday, crushing advocates who were counting on the governor to deliver on a pledge to support the students.
Maria Sacchetti - Boston Globe (22 May 2008)

This is a sad day for hundreds of migrant youth, whose only hope to go to college this year was crushed.  What makes this an even harder pill to swallow is that Patrick is turning his back on a promise he made during his campaign. 

We will have in-state tuition for undocumented aliens when I am governor.
Deval Patrick - WBZTV (4 April 2006)
If these promises hadn't been made by Patrick, I'm sure immigrant communities and their allies would have though twice about supporting him.  They certainly wouldn't have been out campaigning for him.

Dream Act Texas has a link to today's Congressional Hearing on Immigration Enforcement & Reform. Also No Racial Profiling?

NPR does a report on the death of a high school student involving an undocumented youngster. Shawl's family is now fighting to pass a law in order to question SUSPECTS on their legal status in the United States.

Gilchrist says: "The Party is OVER for the Minutemen! The ANTI Mission is Lost-Forgotten!" at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.

One of the most visible groups in the anti-illegal immigration movement could be defunct in seven months, its leader says. "We've lost the battle," said Minuteman project founder Jim Gilchrist. "My intuition tells me … this entire movement will fizzle to nothing by the end of the year."
Paul Waldman was gracious enough to stop by The Sanctuary and write a post about it.

UPDATE: Crooks and Liars linked to The Sanctuary.  That's huge.
Check out Perez Hilton standing up for migrants and linking to one of the Washington Post articles exposing the horrendous conditions migrants suffer from while in detention. 

The post only consists of six short words, including the title.

Title: Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!,

THIS is unacceptable.
Perez Hilton (14 May 2008)
With a toxic anti-migrant online climate I'll take all of support we can get.  Needless to say, a link from one of the most prominent blogs on the web is more than significant support.  Still I couldn't help but notice all the migrant hate in the comments.
The Postville raid was the largest in the history of the U.S. and I'm going to keep posting on it.  The other side often claims that "migrants bring wages for U.S. citizens down".  Harvard economist George Borjas is often their citation of choice.  I tend to see this in the same light as everything else migrants are blamed for -- healthcare, education, etc. -- migrants are straw men people hold up because they don't want to ask themselves the hard questions with all these issues.

The solution for increasing wages in the U.S. is not kicking every single migrant out, it is unionizing and collective bargaining.  That's why most labor unions, like the AFL-CIO, are supportive of legalizing undocumented migrants.  They know they can unionize undocumented migrants when they're legalized, and raise wages for everyone.  In the meantime, they see the way U.S. immigration laws are being enforced as being counterproductive to labor.  Raids are often used as a scare tactic, and employers are almost never punished for exploiting undocumented workers.
XP has an myth-slaying post over at Para Justicia Y Libertad clarifying some of the more outlandish charges that have been made in the Postville raid.  He's put together some of the best information on the supposed "methamphetamine lab" that I've been able to find.  Symsess already linked to this, but it deserves a second mention.  I look forward to part two.

nativism: a global problem


I posted last week about an Italian man who was locked up by Customs and Border Patrol for 10 days without cause and then sent back to Italy. (We had one commenter with what appeared to be inside knowledge of CBP procedures come to defend CBP's actions and cast aspersions on the NY Times reporter who broke the story, the detained man, and his girlfriend's father.)  This story was just one more bit of evidence of our deeply warped immigration policy.  The problematic Postville raid and the disclosure of scores of deaths in immigration detention over the past few years are two more.

But for anyone who thought that nativism and government overreach were strictly American phenomena, the last week has shown otherwise. 

400 protest Postville Raid at Dream Act Texas. Also read What U.S. would lose if we sent everyone away.

ICE’s AgriProcessors Cattle Call at Para Justicia y Libertad.

Recounting of the terrifying event that took place at AgriProcessors, Humberto Nava told Michael Barnes of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, federal agents were not shy at subjecting AgriProcessors’ workers to a barrage of racial epithets.

Migrants Beaten, Burned and Killed in S. Africa - Of América. "S. African mobs armed with machetes, sticks and other weapons beat, burned and killed Zimbabwean migrants in areas in and around Johannesburg." - Sadly if you listen to many anti-migrant groups you'd think they're ready to do the same in this country. Truly sickening.

This was written for the Choose Or Lose Street Team '08:

Picture from Reuters.

Matchstick thin limbs, swollen bellies, sunken eyes, buzzing flies, if you know what I'm talking about, chances are you are familiar with development pornography.  It's a term critics use for some of the shocking images aid organizations exploit to encourage donations.  These are images usually taken by "first world", white, photographers to portray "third world" problems.  In fact, chances are these are the first images that pop up in your mind when you think of the entire continent of Africa. 

It's part of a larger problem that I'm very familiar with.  Though I report from Massachusetts for the Street Team, I was born and raised in Guatemala, a country that suffers from the worst malnutrition indicators in Latin America.  Coming from that country, I find that most people I interact with on a daily basis have no concept of what it means to be an average person on this earth.  About half of the world's population lives on less than $2 a day, but if you're reading this, it's going to be very difficult to conceptualize what that means.  For example, way back in 2005, I wrote this for an Opinion Focus in the Harvard Crimson about Poverty about the simple ability to read and write:

open thread: what would jesus do at The Sanctuary.

At Vivir Latino - Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Week Long Boycott for Sean Bell. Vivir Latino asks if a week long boycott is too much to ask of people. I think it's asking a lot, but this type of self discipline is necessary if we are to effect change. Sadly money is what speaks to those in power and if we don't spend it they'll get the message. So do the best you can and limit your spending as much as possible this week.

Al Ataque: Todos Contra ICE! (Attack: All Against ICE!) at Of América.

Update: Latino community still under siege in Postville and Waterloo, Iowa at Latina Lista.

Video from Postville, Iowa from NIJC Immigration News Blog.

The Business of Detention Centers at Dream Act Texas. Also read After the Postville Raid.

Nightprowlkitty has written a monumental post over at Docudharma about how people can help those affected by the Postville raid.  Please read it and go over to her cross-post at Daily Kos and recommend it so that it gets the most possible attention.

NPK has been a giant at connecting human rights and migrant rights for sometime now.  With the recent revelations about the horrible conditions that migrants are suffering from in detention, I'm starting to feel like people are finally making a connection between human rights and migrant rights.  NPK has been a giant at making this connection since day one.  

Rick Galeener's Chicken

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Today on NOVA, I heard the usual outrage. Asked if an American would work a 12-hour day in a [dangerous, highly exploitative , blood-slick, bone-chilling, puke-inducing] meat packing plant for $6.25 an hour, the caller yelled, irate: “No! Americans won’t work for that! ‘Illegals’ are holding down the wages at these places!”

Whoever he is, he doesn’t know whether to wind his watch or run.

He could be any Anglo camped outside the Macehualli Worker’s Center in North Phoenix. We may even have seen him pounding his flagpole, screaming curses through his bullhorn at the (obviously legal) immigrants waiting inside the chain link fence for somebody like us to give them a day job. He might even have been Rick Galeener himself, that sun-addled, publicly urinating , dried up, racist old rattlesnake who, probably, was the guy videotaping my license plate and my face as I got out to make arrangements with Sal Reza , the tough and beloved de facto leader of pro-migrant Phoenicians.

I wanted to say to him, “So Ricky baby. You’re saying you “Christian patriots” do want to pay $15 a pound for raw, uncut chicken, right?” Guys like Galeener can’t have it both ways. No undocumented, exploited immigrants, no $1.99/lb roasters. No $4.95 Church’s fried, either, with or without jalapenos on the side.

This is the bottom line that American racist-nativists happy to have cheap chicken as long as they don’t have to see who provides it aren’t willing to talk about. They don't realize it yet, but the self-limited choice, the sublimely short-sighted and settle-for-nothing choice they offer is this: Grow your own or tolerate “illegals.” Which will it be?

Those of us with considerably higher self esteem and a much more wholesome vision for tomorrow see a way better way. For starters, we don’t advocate exploiting anybody. Read on.

Shuya Ohno, Director of Communication for the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, flew into Iowa this weekend to help with the aftermath of the largest raid in the U.S. history.  The New Bedford raid wasn't too far behind.   Ohno sent me the following pictures and asked me to put them up on Citizen Orange:

Thumbnail image for Iowa girl May 17 08.JPG
Iowa two kids May 16 08.JPG

Make sure and visit The Sanctuary and add it to your rss feeds. Thanks to Nezua for the wonderful design.

Where Nativism meets Anti-Semitism at Eristic Ragemail. When a plant owned by Jews is raided in a hunt for undocumented workers the nativist (racist) crowd gets to hit two birds with one stone.

Depoliticize Immigration - Article in NLG Newsletter at I am a DREAMer. Please take the time to read and comment on this article over at I am a Dreamer.

Read ICE in Italy at Dream Act Texas. When you look at the fact the the most wealthy countries in the world are all working to keep immigrants out it has to make you wonder what's going on. I always though the United States was different, but it really doesn't seem so anymore.

Announcing the Launch of The Sanctuary at Latino Politico.  (from Man Eegee at Latino Politico)

To all our friends and allies in pro-migrant blogtopia (yes! skippy coined that latter word in the phrase), this has been a long time coming. I'm happy to announce the launch of The Sanctuary, a new community-based blog that will feature a solid team of writers on its frontpage that have worked for years to raise the centrality of human rights in the immigration debate.

When fleeing hurricanes in S. Texas, Border Patrol says undocumented not allowed to evacuate at The Sanctuary. Also read Human Rights Report on Anti-Asian Racism.

6 things you can't do while undocumented at A Dream Deferred. It's becoming dangerous to to receive mail.

Also at Dream Activist read (and watch the video) Iowa ICE Raids Solve Nothing and watch North Carolina Plays Ping-Pong with Undocumented Students.

In a deft strike at the Maricopa County Sheriff's highly controversial anti-immigrant round-up/deportation neighborhood sweeps, AZ Governor Janet Napolitano (D) has issued an executive order directing the state's Department of Public Safety (DPS) to give priority to targeting the tens of thousands of felons in the state: The executive order directs the DPS to immediately deploy a squad to address the backlog of nearly 60,000 open felony warrants statewide, with priority on gang-related felonies and fugitives who are undocumented immigrants.

Nina Bernstein at the New York Times brings us another story of government immigration overreach.

He was a carefree Italian with a recent law degree from a Roman university. She was "a totally Virginia girl," as she puts it, raised across the road from George Washington's home. Their romance, sparked by a 2006 meeting in a supermarket in Rome, soon brought the Italian, Domenico Salerno, on frequent visits to Alexandria, Va., where he was welcomed like a favorite son by the parents and neighbors of his girlfriend, Caitlin Cooper.

But on April 29, when Mr. Salerno, 35, presented his passport at Washington Dulles International Airport, a Customs and Border Protection agent refused to let him into the United States. And after hours of questioning, agents would not let him travel back to Rome, either; over his protests in fractured English, he said, they insisted that he had expressed a fear of returning to Italy and had asked for asylum.

Ms. Cooper, 23, who had promised to show her boyfriend another side of her country on this visit -- meaning Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon -- eventually learned that he had been sent in shackles to a rural Virginia jail. And there he remained for more than 10 days, locked up without charges or legal recourse while Ms. Cooper, her parents and their well-connected neighbors tried everything to get him out.

Mr. Salerno's case may be extreme, but it underscores the real but little-known dangers that many travelers from Europe and other first-world nations face when they arrive in the United States -- problems that can startle Americans as much as their foreign visitors.

Picture from the New York Times.

It may not be politically viable, I may be attacking allies in this post, but someone needs to say it.  In the wake of shocking exposes in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and 60 Minutes, (h/t to Roberto Lovato for the links) it looks like there's actually some movement from the U.S. government to enact some pro-migrant, or better said, less anti-migrant federal legislation.   Nina Bernstein and Julia Preston of the New York Times report in "Better Health Care Sought for Detained Immigrants".

An immigrant community in Iowa was shattered yesterday by a huge ICE raid that appears to still be in progress.  Susan Saulny of the New York Times reports:

In the biggest workplace immigration raid this year, federal agents swept into a kosher meat plant on Monday in Postville, Iowa, and arrested more than 300 workers.

The authorities said the workers were suspected of being in the United States illegally or of having participated in identity theft and the fraudulent use of Social Security numbers.

A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not say how many people had been rounded up beyond the initial 300 or whether the management and owners of the plant, AgriProcessors, would face criminal charges.

The plant has 800 to 900 people and is the country's largest producer of meat that is glatt kosher, widely regarded as the highest standard of cleanliness.

DeWeese letter to Beck: "Just Say NO to SAVE Act!" (Even the ANTIs Agree!) at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.

An open letter from famous ANTI Leader Tom DeWeese (American Policy Center) to famous ANTI Leader Roy Beck (Numbers USA) advocates "Just Say NO to the SAVE Act!" As I have shared, and as DeWeese explains, we ALL lose our Civil Liberties if this heinous Act is passed.

Watch The Immigration Detention Gold Mine at A Dream Deferred.

PBS has now done a series on “Immigrant Detainees- A New Profit Center?” giving us a look into how the private corrections industry is profiting from immigrants held in detention facilities.

Texas History: A Story from 1844 at Dream Act Texas. Also read Underground Youth Movement.

An organization of 20 undocumented youth have devoted themselves to demonstrating humanity for undocumented immigrants, whose country was once chosen for them and one they choose for themselves today.

This update from The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 10, 2008, gets my vote for the "What's Going On?" Award of the month. Its lead intrigues:

After two days of confusion over whether North Carolina’s 58 community colleges may admit illegal immigrants, federal officials cleared the air somewhat on Friday, stating that “it is left for the school to decide whether or not to enroll” those students, The News & Observer reported today.

In a statement released by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the officials said, “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not require any school to determine a student’s status.” The statement, issued at the request of the newspaper, noted that illegal immigrants were subject to being prosecuted and deported. But the statement said colleges were not required to report such students unless they had violated the terms of their student visas under the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

Although the news is good for the moment, it will be surprising if this ICE opinion doesn't receive swift and unwelcome attention from the always-wrong Right. While the measure affects only 112 of some 297,000 NC students, it is doubtful that the GOP will overlook any opportunity, no matter how small, to attack and alienate hard-working students preparing for lifetimes of contributing to the US economy. Stay tuned to Citizen Orange for developments in this case as they occur. 

Continue reading The Chronicle's update

Privatized Prisons for Immigrants: The Expansion Continues at The Sanctuary.

Since the launch of the "global war on terror," a large majority of Americans have conveniently been led to cower under the pseudo-protective umbrella of a permanent Nation Security State.

Deporting DREAM Act Students: Exporting American Talent Overseas at A Dream Deferred. While many nativists romance about "the best and the brightest" their attrition through enforcement strategy certainly does not take this into account. The recent comment by Douglas Bruce, "I would like to have the opportunity to state at the microphone why I don't think we need 5,000 more illiterate peasants in Colorado,", goes to show what nativists see when they think of undocumented migrants. This bigoted view of other human beings is one of the most important hurdles we must overcome in this struggle. Viewing those from Latin American countries as "peasants" is certainly an elitest attitude that cannot provide the proper stage nor dialogue to move us forward as caring human beings in a world community. We must support those that dream because "nothing happens unless first we dream." - Carl Sandburg

At Brave New Films watch Mexico's deported children. Though it may be hard for some to understand what I see here is a desire to work and provide so great that no obstacle can stand in the way. That is an exhibition of courage and strength which I find admirable. While migrants are vilified for "breakig the law" - truly they are simply working for a better future. How can that be against the law?  Essentially what nativists attempt to construct is a faulty and baseless visual pairing migrants to undesirables, such as drug dealers and theifs, who break the law for profit.

Gretchen Morgenson at the NY Times has a story today about the strategic harassment of tenants--many of them migrants--by big real estate companies in New York City.  I posted about this last month here.  

As Morgenson explains, it's part of a financial plan to make big bucks on the backs of low-income tenants. 

Private investment firms have been amassing what may seem like unusual stakes in New York real estate: they have bought hundreds of apartment buildings with thousands of rent-regulated units across the city that produce decidedly meager returns.

As regulatory filings and promotional materials show, the companies expect to generate higher returns quickly by increasing rents after existing tenants vacate their units. Their success depends upon far higher vacancy rates than are typical in rent-regulated apartments in New York.

Some residents and tenant advocates say that they began seeing what they consider a pattern of harassment of low-income tenants this year and suspect that it is a result of the new owners' business models. Tenants have been sued repeatedly for unpaid rent that has already been received by the landlords; they have been sent false notices of rent bills, lease terminations and nonrenewals; and they have been accused of illegal sublets.

BREAKING NEWS! ICE RAIDS SWEEP ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS!! at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.

Immigration raids near schools in Berkeley and Oakland have sent waves of panic in the communities and may keep undocumented students from attending class,

DMI Blog give us Immigration Officials Turn to Schoolyard Bullying.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in California have stooped to a new, almost unbelievable low: intimidating schoolchildren.

Houston Latino History - 1977- 1978 at Dream Act Texas.

"Mr Joe Campos Torres was arrested by six police officers for being disorderly in a bar. They beat him so badly that the jailer refused to accept him and told them to take him to hospital. Instead they dropped him into the Buffalo Bayou "to see if he could swim". His body was found three days later. "
One consequence of the myth of sovereignty propagated through our current international political system is the war in Iraq.  Another is our broken immigration system.  Yet another is the skyrocketing death toll in Burma, caused in part by the massive storm and entrenched poverty, but in large part by an incompetent and corrupt government that makes George Bush look like Cory Booker.

It may comfort some in the U.S. to imagine that the first two problems listed above are rooted in the misdeeds of a particular leader, or a particular political party, or even in the dysfunction of the contemporary American political system 

However, these diagnoses are mistaken.  The dysfunctional international political system permits an unconstrained superpower like the U.S. or warped polities like Burma or Zimbabwe to push far past the bounds of civilized conduct, but while culpability may lie with leaders and the voters who support them, the framework that allows such bad actions to persist is structural. 

The Origin of Illegal Immigration at I am a DREAMer.

We are taught in Sociology101 about ’social construction.’ Well, ‘illegal immigration’ is also a social construct. Today, for the first time, I poured over 200 year old newspaper archives looking for the origin of the phrase ‘illegal immigration.’ It first appears after the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed into law on May 6, 1882.

What the Heck? U.S. Arresting Undocumented LEAVING the Country at Immigration Prof Blog. Also read Electronic Employment Verification Hearings.

Immigration in all its Designs at Smart Borders.

Touring Spain, I am quickly being reminded of immigration in all its designs. In the United States, we tend to imagine Mexican braceros or refugees, but often ignore or forget the host of reasons people migrate from place to place.

Immigration attorney Greg Siskind drew the ire of Lou Dobbs, who recently featured on his show an item Siskind had posted on his blog a while back.  Dobbs didn’t like Siskind’s research showing that Dobbs’ repeated claim that he supports legal immigration—a common misleading tactic of restrictionists—is false.

DOBBS: The pro-amnesty lobby at it again, telling all-out lies about my position on illegal immigration and our border security crisis. The latest example of the pro-illegal aliens' movements' lies coming in a letter to the "Wall Street Journal" today. Douglas Rivlin, director of communication for the National Immigration Forum, says quote, "research by attorney Greg Siskind suggests that 96 times Lou Dobbs talked about legal immigration on his nightly CNN show, dating back to 2001, 92 times he painted legal immigration in a negative light."

Well, Mr. Rivlin, here's a little research you might add to your own. The vast majority of Greg Siskind's analysis is based on my justified criticism of abuses in the system for temporary work visas, specifically H1B visas in nearly every case, not legal immigration.

Dobbs’ point here turns on a distinction of legal terminology between immigrant and non-immigrant visas.  Immigrant visas are green cards, non-immigrant visas are inherently temporary and include student visas, tourist visas, and H-1B visas.  One key difference between “immigrant” and “non-immigrant” visas is that the former category permits “immigrant intent,” or the objective of living in the U.S. permanently, while the latter does not.  However, Dobbs doesn’t acknowledge that the H-1B visa allows for “dual intent,” which means that an H-1B visa holder can also apply for a green card through his or her employer without violating the terms of his/her status.  Probably most H-1B visa holders do try to become permanent residents.  So the H-1B visa program is de facto one of the major sources of legal immigration.  Also, most readers or viewers are likely not aware of the immigrant/non-immigrant distinction and apply the common usage of “legal immigration” to anyone who comes to the country legally, including those who use the H-1B program.

Racist Limbaugh Calls Mayor Villaraigosa a "Shoe Shine Boy!" at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.

LATINO MEDIA RULES at Nuestra Voice.

I say this so that you can understand that my reaction to Rush Limbaugh’s comment that he mistook Mayor Villaraigosa as a “shoeshine guy” is not a knee-jerk reaction based on partisanship. It is a reaction as an American of Latino decent that quite frankly is tired of the media’s Latino rules.

Looking for DREAMERS in Frederick County, Maryland

A Frederick County, Maryland, commissioner wants the school board to survey the number of illegal immigrants who are students and has proposed withholding school funding if members fail to agree.
Also read The masked men have returned with rifles, but this time they are bad guys and Mis-spelling dampens argument for English as official U.S. language which shows a demonstrator demanding English only while not being able to spell in English. I saw the same thing at the ProAmerica rally in Morristown, NJ last year.

We all know that migrants suffer in detention centers, but it doesn't often make the news. Finally the New York Times has written about this travesty. Read People dying while in ICE custody and Immigration Agency's List of Deaths in Custody at Dream Act Texas.

Eristic Ragemail also covers this topic in Deaths of Immigrants in Federal Custody Shrouded in Secrecy.

Immigration Prof Blog wrote of a blog titled ICE Raid Report. Also Sharpton Critical of Deportation Tactics.

Aldo Latino Trail of Tears: 66 Died in Heinous Family Detention Centers! (for a CIVIL Violation!) at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.

Once Again, Buchanan Cites Racist Sources at Hatewatch.

Arizona considers law to bring back undocumented immigrants to work at Latina Lista.

Nicola from Standing FIRM, a blog for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, interviewed people around the DC area participating in the May 1st rally. Listen to people who are truly trying to bring people together through positive interaction. Here's the blog post with a link to the interviews.

Here are my belated scattered observations from the May Day rally at Union Square in New York City last week. 

This was the first May Day march I had participated in.  It was a lot of fun, and emotionally and (in a strictly secular way :-)   ) spiritually uplifting, but I kind of felt like I had missed the party.  I heard about crowds exponentially larger in 2006 and substantially larger last year.  But apparently, frustration in the pro-migrant community with the lack of progress toward comprehensive reform and fear instilled by widescale raids over the past year-and-a-half had combined to ratchet down participation in this year's march.  (With my own eyeballs, I estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 marchers--not something you see every day parading down Broadway, but certainly not the numbers seen in recent years.)  It's a shame, because things are about as bad now as they've ever been for migrants in the U.S.  It's a shame, because the "Operation Return to Sender" raids that have terrorized migrant communities across the country were a direct response to the restrictionist backlash resulting from the remarkable pro-migrant rallies of early 2006.  DHS Secretary Chertoff has explained that the raids are a tool to push businesses and migrant groups towards a comprehensive solution.  It's also part of the "enforcement by attrition" policy promoted by restrictionists and adopted in recent years by the Bush administration.  If Bush is a pro-migrant president, he sure has a funny way of showing it. 

The low numbers, then, are a clear indication that the restrictionists--backed squarely by the U.S. government--currently have the upper hand in the public square.  But that's not the whole story by any means . . .  

May 1: Peaceful Marchers Support CIR vs ANTI Attack Strategy and ANTI´s Manipulation of phone, email and faxes to Congress! at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.

May 1, 2008 marks the third anniversary of Immigration Day in the United States. Pro-immigrant groups across the country are conducting peaceful demonstrations to voice their support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) and to voice their opposition to Family Detention Centers and Racial Profiling.

Some images from today in Los Angeles at People Migrate.

Mayday Interview With Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! at Of América.

May Day 2008 at the National Immigrant Justice Center.

Low Turnouts for Immigration Marches Have Stronger Implications at Latina Lista.

But this isn't an indication that the Latino community has become complacent about an issue that is accelerating discrimination and racism directed towards all Latinos. On the contrary, the reduced turnout should send another signal that the fight is far from over.
Help 1 million immigrants VOTE in November at Standing Firm.

A Good May Day

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It was good to get out on the streets and re-energize ourselves for the struggle.  Thank you to all of those that followed along on Citizen Orange.  I've got work to catch up on, now, but if I don't get to posting later on today, I'm sure other writers will.
NOTE: This post will be at the top of the Citizen Orange all day.  Look below for new posts.

I'm going to experiment with a new tool here on Citizen Orange, today.  All of us should be out marching right now in support of migrant rights, not on our computers.  That's why I'm going to be sending live May Day updates to Citizen Orange using my cell phone.  You can join in, too:

Send a text message to 41411 with the words UPD CITIZENORANGE, followed by your message.  It will updated live here on Citizen Orange, and it will be the start of what I hope will be a rapid mobile network in support of migrant rights.  If others don't decide to update live at least you'll be hearing from me throughout the day.

Check out Para Justicia Y Libertad to get real time information on the May 1st demonstrations.

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