September 2008 Archives

Sterilize the poor? Vivir Latino reports on a proposal by Louisiana State Rep John LaBruzzo to pay poor woman $1k to have their tubes tied. From the original post:

A friend sent me the news that a Louisiana state Representative (John LaBruzzo) wants to "pay poor women $1000 to have their tubes tide" while at the same time give "tax incentives for college-educated, higher-income people to have more children."
Paying the poor to not have children rather than helping their children get into schools is very twisted. There are many wealthy men and woman that came from poor families. Where none of LaBruzzo's ancestors poor? If so there may have been no John LaBruzzo. The mindset that we should sterilize the poor is really a call to sterilize minorities. Let's face it - that's what they want. It's the same premise behind the documentary Demographic Winter.

Greg Siskind reports, in a post titled How To Lose The Hispanic Vote In 20 Seconds, that the communications director of the Las Vegas Republican Party stated:

"We don't want (Hispanics) to become the new African-American community," Lima told The Associated Press. "And that's what the Democratic Party is going to do to them, create more programs and give them handouts, food stamps and checks for this and checks for that. We don't want that."

When people are allowed to be dehumanized and forced into the shadows that's where they'll live. Many undocumented migrants fail to report crime and are therefore taken advantage of.

This week's music embed has been disabled, but you can click over to YouTube to add your view to 18,354,441 others for Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill) from Wyclef Jean (Haiti), Akon (Senegal), Niia Bertino (Massachusetts), and Lil Wayne (New Orleans).  (Do yourself a favor and don't read the comments, they will only make you dumber.)

The video is set in a refugee camp in an unspecified country, as Niia has a few fleeting moments in an interview to convince an unsympathetic border official not to deport her.  It's something I've never experienced myself directly, but I've watched it close up with clients many times.  Often, thankfully, the interview goes well.  But when the officer (or judge) has already made his mind up before you sit down, has a quota to fill, or just wants a blow job for a favorable decision (I had cases with this fucker before he was arrested) the sense of powerlessness is overwhelming, followed by a wave of anger. 

The news of DHS's hold on deportations to Haiti a week and a half ago was so softly announced that I don't even know if the policy is still in place.  Almost certainly, the government will not trumpet the end of the hold, they'll just fire up the engines and move the planes down the runway to their waterlogged destination.  But in light of the recent renewal of Temporary Protected Status for Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, and Hondurans, I hope that FIAC and other advocacy groups are successful in finally getting TPS for Haitians.  It is long overdue.
Much of the news and issues here are a bit sad. It's a shame we live in a world that demands we spend so much time fighting for right rather than right simply being the way things are - giving us time to just enjoy each others spirit and company. I hope before my time is through I'll be able to see a world that's at least closer to this dream. In that spirit let us honor Marcella Grace Eiler who lost her life trying to bring that dream to us. Thanks to Nezua for writing about her and thanks to everyone here for helping work towards a more positive global consciousness and spirit. 

As day laborers are used to clean up Houston after Ike nobody seems to be complaining. With so many in need of getting their roofs prepared, lest their homes be destroyed by the next rain, they need things done quick so I guess it's the 'convenient' thing to do.

Who are the real 'terrorists'? A mosque was attacked last week in the United States with a chemical irritant and it's not making the hate circuit - those that call for 'home land security.'

Republicans and right wing talk show hosts, including Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, and Anne Coulter, advocate racism, intolerance, and violence every day. So we shouldn't be surprised when racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance and violence increase in our society.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't see too many nativists or anti-migrant organization pushing for the real solutions to our immigration issue which has a lot to do with the way our companies and country treats these people abroad.  Rather than promoting fair labor and sustainability in other countries these angry groups only seek to build walls and terror tactics to keep them from coming here.  With this thought I bring you the video titled "The Story of Stuff" which explains how American greed and consumerism is aiding the destruction of economies and environment abroad.

"Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life. That we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals. That we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever accelerated rate.


Will Coley of Aquifermedia has emailed me and asked me to highlight two of his latest videos in tandem with the fact that there are two pro-migrant bills in Congress for us to support. 
Aquifermedia's videos show very simply how to call your Congressperson and Senator in support of these bills, which might be useful for people that haven't done it before. 

The first bill is H.R. 1176, or the "Child Citizen Protection Act"Call your Congressperson in support of this bill.   Aquifermedia video on how to call your Congressperson:

The second bill is S. 3594, or the "Protect Citizens and Residents from Unlawful Raids and Detention Act".  Call your Senator in support of this billAquifermedia video on how to call your Senator. 

There is more below on each of this bills and why you should support them.
America's Voice has another great video mocking the CIS report which suggests migrants are to blame for global warming.  

Homeland Gitmos

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Breakthrough continues to produce excellent media to get the word out about the horrific conditions migrants are living in in the U.S. today.  Check out their new website, Homeland Guantanamos, for a vivid portrayal of migrant detention in the U.S. today.
It's amazing that no matter what the problem is nativists will take to blaming migrants for the problem. I guess I should see how obvious it is that the people with the least power create the most trouble. It's no secret they took over Wall Street. It can't possibly be that that the wealthy have let greed destroy their sense of good business. Check out the link above and vote for the next problem we should blame on migrants. I had a rough commute because of heavy winds and rain - must have been the undocumented migrants that caused it.

No To Borders and Binaries provides a good breakdown of the financial meltdown. May have been predicting this day for some time and as we all know there's been no oversight. Even after the devastating collapse of Enron, and other companies, the government's done nothing to protect the American people from the greed of corporations who seem to make money out of thin air. No need to plant a tree in the back yard when you can just wiggle your nose. 

Take two minutes to think about the web of hatred and greed we've been weaving in this country through wars, bad loans, migrant vilification, construction of a militarized police state, mistreatment of veterans and many more. When you put these things together it's not hard to understand why this country is in the midst of a meltdown.

When The Unapologetic Mexican produces a documentary, you better watch out.  Below is Nezua's documentary of the Democrat National Convention in 2008.

DNC08: Beer and Loathing (The Pollatix of Grain and Periphery) from nezua on Vimeo.

$700 Billion Bailout + $400 Million Border Wall = You do the Math. This is a great title given the fact that the border wall is representative of the same US greed that's gotten us into this crisis. While it's not a greed that everyone is a part of it does exist within those that have the power to manipulate money and build walls. Are we building a fence to keep people out or just to keep them from seeing the country crumble?

Immigrants in the USA Blog always provides positive stories on immigrants learning and becoming part of America. In this post we learn of teachers from Holland, MI who travelled to Mexico to place themselves in a situation similar to that which migrants face when they come to the USA.

Also read the story of a child whose father came to the US as an undocumented migrant.

Apparently even if you're a decorated Army vet you can't travel if you also happen to be Hispanic and live near the US/Mexico border. Of América reports on this story.

Texas native David Hernandez, a decorated Army veteran who served his country in different parts of the world, can no longer see the world after his country denied him a passport. Hernandez and other residents living in and around the U.S.-Mexico border are plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit alleging that, in denying them passports, the U.S. State Department is engaging in a new kind of racial discrimination: non-citizen profiling.

Ike ravaged all areas from Galveston through Houston leaving many with nothing. For those that own homes they're lucky if they have insurance and if that insurance will actually cover the damage. At the end of the day, it is the immigrant community who will be cleaning up after Ike.

Originally posted at The Sanctuary.

Surprise. Surprise. 

Mark Krikorian found Obama's answers to our questionnaire on The Sanctuary.

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Same-Sex Couples [Mark Krikorian]

Obama's answers to a questionnaire on immigration from a hard-left group are mostly unremarkable -- he backs the procedure supporters call "comprehensive immigration reform," does not necessarily oppose raids and detention of illegals so long as they're done humanely, etc. (h/t Jennifer McFadyen) But one thing that I suppose I should have known but didn't is that he supports the "Uniting American Families Act," which would extend spousal immigration rights to same-sex couples. So now McCain has two extreme Obama positions on immigration to attack: driver's licenses for illegals and immigration for gay couples. Will McCain ever use them to criticize Obama? No -- he'll just keep criticizing Obama for being too weak in support of amnesty.
Mark Krikorian - The Corner (23 September 2008)
For a little history on Mark Krikorian, he came to Boston University some time ago with Lou Barletta where he was beaten badly in a debate about U.S. migration policy. 

With registration deadlines fast approaching, I encourage everyone to check out a new site set up by the Obama campaign: Vote For Change.

It's a one stop shop where you can register to vote, check if you're registered, change the address you'll be voting from, order an absentee ballot, find your polling location, all in a matter of minutes.
The Obama campaign responded to a comprehensive survey formulated by the editors of the Sanctuary on immigration policy and immigration reform.  The response in full can be found here

As far as McCain's response . . . still waiting for that . . . and waiting . . . and waiting . . .

Does anyone know what a McCain administration immigration policy would look like?  There is a lot of speculation, but nobody seems to know for sure. 

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign continues its blackout of discussion of immigration in the English-language press, while telling Jorge Ramos of Univision that he didn't vote for the border wall (false!) and that Obama opposed comprehensive reform (mentira!).  McCain seems to be hoping to keep the voting public in the dark about his plans long enough to get elected.  Then, who knows!

Beware Subcomandante Zapatero!

Subcomandante Marcos.jpgJohn McCain, he of the purported decades of foreign policy experience, apparently doesn't know who the elected leader of Spain is, doesn't know where Spain is, or else simply won't back down once confronted.  None of these being hopeful signals of a potential McCain foreign policy.  

Here is Josh Marshall's breakdown of the reaction of the Spanish press:

In Spain, there seem to be two lines of thinking. The great majority appear to think the McCain was simply confused and didn't know who Zapatero was -- something you might bone up on if you were about to do an interview with the Spanish press. The assumption seems to be that since he'd already been asked about Castro and Chavez that McCain assumed Zapatero must be some other Latin American bad guy. A small minority though think that McCain is simply committed to an anti-Spanish foreign policy since he's still angry about Spain pulling it's troops out of Iraq. Finally, a few of those who lean toward the first view speculate that McCain may have confused Zapatero with the Zapatista rebel group in Mexico.
My money is on the Zapatero/Zapatista confusion.  McCain doesn't speak Spanish, his mind had already been focused on suspicious, indigenous Latin American revolutionary types like Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez (who once called George Bush the devil!), and he heard "Zapat___" and that was all he needed to know to form his response. 

Let me clarify for John McCain: Subcomandante Marcos is not the elected leader of the European country that colonized most of Latin America.  He does not have a seat at the table at NATO.  He does wear a ski mask and tattered revolutionary cap in all his public photos.

Let's hope that John McCain can figure this out before taking office this coming January.
It seems I'm always one of the last to act on these happenings.  The truth is I hate reading about them, so I always put it off.  I knew another person had died in detention, but I didn't want to learn the details. 

I didn't want to get to know another person who's only sin was the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness, and have them die before my eyes.  I finally did it, but I honestly don't want to write about it.  Instead I'll point you to the people that already have.

The Unapologetic Mexican
American Humanity
Vivir Latino
Latino Politico
Problem Chylde

Read these and more to learn of another tragedy, another disgrace to the human condition.  Most importantly though, sign this petition to ask for answers.  Go to for more information.

The Sanctuary has already endorsed the petition.
Maybe McCain confused the Prime Minster of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, with the Zapatistas.

I did a translation for a friend, regarding this Talking Points Memo post by Josh Marshall, and I thought I'd go ahead and post it on Citizen Orange. 

It appears that before Spanish media, McCain evaded the question of whether or not he would meet with the Prime Minister of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.  It's hard to tell without the audio, since I can't really read McCain's tone, but it seems as if he doesn't know who the Prime Minister of Spain is.
Today is Citizenship Day, or as it's been changed since 2004, Constitution Day.  Today publicly funded schools are mandated to teach about the Constitution so I hope some self proclaimed 'patriots' will sit in a few of these classes.

Immigration Talk With A Mexican American tells us the antis are losing the argument. It seems that some anti sites and Minutemen groups are seeing their suns set. In this post Dee looks over a paper written by a 'patriot' and asks "who is your target audience?" This is, I believe, where the antis are losing ground. Their anger and yelling basically scares people away from their cause. Of course, the anger and yelling is due to their cause being based on hatred and exemption. Thankfully most people do not buy into this.

Many antis applaud Eisenhower's "Operation Wetback" as a successful venture even with its cruel name and the deportation of many citizens who 'fit the description.' PBS's POV ran the story "Calvera Highway" last night about a family working through the mystery of family members lost in those deportations. (Thanks to Immigration Prof Blog for the link)

Yave has started a new segment at Citizen Orange called Musical Mondays. Check out his latest post features Manu Chao's "Me Llamen Calle." In these posts yave brings song together with the issues the song addresses. Here we're asked to call our representatives and promote H.R. 3061, the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.

Update: I missed this excellent NYTimes editorial on the McCain ad from yesterday, more below. (end update)

Both the Washington Post and the NYTimes picked up the story of McCain's Spanish-language ad directed to key Western swing states with large Latin@ populations in which the McCain campaign accuses Obama of sabotaging comprehensive immigration reform.  While both articles introduced useful information about the story, the Post's discussion was ultimately more informative. 

Check out this post and video on the "Hold Their Feet To The Fire" rally held in Washington by FAIR. The video goes in to the rhetoric of FAIR and McCain's loss of 'friends' on the anti-migrant side while solidifying the fact that anti-migrant groups love saying "we the people." I actually like that they call this the "Hold Their Feet To The Fire" rally because I see "the fire" as hell and FAIR (so obviously wrongly named) is asking us to promote Hell on Earth.

A few days ago the Washington Post reported that Dobbs was promoting the hate group FAIR and participated at its "Hold Their Feet To The Fire." Now it seems he's enamored by a Aunt Jemima type characterization of Obama affixed to a fictitious brand of Waffles called "Obama Waffles."

We know McCain just released a rather untruthful ad stating Obama was not for immigration reform. Is lying just in the Republican's DNA?

Lou Dobbs Buys Obama Waffles

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Even the Southern Poverty Law Center has not gone as far as to call Lou Dobbs a racist.  Still, it's clear with incidents like this that Dobbs is not in the least sensitive to racial concerns.

Picture from Politico

"calle sufrida, calle tristeza"

Me llaman calle - "they call me 'street.'" This is a powerful song with a simple but effective video, and you can see here the charisma in Manu's performance that can be heard in his music. Manu is that rare combination of talent and informed political commentary that only comes around maybe once every decade. I am cursing myself right now for missing two of his rare North American performances in recent years right in my old backyard at Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

This song, about the denigration that sex workers face in machista societies (whether north or south of the U.S./Mexico border), raises one of the rare issues where migrant advocates and DHS are mostly on the same page: human trafficking. 

According to the Department of State, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked internationally every year, and between 14,500 and 17,500 of them are trafficked into or within the United States. Half of these victims are estimated to be children.  Many of the victims end up in forced prostitution.  More information can be found in the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report

The New Migrant Spirit

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Gustavo Arellano has an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times that is a breath of fresh air in the U.S. migration debate.  Please read, "My Dad, the illegal immigrant."
Be sure to read Nezua's latest post on Hispanic Heritage Month.  It sent chills down my spine.  No on can touch the spice in Nezua's writing.  Here's a taste:

Soy Indio y Euro, soy mestizo, soy Latino.  I am the conqueror and the conquered, I am the field and the worker and the hungry consumer; I am all these things, but my heritage is and will always be la lucha. And that is why I am here many days. For mi gente are still in the fields.
Nezua - The Unapologetic Mexican (15 September 2008)
Update: Alex Koppelman at has weighed in on the McCain ad; full text below.  Also, New American Media's Henry Fernandez asks why McCain has changed his tune after earlier thanking Obama for supporting comprehensive reform. (End update.)

In case John McCain's misleading Spanish-language ad got lost in the weekend shuffle (perhaps accounting for its release late last week), here is the SF Chronicle's Joe Garofoli's take on it, with bonus quote from former INS Commissioner Doris Meissner.

The 30-second spot states that "Obama and his Congressional allies say they are on the side of immigrants. But are they? The press reports that their efforts were 'poison pills' that made immigration reform fail."

Not exactly. It was the lack of Republican support that killed immigration reform last time around.

Comrade Tyche Hendricks, who has written extensively on the U.S.-Mexico border for The Chronicle and (for an upcoming book), contacted Doris Meissner, who is a senior fellow at the non-partisan Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

"I don't know that you can say 'poison pill' because things hadn't gotten far enough so that anything would actually rise to that level (of poisoning the bill's chances)," Meissner said.

"I know there were people who were disappointed by the amendment that Obama put in," Meissner said. "But it's disengenuous because at that point McCain had backed away from the bill, which he had sponsored the year before, and he was not to be found in the debate because it was dividing the Republican party in the Senate. It was the lack of Republican votes that sank the bill."

Indeed, McCain said at this GOP debate in January that he wouldn't vote for his own immigration bill:

With the hurricane and September 11 I didn't give it enough attention, but Isabel Garcia was not removed from her post in Pima County. Many of the bloggers here wrote to defend her against Jon Justice's verbal and physical (through use of effigy) assault on Garcia. While unfortunately Justice is still on the air everyone is to be congratulated for the work they did to help Garcia. Make sure and check out Derechos Humanos website and support their continued campaign to get hate speech off the air.

For Hispanic Heritage month The Latin Americanist, in conjunction with Hachette Book Group USA, is holding a writing contest. One prize will be random and the larger prize will be awarded for the best essay (300 word max) on your favorite Hispanic author.

I've been following the happenings in Prince William County for sometime now through the work of the documentary film-makers Annabel Park and Eric Byler at 9500Liberty and through the pro-migrant blog Anti-BVBL, run by Alanna Almeda. 

Anyone that's interested in pro-migrant blogging or in new media should be following the goings on in Prince William County, where new media has intensified the debate about U.S. migration policy at the local level. 

For a some time it seemed as if the nativist movement, lead by Greg Letiecq through his blog Black Velvet Bruce Li, and his extremist Help Save Manassas, had the upper hand.  But there's has been backlash.  The good and decent people of Prince William County are standing up to Letiecq's hate.  

Mamita Mala is asking for help in Haiti. There many ways to donate on-line through Global Giving, but for those in New York you can drop of dry goods and supplies at the Haitian Women For Haitian Refugees center in Brooklyn.

XP updates on Ike. The storm has passed through, but many have a lot or repair and rebuilding to do.

What is FAIR? We know that FAIR is not a fair name for a group labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Nezua brings us some commentary and videos about this group. Why does the media continue to call this groups experts on immigration?

[Cross-posted at the Sanctuary.]

Given that the mainstream press is picking up on McCain's pattern of misrepresentations and false assertions in this election campaign, will they notice this one?

McCain is now claiming that comprehensive reform died in the Senate last year because Obama killed it. Even the restrictionist-leaning Washington Times (which published a series of articles linking recent immigrants to the spread of disease) found this claim to be a bridge too far.

McCain is trying to attract the Latino vote that he needs to win in several key states. He must be hoping that the English-language press ignores the falsehoods found in this Spanish-language ad. But by opening discussion on a topic on which he is particularly vulnerable to charges of flip-floppery, he has inspired unlikely bedfellows like the WaTimes and America's Voice, one of the best-funded organizations pushing for comprehensive reform, which links to the WaTimes story on its front page. 

And it looks like the mainstream blogosphere, from which the mainstream press takes many of its cues, may not let this one slip by unnoticed--I saw this story originally on TalkingPointsMemo, linking to a McClatchy story pointing out that Obama and McCain voted on the same side in the key votes of the comprehensive reform battle in Congress. Now I see Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has picked it up.

America's Voice (via Greg Siskind) has an effective rebuttal of the McCain ad:

An Ike update from Para Justicia y Libertad.  My family is also riding out the storm and I'll be getting updates from them.  They're actually in Pasadena which is a little south of Houston.  Thankfully, even during Hurricane Alicia (which I experienced as a child) we were ok.

A nativist is set to be appointed to the Strategic Task Force for Prince William Country. He doesn't believe the immigration issue is about economics - it's about an "invasion."

It seems the McCain campaign is dishing out a few mistruths. Some are pointed out at Dream Act Texas and another pointed out by yave.

Obama blasts McCain on his abandonment of immigration reform stating "So, you've got to ask yourself: if Sen. McCain won't stand up to opponents of reform at his own convention, how can you trust him to stand up for change in Washington?"

I really didn't do much to reflect on 9/11 yesterday and so I didn't watch the documentaries or read the various blog posts from those here. However, reading Nezua's post from 2001 this morning I have to include the quote from a photo of graffiti he took:

Now that we have been attacked as one can we finally act as brothers and sisters?

This is an interesting question and a rather pertinent one. In a microcosm of the days after 9/11 the company I work for spent a few days in a cloud of shock and mourning. After remaining home on 9/12 I had to go back to work on 9/13 and begin the process of rebuilding my department. At the same time we had to rebuild the company. Computers were imaged while faxes and printers were ordered as quickly as possible. As colleagues waited to be assigned to their new areas they hugged each other and spoke in solidarity. This lasted up until the equipment started to arrive. Once we actually began the process of getting the company running again fighting over equipment ensued. "Don't use our fax", "that's our printer" and other statements of disunity could be heard as each department fought to get their segment of the company back on line. Now there are few hugs, no community, just business as usual. In a broader context I believe the country went through this same thing. I really wish we could have learned.

Yave writes on memories of 9/11 linking to many of the other stories from bloggers in the pro-migrant world.

Today was a day for remembering, and for asking hard questions.

El Loco at Latinopundit remembers 9/11/01 and 9/11/73, and the tragedies that occurred on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and in Allende's Chile on those dates.

Karima Bennoune at IntLawGrrls says that

both our contemporary human rights and security discourses on terrorism need to be broadened and renewed. This renewal should be informed by the understanding that international human rights law protects the individual both from terrorism and the excesses of counterterrorism, like torture.
She reminds us that

Counterterrorist policies that violate international law clearly undermine the endeavors of people like Sifaoui and Kheddar. But a human rights response that focuses solely on the impact of counterterrorism, and not of terrorism itself, hinders their work as well. Instead, international lawyers need to develop what Gita Sahgal has called a "human rights account" of terrorism. Perhaps that could be our best contribution to commemorating the terrible events of September 11, 2001.
Duke at Migra Matters recounts the tragic events of 9/11 and then the tragic two weeks that followed during which the Bush administration began preparations for the war in Iraq.  This war has led to the death and displacement of a far greater number of people than the 9/11 attacks.

Nezua provides a very personal look into his world on 9/11 and the subsequent days and weeks. Tracing his ideological and emotional trajectory will hit close to home to many readers, myself included.

And here are my scattered recollections of that day in lower Manhattan, recorded two years ago. I've probably grown even more skeptical since then of those who claim to lead us and of U.S. claims of the efficacy and good faith of its actions abroad. It is a strange experience--I feel at once more cynical and more hopeful than I have felt before.

Cynical when I think of our upcoming election and the ways I feel the U.S. will be stuck in the status quo regardless of who wins the presidency. Hopeful in the potential I see for transnational organizing and a youth movement that knows no borders.

David Bacon on Migration and Globalization

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Award-winning author and photojournalist David Bacon spoke here in D.C. last night at the AFL-CIO about his new book Illegal People: How globalization creates migration and criminalizes immigrants.

Bacon is emphasizing the need to frame the immigration debate in this country within its larger context (economic globalization).  It's globalization that is the cause of so many people having to migrate in the first place.  If earlier migrants (i.e. people already here in the U.S. whose families migrated in previous generations) understand the reason why people in other countries are having to come here now, I think we will be able to have a more rational debate about how to create more humane policies and reduce human suffering all around.  Globalization and immigration are different parts of the same story.  To speak of one without the other is to give only a partial telling of that story. 

Today is a day of sadness for many. Many of us were affected by the acts of a few so many years ago today. I worked in Tower 2 and was there. Each year my company has a memorial service to those we lost.

Some have chosen to use this day as fuel to claim migrants are terrorists and that we must hurt others in the name of national security. Others have chosen to see this as a reason why we must continue to help one another. Will we let the evil of the world keep us on the defense or will we bring an offense of good? I believe, in this case, a good offense is the best defense.

Today's big and very positive news is the Isabel Garcia Victory. (Thanks Man Eegee) For those that don't know the back story read here.

Changeseeker speaks about Haiti, the personal connection and the issues. Many don't want to know the truth. Do you?

Here on Citizen Orange we wrote about the attacks on Isabel Garcia, a defender of a migrant rights.  Manuel at Latino Politico has the breaking news.

The best part is that we beat out the nativists in a letter writing campaign.  Ah it feels good to write about something good for a change.

Guest Work: A Graduate in Ghana

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I apologize if I'm bombarding everyone with too much rich content at once, but I know if I hold off on these guest works any longer I'll just forget to post them. 

Kia Alexander, originally from Oakland, CA, is a good friend of mine from college.  Instead of following the herd of undergraduates that go into finance, she decided to go her own way and has ended up in Ghana.  She sent me an email update from there and I asked her if I could publish it on Citizen Orange. The only way to solve the problems associated with is through a global perspective and Kia certainly provides that.  Below is the email.
I have two pieces of guest work that I wanted to publish on Citizen Orange, but I haven't gotten around to doing it until now.

This first piece is a poem by a local activist in Arkansas, Michael Ogelsby.  I met Ogelsby through email and another important migrant rights activist, Dorinda Moreno.  Instead of introducing Michael Ogelsby, I'll just lead off with his poem, which was the first I knew of him.
The Organization for Economic Co-Operation And Development (OECD) has put out a "flagship publication on migration" entitled the International Migration Outlook 2008.  According to the BBC, the OECD "represents the world's richest developed countries", so it's conclusions should be taken with a grain of salt. 

Still the summaries of the report that are available give a good overview of global migration, and the fact that it's being studied suggest that the world is finally accepting migration as a global phenomenon that has to be dealt with in a comprehensive manner:
The climate of terror that the U.S. federal government has forced upon millions of unauthorized migrants has ensured, yet again, that migrants will likely be at risk of great harm as Hurricane Ike approaches Texas.  Some migrants would rather take their chances at home than risk getting detained and deported.

XP has two important posts on Hurricane Ike, one where he's updating with recent developments, and another entitled "As Hurricane Ike Looms Closer, Immigrants Refuse To Leave."

Don't we wish the U.S. were as good as Cuba is at evacuating people out of harms way in the face of hurricanes.

ICE is apparently arresting people at airports who are picking up passengers coming in from other countries.

Do 'patriots' think it's acceptable that many will have to be reincarnated to realize citizenship? Looks like wait times for citizenship are sometimes approaching infinity which is a little long to wait if you ask me. The Large Hadron Collider scares me, but maybe some DREAMers can come up with a time machine based on this technology - or maybe we can just pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform. has a report on the real story of the Mississippi raids and Standing FIRM gives us the link.  This article discusses the media's desire to paint a picture of undocumented versus citizens at the plant.  I haven't read the report, but I did buy into this myself.  It should have occured to me that division is a tool and it's used quite often and effectively by the government to deflect a unity that can bring about change.

Thumbnail image for immigrationchart2-copy.jpgReason magazine has a great chart (pdf) outlining wait times for citizenship under different scenarios (text version here (pdf)).

What you'll notice if you read the chart carefully is that for a large number of potential immigrants--certainly the majority of undocumented immigrants already here--there are simply no legal channels to immigrate. Wait times are irrelevant; such workers could wait till they're gray and still not get a visa because it is simply impossible.

Calling All Hatewatchers: Introducing the Dobbsy at Hatewatch Blog. A Dobbsy sounds like a Dundee, but it's "a new tongue-in-cheek award, to be given to "mainstream" figures -- politicians, pundits, preachers and pedants -- who make utterly false or misleading statements that have the effect of denigrating or defaming an entire group of people."

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes! Only Time Can Change Me, But YOU Can´t THIS TIME!! at Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.

We Americans are turning into sheep. We follow along with the Administration´s political bidding. We fear what they say to fear. We believe what they say to believe. These changes reminded me of the pre-Civil Rights days. I thought we were beyond racial anger. Sure there has been some discrimination but that is not the norm nor the mainstream. I have to tell you here and now. I do not like these changes and neither do any of the minorities I know. This is the reason many of us have gone to the internet and created blogs and joined the PRO Blogosphere. Now the current candidates for President are talking about Change.
Also ICE RAIDs Update: Laurel, MS and Postville, IA.

ACT NOW: Latinos and Other Minorities Being Disenfranchised at Eristic Ragemail.

In recent national elections there have been some pretty blatant disenfranchisement of minority voters. When the Republicans cannot win by using wedge issues to divide and conquer they resort to dirty tricks.
New America Media just published an excellent piece entitled, "The Long Road To America."  Instead of just focusing on the U.S. this piece follows migrants all the way back to the countries from which their fleeing.  It has an especially excellent section on Vietnamese migrants:

Crime Goes UP After Postville Raid

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If you need anymore proof that nativists are lying about the correlation between crime and unauthorized migrants see this article from the Associated Press on the Postville raid:

POSTVILLE, Iowa - Postville's police chief says he's trying to add another officer to his staff as crime has risen in the city after an Immigration raid in May.

The Agriprocessors meatpacking plant was raided May 12, when 389 people were charged with being in the country illegally. Most were also charged criminally.

Postville Police Chief Michael Halse says the workers who have come to replace those picked up in the raid are temporary. He says he doesn't know their backgrounds or where they came from.

Halse says he hopes life will return to the way it was before the raid, but predicted that normalcy could be years away.
Associated Press (7 September 2008)

Then again, nativists don't like to listen to local police chiefs when they say they shouldn't be enforcing broken federal immigration law, so I can't imagine they'd care about this.

I'd like to introduce a new feature here called "Musical Monday" - at least until I think of another name. Some of the music I like ties in to migration in one way or another, and I've been wanting to share it more widely. As information, goods, and (sometimes) people flow more freely than ever before across borders, musicians are writing about it.

In remembrance of those who've died in Haiti in recent weeks, and in the hope that those who need help can be reached in time, the first Musical Monday is Arcade Fire's Black Wave / Bad Vibrations. Arcade Fire co-founder Régine Chassagne's family migrated from Haiti to Canada to escape the Duvaliers, like some of my former clients. She has sung about her family's homeland on the band's first album, Funeral, and on last year's Neon Bible. This song is very meaningful to me now that I've gotten to know some Haitians who went through some truly horrific experiences before coming to the U.S.
As Hurricane Gustav was bearing down on the Gulf Coast, Barack Obama sent an email to millions of his supporters asking them to donate to the Red Cross:

Today, the thoughts and prayers of all Americans are with those in the path of Hurricane Gustav -- and many of you are asking what you can do to help.

We do not yet know what the impact of Hurricane Gustav will be, and we hope with all our hearts that the damage will not be as great as it was three years ago.

But we know there will be damage, and there is something you can do right now.

Your financial support will strengthen organizations like the American Red Cross that are evacuating Gulf Coast residents and planning to help communities get back on their feet.

Make a donation to support the American Red Cross today.
Barack Obama (1 September 2008)

Now, according to an editorial from the New York Times, it does not look as if the Red Cross did the best it could evacuating unauthorized migrants from the area and assuaging their fears.
The raids continue. Raid in Sun Valley, California! at Standing FIRM. Also Anti-Immigrant Measures will Appear on State Ballots in November and VIDEO: Which America Do you Want to Live in?

WP: Facing a Court Hearing, Man Begins Removing Pro-Immigrant Billboard at Anti-BVBL. Sarah Palin : A lipsticked pitbull that's a scaredy cat with the press at Culture Kitchen. And Pat Buchanan is Barack Obama's latest fanboi.

The Front Line is Everywhere - RNC 08 at The Unapologetic Mexican.
The GOP actually needs an army now, to make itself evident and dare celebrate anything in public. They have lied, killed, they laugh while we suffer with health problems or bemoan the loss of life and humanity. They bring their army to protect them from the voice of the People they supposedly serve.
It seems the world has forgotten Haiti as yet another named storm has pounded into the country.  Hurricane Ike has pounded into the country after hundreds were left dead from Tropical Storm Fay, Hurricane Gustav, and Tropical Storm Hanna. 

The Miami Herald reports from the small town of Caberet in Haiti:

Haitian town hit hard by ike: bodies on every street corner

CABARET, HAITI -- In this tiny Haitian town flooded by Hurricane Ike, the grim reality set in Sunday morning as the bodies of a dozen children lay dead on a concrete slab. Mothers wailed, fathers screamed, an entire town was shaken as they tried to count the dead - many of them children and old women swept up by the river. So far, 22 are believed to have died, but the number would likely rise.

Traveled Far Away....

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Last night I had the privilege of attending a benefit concert for a group traveling to Paraguay to help orphaned and abandoned children. It was inspiring to hear the woman who organized this event tell her story.

As a little girl in Paraguay she prayed that one day she could travel far away to help people. Eventually she came to the United States and now, she said "this is my home." She then shared her belief that this country is a wonderful place which which has given her the opportunity to help others. Now, for the fifth year in a row, she'll be traveling back to her country of birth which, no longer her home, is now that far away place.

When you meet people like this it is an awesome experience. I'm sure there are many people like this who visit this site. To those helping others, both near or far, I say thank you. 
Abiding in Bolivia posted a video of Aymara hip-hop group Ukamau Y Ke.  Thought I'd let readers take a break from all the outrage for a second and enjoy the music. (sombrero tip to The Mex Files)

I've come to expect figures like William Gheen of ALIPAC to completely strip an entire subset of people from their humanity with their words.  It becomes grating to my ears when an elected official does so.  Even more so when they dehumanize the very people they were elected to represent. 

Watch the video above to see Republican incumbent Virgil Goode (VA-5th District) debate Democrat challenger Tom Perriello on the "anchor baby situation".  I've transcribed much of the video below.

There is so much wrong with what Goode says, but I'm going to try and cut to the heart of it.  

You may remember Nezua's The ReKongKangKeesta (And Other Varieties). Now we have Palin's Alaskonquista - the quest to have Alaska succeed from the U.S.

"What America Do You Want to Live In?" at Immigration Prof Blog.

A new online ad released by America's Voice presents two different visions of America. One vision recognizes our country's long tradition of welcoming immigrants and being supportive of all individuals in our nation who are seeking a better life. The second vision describes America as a nation that preaches intolerance and hate and relies on fear-mongering instead of facts.
Also Post-Postville: Agriprocessors has a Hard Time Keeping Workers, The Latest Word on the "Nexus" Requirement for Asylum and The War on Terror Continues.

WHAT PART OF (the) LEGAL (system) DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND? at Standing FIRM. Also VIDEO: All Americana (parts 1 and 2) and UPDATE: Postville Plant Won't Learn its Lesson.

I knew unauthorized migrants were going to get left behind in Gustav.  I wrote about it here.  Despite assurances from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), migrants have been forced to live in such a climate of fear that they wouldn't dare leave.

The Associated Press reports (sombrero tip to the Latin Americanist):

Many of the illegal immigrants who have been rebuilding New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina stayed behind when Gustav struck because they were afraid of being arrested if they boarded the buses and trains arranged by emergency officials.

"We know that people died during Katrina, but we had no choice but to stay here," said Carlos Mendoza, a 21-year-old illegal immigrant from Honduras who rode out the storm with seven other people. They took shelter in an apartment that is close to a street corner where day laborers congregate.

"Many stayed because of fear," Mendoza said. "I would say at least 50 percent of us."

Peter Prengaman - Associated Press (3 September 2008)

UPDATE: Angela Kelley of the Immigration Policy Center just put up a piece about this at Huffington Post.  (They also have a new pro-migrant blog, Immigration Impact)
Picture: From Alaskan Independence Party Website

It seems as if Sarah Palin is all over the internet.  The media has gone wild with analysis of her

Here's one perspective you've probably missed.  Manuel Guzman at Latino Politico and Roberto Lovato at Of America have brought to light hilarious irony. 

While nativists swipe at the fantasm that is Aztlan and the Reconquista, the supposed plan by Mexican migrants to take over the southwest portion of the United States, it appears that Sarah Palin has legitimate connections to Alaska's version of the Reconquista.

Republican Platform Opposes Comprehensive Immigration Reform at Greg Siskind's Blog.

Despite the fact that the platform starts out with the promising statement that the US can have a strong immigration system without sacrificing the rule of law, the text focuses almost entirely on enforcement.

Until We Are All Free, We Are None Free at Why Am I Not Surprised. Frederick Douglas was an exceptional man. Read a bit about him and a poem in his honor.

ACTION: Prayer Vigil in Ohio at Standing Firm. This prayer vigil will be held to ask for an end to immigration raids. Also Paying the Price for not Having the Money on the difficulty of obtaining legal representation for migrants, Laurel: A Humanitarian Disaster - "Yesterday, a powerful editorial Gabino Zavala, bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, appeared in the UK's Guardian." and Both Sides of the Immigration Plank.

I continue to be thankful for an independent new media at the conventions.  It's where I get all my worthwhile news.  I just got this from brownfemipower:

Cold Snap Legal is staying on top of what is happening to protesters at the RNC. Among some of the latest updates:

#ICE agents are entering jail and pulling out arrestees with "foreign-sounding names!

#Men in jail have been on 23 hour lockdown, They are on hunger strike until this ends and they are either charged or released.

#f you've been released from jail and have NOT had your property returned, please call the Coldsnap hotline (651.356.8635). We can help out!

brownfemipower - La Chola (3 September 2008)

This after "raids" were conducted on protestor's homes in advance of the Republican National Convention.  It's what pro-migrant bloggers have been saying for a long time now.  The U.S. migration debate affects everyone residing in the U.S.  If you think it just affects migrants, you'll get your answer when the government bashes your front door in.

South Texas Civil Rights Project Needs Your Help at Vivir Latino.

The South Texas Civil Rights Project is a non-profit public interest organization which provides free legal services to those in the Valley's low-income community whose civil rights have been violated. Over thirty years ago the South Texas Civil Rights Project (STCRP) was formed to offer free education, advocacy, and legal services for low-income and under-served persons of the Valley.
Also Mexicans March Against Violence.

What part of legal immigration don't you understand? at American Wetback.

The Forgotten in the Wake of Hurricane Gustav: Haiti Suffers From Its Own Katrina at Citizen Orange.


Picture: Ariana Cubillos / AP Photo

Thank God.  It looks as if our prayers for the Gulf Coast came through.  But we forgot to pray for the Caribbean.

(For those of you that can't read all the way through this post, skip to the end.  Haiti needs help.) 

According to the latest report I could find from Bloomberg, it appears as if Hurricane Gustav was nowhere near the disaster that Katrina was.  This probably had a lot to do with the fact that Gustav hit the U.S. with a lot less force than was expected. 

With the federal, state, and local governments in the area mobilizing effectively to oversee efforts in the aftermath of the disaster, and the two major presidential candidates taking significant actions for the relief efforts, I'm starting to realize that an entire populations of the people affected by Gustav are being forgotten. 

The U.S. media and politicans seem to have completely forgotten about the Caribbean, where hundreds have died and entire communities have been wiped out.  While U.S. politicians are patting themselves on the back, Haiti is suffering from it's own Katrina.  (Sombrero tip to Peruanista)

A Labor Day Salute to All Resident Workers at Smart Borders.

This September 1st, it is only fitting to laud the accomplishments of the unnoticed and disenfranchised of America's workforce - the Immigrant. In a nation that is still bent on building a wall and has popular public figures campaigning for mass deportation, immigrants still managed to excel in 33 of the spots on the American Olympic team.

Foucault on Geography and Population at No Borders and Binaries.

Foucault also lays out a population/people distinction in Security, Territory and Population that is worthy of further exploration. Population has two meanings -- one denotes a group of subjects with rights or subjects to a sovereign etc. but the one we are interested in is population as a process that needs regulation and management
Also Welcome to America - Here We Make 'Criminals' Out of Jet-Skiers.

I traveled out to Shenandoah over the weekend to witness an anti-"illegal" immigrant rally, but ended up at the more positive Unity Rally.  Here's my post at American Humanity - Rallies In Shenandoah, PA - Unity and Anti-"Illegal" Immigrant.

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