October 2008 Archives

I hope everyone enjoys Halloween, today.  As a child in Guatemala there were only a few places that I could celebrate Halloween.  We'd usually have to go to the Gringo, or "Americanized", walled in colonias to go trick or treating.  If not you'd run the risk of ringing the doorbell of a religious family that believed celebrating Halloween was the equivalent of devil worship.  How do you say trick or treat in Spanish?  This is what we used in Guatemala:

Tricko! Tricko! Halloween!
Dame dulces para mi!
(Give me candy for me!)
For the first time, I'm heading out to Salem, Massachusetts, for Halloween, tonight.  I imagine that it's going to be a completely different experience than the one I'm used to in Guatemala. 

Tangentially, I typed in "immigration" and "halloween" into Google, and what I came up with is a not so happy reminder of Halloween.  It brought up the Julie Myers controversy.
 
I won't be able to write a long post today, because I'm preparing to go out for Halloween tonight.  Later on this weekend, I hope to write an endorsement for a presidential candidate.

Before I do, that though, I wanted to point Citizen Orange readers to Cynthia McKinney's answers to The Sanctuary's presidential candidate questionnaire.  Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party candidate for president.  I will preface her answers by saying that it is refreshing to see a truly progressive vision for U.S. migration reform at the national level.  I truly wish that McKinney had run a campaign to equal her vision. 

The link to the questionnaire is here.

Response to Racialicious Post

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I wrote this in a comment section of a Racialicious post that really seemed to pose some honest questions about the nativist viewpoint.  I really spent some time on it so I thought I'd publish it here:

It's good to see a very rational discussion of migration taking place. There's a group of us pro-migrant bloggers that do a lot of work on this issue. At some point you just get tired of hearing the same points over and over again. Sure everyone has different reasons for believing Hae's viewpoints, but so many of the concepts that people with "anti-illegal immigrant" views have are so flawed.

CNN: It's always 1994

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I'm going to pull an Atrios tonight and point out that Lou Dobbs is getting destroyed in the ratings by the two loony liberals on MSNBC. 

When will CNN realize that nightly nativism is not going to win over the under-70 demo?  You know, the people who buy stuff?

When will Lou Dobbs realize that he sounds like Joe McCarthy when he prefaces every mention of China with the word "communist?"  China--you know, that country that makes all the stuff we buy?

(Peter Pereira / New Bedford Standard Times)

When Ricardo Gomez Garcia was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in New Bedford, it served as his death sentence.  For one of the factory managers charged in the raid, Gloria Melo, it ended in a $500 fine. 

Garcia's story is one of the most heartbreaking stories I know.  He was picked up in the now infamous New Bedford raid, resulting in his separation from his wife and his U.S. citizen autistic son.  He fought desperately to stay in the U.S. and be reunited with them.  When he was finally deported after six months of detention, he had his mother in Guatemala sell her house for $5000 so he could pay a coyote to return to the U.S. 

Garcia's family in Guatemala reported he wasn't feeling well and they urged him to stay but he left anyways.  He arrived in New Bedford on Oct. 28. He was able to spend 12 hours with his wife and his son before he died.  His throat closed up.  Today is the anniversary of his death.  Garcia fought for seventh months and 26 days to be reunited with his family.  12 hours is more than most unauthorized migrant families get.  Garcia's story is an epic tale of love and suffering.

Garcia died for the "crime" of casting off the chains he was born into and pursuing his happiness in another country.  Almost exactly one year later, the Associated Press is reported that two of the factory managers charged in the New Bedford raid won't even see the inside of a prison cell.

Immigration Prof Blog brings us a link to The Alien Invasion? by Ediberto Roman. This report begins by using the War of the Worlds broadcast to describe an "invasion" of immigrants to parody what we often hear by right-wing and anti-migrant media and groups. The post Only in Prince William County, VA, from The Sanctuary, provides a good example of this rhetoric.

Smart Borders writes about the removal of a sacred space where loved ones and friends share time even though a fence separates them.

Friendship Park in Imperial Beach, California, has long stood as a symbol of Amistad and brotherhood between the United States and Mexico. 160 years after the border was established at this point, people now speak and kiss and sing through the wire fence.


"If you catch me at the border, I got visas in my name."

I get confused when people talk about "World Music."  I don't know what that is.  All music comes from some place.  Sometimes music can have influences from more than one place.  Sometimes a musician has traveled a lot and picked up musical threads from many cultures. 

But "World Music" reminds me of nothing so much as this.

It could be, however, that the World Music of the 1990s was just a pale prelude to the music of a global culture that is emerging.  Sri Lankan refugee Maya Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A., embodies this music as well as anyone.  
My mother took this photo last weekend in Guatemala.  I thought it was pretty wild so I wanted to share it.

Guatemalan Motorcycle

I wrote something a while ago debunking an anti-migrant email full of misinformation that has been making the rounds.  It came up again recently, and I was asked if I could publish what I wrote online.  Here it is:

----

Below is another chain email that spreads misinformation about migrants.  It is wrong in so many ways but we'll start with the sources that it quotes.  All of the links below lead to several dubious sources such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which has been dubbed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Immigration Studies which is a spin-off of FAIR, transcripts from Lou Dobbs, and Frosty Wooldrige who is a nativist lunatic.  All of these sources have agendas that they want to push, and anyone who uses them to make factual arguments should be heavily scrutinized.

Pointing to faulty sources in itself does not stop the spread of misinformation.  I don't have time to check up on all of the facts that FAIR points to, but the math in the email below is fuzzy in itself, adding up not only "the cost" of undocumented immigrants, but legal immigrants and U.S. citizen born of immigrants.  The email is written in a way to make people believe that it is only undocumented migrants that account for the "costs" they add up, but if it were made clear that they are demonizing legal migrants and U.S. citizens in this email, as well, it would run strongly against the tide of U.S. citizen public opinion.
For too long, the U.S. migration policy debate has been portrayed as a fight between the dueling positions of "amnesty" and "enforcement-only."  The media has parroted this facade of a debate, and it has prevented a discussion of the real issues at stake.  In reality, there are three main voices in the U.S. migration policy debate: the nativist voice, the corporate voice, and the migrant voice.  Too often, the broader U.S. public is hearing a debate between the nativist voice and the corporate voice in the media. 

The nativist voice is usually represented in the media by John Tanton's Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and all of it's offshoots like the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), NumbersUSA, the Americans for Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC), and the "80-year-old internet fighter pilots" that leave nativist comments in online forums everywhere. 

What I call the corporate voice is represented not only by corporations themselves and publications like the Wall Street Journal, but by the many mainstream migrant advocacy organizations and the Democrat party, both of which are funded almost entirely by corporations.
I don't want to take away from yave's post on Nancy Pelosi's comments.  It's a must read for those who haven't read it. 

Still, I haven't blogged in a while and I wanted to comment briefly on this latest trend of questioning Obama's "Americanness".  This has taken several forms, from making him out to be a Muslim, as if it were a bad thing, to suggesting he's anti-American, all the way to questioning his U.S. citizenship. 

Jeff Yang has an excellent piece in the San Francisco Chronicle addressing this very issue. 

It's good to see Asian American voices featured prominently in the U.S. migration debate.  In a piece entitled "Choosing to be American" Yang flips the entire equation on those who look to delegitimize people on the basis of the arbitrary territorial lines they were born into. 

Who is more American?  She who is automatically given U.S. citizenship, or she who chooses it?  Go check it out Yang's piece if you have a chance and ponder this very question.
Via Duke at the Sanctuary, Speaker Pelosi talks about Dem plans for immigration reform after the election.

Pelosi also said Congress would have to tackle the politically sticky job of overhauling immigration laws in the new Congress, after a bipartisan measure collapsed last year.

The estimated 12 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally "are part of the U.S. economy. We cannot send them all home, and we cannot send them all to jail, so we have to address it," Pelosi said.

Any solution would have to be bipartisan, she said, so it may require sacrificing some of Democrats' past priorities, such as giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

"Maybe there never is a path to citizenship if you came here illegally," Pelosi said. "I would hope that there could be, but maybe there isn't."
This is unacceptable.

Duke has more at Migra Matters:

The Racial Complexities of Modern Mississippi at Immigration Prof Blog citing a story from AlterNet. The need for workers had been bringing together a natural melding of people from all walks of life. However since the immigration raids anti-migrant sentiment as been on the rise. Once hate is injected it's hard to get it out of the system.


Check out this video from The Unapologetic Mexican titled That One Bigot.

From Why Am I Not Surprised - Be Bold, Be Red on October 30:

Thanks to The Unapologetic Mexican, I was reminded this week that a year ago (and it hardly seems possible that it could have been that long already), the Be Bold! Be Red! campaign called on men and women from coast to coast to organize to fight violence against women of color. Since that time, we have seen publicized multiple cases of such violence, a ridiculous number of them involving women in Iraq, such as Pvt. LaVena Johnson, brutally beaten before being murdered and disfigured in an attempt to hide the identity of the perpetrator(s). The official ruling on the case from the Army? Suicide.

Brownfemipower was included in Utne's recent 50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World . Congratulations! From the Utne article:

Brownfemipower, whose inimitable blog is the anchor of the pulsing women-of-color blogosphere, began posting three years ago. She writes emotionally and radiantly about gender violence, immigration raids, public housing demolition in New Orleans, sexuality (a recent post on this topic included a video of Aerosmith's "Crying"), and other "out of bounds" issues, morphing feminism back into a force for social change-for everyone-rather than an "exclusive networking club."

Regardless what McCain says to the public you know he's more than happy to embrace the rising tide of supporters who are claiming that Obama is a terrorist Muslim and a socialist. Anti-BVBL reports.

The Unapologetic Mexican brings us another wonderful post about the current administration, migrants and the wealthy. I couldn't agree more with the following points from his post. It really blows my mind to watch people zombied into the position of protecting the money of the wealthy (which is a similar model used for war). When McCain talks about "spreading the wealth" he knows full well he's talking about his own - not that of the middle-class and below.

It's actually quite mind-blowing to watch McCain, this rich white man, working so hard to convince the poor to protect his money. As a blogmigo, Kai, said "that's it right there, the fundamental point of racism, get non-rich whites to side with rich whites."

"When politicians talk about taking your money and spreading it around, you'd better hold onto your wallet," McCain told the boisterous Melbourne crowd.
The daughter of a migrant worker father and artist mother, Lhasa De La Sela grew up crossing and re-crossing our southern border with her family in a converted school bus. Her nomadic childhood led her to eventually write songs that resonate with the footsteps and sorrows of the reluctant adventurers who continue to make their way to el norte. She sings with a devastating beauty that reminds me of Janis Joplin and Fiona Apple. 




 

Day 1 - Fasting for Immigrant Rights - Tips and Concerns. Prerna from No Borders and Binaries is currently participating in the fast for migrant rights. The promotion of human rights for our is on behalf of every one of us.  Thanks Prerna for participating in solidarity with those in L.A. 

On Grit TV Liza, from Culture Kitchen, sat down with a panel to talk about Wednesday's debate. Check it out.

Microsoft, 25 law firms and Angelina Jolie team up to represent immigrant children at Immigration Prof Blog. It's good to see people with the money and clout to step up and help doing so.

Last night McCain defended his own wealth by claiming Obama wants to take money from the middle class. He used a white male, Joe the plumber, as a representative of the middle class. Joe does not represent the struggling class of this country. White males have had the upper hand since they took this land from the natives.  While Joe may be an 'everman'  he is not representative of those most needing help in this country country. 

The only mention of immigration I noted was McCain's claim that Obama is misrepresenting his views on the subject. Why then didn't provide those views in the debate when he had the chance? We all know that McCain attacked Obama on Spanish language television claiming that he voted against pro-migrant legislation which was false. But let's face it - they're both unwilling to discuss this subject in public while even Obama has used the Spanish ad tactic.  People's lives are being destroyed in this country everyday through immigration raids.  Please be sure to support the Fast For Our Future campaign.

Checking out the live blogging of last night's debate at Zuky I like the comment - "complete spending freeze--can we start with the war?" from rr. Good point. Will McCain's spending freeze mean no money going to the war. Sounds good to me, but they need to get the troops back first.

Seems that William Gheen is so set on dismantling Obama, as are many others, that he thought the Ohio state flag was a new flag created by Obama (and he's not the only one). ALIPAC.net picked up on this - via Damn Mexicans. Even Malkin admits her supporters thought this was an Obama flag. Yes, that's because they don't study anything and their hate causes knee-jerk reactions. You should be proud of your readers. For more laughs check out Free Republic. These people want to see Obama as a terrorist so bad that they'll use their ignorance to accomplish it. How can you be a nativist when you don't even know the flags of our states?

Today starts the fast for migrant rights titled "Fast For Our Future." Please make sure and sign the pledge and recruit as many people as possible to do the same.

New video from Brave New Films on the hate being spread by the McCain campaign. It smacks of anti-migrant rally hate which shouldn't surprise anyone. Notice the part in the video where I man holds a Curious George doll which he calls Obama.

It looks like someone finally got Immigration and Custom's Enforcement to show the U.S. public their balance sheet.  Through a freedom of information request, the Des Moines Register was able to find out that the cost for the Postville raid "totaled $5,211,092 as of Aug. 21" meaning "it has cost taxpayers an average of $13,396 for each of the 389 illegal immigrants taken into custody."

Multiply that by 12 million and the U.S. is going to have to spend $160 billion to deport every unauthorized migrant in the U.S. the Postville way.  And that assumes they're all neatly working together in a factory like in Postville. 

You see, nativists would have you believe that it helps the economy to pursue this deportation-only policy.  You see how much U.S. taxpayers are spending for the Postville raid, or you you look at a place like Riverside, New Jersey, and it's pretty clear that's not the case.    
Jackie Mahendra of America's Voice emailed me today and asked me to share a video announcing a new report entitled, "A Sleeping Giant Awakens: The Power of the Latino Vote".  Below is the video:

American Harvest, Now on DVD

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American Harvest pie.jpgWhite Hot Films has released its ground-breaking documentary, American Harvest, on DVD.

The fast for immigrant rights is set to begin tomorrow. The goal is to get one million signatures in support of migrants. Please take a moment to sign the pledge.

On October 15th, over 100 people will begin one of the largest hunger strikes in American history to call on Latinos, immigrants, and people of conscience-the Immigrant Rights Movement-to rise out of our fear and vote for change. "The Fast for our Future" will be based in a permanent encampment at La Placita Olvera, the historic heart of Los Angeles, and will continue until at least 1 million people have signed this Pledge.

Check out the Immigration Blog over at Change.org. At the Republican Convention they sang "Raisin' McCain." This post sings 'Racist McCain'.

T Don Hutto reports on a bill to improve detention conditions.

On October 3, Lucille Royball-Alard (D-California) introduced the Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act (H.R. 7255), a bill that would reform detention conditions for the 300,000+ detained in the U.S. each year. This bill seeks to set enforceable minimum standards for all in detention and sets more specific standards for unaccompanied children and detained women.

Celebrate First People

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Columbus Day is a loaded holiday for many, full of painful remembrances of vanquished peoples, dominating cultures, ethnic cleansing and genocide on the one hand, and parades and national pride on the other. In Spain, it is El Día de la Hispanidad, and in Mexico, El Día de la Raza. I see it as a day to learn some history, reflect, mourn, and look forward hopefully to a future that does not include the repetition of past atrocities.

Whether you're trying to decide how you feel about the holiday, or quite sure how you feel and would like the opportunity to celebrate and mourn at the same time, I recommend a visit to Never In Our Names for their featured writings Celebrating First People. The contributors focus on our history, including the story of Golden Flower, Taino Princess, by a talented young writer, and The Trail of Tears. The implications of Columbus Day on our present-day treatment of people and a more accurate version of Columbus' "discovery" than we were taught in school make for satisfying, enlightening reading.

Happy Día de la Raza! from The Unapologetic Mexican. 

Today marks the day we recognize the European GoldThirsters coming upon humans they never met before; the era that Italian, French, and Spanish LandWanters came sailing onto shores where other people lived; the time that yet provides the template still acted upon in many ways.

Today in New York 35,000 people are expected to march in the Columbus Day Parade. We know that Columbus was not the first to discover America. His voyage to the Americas was simply an early demonstration on how European countries felt they were entitled to take anything they wanted. As this type of thought continued it resulted in the end of many civilizations and the beginning of many others. Personally I believe celebrating Columbus Day is akin to celebrating the greed that is currently destroying us - just as it destroyed so many others back in Columbus' day.

HUD has stepped in to discount the bogus claims that immigrants are responsible for the current mortgage crisis. From Mexico Trucker.

Chris Bertram asks:

[W]hat sort of conclusions about the world would you expect well-paid American liberal intellectuals to reach when they came to think about global justice? I guess I'd expect the following. I'd expect a good deal of hand-wringing about the relationship between patriotism and universal morality, and I'd expect them to discover a legitimate role for patriotism. They'd find out that it is perfectly permissible to have a limited preference for one's fellow citizens (especially poor and minority ones) over outsiders. They'd therefore agonize about issues such as immigration but accept the right of states to control their borders, reject the notion that justice requires any kind of global redistributive principle but favour some limited doctrine of "assistance" to those suffering desperate poverty overseas. And I'd expect them, being smart people, to come up with some varied and ingenious arguments to support such conclusions. John Rawls, Michael Blake, Samuel Freeman, Richard Miller, Thomas Nagel, Elizabeth Anderson ... even (or especially?) Michael Walzer, end up in the same place. Kind of a coincidence huh?
Um, yes. 

While the Obama campaign filled out The Sanctuary's questionnaire on immigration and foreign policy issues the McCain campaign remained silent. In the debates both candidates have been silent on this issue.

After three debates involving the Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin candidates, the one subject that has not come up is immigration. - Greg Siskind's Blog
Ironically, though, Escobedo said, the election's outcome could hinge on how each candidate frames immigration and how many Latino votes he can win in four swing states: Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida. - Nuestra Voice

Another huge raid occurred - this time in Greenville, SC. 300 migrants were swept up and now their families wait for answers. As immigration is swept behind the financial crisis ICE quietly keeps moving forward. DHS itself seems to have a problem handling the taxpayer's money. (reported at Citizen Orange, Dream Act Texas and Immigration Talk With A Mexican American.)

Join The Rise Movement in their quest to bring attention to migrant rights through fasting.

21 DAYS BEFORE THE 2008 ELECTION THE LARGEST HUNGER STRIKE IN U.S. HISTORY CALLING ON ONE MILLION PEOPLE TO SIGN A PLEDGE TO VOTE FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS
You can sign the pledge here. While fasting in solidarity can happen from any location, this event is being held in Los Angeles.
The Encampment: The encampment for the Fast is in the public area of La Placita Olvera and will include tents, a stage, work areas, and a rest area for fasters and supporters. Olvera Street is an historic monument and plaza known as "the birthplace of the City of Los Angeles". The address is:
(Thanks to American Wetback for this information.)

Picture from Newsweek/Sarah Shatz.

Maria Andreu recently emailed me and ask me to share her story with the readers of Citizen Orange, saying that they would "benefit from this alternative view".  I agree. 

Andreu is one of the few lucky migrants that have navigated a broken U.S. immigration system (she benefited from Reagan's amnesty in 1987).  Growing up she knew no other country except for the U.S., and she's one of the lucky few unauthorized migrant youth to have her U.S. cultural identity come with a U.S. passport. 

She recently published an account of her story in Newsweek

Support the DREAM Act now to help other unauthorized migrant youth like her.

We thought Postville was unprecedented but it looks like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is carrying out a Postville every month nowadays.  I don't know how migrants can compete with an agency that spends billions of dollars to stamp them out.

The latest raid took place in Greenville, South Carolina.  The Associated Press reports.

If the anti-migrant ideal is to "deport, deport, deport" then why are migrants being held so long in detention centers?

Yesterday was the last day to register to vote. Hopefully you're all set. Now the challenge is to get to the polls and make your voice heard. It also wouldn't hurt to volunteer and make sure that no funny business goes on at the polling sites. Most importantly we have to keep on those people we elect making sure they're actually doing what the people want done.

Some have tried to blame the financial crisis on migrants, but it seems the truth is they have a lower foreclosure rate than citizens.

Standing FIRM brings us news of a new Breakthrough game titled Homeland Guantanamos. Download a copy and tell us what you think.

ICE agents raid the home of Olga Savage and are shocked to find she's a citizen. This is exactly where this country is headed if we continue to allow these ICE raids. It's not enough the violated her personal space, but they refused to apologize for doing so and their actions caused her to fear she'd die as her blood pressure rose to 280. While the ICE agents returned to their camp, probably laughing, Olga drove herself to the hospital needing immediate care. (from Greg Siskind's blog)

Damn Mexicans points out that John F. Kennedy ran Spanish ads in 1960 showing this is not a new happening because Hispanics want to replace the English language, but instead it's a tradition.

I'm subscribed to the Truth in Immigration weekly update, a project put together by MALDEF, and yesterday they sent out this gem of a video:



We've long known that Lou Dobbs doesn't really care for any migrants, but Truth in Immigration really lays out a specific example where that is unabashedly true. 

Dream Act Texas reported that the DREAM Act was voted on yesterday. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill keeping undocumented students from having in state access to higher learning. He claims the economy made him do it, but isn't this type of thing exactly why we're in this terrible situation? Too much attention is paid to those that already have while those without are left to fend for themselves.

Nezua doesn't mince words with the title to his latest post. Here he describes McCain's clandestine support for Latinos that we're seeing in the presidential campaign. This is fused with the struggle of migrants who are so deperate for work that they risk their lives to get here. Isn't it odd that we're constantly being told that the powerless are always looking for handouts as if they're living some golden dream on a free ride - all the while our president is trying to tell us we should bail out the wealthy. If you have access to financial publications check out what CEO's and CFO's make. Let them put their money together and bail themselves out.

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