December 2008 Archives

Apathy

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I've read the stories about hate crimes committed against undocumented residents. The anger is sometimes so overwhelming that I can taste it in my mouth. The vile, rancid taste of hate because you know the people attacked didn't deserve to be victims of ignorance. Those feelings are magnified when you see it happen right on front of your eyes. When you see the act itself being committed and not doing anything about it. The other day I was at a lunch truck eating with my friends around 1:30 a.m. As we sat and huddled for warmth after eating, I noticed from the corner of my eye commotion in the street. I see a car with two people in the front and and two other men getting out to assault a man who was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. The men immediately begin to man handle him after taking him by surprise. As one holds his hands behind his back, the other searches him for valuable possessions to steal. My friends begin to notice what's going on and I tell them, "the guy is getting robbed." "We should go help him," said one friend. "Yeah we gotta do something," said my other friend. Both of them are women and they wanted to go help while me and my other friend just sat there and kept an eye out to make sure things didn't take a turn for the worse. Before we could decide what to do the guys go back in the car and drive away. Immediately the girls go and ask the man if he was OK ? We follow and begin to talk to the man and ask him what they stole from him, his wallet with his I.D. from work and the Mexican Consulate. One of my other friends flags down a sheriffs officer and the officer tries to give chase to the car, but with no luck. He comes back and begins to take a report of what happened, asking us to describe what we saw, the make of the vehicle, what the attackers looked liked etc. The men were Mexican, just like the person they robbed. Part of me hates that very concept. It's hard enough in the world as it is and the people who are suppose to be looking out for us are the ones stabbing us in the back. The lack community unity hurts everyone because divided we fall, but united we stand. I myself grew up with that kind of ignorance around my community for far too long and while I decided to devote my life to stop crimes like the one I saw, at times it feels like I'm chipping away at a glacier with an ice pick. Having been a victim of robbery, I knew that I couldn't involve myself in what was going. What if they had guns ? knifes ? what if they decided to go after my friends ? The safety of my friends and the victim are too high for something as petty as money or a wallet. I would much rather give them what they want than to risk becoming another two minute news story on the evening news. "A young man was killed late in the evening last night as he tried to fight off his attacker. El Random Hero was 2? years old and was attending ???? college as a journalism major. Police say that during their struggle, the attacker, who was identified as ????, was carrying a hand gun and shot Hero in the chest repeatedly leaving him for dead. No word yet on the location of his attacker."


A winner from the traveling Colombian national exhibition of short films, "Cien Miradas, Uno Pais," Cinco Pa' las Doce speaks of the loneliness faced by many during the holidays, especially so many mothers and grandmothers of those who have gone north.
"Para que piensen en aquellos que se quedan solos."
So that people will remember those who remain alone.

"Es 31 de Diciembre. Julieta espera en su casa la llegada de su familia para la celebracion del año nuevo. Faltan cinco pa las doce y su familia aun no llega."
It's December 31. Julieta awaits in her house the arrival of her family for the New Year's celebration. At 5 minutes to midnight, her family still has not arrived.

Happy Holidays

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Just wanted to wish you Happy Holidays from all the folks at Citizen Orange.  

Dvořák: New World Symphony

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Today's musical feature is the Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" by Antonín Dvořák, composed in 1893 during his three year visit to the United States (shown here is the 4th movement). Apparently,

Dvořák was interested in the native American music and African-American spirituals he heard in America. Upon his arrival in America, he stated:
"I am convinced that the future music of this country must be founded on what are called Negro melodies. These can be the foundation of a serious and original school of composition, to be developed in the United States. These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are the folk songs of America and your composers must turn to them."

But new experiences are usually filtered through one's existing frame of reference, and Dvořák was no exception.

Living in Purgatory

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Purgatory in accordance with catholic teaching is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.

That's what life feels like everyday when you're an undocumented resident in the United States. I started writing about my life experiences over at my personal blog as a way to vent my frustrations and to inform other's about the trials and tribulations that come with being an undocumented resident. Over time, my writing turned into a crusade to raise awareness about immigration in the U.S., legislation bills, unfair and unjust laws, current events and of course personal experiences. Over time I found out that I wasn't alone in my struggle to adjust my resident status and in my struggle to help fight the injustices committed against undocumented residents all over the U.S. To date, the Federal DREAM Act is the only hope I and thousands of undocumented students have to legally integrate into the U.S. Ever since I first heard of the DREAM Act I have written blog post and stories at my college newspaper stressing the importance of it and the need for it. Through my writing I've come to realize that it's only when a face is put behind the problem do people actually take notice and stop and at the very least listen to what is said. My intention is to help inform and educate other's in the tribulations that I personally struggle with on a daily basis as an undocumented resident. Topics from school, relationships and how I'm able to thrive underground are some of the topics I'll be discussing.   I can even answer specific questions anyone might have about issues concerning things like drivers licenses, how I'm able to attend school or any other questions that might come up. Even though I cannot put my personal identity behind this cause because of the type of society we live in, I doesn't take away from what I'm trying to do for the cause. I'm just a person, but I am one of the thousands out there who are fighting the good fight and trying to play by the rules.    

El Random Hero

~ Con Safos ~


Bush's Parting Gift - Shoes

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Think Progress has the videos of an Iraqi journalist, Muthathar al Zaidi, throwing his shoes at George Bush:



Perhaps some poetic justice for a country ravaged by war, and for the millions of Iraqi refugees that have had to flee the country.
The New York Times provides us with the latest evidence that the fight for migrant rights is global.  A citizen of Tajikistan was stabbed several times and decapitated in Russia.  The Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists claimed responsibility in an email to human rights groups.  Most disturbing is that these attacks on migrants are a rising trend.

This year, 85 people have been reported killed and 367 injured in attacks by nationalists, Ms. Kozhevnikova said. She said the numbers were probably far higher because many attacks were unrecorded or were reported months later. Most of the victims have been dark-skinned men from Central Asia or the Caucasus, but tourists and foreign students have also been attacked.

A foreign student who was attacked on Dec. 5, Stanley Robinson, a young African-American from Providence, R.I., on a study-abroad program to Volgograd in southern Russia, remained in critical condition after being stabbed three times on his way back from a gym, a relative said. The police are investigating whether the attack on Mr. Robinson was a hate crime.
Michael Schwirtz - New York Times (13 December 2008)
It's even effecting people of color from the U.S. as that last paragraph shows.  U.S. citizens that read this and consider the situation in the U.S. to be better are completely mistaken.  One needs only to look into the murder of Marcelo Lucero to see that, or research the policy of "attrition through enforcement."

Both Anti-BVBL and Dream Act Texas report on recent findings that Chertoff's home was cleaned by undocumented migrants.

Latina Lista also talks about this finding in Sec. Chertoff's housecleaners may have been undocumented but they weren't criminals. Here a good point is brought up - the reason these undocumented migrants weren't discovered is because they didn't have a criminal background. They weren't criminals. Neither are the vast majority of migrants working hard in this country.

Weekly Immigration Wire: Harvesting Hate in Hard Economic Times at The Unapologetic Mexican on the rise in hate crimes against Latinos along with anti-migrant sentiment and enforcement.

Picture: New York Times / Eric Hoagland

Don't you just love it when the media actually writes a story about real people?  Marc Lacey does precisely that in the New York Times with his article "An American's Lament: 'I Was Deported, Too.'"  Lacey writes about "Crash" and "American wanderer" who was found in Mexico without papers after being asked to join a police line-up, and was actually deported back to the Mexico / U.S. border.  Here's the best part of the article:

He said he was taken away and later found himself in a police lineup. He said he had been told that a woman had been robbed in Acapulco by a blond man with a goatee. Looking at the other men in the lineup, Crash said they could have been his brothers, all of them blond and with goatees.




I remember how the three young men sounded singing this song. We were on our way to go bowling, something they had never done and that I thought they should try.  The CD was one they had brought along for the ride, and when this song came on, we turned it up, and they sang while I drove.

Because I was still learning Spanish, I didn't understand all the words at the time. Now, years later, I sing along when I hear it, when I'm alone, it's impossible not to. But I don't when I'm with them. It's not my song, it's not my right, and I don't know the pain behind it. Each of those three boys left an aging father behind in Guatemala - one working the milpa alone, one making wooden furniture out behind his house with no son to learn his craft, one tending cattle without his youngest son by his side. Fathers missing their sons, and sons missing their fathers.

I could have posted the popular version of this song by Grupo Montez de Durango, but this home made video is more poignant. The comments that follow this video on YouTube are worth reading as well.

Congratulations Nezua! Check out his post on National Human Rights Day at The Unapologetic Mexican which covers the latest Bush atrocity of limiting farm workers rights.

Hearts of Darkness: A journey into the nativist lair at Migra Matters. This is an excellent post on Duke's journey into the alternative universe that is FAIR. Definitely a must read.

Story on RAID in Indiana at Standing FIRM.

But that's JUST IT - these people posed no serious threat to our national security. And yet, ICE is diverting tons of resources into the symbolic arrest of 11 women and 4 men, who are working hard to make ends meet.

Bush Administration now bails out agricultural industry with changes to guestworker program that creates a government sanctioned slave market at Latina Lista.

These changes, not surprisingly, turns more control, oversight and interpretation of the law into the hands of employers who are already striving to pay low wages, house workers in unsanitary and unsafe housing, and retain a level of abusive control over their workers that dictate their movements, work productivity and earnings.

The Bush Administration continues to abuse immigration law to trump up the stories of security threats it wishes immigrants posed--voters are much more compliant when they believe they are facing imminent external threats.  George Bush looks wistfully back at his post-9/11 approval ratings and dreams of a populace permanently under siege.

First, Lyglenson Lemorin, the Haitian-born bumbler who threatened national security with ninja stars (not joking), to whom the feds couldn't get any criminal charges to stick, was recently ordered deported by Immigration Judge Kenneth Hurewitz in Miami.  No such thing as double jeopardy for immigrants!

Judge Hurewitz's asylum denial rate, incidentally: 89.4%.  The national rate: 59.8%.  Interesting that Hurewitz was the one selected to hear the case.  Did I mention that Immigration Judges and DHS prosecuting attorneys are both part of the executive branch?

The following is a guest post by Farmworker Justice, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety and access to justice.
_____________________________________________________________________________

850.jpgBefore leaving office, the Bush Administration is leaving one parting "gift" to our nation's farmworkers.  In midnight regulation changes to the nation's agricultural guestworker program he will slash wages and reduce worker protections for those who harvest our crops. 

The changes, proposed by the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were revealed on the DOL website late Monday evening but have not been officially published in the Federal Register yet.

The H-2A program is a temporary agricultural guestworker program that permits employers to apply for permission to hire foreign labor for jobs lasting ten months or less.  To bring in H-2A guestworkers, employers must show that they cannot find U.S. workers who want the jobs.
 
These will be the most far-reaching changes in the laws regulating agricultural guestworker programs since 1942.  They will return us to an era of agricultural labor exploitation that many thought ended decades ago.
 
The changes cut wage rates and wage protections for both domestic and foreign workers, minimize recruitment obligations inside the U.S. and curtail or eliminate much of the government oversight that is supposed to deter and remedy illegal employer conduct. 

This parting gift on behalf of the Bush Administration to our nation's farmworkers is irresponsible and completely unacceptable.  The H-2A guestworker program is already rife with abuse.  These changes will only make a bad program worse.  That's why today, Farmworker Justice is releasing a special report, Litany of Abuses, Why We Need More --Not Fewer-- Labor Protections in the H-2A Guestworker Program.  You can download the report here: LitanyofAbuseReport12-09-08.pdf

This report explains the current protections within the program and highlights some recent court cases illustrating the harm caused to both U.S. farmworkers and guestworkers alike.  We urge you to take a look at the report then act now to urge Congress to take action to stop the Bush Administration from formally issuing the regulations.

The aim of the Administration is to create an endless supply of guestworkers who our government will allow to be exploited at low wage wages and suffer grueling productivity standards that U.S. workers cannot afford to accept.  At a time of economic crisis when the jobless rate has reached a 15 year high, such actions on the part of this outgoing administration are immoral and unacceptable. 

We call on Congress to do whatever it takes to overturn the Administration's changes to the H-2A guestworker program.  There are reasonable alternatives to the farm labor crisis that have won bipartisan support.

During this holiday season, with so many families facing overwhelming economic burdens, we must think about the families toiling to put food on our tables.  They deserve fair wages and decent working conditions.  Bush's legacy to farmworkers must be undone.

For more information on the H-2A regulatory changes, and news as it develops, please our H-2A News page on our website.
Today is the 60th Anniversary of the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Witness.org is asking people to submit video, images, or text, regarding what opened their eyes to human rights.  



I can easily name an image that opened my eyes to human rights.  It's the image of Tomasa Mendez, who became a poster child for the separation of families after the New Bedford raid.  I wrote a comprehensive post, here, about my feelings on the image of Tomasa Mendez and the New Bedford raid.

This story isn't really related to the migration debate, but I couldn't help but write about it.  CNN reports that a U.S. military jet crashed into the home of Korean migrant Dong Yun Yoon, killing his entire family. 

Yoon named the victims as his infant daughter Rachel, who was born less than two months ago; his 15-month-old daughter Grace; his wife, Young Mi Yoon, 36; and her 60-year-old mother, Suk Im Kim, who he said had come to the United States from Korea recently to help take care of the children.
CNN (10 December 2008)
Despite this tragedy, Yoon, holds nothing against the pilot and even asked people to "pray for him not to suffer from this accident." 

I'll let others read the rest.  This story just reminds me to be thankful for the loved ones around me, and Yoon really is an example of compassion in the face of tragedy.  It's like something right out of the Book of Job

Maria Teresa Peterson of Voto Latino has asked for our support with an "idea for change" on change.org.  "Make Early Voting Available on a National Basis" still needs 74 votes to make the next round.  Undocumented youth have already been bringing it, making the DREAM Act the number one idea for change on change.org.  Let's support the folks at Voto Latino, too.  Vote here.

It appears that there might be another incident of a hate crime, according to the New York Times.  Two Ecuadorian brothers, Jose and Romel Sucuzhanay, were attacked by three men as they spouted anti-gay and anti-Latino slurs.  How it is that people don't see the connection between these hate crimes and nativist sentiment is beyond me. 

This is just as Lisa Votino-Tarrant has written an excellent piece about the aftermath of Marcelo Lucero's murder, over at Long Island Wins.  I've asked her to cross-post it here on Citizen Orange.  I hope she agrees. 
It was good of ICE to halt deportations to Haiti at least for a bit while the country recovered from hurricane after hurricane that ravaged the country.  Here on Citizen Orange I wrote about how Haiti suffered from its own Katrina while the media didn't even care to pay attention.

The Miami Herald is reporting that deportations to Haiti have resumed.  As I said in a post on Monday, deportations don't make any sense when you consider migration from a global perspective.  The only solution to the problems associated with mass migration is to give people opportunities in the countries they are migrating from.  Deportations only make conditions in the countries people are migrating from worse. 
Contrary to nativist myth, migrants, authorized and unauthorized, continue to assimilate to the U.S. at rates equal to or faster than migrants in the past. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that the census "portrays more of a melting pot in Southern California."

The Arizona Republic reports on a study that turns perceptions of migrants' English use "on its head."  A study of German migrants from the past shows they were much worse at assimilating than migrants are today.

It just goes to show that this myth that Latino migration, or majority world migration, is any different from migration from the past is really nothing but a racist perception.

Global Slowdown In Remittances

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An article in the Washington Times pointed me towards a recent report by the International Organization for Migration, which is describing a global slowdown in remittances.

The flow of remittances to developing nations - currently about $283 billion, according to the World Bank - could decline by up to 9 percent because of the global slowdown, he said.

India was the top recipient of remittances last year, amounting to $27 billion, or about 3 percent of its gross domestic product.

Remittances received by China reached $25.7 billion; the Philippines, $17.2 billion; and Bangladesh, $6.6 billion; according to the IOM's "World Migration 2008" report.

Mexico got $25.7 billion in 2007, it said.
John Zaracostas - Washington Times (8 December 2008)
Remittances are the life blood of many people living in the majority world. This economic slowdown and the fall of remittances could be disastrous for many migrant sending nations.

If you've been paying attention to the news lately you've seen the rise in violence against Latinos. Just a few days ago men jumped from a truck and beat two Equadorian brothers nearly to death with a metal bat. We've also seen both Marcelo Lucero and Luis Ramirez beat to death in what are reported as hate crimes.

FAIR Claims Demonizing Rhetoric Unrelated to Anti-Latino Violence at Hatewatch.

FAIR said that this "outrageous behavior" was part of "a calculated strategy" aimed at "silenc[ing] legitimate immigration policy debate" and added that those who suggest such a link between rhetoric and hate crime "provide no proof whatsoever." FAIR and its leader, Dan Stein, were particularly incensed that Latino rights organizations had "cynically" suggested that the recent murder of Marcelo Lucero on Long Island, N.Y., by white teenagers who had gone hunting for "Mexicans," was related to the demonization of Latino immigrants that had been particularly heavy there.

In What Exactly *Are* You Thinking? over at Change.org David links to an article on anti-migrant sentiment in the UK. The cry that the 'white working class' is suffering is one used to promote migrant fear. The piece titled - has a great opening paragraph:

One of the most annoying things about people who like to play around with anti-immigrant politics is that they seem to be incapable of expressing themselves straightforwardly. They're like estate agents who don't want to mention that houses have toilets - it's all this euphemistic "are you thinking what I'm thinking" stuff. And usually, I'm not thinking what they're thinking, and I don't know what they mean.

This week's entry for Music on Monday is Thievery Corporation's new album Radio Retaliation.

It's in-your-face majority world political trip-hop/dub, featuring artists like Seu Jorge and Femi Kuti. Don't let the message distract you from the music, though--both are great. From the group's website:

"Radio Retaliation is definitely a more overt political statement," says Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation. "There's no excuse for not speaking out at this point, with the suspension of habeas corpus, outsourced torture, illegal wars of aggression, fuel, food, and economic crises. It's hard to close your eyes and sleep while the world is burning around you. If you are an artist, this is the most essential time to speak up." So that's exactly what they do with their new album.


Recording in their Washington DC based studio, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, better known as the international DJ and production duo Thievery Corporation, have managed to blossom in the heart of a city they often refer to as "Babylon;" a poignant reference to the traditional Rastafarian distaste and distrust of a corrupt and unjust modern system. Although the city is best known as the seat of an aggressive American Empire, paradoxically Washington DC has long been the home of a music subculture legendary for fierce independence, a staunch do-it-yourself work ethic, and conscientious social activism exemplified by genre-defining pioneers like godfather of go-go Chuck Brown and indie punk rockers Bad Brains, Minor Threat and Fugazi.

Likewise, although some may lazily pin Thievery Corporation as the soundtrack to their cocktail infused late night soiree, the duo have always drawn deep from the well of independent and confrontational music subculture their home town is known for, to produce an ever expanding globally conscious catalogue of music that is difficult to classify.

Picture: Associated Press

The Associated Press has an article about a town in Guatemala that is getting inundated with deportees after the New Bedford raid.  It's good to see journalism that focuses on the root of the problem. 

Nativists are probably cheering the return of all these migrants.  To do so is short-sighted.  If the U.S. is suffering during this economic downturn, Guatemala is suffering worse.  We no longer live in a world where problems fit conveniently into national borders.  It is the inability of Guatemala to provide for its people that has forced people to migrate to the U.S. in the first place.  U.S. support for many of the brutal policies that have ravaged Guatemala makes the U.S. partly responsible.

Deporting tens of thousands to Guatemala when jobs are being lost makes absolutely no sense.  It's forcing the country backwards.  It was the absence of jobs in the first place that forced people to migrate.  I dream of the day when we approach this issue from a global perspective.  It's the only way. 

Below are some of my favorite passages from the article:

the theatre of war

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I wanted to drop a couple of links to an insightful pairof posts over at Obsidian Wings. First, Eric Martin quotes Henley:

Insurgency can't pose an existential threat to the country. Is there a single instance of insurgency warfare conquering foreign territory? Even if you consider South Vietnam and North Vietnam to have really been separate countries, it was, as certain hawks never tire of pointing out, Hanoi's regular Army that conquered the South. The FLN could kick France out of Algeria, but it could never rule France. Hezbollah drove Israel out of Lebanon in the 1990s using guerrilla warfare. It couldn't use the same tactics to drive Israel out of Galilee. Insurgencies can prevent foreign or local governments from consolidating control over the insurgents' "own" territory. Guerrilla movements that get big enough have been able to take power in their own countries.

But they can't conquer. Insurgency is fundamentally reactive and, if not always merely "defensive" . . . parochial. A guerrilla army swims in the sea of the people, like the man said, and foreigners make a lousy sea. Even if all "the terrorists" wanted to follow us home after we "cut and run" from Iraq, they could never have remotely the effect here that they manage in Iraq. Here they lack a sea.

By and large, a country like the United States only needs to commit to an ongoing posture of counterinsurgency if it is also committed to serial military domination of foreign populations. In fact, the United States is currently so committed, on a bipartisan basis. But that's an unwise and immoral posture that will lead to national ruin in the medium to long term. The Iraq defeat offers one of those rare moments for real national reappraisal, an openness to genuine reform. Rather than work at getting better at executing an unwise and immoral grand strategy, let's choose a different one.


I can't emphasize enough how much these foreign policy discussions bleed into and encompass the immigration debate. The barbarians are at the gate, so we must fight them over there and build a big wall to keep them out.

Scarily, the argument is as reductive as that. The common orientalizing conception of non-Americans, fostered in part by inculcation of the heroic national narrative in All Dutiful Children, allows us to simultaneously posit that the savages can't run their own societies without our military oversight and are clever enough to infiltrate our Great Nation's border and defeat us from within.

Part two comes from Publius:

And that brings us back to the real problem with terrorism - its potential for success. Terrorism gives way to a nationalistic fury that is hard to contain or to channel in constructive ways. Even the most reasonable people get outraged - and are right to be outraged.

Even worse though, most countries (India and USA included) have hyper-nationalist parties ready to seize upon tragedies like these for domestic gain, regardless of the collateral damage the parties' proposed policies would cause. Of course, the outrage these parties exploit is perfectly understandable, and it's universally shared. And the terrorists know this - indeed, they're counting on it. That's what often makes their strategy successful.

It's just infuriating -- you want to get mad, but getting mad is exactly what they want. Indeed, it's part of the plan.

In other words, the act of terror and the response are carefully choreographed episodes played by wealthy elites, symbolic gestures that happen to grind up real lives. And the cannon fodder believe in the drama most passionately--that is, after all, the purpose of the theatre.

This may be a DREAM come true at No To Borders and Binaries. The Pass the DREAM Act idea on Change.org has 752 votes and it looks like it will make it into the second round, but more votes will be needed to keep this issue at the top.  Please stop by the site and vote.

Making the DREAM ACT Happen at Dream Act Texas

Realizing the promise: tomorrow is the day, let's make some history at The Sanctuary. Today there will be a major gathering of grassroots leaders in DC.

This is truly a historic moment in our Nation's history and YOU can participate. Tomorrow, visit http://www.realizingthepromise.org/ from 3PM to 6PM to watch the entire event LIVE on our WEBCAST. We will be live-blogging the event at Standing FIRM, so be sure to check back for that too.

Check out Agriprocessors and the Guatemalan Immigrants at Immigration Prof Blog. This article tracks some of the workers and takes time to speak with them on their experiences. From an interview with one worker, Sanail:

On his bedroom wall, he displays a framed photo of himself in Postville. He laughed as he leafed through other pictures, which show him standing in knee-deep Iowa snow, bundled up against the unfamiliar cold. He would love to go back, but he swears he will never be an illegal immigrant again. The price is too high.

Prominent Racists Attend Inaugural H.L. Mencken Club Gathering at Hatewatch. Peter Brimelow gives his reasons for McCain's loss - not enough white Americans.

The president-elect only got a majority of white votes among 18-to-30-year-olds, according to Brimelow. "What this election shows is that whites vote one way and everybody else votes the other way."

From Bender's Immigration Bulletin - Immigrants offer a solution to America's problems. This article, by Mary Sanchez, goes over some facts from a Migration Policy Report along with here opinions on the appointment of Napolitano.

I wrote an extremely long entry which included this bit of news, but I wanted to write a separate post to encourage people to join the facebook group.  

'Language Is A Human Right'

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Renata Avila of Global Voices just sent me an email about an incredible resource to teach Spanish-speaking migrants English.  "Language is a human right" says Fluenz.org and this is what they do:

We create free language learning solutions that address refugees and disadvantaged immigrants in host countries whose language they can't speak or understand.

Our solutions are freely available on the web so that people like you, NGOs, and government agencies can download and distribute them wherever they can make a difference.
If a Spanish-speaking migrant is looking to learn English, this is an excellent resource to help them do so.
When I started my pro-migrant blogging in 2006, I felt alone.  There were millions marching on the streets, but online, I was shouting into the darkness.  I'll never forget that one of the first people that linked to me was XP over at Para Justicia Y Libertad.  It was the beginning of something that I would soon learn.  Traditional media and even "progressive" bloggers didn't care about what I had to say.  I would have to go to the people that did care, like XP, and work together to create something new. 

Two years later, thanks in great part to the support of the Latin@ Netroots, we have created something new.  It's a web of online pro-migrant activists from all over the nation that are making their voices heard in all kinds of media.  Blogs, particularly Latin@ blogs, have led the charge.  It culminated in the founding of The Sanctuary, which has become the hub of what we have termed the sanctuarysphere.  Pro-migrant blogs were beginning to organize long before anyone else was online, and it shows in the national media attention The Sanctuary garnered by getting Barack Obama to answer a comprehensive questionnaire on immigration policy.

The organization of pro-migrant blogs, though, has spread into all kinds of mediums.  Using new media tools like StumbleUpon and Digg, pro-migrant activists are directing tens of thousands of eyes to pro-migrant content, like my 5 Nativist English Lessons, here on Citizen Orange.  We're also having an effect in mediums like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.  Networks of friends, email lists, and blog readers are clearly having an impact where there only use to be only silence and nativism.  A string of recent victories, three in short succession, illustrates this.
A testament to the fact that we're getting more an more organized online is the fact that the DREAM Act has gotten the most votes in Change.org's Ideas For Change in America.  It has over 400 votes and is in first place at the moment. 

Even better is that the charge is being led by undocumented students themselves.  Led by the folks at Dreamactivist.org the DREAM Act is beating every other idea for change on change.org.  That's an accomplishment if there ever was one. 

I won't even mention the fact that Citizen Orange's own Dave Bennion runs an immigration blog over at change.org, now.  Nativist better watch out, because this is going to be a much different fight the next time comprehensive immigration reform comes up.  We're much more organized than we were just a year ago. 

So go over to change.org and vote for the DREAM Act.  Show the world how strong we are.  The sanctuarysphere is growing.


Picture: Stuart Isett/New York Times

I'm always here to bring you a more global perspective on the U.S. migration debate and the New York Times does just that with this article on a Cambodian deportee.

Tuy Sobil, or K.K., was a Cambodian refugee who just never went through the motions of applying for U.S. citizenship so when he was arrested for a felony he was deported.  He now teaches hundreds of poor Cambodian children how to break dance, and the U.S. ambassador to Cambodia has even asked K.K. if his son can take a class. 

His breakdancers have even been invited back to the U.S., but K.K. can't go back.  The U.S. is no longer a forgiving place for the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free. 


I haven't written much about George W. Bush in a while.  It's a testament to his irrelevancy.  He's been doing interviews looking back on his presidency as of late, and I was surprised to find this in an interview Bush did with ABC's Charlie Gibson:

Bush said that one of his biggest disappointments was the failure to pass a comprehensive bill on immigration reform.

"I firmly believe that the immigration debate really didn't show the true nature of America as a welcoming society," he said. "I fully understand we need to enforce law and enforce borders. But the debate took on a tone that undermined the true greatness of America, which is that we welcome people who want to work hard and support their families."
Lauren Sher - ABC News (1 December 2008)
I've often been criticized for caring so much about migrant rights and allowing that passion to cloud my perception of other battles that need to be fought.  If that were true, I could very easily say that George W. Bush got it right on U.S. migration policy.   

Despite it's conservative bent, the Miami Herald continues to be a favorite stop of mine for news on Latin America.  I still often refer back to their informative Children of The Americas feature, which highlights just how bad malnutrition rates are for children in Guatemala.

The Miami Herald is starting a new series, now, on how migration to the U.S. is slowing.  Reporters for the Miami Herald buy into the false notion trumpeted by nativist groups like the Center for Immigration Studies that migration enforcement is actually working.  In reality, it's the economy that's causing the slowdown.

Still the series provides a global perspective on what is too often portrayed from a narrow nationalist point of view.  Here's the introduction to the series, the reasoning for it, and three stories: one on unauthorized migrants going home, another on slowing remittances to El Salvador, and a final story on the steep price migrants have to pay for a few more dollars in the bank.  I like the last two stories on El Salvador the most.

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