November 2009 Archives

Remembering Marcelo Lucero: One Year Later at Anti-BVBL.

Marcelo Lucero was an Ecuadorian who was murdered by a group of teenage thugs on Long Island a year ago last Sunday. His murder has become a rallying cry for Civil Rights, much like Birmingham Sunday became.

On Thanksgiving: Truth and Celebration at All About Race.

Being an honest, yet enthusiastic American requires the ability to consistently integrate the pretty, mythic narratives that our nation holds dear with the always more complicated and often very ugly truth of our American story. Like my experience of George Washington's birthday, some American Indians refer to the Thanksgiving I celebrate as a National Day of Mourning. And with good reason.

Do American Indians Look "Hispanic" or Do "Hispanics" Look American Indian? at American Taino.

Got Milk? Thank Immigrants at America's Voice.

Hate Group FAIR Looking for "Ethnically Ambiguous" Actors--Think You Have What it Takes? at America's Voice.

More Than 60,000 Americans in 45 States Organize for Comprehensive Immigration Reform at CAUSA.

Fort Hood Murders Evoke Racist Reactions at Color Lines.

What is ICE up to? at Dream Act Texas.

With talk of Comprehensive Immigration Reform coming up in a few months, why is ICE targeting employers who hire undocumented workers? Is it to make the administrative look tough once the Congress starts debating the bill?

[Cross-posted at Young Philly Politics]

Each year in the U.S., 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school with limited options for higher education or employment. Many undocumented youth were brought to this country as children, even infants, by their parents. They are indistinguishable in every way but one from their citizen friends, classmates, and siblings: they don't have a piece of paper that says they can stay here.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) would change that. The Act would provide conditional legal status to applicants who:

provide certain undocumented immigrant students who graduate from US high schools, are of good moral character, arrived in the US as children, and have been in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency. The students would obtain temporary residency for a six year period. Within the six year period, a qualified student must have "acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or [have] completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor's degree or higher degree in the United States," or have "served in the uniformed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, [have] received an honorable discharge.".

A version of the Act was first introduced in 2001, and subsequent versions have been proposed since then, but the bill stalled during the acrimonious immigration debate of 2006-07. The Act was reintroduced earlier this year, and has garnered 105 co-sponsors in the House and 35 in the Senate. It has been endorsed by President Obama, Secretary of DHS Janet Napolitano, Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust, Microsoft, the College Board, the University of California system, and several newspaper editorial boards, including the New York Times. Against it are ... the same restrictionist organizations that oppose any immigration reform.

This spring, Temple University passed a resolution in support of the Act, largely through the efforts of Daniel Dunphy, President of the Temple College Democrats. The city of Philadelphia followed suit with a resolution sponsored by Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez. Students at the University of Pennsylvania are also getting involved.

Dream Act candidate Walter Lara was hosted on Rick Sanchez's show on CNN last week along with Anne Galisky, the director of a new documentary about the undocumented student movement, "Papers."

I saw most of the movie a few weeks ago, and it was great--informative and heartbreaking. I wish every high school or college student, and every parent of a high school or college student, could see it to get an idea of what life without papers is like in the U.S.

Also, check out Maria's thoughtful post over at Dreamactivist.

So Long Dobbs: Pro-Migrant SanctuarySphere

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Lou Dobbs Takes a 'Voluntary Departure' from CNN at Dream Activist blog.

Hasta la Vista Dobbs at Dream Act Texas.

Weekly Diaspora: Deporting Dobbs at The Unapologetic Mexican.

After 30 years, commentator Lou Dobbs--infamous for his tirades against undocumented immigrants--has left CNN, as TPM reports. Dobbs employed disturbing, dangerous, and dated language to slur immigrants, often equating them with disease and infection. There is a connection between this type of demagoguery and violence.
UPDATE: This post hit the front page of Digg, this morning.  Welcome Digg users!  This post has also been submitted by people to Reddit and StumbleUpon so upvote it there, too, if you're feeling generous. 

More importantly, though, drop us a line at Citizen Orange if you're interested in getting more involved in migrant rights, or subscribe to the Citizen Orange feed to stay connected to the online pro-migrant movement.

Andrea Nill over at Think Progress' Wonk Room picked up one of the most entertaining developments in the U.S. migration policy debate that I've had the pleasure of coming across in some time.  Chuck Norris is pro-migrant

Just in case you haven't been on the planet Earth in the last five years, Chuck Norris has become an Internet phenomenon for satirical "facts" invoking his name.  Chuck Norris himself seems to have an ambivalent relationship with these "facts", but there is one new "fact" Chuck Norris might be proud to claim.  Taking Rachel LaBruyere's lead at the Standing FIRM Blog, here is a new "Chuck Norris fact":  Chuck Norris can fix the broken U.S. migration system in 1 minute on Fox News.

This new "Chuck Norris fact" got me thinking.  What kind of Chuck Norris facts could folks come up with in the U.S. migration policy debate?  Even better, what if Chuck Norris were a migrant?  Here's what I came up with.
Via Yglesias, right wingers spew racial epithets and tell Rep. Joseph Cao to "go back to Saigon" for voting yes on the Democratic health care bill.

It's almost as though this strain of conservatism doesn't want to see any nonwhites in the GOP, or anyone who thinks racism has no place in political discourse. 

We're two months away from a new decade (the "teens") and people are still saying this crap?  And believing it? 

I hope that these people are not the reason Schumer and Obama keep delaying introduction of immigration legislation, or the reason Janet Napolitano keeps locking up Dream Act-eligible students and splitting up families.  Because no one should be taking these racists seriously.

The Republicans are celebrating their victory in New Jersey and there may be reason for pro-migrant supporters to celebrate as well. Chris Christie is not your standard Republican. In fact he has spent many years fighting Morristown, New Jersey mayor Donald Cresitello on Cresitello's desire to institute 287g. Cresitello actually had quite a distaste for Christie due to his constant push back on the 287g program. Prior to the election Cresitello stated about Christie:

I couldn't understand how a Republican could come out against a program to deport people who come here illegally and are accused of further illegalities. I figured the mayor might offer some insight. Chris Christie leans to the left of even some Democrats

Last year Chris Christie stated in a town hall meeting:

"Being in this country without proper documentation is not a crime," Christie told more than 60 residents and town officials. "The whole phrase of 'illegal immigrant' connotes that the person, by just being here, is committing a crime."

"Don't let people make you believe that that's a crime that the U.S. Attorney's Office should be doing something about," he added of entering the country illegally. "It is not."

Christie: Immigrants are not criminals -

Remember Marcelo Lucero

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Nearly one year ago, on November 8, 2008, Long Island resident Marcelo Lucero was beaten and stabbed to death by a group of local teens who had decided to go "beaner hopping." They had already assaulted other Latinos earlier that day. The group appears to me to have viewed racial attacks as a way to stave off boredom, regularly going after those they viewed as the most vulnerable and despised in their community: Latino immigrants.

Long Island Wins is sponsoring a campaign to remember Marcelo. Remembering Marcelo's life and his death is important to me because there have been too many racial attacks in Philadelphia as well. Some incidents date back years, like the attack against Julio Maldonado and Denis Calderon in 1996, where law enforcement sided with the persecutors instead of the victims. Immigrants are still being attacked today in our community, and for the same reasons that Marcelo was killed: they are viewed as enemies or threats by many in the community and also seen as easy targets. Local law enforcement here facilitates those kinds of crimes by targeting immigrants themselves, usually for minor traffic violations, and turning them over to ICE, ensuring that immigrant victims of crimes will be less willing to call the police for protection. This problem is not limited to Philly--Luis Ramirez was killed in Pottsville, PA, just months before Marcelo's death.

Long Island Wins and Marcelo's family have very effectively pushed back against the hate in their community, and I hope that other communities around the country can follow their example.

And as Ted Hesson of Long Island Wins pointed out, Congress could do a lot to solve the problem of hate crimes by passing immigration reform to bring people out of the shadows and into the scope of the protections that others in the community enjoy. Right now, too many people are invisible to all but those who wish them harm.

Activists in New York are disappointed:

When we elected Barack Obama as the President of the United States, we thought we were choosing change; we thought we were voting for humane immigration reform; we thought the separation of families would end. Now, less than a year later, we see that we were wrong.

Helen is asleep, dreaming of her lacrosse match the next day, the latest poem she has been working on and her weekend plans with friends from her church group. Suddenly, she is woken up, dragged from her bed at gunpoint and told that none of the things that she has been working toward and dreaming of are possible for her. Helen's dreams have been interrupted by a living nightmare.

The twist to this story is that Helen Mejia-Perez is a U.S. citizen.  Her parents fled the turmoil in Guatemala in 1992, the tail end of a civil war in which the U.S. had a hand in creating.  Now Helen's parents are about to be deported early tomorrow morning.  At 13, Helen and her 4-year-old brother will have little choice but to go with their parents back to Guatemala.  This is a de facto deportation of two U.S. citizens. 

As these New York DreamActivists have ascertained, President Obama's DHS is pretty much the same as President Bush's DHS was.  Getting deportation numbers up is priority number one.  Worrying about the families that are torn apart, or Dream Act-eligible students deported, is at the bottom of the list. 

Congress continues to shovel taxpayer money to DHS to fund enforcement efforts, while our local Philadelphia USCIS office is cutting personnel who work to help people navigate the system to obtain lawful status.  As it gets harder and harder to obtain and maintain legal status, harder to become a citizen, it is easier than ever to be deported.  

Meanwhile the administration and Democrats in Congress (with some exceptions) continue to stall and prevaricate about when they will introduce an immigration bill. 

Join Mo at DreamActivist in asking Senator Feinstein to stand up for immigrant families, to stand up for the U.S. citizen children in her state:

Call Senator Feinstein:  D.C.: (202) 224-3841  San Francisco: (415) 393-0707  Los Angeles: (310) 914-7300

"I was calling to ask why Senator Feinstein is not stepping in and allowing for United States citizens to be deported!"

Leave a message at each office and then rinse and repeat in a few hours.  We have to make sure Feinstein knows we won't tolerate this from her.

Sign onto this letter at, or to sign on as an organization, send an email to mo at dreamactivist dot org.

I have not written since my grandfather died.  I have not let sadness overtake me either.  I've wallowed in nothingness, occupying myself mostly with movies and online television shows.  Writing it out, now, I realize that nothingness is worse than sadness.  It certainly is no way to honor a life that was so full.

I've long imagined writing something brilliant about my grandfather, or my whole family, for that matter.  As my grandfather's health deteriorated, I also imagined having something profound to say after his death.  Writing that out feels macabre and self-indulgent.  Weeks have passed and the words haven't come.

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