August 2011 Archives

I just came across a radio segment by the talented MarĂ­a Hinojosa at NPR's Latino USA where she interviewed Luis Miranda, Director of Hispanic Media at the White House. Mr. Miranda confirmed my worst fears about the Obama administration announcement that it would review the deportations of the 300,000 people who are currently in proceedings. He said the following to Ms. Hinojosa:
Howie Carr is at it again, but this time he's gone overboard.  He spent most of his show on Friday joking about Hurricane Irene and bashing "illegals." At one point, he aired a pre-recorded message from one of his listeners asking "Is it illegal to shoot an illegal with my illegal gun?" or something to that effect. I heard it on my drive home on Friday, but have not been able to find the audio elsewhere.

You'd think after the 10th person was declared dead in Connecticut as a result of Hurricane Irene, a state where his show is aired, he'd show a little bit of humility, but no he was at it again in the Boston Herald over the weekend.

I have a longer piece about this that I just wrote up and am trying to publish, but I thought people should know this as soon as possible, especially as his writings gain national traction.
I got this press release from Gutierrez's office last week:

Gutierrez Calls Changes to "Secure Communities" Program Unacceptable

Recent ICE Changes Erode "Any Semblance of Legitimacy the Program Ever Had," Congressman Writes

(Washington) - Today, Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) sent a letter (pdf) to Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton renewing his call to end the "Secure Communities" state and local immigration program and objecting in particular to changes in the program that now make it mandatory for all states and localities, even those who have chosen to opt out. The State of Illinois is one of three states, all with Democratic Governors, that are seeking withdrawal from the program that enlists state and local law enforcement in identifying individuals for deportation. The text of the Congressman's letter is below. URL for this release:

Dear Director Morton:

I have made no secret of the fact that I oppose the Secure Communities state and local immigration program and its rapid expansion because it undermines public safety and has not lived up to its stated goals of identifying and deporting serious criminals rather than non-criminal immigrants. However, the announcement you made last week that the program is now mandatory for all states and localities and that all existing agreements between the federal government and state and local governments are revoked, is simply unacceptable and amounts to little more than reneging on previous commitments for the sake of political expediency.

ACTION: Donate to the Student Immigrant Movement

I just received an email from the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) and I wanted to share it with people and encourage them to donate. Before I share the email, though, I just wanted to provide some context.

If you're reading this and you haven't heard my story, yet, I recently updated it, here. The short of it is that I got connected to the pro-migrant movement by blogging but it was actually the Student Immigrant Movement that taught me how to make real change. Carlos Saavedra, who is now with the National Coordinator of the United We Dream Network, was the one who taught me how to organize.
In his weekly "E-Update" my congressman, Michael Capuano (D-MA-8), voiced his opposition to the Secure Communities program, or S-Comm, after having met with the Massachusetts ACLU:

I met this week with a number of constituents who are affiliated with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)


We also discussed "Secure Communities." This program, initiated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), requires fingerprints of every person arrested to be sent by local police departments to the FBI and also shared with ICE. I believe that states and cities should not be compelled to do this if local elected officials and law enforcement authorities object. Federal immigration resources should be devoted to the apprehension and detention of dangerous criminals, terrorists, and human traffickers.
Michael Capuano - E-Update (12 August 2011)
My Congressman is among the most progressive politicians in Congress, and I have yet to see him take an anti-migrant position on a specific issue. It's hard to ask for much more, but I'm going to complain anyway.

Capuano certainly isn't a leader on immigration issues and he frequently uses language to refer to migrants which makes me cringe.
If there's any illustration of why journalists need to Drop The I-Word, it's breaches of journalistic responsibility like this:

Day and night, his cabs zoom past Gainesville's churches and small factories and fast-food joints. They shuttle illegal grandmothers to supermarkets, illegal mothers and children to doctor's visits, and illegal workers to jobs, many of them in the polleras, or chicken plants, that earned this city the nickname Poultry Capital of the World.
Richard Fausset - Los Angeles Times (11 August 2011)

Fausset's irresponsible scribbles bring to mind the time when Emily Bazar of USA Today referred to migrant youth as "illegal students" and then retracted it after Prerna Lal started a petition against them through The term "illegal immigrant" itself is both dehumanizing and inaccurate, but this is made all the more clear when journalists push the boundaries of that harmful terminology.

ACTION UPDATE: I just set up twitter petition asking Josh Marshall to Drop The I-Word.

Talking Points Memo (TPM) certainly isn't the same liberal blog that it used to be, but that isn't any excuse for TPM to publish trash like Benjy Sarlin's article on Texas Gov. Rick Perry's immigration stances. It's clear Sarlin knows very little about immigration policy or the politics of it as he runs from complex issue to complex issue without providing any real analysis or in some cases, just plain bad or wrong analysis. For instance, see Sarlin's writing on in-state tuition in Texas:

Once relatively uncontroversial positions by Perry have since become anathema: a bill offering in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, which passed with near-unanimous margins in Texas, now faces major protests in Maryland.

"There's no justification for it," Mark Krikorian, executive director of the hawkish Center for Immigration Studies, told TPM when asked about the Texas law. "It sends one more signal that being an illegal alien really isn't that bad and that illegal immigrants can be integrated into the institutions of our society."

Many credit the Texas bill with inspiring the federal DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for similar children. Republican lawmakers have blocked the legislation in the Senate amid fierce opposition from conservative activists. Perry has come out against the national DREAM Act, but continues to defend his support for in-state tuition.

"To punish these young Texans for their parents' actions is not what America has always been about," he told the New Hampshire Union Leader last month.
Benjy Sarlin - Talking Points Memo (9 August 2011)
First the substance. Who are the "many" that credit Texas with inspiring the federal DREAM Act? Texas was the first state to pass in-state tuition in 2001, the same year that the federal DREAM Act was first introduced by none other than U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on Aug. 1, 2001. I can't find the exact date when in-state tuition passed in Texas, but even with the most lenient time line 8 months is a short time to inspire a federal DREAM Act.
I'm doing a lot of radio these days, I guess. Today, I'm kind of cheating. I'm in the Detroit area with family and a friend of my father's and mother's from college, Gary Baker, hosts this radio show called Internet Advisor.

I've actually been on it, once before, when I was just a kid. Either way, I just thought I'd let folks know in case they have time and want to listen. I'll be on with my father which I think will be interesting.
After signing the petition, I got this email from pro-migrant Mass. State Rep. Tim Toomey (D-Cambridge):

Dear Kyle,

Thank you for contacting me in support of the in-state tuition bill. I have been a long-time supporter of this bill and I am proud to be a committed supporter of equal access to higher education for all.

When Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL-4) got arrested last week to protest Barack Obama's one millionth deportation, little attention was paid to the letter Obama wrote to Gutierrez in defense of the increasing hardship Obama has forced on migrant communities. I was able to get a copy of the original letters from Gutierrez's office after the White House leaked it to media outlets seemingly in retaliation for Gutierrez's act of defiance.

I will embed the letter Gutierrez originally sent along with Obama's response, below, but they are linked to in this sentence in case people want to read them before I continue. I will provide a little background, first, but I think Obama's defense shows just how extraordinarily out of touch this administration with the immigrant community.

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