David Bennion: February 2008 Archives
Dreamland, a 2005 documentary about the war in
Iraqis have been arrested and locked up without charge or trial. They have been beaten, tortured, raped, and killed by their ostensible protectors--U.S. soldiers and contractors--very few of whom have faced serious consequences for their actions.
What few procedural guarantees exist for noncitizens in the
I recently read two remarkable books, and I’d like to talk
about them both, in separate posts. The
first is What is the What: The Autobiography
of Valentino Achak Deng, the story of one of
Each of these books revived for me an experience I used to have commonly as a child, but much less frequently in adulthood. I would pick up a book and not be able to focus on anything else until I had finished it. I would read on the bus to school, under my desk [clarifying: the book, not me] during class, and often during lunch break. Late at night I would sneak to my bedroom doorway to read by the light in the hall, which was ostensibly left on to comfort my siblings and I from nighttime terrors. On Saturdays, I would shut myself in the bathroom for hours to read and avoid my chores. On Sundays, I resented the three hours that church took away from my books. As an adult, I read primarily nonfiction, and much more slowly given the multiplying demands on my time, and I thought maybe I had lost that childhood compulsion completely. But with each of these books, the hunger to continue the story continued until I had read both of them in the same week. This I find a little strange, considering that either one could be the most depressing book I have ever read.
Francis Fukuyama recently reviewed Samantha Power's new book, Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World. From the review:
From the review:
In the wake of the
Iraqdebacle, the idea that strong countries like the should use their power to defend human rights or promote democracy around the world has become widely discredited. From an overmilitarized foreign policy, we are in danger of going to the opposite extreme, forgetting the lessons of the 1990s that hard power is sometimes needed to resolve political conflicts, and that we do not yet have an adequate set of international institutions to deploy it legitimately and effectively. United States
I take exception to one of the premises above. The
One lesson of the 1990s is that sovereign nations cannot be expected to act on their own to further the interests of noncitizens at some unquantifiable risk to their own interests. They simply won't do it absent a more formal institutional structure for using multilateral military force than now exists. Any political leadership that does make significant sacrifices for noncitizens at the expense of citizens will soon find itself out of a job if that country's democratic processes are functioning well, and rightly so, based on the existing parameters of sovereign government and international politics.
Amtrak will start randomly screening passengers' carry-on bags this week in a new security push that includes officers with automatic weapons and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolling platforms and trains.
The initiative, to be announced by the railroad on Tuesday, is a significant shift for Amtrak. Unlike the airlines, it has had relatively little visible increase in security since the 2001 terrorist attacks, a distinction that has enabled it to attract passengers eager to avoid airport hassles.
Atrios said this:
Trains are not planes, and random checks like this are pointless.
I respectfully disagree.
These searches may well have a distinct purpose: immigration enforcement. Lately, I have been hearing from clients about immigration
searches on trains in upstate
These random checks are far from pointless.
The mother of a 2-week-old boy said her son would be alive today if they and his traveling nurse hadn't been held up at
by customs personnel. Honolulu International Airport
Luaipou Futi of
spoke through an interpreter during a news conference Tuesday at the offices of the family's attorney, Rick Fried. American Samoa
Futi's son, Michael Tony, died Friday at the airport after he, Futi and the nurse, Arizona Veavea, were kept in a locked room after flying nearly five hours from
so the child could be treated for a birth defect, a hole in his heart, Fried said. American Samoa
I also know that for women of all backgrounds, keeping their families together is a top priority. It is no secret that Latino families are being separated from their families every day in this country because of raids and deportation policies that do not take family and humanity into account when trying to enforce laws.
That's why when I'm President, I will put comprehensive immigration reform back on the nation's agenda during my first year in office, and I will not rest until it is passed once and for all.
I will take that as a campaign promise to work during his first year to enact comprehensive immigration reform, and I hope migrants and migrant advocates hold him to it.
I see the Myers blackface story has gotten some additional exposure. I'd like to address a point that I didn't examine in my earlier post. Rather than bury it in an update, I'll post again. The WaPo covered the story, and this part jumped out at me:
In a Nov. 8 letter replying to questions by McCaskill, Myers said that she was "shocked and horrified" to learn that the employee was wearing makeup but that within minutes of leaving the party she instructed her chief of staff to direct ICE's events photographer "to delete all photos of the employee."
"Although I didn't know that the employee had disguised his race, I believed I had made an error in judgment in recognizing an escaped prisoner," Myers wrote.
Explanation 1: She really did think the employee was black, in which case she is not smart enough to run a lemonade stand, much less a large government bureaucracy which requires substantial judgment and wisdom to enforce the immigration laws in a race-neutral way.
recently compelled the government to release photos taken of the official in
charge of Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) with an ICE employee in
blackface and fake dreads dressed in a prisoner's uniform at an office
Halloween party last year. View the segment here. See some of the redacted photos here.
At the party, Julie Myers, then-acting chief of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security, gave an award for "most original costume" to an employee wearing prison stripes, a wig with dreadlocks and face-darkening makeup.
Under the assumptions that (a) a Democrat will win the White House this year and (b) that whoever is crowned the "winner" by the media after Super Tuesday will be the Democratic nominee (this second assumption may be on shakier ground than the first), tomorrow's primary election in selected states might be more important than the November general election.
So from a pro-migrant, progressive perspective, which of the two leading Democratic candidates is preferable on the issue of immigration? This blogger concludes that Obama--though far from perfect--is the better candidate for migrants.
Update: [Well, my assumption that Super Tuesday would be the end of the Democratic primary race was quite ill-informed. I hope the rest of my observations hold up a little better.]