kyledeb: 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

| | Comments (5)
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.

(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.
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.
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:

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.
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.