kyledeb: December 2008 Archives

Happy Holidays

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

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."
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.


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.
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:
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.