Racism: March 2008 Archives

Apparently an incarceration ratio of 1 in 100, while good enough for U.S. citizen adults, is a little low for immigrants in the eyes of the feds. 

From Anna Gorman and Scott Glover at the LA Times (via Thoreau at Unqualified Offerings):

Federal authorities are cracking down on immigrants who were previously deported and then reentered the country illegally -- a crime that now makes up more than one-third of all prosecutions in Los Angeles and surrounding counties, a Times review of U.S. attorney's statistics shows.

Most of these prisoners were probably removed through an administrative removal proceeding after coming to the U.S. previously.  Most probably didn’t have access to counsel the first time around, which is just one of the due process violations prevalent in the pseudo-judicial immigration system.  But it’s ok, the government argues, because it’s “just a civil matter.”  No jail time involved—just “detention” on your way out of the country if you try to fight your case. 

But there are serious consequences if someone previously deported decides to come back to be with their children or spouse, or out of economic desperation.  Then the outcome of the previous administrative proceeding is used against them in criminal court.

The restrictionist strategy of enforcement through attrition claimed another hardworking taxpayer last week.  A Brooklyn woman finally gave up her fight to stay in this country.  Already past retirement age, she works long nighttime shifts caring for disabled people.  Her employers and patients have nothing but praise for her.  But the stress of long years of trying to resolve her immigration status, after a string of mistakes committed by USCIS (including at one point sending her a welcome notice signaling the start of permanent resident status, then denying the case without informing her), finally led her to abandon her quest to stay in the country.  Nativists everywhere, rejoice--the low-wage ambitions of another softspoken terrorist grandma have been thwarted!

The combination of burdensome and incomprehensible rules, unjustifiably high fees (e.g., $340 for a work permit, often baselessly or mistakenly denied by USCIS, and $585 to appeal the decision--over $1,000 for a bare-bones DIY green card application), race-based decisionmaking cloaked in administrative discretion, and extraordinarily punitive enforcement measures have created a climate of hate and fear.  This situation didn't arise organically, nor is it an inevitable consequence of natural social and economic forces, as restrictionists would have us believe.  It is the carefully planned result of years of conservative organizing and legislative action, spearheaded since 1999 by the nativist caucus in the House.   

Image: World Wide Lens

With all the migrant suffering in the world, I do my best to stay upbeat and look for hope in the darkness. Unfortunately, this will not be one of those days.  This morning I happened upon a post at Brave New Films by famed Latina author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, entitled "Latino artists bear the burden of anti-immigrant frenzy" on her own blog.  Valdes-Rodriguez's post filled me with an overwhelming sense of dread.  The United States and other parts of the world, through the U.S., are being deprived of an entire subset of viewpoints as a result of the hostile nativist attitudes that have emerged in recent years.

I don't know why this post affected me so much in the midst of everything else.  I think it's because when fighting injustice one has the tendency to believe that you can't kill an idea, that you can't silence the truth.  But here you have a clear case where truth is being silenced.  I'll let Valdes-Rodriguez take it from here:

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This page is a archive of entries in the Racism category from March 2008.

Racism: April 2008 is the next archive.

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