Ruling Shows Why Congress Must Act Now to Fix Immigration System
The Fair Immigration Reform Movement today blasted an Alabama judge’s ruling that upholds harsh immigration provisions that are unfair to immigrants.
In her ruling yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn refused to block the toughest provisions of the law, H.B. 56. Now, undocumented immigrants in Alabama must carry documents required by federal law, and police have the authority to determine the immigration status for anyone they stop, detain or arrest.
Also, Alabama public school officials have to determine whether school children were born outside the United States or are children of undocumented immigrants.
“Alabama’s law gives police the right to racially profile people and sends a message to all immigrants that they are being singled out,” said FIRM spokesperson Marissa Graciosa. “This law will do nothing to create fair immigration laws. Congress must act now to fix the immigration system before more states follow Alabama’s terrible example.”
“In Alabama, immigrant families are now scared of being out in public or sending their children to school,” Graciosa said. “Many left their native countries because of similar fears from the police. It’s a disgrace that in the United States, people are made to feel like criminals because of their nationality.”
“Congress’s refusal to act on this issue has signaled to states that it’s OK to create their own policy on immigration,” Graciosa said.
Today at MigraMatters, Duke has a really thoughtful post about the incoming administration (whoever that may be) and how they could deal with immigration sensibly and comprehensively. It is a must-read.
Come January 20, 2009 a new administration will take office in perhaps the most precarious times the nation has faced since the 1930’s. Fighting two seemingly endless wars and with an economy on the verge of collapse, it is not an enviable position for any leader.
While both candidates have avoided the immigration debate like the plague during the campaign, it has moved down the list of important issues for voters, replaced by more pressing issues like healthcare or the economy. But in order to address these more pressing concerns in any meaningful way, the new government will need to tackle immigration once and for all.
There is a great post at DMI Blog today, analyzing the much broader political implications of maintaining the ICE raids at their current level.
The post focuses on David Coss, mayor of Santa Fe, who is a strong pro-migrant supporter. Coss says:
We know what the right thing to do is. We have political leadership that wants to keep us from doing [the right thing] because the division works for them. But it doesn’t work for us. And most people know that.
Our government knows that comprehensive immigration reform is the right thing to do, but it would not be the politically expedient thing to do. Divisiveness allows politicians to stage raids, in order to look as though they are “doing something” about immigration, while the already rich corporations and big business profit off of the cheap labor of exploited immigrants.
The longer the political leadership is able to use immigration raids as a proxy for actual immigration reform, the longer elites will benefit from the economic contributions of immigrants while immigrants themselves – and American workers whose working conditions and wages are undermined – suffer. Just as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are paradigms of that newestcliché “heads you win, tails we lose”, enforcement-only immigration tactics work for political leadership who look like their doing something, while the rest of us – documented and undocumented immigrants, naturalized citizens, native-born citizens, whomever – are losing the valuable contributions that immigrants with a pathway to citizenship have to offer.
Below is a video of Mayor Coss.
A few voices in the blogosphere have been writing about Luis Ramirez’s death in a fatal beating this past week. I’ve been following the story, as some of you know.
Now, people are speaking out, claiming that since Luis was undocumented, he got what he deserved. To most, this logic seems glaringly inhumane and callous. However, there are people who will parrot the belief that he “got what he deserved”, that somehow, in this instance, brutal murder is justified.
For more on this, make sure to click over to American Humanity, where symsess gives us an excellent analysis of both blog and media coverage around the story. And proves why we should care – all of us.
From a ImmigrationProf Blog today comes a commentary on the lack of employee convictions in the wake of the flurry of recent immigration raids.
Undocumented workers continue to face horrific consequences (including the new tactic of conviction of criminal offenses), while the employers remain unscathed by the law.
Statistical silence on the issue of employer criminal sanctions is not surprising. Truth is that ICE does not spend many of its resources prosecuting employers, despite what is reported in the media immediately after a raid. And the reality of how raids are conducted suggests that employer prosecutions are hardly a priority. Otherwise, why would the government remove and convict practically all the witnesses it needs to build a case against the employer – the workers themselves.
ICE continues to wage war on immigrants without addressing the root issues of workplace standards, living wages and job improvement. Scapegoating hard-working immigrants will not deter these employers from exploiting and abusing anyone in the future.
But the mainstream media remains focused on the spectacle of the raids, shouting that ICE is tracking down “illegal” people and perpetuating the myth that these raids are “working”.
But what does “working” mean? If it simply means a horrid fate for the undocumented workers and their families caught in the raids, then yes. But if it means actually improving jobs and work conditions for U.S. workers or deterrence of bad practices by U.S. employers, then think again!
Click here for full post.
From MigraMatters –
posted by Duke1676
There is a great post on Smart Borders today that reinforces my point from an earlier post – – Immigration Backlogs Put Lives on Hold.
Writing about his first day working for an Immigration Law firm, Matthew Webster cuts to what is at the core of our debate today – humanity. Here is an excerpt:
Despite the fact it was my first day, I felt I was able to contribute both to the attorney and these clients, these people. I enjoyed speaking Spanish with a Mexican man who has been working here for years and is attempting to get employer-sponsored citizenship. My heart went out to a woman who was calling about her husband’s file, a husband she has not seen for two years since he was forced to leave the country. I thumbed through thousands of files, thousands of lives and stories and situations, thousands of big dreams and tiny legalities.
Click here to read the full post.
Today, Duke at The Sanctuary bring us a powerful post on migration causes and costs (both in dollars and in lives). The effectiveness of “prevention through deterrence” and the concept of a border wall is also explored.
It is an ABSOLUTE must-read.
In the mid-nineties US policy towards Mexico changed in two significant ways that eventually set the stage for the current “immigration crisis.” In January 1994, NAFTA went into effect and a new era of prosperity and progress was to begin in Mexico. At the same time, a new strategy was enacted along the southern border intended to stem the flow of unauthorized migrants. The policy of “prevention through deterrence” involved quintupling border-enforcement expenditures, building new fortified checkpoints, high-tech surveillance, and deploying thousands of additional Border Patrol Agents. Additionally, border barriers were built along portions of the California and Texas border to prevent migrants from entering through the most highly trafficked urban areas.
More than a decade later it’s become evident that the promises of these two policies, rather than bringing economic change to Mexico and decreasing unauthorized migration to the US, have led to conditions that more than doubled the flow of migration….and brought added death to the border.
NAFTA, while bringing trade and investment to Mexico, has had unintended negative consequences on both sides of the border for working people and the poor. Whole segments of the US manufacturing sector have been relocated to Mexico resulting in job loss for US workers. At the same time, the lifting for trade restrictions in Mexico have allowed cheaper US commodities to enter the country, decimating Mexican agricultural markets and throwing millions of small farmers out of business. Additionally, the availability of even cheaper labor sources in places like China has forced manufacturing wages to go down.
As for the policy of “prevention through deterrence”, all it has really accomplished in the past fourteen years is a movement of the routes of migration from relatively safe urban areas like San Diego and El Paso to the hostile desert and mountainous regions where enforcement is difficult. This “funneling effect” of forcing migrants into least hospitable areas has had devastating effects for those on both sides of the border. A study released by the University Of Arizona examined the consequences of shifting migration patterns from California and Texas to Arizona and found it had increased migrants deaths by 20-fold.
The failures of NAFTA to bring prosperity to Mexico are well documented. It’s moved 19 million more Mexicans into poverty, forced more than a million small farmers off the land due to the lifting of restrictions on cheaper US subsidized agricultural products, lowered real wages, and in the end forced “millions …to abandon their native homelands. Entire indigenous nations — the Zapotecs, the Mixtecs, the Tzotzil Maya — have moved by the tens of thousands, creating the largest migration of Native American peoples in North America since the Trail of Tears in the late 19th century.”
While trade policies have brought suffering to the poor of Mexico, border policies have brought death.
Click here to read the full post.
Check out this post from Eristic Ragemail documenting the anti-immigrant arguments from the late 1800’s and their uncanny resemblance to some of our mainstream media’s most vocal anti-immigrant voices.