Tag Archives: immigrants

DailyKos: Put Immigration Reform Back on the Agenda

Yesterday there was a great post up on Daily Kos laying out the reasons why immigration reform should be on the White House agenda for this year. Touching on Luis Gutierrez’s Family Unity tour, the post argues why it is not only morally right to push through reform, but also politically salient. flic-rally-4

People who live in some of the states most affected by immigration are fully supportive of comprehensive immigration reform, and not just Latinos and Asians, but across the board including whites. There is little appetite overall for the Minuteman agenda. Remember, even Republicans nominated John McCain — author of the last immigration reform bill — as their nominee, despite facing primary opponents trying to one-up each other on their anti-immigrant rhetoric. The issue simply doesn’t have electoral bite.

Well, at least it doesn’t hurt us. Republicans have much more to fear: If it were to pass, 11-15 million undocumented immigrants (no one knows for sure the exact number) would eventually be able to vote. For reference, an estimated 12 million Latinos voted in 2008. Republicans won’t want to flood the electorate with new voters from a demographic that voted for Obama 67-32 percent, not when their current efforts are doing nothing but further alienate Latinos.

But that’s a crass electoral calculus, and it cuts both ways. Democrats can do the right thing and also help themselves politically. It’s a no-brainer.

Click here to read the full post at DailyKos.

You guys sensing a pattern here? More and more people are joining in the call for comprehensive reform. All I have to say is; it’s about time!

When the Extreme Becomes Mainstream

Last week, I mentioned a recent Pew Hispanic Center Study which found that 1 in 10 Latinos has been stopped and asked about their immigration status by police or other authorities.

While this is certainly the most shocking statistic to come out of the study, it is only the tip of the iceberg for Latinos living in this country.

From the Huffington post:

One in seven Latinos are reporting ethnic discrimination in finding or keeping a job and 10% said the same thing about housing. But the most stunning finding is that nearly one-in-ten Hispanic adults–native-born US citizens and immigrants alike–report that, in the past year, the police or other authorities have stopped them and asked them about their immigration status. One in ten Latinos were stopped and asked for “papers.” What can that statistic represent other than a gross abuse of power by federal and local authorities?

Vicious public denunciations of undocumented, brown-skinned immigrants — once limited to hard-core white supremacists and a handful of border-state extremists — are increasingly common among supposedly mainstream anti-immigration activists, media pundits, and politicians and are surely fueling the problems that Latinos are facing.

While their dehumanizing rhetoric typically stops short of openly sanctioning bloodshed, much of it implicitly encourages or even endorses violence by characterizing immigrants from Mexico and Central America as ‘invaders,’ ‘criminal aliens,’ and ‘cockroaches.’

The hate speech that is fueling the current anti-migrant fervor has somehow left the area of “hard core” or “extremist” thought and trickled into the mainstream, becoming pervasive on shows like Lou Dobbs Tonight or Bill O’Reilly and pushed by hate groups like FAIR.

We must stand up to the powers that want to dehumanize and entire portion of the population.

Living in fear of deportation and discrimination and worrying about your livelihood and safety is no way to live and it’s certainly not how Americans expect to live. In fact, it’s the sort of life that our forefathers sought to protect us from. Debate, discussion, and disagreement around the pressing immigration issue are natural, legitimate, and necessary. Hate, fear and vitriol rhetoric are not.

Update: Immigrant Beaten to Death in PA

There is a more in-depth article about the tragedy in PA, from DMI blog. It really highlights why this story (and those like it) need to be revealed for what they are – stories of fear, racism and the willingness of the American people to ignore “the other”.

An excerpt:

This story is important because this family’s tragedy—and the lesser tragedies of the boys who were so motivated by fear and hatred of the “other” that they beat another human being to death—represents the experience of millions of migrants living in this country in today’s poisonous environment.

An environment that has been cultivated over the years by an organized political movement. An environment that results in impunity for killers like Joe Horn—provided the victims are from the underclass still labeled “illegal” as a matter of editorial policy by our so-called liberal media. A climate that permits pregnant mothers to be shackled, forced to give birth in police custody, and then torn from their newborn infants—again all for being present in the U.S. without authorization and, perhaps more importantly, for being Latina.

The racial motivations of the perpetrators/oppressors in each of these scenarios cannot reasonably be disentangled from the immigration status of the victims. The punitive immigration laws that target people like Ramirez and DeLaPaz were enacted largely from racial motives—from fear of the waves of brown political and economic refugees produced by longstanding, short-sighted U.S. intervention in Mexico and Central America. And those same fears—fear of displacement and of unfamiliar cultures—have been fanned for political gain into flames of hatred from the embers of the World Trade Center by the restrictionist movement and the federal government.

Make sure to click over and check it out.

Who is an American?

From Minneapolis Public Radio

Check out this radio program discussing what it means to be American and touching on the identity of immigrants in our nation…

St. Paul, Minn. — In his book “The Thirteen American Arguments,” Howard Fineman writes that only a nation of immigrants can argue so earnestly and endlessly about who can become one of its own.

In the first of a series inspired by Fineman’s book, “The Thirteen American Arguments,” Midmorning examines the nature of citizenship, national identity, and what it means to be an American with two scholars well-versed in the immigration debate.


Stanley Renshon: Professor of political science at the City University of New York and a certified psychoanalyst. He’s the author of 13 books, including “The 50% American: Immigration and National Identity in an Age of Terrorism.”

Bill Hing: Professor of law at the University of California-Davis School of Law. He is the author of “Deporting Our Souls: Values, Morality, and Immigration Policy” and “Defining America Through Immigration Policy.”

The conversation is a bit sprawling but worth a listen!

Click here to listen to the audio program.

The Common Thread that Binds Us

From the Sanctuary today, a powerful post that speaks to the humanity of us all.

What follows are seven news stories, all from different places and times. Some happened only weeks ago … some years. Some are well known … others obscure. But a common thread runs through them all.

Click here to read the seven stories, from the original post on the Sanctuary.

From Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez dying from a lack of water, to Francisco Castaneda of neglect and cancer, to Luz Dominguez losing a job for having the audacity to ask for fair wages and treatment, to Adriana Torres-Flores left in a holding cell for days without food and water… they share a common thread that binds them.

They are part of the silent and forgotten, living in the shadows, unprotected by laws and regulations most take for granted. It matters not if they toiled in fields to put food on our tables, supplied the weapons of war, or cleaned the rooms we sleep in. Nor does it matter if they ran afoul of the law … they share a common thread that binds them.

They are the other.

They are those who go unseen even in the light of day.

We don’t want to know their names or their stories. We don’t want to hear of their suffering, or know about their dreams and aspirations. We don’t want to have to look them in the eye and see their humanity.

Because if we did for only just one moment, then we might be forced to see not only them …but us …for what we really are.

So hide your eyes, walk quickly as you pass. Don’t acknowledge their presence.

Don’t look at the mother holding her child and see the love between them. Don’t admire the workers, laboring to supply the goods and services on which you rely, for their industriousness. Don’t stop for a moment to smile or even nod a quick hello.

Because if you did, for only just one a moment, you might be forced to see …. the common thread that binds us.

A Closer Look: Portraits of Immigrants in Los Angeles County

CHIRLA releases

“A Closer Look”

Demographic Profile Listing Facts and Statistics That Refute Stereotypes.

Los Angeles – The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) has released ‘A Closer Look: Portraits of Immigrants in Los Angeles County,” examining the cultural make-up of Los Angeles’ immigrant communities, their economic and social contributions to the county, and the influence such communities have had on the political process.

“We hope that this report counters the negative stereotyping prevalent in today’s immigration discourse.    And we hope that these facts will help to enlighten the debate by serving as a reference point in the future.”  Commented CHIRLA Executive Director Angelica Salas. 

Among other important facts, the report cites that 63% of Los Angeles children belong to immigrant families (while 87% of them are U.S. citizens), that immigrants (including undocumented immigrants) make up over half of the Los Angeles service sector and make up 90% of the county’s’ production or manufacturing workers, and that first-generation immigrants have started at least 22 of Los Angeles’ 100 fastest growing companies. 

Click here and download the attachment to read the full report as a PDF file.