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Immigrant Day; Atrocious Alabama immigration law signed; Report shows that immigrants strengthen economies 5.14-5.21

23 May

Immigrant rights activists rally around immigrant day
Monday was immigrant day. Advocacy organizations like The California Immigrant Policy Center and allies are rallying to pressure policymakers to pass progressive immigration policies and advocate against anti-immigrant policies such as SComm and the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights.

Alabama governor signs harshest immigration law
Last week, Alabama governor Robert Bentley signed what is likely to be the harshest immigration law yet. The new version (HB658) keeps the main parts of the original bill (HB56), like requiring police to verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect is undocumented and requiring schools to track students’ immigration status.  Like the original bill, it will result in racial profiling and denial of students’ right to an education. To make matters worse, HB658 added a new provision that will marginalize and make life even more unjust for undocumented immigrants: it requires the state to publish the names and photos of all undocumented immigrants who appear in court.

S&P reports finds that immigrants strengthen economies, do not weaken it
A new report from Standard & Poor’s finds that cities with large numbers of immigrants experienced economic growth. Specifically, the report found an increase in per-capita income, improved credit ratings and found a stabilizing effect on labor markets. The report provides evidence that rejects the commonly promoted idea that immigrants harm  economies.

Black, Latino and Asian babies are now the majority among newborns
Census data reveals that for the first time in U.S. history, more than half (50.4%) of the nation’s babies are Black, Latino or Asian.

In the News 4.16 – 4.24: Border Patrol brutality; Supreme court examines Arizona’s law on Weds.

24 Apr

PBS episode exposes the brutality of border patrol, PBS, 4.20.12
As part of its Need to Know investigative reporting, the PBS episode exposes the border patrol’s inhumane treatment of people crossing the border. The episode shows footage of the brutal tasing and fatal beating of Anastasio Hernández, who had been a resident of San Diego for 25 years. Additional media outlets, including Democracy Now, have also recently covered this horrific event, which occurred in 2010. The report raises serious concerns and problems with the Department of Homeland Security, a system that lacks accountability and humane treatment.

Supreme Court examines whether immigration is a state or federal matter, LA Times, 4.21.12
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will examine Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070, which encouraged other states like Georgia and Alabama to pass similar and even more hostile laws against immigrants. The issue at hand is not whether these laws violate human rights, but whether states have the authority to pass and enforce legislation around immigration, a topic that has been in the past a federal matter. The Center for American Progress has compiled various resources to help advocates understand the potential effects of this decision.

Net migration from Mexico falls to zero and has perhaps even reversed, Pew Hispanic Center, 4.23.12
The Pew Hispanic Center’s report finds that between 2005 and 2010, 1.4 million Mexicans migrated to the U.S. while 1.4 million Mexican immigrants and their U.S. born children migrated to Mexico. The findings suggest that that the pretext for anti-immigrant policies is unfounded.

164 Anti-Immigration Laws Passed Since 2010? A MoJo Analysis. Mother Jones, April 2012
2011 saw a higher number of laws against undocumented immigrants than in 2010 due to five states passing bills similar to Arizona’s SB 1070. Some states passed 11 or more laws ranging from driver’s license eligibility to mandating that employers use E-verify. Mother Jones’ analysis also exposes how private-prisons like Corrections Corporation of America and GEO reap profits from anti-immigrant laws.

Arizona official targets Mexican-American studies at universities ,Colorlines, 4.18.12
Previously, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal led the attack to disband the Mexican-American studies program at Tucson Unified School District. He now is targeting similar programs at universities and colleges. One faculty member says “This is Arizona…And I firmly believe they want to eliminate a world view, from the schools all the way to the university level.” Eliminating these programs would eliminate not just a world view, but recognition of the social, cultural and economic contributions of Mexican and Mexican-Americans to Arizona and the nation.

Debates continue over immigration policies, including detention and deportation, and pathways to citizenship

5 Apr

Post written by: Naomi Beyeler

In the News, March 25 – April 2, 2012

In light of increasing reports of mistreatment and neglect in detention centers, resulting in high rates of abuse, injury, and death among the 30,000+ immigrants awaiting deportation, the Federal government proposed new rules to protect basic human rights of those in detention.

These rules now face criticism from Republicans and the American Federation of Government Employees, the union representing federal officers in charge of detention and deportation. In a hearing organized by Republicans, titled “Holiday on ICE”, Republican leaders charged that the new rules turned detention into “recess,” while the head of the union critiqued the new rules because of concerns that they weaken security for ICE officers.

However, advocates for immigrants’ health and safety emphasize that the new laws will not provide a “holiday” but are simply the first necessary step in protecting basic human rights. For example, under the new laws, people in detention will gain rights including: access to safe drinking water and medical care, prohibitions on strip searches by agents of the opposite sex, and protections against participation in clinical trials without informed consent. In addition, while acknowledging that these are important steps to protect the basic health of detainees, advocates for immigrants rights continue to highlight the greater problems associated with detention and deportation, arguing that people should not be placed in detention simply for immigration reasons.

Also, debates continue about the creation of potential pathways to citizenship for immigrant youth who have spent their lives in the U.S. Unwilling to support the full DREAM Act – which offers citizenship for students who attend college or join the military – Republicans, including Marco Rubio, introduced proposals that will only provide legal status, thereby preventing access to the basic rights of full citizenship, such as voting.

Latino immigrants aren’t the only group of people facing the racism and violence prevalent in our communities and our immigration policies. In Southern California an Iraqi woman was murdered, and found with a hateful note left next to her. Discrimination and targeting of Muslim communities isn’t simply the product of individual actions; recent reports from the ACLU show that around the country the FBI is spying on Muslim groups in mosques, universities, and community organizations.


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