Tag Archives: health

Deferred Action Begins, Paul Ryan Pick, Powerful 67 Sueños Mural Unveiled in Fruitvale, 8/7-8/15

15 Aug
Road sign with the number 30

Photo by stevechihos/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Deferred Action Begins, 8.15.12
Yesterday, forms became available on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website for deferred action. Today is the first day they can apply by submitting form I-821D. Deferred action would allow certain youth to receive a two year work permit which will provide relief from the threat of deportation and new economic opportunities as they would be allowed to enter the documented workforce To be eligible youth must have been under 31 years old on June 15th, 2012, must have been in the US continuously for the past 5 years, must have arrived before 16 y.o, and must meet a few other requirements as well. Once all requirements are met, participants must submit documentation proving the above as well as a $465 fee.

The Migration Policy Institute has estimated that 1.76 million will be eligible to participate. To prepare those that are eligible, many immigrants rights groups are providing resources to ease the confusion: NNIRR has created a Deferred Action resource center with several factsheets and links. For those in San Francisco; SFILEN has compiled a list of clinics  by immigrantion rights orgnanizations. While certainly a step forward, the deferred action does little for the other 9 million undocumented folks who live and work in the US.

Citizen student denied scholarship access because of her mother’s status.
In New Jersey, a student was denied access to the state financial aid pot because of her mother’s immigration status. Even though the student has lived in NJ for 15 years (and was born in NYC), she was rejected because of ”residency requirements.”  Evidently her Guatamalan mother’s immigration status played a role in her NJ residency. The student was not able to attend the university of her choice because she was unable to secure financial aid. Two democratic senators in NJ are working on the case, and to ensure this student and others are not subject to the discriminatory policy.

Paul Ryan, Romney VP pick
One columnist from Reuters is of the opinion that the Romney Campaign has given up on the Latino vote with the selection of the representative from Wisconsin. VP candidate Ryan’s views on immigration are consistent with the anti-immigrant arguments that were championed during the GOP primary. He opposes the DREAM Act, he is against amnesty or any type of relief for undocumented immigrants, and he favors the H2 visa program that provides few labor rights for seasonal and temporary laborers..

67 Sueños’ Migrant Women’s Health Mural Unveiled on Saturday; Undocubus
On Saturday, several hundred came to Fruitvale Plaza for the unveiling of their Migrant Womyn’s Health Mural. The mural is a project of 67 Sueños, a high school youth group working for migrant rights. The purpose of the mural was to highlight the health impact of the punitive US immigration system on migrant women. Youth interviewed women in the community and worked with local artists to put their images on the 8ftx 40ft mural. To provide a concrete benefit to the local Fruitvale residents, 67 Sueños also had a health fair at the event. In other news from fearless undocumented organizers, the Undocubus is currently winding through the Southeast to share their stories. The tour’s last stop was New Orleans where they met with day laborers and received a tour of the city that is still dealing with the aftermath of Katrina. The bus tour is scheduled to finish in North Carolina in early September for the Democratic National Convention.

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Anti-immigrant policies encourage bad policing and create toxic environments

28 Mar

Source: Center for American Progress

Featured article: Life as an Undocumented Immigrant: report finds that driving and walking are top two concerns among study participants, Center for American Progress, 3.26.12

The negative impacts of anti-immigration policies on public health are not always obvious.  The Center for American Progress has released a study looking at how anti-immigrant policies affect the everyday lives of undocumented immigrants and their communities. The study focuses on migrants in North County, California, near San Diego. One of the key findings is that anti-immigrant policies, such as  Arizona’s SB 1070,  Alabama’s HB 56 and Secure Communities, in practice transform local law enforcement into immigration agents and result in racial profiling. In fact, 43% of immigrants in the study reported feeling negatively targeted by police, contrasted with 8% of whites reporting in another poll. This, in turn, creates a deep distrust and fear of local police that pushes undocumented immigrants — and their relatives and friends–  to avoid contact with the police. Because of this, driving and walking in public were the top two activities of concern reported among the study participants. The consequences of people fearing local police affect entire communities. As the authors explain, “…when unauthorized immigrants fear interacting with law enforcement, it makes us all less safe — whether we are documented or not.”

From a public health perspective, this report highlights how policies generate unhealthy and toxic social environments by creating a mixture of distrust, fear and hostility between different segments of a community, in this case undocumented immigrants and their loved ones versus local police. If people don’t even feel safe enough to walk in their neighborhoods or to call the police when faced with a dangerous situation, such as domestic violence, how are we supposed to build healthier environments?

For example, there is a lot of attention around addressing the obesity epidemic in the Latino communities by increasing access to fresh foods and parks where people can exercise and walk to daily activities. But these health promotion efforts will fail if anti-immigration policies destroy a basic sense of community safety, such as feeling free to walk the streets or drive to the supermarket without fear of arrest for “looking suspicious” or having a broken tail-light.  Unfortunately, as demonstrated by this study, under Secure Communities, these examples are legitimate threats to immigrants. Anti-immigrant policies undercut our public health work by building oppressive and toxic social environments. It is time that public health insert itself into the immigration debate and draw the links between anti-immigrant policies and poor public health outcomes. Otherwise, we risk the health and lives of our communities.

In the News

Iraqi Immigrants in California Town Fear a Hate Crime in a Woman’s Killing, New York Times, 3.27.12
A community fears that hate crime and racism against Iraqi immigrants resulted in the brutal murder of an Iraqi woman.

Georgia’s anti-immigrant bill seeks to deny access to water, school and passports as IDs, Wall Street Journal, 3.26.12
Georgia’s SB 458, sponsored by Senator Barry Loudermilk, is translating to a bill that would deny basic rights such as access to public water and sewage services, education, and most recently allowing foreign passports as acceptable ID.

Another report highlights deep problems with detention centers and New Jersey is the newest example, Washington Post, 3.23.12
Despite the Obama administration’s emphasis on reforming the civil detention system, centers like New Jersey have been found to deny basic services such as healthcare, food and legal assistance.

Immigration’s loose rule of detention, Los Angeles Times, 3.18.12
In this editorial, the LA Times holds the Obama administration accountable and demands that it ensure that detention centers treat immigrants fairly and humanely.