Tag Archives: Obama

Boycott to Mi Pueblo and ICE’s Silent Raid, Immigration at the Presidential Debate, First Wave of Deferred Action Applicants Approved , 10/8-10/19

20 Oct

Oakland Immigrant Rights Activists to Boycott Mi Pueblo Foods

On Saturday immigrant rights activists will be demonstrating outside of grocery store chain Mi Pueblo. The chain has become the target of ICE’s “silent raid,” where employee immigration records will be audited. The chain has said that they will be dismissing employee’s that do not have valid work documents. This will likely result in the dismissal of many long standing employees. Recognizing the impact this will have on the immigrant communities that frequent the 3,000 employee, 21 store-chain, Saturday’s protest aims to drum up attention for economic harm that will impact immigrant communities that host Mi Pueblo stores.

Click here for a flier to the picket on Saturday in front of Mi Pueblo in Oakland

Presidential Debate Speaks on Immigration

President Obama and Governor Romney both had a chance to share their views on immigration at Tuesday’s presidential debate. While self-deportation Romney has tempered his remarks as he pivots to the center, he still presents the anti-immigrant candidate. Obama rightly pointed out that Romney’s immigration advisor has been Kris Kobach, the author of SB1070, and the nation should be concerned, Romney accurately replied that Obama has little room to comment on immigration when he has failed to enact immigration reform. Neither one is talking about 400,000 people who are deported every year; it seems they have  come to an understanding on deportation policy. Obama referred to those being deported as gangbangers, insinuating that these are people causing trouble, and that this country would be better off without them, further criminalizing immigrant communities. This is the big problem, on one sideThe big problem with the presidential race is that the only option are a man with a terrible record, and his challenger who promises to be even more cruel.

First Wave of Deferred Action Appicants Approved

4,591 undocumented youth who have submitted applications to receive a work permit have been processed. In addition to the lengthy application and $450 application fee, youth have had to a biometrics appointment. 180,000 applications have been submitted so far and almost 2,000 are going to be sent letters of “Intent to Reject,” those who receive these letters will have a period of time where they can provide missing documents, or fix other gaps in their applications. The Pew Hispanic center has estimated that 1.7 million will be eligible, meaning there are still 1.5 million youth who could apply to this program.

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Immigrants fight for right to unionize and vote; Hospitals grapple with how to serve undocumented, 7/23-7/30

1 Aug

Immigrant workers on strike in Wisconsin – for the right to unionize
Workers at Palermo’s frozen pizza factory in Wisconsin have been on strike since June 1, protesting the mass firing of 89 workers in May. At that time, 150 employees submitted a petition to Palermo’s indicating the intent to unionize. After workers submitted their petition, the company asked workers for legal documentation of their ability to work in the US – in cooperation with ICE, and then fired the majority of them. Labor organizers, arguing that the move was intended to prevent workers from unionizing, filed a complaint with ICE. ICE stayed the enforcement action that ended with the workers firing. This decision was in line with a December 2011 agreement between ICE and the Department of Labor to prevent ICE from engaging in enforcement efforts tied to labor disputes, and was the first time ICE has granted such an action. Workers are asking supporters to boycott Palermo’s products.

Pennsylvania voters seek injunction on voter ID law
Ten Pennsylvania voters are going to court to seek an injunction on Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, testifying that they were denied identification and, therefore, under the new law, the right to vote. A study conducted by the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethics, Race and Sexuality estimates that 1.3 million people in the state (over 14% of the voter-eligible population) do not have ID. The outcome of the Pennsylvania ruling is being closely watched, as states and courts around the country debate a number of voting laws with severe implications for the rights of communities of color and immigrant communities. To find out what is happening with voting rights in your state, check out this voting rights website in The Nation.

Access to healthcare for undocumented immigrants at risk under health care reform
Undocumented immigrants are not covered by health care reform, and there are concerns that coverage will decline as the law comes into effect. Currently, the Federal government reimburses safety-net hospitals for many of the services that are accessed by low-income communities; but these reimbursements will be cut as more individuals purchase health insurance or enroll in Medicaid. For hospitals that serve large numbers of undocumented immigrants, cuts in Federal reimbursement will make it increasingly difficult to provide care. For undocumented immigrants, who are unable to purchase insurance on the private market, this will further reduce already limited access to adequate health care services. As health care reform moves forward following the Supreme Court decision, hospitals are beginning to plan for the reduced funding and advocate for solutions that will enable them to continue providing care.

Candidates and advertisers increasingly turn to Spanish-language media
Univision and Telemundo, the largest Spanish-language television outlets in the country, are increasingly targeted in electoral media campaigns. Both stations hosted interviews with Barack and Michelle Obama and Mitt Romney. The stations are receiving a much larger share of political advertising money than in prior elections.The increasing interest in Spanish-language media is one more sign of the candidates efforts to win Latino and immigrant votes – a key constituency in November’s election.

Undocumented individuals travel to DNC to raise awareness of harmful immigration policies
A group of undocumented immigrants began a trip around the country on Monday to bring the issue of immigration policy to the center of electoral politics. The riders on the UndocuBus plan to travel through states with the harshest immigration laws – in time to bring their message to the Democratic National Convention.

Economic strategy in Georgia welcomes immigrants*. [*Only applies to detention centers]

18 Apr

Irwin Detention CenterGeorgian economic strategy welcome immigrants*.( *Only applies to detention centers), The Nation, 4.10.12
As Georgia’s state legislature advances anti-immigrant laws, one small impoverished county tried to stake its future on immigrants. The annual per-capita income in Irwin county is just under $15,000, creating a need for any type of economic growth. However, they are not talking about bringing in immigrant labor to work in poultry processing or in farming. Local leaders wanted to bring in the immigrant detention business. County leaders tried to sell the idea of a detention facility to ICE, even though the location is less than ideal. Irwin County is far removed from legal services and other similar facilities in rural Georgia have been plagued with human rights abuses. With millions of dollars at stake, leaders of Irwin County are only considering the bed-spaces they might be renting to ICE. Illustrating the how the detention industrial complex pits a poor community against immigrants.

Nine Undocumented Immigrants Die in Car Crash, AP, 4.12.12
Last week, a teenager crashed a van with undocumented immigrants in Southern Texas. The teen was stopped at a border checkpoint, at which point several passengers escaped, leading border agents on a chase. The teen drove away in the van, only making it three blocks before crashing, tossing the remaining passengers from the van. Three went to hospital, nine died in the accident. In court proceedings he said that he was forced to drive the van because of threats by smugglers. The tragedy demonstrates the intersection of two immigration policies: 1) the economic situation that drives immigrants to enter hazardous situations, 2) militarized border leading to dangerous border crossings. The 15 year old boy has been charged with 9 counts of murder.

Camouflaged men gun down two immigrants at the border, LA Times, 4.13.12
In another demonstration of the danger at the border, two men in camouflage opened fire on a Chevy pick-up truck Northwest of Tucson, Arizona. The truck was carrying 20-30 undocumented immigrants when attacked. Two of the men in the truck died: one was from Toluca, Mexico, and the other from Guatemala. Although exact cause for the attack has not been determined, authorities are pointing blame to the lawless nature of the drug smuggling and border crossing common in the area.

Obama pledges to do more comprehensive immigration reform in his second term, The Hill, 4.14.12
“I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term,”  said Obama when interviewed by Univision on comprehensive immigration reform. He faces the challenge of building support among Latinos, while explaining immigration policies, such as deporting over one million immigrants in the first three years of his presidency. Candidate Obama made a similar promise about enacting immigration reform his first year of office while he was running for president in 2008.

Let’s call it what it is: 396,906 = Mass Deportation, 10/17-10/24

24 Oct

Latinos Said to Bear Weight of a Deportation Program, NewYorkTimes, 10/18/11

The Department of Homeland Security’s report on annual deportations has become an expected and widely reported reverse census, an accounting of how many people are no longer in the country. This week’s announcement, that a record 396,906 individuals had been deported, caused quite a media flurry.  Through TV, radio or print the number 396,906 has been sliced and diced to report the percentage of criminals, the percentage that is Latino, the percentage that left citizen children behind, etc.

What was not reported however, was Why the number 396,906?  This reverse census has come to be considered an inevitable and acceptable aspect of our immigration system.

The fact is that 396,906 deportations are not inevitable. This number is not caused by undocumented individuals, but by the Bush and Obama administrations’ policy of mass deportation.  The Executive Branch sets policies such as Secure Communities and use of workplace raids to proactively remove immigrants, all under the guise of national security. Continue reading

Immigration courts pose yet another challenge for immigrants 4/4-4/10

10 Apr

Immigration courts: troubled system, long waits, SFGATE, 4-4-11
This article in the SFGATE covers several common experiences within the immigration courts. The average length of an immigration case to be resolved is 639 days. Many of the troubles are due to lack of time, and intensified pressure from ICE to increase deportation rates.
In addition to fears of deportation, anti-immigrant attitudes, the immigration courts are another way in which undocumented immigrants are reminded of their second-class status in this country. The article reports many inadequacies of the immigration courts such as long waits, and inadequate preparation by attorneys, that often lead to decisions before all the facts are in. In several circumstances, individual’s medical conditions were not attended to in detainment. One man, a diabetic from Guinea, was denied medical attention and was given spoiled food. This is the collateral damage, of the Obama administration’s increase in the number of deportations.

CA anti-immigrant bills die in committee, SFGATE, 4-5-11
Assemblymember Tim Donnelly from San Bernardino tries to get two pieces of legislation through committee but fails. The first would have required identity check for any one applying for public benefits; the second would have allowed cities to be sued for Sanctuary city policies.

Unfair to immigrants, costly to tax payers, NYTIMES, 4-4-11
Opinion piece by Scott Stringer and Andrew Friedman that suggests that the money spent on detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants is misspent. The authors notes that over half of the people held at Rikers with immigration related charges do not have criminal charges.

Alabama house passes Arizona style immigration law, AL.com, 4-5-2011
Not to be outdone by their counterparts in the Arizona, many representatives are pursuing anti-immigrant policies in their own states. In this article the republican sponsor of the bill explained: “…bill attacks every aspect of an illegal alien’s life.” The ultimate purpose of these new sets of laws is to make life so unbearable for undocumented immigrants that they leave on their own accord. Little regard is taken for the fact that these laws often impact all brown people, those with and those without the right documents.

7 Students arrested for protesting anti-immigrant laws in Georgia, CNN, 4-5-2011
Students blocked traffic at an Atlanta intersection to draw attention to immigration reform, and specifically the DREAM act. Of note: according to recent census data ¼ of children under 18 are Hispanic. Included in the article  was Obama’s reaction to the failure of the DREAM act, to make it clear that he had not completely forgotten about the Latino vote: “We didn’t get it passed this time, but I don’t want young people to be giving up because if people in the past had given up, we probably wouldn’t have women’s rights, we wouldn’t have civil rights,” Obama said during a Univision-sponsored town hall meeting at a High School in Washington.