Weekly Diaspora: Real Immigration Reform in 2010

Posted Jan 7, 2010 @ 1:01 pm by
Filed under: Immigration     Bookmark and Share

By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

“Is it ever ‘the right time’ to pass immigration reform and a path to legalization?” asks Maribel Hastings at New America Media. The short answer? Yes. Our national economic situation dictates that we are smart about the resources available to us all. It’s also a moral imperative to adjust our laws to protect the most vulnerable of us.

Hastings runs through the complications, campaign promises, and opportunities facing the Obama administration in regards to immigration reform. While acknowledging the nature of our government as “a complex organism,” Hastings nonetheless signs off with a warning: There are many awaiting action today, people “who voted for Democrats with the expectation that they would make comprehensive immigration reform a reality.”

This year is primed for immigration reform. Activists worldwide are pushing for a “record number of ratifications” to The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families (ICRMW), as Oneworld.net reports. The ICRMW was adopted by the United Nations in 1990, and “sets standards for humane working and living conditions for migrants.” To date, 42 countries have are signatory to the ICRMW and 15 more have taken “preliminary steps to approve the convention.” While the U.S. debates reform, protecting and supporting migrants should be at the front of the list.

The Washington Independent looks back at 2009, a year in which immigration was never center stage, and yet it managed to impact every other major issue on the table, from health care reform to the economy. Daphne Eviatar profiles five individuals who shaped the immigration debate for good or bad in 2009. Characters such as the infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona, and commentator Lou Dobbs, formerly of CNN are included in the list, but admirable women like Dr. Dora Schriro also made the cut. Dr. Schriro’s reports on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention system led directly to “a major commitment” to overhaul it.

In the light of policy and compacts, it is important to remember that there is a dark and often violent side to the immigration reform debate. Luis Ramirez was beaten to death by multiple local youth in Shanendoah, PA. The local police worked to obscure the facts of the murder and thwart justice, but their complicity and hand in the judicial process has been uncovered, as RaceWire reports.

Former Shenandoah mayor Thomas O’Neill’s description of the police department reads, essentially, as a gang felled by hubris: “If they want to help somebody, they will, If they want to hurt somebody, they’ll hurt them. There’s nothing they could do that they couldn’t get away with. That’s what they thought.”

Another incident that exposes the inadequacy of current immigration laws can be found in the case of Haitian community activist Jean Montrevil, who now faces deportation, as Democracy Now! reports. Montrevil is a working father of four, married to an American woman, a “longtime community leader,” is very involved with local immigrants rights groups and checks in with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regularly and voluntarily. During one such check in Montrevil was detained and marked for deportation.

ICE is removing a tax-paying and productive member of society for a 20 year-old drug conviction for which Montrevil did his time—11 years in prison. There is no chance of a legal appeal, though ICE has the power to defer the deportation. If it isn’t halted, Montrevil’s wife Jani will be left alone with their four children. Before 1996 immigration reforms passed by Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton, a judge would have had discretion to consider the effect of such a deportation on the children.

Melissa del Bosque reports for the Texas Observer on the violent fallout from Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s continued drug war “on the Mexican side of the [U.S.-Mexico] border.” del Bosque notes a disturbing trend: A growing number of uninvolved people in the proximity of State- or cartel-initiated violence in Mexico are being impacted by the violence. This is an important balance to mind, as law and State forces are designed to help the populace thrive. Various sources place the death toll in Mexico between 9,000 and 13,000.

We conclude this week’s Diaspora with a big shout out to Wiretap, which is closing its doors. Wiretap was a well-written, vibrant, and relevant collection of writing by younger people. Their writing on immigration was original, provocative, and useful. We wish them well. You will be missed!

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Pulse . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

6 comments so far:

  1. On January 7th, 2010 at 1:21 pm, Weekly Diaspora: Real Immigration Reform in 2010 | UMX | El Machete said:

    […] those new to the Unapologetic Mexican Blog (UMX), The Weekly Diaspora is a (paid) article I write for The Media Consortium. It is a column that runs on a few other sites, as […]

  2. On January 17th, 2010 at 11:15 pm, Carl McGinnis said:

    We all make mistakes, but the biggest mistake we can make is to not recognize our errors and fix them. Janet has made many mistakes and as thousands of news articles prove that Homeland Security and Ice is a corrupt system and have been given the authority to act, kill, detain and at there own admission ” make anyone disappear” with there secret detention centers and seemingly unlimited budget to do these illegal acts. And we Americans are paying the bill for the corruption. I see the abuse every week and have finally realized the responsibility I have as an American to let as many people as possible know. Here is another story of Janet’s mistakes she and her army of ICE refuse to own and fix.
    This comes from Carl McGinnis, a citizen of the United States, who has seen the horrors of immigrant detention after ICE detained his legal immigrant friend. He tells us that it is not just about undocumented immigrants but even people who follow the rules get burned in our archaic and inhumane immigration system].
    I am a citizen of the United States and I have a friend that is from Paris, France here on a student visa with a double Masters Degree and working on his PhD in International Finance. He has been here since 2005. His visa is valid until March of 2010, his passport is valid until 2014, and his I-20 is current. He is not what people call an ‘illegal immigrant.’ In 2007, he fell in love and in Dec. 2008 married a U.S. citizen that just happens to be addicted to prescription medications. He knew nothing about this. But he was arrested due to her mistakes. The reality is that his American wife was taking advantage of him and when his money was gone so was she. Janet Napolitano just wants to deport him rather than correct the problem, and make the American accountable. This is wrong. We should have some sort of protection built into the system. Judge Rex Ford would not listen to reason without the wife in court and all witnesses were not given time to testify. This is not what I thought American Justice was all about. I was wrong. It is all a game our Government plays with our lives.
    He was placed in detention and scheduled for deportation. He has been in the detention center in Pompano Beach Florida for 6 months now. This couple has lost all there savings on lawyers, she lost her job, and they are in the process of losing their home. All this was caused because ICE has the wrong person in jail.
    I have written many letters to Janet Napolitano, Senator Bill Nelson, Representative Ginny Brown-Waite and even President Obama. But no one will listen. What is illegal in this case is the way DHS is treating this guy, who is 51 and has never had a traffic violation. While in the detention center, He has been beaten by another inmate and suffered cracked ribs and bruised body, denied him food and proper medical treatment. He is diabetic and they will not give him the proper food or medical attention. The phone system is very poor and hardly works. I suspect that they plan it that way so the detainees cannot contact their lawyers and family. I fear he will be next on the long list of persons that have died while in detention. I beg for someone to go and listen to his story. They do not allow any form of media in because they don’t want anyone to know what they are doing.
    Until you go to one of these detention centers and see with your own eyes, you will not believe what America is doing. I was shocked, on my first visit and after almost 6 months of seeing what happens and how they have to live, I am still in shock. It is all about the money. My friend has never cost America anything until they locked him up. He is in a private prison owned by a company called GEO based near Miami, Florida. They are paid very well by our tax dollars, but the treatment is unbelievable. I wonder how many politicians have stock in this company. They are doing quite well even in a bad economy.
    Six months ago I had no idea that we treated immigrants in this way, especially when they are here legally and have done nothing wrong. I knew nothing about ICE and how they operate illegally. I was under the impression that DHS was here only to protect us from terrorists. And I had no idea of the millions of our tax dollars were being wasted to imprison people that could be out of detention and have their family support them until a decision is made in immigration court. I do not understand why we have to pay our hard earned tax dollars to house and feed persons that are not dangerous.
    When they have to lock up a man who has done nothing wrong, make him spend thousands in fees, ICE is giving way too much importance to them selves. How can we turn such educated people away simply to boost the ego of ICE officers and add another number to the Janet Napolitano deportation list, so that the Obama Administration can look like it is doing its job of ‘cracking down on criminals?’
    Something has to change soon. I feel it is my duty as an American to let as many people as possible know the truth. I visit the detention center every Saturday and spend the rest of the week writing letters. This New Year, lets do something worthwhile. Let’s go back to protecting the country rather than making up stories to justify the expansion of a national security complex. Let’s end businesses profiting from immigrant detention and restore our image as a nation of immigrants.

  3. On January 21st, 2010 at 12:51 pm, The Media Consortium » Weekly Diaspora: Does Coakley’s Loss Spell Trouble for Immigration Reform? said:

    […] him. Many others feel he has done his time, and is a positively contributing member of our society. Democracy Now! also covered Montrevil’s story recently, as noted in the Jan. 7 […]

  4. On January 21st, 2010 at 12:53 pm, Weekly Diaspora: Weekly Diaspora: Does Coakley’s Loss Spell Trouble for Immigration Reform? | UMX | El Machete said:

    […] him. Many others feel he has done his time, and is a positively contributing member of our society. Democracy Now! also covered Montrevil’s story recently, as noted in the Jan. 7 […]

  5. On January 21st, 2010 at 2:12 pm, The Media Consortium: Weekly Diaspora: Does Coakley’s Loss Spell Trouble for Immigration Reform? | Read NEWS said:

    […] him. Many others feel he has done his time, and is a positively contributing member of our society. Democracy Now! also covered Montrevil’s story recently, as noted in the Jan. 7 […]

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