Posts tagged with '287(g)'

Weekly Diaspora: Modified SB 1070 Goes Into Effect; How Federal Law Paved the Way

Posted Jul 29, 2010 @ 12:08 pm by
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by Annie Shields, Media Consortium blogger

Image courtesy of Flickr user SEIU International, Via Creative Commons LicenseYesterday, 9th Circuit Judge Susan Bolton struck down many of the most controversial provisions in Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, including the section requiring police to ask anyone they suspect of being undocumented for proof of citizenship. It’s a small victory. Today, a modified version of the bill goes into effect.

Although Bolton’s decision weakened the state law, several problematic provisions remain in place, including one that allows Arizona residents to sue local police for not enforcing SB 1070, as well as one that makes it a crime to knowingly transporting an undocumented immigrant under any circumstance, even in an emergency. ColorLines has a good breakdown of pending lawsuits against SB 1070. (more…)

Weekly Diaspora: Busting Immigration Myths

Posted Apr 8, 2010 @ 10:56 am by
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By Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger

According to a recent study described by New America Media, passing comprehensive immigration reform and providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants  wouldn’t negatively impact the job market for those who are already citizens. This is one of many myths promoted by anti-immigration groups that have recently been busted wide open.

In an interview with Public Policy Institute of California research fellow Laura Hill, New America Media editor Sandip Roy notes, “People say in the current economy with 10 percent unemployment we cannot afford immigration reforms because native born Americans would lose out on jobs. Is that borne out by your study? ”

The answer is no, the study shows. “It won’t cause competitive hardship for native born workers because there is not suddenly mobility among the people being legalized,” Hill tells New America Media. “So this is not a sudden new adverse competition for those already in the workforce.”


Weekly Diaspora: Legislating Hate

Posted Oct 29, 2009 @ 8:01 am by
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By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

Anti-immigration groups and pundits cling to phrases like “Illegal Alien” because they only focus on foreignness and danger. These extreme factions are all about casting immigrants as what ails our society, conjuring up demons upon which to focus national ire, and perpetuating a subhuman category of being. It’s a convenient distraction from things that are actually endangering our nation. A new web-only series from ColorLines called “Torn Apart by Deportation is the perfect antidote to people like CNN’s Lou Dobbs. (more…)

The Weekly Diaspora: We Can Prosper Together

Posted Oct 22, 2009 @ 10:44 am by
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By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

For the most part, it’s been a good week for immigration reform. The Senate approved a measure that will end the “Widow Penalty,” which rescinded applications for U.S. residency if one’s spouse of two years or less years dies, and on Tuesday, as RaceWire reports, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation that restores the right of due process to immigrant youth.

Now for the not-so good news: The U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has decided to modify, not cancel, its many 287(g) agreements, as the Colorado Independent reports. Cause for celebration on this change may not yet be warranted. The proposed modification does not address the problems inherent to the provision.

According to ICE data, 55 jurisdictions have signed “new standardized agreements” with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 12 others are pending agreement. ICE now requires police officers who turn in undocumented immigrants to follow through on “All criminal charges that originally caused the offender to be taken into custody.” But what measures has ICE taken to eradicate the racial profiling that has tainted the reputation of the 287(g) provision? The ACLU does not feel the modification is enough. And it’s hard to see how it could be. Under the modifications, the police would still be perceived by the immigrant community as prosecutors and potential border guards, not protectors to work with for the good of a neighborhood.

Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a perfect example of why the White House needs to cease all 287(g) agreements. Reporting for AlterNet, Isabel Macdonald chronicles the bizarre antics and mindset of the rogue lawman. Arpaio’s 287(g) agreement with the Federal government was recently downgraded. He can no longer perform his “over broad” sweeps, but Macdonald makes clear that this change is mostly symbolic. Arpaio is simply “An official who has come to expect total impunity.”

Another small, but meaningful step happened recently Milwaukee, as Leticia Miranda reports for RaceWire. Matt Nelson, a Milwaukee small business owner and spokesman for the Milwaukee Police Accountability Coalition, was harassed by police and threatened when he refused to reveal his Social Security Number (SSN) to an officer. Incensed, Nelson “pursued litigation of the officer filing a formal complaint against him,” appealing to the Milwaukee Fire and Commission, who oversees the Milwaukee Police Department.

The commission ruled that the officer was acting without any legal authority and issued guidelines for departments to clarify the issue [PDF memo]. While the Milwaukee ruling is definitely a victory, we must look closer at the many police departments that operate under the 287(g) provision to monitor any “less formal ‘agreements’ to find and arrest people who ‘look’ undocumented.”

Going back to San Francisco’s fight to adopt a measure restoring due process to undocumented youth: Mayor Gavin Newsom passed a law last summer that directs police who arrest undocumented youth to report them to ICE before any trial, leading to the deportation of undocumented youth for any perceived offense that leads them into police custody. The measure to restore due process was passed, and with enough margin to override a possible veto by the Mayor. Mayor Newsom has proclaimed he will disregard the ruling entirely, much like a certain Sheriff.

Writing for Salon, Joe Conason makes a good case for reframing the health care discussion as it pertains to immigrants. He points to the perverse “moral perspective of the nativists and politicians” that leap up to assure everyone that the undocumented will most certainly not be allowed to buy into health insurance. But what about families with undocumented parents and citizen children? It should never be “permissible to let the ‘illegals’ and their children suffer from illness and even die prematurely, so long as their condition poses no threat to the rest of us,” as Conason writes.

Finally, “a new joint U.S.-Mexico” study on children of Mexican parents finds that this demographic is already “one of the most vulnerable sectors in America’s health care system,” as New America Media reports. 86 percent of those studied were U.S. citizens. New America Media’s Odette Keeley questions Yurina Rico, public health editor for La Opinion, as to why these children are so often uninsured. According to Rico, these communities are often isolated from proper information on health care. Rico goes on to say that unfortunately, these disparities in health care are not being factored into health care policy discussions.

The U.S. has long way to go before it acts on the premise that—as lofty as it might sound—we really are one large human family. As Sojourner’s reminds us, even Americans of European origin have immigrant roots.

The sooner our laws and health care and safety reflect the importance of all members of this large human family, the healthier this nation will be.

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, The Pulse and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

Weekly Diaspora: A Return to Reason

Posted Oct 8, 2009 @ 11:33 am by
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By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

After the shadowy Bush years, the emergence of reasonable policy can be a little surprising. Immigration law has suffered from a lack of planning and is often influenced by fear rooted in the Sept. 11 attacks. But the national dialogue on immigration has begun to grow healthier. Activists, immigration advocacy groups and Latino and Asian American communities dug in and are working toward reform. Right wing and anti-immigration voices have less sway. This week we see two tangible and positive developments on this front: An announcement from the White House regarding detention policy reform and a letter against aggressive enforcement sent to the White House from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. (more…)

Weekly Immigration Wire: Silence Strengthens Opposition

Posted Aug 20, 2009 @ 10:39 am by
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By Nezua, TMC Mediawire Blogger

President Obama is citing the Healthcare debate as a reason for postponing immigration reform until 2010. But in the interim, the White House is laying the groundwork for an enforcement agenda by expanding programs such as 287(g), Secure Communities and e-Verify, amidst a growing matrix of detention centers. Anti-immigration factions are taking advantage of the lull in legislative action to push their own agenda.

The Progressive takes the unequivocal stand that “President Obama is wrong to postpone immigration reform.” Author Ed Morales makes it clear that while healthcare and economic issues are “understandably urgent,” the choice to delay reform “de-prioritizes” people who have paid their taxes but have not been given a path to citizenship.

The problem is, immigration reform and healthcare reform are inextricably connected. WireTap cites a central tenant of healthcare reform’s “artificially amplified ‘public’ opposition” to immigration, as reported by the Los Angeles Times: It’s “the notion that ‘Congress would give illegal immigrants health insurance at taxpayer expense.'”

Is the racially charged core of this “chameleon colored outrage” being purposefully left out of the general dialogue? The ugly facts are that a “third of all ‘Hispanics’ in the U.S., almost half of the undocumented, and a fifth of African Americans” lack health insurance today. And yet, only “one in eight whites” lack health care.

After all, “Not all immigrants are alike.” New America Media’s David Hayes-Bautista compares the experiences of two immigrants named Jean-Claude and Juan Carlos. Hayes-Bautista effectively illustrates the Good Immigrant/Bad Immigrant paradigm and asks “Why do some immigrants move quickly and swiftly up the educational and professional ladder, while others appear to remain stymied at the bottom?” Ultimately, “both segments of immigrants deserve to be included in the future healthcare system that their presence will help to fund.”

But some clearly don’t think with such a progressive bent, as the New Mexico Independent reports. Instead of trying to bring greater truth to the entire discussion, anti-immigrant factions are “using [healthcare reform] to whip up fear and anger toward immigrants,” unsurprisingly claiming that they are “a costly and burdensome drain on any taxpayer-supported U.S. health care system.”

At a Portsmouth, New Hampshire town hall where the crowd awaited the President’s arrival, one “white-bearded protestor” suggested murder as a solution for “illegals.” (Video via the Young Turks)

Judging from the agitated protestor’s words, he, like others, views immigration through a fearful zero sum scarcity model in which one person’s well-being equals another person’s loss. There are better ways to approach this issue. New America Media reports on a more enlightened approach being employed in New Mexico. The Las Cruces-based Colonias Development Council (CDC), along with other community groups, recently held a series of meetings that discussed “living and working conditions in underdeveloped border-area communities,” but filtered the conversation “through the lens of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations back in 1948.” Such a lens introduces not just political concerns, but concerns related to the “guarantees of healthcare, education, employment, and housing” as human rights.

Migrants, like those of the CDC, are exploring the truly progressive ideas that proclaim all humans deserving of certain rights. And when the White House takes immigration reform off the radar with one hand and clamps down punitively with the other, it sends a signal to companies like Yum! brands, which are implementing illegal policies. In These Times‘ Robin Peterson tells the story of a very unhappy KFC workforce where “No Match” letters have resulted in many lost jobs. No Match letters were introduced by the Bush administration. The idea is that your employer sends your Social Security number to a database, which returns a “match” that indicates valid citizenship. “No match” equals no citizenship, and usually, no job. However, a judge ruled shortly after the legislation’s introduction, that it was illegal to fire a person over an “unmatched” return.

Time’s up,” writes Michelle Chen of RaceWire. While the President has made some “overtures” toward immigration reform, the White House has “generally adhered to the status quo set by the Bush administration.” Not all involved are feeling so patient: “Faced with the news that immigration reform may have to wait until 2010, some organizations say their patience has run out.” The Mexican American Political Association, for one, has called for direct action to make clear the urgent necessity for leadership on this issue:

We are taking the brunt of the attacks and suffering the immediate consequences of this misguided policy, therefore, our call is urgent to take to the streets on September 5th, the Labor Day weekend, and October 12th, not to ask but demand that President Obama stop the attacks on immigrants and that he fulfill his promise of immigration reform, that which we heard during the presidential campaign, but has recently been forgotten.

Increasingly, the White House appears to be backing away from its promises to important constituencies. The administration’s inaction plays out with very real results on the ground, including increased tension, anxiety, and violence against immigrant communities. As we are a nation of immigrants, the effects of ignoring this pressing issue are widespread and will only grow worse in time.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration and is free to reprint. Visit for a complete list of articles on immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy and health issues, check out and This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.

Weekly Immigration Wire: 287(g) Makes Hard Times Harder

Posted Aug 6, 2009 @ 10:57 am by
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By Nezua, TMC Mediawire Blogger

The number of undocumented immigrants coming into the U.S. is plunging, as The Washington Independent’s Daphne Eviatar reports. And yet, the White House is still ramping up harsh detainment measures like 287(g),  which is already linked to abusive practices. If Obama continues to fall back on harsh stopgap measures and leaves comprehensive immigration reform for next year, he greatly increases the risk that it won’t pass at all.

Some are inclined to give the President a degree of lenience, considering the great challenges facing the nation. After all, shouldn’t Obama prioritize the legal citizens? That kind of thinking is problematic. When human beings in our midst are abused, their citizenship is a moot point. The United States’ most revered documents, such as the Bill of Rights, recognize this truth by noting the existence of inalienable rights. These rights must be vociferously defended, especially when the most vulnerable are deprived of them.

But as RaceWire accounts, a new report reveals that “[Immigration and Customs Enforcement] (ICE) agents routinely violate constitutional guarantees by illegally entering homes using physical force, seizing upon innocent people” and target people based “solely on their race.” One would think this would be quite a teachable moment, but the White House has been silent so far. ICE projects 400,000 arrests next year.

Sojourners reveals how the 287(g) program plays out in places like Guilford County, North Carolina. Immigration opponents are in a fury, and families are terrified of being locked up or bearing the brunt of that anger in some other way. Unfortunately, “such images and stories are becoming commonplace” in the towns where 287(g) is enacted. And it gets worse. Families go without medical care and suffer. Crimes are committed on a vulnerable population that fears reporting crimes to police in case of deportation. “As we await substantive immigration reform, what kind of community do we want to be,” asks author Julie Peoples.

Do we want to be a community that covers the uninsured? Do we want to be a community that covers the uninsured but not the undocumented? Even when “it’s simply more expensive to do nothing?” Are we comfortable deporting a man paralyzed with brain damage for being poor? In even the most optimistic of current proposals for healthcare reform, “universal” clearly does not mean “human.”

Some ethnic communities face higher risks of certain disease. Asian Pacific immigrants (API) “face serious health disparities,” according to New America Media‘s Sara Sadhwani. As Sadhwani notes, “South Asians and Pacific Islanders face high rates of chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease.” And yet the API community—legal immigrants with green cards, in this context—would be ineligable for federally funded public benefits for a five-year waiting period, according to current healthcare proposals.

But what about those who are neglected by the current immigration dialogue? WireTap’s Nina Jacinto says we must make this dialogue representative of the queer undocumented who do not fit the “heteronormative framework” of the conventional narrative. “Queer immigration reform activism must also contend with the relationship that exists between immigration reform and the preservation and uniting of family,” writes Jacinto. While she concedes the strategic value of employing a heteronormative, family-focused framework in current U.S. culture, one unfortunate result of the “broken family” narrative is that the marginalized continue to be left out of the conversation, and are even further shut out.

Finally, both Racewire and Wiretap make the case that everyone should be counted for the 2010 census. It’s a controversial argument for a couple reasons. While many lawmakers, as well as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, promote participation, many do not. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, an immigrants rights group, hopes to use a boycott threat to leverage fairer treatment and legislation for the immigrant community. Also urging a boycott are hate groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies. But no irony in the latter cases; these factions subscribe to the notion that a person’s moral worth is dependent on pieces of paper. No surprise they want to keep the undocumented uncounted!

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration. Visit for a complete list of articles on immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy and health issues, check out and This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.

Weekly Immigration Wire: Congress Signals Change for Immigration Policies

Posted Mar 12, 2009 @ 10:32 am by
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by Nezua
TMC MediaWire Blogger

Since the Obama administration came into power, the absence of movement on immigration issues has made activists on both sides of the debate anxious. Most reasoned that there was so much on the new President’s agenda, critical issues would have to wait for their turn.

But when Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) went forward with the raids that were born under the Bush administration (much to the apparent surprise of the new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security), tension mounted. Over 8,000 people in Arizona gathered last weekend to protest the way agreement 287(g)) has played out in the hands of local law “enforcers” like Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio,who is well known for stunts like marching immigrants in chains through town. (287(g) hands civil immigration enforcing powers to local criminal law forces.) Racewire reports in Immigration Advocates Want Action From Obama.

But the protesters didn’t pin all the blame on Arpaio. They issued a call to President Obama and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, echoed by a powerful op-ed published in the Times, to step up and take responsibility for ending the inhumane policies and terror practices that have become all too commonplace in this country.

Protestors picket against Sheriff Joe Arpaio on February 28
Image courtesy of The Center for Community Change. Taken on February 28, 2009

Is this call being answered? Public News Service reported that Arizona Congressmen Rep. Raul Grijalva and Ed Pastor joined with Illinois Representative Luis Guiterrez at an immigration reform rally on Sunday night at an immigrant rights rally. “The leadership has made public commitments; President Obama has made public commitments. With the enforcement part and other things, it’s become an issue in which more and more people want Congress to react. And I think we need to, and as a consequence of that, I think we have a much better chance this year than we’ve had the last four or five.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also has signaled a strong stance against the ICE raids and subsequent “tearing families apart.” On March 8, Pelosi’s noted her position is that “Taking parents from their children” is “un-American.”

In an exciting move, on March 10th, the US Department of Justice announced its “first civil-rights probe related to immigration enforcement,” referring to an investigation into Sheriff Arpaio and Maricopa County’s policing. In response, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox admits, “I think they’re going to find racial profiling, which is a civil-rights abuse.”

News items like these, considered collectively, may lead one to feel confident that positive change is coming in the area of immigration reform. More importantly, that reason can begin to reclaim its place in the conversation, not to mention a sense of decency and humanity. These can be important imperatives in a time of economic downfall. But it is precisely at these times that minority and immigrant communities become vulnerable to scapegoating and potentially worse.

On AlterNet, Kevin Tillman addresses a popular example of the tendency to target the immigrant community in Stimulus Spin: Unauthorized Immigrants Will Get Construction Jobs. Tillman reminds us that even if undocumented workers benefit along with the rest of the nation, this is on cause to reject the stimulus package nor to visit hostility upon the immigrant community.

Here’s the thing: I don’t care, and neither should you. Because the whole argument obscures the larger issue. …[T]here is no doubt that if we create a bunch of new jobs — especially in construction — unauthorized workers will get some of them. After all, they make up about 4-5 percent of the American workforce. And that’s fine, because stimulus spending is not just about creating jobs.

At the same time, the administration’s moves toward approaching immigration from a different angle are muddied by other interconnected realities. On March 10th, Air America posted a clip of Rachel Maddow’s interview with DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano , with the theme “Mexico bad and getting worse” to which the solution offered was the Mérida Initiative, or what many opponents call “Plan México.”

Mérida is dubbed Plan México after Plan Colombia, in which the US (under President Bill Clinton) enacted legislation targeting the drug commerce in Colombia, specifically the coca crops. (The legislation was funded and further expanded under President Bush.) Plan Colombia has been soundly criticized because of paramilitary and police abuses by the Colombian armed forces, as well as the abject failure to reduce cocaine production, which instead has greatly increased.

The Mérida Inititiative is a plan that could only be enacted by a government that has learned nothing from Plan Colombia’s miserable failure. The Mérida Initiative is a program crafted by the minds of the Bush administration, and like so much legislation of that era attempts to introduce oppressive and authoritarian measures in response to predictable phenomena, and all without examining the true causes. Suggesting that Plan México is “change” from the policies of the Past is ridiculous. As Laura Carlsen of the Center for International Policy (CIP) wrote:

“…[T]he militarized approach to fighting organized crime, couched in terms of the counterterrorism model of the Bush administration, presents serious threats to civil liberties and human rights. In Mexico, this has already been clear particularly among four vulnerable groups: members of political opposition, women, indigenous peoples, and migrants. … Because Mexico cannot receive any cash under Plan Mexico, the entire appropriations package translates into juicy contracts for arms manufacturers, mercenary firms, and U.S. defense and intelligence agencies.

Perhaps Plan México will bring about more border cities being taken over by the military. Such as on March 4th, when reported that the Mexican government sent over 2,000 troops into the border city of Ciudad Juarez to “try and regain control” as “more than 2,000 people have been murdered over the past year.” This violence was, of course, instigated by Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s unprecedented attack on the Cartels. So these conflicts intensify and the proposed answer—in the form of Mérida—is more funding, more weapons, more surveillance.

There are no voices telling us, yet, how using greater weaponry and surveillance and increased military powers are going to quell the national appetite for drugs that makes this conflict possible. Nor how even a government or two can hope to match that source of funding. Nor is anyone yet advising us on why we should be content in 2009 to watch complex issues of society be reduced to issues of force and more and more of our society handed over to military control. Especially when we surely have learned that this is not beneficial to the People.

One hopes that the current confluence of crises will inspire bold thought and a momentum capable of breaking away from the fearful and violent mindset that seems to have dogged so much national policy for almost the last decade. We need to make a different world for ourselves. And for others.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration. Visit for a complete list of articles on immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy and health issues, check out and This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.

Weekly Immigration Wire: Obama Administration Absent on Immigration

Posted Mar 5, 2009 @ 12:20 pm by
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by Nezua, TMC MediaWire Blogger

President Obama is shaking up the established political and corporate order with a bold economic agenda. Sadly, immigration reform remains untouched by Obama’s energizing blueprint for Change. Immigration policy and programs are still tied to President George W. Bush and former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff: Paramilitary-style raids, detention centers, and the deputizing of otherwise-engaged local police forces continue to stand strong. Even as President Obama moves to close Guantánamo (though some argue his method), the promise of change in the U.S. remains tainted as long as the detention industry grows.

Roberto Lovato sums up this hypocritical inattention to immigration reform for New America Media:

The proliferation of stories in international media and in global forums about the Guantánamo-like problems in the country’s immigrant detention system- death, abuse and neglect at the hands of detention facility guards; prolonged and indefinite detention of immigrants (including children and families) denied habeas corpus and other fundamental rights; filthy, overcrowded and extremely unhealthy facilities; denial of basic health services – are again tarnishing the U.S. image abroad, according to several experts. As a result, reports from Arizona and immigrant detention facilities have created a unique problem: they are making it increasingly difficult for Obama to persuade the planet’s people that the United States is ready claim exceptional leadership on human rights in a soon-to-be-post-Guantanamo world.

Our current immigration policy is not thoughtful, measured legislation crafted by a consensus of experts. It is, in most cases, a patchwork of painfully and barely functioning laws, like a bone that knits crooked simply because it was never set properly. While those who benefit from unchecked ICE raids boast that “we can make a person disappear,” the rest of us can only wonder how “American” such a goal is. It’s a policy wrongly reliant on public loathing and lack of oversight. It supersedes U.S. laws to target “the Other.”

Agreement 287(g), which bestows immigration-enforcement powers on state and local police forces to relieve some of the federal government’s duties, has been disastrous in practice. Aarti Shahani and Judith Greene report on the particular fusion of civil and criminal law that is resulting in such chaos for New America Media. They aptly characterize the 287(g) agreement as “a state and local bailout of the federal government’s failed immigration enforcement business.”

Some background: The amendment of section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act was made under the radar of public attention and passed by a Republican Congress under Democratic President Bill Clinton. This change was a part of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). President Clinton let the ammendment stand. Florida, under the guidance of Gov. Jeb Bush, was the first state to use the provision to target the immigrant community following 9/11.

Critics of the merge between federal obligations and state enforcement charged that “turning police into deportation patrol would result in racial profiling, and make immigrant victims afraid to call 911,” write Shahani and Greene.

In actuality, 287(g) has played out poorls. Fanatics and TV-star wannabees like Sheriff Joe Arpaio have been given power at the expense of hard-working men and women. Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a congressionally commissioned report on the 287(g) program and, in essence, pronounced it a “misuse of authority.”

And in the face of all this, we have but weak and startled declarations of ignorance by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and silence from the Oval Office. Public News Service reports on the many human beings are “living in limbo“as they wait for the Obama administration to push forward on immigration reform. Even President Obama’s Aunt Zeituni is facing deportation. In an interview with Katie Couric on Nov. 2, 2008, Obama deflected the issue by claiming he hasn’t “been able to be in touch with her” but that immigration laws, “have to be obeyed.”

In WireTap’s Crickets Louder Than Obama As Aunt Faces Deportation, Beatriz Herrera responds with some passionate and true words: “Laws need to be obeyed, huh?” Herrera writes. “What about the fact that his Auntie Zeituni came here seeking asylum because Kenya’s politicians couldn’t obey their own laws, and as a result civil war broke out, forcing her to immigrate to the US?”

By working to close Guantánamo, peppering his speech with talk of law and order, and restoring US image to the world abroad, Obama risks muddying up his accomplishments with a blatant hypocrisy. We simply cannot  lead the way when investing in detention systems from Arizona to Iraq. When did prisons become the solution to so many of our problems? The below video is from GritTV and features excerpts from a documentary on the U.S. detention system.

Perhaps the President is arranging his legistlative actions carefully and we have yet to see how we will make the change that millions are waiting for. But from the ground level, silence and the continuation of the Bush administration’s failed policies speaks louder. Returning to Wiretap, Beatriz Herrera speaks her heart about Obama’s absence from these issues. I’m sure she speaks for many of us as well:

I don’t want to turn my back on My First Black President, but having solidarity with him means he needs to have solidarity with me and my community of immigrant people of color, and he could start by taking an Air Force One flight to Auntie Zetuni’s house in the projects of South Boston and find out what the hell is going on.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration. Visit for a complete list of articles on immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy and health issues, check out and This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.