Posts tagged with 'New Mexico Independent'

Weekly Diaspora: CIR ASAP the First Step to Reform

Posted Dec 17, 2009 @ 12:49 pm by
Filed under: Immigration     Bookmark and Share

By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

On Tuesday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR-ASAP). Rep. Gutierrez said that the bill represents “the final push for comprehensive immigration reform,” as Khalil Abdullah reports for New America Media. Seth Hoy at AlterNet breaks down some of the bill’s key points, which include a border security provisions, family unification, a legalization component, and improved detention conditions.

The legislation is an encouraging first step forward on the path to immigration reform. But many hurdles must be overcome before an immigration bill from the House or Senate becomes law, especially in today’s tense political environment. Outright antagonism from the nativist lobby or the far Right will be no small part of the challenge, no matter how concessionary the legislation is to Republicans.

In the absence of nationally legislated reform, many border states like Texas are attempting to fill in the gap. One of these cases is a town called Del Rio, as Melissa del Bosque reports for the Texas Observer. Del Rio’s new school superintendent, Kelt Cooper, has “an overarching concern about Mexican nonresidents attending [U.S.] public schools.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, acting under Cooper’s request, recently took a headcount of children crossing the bridge that connects Ciudad Acuña in México to Del Rio, Texas. No other border to the county was inspected similarly.

At Cooper’s order, Del Rio school district employees handed out fliers to drivers with students who crossed the bridge that morning, informing parents that their children were being withdrawn from school unless they could prove U.S. citizenship. If Cooper truly cared about his student body, he’d take a lesson from another school with a large immigrant population and harness the energy available to him, rather than sowing fear and division amongst the student body.

In AlterNet, David Bacon writes about the impact of President Barack Obama’s brand of immigration enforcement, which has been sold as hard on employers, but not on workers. A key part of this approach has hinged on phasing out the aggressive and visibly disruptive SWAT-style raids that were common in the Bush era and instead warning companies that their employment rolls would be inspected. But these employee audits are just another proxy move in the absence of sound legislative that guides how this country treats immigrants.

The “softer” raids are not, in fact, harder on employers. The audits that result in the loss of hundreds of jobs at a time often take place during or close to attempts to organize a union. The workers are let go and the companies—recent examples include American Apparel and ADM Janitorial—are given immunity. These selective raids and probes cannot drive every undocumented worker away. Furthermore, if the flow of cheap labor were to dry up, the U.S. economy would collapse. These audits are but “a means for managing the flow of migrants, and making their labor available to employers at a price they want to pay.”

Daphne Eviatar reports on Thursday morning’s House Homeland Security Committee hearing for The New Mexico Independent. The hearing, “ostensibly about how [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement] should improve its immigrant detention system” revealed deeply divided convictions among attendees. Immigrants today are either “dangerous criminals” who need to be locked up and deported, or “hapless men and women” who only broke the law in their pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. These divisions need to be settled, as the incarcerated population has doubled in the last ten years.

Even if prisons were built in every state and were designed only to hold undocumented people, the problem is not solved. The flow of migrants from South of the border must not be viewed as a vacuum. It is a symptom of the economic imbalances between the U.S. and Mexico.

So is the case with climate change, as Michelle Chen reports for RaceWire. Today, immigrants flee toward healthier economies and are demonized as the cause of the economic storm that howls behind them. It is no different for those displaced by “environmental destruction,” which is “reshaping the flow of labor and people as they move from one endangered livelihood to another.”

Chen advises us to accept the “fluidity of human movement,” as the consequences of remaining stuck in today’s limited immigration dialogue are dire. “Migration stems from the convergence of environmental destruction and social inequality,” writes Chen. There’s not a fence in the world that can address those forces.

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.

The Mulch: 10 Million Strong, and Growing

Posted Dec 9, 2009 @ 12:31 pm by
Filed under: Sustain     Bookmark and Share

By Alison Hamm, Media Consortium Blogger

It’s one of the largest petitions in history—and the biggest climate-related petition ever delivered. Organized by the TckTckTck campaign, 10 million people called for leaders to sign a fair, ambitious, and legally binding climate treaty at the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (Cop15).

After the opening press conference on Monday, young people from around the globe handed the petition to Yvo de Boer, head of the United Nations agency organizing Cop15, and Connie Hedegaard, Danish Climate Minister and President of Cop15. More than 220 leading civil society organizations from environmental, development, labor, and health fields came together for the campaign. (more…)

Weekly Immigration Wire: Silence Strengthens Opposition

Posted Aug 20, 2009 @ 10:39 am by
Filed under: Immigration, Uncategorized     Bookmark and Share

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 Immigration.NewsLadder.net 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 Economy.NewsLadder.net and Healthcare.NewsLadder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and was created by NewsLadder.