Posts tagged with 'Race Tax'
By Nezua, The Media Consortium MediaWire Blogger
Hate does not emerge in a vacuum writes the editorial staff of El Diario/La Prensa [translated by New America Media]. Nor could it thrive there, we might add. While many collude to bring about positive change, they face opposition from others who have coalesced to propagate negativity on a large scale.
As of late, it is the Latino community catching the hate that has been unleashed upon the immigrant community. El Diaro/La Prensa gives the gruesome details:
In July, Luis Ramirez was beaten to death by a gang in Shenandoah, Pa. In August, a Staten Island man rammed his vehicle into the storefronts of three Latino merchants. Last month, a gang hunted and stabbed Marcelo Lucero to death in Patchogue, Long Island. This list of hate attacks has now grown with the brutal beating of yet another Latino immigrant, according to an editorial in El Diario/La Prensa.
Jose Sucuzhanay, a Bushwick business owner, was with his brother Romel on Sunday when he was beaten by a group of men using a bat. He was reportedly declared brain dead yesterday. Romel had come from Ecuador to visit his brother, not bury him.
Witnesses heard the cowardly attackers shout anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs at the brothers, according to police. They mistook Jose and Romel cozying up in the extreme cold as a sign that they were gay.
The article goes on to document the soaring statistics of hate crimes against Latinos and Hispanics (even underreported, they have increased 40 percent since 2003, with over 60 percent of all bias/ethnicity/race/hate crimes being against Hispanics) and lays the blame unflinchingly on a “hostile anti-immigrant campaign targeting Latinos.”
Where is all this hate coming from? Duke of The Sanctuary gives a firsthand account of another group fanning the flames of violence now eating away at our communities in the info-packed article Hearts of Darkness: A Journey Into the Nativist Lair. To write it, Duke phoned in to join a press conference hosted by the anti-immigration group The Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which was led by FAIR President, Dan Stein. The purpose of the call was to discuss “the implications of the recent elections and (their) agenda for immigration reform in the 111th Congress.”
As we’ve come to expect from far-right ideologues, Stein opened up his presentation with a statement intended to stir up maximum resentment and fear. He spoke at length about the changing political climate due to economic instability and how only strict enforcement and severe limiting of all new immigration would be accepted by the American people.
Against this backdrop of economic uncertainty, he couldn’t resist the temptation to blame the nation’s entire economic collapse on “illegal aliens” and their allies who managed to force well-meaning bankers into giving them mortgages they had no intention of ever paying… [.]
The article proceeds to destroy a slew of Stein’s anti-immigrant talking points (including blaming the immigrant community for the economy) with links, facts, and a true bewilderment that Stein can live in a “reality of his own making.”
Attacking minority or immigrant communities (and specifically the Latino community, as we saw with the California Apology Act of the 1930s) during times of economic downturn is hardly a new mistake. Carl Ginsburg at Air America tackles the vile idea that we ought to blame blacks and Latinos for the collapse of the economy in The Sting: A Matter of Honor.
The ugly details of America’s Great Credit Scam of 2008 continue to surface, including what amounts to a colossal transfer of money from minority communities to rich investors.
The so-called “Race Tax” involved African Americans, Hispanics and Native American with incomes and credit scores on par with whites who were up-sold costlier, high interest mortgages. Recent studies reveal that more than half of blacks were sold subprime loans when cheaper loans were merited.
Media attention continues to be focused on borrowers and the lack of personal responsibility they employed in taking on mortgages. Against the backdrop of the Race Tax, one can now see that the fraud that was so pervasive in the ranks of the mortgage industry sales force–and the resultant rate gouging–played a big role in the foreclosure pandemic in America today.
Even back in early November, Public News Service broke down the hard truth that so many anti-immigrant factions never seem to grasp: you cannot separate immigrants from the US. We are all one and the same. In Advocates Push the “Dollars and Sense” of Immigration Reform, Michael Clifford details the national “compact for racial justice”:
“In New York City, 40 percent of all restaurant workers are undocumented and 70 percent are foreign-born. Without immigrants, the industry would just shut down. This is one of the few industries that’s somewhat strong and stable through this economic crisis.” [Saru Jayaraman, co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United]
More than 100 New Yorkers who are concerned about immigration reform are in California today to sign onto a national “compact for racial justice.” Among them is Rinku Sen, author of the The Accidental American and executive director of the Applied Research Center, the compact’s host. [S]he says the compact makes the case that the nation cannot escape its biggest problems unless it includes the foreign-born in the solution.
Exploring the opposite approach, one of blatant divisiveness and persecution, Joshua Hoyt at AlterNet chronicles the revealing backtory of how the Republican party lost the Latino/Hispanic vote in GOP Going Full-Throttle on the Wrong Track for Latinos:
In December 2005, Dennis Hastert, then House speaker, pandering to the hard right of the GOP, allowed Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) to push through the House a truly draconian piece of legislation that would have turned all undocumented immigrants and the priests and nuns who serve them into felons.
The Sensenbrenner legislation triggered the historic immigrant marches in the spring of 2006, where millions chanted, tellingly, “Today we march; tomorrow we vote!” Nativist-haters and talk-radio demagogues who don’t like to “Press 1 for English” mobilized their cultural conservative base, and cynics in the Republican Party thought they had a beautiful little “wedge” issue. They would paint Democrats as pandering to Mexican-Americans by supporting “amnesty for lawbreakers.” Republican tax activist Grover Norquist warned of the consequences, saying, “We can’t afford to do to the Hispanics what we did to the Roman Catholics in the late 19th Century: tell them we don’t like them and lose their vote for a hundred years.”
Ignoring his warning, the Republican National Committee covered the nation during the 2006 elections with mailers and TV commercials painting the Democrats as soft on illegal Immigration, to no avail. The GOP lost the House and Senate, and many anti-immigrant hard-liners were defeated.
Many hands come together in a democratic process, and the idea is we collectively decide upon the party that best represents the People. If you believe in this democratic process, then humane immigration reform apparently has a mandate today.
A striking and iconic example of someone hired to enforce the law and yet subverting it at the same time is that of Lorraine Henderson, the Boston area director of Homeland Security, Customs, and Border Protection who was arrested for employing undocumented workers.
Henderson is responsible for stopping illegal aliens from entering the country through the Port of Boston.
But according to an affidavit, for several years Henderson employed a Brazilian housekeeper who was an illegal immigrant. She also allegedly hired two other illegal immigrants, even after fellow agents warned her it was against the law.
And continuing the pattern of leveling the power of the law in such egregiously asymmetrical fashion, an in-depth article by Jennifer Lee Koh titled Immigrant Rights Signed Away? tells the unhappy story of yet another Bush administration legal feat. Once again, due process is dragged out of the equation and in its wake, over 100,000 people (so far) detained and immediately removed from the country through a process called Stipulated Removal.
Here’s how stipulated removal works: Government officials present immigrants with a stipulated removal order. If immigrants sign the paper, then the government can issue a removal order against them. Once the government convinces them to sign the stipulated order, they give up their right to go before an immigration judge and have a hearing. Even if the law could give them a chance to stay here legally (for example, if they have U.S. citizen family members, face persecution in their home country, or are victims of a crime), the government can still send them back. After they are removed, they are barred from returning for 10 years, if they would otherwise have a legal way of doing coming back. And they face serious penalties (including criminal prosecution) if they do re-enter. No judge ever explains these things to the immigrants.
There is great danger in continuing along this path of unwarranted and unchecked persecution of such a large part of such a large nation. If the shape of Web 2.0, the success of open source software, the might of Barack Obama’s grassroots campaign, and the reality of the new global world we live in has taught us anything, it is that everything is interconnected, and our strengths lie in working together. So if we want our hope for the future to be more than campaign lettering, we have to remember to live by a much older slogan: United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration. Visit Immigration.NewsLadder.net for a complete list of articles on immigration. 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 created by NewsLadder.