Posts tagged with 'Tom Tancredo'
by Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger
After a long summer of name-calling and absurd attempts to deny birthright citizenship to children of immigrants, immigration hawks are now bullying immigrant children on their own turf: Public schools.
California, New York, Iowa and Colorado are among the states that have cracked down on immigrant students by hiring ICE agents to investigate residency statuses or unlawfully barring students from enrolling. Such blatant discrimination flies in the face of the 14th amendment and Supreme Court precedent, both of which guarantee all children the right to a public education regardless of immigration status.
The latest assault on immigrant students comes not from over-zealous school districts, however, but from state lawmakers adamant about stripping immigrants of the few rights they possess.
Kick ‘em out of school
As Matt Vasilogambros of the Iowa Independent reports, Iowa’s lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Kim Reynolds recently came out in support of denying public education to undocumented children, a sentiment she shares with her running mate, former Gov. Terry Branstad. Branstad’s position is even more extreme, however. He has argued that the Supreme Court decision in Plyer v. Doe—the 1982 case which guarantees immigrants the right to public education—should be overturned.
So far, only Colorado third party gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo has fully endorsed Branstad’s extreme opinion. Tancredo has even gone so far as to say that, if elected, he would ignore the Supreme Court ruling altogether.
Branstad and Tancredo may be on their own for the moment. But, if this summer’s birthright citizenship fiasco is any indication, anti-immigrant conservatives must be delighted to fall back on the age-old myth that immigrants are here to steal social services.
New York stands up
Last week, the New York Department of Education fired back at anti-immigrant activism in schools by issuing a memo that directs schools not to investigate the immigration status of their students.
According to Braden Goyette of Campus Progress, the memo came in response to a New York Civil Liberties Union report charging that 139 New York school districts were collecting information about prospective students’ immigration statuses—and barring or discouraging children from enrolling if they failed to provide proof of their citizenship.
Goyette notes that federal law only requires students to fulfill two simple requirements before enrolling: residency in the school district, and intent to remain in the school district. Immigration status is not a factor.
The memo is a victory for immigrant rights advocates, especially as it comes on the heels of reports that two California school districts are adopting even harsher anti-immigrant policies.
Negating Pyler v. Doe
As New America Media’s Jacob Simas and Elena Shore translate from a La Opinión, a daily Spanish-language newspaper based in Los Angeles. Both the Unified School District of Calexico and the Mountain Empire School District near San Diego have hired staff exclusively to investigate the immigration statuses of their students. The school districts are attempting to get around Pyler v. Doe by arguing that their proximity to the border necessitates stricter enforcement of federal residency requirements.
In other words, they’re worried that Mexican children are crossing the border to take advantage of our first-class, world-renowned public school offerings. The simple fact that student residency can be determined without revealing immigration status is obviously beside the point.
Cutting social services in New Jersey
Meanwhile, immigrants in New Jersey may be robbed of their own social services, as the state threatens to removes 12,000 non-citizens from it’s low-income family insurance plan.
As Change.org’s Prerna Lal reports, several legal immigrants have joined a class action lawsuit against New Jersey’s Department of Human Services, alleging that the state is violating “the equal protection guarantees of the United States and New Jersey Constitutions” by denying health care subsidies to legal permanent residents. Lal notes that legal permanent residents possess nearly all of the same rights as U.S. citizens, and pay taxes to both state and federal governments. They should, therefore, be safe from public policy discrimination.
But, while it’s well documented that both legal and undocumented immigrants pay into our social services system through income taxes, that fact is persistently overlooked by the anti-immigrant zealots who want to keep immigrants off Medicaid and out of public schools.
Even former President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors agreed that immigrants have a positive fiscal impact Social Security and Medicaid, contributing $80,000 more in taxes than they receive in public services. Other studies put that figure much higher.
Given their immense contribution to the social services net, guaranteeing immigrants’ access to those public services is more than a matter of justice—it’s a matter of fiscal responsibility.
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by Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger
President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that he would be deploying 1,200 National Guard troops to the Mexican border to beef up security along the Río Bravo. This surprise move has garnered criticism from immigrant rights supporters, who argue that it will dehumanize and endanger immigrant and Latino communities.
Julianne Hing at RaceWire offers more details on the plan, reporting that an extra $500 million has also been allocated to law enforcement along the border.
“Obama is reportedly asking for these troop increases in anticipation of Republicans’ demands on a war spending bill this week,” Hing writes. “But Obama’s already outpaced his predecessors in spending on border security and military presence at the border.” (more…)
By Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), started a hubbub among comprehensive immigration reform advocates last week when he expressed to members of the Capitol press corps that progressive immigration legislation was “dead” for 2010 due to the contentious passage of health care reform. But the battle isn’t over yet. In an interview with Sandip Roy at New America Media, Frank Sharry, the executive director of DC-based immigration organization America’s Voice, says, “I think we have a good chance of seeing a bipartisan bill being introduced in April.”
Graham’s declaration mirrors similar antics that happened around the health care debate—where insurance reform was pronounced dead countless times by a wide array of pundits and lawmakers. In fact, Seth Freed Wessler of ColorLines reports that Graham, who has been working with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on an immigration reform bill for a year later changed his tune, stating that he would continue to craft a bipartisan bill.
The Battle in the Senate
Gabriel Arana with The America Prospect questions just how the GOP lawmakers will react to the upcoming immigration debate, arguing that, “Even for those Republicans who are willing to publicly support immigration reform, partisan rancor all but ensures it won’t go anywhere.”
And outside the Capitol? As Laura Flanders of GRITtv points out, the immigration debate, “has the potential to be far, far messier—and more violent—than the health care battle,” and will likely galvanize those with xenophobic tendencies on the far Right to become even more unhinged.
On top of that, providing a pathway to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States will most likely be dead in 2010 if a bill isn’t proposed in the Senate this Spring. There needs to be time to debate the issue before the end of the year, and more importantly, before election season kicks off in the Fall. While there’s already an immigration bill in the House of Representatives, a timeline for when one will actually be introduced in the Senate is unknown.