Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What Obama immigration plan means for US economy

Obama's new immigration orders could boost labor income by $6.8 billion, helping to generate 160,000 new jobs and $2.5 billion in additional tax revenues, say economists. But immigration reform by Congress would do more.

By Josh Boak, Associated Press
November 22, 2014

[Note: The article's claims for the benefits of guest worker programs are very questionable.--The Politics of Immigration]

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's expansive executive action on immigration is good for the U.S. economy — just not as good as partnering with Congress on broader reforms.

Announced Thursday, the executive order would prevent the deportation of about 4 million parents and guardians who lack the same legal status as their children. By gaining work permits, they will likely command higher wages, move more easily between jobs and boost government tax revenues, according to multiple economic analyses.

"This is focused on people who are already in the economy today, who are contributing mightily but are basically operating in the shadows," said Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. "Their economic potential is being held back." [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Media Release: Immigrant Rights Activists Converge On Georgia Immigrant Prison, Then School Of The Americas

For immediate release
November 22, 2014
Anton Flores, 706-302-9661, anton@alternacommunity.com
Arturo Viscarra, SOA Watch, 617-820-3008, arturo@soaw.org
Hendrik Voss, SOA Watch 202-425-5128, hvoss@soaw.org

Activists Protest One of Largest US Immigrant Prisons, Caravan to Fort Benning, Home of the School of the Americas

5 Human Rights Activists Arrested

On Saturday, November 22, hundreds of human rights defenders converged in the remote town of Lumpkin, Georgia, whose largest employer is the Corrections Corporation of America at the Stewart Detention Center. Stewart is one of the largest immigrant prisons in the US, currently warehousing 1,800 men for profit. These detainees' only “crime” was to flee the economic and political violence in their home countries, violence created by US policies and training like at the SOA/WHINSEC.

In the wake of President Obama’s announcement about his executive actions in regards to immigration, the activists marched 1.7 miles from central Lumpkin to the Stewart Detention Center. At a vigil in front of the prison, the activists demanded the release of the immigrants who are imprisoned at Stewart, an immediate end to mass deportations, and the closure of the Stewart Detention Center. Five activists were arrested for their nonviolent civil disobedience at the gates of Stewart: longtime union activist Maureen Fitzsimmos of Michigan; Rebecca Kanner, former SOA Watch prisoner of conscience from Michigan; Anton Flores, the vigil organizer from the Alterna community and the Georgia Detention Watch coalition; Jason McGaughey, of Washington, DC; and Kevin Caron of the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition. Bail was set at $25,000 for Anton Flores, and $1,000 for each of the others, but the SOA Watch Legal Collective negotiated bonds down to $250 each.[...]

Read the full press release:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Obama’s Action Marks Historic Victory for Immigrant Rights, But Activists Warn of a Long Way to Go

Democracy Now!
November 21, 2014

In a prime-time speech Thursday night, President Obama outlined his plan to take executive action granting temporary legal status to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, protecting them from deportation. Under the plan, undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents will be allowed to temporarily remain in the country and work legally if they have lived in the United States for at least five years and pass a background check. But the new plan will not provide relief to the parents of undocumented children, even those who qualified for deferred action in 2012. The executive order will also not provide undocumented immigrants any formal, lasting legal status. Many will receive work permits, which will give them Social Security numbers and the ability to work under their own names. But they will have to reapply after three years. We get analysis from Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan González, who watched the speech with a large group of undocumented immigrants Thursday night. We are also joined from Seattle by a family team of activists: Maru Mora Villalpando, an activist and undocumented immigrant with the group Latino Advocacy, and her daughter, Josefina Mora, a U.S. citizen.[...]

Read the full transcript or watch the program segment:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Grassroots Groups React to President’s Executive Action on Immigration

For immediate release
November 20, 2014
Contact: B. Loewe, NDLON, 773.791.4668, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank" style="color: #1155cc;">bloewe@ndlon.org

Grassroots Groups React to President’s Executive Action on Immigration

In reaction to the President’s executive action on immigration, immigrant rights leaders issued the following statements:

Maris Franco, Lead Organizer of the #Not1More Campaign for NDLON, “If today is defining, it’s is in the breakthrough of directly impacted communities and grassroots organizations to change the conversation, propose new strategies, and show we can win. We took risks, confronted fear and demanded that our leaders do the same. By following suit, President Obama’s decision brings the possibility of shifting course on immigration, and correcting injustices that have held our country back. With this executive action, we must seek to defend it, implement it with expedience and fairness and most importantly seek to expand it more people, and continue to build immigration policy that is inclusive and just.” [...]

Read the full press release:

Dignity Campaign Response to the Administration's Announcement on Relief From Deportation

Dignity Campaign
November 20, 2014

We welcome the administration's willingness to finally respond to the grassroots movement of marches, demonstrations, civil disobedience, and hunger strikes organized by communities around the country. For six years this movement has demanded an end to the administration's policy of mass deportations.

Relief from deportation for four to five million of the eleven million people who lack legal immigration status is a step in the right direction. But it is only a step. Deportation relief is a stopgap measure. We need permanent solutions so that those receiving deferred status are not vulnerable to a possible Republican administration and Congress that can easily reverse it, putting in danger those people who have come forward.

The plan, however, leaves millions of the other undocumented subject to deportation and to the vastly increased enforcement apparatus this administration and Congress have put in place and plan to continue. We call on activists to continue to fight for the right of all people to real legal status, beyond deferred deportation for some.

We reject the trade-off the administration is making, in increasing enforcement and labor programs as a price our communities must pay for deportation relief for some. More enforcement on the U.S. Mexico border will mean even more people will die trying to cross, and greater violations of civil and human rights in border communities. We need to demilitarize the border, not to increase its militarization. The U.S. already spends more money on immigration enforcement, including the notorious Operation Streamline kangaroo courts, than all other federal law enforcement programs combined. It is inexcusable to spend even more.

The announcement that the administration will end the Secure Communities program, opposed by advocates, and even several state governments, is another good step, but only a small one. It leaves in place the 287g program that is the root of local enforcement collaborations with ICE. Even worse, the administration plans to expand the number of privately run prisons for immigrants, and the number of people held in them.

Silicon Valley tech titans have been pushing for more labor programs and work visas to maximize profits by keeping wages to tech workers down. By giving this industry access to more work visas and tying labor programs to deportation relief, the administration is taking a step towards lower wages and undermining the rights of all workers.

The administration has announced it will work with Republicans on negotiating more free trade deals, like the Trans Pacific Partnership. Two decades of experience with NAFTA tells us that these deals drive people into poverty, leading to more displacement and global migration, while US jobs are eliminated. We need to end these trade arrangements as part of a sensible immigration policy. We must change U.S. immigration law and trade policy to deal with the basic causes of migration, and to guarantee the human, civil and labor rights of migrants and all working people.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ICE-FREE NYC Campaign: Detainer ban at Rikers is a step forward, but Mayor de Blasio must lead in completely ridding New York of ICE

Posted on October 15, 2014

For interviews with ICE-Free NYC please contact:
Monica Novoa monica@familiesforfreedom.org

Message to New York City:

“Stop all collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and create a safe immigration legacy New Yorkers can be proud of.”

NEW YORK, October 15, 2014 — Members of the ICE-FREE NYC campaign welcome the proposed city council policy to end Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) presence and collaboration at Rikers Island Prison. Campaign member organization Families for Freedom is scheduled to give testimony at today’s city council hearing about the proposed legislation. We commend those who have championed this demand while we express concern about ICE’s continued presence in the City. We believe all New Yorkers have the right to remain together with their families and in their communities – citizens and noncitizens alike. While the change at Rikers is welcome, Mayor de Blasio can and must do more to protect all immigrants throughout New York.

It’s a step forward that under this proposed policy detainers will no longer be honored in NYC for the foreseeable future. But detainers are only one of the many ways that local police currently facilitate the deportation of New Yorkers. The mechanisms that facilitate ICE presence in our communities beyond the halls of Rikers Island would remain intact. For example, under this legislation city agencies are still permitted to share certain key personal information about individuals with ICE and DHS. Data sharing is especially of concern in regard to people who have been previously convicted, recently released and on probation, and information sharing remains unacceptable. And while we are heartened that ICE will not be allowed to maintain an office space at Rikers, there is nothing in the bill to prevent immigration agents from coming into the jail to look for people to deport.[...]

Read the full press release:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Contratados: A Yelp To Help Migrant Workers Fight Fraud

A storytelling tool built by MIT's Center for Civic Media is the backbone of the site, which helps protect migrant workers from fraud and abuse.

By Steven Melendez, Fast Company
October 9, 2014

Every year, more than 100,000 Mexican migrant workers are recruited to travel to the United States on temporary employment visas (and many more arrive unofficially). They find themselves with little ability to research whether promised wages and working conditions will actually be delivered. In some cases, fake job recruiters even collect application fees from prospective workers, only to disappear without a trace.

“These prospective migrant workers have a great necessity to get work in the U.S.,” says Sarah Farr, a project coordinator with Centro de los Derechos del Migrante or CDM. “There’s really no information available to them that allows them to verify if this is a real job offer or not.”

To help level the playing field, CDM created Contratados, a platform launched last week to let migrant workers share Yelp-style ratings and reviews of their experiences with different recruiters and employers.

The idea evolved out of a Facebook page run by a fraudulent recruitment agency. The agency had been routed out, but scam victims reappropriated the comments section to share information about their experiences with other employers and recruiting agencies.

“This Facebook page had since been abandoned by whoever had been administrating it and had since been used as a community bulletin board where workers were sharing information,” says Farr.[...]

Read the full article: