Friday, November 27, 2015

Sanders Introduces ‘Families First’ Immigration Plan

November 24, 2015

BURLINGTON, Vt. – As he returned home to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bold plan to reform our immigration system. Sanders’ plan puts families first, focuses on common sense reforms to build the middle class and embraces our nation’s diversity.

“As we gather with our loved ones to give thanks, we should reflect on the fact that not all families will be so lucky,” Sanders said. “Millions of families are torn apart by our broken immigration policies. We cannot forget about the aspiring Americans who continue to live in the shadows. As the son of an immigrant, I can tell you that their story – my story, your story, our story – is the story of America: the story of hardworking families coming to the United States to create a brighter future for their kids. We have an obligation to enact policies that unite families, not tear them apart.”

If elected, Sanders would:

* Dismantle inhumane deportation programs and private detention centers.
* Offer humane treatment and asylum to victims of domestic violence and minors fleeing from dangerous circumstances in Latin America.
* End policies that discriminate against women and ensure that mothers and wives who come into the United States with their families have the same right to work as their partners.
* Pave the way for a swift legislative path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
* Close loopholes that allow federal agencies to use racial and ethnic profiling at the border.
* Ensure our border remains secure and protects local communities.
* Make it easier for immigrants to access the judicial system.
* Increase oversight of key Department of Homeland Security agencies to guard against waste, fraud and abuse.

Sanders pledged to make immigration a top priority of his administration, even if Congress refuses to act. He will take executive action to allow all undocumented people who have been in the United States for at least five years to stay in the country without fear of being deported. Under Sanders’ plan, close to 9 million aspiring Americans will be able to apply to stay in the United States.

“As president, I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship and is grounded in civil, humane and economic rights. But let me be clear: I will not stand idly by waiting around for a dysfunctional Congress to act. Instead, during the first 100 days of my administration I will take extensive action to accomplish what Congress has failed to do and to build upon President Obama’s executive orders.”

Click here to read Sanders’ plan.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Maquiladora Workers Of Juarez Find Their Voice

Low pay, abusive conditions, no union representation—employees are fed up and fighting back.

By David Bacon, The Nation
November 20, 2015

Ciudad Juárez—After more than a decade of silence, maquiladora workers in Ciudad Juárez have found their voice. The city, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, is now the center of a growing rebellion of laborers in the border factories. At the gates to four plants, including a huge 5,000-worker Foxconn complex, they have set up encampments, or plantons, demanding recognition of independent unions, and protesting firings and reprisals.

“We just got so tired of the insults, the bad treatment, and low wages that we woke up,” explains Carlos Serrano, a leader of the revolt at Foxconn’s Scientific Atlanta facility. “We don’t really know what’s going to happen now, and we’re facing companies that are very powerful and have a lot of money. But what’s clear is that we are going to continue. We’re not going to stop.”

About 255,000 people work directly in Juarez' 330 maquiladoras, about 13% of the total nationally, making Juarez one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing on the U.S./Mexico border. Almost all the plants are foreign-owned. Eight of Juarez' 17 largest factories belong to U.S. corporations, three to Taiwanese owners, two to Europeans, and two to Mexicans. Together, they employ over 69,000 - over a quarter of the city's total.[...]

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S.

Net Loss of 140,000 from 2009 to 2014; Family Reunification Top Reason for Return

By Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Pew Hispanic
November 19, 2015

More Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of newly available government data from both countries. The same data sources also show the overall flow of Mexican immigrants between the two countries is at its smallest since the 1990s, mostly due to a drop in the number of Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S.

From 2009 to 2014, 1 million Mexicans and their families (including U.S.-born children) left the U.S. for Mexico, according to data from the 2014 Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (ENADID). U.S. census data for the same period show an estimated 870,000 Mexican nationals left Mexico to come to the U.S., a smaller number than the flow of families from the U.S. to Mexico.[...]

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

What Americans thought of Jewish refugees on the eve of World War II

By Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post
November 17, 2015

The results of the poll illustrated above by the useful Twitter account @HistOpinion were published in the pages of Fortune magazine in July 1938. Fewer than 5 percent of Americans surveyed at the time believed that the United States should raise its immigration quotas or encourage political refugees fleeing fascist states in Europe — the vast majority of whom were Jewish — to voyage across the Atlantic. Two-thirds of the respondents agreed with the proposition that "we should try to keep them out."

To be sure, the United States was emerging from the Great Depression, hardly a climate in which ordinary folks would welcome immigrants and economic competition. The events of Kristallnacht — a wave of anti-Jewish pogroms in areas controlled by the Nazis — had yet to take place. And the poll's use of the term "political refugees" could have conjured in the minds of the American public images of communists, anarchists and other perceived ideological threats.[...]

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

As Asylum Seekers Swap Prison Beds For Ankle Bracelets, Same Firm Profits

By John Burnett, NPR
November 13, 2015

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been under fire for opening three detention centers to hold Central American immigrant families who fled to this country seeking asylum.

Under the pressure of a federal court order, ICE is now exploring ways to release the mothers and children with alternatives to detention — but human rights activists are unhappy that the same for-profit prison company that locked up the families now manages their cases after release.

A dozen young Central American mothers in jeans and sneakers wait in a corner of the Greyhound station in downtown San Antonio. Each of them has a chunky, black, blinking device about the size of an olive jar strapped to her ankle: an electronic monitor.

An adult immigrant from El Salvador who entered the country illegally wears an ankle monitor July 27 at a shelter in San Antonio. Lawyers representing immigrant mothers held in a South Texas detention center say the women have been denied counsel and coerced into accepting ankle-monitoring bracelets as a condition of release, even after judges made clear that paying their bonds would suffice.

The women can't take off the devices — even to shower, they have to keep them charged, and they have to check in regularly with compliance officers. If they break any of these rules, they're in trouble.[...]

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The dark, complex history of Trump's model for his mass deportation plan

At a time when the U.S. and Mexico were promoting a guest-worker system for agricultural workers, "this was about frightening employers and the immigrants into getting with the program," [Kelly Lytle Hernandez] said.

By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
November 13, 2015

Esteban Torres was 3 years old when his father was sent back to Mexico by U.S. immigration authorities.

"One day, my father didn't come home," remembers Torres, who lived with his family in a mining camp in Arizona at the time. "My brother and I were left without a father. We never saw him again."

Torres, 85, who went on to become a congressman representing the Pico Rivera area, was part of a generation of people whose lives were changed dramatically by large-scale deportation campaigns during the 1930s, '40s and '50s in which millions of Mexican nationals were rounded up and sent across the border on buses, trains and ships.

During Tuesday night's Republican debate, Donald Trump hailed one of those campaigns — the Eisenhower administration effort known by the outdated, racist name Operation Wetback — as a model for the "deportation force" he says he would deploy to swiftly remove the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. without legal status.

"They moved 1.5 million out," Trump said, responding to rivals who said his plan would not work. "Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him," achieved it, he said.

The record, however, portrays a darker and more complicated picture, suggesting that a mass deportation effort many times larger than any conducted before would be much harder than Trump indicates.[...]

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Border agency still struggling with body camera deployment

By Kevin Johnson and Alan Gomez, USA Today
November 12, 2015

WASHINGTON — The sprawling U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, in a continuing attempt to respond to controversial physical force incidents involving its agents, announced Thursday that it needed more time to test its body-camera program, indicating that it will eventually deploy the technology to border checkpoints, vessel-boarding units and for outbound operations at ports as part of an expanded review.

But CBP Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said Thursday that a "full-scale deployment is not necessary.'' He said an existing network of thousands of fixed cameras is providing adequate coverage at some Border Patrol stations and remote crossings.

The expanded testing, not expected until at least next year, represents a cautious step for an agency still struggling to reconcile the technology's "significant'' costs, internal labor strife and camera durability in extremely harsh border environments.[...]

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