Friday, August 31, 2012

Deportation Nation

By Daniel Kanstrom, New York Times Op-Ed
August 30, 2012

Newton Centre, Mass.-- It would have taken a hard heart not to be moved this month as tens of thousands of “Dreamers” — young undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children — emerged from the shadows to apply for temporary work permits and deportation deferrals under a new policy by the Obama administration that has delighted immigrant advocates and enraged conservatives.

Though generous and humane, the policy represents only one side of the deportation story. Barack Obama has presided over a record increase in the number of removals, in many cases on legal grounds that offend our basic notions of fairness. [...]

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Young and Alone, Facing Court and Deportation

By Julia Preston, New York Times
August 25, 2012

HARLINGEN, Tex. — The judge called his next case, scanning the courtroom.

The immigrant who was facing deportation rose to his feet, in a clean T-shirt and khaki pants several sizes too large, with his name — JUAN — printed on a tag around his neck.

But the judge could not see him. Juan’s head did not rise above the court’s wooden benches.

Juan David Gonzalez was 6 years old. He was in the court, which would decide whether to expel him from the country, without a parent — and also without a lawyer. [...]

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Watch the video, "In Deportatio​n, Age 6":

Friday, August 24, 2012

Private Prisons Spend $45 Million On Lobbying, Rake In $5.1 Billion For Immigrant Detention Alone

By Aviva Shen, ThinkProgress
August 3, 2012

Nearly half of all immigrants detained by federal officials are held in facilities run by private prison companies, at an average cost for each detained immigrant is $166 a night. That’s added up to massive profits for Corrections Corporation of America, The GEO Group and other private prison companies:

A decade ago, more than 3,300 criminal immigrants were sent to private prisons under two 10-year contracts the Federal Bureau of Prisons signed with CCA worth $760 million. Now, the agency is paying the private companies $5.1 billion to hold more than 23,000 criminal immigrants through 13 contracts of varying lengths. [...]

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

El Secreto Sucio de la Economía Global

De verdad, la mano de obra migrante e indocumentada es el secreto sucio de la economía global.

Yo tenía sed y me diste a beber
By Elvira Arellano, El Diario/La Prensa
August 8, 2012

Ando bien cansada por la labor de los últimos días de recoger y preparar comida para los inmigrantes, que se encuentran atrapados en el viaje peligroso desde Centroamérica y por todo México para llegar al norte. Siempre es una cosa buena, darle de comer a los que pasan hambre. La experiencia me ha hecho reflexionar sobre la frase "darle de comer a los que pasan hambre".

En la Biblia, Jesucristo cuenta de Lázaro el hombre pobre, cuidado en el cielo mientras que el rico queda sufriendo de sed. Dijo a algunos de los "hombres justos" que aquellos serán salvados quienes "me dieron a comer cuando yo tenía hambre". Los hombres "justos" le preguntaron, "Señor, ¿cuándo lo vimos con hambre?". Jesucristo contestó "cuando los más humildes de mi pueblo pasaban hambre, ahí estaba yo". [...]

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Spanish Appears to Be on Trial in Ariz. Case

By Terry Greene Sterling, National Journal
August 2, 2012

Four years ago, a Minnesota retiree who had resettled in the Phoenix area was upset when she visited a McDonald’s and observed workers speaking Spanish to each other.

Known only as “Gail” in court records, the retiree penned a letter to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who’d become popular among the county’s aging majority white population for his crackdowns on illegal immigration in heavily Latino neighborhoods and workplaces.

“I am a fan of yours and what you are doing to rid the area of illegal immigrants,” Gail wrote Arpaio. Her letter is frequently mentioned in an ongoing trial in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, where Arpaio has denied allegations that he and his department engaged in widespread racial profiling of Hispanics during traffic stops, detentions, and arrests in the nation’s fourth-most populous county. [...]

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Two Articles on Organizing in Texas

Houston, we have a workers’ rights problem
Profile of a worker justice center in Texas’ biggest city
By Kim Krisberg, The Pump Handle
July 9, 2012

Last month, more than 70 ironworkers walked off an ExxonMobil construction site near Houston, Texas. The workers, known as rodbusters in the industry, weren’t members of a union or backed by powerful organizers; they decided amongst themselves to unite in protest of unsafe working conditions in a state that has the highest construction worker fatality rate in the country. [...]

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On the border of change
A portrait of the workers’ rights movement in El Paso
By Kim Krisberg, The Pump Handle
July 27, 2012

In the fall of 2011, a new Texas statute took effect against employers who engage in wage theft, or failing to pay workers as much as they’re owed. The statewide statute put in place real consequences, such as jail time and hefty fines, for employers found guilty of stealing wages from workers. It was a big step forward in a state where wage theft has become as common as cowboy boots and pick-up trucks.

In El Paso, which sits on the western-most tip of Texas on the border with Juarez, Mexico, and is among the most populous cities in the nation, wage theft has become so rampant that workers rights advocates have dubbed it an “epidemic.” [...]

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Joe the Plumber calls to ‘start shooting’ immigrants at the border

[The week after a white supremacist's rampage in a Sikh temple, a rigntwing candidate for Congress calls for gunning down undocumented immigrants at the border.--Ed.]

By David Edwards, The Raw Story
August 14, 2012

At two separate events in recent days, Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher has proposed to “put a damn fence on the border going to Mexico and start shooting.”

Wurzelbacher first made the remarks during a campaign rally for Arizona Republican state Rep. Lori Klein on Friday, according to video published by Prescott eNews.

“For years I’ve said, you know, put a damn fence on the border, going to Mexico and start shooting,” he insisted.

Wurzelbacher then repeated the remarks at a so-called “Patriot Rally” with Klein on Saturday. [...]

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Undocumented Immigrants Ride Through South, Headed For a DNC Coming Out

By Aura Bogado, ColorLines
August 7, 2012

Party conventions always attract more than just delegates. Although this year’s Democratic National Convention (DNC) will have its share of fans, onlookers, and protestors, one particular group will hold a historic presence when they arrive next month. That’s because the workers, students, mothers and fathers who are participating in a new kind of Freedom Ride are all undocumented immigrants.

UndocuBus is transporting about 30 people across 10 states this summer, as it approaches Charlotte, N.C., for the DNC. It’s making stops on the way to pick up new riders, and to meet with supporters. Whatever happens at the convention will depend on how federal immigration authorities—as well as the DNC itself—responds to the riders’ presence. [...]

Undocubus Riders Interrupt Author of SB1070 in Alabama
From the No Papers, No Fear Riders
August 18, 2012

Yesterday the United States Commission on Civil Right held a hearing on the impact of state immigration laws on communities.  The only people they forgot to invite were undocumented immigrants.

We decide to go to Birmingham, Alabama, where the hearing was held, because they cannot talk about the impact of immigration law without our voices. And because there was no space allotted to hear our stories, we made one.

During the testimony of Kris Kobach, author and advocate of Arizona’s notorious SB 1070, four of our undocumented riders stood up and spoke out about their stories. All held high signs that read “undocumented,” and did not back down until they were escorted out of the hotel by security. [...]

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Not Senseless, Not Random: The Deadly Mix of Race, Guns & Madness

I implore of my white friends, when your nutty uncle or classmate goes off about some set of foreigners, you must make a fuss, cause a family crisis, become unpopular, speak up. We cannot do this for you.

By Rinku Sen, ColorLines
August 6, 2012

It could be terrorism, but we don’t yet know. It could be someone who has a beef with Sikhs. It’s too early to talk about gun control. These statements ran in a continuous loop through my head yesterday, even when I wasn’t watching coverage of the mass shooting at an active gurdwara in a suburb of Milwaukee. Throughout the day, the hollowness in my solar plexus signaled grief and the tightness in my throat signaled panic, and I felt deep, deep resistance to the notion of saying anything about it. What is there to say that isn’t a cliché?

Details are going to emerge in the coming days, but I already know what they’ll amount to. A white man, in his 40’s, nursing resentment over 9/11 for more than a decade, planned for a long time to kill some “enemies.” The guns will turn out to be legally acquired, or if not, so accessible as to make the law meaningless. The man will turn out to be mad. In the debate, people will argue that the cause is racism…no, it’s gun control…no, it’s mental health. It is impossible for us to navigate the deadly tangle of all three. [...]

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Wal-Mart Corruption Case: Innocents Abroad?

... Four of the largest bribery scandals in Latin America and the Caribbean over the last two decades have involved US corporations.

By David L. Wilson, World War 4 Report
August 12, 2012

On April 22 the New York Times ran a major article by reporter David Barstow revealing that Wal-Mart's Mexican subsidiary paid more than $24 million in bribes to fuel the remarkable growth of its stores—and that top Wal-Mart executives in the United States tried to cover up the criminal activity.

The US media were quick to provide "context" for the scandal. Corruption is endemic in Latin America, we were told; Transparency International rated Mexico number 100 out of 183 countries in its 2011 index on perceived levels of corruption. "The scandal tells you that doing business in the world's fastest-growing markets can be fraught with peril," Time magazine wrote. "[G]raft is not necessarily perceived as a serious crime in some places. It's more a way of doing business." The Times downplayed its own excellent investigative reporting by explaining that in Mexico "bribery and other forms of corruption are taken in stride." [...]

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Enemy Alien" Director Launches Fundraising Campaign to Get Film Distributed at Schools

Dear friends,
We’re launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Donations large and small will be rewarded with thank-you gifts including DVDs, downloads of the film and powerful images of my family’s incarceration during World War Two. Your tax-deductible contribution can make a big difference! Please click on the image to the left to find out more and support.

I’ve just returned presenting the film at the Tule Lake Pilgrimage 2012 (June 30-July 3), about which I will be writing and posting video shortly. Enemy Alien needs your support for
  • an edit system – recently the MacIntosh on which this documentary was edited completely broke down (the project survived but needs some work to restore).
  • 60-minute educational version – though the 81-minute festival cut has been edited down to a powerful 68-minute version for additional discussion time, those last 8 minutes need to be edited for this documentary to reach young adults in the classroom.
If all who have seen and appreciated the film contribute even a small amount, we will easily reach our goal, please take just a minute to support the Enemy Alien campaign!

Konrad Aderer
Director, Life or Liberty

Other recent news:
Enemy Alien Garners Awards and More at DisOrient 2012
Enemy Alien Recommended by Booklist, Purchased by Universities

After this summer the director will be bringing the film to Japanese American National Museum (September 8) and the Middle East Caucus of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies in Chicago (March, 2013).

ENEMY ALIEN: opening the FBI files
Enemy Alien - documentary - 2011 - 81 minutes
Please support the campaign to get this film seen in the classroom!

Enemy Alien is a feature documentary on the fight to free Palestinian activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti from Homeland Security told through the eyes of a Japanese American filmmaker coming to grips with his family's World War Two incarceration.

Director's note: This opening scene of the documentary was the last one shot. When Farouk's FBI files arrived, three years after I'd requested them under the Freedom of Information Act, I came to a realization about why I was destined to tell his story, and how through this film I was also telling my own.

“Of great importance to American democracy, Enemy Alien is both timely and moving. We ignore its message at our peril.” Gary Y. Okihiro, coauthor, Impounded: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment

Jason D. Mak Social Justice Award, 2012
PAC Alliance Award for Courage, 2012

RECOMMENDED for Young Adult Curriculum: “a strong reminder of the fragility of human rights and an excellent discussion prompter” – Booklist Online

Documentary, 2011, 81 minutes
a Japanese American filmmaker confronts his family legacy of wartime incarceration as he joins the fight to free a Palestinian activist from Homeland Security detention.
A project of Life or Liberty

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Low-Wage Workers March in New York -- Will It Make a Difference?

By David L. Wilson, MRZine
August 6, 2012

Several thousand union and non-union workers came together in Manhattan the afternoon of July 24 for an unusual display of solidarity between people who until the 2008 economic crisis had often seemed to belong to completely different social classes.

The event, the "New York Workers Rising Day of Action," brought out a mix of low-wage workers -- car washers, cab drivers, domestic workers, retail and restaurant employees -- and members of long-established unions for a series of protests. About 500 low-wage workers marched 17 blocks down Broadway starting at 4 pm, with brief pickets along the way at local stores and restaurants accused of exploiting workers. At 5 pm, the marchers joined a rally that filled the north end of Union Square. Another march then left from Union Square to join locked-out electrical workers rallying at the nearby Irving Place headquarters of New York's main power company, Consolidated Edison. In the evening there were more pickets, some in the Union Square area, some as far away as Brooklyn and Queens. [...]

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Activists Who Infiltrated Migrant Detention Center Are Continuing the Fight

Latin American Herald Tribune, from EFE
August 6, 2012

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina – Two of the “implanted activists” released last week from an immigrant detention center in Florida were arrested in a protest to demand the release of at least 100 other detainees they say should be freed under the new guidelines announced by the Obama administration.

At least 150 people showed up outside the privately run Broward Transitional Center, in Pompano Beach, Florida, on Sunday to continue bringing pressure to bear on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Activists Viridiana Martinez and Marco Saavedra were released by ICE last Friday after spending weeks implanted in the detention center but they were arrested at the protest for blocking a public street.

Martinez and Saavedra, both undocumented immigrants, allowed themselves to be arrested by the Border Patrol to get inside the Broward detention facility to highlight ICE’s failure to comply with the administration’s stated policy of suspending deportation in many cases. [...]

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Exclusive: DREAM Activists Infiltrate Florida Detention Center, Find Wrongly Held Immigrants
"Democracy Now!"
August 02, 2012

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, undocumented immigrant-rights activist Viridiana Martinez speaks out from a detention center in Pompano Beach, Florida, after being purposely arrested. Martinez is one of a group of "DREAM activists" with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance who have infiltrated the Broward Transitional Center and found dozens of immigrants who should be released under Obama's discretionary guidelines.

A review of cases to remove low-priority deportations, such as those involving immigrants with no criminal records and strong family ties, has so far stopped less than 2 percent of removals. [...]

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