Monday, August 31, 2015

America Has Freaked Out Over Birthright Citizenship For Centuries

By Gabriel J. Chin, Talking Points Memo
August 20, 2015

The controversy over whether children of undocumented migrants should be citizens may be heating up now, but it’s just the latest in a string of similar moments in U.S. history. The citizenship status of every non-white racial group has been challenged for literally centuries.

The original Constitution said nothing about who was a U.S. citizen. It gave Congress the power, exclusive of the states, to grant citizenship by naturalization, but it neither addressed the requirements for naturalization nor described the legal status of those obtaining naturalized citizenship. In 1790, Congress linked race to citizenship by allowing only “free white persons” to naturalize; racial restrictions of one kind or another were in effect continuously until 1952. The Constitution also provided that only a “natural-born citizen” could be elected president, but here too, the document failed to explain who was a natural-born citizen, leading to repeated controversies about the eligibility of candidates born out of the United States, such as John McCain, George Romney and Ted Cruz.[...]

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Racist Roots of the GOP's Favorite Immigration Plan

Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, but Donald Trump and other candidates are keeping alive the idea that some Americans should not have equal rights at birth.

By Zoë Carpenter, The Nation
August 19, 2015

The year 1866 was an alarming one for xenophobes: Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, declaring “all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power…to be citizens of the United States.” Though explicitly intended to grant citizenship to African-Americans, who’d been denied it by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the 1857 Dred Scott case, wouldn’t the law also “have the effect of naturalizing the children of Chinese and Gypsies born in this country?” wondered Pennsylvania Senator Edgar Cowan. “Undoubtedly,” responded Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois. When President Andrew Johnson vetoed the act, he too raised the specter of the Chinese and “the people called Gypsies.”

Congress overrode the veto, and went on to enshrine the principle of birthright citizenship in the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Needless to say, fears about the children of the gypsies proved unfounded. Yet the idea that people with certain types of parents should be denied citizenship—and the associated rights—persisted.[...]

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Friday, August 28, 2015

ICE Officer Will Not Be Charged in Death of Terrance Kellom, Killed During Detroit Arrest

By Kate Abbey-Lambertz, The Huffington Post
August 19, 2015

DETROIT -- An officer who fatally shot a 20-year-old black man four times at his home will not be charged, Wayne County’s prosecutor said Wednesday.

Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced during a morning press conference that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent Mitchell Quinn's shooting of Terrance Kellom was justified.

A fugitive apprehension task force made up of Quinn and six other officers from local and federal agencies came to serve two arrest warrants for Kellom, a suspect in the armed robbery of a pizza delivery man, on the afternoon of April 27.

Officers and Kellom’s father, Kevin Kellom, offer conflicting accounts of what happened during the attempted arrest. Quinn said Terrance Kellom advanced on him, holding a hammer, despite orders to stop, and he shot in self-defense while moving backwards. Kevin Kellom has said Terrance was unarmed and not resisting when he was shot multiple times.[...]

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Donald Trump’s immigration tab: $166 billion

[This is an interesting article, but the author significantly underestimates the price tag. For example, the total cost of deportating one person, including detention expenses, has been estimated at $25,000. But of course Trump's "plan" is just political rhetoric meant to move the discussion to the right. --TPOI editors]

By Seung Min Kim,
August 19, 2015

Donald Trump’s immigration plan is huge in every aspect — including its price tag.

Think $166 billion. And that’s on the low end.

The Republican business mogul is turbocharging his tough-on-illegal-immigration reputation that he’s used to ride to the top of the GOP presidential polls by pushing to deport everyone here illegally, ramping up immigration enforcement and even calling for an end to birthright citizenship. He’s managed in the process to pull the GOP field to the right on an issue that could be critical in the general election — and cause plenty of heartburn for party bosses still experiencing flashbacks from Mitt Romney damaging call for “self-deportation” in 2012.

“As far as immigration’s concerned, we need the wall,” Trump said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, the same day he unveiled his proposal on his website. “We want people to come in. I want people to come in. They have to be wonderful people. They have to come in legally.”

But Trump has said little about how much his plan would cost or how he’d pay for it, other than a dubious assurance he’d make Mexico foot the bill for the wall.[...]

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Border Enforcement Policies Are Backfiring

Kate Wheeling, Pacific Standard
August 19, 2015

Not so long ago, migration between Mexico and the United States followed a circular pattern, whereby migrants moved regularly between the two countries, chasing seasonal jobs. But recent research published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies finds that immigration policies—and the militarization of our Southern border—have disrupted this pattern, effectively caging in undocumented immigrants rather than keeping them out as intended.

Throughout much of the 20th century, scores of laborers would arrived with six-month work visas in hand as part of the Bracero Program, working in the U.S. for half the year before returning home to Mexico. When the program ended in 1964, migrants continued to circulate between the two countries undocumented. Then in 1986, the U.S. Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which cracked down on undocumented hiring and increased the number of border patrol officers.

For every million-dollar increase in budget, the odds a migrant would return home to Mexico in any given year dropped by 89 percent.[...]

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Courts Dismiss Claim That Amnesties Trigger Migration

"Just as we do not infer that the rooster's crow triggers the sunrise, we cannot infer based on chronology alone that DACA triggered the migrations that occurred two years later."--Judge Pillard

By David L. Wilson, MRZine
August 25, 2015

On August 14 a federal appeals court dismissed as "speculation" one of the most persistent of the anti-immigrant right's many fantasies: the claim that any sort of humane treatment of undocumented immigrants by the U.S. government will lead inevitably to a "flood" of foreigners pouring over our borders.

At issue was a suit in which Joe Arpaio, the rightwing sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County, is seeking to block President Barack Obama's November 2014 plan for giving a temporary reprieve from deportation for as many as half the country's more than 11 million unauthorized residents. The plan includes the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) and an expansion of the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Both programs would protect qualifying immigrants from deportation for three years and would grant them a work permit for the period.

The suit, Arpaio v. United States, isn't so important in itself; it's basically just the latest of the sheriff's notorious publicity stunts. The more significant DAPA-DACA case is Texas v. United States, with which 26 states have managed to win a February injunction putting a hold on the programs. But Arpaio's suit accomplished one thing worth noting: it provided a test in court of an old anti-immigrant favorite: the notion that giving some undocumented immigrants legal status -- or even a temporary deferral of deportation, as in DAPA and DACA -- creates a "magnet" drawing more unauthorized immigrants into the country in the hope of getting legal status themselves.[...]

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Immigration: Trump trumps the truth

This is not serious stuff. Surely Mr. Trump knows that his proposals are completely impractical. So why does he say these things?

By Emile Schepers, People's World
August 18, 2015

On Sunday, Donald Trump released, or unleashed, his "plan" to deal with immigration to the United States. It is hard to know where to start with this awful document, which is a compendium of unachievable, cruel proposals based on utterly false premises.

The United Nations recently released a study that shows that currently, there are 60 million refugees and displaced persons in the world. This number, which is rising rapidly, does not include economic migrants, though of course the two categories overlap. Huge numbers of refugees have gone to Europe fleeing instability in North Africa and the Middle East, with many drowning when their rickety boats founder. The war in Ukraine has created its own refugee crisis. In East Asia the problem of "boat people" has exploded.[...]

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Europe shouldn’t worry about migrants. It should worry about creeping fascism

The greatest threat to our “way of life” is not migration. It is that we will swallow the lie that some human lives matter less than others.

By Laurie Penny, New Statesman
August 14, 2015

There is an urban legend about boiling frogs, and it goes like this. If you put a frog in a pan of cold water and slowly, slowly turn up the heat, the frog will sit there quite calmly until it boils to death. Creeping cultural change is like that. It’s hard to spot when you’re living inside it. You can stay very still while the mood of a society becomes harder and meaner and uglier by stages, telling yourself that everything is going to be fine as all around you, the water begins to bubble.

This week I had coffee with a friend who has also just come back from a year away – teaching in Spain for her, studying in America for me. For both of us, coming home has been hard. There are some things I missed that simply aren’t there anymore. A particular shade of lipstick at Boots. My favourite zombie show on the BBC. And most of all, a sense of basic tolerance, however pretended-at, a feeling that there are some ways of talking in public about people who are not white, or not British, or in any way “other2, which are the province of far-right hate groups, the Duke of Edinburgh and no one else.

“Is it me,” said my friend, “Or is it just...okay to say things that are violently racist now? Has that always been okay, and I just didn’t notice till now?”[...]

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Judge’s Rebuke of Immigration Detention

Editorial, New York Times
August 5, 2015

Children do not belong in prison. The mass detention of families offends American values, a lesson this country learned long ago at Manzanar, Tule Lake, Heart Mountain and the other Japanese-American internment camps of World War II.

Learned, but apparently forgotten by the Obama administration, which has just been ordered by a federal judge to release several hundred women and children locked up in its immigration detention centers in southern Texas. The centers, in Dilley and Karnes City, were thrown up hastily last year to contain a surge of families and unaccompanied children from Central America, many desperately seeking refuge from gang and drug and political violence at home.

In a sharply critical ruling on July 24, Judge Dolly Gee of the Federal District Court in Los Angeles found that the administration was violating a 1997 court settlement of a lawsuit involving the care and treatment of children in immigration detention. That settlement, Flores v. Reno, requires the government to hold children in the least-restrictive settings appropriate to their ages and needs, in places licensed to care for children, and to release them without needless delay to their parents or other adult relatives whenever possible.[...]

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bernie Sanders explodes a right-wing myth: ‘Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal’

[Press spokespeople for the Sanders campaign failed to respond to three emails asking for clarification of some of the senator's more questionable statements on immigration.--TPOI editors]

By Travis Gettys, The Raw Story
July 28, 2015

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said the immigration debate is framed exactly wrong.

Republicans vilify President Barack Obama for supposedly opening the border to ever-increasing multitudes of immigrants, legally or otherwise, but the Democratic presidential candidate said blame is cast in the wrong direction, reported Vox.

“Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal,” Sanders said in a wide-ranging interview with the website. “That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States.”

Sanders frequently targets the libertarian industrialists Charles and David Koch as unhealthy influences on American democracy — but he’s not the first to notice their support for an open borders policy.

The conservative Breitbart and the white supremacist VDARE website each blasted the Koch brothers for sponsoring a “pro-amnesty Buzzfeed event” in 2013, and two writers for the Koch-sponsored Reason — former contributing editor David Weigel and current editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie — have always been supportive of immigration reform.

That’s at odds with what many Republicans believe, and Sanders told Vox that an open border would be disastrous to the American economy.

“It would make everybody in America poorer — you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that,” Sanders said.[..]

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Donald Trump’s surge is all about less-educated Americans

[I]mmigrant workers are clustered in manual labor jobs, service industry work and some factory and retail positions. These are, of course, jobs largely held by American-born people of color and whites with limited education. In regions such as the Midwest and South, where globalization and American trade deals have arguably ravaged industries that once provided family-sustaining wages for some of these same sets of workers, the competition for even these often low-wage jobs is intense. 

By Janell Ross, Washington Post
July 27, 2015

In the last few weeks, Americans (and the media) have watched in awe as a New York real estate magnate prone to bellicose behavior and hyperbole has become the GOP's leading candidate for the White House.

But how did this come to be? A lot of it has to do with education.

Trump's support is strongest with Republicans in the Midwest, conservatives across the country who do not have a college degree and (perhaps not surprisingly) those who report the most negative views of immigration and Mexican immigrants in particular, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released last week.

To be clear, the poll found that 60 percent of all Americans support the idea of offering undocumented immigrants currently in the United States some form of legal status, and 57 percent told pollsters they believe that immigrants strengthen the country. But there are plenty of people who see things differently. And those people appear to be concentrated among whites, Republicans and those with lower levels of education.[...]

Texas Attempting To Block US-Born Children From Birth Certificates If Mothers Entered Country Illegally, Say Immigrants, Lawyers

By Angelo Young, International Business Times
July 18, 2015

For years, parents who enter the U.S. illegally have been able to acquire birth certificates for their U.S.-born children using photo ID cards issued by their local consulates. But since 2013, immigrant families in south Texas have been denied birth certificates because state registrars are no longer accepting these consulate-issue forms of ID, say a number of immigrants.

“We need a U.S. license we don't have; a [Mexican] passport we have, but with a visa we don't have,” Hiram Ramírez, a 28-year-old mother of three, told the Los Angeles Times in a report published Saturday. “It's not fair. She has a right to her birth certificate. What are we supposed to do?”

Ramírez, a native of the northern Mexican border city of Reynosa, in Tamaulipas state, crossed into the Rio Grande Valley of Texas illegally to start a life in the Texas city of McAllen. The 28-year-old married stay-at-home mom said she was able to obtain birth certificates from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) for her first two children, Alejandra Medno, 3, and Esli Mendo, 14, using her consulate-provided identification card and Mexican voter registration card.

But when she tried to get a birth certificated for Dulce, her recently born third child, she said she was turned away by the state registrar in downtown McAllen because she didn’t have any U.S.-issued documents.[...]

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Monday, August 3, 2015

The Liberals and Inequality, Then and Now

If the liberals are focused on inequality now, it's largely a result of people taking to the streets in movements like Occupy Wall Street and in militant actions like the 2009 Republic Windows plant occupation. We need to build on these efforts, and also to learn from the experiences of the 1930s, from the unemployed leagues, the self-help cooperatives, the sit-down strikes.

By David L. Wilson, MRZine
August 3, 2015

Articles on income equality sometimes note that the U.S. economy hasn't faced the current level of disparity since 1928, on the eve of the Great Depression. There has been much less discussion of the responses to the issue back then, even though income inequality was a major concern for policymakers as the Depression deepened and even figured prominently in one of the central pieces of New Deal legislation.

This isn't just interesting history. A look back at the 1930s provides an important perspective on the concern that liberal journalists and economists are now expressing over inequality -- and suggests ways for U.S. progressives to move beyond the liberal position.[...]

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