Sunday, November 30, 2008

Should NPR Run Funding Credits from the Department of Homeland Security?

[Since November 10, National Public Radio news programs have been running what are in effect paid ads for the controversial E-Verify program. Complaints from outraged listeners caused NPR to address the issue in a column.]

by Alicia C. Shepard, NPR Ombudsman
November 25, 2008

“Support for NPR comes from NPR stations, and the Department of Homeland Security, offering E-Verify, confirming the legal working status of new hires. At D-H-S dot gov slash E-Verify.”

Whenever NPR's Talk of the Nation dips into the topic of immigration, the national call-in show's telephone board lights up like a Christmas tree.

Immigration is an especially hot-button topic. So it's not surprising that when NPR began running a funding credit on Nov. 10 for the Department of Homeland Security's E-Verify program, my office heard from listeners and a few concerned public radio station managers. [...]

Read the full article, with readers' comments:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Owed Back Pay, Guest Workers Comb the Past

[As the employer associations promote new guest worker programs, veterans of the old 1942-1964 bracero program are still seeking justice for past abuses.]

By Randal C. Archibold, New York Times
November 24, 2008

FRESNO, Calif. — Here comes Abraham Franco now, 86 years old, skin leathery and bronzed from decades of work in the fields, slowly bending his small but sturdy frame into a metal chair at a faux wood office table at the Mexican Consulate here.

He still could not quite believe the news: Decades after working as a bracero, as thousands of Mexican guest farm workers were called in a program from 1942 to 1964, the Mexican government had recently agreed to a one-time payment, $3,500, of long overdue withheld wages.

The braceros are fading fast, some pushing or over 90, and are ever reliant on family and friends to get by. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hunger Strikers Seek New Immigrant Rights Movement

By Kenneth Kim, Alternet
November 5, 2008

Editor's Note: Today marks the last day of a three-week hunger strike by immigrant rights protesters who hoped to re-energize the movement. Kenneth Kim is a Los Angeles-based reporter for New America Media.

LOS ANGELES -- As discussions on immigration reform disappeared from the presidential election campaigns, immigrant rights protesters have completed the third week of their hunger strike to re-energize the movement that brought hundreds of thousands to the streets in 2006.

Earlier this week, about 50 people camped out on the south side of La Placita Olvera in downtown Los Angeles, the historic heart of the Latino community, where traditional foods, vibrant Latino music and tourists are always abundant.

These days, dozens of tents dot the plaza. [...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Immigration Reform in 2009?

Frontera NorteSur News Report
November 18, 2008

Will Barack Obama’s historic election victory give new impetus to immigration reform in the United States? Analysts and political observers in the United States and Mexico have mixed assessments. Auguring against a quick fix are the economic crisis and the Iraq war, both of which the president-elect promises to prioritize early on his administration.

Speaking on Univision Spanish-language television network shortly after Obama’s victory, Chicago City Councilman Billy Ocasio said he did not think immigration reform would be possible within the first 100 days of the new administration, but he proposed the suspension of ICE raids and mass deportations until a solution to the question of illegal immigration could be further analyzed. [...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Both Sides of Immigration Debate Retrench

by Tom Barry, TransBorder Project
November 14, 2008

Editor's note: This is the introductory article in a three-part series on the post-election debate on immigration reform. For more analysis of how pro- and anti-immigration forces are framing the issue after the election, see Identity Politics and the Latino Payback on Immigration and Anti-Immigration Forces Ready to Challenge Obama.

The two sides of the immigration debate—immigration restrictionists and immigrant advocates—are reframing their messages in the wake of the Democrats' sweeping electoral victory. Restrictionists argue that legalization cannot take place during an economic crisis when U.S. citizens need jobs. Advocates argue that the new administration owes the Latino community that helped elect him a comprehensive immigration reform. [...]

Read the full article:

Tom Barry directs the TransBorder Project of the Americas Policy Program at the Center for International Policy. He blogs at

Monday, November 24, 2008

How ALIPAC Supports "Legal Immigrants"

Most anti-immigrant groups claim they aren't opposed to immigrants--only to "illegal immigrants." One group is actually named "Americans for Legal Immigration," or ALIPAC.

ALIPAC demonstrated its support for legal immigration by helping defeat a Florida ballot initiative on November 4. The initiative would have eliminated an 82-year-old racist provision in the Florida Constitution originally aimed at all people from Asia, including legal residents. The ALIPAC website carried a posting from a member who said the provision should be left standing because "‘illegal aliens’ should not have ‘rights’ like U.S. citizens have. The only right they should have is deportation!"

According to the New York Times, "The group’s president, William Gheen, did not respond to e-mail messages seeking comment but Enos Schera, 81, who posted the message, said that he was '1,000 percent' satisfied that the law remained in place."

In Florida, an Initiative Intended to End Bias Is Killed
by Damien Cave, New York Times
November 5, 2008

MIAMI — An obscure ballot initiative in Florida intended to end a legacy of bias against Asian-Americans was defeated Tuesday, apparently because voters incorrectly assumed it would prevent illegal immigrants from owning property.

Had it passed, the initiative, known as Amendment No. 1, would have removed from the state’s Constitution language adopted in 1926 allowing the Legislature to prohibit foreigners who were barred from citizenship — Asian-Americans at the time — from owning land. [...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

INB 11/22/08: Iowa Restaurants Raided; Colorado Tax Raids

Pastor Steven Bechtold of the Butler United Methodist Church said two of the people arrested in the New Jersey "gang raids"--a man and a woman--are members of his congregation. "Both people are active church attenders who come to worship every week," Bechtold said. "They are active in our Bible study group. They volunteer around the church--sometimes it's doing outside lawn work, washing dishes for dinners. We had very positive experiences."

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 28 - November 22, 2008

1. Chinese Restaurants Raided in Iowa
2. Colorado: Local Raids Target Tax Filers
3. Border Patrol Raids Vermont Worksite
4. NJ: 33 Arrested in "Gang" Raids
5. "Gang" Raids in California, Wisconsin
6. Raided Massachusetts Firm Settles Wage Suit
7. McDonald's Franchise Managers Sentenced
8. Long Island Youths Charged in Killing of Immigrant
9. WA: Detention Guards Hired Without Background Checks

Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499;; INB is also distributed free via email; contact to subscribe or unsubscribe. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is posted at

On Nov. 18, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested four workers in raids on Peony Chinese Restaurants in Vinton and Toledo, Iowa. The same family owns both restaurants. Two men from Mexico were arrested at the Toledo restaurant; one man from Mexico and one from China were arrested at the Vinton restaurant. All four face administrative immigration violations for being in the country illegally, said ICE spokesperson Tim Counts from the ICE office in Minneapolis. A hearing has not yet been scheduled before a federal immigration judge to determine whether the men will be deported. Counts said the enforcement actions were part of an ongoing investigation. "A 'raid' denotes something random or chaotic--this is neither," said Counts. [...]

Read the full INB:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Anti-Latino Hate Crimes Rise for Fourth Year in a Row

Hatewatch/Southern Poverty Law Center
October 29, 2008

Hate crimes targeting Latinos increased again in 2007, capping a 40% rise in the four years since 2003, according to FBI statistics released earlier this week.

As anti-immigrant propaganda has increased on both the margins and in the mainstream of society — where pundits and politicians have routinely vilified undocumented Latino immigrants with a series of defamatory falsehoods — hate violence has risen against perceived “illegal aliens.” Each year since 2003, the number of FBI-reported anti-Latino hate crime incidents has risen (see table, below), even as a swelling nativist movement has become larger and more vitriolic.

Read the full report:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Plattsburgh, NY Immigration Forum, Nov. 20

Discussion on Immigration
The discussion, led by David Wilson, co-author of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers, will look at sanctuary, legalization, guest worker programs, raids, deportations and future legislation.

Thursday, November 20, 2008
7 p.m.
HawkinsHall, Room 153B
101 Broad Street
SUNY Plattsburgh
Plattsburgh, NY

Sponsored by SUNY Plattsburgh's Latin American Studies Department
For information, contact the Latin American Studies Department at 518-564-2395

Book Review: The Politics of Immigration

By Tony Pecinovsky, Political Affairs
November 17, 2008

The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers
By Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson
Published by Monthly Review Press, 2007.

Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson have written an important book on immigrants and immigration policy. Though short, The Politics of Immigration packs quit a punch. Its clear, concise language and easy-to-read format makes it a must have for activists, academics and ordinary working class people interested in immigration. [...]

Read the full review:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

INB 11/16/08: Raids Protested in Ohio; Iowa Meat Plant Raided Again

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 27 - November 16, 2008

1. Raids Protested in Ohio
2. Iowa Meat Plant Raided Again
3. Election Week Raid in Florida
4. NJ: Detainee Escapes, Others Moved

Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499;; INB is also distributed free via email; contact to subscribe or unsubscribe. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is posted at

On Oct. 30, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested two workers at the Casa Fiesta restaurant in Oberlin, Ohio. Two employees of the Casa Fiesta restaurant in Fremont and one employee of Casa Fiesta in Ashland were also taken into custody on Oct. 30, said ICE spokesperson Mike Gilhooly. It was the second raid at the local restaurant chain in less than 100 days; on July 23 ICE agents arrested 58 Mexican workers at eight Casa Fiesta restaurants in northern Ohio, including five workers at the restaurant in Oberlin. The Fremont and Ashland restaurants were also among those raided on July 23 [see INB 8/10/08].

On Nov. 8, about 50 people held a candlelight vigil at Tappan Square in Oberlin to protest the latest raid; about 100 people attended a similar vigil in Oberlin following the July raid. La Alianza Latina, a nonprofit student group at Oberlin College, plans to form a rapid response team to stage peaceful protests and provide legal observation when raids happen, said the group's secretary, Cindy Camacho. "People...should not have to be afraid in the place where they live and work," said Camacho. [...]

Read the full INB:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why We Shut ICE Down for a Day

Young Protesters See Activism Extending Past the Elections
by Sagnicthe Salazar, Florencia Garcia, Min Lee & Eming Piansay
YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia
November 04, 2008

Editor's Note – Ahead of the Nov. 4 election, with all eyes on the presidential race, hundreds of young people amassed in front of the Homeland Security offices in downtown San Francisco in what some say is the first in a series of civil disobedience style protests to stop ICE raids against immigrants. Sagnicthe Salazar, 21, is a Bay Area based organizer , student, and educator. Florencia Garcia, is a San Francisco based photographer. Min Lee is an editor at YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia.

SAN FRANCISCO – Last week hundreds of youth, families and organizers from over 10 different cities in the Bay Area gathered at the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) building in San Francisco to demand an end to ICE raids, to demand that all detention centers be shut down and to demand real sanctuary cities.

For that day the community prevented ICE from breaking into our homes, and terrorizing our people. Crowds of young and old, black, white, Asian and Raza gathered around the police blockade chanting, speaking and singing in the rain. [...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Local Immigration Dialogue Raises Questions-–and Answers

By Elana Gordon, Dos Mundos (Kansas City)
November 6, 2008

“They don’t pay taxes.”
“Why don’t they come the right way?”
“They’re taking jobs away.”

These are sentiments that frequently come up in conversations about immigration, according to a recent community forum at Guadalupe Centers Inc (GCI) in Kansas City, Mo. But New York-based author and activist Jane Guskin said that such statements only serve to heighten the discrimination and hatred toward immigrants in the United States.

Whatever an individual or organization’s view might be about immigration, “the issue is too complex to address in a simple sound bite or message. I’d like to see more people getting into dialogues and having conversations,” she explained. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, November 10, 2008

NYC, Nov. 12: "Enemy Alien" Screening


Enemy Alien
The Fight to Free Palestinian Activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti

Dir. Konrad Aderer 70 mins documentary work-in-progress
Discussion with Konrad Aderer, Sharin Chiorazzo, Jane Guskin, Shane Kadidal, Joanne Macri, David Wilson

Wednesday, November 12, 2008
7:00 pm
The Brecht Forum
451 West Street
New York, NY
(between Bank and Bethune Streets; take the A/C/E/L to 14th Street and 8th Avenue, or the 1/2/3 to 14th Street and 7th Ave)

Enemy Alien, a first-person documentary, offers a gripping inside view of the fight to free Palestinian activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti, a gentle but indomitable Palestinian-born human rights activist whose politically charged detention was followed around the world. Told through the eyes of the filmmaker, the grandson of Japanese Americans interned during World War II, this documentary takes on unprecedented intimacy and historical resonance. As the filmmaker becomes personally involved in the story, Farouk organizes protests with his fellow detainees. Resistance brings consequences – though not charged with any crime, Farouk is beaten and locked in solitary confinement, and his American-born son Tarek is arrested in a counterterrorism investigation into the documentary itself.

This event will be the first public screening of Enemy Alien, and a fundraiser to raise crucial support for the completion and distribution of this documentary. Food and drinks will be served and contributions requested (which are not included in the Brecht admission).

Konrad Aderer's work as a documentary producer has focused on immigrants targeted by post-9/11 policies. His 2005 short Rising Up: The Alams screened internationally and in the U.S. at venues including Brooklyn Academy of Music and the New York Museum of Modern Art's Documentary Fortnight. Konrad freelances as a field producer, videographer and editor.

Shayana Kadidal, Farouk's lead attorney, is senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Attorney Joanne Macri is the director of the Immigrant Defense Project of the New York State Defenders Association.

Sharin Chiorazzo, Farouk's fiancee, is a teacher of Middle Eastern history and a longtime activist for Palestinian rights; for several years she hosted "Live from Palestine" at WBAI-FM.

Jane Guskin and David Wilson worked with the Committee for the Release of Farouk Abdel-Muhti; they are the authors of The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers (Monthly Review, 2007)

Sliding scale: $6/$10/$15
Free for Brecht Forum Subscribers

For more information:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Radio Interviews in November and Beyond

Wednesday, November 5, 2008,
9 pm
Radio interview with Jane Guskin, co-author, The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers
and Dave Grosser, Boston Radical Education Project

"What's Left"
Hosted by Linda Pinkow and Sofia Jarrin

WMBR, 88.1 FM
Cambridge, MA
Live streaming:
Archived for two weeks

(The Boston Radical Education Project is sponsoring a discussion with co-author David Wilson in Cambridge at 7 pm on Saturday, November 8. For more information, go to: )

* * *
Thursday, November 13, 2008
5:30 pm
Radio Interview with Jane Guskin and David Wilson, Authors, The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers
and Fred Boehrer, Capital District New Sanctuary Movement

"Capitol Report"
WRPI, 91.5 FMTroy, NY
Live streaming:

(This will be the first of several live interviews on the second Thursday of the month.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Did Undocumented Immigrants Fuel the Mortgage Crisis?

The Wall Street Journal reports that undocumented immigrants have a good record with their mortgages, as measured by homes bought with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs). "Less than 5% of Bank of Bartlett's ITIN loans are delinquent. Nationally, for loans more than 90 days in arrears, ITIN mortgages had a delinquency rate of about 0.5% last year, compared with 9.3% for subprime mortgages, according to independent estimates." Ironically, a little more than a month ago, the National Review ran an article by rabid anti-immigrant columnist Michelle Malkin about "how illegal immigration, crime-enabling banks, and open-borders Bush policies fueled the mortgage crisis."

Mortgage Prospects Dim for Illegal Immigrants
By Miriam Jordan, The Wall Street Journal
October 22, 2008

Jose Luis Hernandez rose from vegetable chopper to sous chef at an exclusive New York restaurant -- and saved $100,000 along the way. Recently, the illegal immigrant from Mexico contacted real-estate agents in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he currently rents an apartment.

'I wanted to use my money as a down payment on a house,' says Mr. Hernandez, 32 years old. In doing so, he sought to join thousands of undocumented workers who in recent years have purchased homes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, instead of aSocial Security number. The Internal Revenue Service doesn't give Social Security numbers to illegal immigrants; it issues ITINs, which enable them to open bank accounts and report their income to the government for tax purposes.

But Mr. Hernandez quickly learned that things have changed. He says he was told that, 'unfortunately, if you don't have a Social Security number, you cannot buy property.'

Dubbed ITIN mortgages, the loans that made homeownership a reality for thousands of undocumented workers have withered -- although not because they underperformed. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, November 3, 2008

INB 11/2/08: Youth March in San Francisco; Indian Workers Arrested

"It is an outrage that workers who courageously came forward at great personal risk to cooperate with the Department of Justice in a federal trafficking investigation were targeted by ICE and then denied access to their own legal counsel," said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

Immigration News Briefs
Vol. 11, No. 26 - November 2, 2008

1. Youth March in San Francisco
2. Indian Workers Arrested in North Dakota
3. South Dakota Dairy Farms Raided
4. Construction Raid in Alabama

Immigration News Briefs is a weekly supplement to Weekly News Update on the Americas, published by Nicaragua Solidarity Network, 339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012; tel 212-674-9499;; INB is also distributed free via email; contact to subscribe or unsubscribe. You may reprint or distribute items from INB, but please credit us and tell people how to subscribe. Immigration News Briefs is posted at

Hundreds of high school and college students from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area skipped class on Halloween morning, Oct. 31, to participate in a youth-led "Stop the Raids" protest against immigration enforcement in downtown San Francisco. Transit officials shut down the Fruitvale and Coliseum BART stations in Oakland and the Richmond BART station after hundreds of East Bay students entered the stations and boarded trains to San Francisco without paying. Officials kept the stations closed for more than an hour. Some BART trains bound for San Francisco were delayed at the West Oakland station by protesters who held doors open and demanded that the Fruitvale station be reopened, passengers and BART officials said. Three people were detained at the Richmond station. [San Francisco Chronicle 11/1/08] [...]

Read the full INB: