Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Border Sweeps in North Reach Miles Into U.S.

By Nina Bernstein, New York Times
August 29, 2010

ROCHESTER — The Lake Shore Limited runs between Chicago and New York City without crossing the Canadian border. But when it stops at Amtrak stations in western New York State, armed Border Patrol agents routinely board the train, question passengers about their citizenship and take away noncitizens who cannot produce satisfactory immigration papers.

“Are you a U.S. citizen?” agents asked one recent morning, moving through a Rochester-bound train full of dozing passengers at a station outside Buffalo. “What country were you born in?” [...]

Read the full article:

When the Border Patrol Comes Aboard
By Nin Bernstein, New York Times blog
August 30, 2010

Nina Bernstein has an article on the front page today about American Border Patrol agents who board trains running completely within the United States looking for undocumented immigrants. Here is her first-person experience on such a train in upstate New York. If you’ve had an encounter with the Border Patrol, let us know in the comment box below.

Traveling from New York City to Buffalo on Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited last month, I wondered what I would say if Border Patrol agents showed up on the train at Syracuse or Rochester and asked, “Are you a U.S. citizen?” [...]

Read the full blog:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mexico's Arizona Moment

Despite the dangers, migrants say they will continue to travel to the U.S.
By Frontera NorteSur (FNS), Salem-News.com
August 30, 2010

(LAS CRUCES, NM) - If Arizona’s SB 1070 law, underlined by the continuing deaths of migrants in the inhospitable, blazing desert of the Southwestern state, dramatizes the crisis of US immigration policy, then the mass murder of 72 Central and South American migrants in the northern Mexican border state of Tamaulipas last week showcases a similar and widening crisis in Mexico. [...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Interview: "The Politics of Illegal Immigration"

By Elizabeth Jackson, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
August 15, 2010

ELIZABETH JACKSON: American author David Wilson has written extensively about illegal immigration. He's the co-author of a book titled The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers.

I asked David Wilson whether he saw any similarities in the way politicians in the US and Australia are dealing with illegal immigrants and asylum seekers?

DAVID WILSON: From what I've heard about Australia, yes, it seems like we're hearing solutions to the problem that, you know, that make politicians look as though they're being very hard line in cracking down on things.

And certainly in the case of the US, those policies simply don't work and that's been proven over and over again for the past 30 years. [...]

Read or listen to the full interview:

Some Reality on the 14th Amendment from Foner and Nissen

Born in the U.S.A. Is What Makes Someone American
By Eric Foner, Bloomberg Opinion
August 17, 2010

For almost 150 years Americans have believed that anyone born here, whatever his or her origins, can be a good citizen. There is no reason to believe the children of illegal immigrants are any different.

Congress should think long and hard before tampering with this essential American principle embodied in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Approved by Congress in 1866 at the outset of Reconstruction and ratified two years later, the amendment establishes the principle of birthright citizenship. With minor exceptions, all persons born in this country are American citizens, whatever the status of their parents. [...]

Read the full article:

New Attacks on Birthright Citizenship: “Anchor Babies” and the 14th Amendment
By Julia Nissen, Council on Hemispheric Affairs
August 24, 2010

Recently, the somewhat repugnant term “anchor babies” has entered the immigration debate, as certain conservatives call for a reassessment of the 14th Amendment, claiming it wrongly protects the children of undocumented immigrants. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), in a surprisingly radical move on his part, appeared on Fox News on July 28th explaining a new tactic dubbed “drop and leave,” in which undocumented mothers come to the U.S. explicitly to have a child.

Read the full report:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Obama and Congress increase border militarization, ensuring more migrant deaths and rights abuses

By Arnoldo Garcia
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR)


August 13, 2010

NNIRR Statement on "Southwest Border Security Bill"

Obama and Congress increase border militarization, ensuring more migrant deaths and rights abuses

(Oakland, CA) Earlier today President Obama signed a new bill authorizing an additional $600 million to increase border security, strengthening a deadly border militarization strategy. Tragically, this move will surely increase the number of migrants who perish at the U.S.-Mexico border and the bill contributes nothing to ensuring the safety and rights of migrants and border communities. [...]

Read the full press release:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Resolution to Support an Immigration Policy based on Labor and Human Rights

[The San Francisco Labor Council passed this resolution on July 12, 2010. The Labor Council for Latin American Advance (LCLAA), a non-profit organization affiliated with the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, passed its own version at its August national convention.]

WHEREAS: Thousands of U.S. union members have been fired as a result of the enforcement of employer sanctions against workers in the workplace, including 1200 janitors in Minneapolis, 300 janitors in Seattle, 475 janitors in San Francisco, as well as workers who have stood up to lead organizing drives into our unions, including 2000 sewing machine operators at American Apparel in Los Angeles, and

WHEREAS: Immigration reform bills in Washington, including the Schumer-Graham proposal, the REPAIR proposal by Senator Schumer and several other senators, and the CIR-ASAP proposal by Congressman Luis Gutierrez, all strengthen employer sanctions, which will cause more of our members to be fired through programs like E-Verify, the national ID card and employment verification, and will make it more difficult for unions to organize non-union workplaces by making immigrant workers even more vulnerable to firings, deportations and the denial of their rights through workplace enforcement, and

WHEREAS: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has said that that ”we need to make sure every worker in America - documented or undocumented - is protected by our labor laws.” and that we need immigration reform that “allows immigrants to be securely part of our country from day one-able to assert their legal rights, including the right to organize, without fear of retaliation,” and

WHEREAS: the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Central America Free Trade Agreement, and other similar agreements, and structural adjustment policies and other so-called economic reforms continue to boost corporate profits while creating massive poverty in countries like Mexico, El Salvador and others, and that as a result, millions of workers and farmers are displaced and have no alternative but to migrate in search of work, and therefore will continue to come to the United States to work, join our unions and participate in our organizing drives, and

WHEREAS: President Trumka has said that “the failures of our relationship with Mexico ... cannot be solved with guns and soldiers and fences. They must be addressed through an economic strategy for shared prosperity based on rising wages in both countries,” and

WHEREAS: the Mexican government fired 44,000 electrical workers and has tried to smash their union, the Mexican Electrical Workers (SME), and brought thousands of heavily armed police into Cananea to try to smash the 3-year strike of the Mineros, in both cases to create better conditions for giant corporations by breaking unions, privatizing workplaces and throwing workers out of their jobs, and that as a result many of those workers will be forced to come to the United States in order to find work and help their families survive, and

WHEREAS: the largest corporations and employer groups in the United States, including WalMart, Marriott, Smithfield, the Associated Building Contractors and others have sought to expand guest worker programs, forcing people to come to the United States only through those schemes that treat them as low wage workers with no rights, in conditions described as “Close to Slavery” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and

WHEREAS: our labor movement has called for basic reform of our immigration laws, and adopted a position at the AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles in 1999 that demands the repeal of employer sanctions, immediate amnesty for all undocumented workers, protection of the right to organize for all workers, the strengthening of family reunification as the basis of immigration policy, and opposition to guest worker programs, and

WHEREAS: our labor movement believes that solidarity with workers fighting for their rights in Mexico and around the world is an important part of immigration reform,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council reiterates its support for the immigration position adopted by the AFL-CIO Convention in 1999, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council rejects all the proposals in Congress that promote the firing of immigrant workers, open the doors to new guest worker programs, and do not contain a program for the quick and inclusive legalization of undocumented workers, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council supports only those proposals for immigration reform that would force the renegotiation of NAFTA, CAFTA and all other trade agreements, in order to stop the enforced poverty that displaces communities abroad and to protect jobs in the United States, and will oppose any new trade agreements that cause such displacement and do not protect jobs, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council, supports the proposal for an alternative immigration reform bill made by the Dignity Campaign, because it is based on protecting the labor and human rights for all people, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council supports the SME and the Mineros, and calls on union members and working people to defend their rights by picketing the Mexican consulate and taking other supportive actions, and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the San Francisco Labor Council forwards this resolution for adoption to the California Labor Federation, the AFL-CIO, and to other local unions and central labor bodies.

Source: http://www.unionbook.org/pg/pages/view/24386/

Update, August 17, 2010: This resolution is sponsored by the Dignity Campaign, a group of organizations and individuals that have been meeting over the past year "to affirm the need for an immigration reform bill based on human rights."

For more information, or to endorse the campaign, contact: Renee Saucedo at La Raza Centro Legal (415-575-3500 and 415-553-3404, renee@lrcl.org), Lillian Galedo at Filipino Advocates for Justice (510-465 9876, lgaledo@filipinos4justice.org), Fred Hirsch (408-821-1394, fredhirsch@cruzio.com ), David Bacon (510-851-1589, dbacon@igc.org ), Bill Chandler at the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance (601-968-5182, b.chandler@yourmira.org ), Rosalinda Guillen at Community to Community (360-738-0893, rosalindag@qwestoffice.net ) or Hamid Khan at South Asian Network (562-230-4578, hamid@southasiannetwork.org ).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two more Haiti earthquake stories

I wrote two more stories on my days in Port-au-Prince after the Jan. 12 earthquake, but I didn't get around to typing them up and editing them until this summer. Obviously they are out of date, but they might interest some people.

David L. Wilson, co-author, The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers

Day 4 in Port-au-Prince: On the Veranda

Days 5 and 6 in Port-au-Prince: Escape From Katrina

"No maten nuestros sueños"

Estudiantes cargan ataúd por Manhattan para protestar contra Schumer y Velázquez

Catalina Jaramillo, El Diario-La Prensa (NY)
August 13, 2010

NUEVA YORK — Un grupo de estudiantes indocumentados marcharon desde la oficina de la representante Nydia Velázquez en el bajo Manhattan hasta la oficina del senador Charles Schumer en el centro de la ciudad pidiendo apoyo para el Dream Act.

Los jóvenes pasaron la noche del miércoles en una vigilia afuera de la oficina de Velázquez y el jueves marcharon vestidos con capas de graduación cargando un ataúd. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, August 6, 2010

Stop the deportation of Marlen Moreno-Peralta

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
UPDATE: Victory, Marlen Moreno’s Deportation Deferred!!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[From Coalición de Derechos Humanos and National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR)]

One day left for Aspiring Teacher and Mother of Two, Marlen Moreno-Peralta

ACT NOW!! to stop Marlen Moreno's Deportation this Sunday!!

We ask that all friends and allies help spread the word about Marlen's situation-- please distribute widely!!

* Call Secretary Napolitano, and tell her to stop Marlen's deportation: (202) 282-8495

* Call Assistant Secretary John Morton and tell him to stop Marlen's deportation: (202) 732.3000

YOU SHOULD SAY: "I am calling to leave a message of support for Marlen Moreno who is being deported on August 8th. Marlen is eligible for the DREAM Act when it passes and should not be deported. I ask that Secretary Napolitano and/or Assistant Director Morton please step in to defer her deportation, she is an asset to this country. Thank you."


Check out the FaceBook page:

Marlen's entire story is here:

More information:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

NYC, Aug. 8: "La Casa Rosa," immigration play

From Mexico: the performance the State Department didn't want you to see...

"La Casa Rosa" and Families Without Borders Break Barriers, Reunite Families

Sunday, August 8, 2010
8 pm (doors open 7 pm)

Wings Theater
154 Christopher Street, Lower Level
New York City
(at Washington Street; PATH to Christopher Street, 1 to Christopher Street-Sheridan Square)

RSVP: iipsoculta@yahoo.com
More information: http://www.lacasarosausa.blogspot.com/
Map: http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl&q=154%20christopher%20street%20NYC

Woman's Theater Project comes to the United States After Battle with State Dept

New Haven, CT / New York, NY (July 27, 2010) After a protracted battle with the U.S. State Department, visas have finally been issued for the members of Soame Citlalime, an all-female theater group from Mexico that has developed "La Casa Rosa" ("The Pink House"), an immigration play. The United States premier performance will take place at Wings Theater on Sunday, August 8th, at 7pm (154 Christopher Street, New York, NY).

"La Casa Rosa" is a collaboration between The Institute for Social and Cultural Practice and Research (IIPSOCULTA), The Migrant Family Support Center (CAFAMI), and Carlton Industries. It arrives in the United States this summer as part of the "Families Without Borders" tour, a multi-state program of workshops and presentations. The productions' goal is to break cultural borders by assembling audiences from all backgrounds to discuss the realities of a globalized world, and to literally reunite the cast of "La Casa Rosa" with their family members working in the United States, many of whom they haven't seen in over 10 years.

How do we protect what's important? How do we advance in a system designed to limit our options? How do we find common ground when the world is intent on keeping us apart?

"La Casa Rosa" is the lesser-told side of the immigration story - that of those left behind. Set against a backdrop of the mysterious disappearance of a local youth and a popular struggle in a rural community, "La Casa Rosa" follows the story of two sisters vying for the control of their ancestral land. In it, two very different visions are realized and the answers to vital ethical questions are approached. Subtitled "Fighting for a Future in a Free Trade World," the play's U.S. tour was stopped by the State Department due to objections regarding the group's mission and the play's content. Visas were finally granted on July 1st after support was offered from New Haven Mayor John Destefano and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.

Watch an excerpt from the play:

Read about the play in La Jornada del Oriente (in Spanish):
Conciencian mujeres sobre la migración

Carlton Industries: is an arts and advocacy organization whose international programs focus on community empowerment through storytelling and the illumination of hidden realities that act as obstacles to global progress. Founded by theater artist and educator, Daniel Carlton, Carlton Industries has partnered with educational institutions, arts organizations and youth service providers on the creation of original productions and curricula in more than 20 states and 3 countries. Recent productions include the award nominated "Las Escenas de la Cruz (scenes of the cross)," based on the real experiences of the 12 immigrant teens, who performed it at the 2009 Midtown International Theater Festival in Manhattan.

The Migrant Family Support Center (CAFAMI): is a community center in San Francisco Tetlanohcan, which works to bring awareness of and attack the root causes of migration and reduce its negative impact on families, communities and traditional ways of life in the state of Tlaxcala. Some of their current programs include workshops in human and immigrant rights, classes in traditional and endangered local languages, classes in traditional crafts, after school programs for young people, and the community theater project.

IIPSOCULTA (Institute for Social and Cultural Practice and Research) has been working in Mexico since 2001 to create conditions for equity and justice for migrant families through education, organizing, and solidarity work. IIPSOCULTA provides training and support for people and communities that struggle in resistance to injustices. Some programs include: The Migrant Family Support Center in Mexico and U.S.; Community Organizers for Social Change Volunteer Programs and Internships in Mexico and U.S.; Families Without Borders in Mexico and U.S.; Spanish School for Social Justice in Mexico; Leadership Training for Immigrants in the United States.

Stephanie Bifolco
Program Director
phone: 516-592-1219

Daniel Carlton
Carlton Industries
phone: 917-509-7062