Thursday, December 29, 2011

With Anti-Immigrant Law, Alabama is Again Ground Zero for Civil Rights

There's one way to reorient the dialogue toward rights and away from profits: help workers and organized labor understand that the zero-sum game of “competition” for the most degrading jobs keeps the economically disenfranchised divided along false lines of “legal” versus “illegal.”

By Michelle Chen, In These Times
December 16, 2011

It’s not often that human rights and business profits line up on the same side of a political debate, but Alabama is a special place. The Cotton State was not only ground zero for some of the worst abuses under Jim Crow; it was also the flashpoint for early struggles that fused economic empowerment with civil rights, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Today, Alabama is once again a focal point for racial and class struggles, ignited by an anti-immigrant law that tests our definitions of economic citizenship in a world of fluid borders. [...]

Read the full article:

Read the AFL-CIO report, "Crisis in Alabama: Investigating the Devastating Effects of HB 56":

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Public’s View of Immigration

Americans Are Talking but Why Aren't Candidates Listening?

By Philip E. Wolgin, Angela Maria Kelley, Center for American Progress
December 15, 2011

Immigration became an increasingly polarized issue over the last few years. Now, loud voices on all sides shout each other down and crowd out any discussion of real solutions. Smears of “amnesty” have tarred numerous politicians, and the idea of dealing sensibly with the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States appears to be anathema for many on the right. The recent Republican presidential debates only confirm how much immigration is a hot-button issue.

But how do ordinary Americans feel about immigration? Five recent polls, run by organizations from across the political spectrum—from Fox News to Latino Decisions—unequivocally illustrate that the vast majority of Americans support smart solutions to immigration reform and reject mass deportation. They support a pathway to citizenship for people who are part of our communities, learn English, pay back taxes, and so forth, and they reject tearing these families apart. [...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Groups Protest Citizen Detentions

By Kent Paterson, Frontera NorteSur (via Grassroots Press)
December 19, 2011

Pro-immigrant and civil liberties groups are stepping up the pressure against US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Secure Communities program.

Designed to remove immigrant lawbreakers from the United States, Secure Communities enlists local law enforcement agencies in a cooperative relationship with ICE in order to identify, hold and deport foreign nationals. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, December 26, 2011

Border Patrol Says Giving a Ride to an Illegal Immigrant Is a Crime

By Nina Shapiro,  Seattle Times
December 15, 2011

​Undeterred by questions about hyper-aggressive tactics and possible over-funding, the Border Patrol has turned up the heat on the Olympic Peninsula, according to the Forks Human Rights Group. Now, if you give an illegal immigrant a ride in your car, you're at risk for being detained--even if you yourself are legal.

Yesterday, the Forks Human Rights Group, a group of residents that has been documenting the Border Patrol's intense activity in the city made famous by Twilight, sent a letter to Patty Murray and other Congress members calling for an investigation of "increasing questionable and illegal behavior" by the BP's Port Angeles office. [...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Anchor Babies" and "Illegals"

Anchor Baby: A Term Redefined as a Slur
By Julia Preston, New York Times
December 8, 2011

What does the term “anchor baby” mean? If you were to look it up in the American Heritage Dictionary, you would find a new definition since last week. [...]

Read the full article:

By Bill Keller, New York Times
December 13, 2011

A number of readers have written or tweeted their objection to my use of the word “illegals” as shorthand for “illegal immigrants.” [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Immigrants Pay Taxes, But 68 Fortune 500 Companies Dodge State Taxes

NEW REPORT: 265 Major, Profitable U.S. Corporations’ Tax Avoidance Costs States $42 Billion Over Three Years

“Our report shows these 265 corporations raked in a combined $1.33 trillion in profits in the last three years, and far too many have managed to shelter half or more of their profits from state taxes,” said Matthew Gardner, Executive Director at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy and the report’s co-author. “They’re so busy avoiding taxes, it’s no wonder they’re not creating any new jobs.”

68 of the 265 Fortune 500 companies profiled paid no state corporate income tax in at least one of the last three years and 20 of them averaged a tax rate of zero or less during the 2008-2010 period.

Among the 20 corporations paying zero or less in state corporate income taxes over the three year period are: Utility provider Pepco Holdings (DC); pharmaceutical giant Baxter International (IL); chemical maker DuPont (DE); fast food behemoth Yum Brands (KY); high tech manufacturer Intel (CA).

“Corporate Tax Dodging in the Fifty States, 2008-2010” follows up on “Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers, 2008-2010” which was published in November by Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). The two groups released their first major study on the federal income taxes that large, profitable American corporations pay on their U.S. pretax profits in 1984.

Full Report Here:

Read Press Release With Key Findings:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

DHS details contract for second try at Southwest virtual fence

By Aliya Sternstein, Nextgov

The Homeland Security Department has published an expected draft solicitation for bids on a successor to a failed $1 billion virtual border fence.

The proposed work order calls for "nondevelopmental" -- already available from defense or industrial production lines -- towers flanked with cameras designed to tolerate the extreme Arizona weather. The Southwest terrain undermined former contractor Boeing Co.'s previous try at what was then called the Secure Border Initiative network, leading DHS to switch to a more tailored surveillance strategy. [...]

Read the full article:

NYC, 12/18: #ImmigrantsOccupy March/Los Inmigrantes Ocupan! Manifestacíon y Marcha

Permitted March:
Sunday, December 18, 2011
1:30pm until 5:00pm
Foley Sq to Zuccotti Park
Train: Chambers J/Z Brooklyn Bridge 4/5/6
More info: 646 397 4373

Immigrants are part of the 99% and on December 18th we will march with the Occupy Wall Street movement to demand immigrant justice including putting an end to wage theft, and stopping detentions and deportations of our beloved community members. As the Occupy Wall Street movement highlights corporate profiteering we would like to shed light on those that profit off our labor, exploit workers and refuse to pay dignified wages. We also march against the corporations who support racist anti-immigrant legislation that allows them to make billions of dollars by detaining immigrants in private detention centers and deporting nearly 400,000 people per year.

As the occupy movement goes global we also recognize the destructive role that these corporations play in exploiting resources and labor in our home countries which forces millions to migrate. December 18th is the International Day of Migrants and we stand in solidarity with those world wide who are proclaiming Immigrant Rights as Human Rights.

Share and join FB event

ImmigrantsOccupyNYC on facebook:
ImmigrantsOWS on twitter:!/ImmigrantsOWS

Our NYCGA page:

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This march is being organized by the Immigrant Worker Justice Working Group of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. We bring the voices and struggles of New York City s immigrant workers members of the 99% to Occupy Wall Street. In solidarity with OWS and the immigration and labor movements, we lift up the particular organizing campaigns and concerns of immigrant workers. We believe that all labor should be honored and that all workers, regardless of immigration status, deserve equal rights and dignity. We recognize globalized capital in the form of financial institutions, multinational corporations, and neoliberal state economic policies as the impetus for economic migration to the United States, and deplore the fact that banks and corporations, supported by the government, continue to profit from immigrant detention and deportation. The leadership and participation of immigrant workers is necessary for any discussion of social, economic, and environmental justice.

Los Inmigrantes Ocupan! Manifestacíon y Marcha

Los inmigrantes son parte del 99% y el 18 de Diciembre marcharemos junto al movimiento Occupy Wall Street para exigir justicia para el inmigrante. Mientras el movimiento de Occupy Wall Street destaca las excesivas ganancias corporativas, nosotros quisiéramos enfatizar sobre aquellos que se enriquecen por medio del trabajo de los inmigrantes, explotan a los trabajadores y rehúsan pagar salarios dignos. También marcharemos en contra de las corporaciones que apoyan la legislación anti-inmigrante generando billones de dólares recluyendo a inmigrantes en centros de detención privados y deportando a aproximadamente 400,000 personas al año. Queremos eliminar el robo de salarios y, frenar las detenciones y deportaciones de los apreciados miembros de nuestra comunidad.

Mientras Occupy Wall Street se hace global, reconocemos el rol destructivo que éstas corporaciones juegan en la explotación de los recursos y la mano de obra en nuestros países de origen, lo cual obliga a millones a migrar.

El 18 de diciembre es el Día Internacional del Migrante y nos hacemos solidarios con aquellos que a nivel mundial proclaman los Derechos del inmigrante y los Derechos Humanos.

Marcha con Permiso:
Domingo, 18 de Deciembre, 2011
1:30pm - 5:00pm
Foley Sq hacia Zuccotti Park
Metro Chambers J/Z Brooklyn Bridge 4/5/6
Mas info: 646 397 4373

El evento en Facebook:

ImmigrantsOccupyNYC en facebook:    

ImmigrantsOWS en twitter:!/ImmigrantsOWS

la pagina de nuestro grupo en el sitio de la asamblea general de Wall Street :

Descarga el Volante:

Esta marcha esta siendo organizada por el Immigrant Justice Working Group del movimiento Occupy Wall Street. Traemos las voces y las luchas de los trabajadores inmigrantes de la ciudad de Nueva York- miembros del 99%- a Occupy Wall Street. En solidaridad con OWS, los movimientos de inmigración y los movimientos obreros, elevamos esta campaña con las preocupaciones de los trabajadores inmigrantes. Creemos que toda mano de obra debe ser reconocida y que todos los trabajadores, independientemente de su estatus como inmigrantes, merecen igualdad de derechos y dignidad. Reconocemos el capital global-en la forma de instituciones financieras, corporaciones multinacionales, y el estado neoliberal de las políticas económicas- como el ímpetu de la migración económica a los Estados Unidos, y lamentamos el hecho de que los bancos y las corporaciones, apoyadas por el gobierno, sigan lucrándose por medio de detenciones y deportaciones. El liderazgo y la participación de los trabajadores inmigrantes es necesaria para cualquier discusión sobre la justica social, económica y ambiental.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Joe Arpaio's Latest Victim Rushed to Hospital

By Stephen Lemons, Phoenix New Times
December 17, 2011

Following on the heels of a report by the U.S. Department of Justice condemning the MCSO [Maricopa County Sheriff's Office] for engaging in "discriminatory policing" and blasting its treatment of Latinos in and out of its jails, an incident involving a prisoner at [Sheriff Joe] Arpaio's Fourth Avenue Jail may end up offering more proof of the report's findings.

Rumors of the details of the incident have been bouncing around Facebook since yesterday, with claims by Scottsdale Police Lieutenant Mike Stauffer, Arpaio's only announced foe in the 2012 election, that "a Latino inmate at 4th Avenue Jail is brain dead due to excessive force by detention officers." [...]

Read the full article:

For more, read:
Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Office Commits Worst Racial Profiling in U.S. History, Concludes DOJ Investigation

Friday, December 16, 2011

Who Killed Joaquin Luna?

Joseph Nevins, Border Wars, NACLA
November 30, 2011

Last Friday Joaquin Luna put on a white shirt and black tie—the same ones he wore every Sunday at the church he attended. The eighteen-year-old high school senior then kissed family members, went into the bathroom of his mother’s house in south Texas, and shot and killed himself.

According to his family, Joaquin was suffering from emotional and psychological distress related to his unauthorized immigrant status. Since the age of six months, when his family crossed the U.S.-Mexico boundary and settled in Mission, Texas, just on the other side of the international divide from Reynosa, Joaquin had lived in the United States as an “illegal.” Given his unauthorized status, he had become increasingly anxious as his graduation approached, and his limited life prospects became apparent. [...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unions and Immigrants Join Occupy Movements

By David Bacon, Truthout
December 6, 2011

Oakland, California - When Occupy Seattle called its tent camp "Planton Seattle," camp organizers were laying a local claim to a set of tactics used for decades by social movements in Mexico, Central America and the Philippines. And when immigrant janitors marched down to the detention center in San Diego and called their effort Occupy ICE (the initials of the Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency responsible for mass deportations),people from countries with that planton encampment tradition were connecting it to the Occupy movement here. [...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Perceptions of Migration Clash With Reality, Report Finds

By Caroline Brothers, New York Times
December 5, 2011

PARIS — Perceptions of the impact of migration in some countries are so distorted that their citizens estimate that there are as many as three times the number of immigrants living there than is actually the case, a global migration body says in a report being released on Tuesday.

In “World Migration Report for 2011,” the International Organization for Migration, a 132-member intergovernmental body based in Geneva, warns that misinformation about migration fans “harmful stereotypes, discrimination and xenophobia.” [...]

Read the full article:

Read the report:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Arrests of illegal migrants on U.S.-Mexico border plummet

By Nick Miroff and William Booth, Washington Post
December 3, 2011

MEXICALI, Mexico — Arrests of illegal migrants trying to cross the southern U.S. border have plummeted to levels not seen since the early 1970s, according to tallies released by the Department of Homeland Security last week, a historic shift that could reshape the debate over immigration reform.

The Border Patrol apprehended 327,577 illegal crossers along the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30, numbers not seen since Richard Nixon was president, and a precipitous drop from the peak in 2000, when 1.6 million unauthorized migrants were caught. More than 90 percent of the migrants apprehended on the southwest border are Mexican. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tell ICE's Southern Office: Respect the Civil Rights of Immigrant Workers!

From Jobs with Justice National
December 1, 2011

Ever since SB1070 passed in Arizona, Southern states like Alabama have been quick to pass legislation that take the racial profiling bill to the next levels of hate.

At the same time, the Obama administration has announced that Immigration Enforcement’s regional field
offices now are empowered to use their discretion with who is or is not deported.

That means that ICE’s Southern Field Director in New Orleans, Scott Sutterfield has a decision to make.

Last August, his office coordinated the violent ambush of thirty workers in New Orleans who had gathered to receive their paychecks. Now, the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice and community leaders across the South are demanding Mr. Sutterfield attend a town hall meeting on the state of civil rights in the era of Alabama-style hate.

Jobs with Justice has been working on this fight for a long time as a part of the Turning the Tides movement building, and we want to make sure that Sutterfield won’t stand in the way of their civil rights.

You can support their call with three quick steps
1. Watch the video about their case
2. Sign the petition calling for a town hall meeting
3. Ask five friends to do the same.

If Arizona is the laboratory for these Right-Wing policies, the South has become their testing ground. While the administration talks about making immigration enforcement more precise, its own programs and the recent wave of state laws have been doing the opposite. Within those contradictions, ICE’s regional directors like Sutterfield become the deciding factor.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Crisis Clobbers Mexican Immigrants from Frontera NorteSur
November 28, 2011

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) - The last four years have been a rough road for Mexican immigrants in the US. Anti-immigrant laws in Arizona, Alabama and other states have disrupted lives and sent people packing, while record deportations have uprooted longtime residents and divided families. If public policy shifts weren't enough, economic tremors have clobbered the Mexican immigrant community. That's according to a report by BBVA Research, an arm of the BBVA bank in Mexico.

In a new study, BBVA Research reveals that 900,000 Mexican immigrants residing in the US have fallen into poverty since the global economic crisis struck in 2008. [...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In Haiti, U.S. deportees face illegal detentions and grave health risks

By Jacob Kushner, Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
November 13, 2011

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The United States has deported more than 250 Haitians since January knowing that one in two will be jailed without charges in facilities so filthy they pose life-threatening health risks.

An investigation by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting found that the Obama administration has not followed its own policy of seeking alternatives to deportation when there are serious medical and humanitarian concerns. One deportee who arrived in April suffered from asthma, hypertension, diabetes, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and head trauma, among other ailments. That same month, the U.S. government deported a mentally ill immigrant whose psychiatric medications were lost by Haitian authorities after his first day in jail. [...]

Read the full article:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Washington Narrative on Migration

Todd Miller, Border Wars, NACLA
November 24, 2011

We should’ve figured that going to Capitol Hill to talk about the connections between free trade agreements (FTA) and migration in Latin America wouldn’t go over well with our congressional representatives.

I was with Nicaraguan Uriel Carazo who was travelling in the United States to speak about how the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) was exacerbating already dire conditions in Nicaragua and pushing people to look for economic alternatives - mainly, of course, via migration (see video of his talk at Occupy Wall Street in New York). With all the buzz around the subject, particularly in GOP debates, you’d figure folks would be keen on hearing what Carazo had to say about why people were migrating. On that rainy Washington morning, we were there to meet with the offices of Rep. Katherine Castor (D-FL), Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), and Dennis Cardoza (D-CA). Problem was, they didn’t seem too interested. In Sires office, we didn’t even get past the couch in the waiting room. [...]

Monday, November 28, 2011

Suprise: Jonathan and Isaac Released from Detention . . . Round 2 Coming Soon

By Mohammad Abdollahi,
November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, however you may celebrate it. So we have one piece of good news for the day, Jonathan and Isaac were released very early in the morning today. They spent a total of 10 days in the Basile immigration detention center, the first five days they were in a New Orleans prison.

The action they took part in was an intentional action to get involved with immigration authorities. We know many of you think it’s crazy but why not? Immigration thinks it has some power over our communities, they think they can hold us hostage with the threat of detention. So why not take the power away from them and let them know we can go to detention on our own terms. If we take the fear card away from them then what do they have to hold over us? What would it look like the next time a bill like HB56 were proposed and the community was actually willing to stand up to the racist legislators? That is a future we want to see. We eliminate the fear. We empower the community to stand up for themselves. We then demand change, our own change.

If you organize you are safe.

More information:

Raw footage from inside the Mobile, Alabama Border Patrol office:

Ways to support Isaac and Jonathan:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thousands Rally for Repeal of Alabama’s Extreme Anti-Immigrant Law

By Seth Hoy, Immigration Impact
November 22, 2011
Thousands gathered outside the historic 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama yesterday to demand the repeal of the state’s harsh anti-immigration law, HB 56. Religious, community and civil rights leaders, as well as a special Congressional delegation, urged state legislators to bring an end to Alabama’s immigration law—a law which continues to slow state businesses, separate families and drive immigrants from the state. The Congressional delegation also held an ad hoc hearing at Birmingham City Hall to hear how the controversial law is effecting state residents, especially the Latino and immigrant communities where, according to Rep. Luis Gutierrez, “the feeling of danger and despair is palpable.” One Congressional member, Rep. Al Green of Texas, commented that the law “deserves to be placed on the trash heap of history.”

During yesterday’s hearing, Birmingham Mayor William Bell told 11 Congressional members that Alabama’s law “smacks of apartheid and Jim Crow laws,” places financial burdens on cities and could force police officers to employ racial profiling. Echoing the mayor’s economic concerns, Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona forewarned that much like Arizona’s SB1070, Alabama’s immigration law “is going to hurt the economy and the social fabric of the state.”[...]

Read the full article:

See also:

11/21 "One Family, One Alabama" Campaign Launch / Rally (photos)

Black Leaders Get Closeup View of Alabama’s New Jim Crow

Achtung Baby: Alabama's Immigration Crackdown Causes Arrest of Mercedes-Benz Executive (video)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Immigration from Mexico in fast retreat, data show

By Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times
November 15, 2011

Reporting from Mexico City— North of the U.S.-Mexico border, Republican presidential candidates are talking tough on illegal immigration, with one proposing — perhaps in jest — an electrified fence to deter migrants.

But data from both sides of the border suggest that illegal immigration from Mexico is already in fast retreat, as U.S. job shortages, tighter border enforcement and the frightening presence of criminal gangs on the Mexican side dissuade many from making the trip. [...]

Read the full article:,0,6585941.story

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Undocument​ed. Unafraid. Undercover​.

From Mohammad Abdollahi,
November 18, 2011

We are undocumented, unafraid and now undercover. For a while we organized the traditional way thinking things would change. Then we realized we had push a little harder, so we started escalating and demanding change. President Obama was onto us, he came out with a big announcement to get support from the Latino community. We knew it was a lie and many of you knew it was a lie but others fell for the trap. You know the NCLR, CHIRLA, Reform Immigration for America crowds . . .

This week we set out to show it was a lie by intentionally getting undocumented youth into a detention center. After all, if Obama was true to his word we wouldn't be successful, right?


Meet Isaac Barrera and Jonathan Perez, youth from California. You actually know both of them, they were participants in a San Bernardino civil disobedience action. This past Thursday both of them walked into a Mobile, Alabama Border Patrol office protesting against HB56. Both were detained and, within hours, transferred to the Basile immigration detention center in Southern Louisiana.

Isaac and Jonathan are now doing what they do best, organizing from within the detention center where they are gathering stories of others detained, those not connected to a larger network.

Take action and support the work of Isaac and Jonathan from within the detention center. Think we can have them home by Thanksgiving?

Immigration thinks it can go after us, well we have news for them, we can go after them too. We can enter their detention centers on our own terms and, with your support, we can come out. Let's bring Jonathan and Isaac home for Thanksgiving!

Much love,
Mohammad Abdollahi

Saturday, November 19, 2011

ICE is trying to deport an Occupy Oakland protester

November 17, 2011

[Update 11/17/11: Pancho has been released -- INCREDIBLE NEWS. Unfortunately he's not out of the woods yet.]

Occupy Protester to be Deported
Sign the petition demanding ICE to release Pancho and cancel his deportation

In less than 48 hours, we may lose a modern day hero. Francisco “Pancho” Ramos-Stierle was arrested on Monday as he was sitting in silent, non-violent protest against the deep inequality that pervades our society and affects so many Latinos and immigrants.

But what makes Pancho different from so many of the "Occupy" protestors who have been arrested is that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is trying to deport him.  Pancho's information was immediately passed from local police to immigration officials through the Secure Communities (S-COMM) program. So even though the charges against him were dropped, he is still under federal immigration hold.  ICE has less than 48 hours to either take him into federal custody or release him and cancel his deportation.
He was bravely standing up for his community, and now we have to stand up for him. Can you take a moment and sign this petition demanding that ICE release Pancho and cancel his deportation immediately? 

And can you forward this email to your friends and family then post to your Facebook and Twitter profiles?

Pancho was arrested during an early morning raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment on November 14th.1  He participated in Occupy Oakland because he was tired of banks and corporations dominating our country's politics.  Our communities have suffered disproportionately as corporations and the wealthiest among us gain more and more power. Latinos across immigration statuses have lost a staggering two-thirds of our wealth in the recession.2  And for the first time in U.S. history, more Latino children are living in poverty than children of any other ethnic group, and more than two-thirds of them have immigrant parents.3 Meanwhile, coorporation such as CCA and GEO are making billions and profiteering by jailing immigrants like Pancho.

Before his arrest, Pancho was pursuing a Ph.D. in astrophysics at UC Berkeley but resigned from the program when he learned that his work would be used to promote “safer nuclear weapons.” His service to community took many forms – whether promoting community gardens or workingfor migrant rights in Arizona.

Although local courts dropped the charges against Pancho, his fingerprints were immediately forwarded to ICE as soon as he was in custody.  This direct pipeline to ICE and deportation is the hallmark of the Obama administration's S-COMM program - a flawed program that fosters racial profiling against Latinos and authorizes local police to act as immigration officers. Now, we must fight to get Pancho's deportation cancelled.  Click here to sign the petition.

Thanks and ¡adelante!
Favianna, Roberto, Laurie, Felipe, Carlos, Kyle and the rest of the team
1."Peaceful Occupy Oakland Protester Faces Deportation,", 11/16/11
2. "The Toll of the Great Recession: Hispanic Household Wealth Fell by 66% from 2005 to 2009," Pre Hispanic Center, 7/26/11
3. "The Toll of the Great Recession: Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record, Leads Nation," Pew Hispanic Center,9/28/11

Democracy Now! interview:
Occupy Oakland Protester Pancho Ramos Stierle Faces Deportation After Arrest While Meditating

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Immigration advocates praise Pearce's defeat

By Catalina Camia, USA Today
November 9, 2011

Some immigration advocates are celebrating the ouster last night of Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce, author of the state's controversial immigration law.

Pearce, president of the Arizona Senate, conceded defeat late Tuesday to fellow Republican Jerry Lewis. Early and provisional ballots must be counted, but Pearce trailed Lewis when all precincts had reported. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Some African-Americans in Alabama see HB 56 as "a giant step backwards"

By Maribel Hastings, Huffington Post
October 27, 2011

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D) has always said that the fight for immigration reform is a civil-rights issue for the immigrant community in the United States.

That community finds itself in dire straits in Alabama under its new law HB 56, which, even after a court ruling temporarily blocking some provisions from being enforced, continues to wreak havoc among families made up of immigrants, legal residents and citizens, and continues to affect the economy and the image Alabama is projecting to the country and the world. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Letter from Oaxaca

David Bacon, The Investigative Fund (The Nation Institute)
October 24, 2011

If there's one experience that Mexicans have in common more than any other, more even than hatred and repudiation of the mutual violence of the narcos and the government, it's migration. In Oaxaca, 18 percent of its 3.7 million people have left for other parts of Mexico, and especially for the United States. Almost half its towns have shrunk, and migration has become part of the daily experience for almost every family.

I just spent three days listening to indigenous people here talk about it, in a unique organization that brings together people from both sides of the border, the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB). [...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Hispanics fight Alabama's immigration law with work stoppage

Montgomery (AL) Advertiser
October 12, 2011

ALBERTVILLE — At least a half-dozen poultry plants shut down or scaled back operations Wednesday and many other businesses closed as Hispanics in Alabama skipped work to protest the state's toughest-in-the-nation immigration law.

The work stoppage was aimed at demonstrating the economic contribution of Alabama's Hispanic immigrants. It was unclear exactly how widespread the protests were, but a poultry company spokesman said officials were reporting unusually high absences at plants in northeast Alabama, where much of the state's chicken industry is based. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Immigrants Join Protest as Occupy Wall Street Movement Grows

Tania Mattos, Legislative Coordinator at the New York State Youth Leadership Council, believes that the Occupy Wall Street protests are important in putting immigrant issues back on the table. She sees immigrants as making up a strong contingent of the “99%.”

By Rebecca Ellis, Americas Program
November 3, 2011

Sebastian Fernandez, 25, a graduate student born in Colombia, works the Spanish information desk of the Occupy Wall Street camp on the edge of Zucotti Park. At the corner of Liberty and Broadway, flanked by hot dog vendors and police barricades, he sits at a folding table laden with Spanish-language copies of the protest’s newspaper, the “Occupy Wall Street Journal.” [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Economic Impact of Immigrant-Related Local Ordinances

Americas Society
October 20, 2011

This Americas Society white paper provides the first comparative look at the average economic effects of how restrictive versus non-restrictive immigration-related city ordinances affect a city’s business environment. In a context of high unemployment and lackluster business growth, along with rising anxieties regarding immigration in the United States, we believe it essential to provide a better understanding of how policies that seek to restrict immigration and those that support more flexible approaches affect the economies of communities across the country.

The Economic Impact of Immigrant-Related Local Ordinances finds that restrictive ordinances have a negative impact on the number of employees in a city when compared to cities that instead chose to enact non-restrictive ordinances. In fact, an average city with a restrictive ordinance has 0.18 times fewer expected number of employees than its non-restrictive counterpart. […]

Read the full article at:

Download the report at:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Crime Data and Spillover Violence along the Southwest Border

Christopher Wilson, AL DÍA: News and Analysis from Mexico Institute
October 14, 2011

As organized crime-related violence has increased in northern Mexico, so has the heated rhetoric regarding the U.S. side of the border. The title of National Geographic’s program, Border Wars, exemplifies the sentiment, echoed by several politicians, that the border region is lawless and dangerous. For residents of the U.S. border region, thankfully, the reality is anything but that.

In fact, as violent crime surged in parts of Mexico, the U.S. border region became safer. While in Mexico the murder rate climbed 29% between 2005 and 2010, it declined 24% in the U.S. border states. This suggests that despite a smattering of violent incidents perpetrated by members of Mexican criminal groups in the United States, widespread “spillover violence” has not occurred.[…]

Read the full article:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hay Que “Ocupar” Alabama! Occupy Alabama!

Por Elvira Arellano
October 26, 2011

English translation follows

Quisiera dedicar esta columna a nuestra gente en el estado de Alabama. Deseo que sepan que estamos al pendiente de ustedes y respaldándolos en nuestros hogares y nuestras comunidades en todo Estados Unidos, México y Centro América. […]

I would like to dedicate this column to our people in the state of Alabama. I would like them to know that we are watching and supporting them in our homes and communities all over the United States, Mexico and Guatemala. […]

Read the full article (Spanish and English):

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Free books from the NY Nicaragua Solidarity Network

Saturday, Oct. 15, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Wednesday, Oct. 19, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Saturday, Oct. 22, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
At 339 Lafayette Street, buzzer 11 (or buzzer 10 if there's no answer)
(at Bleecker Street in Manhattan; 6 train to Bleecker Street, or D or F trains to Broadway-Lafayette; also, B and M trains on weekday; a short ride from Occupy Wall Street)
Free books * Magazines * T-shirts and political buttons from historic campaigns, and more

REALLY and TRULY LAST CHANCE GIVEAWAY!! Everything must go!!

More information at:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NYC, 10/6/-10/911: "Undocumented," by Katherine Chua

What happens when everything you know is about to be taken away? What can you do when you have to leave the only place you call home? Where do you go when you get tired of hiding, but too scared to run? What do you do when you’re not sure if you’re a victim or a criminal?

These are just some of the barriers that young undocumented immigrants must confront. In the multimedia play Undocumented by Katherine Chua, she highlights the inner turmoil of a girl called Frida, who has been found out by the authorities as being in the country illegally. Although she has been living in the U.S. since the age of 8 and is now 25, she will be taken from all she's ever known and deported "home" to her native country. The only light is the possibility of having the DREAM Act bill get passed by legislation. But before Frida can find solace and trust in this bill being past she must find solace, trust and forgiveness in those around her and most importantly herself.

Thursday, October 6th (8pm Show)
Friday, October 7th (8pm Show)
Saturday, October 8th (3pm Show followed by Q&A & an 8pm Show)
Sunday, October 9th (3pm Show followed by Q&A and a 7pm Show)
Tickets are $15 at the door. First come first served, so please come 20-25 minutes before showtime.
The Shell Theater located in the Times Square Art Building, 300 West 43rd Street (off 8th Avenue), 4th Floor (403), NY 10036

CAST: Sahar Muradi, Dorcas Evelene Davis, Madelene De Leon, Ryan Johnson, Roberto C. Chavez and Charlotte MacDougall

Directed by David Mitnowsky
Asst. Directed by Lexy Nistico

Designers: Nick van der Grinten, Jonathan Spencer, Melanie Patterson

"plant a seed of knowledge . . . incite the growth of a revolution."

Please visit here for info on"Undocumented"
twitter us @undocAplay

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sharin Chiorazzo, ¡Presente!

Educator and Palestine activist Sharin Chiorazzo died on September 30 after a long struggle with cancer. She was 51; she is survived by her daughter Nadia, her sister Cathy and her parents, Joan and Joseph.

Sharin was an adjunct professor in Middle Eastern studies at several New Jersey colleges and also taught elementary Arabic. She had degrees from the New School for Social Research and New York University; her PhD dissertation, A theoretical discussion of the nation-state in Western discourse and its application to non Western peoples, is available from ProQuest. Sharin co-edited Palestine Rising, Dawud A. Assad’s memoir of surviving the 1948 massacre at the Palestinian village of Deir Yasin.

Starting in 2002 Sharin was a member of the committee that worked for the release of her friend Farouk Abdel-Muhti, a New York-based Palestinian activist then being held in immigration detention. After a federal judge ordered Farouk released in April 2004, he and Sharin made plans to marry. Sharin was with Farouk the night of July 21, just three months after his release, when he died suddenly of a heart attack while in Philadelphia to speak on the struggles for Palestinian and immigrant rights.

Several friends from the Farouk campaign visited Sharin on September 24 at her home in southern New Jersey, where she was surrounded by family and friends. Lucid and still committed to the Palestinian cause, she entrusted us with papers, letters, and photographs from Farouk and from her years of Middle Eastern activism.

Visiting hours will be Monday, October 3, 7-9 pm, and Tuesday, October 4, 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm, at Riewerts Memorial Home at 187 South Washington Avenue, Bergenfield, NJ, 07621-2987, phone 201-384-0700. There will be a funeral mass Wednesday, October 5, at 10 am at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church on Washington Ave near Main Street in Bergenfield (phone 201-384-0101).

Donations in Sharin’s memory can be made to Hospice or to Nadia's Trust Fund c/o Helen Richards, 521 Piermont Ave., Apt. 109, River Vale, NJ 07675.

Sharin at home last week with Konrad Aderer, the director of “Enemy Alien,” and his son, Kiyoshi. The photo at the top shows Sharin at the July 22, 2005 vigil in Farouk’s memory (from NY Indymedia).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Three Days in the Life of a Migrant Laborer

Today, US companies demand access to flexible workforces, so to better compete in the global economy. Companies have discovered that agencies in immigrant communities supply inexpensive labor pools of workers who work hard. Factories are hungry for such work pools, and if they cannot access them here in the US, they might search for them in other countries.

By David Van Arsdale, Peace Newsletter
July-August 2011 and September 2011

A temporary worker should never oversleep. This was my thought as I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock two or three times. By the time I awoke, it was half past seven in the morning—far too late, I thought to myself, to find a construction or factory job through the staffing agency in Harlem through which I was working. I decided to try anyhow. I arrived to discover a mostly-vacant waiting room. There were only two other workers waiting and both of them informed me that most of the jobs were dispatched before seven, as I had suspected. Juan, a twenty-four-year-old Nicaraguan who lives in the housing projects across the street from the agency, asked me if I knew of any other agencies offering work. I asked if he wanted to come with me to try the agencies in Queens, in the Latino neighborhoods. Juan and I became quick friends, we jumped on the subway and headed for Queens. [...]

Read the two-part series:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Immigration Special Report: New Mexico Immigrant Fight Widens

Immigrants aren’t taking matters sitting down... instead they're mobilizing in different New Mexico communities.

By Kent Paterson, and Frontera NorteSur
September 3, 2011

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) - Defying the stormy skies of a late summer monsoon season, immigrants and their supporters had a message for New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez: Stop targeting our families and start working on education, jobs and other matters of vital importance in an economically hard -pressed state.

Convened by El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, an immigrant rights organization based in Albuquerque, scores of demonstrators turned out September 1 in front of state Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) offices in Albuquerque. A lively crowd of young and old alike protested a Martinez administration-ordered review of 10,000 state driver’s licenses previously issued to foreign-born people without Social Security numbers. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Does the H-2A guest worker visa program make it easy to exploit farmworkers?

In 2007 a report issued by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Close to Slavery: Guestworker Programs in the United States, concluded that H-2A workers "are bound to the employers who 'import' them. If guestworkers complain about abuses, they face deportation, blacklisting, or other retaliation." Federal regulations to protect the workers "exist mainly on paper," it added. "Government enforcement ... is almost nonexistent."

By David Bacon, California Lawyer magazine
September 2011

In the fall of 2006 Irma Luna, a community worker for California Rural Legal Assistance in Fresno, got a phone call from the tiny town of Tulelake, on the Oregon border. Hundreds of farmworkers, the caller said, were living at the Siskiyou County fairgrounds, and many were being fired and sent back to Mexico.

Luna and CRLA attorneys Alegria G. De La Cruz and Michael Meuter drove 500 miles through the Central Valley to investigate. At Tulelake they found about a hundred angry laborers waiting at the local library. The workers said that Sierra Cascade Nursery, a leading grower of strawberry plants in the United States, had contracted in Mexico for 600 people to spend six weeks at its facilities trimming strawberry plant roots. The company, which develops rootstock and sells strawberry plants to growers around the world, owns more than a thousand acres of nurseries in northern California and southern Oregon. [...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nation's farm states push competing guest-worker bills

"Because the bill slashes wages and worker protections, it actually creates the incentive for employers to replace their current American workers with much cheaper (foreign) workers," warned Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.

By Michael Doyle, McClatchy Newspapers
September 8, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Half a million foreign farmworkers could gain visas annually under a new plan that some U.S. growers believe doesn't go far enough.

Entering a political minefield, the conservative chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has written a bill that gives growers some of what they want in a farmworker visa program. Housing and transportation requirements are eased. Farmworker lawsuits are limited. Dairies, for the first time, become eligible.

"If we are really going to help American growers in the long term, we need to provide them a workable guest-worker program that will help them hire a legal workforce," declared Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. [...]

Read more the full article:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Enemy Alien" screenings in NYC, Toronto, CA

a Palestinian activist’s fight for freedom draws a Japanese American filmmaker into confrontation with detention regimes of past and present.

“ that is what I call a ‘real’ documentary. An exposé of the first order.” -- Satsuki Ina, director, Children of the Camps & From a Silk Cocoon

"Enemy Alien is a must-see documentary! The filmmaker crosses boundaries and prison walls to tell the story of this peaceful Palestinian freedom fighter…a powerful and often scary real-life tale of the shared struggle between Japanese Americans and Muslim Americans." --Basim Elkarra, Executive Director, CAIR-Sacramento

Documentary, 2011, 82 minutes
A project of Life or Liberty
Directed by Konrad Aderer

Thursday, September 8, 7:00pm
Alwan for the Arts 16 Beaver Street Manhattan, NYC

Panel discussion with the filmmaker and discussants:
Amy Gottlieb, American Friends Service Committee
Mirene Ghossein, activist and promoter of Arab-American and Palestinian poetry and arts
Cristina "AiMara" Lee, organizer and legal observer involved in Asian American & Muslim American solidarity

Toronto Palestine Film Festival
Tuesday, October 4, 9:00pm
Art Gallery of Ontario, Jackman Hall Theater
317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON
Copresented by Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

UC Berkeley
As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 arrives, the Nikkei Student Union and the Muslim Student Association, will hold a joint event of featuring a screening of Enemy Alien followed by discussion
UC Berkeley's Multicultural Community Center (MCC)
September 8th, 7:30pm

Enemy Alien, a first-person documentary, is the gripping story of the fight to free Farouk Abdel-Muhti, a gentle but indomitable Palestinian-born human rights activist detained in a post-9/11 sweep of Muslim immigrants. 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 confronts his own family legacy of incarceration, his involvement in the current struggle deepens. Resistance brings consequences: In retaliation for organizing a massive protest from inside detention, Farouk is beaten and locked in solitary confinement, and his American-born son Tarek is arrested in a counterterrorism investigation into the documentary itself.

Twitter: @enemyalien

Distributor, educational distribution & screenings: Third World Newsreel

The New York Observer‘Exigent Times’: Konrad Aderer’s Enemy Alien

Radio interviews with director Konrad Aderer:
Asia Pacific Forum, WBAI 99.5 NYC (6/27/2011)

Insight: Mike McGowan, Capital Public Radio KXJZ 90.9 Sacramento (2/18/2011)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

America’s Sweatshop Diplomacy

By Jennifer Gordon, New York Times
August 24, 2011

ACCORDING to the State Department, the J-1 visa Summer Work Study program, which allows foreign students to work in the United States for a few months, is meant to promote “lasting and meaningful relationships” between the students and Americans.

Try telling that to the more than 300 J-1 holders who went on strike at a Hershey’s distribution plant in Pennsylvania last week, with the support of the National Guestworker Alliance. These engineering majors and future lawyers from places like Turkey, Moldova and China came hoping to travel and speak English, but spent the summer packing and lifting heavy pallets of Kit-Kats, often on overnight shifts and for meager pay. [...]

Read the full op-ed:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fighting the Firings

After years of ‘silent raids’ and federal workplace audits, unions and community allies are going on the offensive.

By David Bacon, In These Times
August 23, 2011

When the current wave of mass firings of immigrant workers started three years ago, they were called “silent raids” in the press. The phrase makes firings seem more humane than the workplace raids of the Bush administration. During Bush’s eight-year tenure, posses of black-uniformed immigration agents, waving submachine guns, invaded factories across the country and rounded up workers for deportations.

“Silent raids,” by contrast, have relied on cooperation between employers and immigration officials. The Department of Homeland Security identifies workers it says have no legal immigration status. Employers then fire them. The silence, then, is the absence of the armed men in black. To paraphrase Woody Guthrie, they used to rob workers of their jobs with a gun. Now they do it with a fountain pen. [...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Workers Win Large Settlement at Supplier to Chinese Restaurants After Hard Fought Campaign

For Immediate Release:
Focus on the Food Chain
August 18, 2011
Contact: press (at)

Energetic Worker-Led Campaign Saw Key Customers Drop the Distribution Warehouse Until Workers' Rights Were Respected

Queens, NY – Immigrant workers at Pur Pac, a food distribution warehouse supplying many landmark Chinese restaurants, bakeries, and cafes in Chinatown and around the City, have won a major settlement with the company after prevailing in a bitterly contested workplace justice campaign. The comprehensive settlement will return $470,000 in illegally withheld minimum wage and overtime pay and subjects Pur Pac to a binding code of conduct which includes protection for collective activity and compels compliance with all workplace laws including anti-discrimination and health & safety protections. The workers organized with Focus on the Food Chain, a joint campaign from Brandworkers and the IWW which is challenging sweatshop conditions in a sprawling industrial corridor of food processing and distribution warehouses that service New York City markets and restaurants.

"No one who wakes up and goes to work every day should have their wages stolen," said Primo Aguilar, a former worker at Pur Pac and a leading member of the campaign. "I feel proud today that my co-workers and I stood up, got organized, and won. This settlement means a great deal for us and our families but also for our effort with the Focus campaign to win respect for all of New York City's food processing and distribution workers."

Through grassroots advocacy and protest, the workers persuaded key food retail customers of Pur Pac to stop doing business with the company until the dispute was resolved. Pursuant to the settlement, workers' representatives are notifying customers that the dispute has been favorably resolved. Pur Pac's product line includes bulk rice, sugar, cooking oil, chop sticks, and soy sauce. In a previous companion agreement, Pur Pac acknowledged that it was the successor to two predecessor companies, E-Z Supply Corp. and Sunrise Plus Corp., and has recognized the Industrial Workers of the World labor union as the exclusive collective bargaining agent of Pur Pac employees.

"Every New Yorker depends on workers like the ones at Pur Pac for the food we all need to survive and thrive," said Daniel Gross, the executive director of Brandworkers. "But for far too long, the City's food processing and distribution employees have constituted an invisible workforce, out-of-sight and out-of-mind. The conditions in the sector are deplorable and systemic but, as the Pur Pac workers have shown, positive workplace change can and will be won. Today, we're savoring the workers' hard-earned victory and could not be more proud to be associated with this march toward justice."

Pur Pac, through successor companies, engaged in massive wage theft against its Latino and Chinese employees and fired them illegally when they asserted their rights. By engaging in two sham sales and re-branding efforts, the company attempted to evade liability even after losing cases in federal court and the National Labor Relations Board. The victory is the largest yet for Focus on the Food Chain, which prevailed last year in a high-profile workplace justice campaign at a seafood processing facility in Queens.

Ridgewood-based Pur Pac lies along a corridor of food factories starting in East Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn and extending into Ridgewood and Maspeth in Queens. Wage theft, retaliation discrimination, and reckless disregard for worker health and safety are endemic in the sector. Earlier this year, the corridor claimed the life of Juan Baten, a Guatemalan immigrant crushed to death at the tortilla factory where he worked, a death that the Occupational Health & Safety Administration found would have been prevented if not for the employer's disregard for basic safety precautions.

Focus on the Food Chain promotes a sustainable food system that incorporates respect for workers' human rights. Through worker-led organizing, direct action, and litigation, the Focus campaign is challenging and overcoming sweatshop conditions in New York's food processing and distribution warehouses. The campaign is currently engaged in a high-octane initiative for workplace justice at Brooklyn-based Flaum Appetizing Corp., a kosher food company that produces Sonny & Joe's hummus and distributes Tnuva products, the leading global kosher cheese brand.

Brandworkers is a Queens-based non-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees. Through legal, advocacy, and organizing support for low-wage employees, Brandworkers promotes employer compliance with the law and challenges corporate misconduct in the community.

Founded in 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World is a grassroots labor union dedicated to member-led organizing and workplace democracy.

More information at:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

U.S. Forced to Release New “Embarrassing” Documents On Controversial Secure Communities Program

ShareDocuments Show Broad Deception and Disagreement Within Federal Agencies on Opt Out; Raise New Questions About ICE’s Mandatory Stance

Press release, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

New York, August 18, 2011- In the wake of protests and civil disobedience in Chicago yesterday and across the country criticizing the Obama administration’s Secure Communities program, immigrant advocates called on the government to turn over remaining documents about the program sought in a Freedom of Information lawsuit and to halt the controversial program.

A batch of unredacted documents released by court order this week, which federal district court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin called “embarrassing,” included acknowledgement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorneys that they would have to “rewrite” memos on whether the program is mandatory for states and localities and revealed schisms between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the right of states and localities to opt out of the program. [...]

Read the full press release:

Secure Communities and Next Generation Identification:
The FBI’s “Big Brother” Surveillance Agenda

July 6, 2011 Fact Sheet from CCR, Cardozo School of Law, NDLON

Documents disclosed as a result of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Cardozo Law School Immigration Justice Clinic reveal that Secure Communities goes far beyond immigration
enforcement. The program is part of a larger secretive information-collection project that profoundly undermines democracy and liberty. [...]

Read the full fact sheet:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Support the Sit-In at Hershey's Factory by Student Guestworkers!

Jobs With Justice Action Alert
August 17, 2011

On August 17th, hundreds of student guestworkers from around the world were joined by unemployed American workers and labor leaders in a factory sit-in at the Hershey's Chocolate Company packing plant in Pennsylvania.

The students paid $3,000-$6,000 each to come to the U.S. this summer for what they thought would be a cultural exchange program through the State Department's J-1 visa. Instead, they found themselves packing chocolates at the Hershey's plant in deeply exploitative conditions. After automatic weekly deductions for rent in company housing and other expenses, they net between $40 and $140 per week for 40 hours of work.They talked about their struggle and asked for our support at the JwJ national conference last week. [...]

Read the full action alert:

Foreign Students in Work Visa Program Stage Walkout at Plant
By Julia Preston, New York Times
August 17, 2011

PALMYRA, Pa. — Hundreds of foreign students, waving their fists and shouting defiantly in many languages, walked off their jobs on Wednesday at a plant here that packs Hershey’s chocolates, saying a summer program that was supposed to be a cultural exchange had instead turned them into underpaid labor. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

White House Slows Deportations as Pressure on "Secure Communities" Mounts

Dream Act students won't be deportation targets, officials say
Los Angeles Times
August 18, 2011

The Obama administration announced Thursday that undocumented students and other low-priority immigration offenders would not be targeted for deportation under enforcement programs.

The announcement marks further steps to stop the deportation of people it considers "low-priority" immigrants like so-called Dream Act-eligible students and those with long-standing family ties in the country. These eligible students are those who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children by their parents. [...]

Read the full article:

Obama Administration Curtails Deportations of Non-Criminal Immigrants
By Jake Tapper, ABC News
August 18, 2011

The Obama administration today announced it will no longer actively seek to deport illegal immigrants who don’t have criminal records and that it will review all existing deportation cases involving non-criminal immigrants on a case-by-case basis.

The news follows months of intense pressure from immigrant advocates who had urged the president to use his administrative authority to refocus the government's limited law enforcement resources while congressional gridlock over a comprehensive immigration system overhaul persists. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, August 19, 2011

KBR and the Tale of Two Walls

Todd Miller, NACLA Report on the Americas
August 3, 2011

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the Arizona state government’s latest anti-immigration ploy—to build its own border wall on private land, with money from private donors, using inmate labor. On the official website, unveiled on July 20, Arizona state senator Steven Smith explains that this initiative came about because “the consequences of this lack of security have yielded an unparalleled invasion of drug cartels, violent gangs, an estimated 20 million illegal aliens, and even terrorists.”

Meanwhile, during that same week, the office of Arizona Democrat Gabrielle Giffords announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had awarded former Halliburton subsidiary KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root) a $24.4 million contract for “upkeep” of border infrastructure. The self-proclaimed “largest contractor for the U.S. army” will be providing maintenance for the fences and gates, roads and bridges, and lights and electrical systems, among other things. This isn't the first time that KBR has been involved with immigration enforcement. [...]

Read the full article:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Resistance Widens to Obama Initiative on Criminal Immigrants

By Julia Preston, New York Times
August 13, 2011

BOSTON — Mayor Thomas Menino, who often invokes his heritage as the grandson of an Italian immigrant, was one of the first local leaders in the country to embrace a federal program intended to improve community safety by deporting dangerous immigrant criminals.

But five years after Boston became a testing ground for the fingerprinting program, known as Secure Communities, Mr. Menino is one of the latest local officials to sour on it and seek to withdraw. He found that many immigrants the program deported from Boston, though here illegally, had committed no crimes. The mayor believed it was eroding hard-earned ties between Boston’s police force and its melting-pot mix of ethnic neighborhoods.

Read the full article:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Gay man born in Australia is facing imminent deportation despite being legally married

Makk has been living in the U.S. on legal visas ever since but was denied a green card July 26 because immigration officials are bound by the federal Defense of Marriage Act - which defines marriage as between a man and a woman only - not state laws.

By Nancy Dillon, Daily News (New York)
August 11, 2011

LOS ANGELES - A gay California man born in Australia but legally married to his American husband is facing imminent deportation after federal authorities denied his request for spousal residency.

The case is garnering international attention because the couple helped pioneer gay marriage in Massachusetts in 2004 - and the Australian husband has become the primary caregiver for his AIDS-afflicted spouse. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, August 15, 2011

NYC, 8/18/11-8/20/11: "Undocumented," by Katherine Chua

What happens when everything you know is about to be taken away? What can you do when you have to leave the only place you call home? Where do you go when you get tired of hiding, but too scared to run? What do you do when you’re not sure if you’re a victim or a criminal?

These are just some of the barriers that young undocumented immigrants must confront. In the multimedia play Undocumented by Katherine Chua, she highlights the inner turmoil of a girl called Frida, who has been found out by the authorities as being in the country illegally. Although she has been living in the U.S. since the age of 8 and is now 25, she will be taken from all she's ever known and deported "home" to her native country. The only light is the possibility of having the DREAM Act bill get passed by legislation. But before Frida can find solace and trust in this bill being past she must find solace, trust and forgiveness in those around her and most importantly herself.

Performing AUGUST 18th, 19th, 20th, 2011 at Stage Left Studio, 214 30th Street (off 7th Avenue), NYC
For tickets go to:

CAST: Sahar Muradi, Dorcas Evelene Davis, Madelene De Leon, Ryan Johnson, Roberto C. Chavez and Charlotte MacDougall

Directed by David Mitnowsky
Asst. Directed by Lexy Nistico

Designers: Nick van der Grinten, Jonathan Spencer, Melanie Patterson

"plant a seed of knowledge . . . incite the growth of a revolution."

Please visit here for info on"Undocumented"
twitter us @undocAplay

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Arizona Border Fence Causes Flood and Self-Destructs—as Predicted

By Bryan Gerhart, ColorLines
August 12, 2011

Mother Earth has spoken. Amidst recent reports that detail just how harmful the United States border barrier is to local wildlife and their habitats, rainwater knocked down 40 feet of the fence in Arizona last Sunday night.

The stretch of fence that washed away was part of a 5.2 mile mesh barrier that was built between 2007 and 2008. Though it is the first time this particular fencing has fallen, it came as no surprise to officials at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where the fence is located. When Organ Pipe expressed their concern with the proposed design for the barricade before its completion, Border Patrol unsurprisingly issued a final environmental assessment that said they found that it would have no significant impact. They added that, despite the claims of Organ Pipe officials, it would not cause flooding. They were wrong. [...]

Read the full article:

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pitting Worker Against Worker

Once we admit there is a problem, must we back draconian, Arizona-like measures against illegal immigrants? On the contrary. If illegal immigrants did not need to fear discovery, the small grocers would not be able to pay them illegally low wages.

By Moshe Adler,Truthdig
April 30, 2010

All that is wrong with our immigration and labor policies—for the two cannot be separated—is on full display in New York City, where it plays out every day in the city’s small grocery stores. Virtually all of the workers in these stores are undocumented Latin American immigrants. Yet in the adjacent supermarkets, the same jobs are held by American-born workers of all colors. The usual excuse that these are jobs that “Americans won’t do” obviously doesn’t apply. What is the explanation then?

In 2002, then-New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer discovered the answer: The small grocery stores pay their workers about half the minimum wage. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mexican Migration Patterns Signal a New Immigratio​n Reality

Press release from Immigration Policy Center
August 1, 2011

For Immediate Release

Mexican Migration Patterns Signal a New Immigration Reality: Fewer Coming, Fewer Leaving, and 3/5 of Unauthorized Have Been Here for a Decade or Longer

August 1, 2011, Washington D.C. - Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases a summary of recent data on Mexican migration to and from the United States. This data provides an important reminder that as migration patterns change over time, so too must U.S. immigration policies. Fewer Mexicans are migrating to the United States, fewer Mexican immigrants in the United States are returning home, and immigrants from Mexico are parents to a new generation of Mexican Americans who are U.S. citizens.

New reports from the Pew Hispanic Center and the RAND Corporation provide useful information about the state of immigration today. Although this data deals with Mexican immigrants as a whole and not just the unauthorized, it is a useful indicator of what is taking place in the unauthorized population. More than half (55 percent) of Mexican immigrants in the United States are unauthorized, and roughly three-fifths (59 percent) of all unauthorized immigrants are from Mexico.The data reveals an emerging new reality: fewer immigrants are coming, fewer are leaving, and a majority of the unauthorized population has been here for a decade or longer. These trends suggest that our immigration policies must transition away from the current efforts to drive out unauthorized immigrants with deep roots in this country. We need a more nuanced set of policies that help immigrants who are already living here and contributing to the U.S. economy to more fully integrate into U.S. society.

To view the fact sheet in its entirety, see:
Mexican Migration Patterns Signal a New Immigration Reality (IPC Fact Check, August 1, 2011)

### For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at  or 202-507-7524

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Political Links Seen Behind New Jersey Detention Center Bid

By Sam Dolnick, New York Times
July 27, 2011

Three weeks ago, Essex County, N.J., announced that it was seeking a company to run a 450-bed immigrant detention center, hoping to take advantage of a federally financed initiative to set up such facilities with better supervision and medical care.

The county said the contracting process was open to any company. But behind the scenes, it appears that officials have a clear favorite: Community Education Centers, which has a checkered record in immigrant detention but counts one of Gov. Chris Christie’s closest confidants as a senior vice president. The company’s executives are also political backers of the county executive, Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., a prominent ally of Mr. Christie. [...]

Read the full article:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Europe's Homegrown Terrorists

[In the U.S. the anti-immigrant fanatics rail against Latino immigrants for their supposed refusal to assimilate and claim that Mexicans are planning a "reconquest" of the Southwest. In Europe the rightwingers rail against Muslim immigrants for their supposed refusal to assimilate and claim that Muslims are planning to conquer "Christian Europe." In both cases the claims have no basis in the facts. In Europe these ideas inspired the Oslo terrorist.--Blog editor]

Gary Younge, The Nation
July 25, 2011

...The general framing goes like this. Europe is being overrun by Muslims and other non-white immigrants, who are outbreeding non-Muslims at a terrifying rate. Unwilling to integrate culturally and unable to compete intellectually, Muslim populations have become hotbeds of terrorist sympathy and activity. Their presence threatens not only security but the liberal consensus regarding women’s rights and gay rights that Western Europe has so painstakingly established; and overall, this state of affairs represents a fracturing of society that is losing its common values. This has been allowed to happen in the name of not offending specific ethnic groups, otherwise known as multiculturalism.

One could spend all day ripping these arguments to shreds, but for now let’s just deal with the facts. [...]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

USCIS Says ICE Deported US Citizen, Andres Robles Still Stuck in Mexico

By Jacqueline Stevens, States Without Nations
July 20, 2011

Andres Robles is celebrating his 22d birthday today in Mexico and not with his parents in Thibodaux, Louisiana because the U.S. government once again deported a U.S. citizen.

Instead of following the law that says U.S. citizens cannot be detained, much less deported, the government is channeling Kafka. [...]

Read the full post:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Illegal immigration from Mexico continues decline

By Elizabeth Aguilera, San Diego Union-Tribune
July 7, 2011

The Great Recession, border enforcement and social and economic changes in Mexico have resulted in a negative net flow of illegal immigrants from Mexico for the first time in at least the past decade, demographers said.

Fewer unauthorized Mexicans entered the U.S. last year than those who left, building on a trend that started four years ago, according to several University of California researchers, the Pew Hispanic Center and others. [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Democrats accuse Rep. Lamar Smith of hypocrisy over deportation legislation

By Gary Martin, Texas on the Potomac (Houston Chronicle blog)
July 15, 2011

House Democrats denounced Thursday an immigration bill to spur deportations as “petty partisan politics” and accused the author, Rep. Lamar Smith, of being a hypocrite for introducing the measure.

Smith, R-San Antonio, filed the “Hinder the Administration’s Legalization Temptation” Act, or HALT, after the Obama administration announced it would prioritize deportations to remove violent criminals and terrorists instead of students and illegal immigrant parents with children born in the United States.

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[The following press release contains more information on the use of executive discretion in immigration cases. --Blog editor]

Legal Experts Comment on Recent ICE Memo on Prosecutorial Discretion

July 19, 2011 Washington D.C. - In April, a distinguished group of immigration law experts released a memo explaining the executive branch’s authority related to the implementation of immigration laws and policies. This memo provided an explanation of how federal agencies possess the discretion to decide how they prosecute and enforce our nation’s laws. Today, the same legal experts are issuing a new memo discussing the purpose and impact of the recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memoranda on prosecutorial discretion in the immigration context. These memoranda provide an important legal viewpoint in the ongoing debate around how much power the executive branch can exercise in the implementation of our nation’s immigration laws.

To view the memoranda in their entirety see:
Recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement Memoranda on Prosecutorial Discretion, July 19, 2011

Executive Branch Authority Regarding Implementation of Immigration Laws and Policies, April 29, 2011

For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at  or 202-507-7524.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Did an "Economic Boom" in Mexico Cause the Decline in Undocumented Immigration?

[An otherwise informative article in the New York Times on July 6 claimed that "Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North." But in fact the Mexican economy took a big hit in 2009 because of the US recession, and the current "economic boom" is actually just a partial recovery. Poverty remains a serious problem in Mexico. -- Blog editor]

Is the Mexican Economy Booming?
By Fred Rosen, Mexico, Bewildered and Contested (NACLA blog)
July 19, 2011

Mexico’s Secretary of the Treasury, Ernesto Cordero, recently provoked some outrage when he announced that Mexico “was no longer a poor country.” Mexico, he tweeted to the press, echoing the line of the ruling National Action Party (PAN), “is now a middle income country.”

Well, maybe. Gross domestic product is growing but so—as opposition politicians were quick to point out—is the measured rate of poverty and the number of people eking out a living in the informal sector of the economy. Cordero’s claim has been received with little credibility in Mexico, but with a great deal of interest in the United States, which has a stake, for a number of reasons, in Mexican stability. [...]

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Mexico lags in regional economic growth
By Tracy Wilkinson, La Plaza (Los Angeles Times blog)
July 15, 2011

Mexico is near the bottom of the barrel in economic growth projections for Latin America, a new report says.

The report, by the United Nations' Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC, which is also known by its Spanish acronym, CEPAL), is an annual assessment of the state of economies, what's driving, or slowing, growth, the impact of fiscal and trade policies, and the like. [...]

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Mexico: The Economy Is Down and the Cartels Are Hiring
Weekly News Update on the Americas
July 17, 2011

The average income of Mexican households fell by 12.3% between 2008 and 2010, the government’s National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI) reported on July 15. The richest households generally lost the most in percentages, but poorer households suffered more because their income was already so low, according to the National Survey of Household Income and Expenditure, which the INEGI conducts every two years. The decline in income reflects a 6.1% contraction of the Mexican economy in 2009 in the midst of a world economic crisis that started in the US; the Mexican economy recovered partially in 2010 with a 5.4% expansion. (La Jornada (Mexico) 7/16/11) [...]

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