Monday, June 27, 2011

My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

"Last year I read about four students who walked from Miami to Washington to lobby for the Dream Act," writes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Vargas. "At the risk of deportation — the Obama administration has deported almost 800,000 people in the last two years — they are speaking out. Their courage has inspired me."

By Jose Antonio Vargas, New York Times Magazine
June 22, 2011

One August morning nearly two decades ago, my mother woke me and put me in a cab. She handed me a jacket. “Baka malamig doon” were among the few words she said. (“It might be cold there.”) When I arrived at the Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino International Airport with her, my aunt and a family friend, I was introduced to a man I’d never seen. They told me he was my uncle. He held my hand as I boarded an airplane for the first time. It was 1993, and I was 12.

My mother wanted to give me a better life, so she sent me thousands of miles away to live with her parents in America — my grandfather (Lolo in Tagalog) and grandmother (Lola). [...]

Read the full article:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Immigration and the Culture of Solidarity

By David Bacon, Americas Program
June 20, 2011

ONE indispensable part of education and solidarity is greater contact between Mexican union organizers and their U.S. counterparts. The base for that contact already exists in the massive movement of people between the two countries.

Miners fired in Cananea, or electrical workers fired in Mexico City, become workers in Phoenix, Los Angeles and New York. Twelve million Mexican workers in the U.S. are a natural base of support for Mexican unions. They bring with them the experience of the battles waged by their unions. They can raise money and support. Their families are still living in Mexico, and many are active in political and labor campaigns. As workers and union members in the U.S., they can help win support from U.S. unions for the battles taking place in Mexico. [...]

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Politicians Blame Immigrants for Arizona Wildfires...Not Global Warming

John McCain: Illegal Immigrants Caused Arizona Wildfires
Huffington Post
June 19, 2011

John McCain (R-AZ) says undocumented immigrants are to blame for the massive wildfires that have ravaged Arizona.

"There is substantial evidence that some of these fires are caused by people who have crossed our border illegally," McCain, said at a press conference Saturday after touring the Wallow fire, which began on May 29 and has burned over 500,000 acres to date. [...]

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Monster wildfire in Arizona: A glimpse of what climate change could bring
By Pete Spotts, Christian Science Monitor
June 9, 2011

A wildfire in Arizona that has blackened an area half the size of Rhode Island, prompted the evacuation of some 2,000 people in its path, and is threatening long-distance power lines that serve New Mexico and Texas, is the latest poster child for what some scientists see as a long-term trend toward larger, longer-lived wildfires in the American West.

And as researchers explore the causes, climate change appears to be an important contributor.

Nor is Arizona, which is battling three major blazes, alone in watching significant acreage go up in smoke this year. [...]

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

URGENT: Help Stop Julio's Deportation

By New York State Youth Leadership Council (NYSYLC)
June 20, 2011

Julio came to the United States in 2007, fleeing threats on his life from gang members. Julio is a bright, hard-working college student who has aspirations to contribute and serve his community as a radiologist. He wants to be a role model to younger kids. His life is in your hands.

Sign the Petition to stop Julio's Deportation

Julio, a Bronx Community College student, faces an imminent deportation order after being detained in Greyhound bus. He is set to be deported back to El Salvador, where he faces gang violence due to his sexual orientation.

Please take action and do what Congress have failed to do: protect the rights and life of undocumented youth.

1. Call DHS – Janet Napolitano (202-282-8495) and ICE – John Morton (202.732.3000)

Sample Script: "Hi, I was calling to ask that Julio Enrique Hernandez Moreno's deportation be deferred. If Julio is returned to El Salvador, he will face gang violence because of his sexual orientation. Julio wants to contribute to this country as a radiologist. Don't deport Julio."

2. Sign the petition and ask all of your friends to sign it!
Together we can stop Julio's deportation, please take 5 minutes and complete these 2 easy steps!

If you or anyone you know is at risk to be deported contact us at
Thank you for taking action,

The NYSYLC* YLC Scholarship DEADLINE EXTENDED to Monday, JUNE 27th* do not miss out the opportunity to APPLY and check it out now. NYSYLC Awards program open to everyone regardless of immigration status.

* The NY Dream Act is coming to State Island. Join us at the YLC SI Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, June 25th from 11:30am to 2pm at 2205 Richmond Road (Corner of Todt Hill Rd and Richmond Rd.) Staten Island, NY 10306. For more information email

220 5th Ave 26th Street 5th Floor * New York, NY 10001 * 212.419.8765 *

For more information:

Who Gets the Jobs When Immigrants Leave?

As Georgia passes harsh laws against one group of easily exploited workers--undocumented immigrants--it makes plans to use another group of easily exploited workers as a substitute--the vast reserve of convicts on probration who have trouble getting work because of their convictions. People charged with crimes in the United States are, not coincidentally, disproportionately people of color.--Blog Editor]

Georgia sends criminals to replace undocumented immigrants
By Reid J. Epstein, Politico
June 14, 2011

With Georgia’s restrictive immigration law set to kick in, Gov. Nathan Deal Tuesday is sending convicted criminals to fill farm jobs vacated by undocumented immigrants fleeing the state.

Deal, a first-term Republican, issued a statement on Tuesday morning calling on the state’s commissioners of labor, corrections and agriculture to work together to connect unemployed probationers with a state agriculture industry now desperate for workers.

“I believe this would be a great partial solution to our current status as we continue to move towards sustainable results with the legal options available,” Deal said in his statement. [...]

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Report: Newark airport screeners targeted Mexicans and Dominicans

By the CNN Wire Staff
June 15, 2011

(CNN) -- Security screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport singled out Mexican and Dominican passengers for nearly two years, according to a federal report obtained by The Star-Ledger newspaper.

The racial profiling was so prevalent in 2008 and 2009 that some TSA employees at the airport referred to their colleagues as "Mexican hunters," a Star-Ledger story based on the 2010 internal report said. [...]

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Tea Party: “The Problem Is These Hispanic Legislators”

By Sara Inés Calderón, News Taco
June 13, 2011

The following pretty much speaks for itself, so here’s a brief introduction. The Texas Democratic Party sent out a press release today including the remarks of a Texas Tea Party leader, Rebecca Forest, who’s also the founder of the Immigration Reform Coalition of Texas.

“If you want to know why we can’t pass legislation in Texas it’s because we have 37, no 36, Hispanics in the Legislature. All of the states that have passed legislation have a handful and I mean literally, some of them have no Hispanic legislators, well, maybe 3 or 5 or something. So that’s, umm, part of our problem and we need to change those numbers.

“Umm, we need to do something about that in fact, during the debate on ‘sanctuary cities,’ several Hispanic legislators testified that their grandparents and their parents were migrant workers who came over here to work and that they even worked in the fields. And some of them even admitted that they had been here illegally and that they came illegally. So the problem is these Hispanic legislators…is that it’s too close to them and they, umm… simply cannot vote their conscience correctly. So that’s about all I have to say to you, please come to the hearing, and help us spread this message. Thank you.”

So the problem is that Latinos have become elected officials? Wow, um, I guess that pretty much says it all, now doesn’t it? Here’s the video:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The 'Enemy' Within

... [W]hat last week’s arrests in Maricopa County should remind us is that the boundary between guard and policed, lawmaker and lawbreaker is often blurry at best, and that people’s allegiances are multifaceted, fluid, and often up for grabs.

By Joseph Nevins, Border Wars blog, NACLA
June 1, 2011

On May 24, authorities in Arizona arrested three Maricopa County sheriff's employees for alleged involvement in migrant and drug smuggling; reportedly, they were able to use intelligence from the Sheriff’s office to guide smugglers through the greater Phoenix area. The arrested included a deputy in the human-smuggling unit. [...]

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

New York Elected Officials and Advocates Lambast ICE’s Alleged Improvements to “Secure Communities” Deportation Program

Response to Alleged Improvements to S-Comm
June 17, 2011
by New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC

June 17, 2011

Michelle Fei,, 484.466.6334
Mizue Aizeki,, 914.471.2775

New York, NY (June 17, 2011) – A wide coalition of immigrant advocacy groups, joined by prominent elected officials, today reacted with discontent, anger, and frustration at Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s announcement about alleged improvements to the mass deportation program known as “Secure Communities.” Particularly as the Inspector General plans an investigation into the program, advocates protested against the surface-level modifications that ICE proposed and called for a national end to Secure Communities. [...]

Read the full press release:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Latino Voters Are Concerned About the Situation of the Undocumented

[Immigration opponents frequently say they are actually supporting the rights of the documented immigrants, the ones who have "waited their turn in line" to get papers and must feel cheated somehow by immigrants who live here without papers. A recent poll shows that in fact US Latino voters--many of them immigrants who have gone through the process of obtaining citizenship--overwhelmingly support some form of legalization for the undocumented and oppose harsh enforcement measures.--Blog editor.]

Inmigración es tema crucial para los votantes de Estados Unidos

By Pilar Marrero, La Opinión (Los Angeles) via Univision
June 6, 2011

Preocupa a los electores hispanos la situación de los 11 millones de indocumentados

La apremiante situación de los indocumentados que viven en Estados Unidos no es ajena a las vidas de los votantes latinos, ya que una mayoría (53%) declara conocer a alguien que no tiene papeles y una cuarta parte (25%) afirma conocer a un individuo o familia que se está enfrentando a un proceso de deportación o que ha sido deportada. [...]

Read the full article:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Immigration Program Is Rejected by Third State

By Julia Preston, New York Times
June 6, 2011

Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts has decided the state will not participate in a fingerprint-sharing program that is central to the Obama administration’s immigration enforcement strategy, dealing a new political blow to a program that has met rising resistance nationwide.

Massachusetts is the third state to pull out of the program, called Secure Communities, after Gov. Pat Quinn canceled it in Illinois in May and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo suspended New York’s participation last week. All three are Democrats from states with large immigrant populations, and they are close allies of President Obama, including on immigration issues. [...]

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Former Police Chief Is Sentenced for Cover-Up in Mexican’s Death

By Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times
June 1, 2011

A former Pennsylvania police chief who was convicted of impeding a federal investigation into the beating death of a Mexican immigrant was sentenced to 13 months in prison on Wednesday, a lower-than-expected term in a case that had become a cause célèbre for Hispanics.

Judge A. Richard Caputo of Federal District Court in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., said the sentencing guidelines were too harsh for Matthew Nestor, the former police chief in Shenandoah, Pa., according to Mr. Nestor’s lawyer, Joseph Nahas. A presentencing report by probation officials had recommended 57 to 71 months. [...]

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Arizona SB 1070's Lead Sponsor May Face Recall Vote

Russell Pearce Recall Scores 18,315 Signatures and Counting, Let the Battle Begin

By Stephen Lemons, Phoenix New Times blogs
May 31, 2011

Russell Pearce, have a heapin' helping of freshly baked humble pie.

Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group spearheading the effort to recall the powerful state Senate President, made history today, turning in 18,315 signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, more than double the 7,756 signatures required by law for a recall election.

SOS spokesman Matt Roberts confirmed the receipt of the signatures, and recall organizer Randy Parraz promised that the group will be turning in more by days end. [...]

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Arpaio deputy faces human smuggling charges

Other members of 'toughest' sheriff's staff arrested in drug smuggling case

By Bob Christie, Associated Press via MSNBC
May 25, 2011

PHOENIX — Three employees of America's self-proclaimed toughest sheriff have been arrested in a drug and human trafficking case, authorities said Tuesday.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said a deputy and two female detention officers at the sheriff's largest jail facility were among 12 people taken into custody and accused of being in a Phoenix-based international drug smuggling ring. [...]

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Illegal Workers: Court Upholds Faulting Hirers

By Adam Liptak, New York Times
May 26, 2011

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an Arizona law that imposes harsh penalties on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

The 5-to-3 decision appeared to endorse vigorous state efforts to punish employers who intentionally hire illegal workers. The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts on behalf of the court’s five more conservative members, said that Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia had recently enacted laws similar to the one at issue in the case. [...]

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Faith Leaders Applaud New York’s Suspension of Deportation Program

by New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC
June 1, 2011

New York, NY (June 1, 2011) – Faith leaders today voiced enthusiastic support for Governor Cuomo’s suspension of the mass deportation program known as “Secure Communities.”

“Our spiritual mission is to welcome the stranger among us, and to clothe and feed them. Exiling immigrants is against our principles,” said Reverend Susan Switzer, Co-Chair of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City. “For too long, we have seen our congregations disappear before our eyes because of these deportation programs. We are grateful Governor Cuomo has taken a courageous stance to pull New York out of Secure Communities.” [...]

Read the full press release:

Gov. Cuomo pulls New York out of federal Secure Communities immigration fingerprinting program
BY Kenneth Lovett and Larry Mcshane, New York Daily News
June 1, 2011

New York State is suspending its participation in the controversial Secure Communities program that shared the fingerprints of anyone arrested with immigration officials.

Gov. Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday, saying there's mounting evidence the program, rolled out just five months ago, isn't working. [...]

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Citizen children and life under the radar

In the U.S. are 4.5 million citizens whose parents are illegal immigrants. Often these fearful parents keep their children from programs and opportunities that would improve their development.

By Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Op Ed, Los Angeles Times
May 12, 2011

President Obama spoke Tuesday about the economic reasons for providing a pathway to citizenship for the nation's undocumented. This is clearly a polarizing issue, and there is much room for honest disagreement. But there's one fact we can't ignore: Undocumented immigrants in the U.S. include the parents of 4.5 million children who are legal citizens. What that means is that, on average, one or two children in every elementary school classroom in the country is coping with huge uncertainty about future family stability. [...]

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Hirokazu Yoshikawa is the incoming academic dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the author of Immigrants Raising Citizens: Undocumented Parents and Their Young Children, Russell Sage Foundation 2011.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Stop S-Comm, protect immigrant victims

Petition against the "Secure Communities" program from Jackie Mahendra and

When an L.A. woman named Isaura Garcia finally worked up the nerve to call 911 -- after two years of brutal beatings by her husband -- her fingerprints were sent to a federal database for immigration checks. Even though Isaura only called the police to protect herself, she was quickly targeted for deportation under a program known as “Secure Communities,” or S-Comm.

Isaura is just one of the tens of thousands of immigrants in the United States who reports crimes to the police. They are put at serious risk by S-Comm, the controversial deportation program that forces collaboration between local police and federal immigration agents.

This is one reason why Illinois has pulled out of the program -- and why communities in Maryland, New York, and California are challenging it. It's also a reason why Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California and Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey demanded a thorough investigation into the program. And why the federal government is finally preparing one.

Given all the controversy, it's unbelievable that this mass deportation program is still spreading across the country, with new programs taking root every month.

The National Day Laborer Organizing Network has already gathered 2,500 signatures on its petition demanding a moratorium on the so-called “Secure Communities” program, at least during this pending investigation. Will you add your name now?

Luckily for domestic violence survivor Isaura Garcia, a host of great organizations went public with her case, and she no longer faces deportation. Still, Isaura worries – and rightly so -- that many other women stuck in violent situations like hers will be forced simply to bear the abuse rather than run the risk of being banished from their families in the U.S.

Not only is this unjust, but it makes entire communities less safe when residents are afraid to turn in criminals and work with the police to solve violent crimes.

Stand with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and sign the petition on calling for an immediate moratorium on the dangerous S-Comm program:

Thanks for taking action,
Jackie and the Team

Latino Social Security Crisis

[Note: Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Social Security, although the majority of them work on the books and contribute to the system. Even if they subsequently gain legal status, the time they worked as undocumented workers doesn't count for their Social Security benefits.--Blog editor]

Minority News
May 12, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Social Security is a critical income source for elderly and disabled Latinos because of their socioeconomic condition, higher rates of disability and longer life expectancy, according to a report published by the University of Southern California (USC) Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging.

“Social Security is currently the only robust, reliable source of retirement income for low-income workers, underscoring the importance of ensuring the program’s viability for current, future and retired Latino workers,” said USC Roybal Institute Executive Director William A. Vega, who co-authored the primer, commissioned by AARP, with Pre-Doctoral Fellow Zachary D. Gassoumis. [...]

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Read the report: