Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Denied Visa, Woman in DR Struggles to Visit Injured Husband

By José Acosta, El Diario-La Prensa
July 25, 2013

Translated by Emily Leavitt for Voices of New York

Luis Alberto Rodríguez, a 34-year-old Dominican immigrant, is clinging to life at a Brooklyn hospital after having fallen victim to an armed robbery.

His wife, Marilia Bautista, is moving heaven and earth trying to obtain humanitarian parole which would allow her to come from the Dominican Republic to care for Rodríguez in this grave situation. The couple has been married for three years. [...]

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Hot and Crusty film featured in the New York Times

By Laura Gottesdiener, Waging Nonviolence
July 16, 2013

As the debate over immigration reform continues in Washington, the victory of one group of mostly unauthorized workers is now in the national spotlight — demonstrating a direct-action path that unauthorized workers across the country could adopt to win rights both at work and in broader society.

Robin Blotnick and Rachel Lears’ film “The Hand that Feeds” — featured today in the New York Times Op-Docs series — chronicles the year-long struggle of Mahoma López and his co-workers at Hot and Crusty, a bakery on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. [...]

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Creating a Military-Industrial-Immigration Complex

By Todd Miller, Border Wars, NACLA
July 16, 2013

This article first appeared on TomDispatch.com on July 11, 2013.

The first thing I did at the Border Security Expo in Phoenix this March was climb the brown “explosion-resistant” tower, 30 feet high and 10 feet wide, directly in the center of the spacious room that holds this annual trade show. From a platform where, assumedly, a border guard would stand, you could take in the constellation of small booths offering the surveillance industry’s finest products, including a staggering multitude of ways to monitor, chase, capture, or even kill people, thanks to modernistic arrays of cameras and sensors, up-armored jeeps, the latest in guns, and even surveillance balloons.

Although at the time, headlines in the Southwest emphasized potential cuts to future border-security budgets thanks to Congress’s “sequester,” the vast Phoenix Convention Center hall—where the defense and security industries strut their stuff for law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—told quite a different story. Clearly, the expanding global industry of border security wasn’t about to go anywhere. [...]

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

'DREAM 9' supporters call for humanitarian parole (with video)

Steve Palm-Houser, Examiner
July 27, 2013

As nine deported immigration reform activists remain in custody at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona this week, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) has been organizing vigils around the country to call for humanitarian parole for the detainees — known as the "DREAM 9" in social media — which would give them temporary legal residence status.

The DREAM 9 were taken into custody on Monday when they attempted to re-enter the United States at the Nogales, Arizona port of entry. Three of the detainees — Lizbeth Mateo, Marco Saavedra and Lulu Martinez — self-deported last week and re-entered the U.S. with the other six in order to test the Obama administration's policy on deported immigrants. [...]

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Immigration Bill’s Supporters Call on Business Groups to Pressure G.O.P.

“The business community is solidly behind this — small business, large business, the chamber, the Business Roundtable, you name it, they’re all solidly in.” --Senator John McCain

By Jonatha Weisman and Ashley Parker, New York Times
July 19, 2013

WASHINGTON — With political momentum behind an immigration overhaul flagging, advocates are counting on business groups to turn up the pressure on skeptical House Republicans who are much less susceptible to that lobby than they have been in the past.
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The changed dynamic illustrates the difficulty of guiding immigration legislation through the House as well as the challenge for business interests to reassert their influence before a more ideological brand of Congressional Republican.[...]

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Outrage Follows Migrant Deaths in Arizona

by Frontera NorteSur
July 15, 2013

The deaths of three young men in the Arizona desert last month have prompted Mexican non-governmental organizations to renew demands for actions and changes from the Mexican and U.S. governments. In a statement signed by scores of human rights, migrant, labor, civic, and faith-based organizations, the groups demanded meaningful policy shifts at a time when current U.S. legislative proposals for tighter security amount to a “virtual state of war on the border.”

The call followed the June deaths of the Plutarco de Jesus brothers in Maricopa County, Arizona. According to the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Mountain, a longtime advocacy organization based in Tlapa, Guerrero, 24-year-old Inocencio Plutarco de Jesus was working as a farm laborer in Sonora when he invited his younger brothers, 18-year-old Macario and 15-year-old Humberto, to accompany him to the U.S. The brothers were from Cuanacaxtitlan, Guerrero, a small indigenous community in the Costa Chica region of the southern state.[...]

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Immigration reform threatened in the House

By Emile Scheper, People's World
July 10, 2013

This week, immigration reform advocates face some of their biggest hurdles ever as the 435 members of the House of Representatives become the focus of the legislative action on immigration reform.

The right wing, in the wake of Senate passage of a bi-partisan bill, is pushing to kill immigration reform in the House - not by voting down the Senate bill but by ignoring that bill and instead introducing a variety of piecemeal measures. These measures are primarily designed to turn the clock back on reform with harsh border-control schemes and to avoid creation of a path to citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented now in the country. [...]

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Los Infiltradores

How three young undocumented activists risked everything to expose the injustices of immigrant detention—and invented a new form of protest.

By Michael May, The American Prospect
June 21, 2013

When Marco Saavedra was arrested for the first time, during a September 2011 protest against U.S. immigration policy in Charlotte, North Carolina, he thought he was prepared. It was what he’d come to do. Still, he was taking a risk. Saavedra is undocumented, and he was aware that the Charlotte police had an agreement with the federal government, under what’s known as the 287(g) program, that gave them the power to apprehend illegal immigrants and turn them over for deportation. Saavedra, who was then 21, had known dozens of undocumented activists who’d been arrested without being deported. But as he was sitting, handcuffed, in a gray-brick holding cell at the county jail, it was hard to suppress the fear. He’d felt it most of his life, since his parents brought him from rural Mexico to New York City when he was three; growing up, he’d done all he could to make sure that even his closest friends didn’t know his status.

“The euphoria of the protest, the chanting in the street, was gone,” he says. “It was lonely and desolate. They took us out one by one to process us. And one of the others came back with paperwork indicating they planned to send him to an immigration detention center in Georgia. I panicked for a moment.” [...]

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Names emerge from shadows of 1948 crash

Jaime Ramirez's grandfather and uncle were aboard the DC-3 that crashed near Coalinga in 1948.
28 Mexican citizens being flown to their homeland perished in a fireball over Central California. Woody Guthrie's poetry protested their anonymity. Who were they?

By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
July 9, 2013

Jaime Ramirez stood in front of an oak tree, jagged and black from a plane crashing into it all those years ago. He removed his white cowboy hat, closed his eyes and whispered, "Abuelo, Tio, estoy aqui." ("Grandfather, Uncle, I am here.")

Nearby, Tim Z. Hernandez, who had feared this moment might never happen, leaned down and sprinkled tobacco and sage. When the writer first came to this hushed place, looking into a 65-year-old mystery, he had felt he was intruding. Each time he returned, he always left a small offering. He could hear the Woody Guthrie song "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos" playing in his head:

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,

A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,

Who are all those friends, all scattered like dry leaves? [...]

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Dignity Campaign Opposes S. 744

From the Dignity Campaign
July 11, 2013

Dignity is Not for Sale; No Compromises on Human Rights

The many grassroots organizations across the U.S. who stand behind the Dignity Campaign (www.dignitycampaign.org) have worked tirelessly for immigration reform based on human, civil and worker's rights of immigrants, especially those who are undocumented. Senate Bill 744 is not the immigration reform we seek. S. 744 is a corporate boondoggle that will be a civil rights disaster for immigrant communities.

This bill holds the limited legalization program hostage to the further advancement of the security state, by doubling the number of Border Patrol agents, and spending an incredible $50 billion to build a double wall on the US/Mexico border, and deploy more drones and other tools of electronic warfare in border communities. S.744's beneficiaries are a very narrow class of elite contractors in the "security" and surveillance industries (like Bechtel), privatized prison corporations (like Geo Corporation), and corporate-scale agriculture, and technology giants striving to keep wages as low as possible through the expansion of guest worker programs. S. 744 accomplishes this by moving away from family-based immigration to an employment-based system.[...]

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Immigration Reform: The View From Below

By David L. Wilson, Upside Down World
July 8, 2013

Washington’s latest effort at comprehensive immigration reform, S.744, sailed through the Senate on June 27 by a vote of 68 to 32. The “historic session” followed weeks of heavy media coverage. We learned about the maneuvers of the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of Eight; about the counter-moves of the Tea Party faction; about the various deals cooked up by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the defense contractors, and the magnates of Silicon Valley. We learned about what all the major players thought about border security, the path to citizenship, the need for immigrants “to wait their turn in line,” and the importance of “fixing a broken system.” And now the media coverage is moving on to the legislative deal making in the House of Representatives.

As usual, the one thing the media aren’t covering is what the immigrants themselves think about immigration reform.

This was a central issue at a meeting that some 40 to 45 activists--some of them visiting New York from Mexico and Central America--held in the basement of a mid-Manhattan church on the evening of May 23.[...]

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Best Part of DOMA's Repeal: Its Impact on Immigration Reform

By Charlene Obernauer, Huffington Post
June 29, 2013

The day that the Defense of Marriage Act was repealed will be a moment that many of us in the GLBT community will remember for the rest of our lives. I'll remember where I was when I heard the news, driving in my car to work, listening while a local radio station took comments from listeners about DOMA's repeal. I didn't call in; I just continued to drive, smiling, with tears slowly streaming down my face. While I'll certainly benefit from this change in policy, for bi-national GLBT couples, DOMA's repeal not only legalizes their relationships, but also makes them able to legally live in the same country together. Even immigration reform would not have had this impact on GLBT immigrants.

Early on in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform, the GLBT community -- particularly the 40,000 same sex bi-national couples living in the U.S. -- were told not to expect much from the bill. Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican Senator from Florida known for his strong support for immigration reform, said that he would walk away from his signature issue if GLBT couples were included. For the GOP in the Senate, GLBT rights were a non-starter. And they won: in the final bill that passed the U.S. Senate on June 27th, GLBT bi-national couples were deliberately excluded.

However, a day before the immigration reform vote, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. [...]

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