Saturday, April 26, 2014

Who's the Real Deporter-In-Chief: Bush or Obama?

By Nora Caplan-Bricker, The New Republic
April 17, 2014

If you don’t follow the immigration debate closely, you may be a bit confused. The left is increasingly angry with President Obama, calling him the “deporter-in-chief.” That’s because the total number of deportations during Obama’s tenure recently passed 2 million. As Dara Lind wrote last week at Vox, that pace puts him on track to “have deported more people by the end of 2014 than George W. Bush did in his entire eight years.” Immigration groups like America’s Voice and publications like Mother Jones have made the same point.

The right is mad at Obama, too—but for the opposite reason. They say he’s deporting far fewer people than Bush, and has failed to adequately enforce the country’s immigration laws. Responding to Lind’s piece, and more generally to the arguments of the left, Sean Davis of The Federalist accused her of “deport[ing] the truth on immigration stats,” protesting: “Obama is most definitely not the leading deporter of all time. In fact, total deportations in 2012 were the lowest they’d been since 1973.” You can hear similar arguments from right-leaning places like The National Review and think tank the Center for Immigration Studies.

How is it possible that the two sides could look at the same data and see such different things? The key is how you define the term “deport”—and what you think about a broad change in policy that started during the Bush administration and has continued under Obama.[...]

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thinking Big: The Global Minimum Wage

If the apparel industry can globalize production, the producers need to be able to globalize the minimum wage.

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
April 24, 2014

After years of neglect, the minimum wage has suddenly become a major national issue. President Obama has proposed an increase in the federal minimum to $10.10 an hour, fast food workers are agitating for $15, and candidates who back a higher wage floor, including an avowed socialist in Seattle, are winning local elections. In February, the retailer Gap Inc. announced that it was implementing a nationwide minimum wage for 65,000 of its own 90,000 employees (although only $9 an hour).

The minimum wage is an important issue in other countries as well, although we rarely hear about these cases. [...]

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Monday, April 21, 2014

A Little Girl Named Nohemi: Martyr of Migration

By Frontera NorteSur
April 7, 2014

On February 4, the grandparents of Jocelyn Nohemi Alvarez Quillay reluctantly saw the girl off from the family home in the province of Canar, Ecuador. Nohemi was embarking on a journey of thousands of miles to reunite with her parents, Jose Segundo Alvarez and Martha Violeta Quillay, who were reportedly living and working in New York City without papers.

By early March, Nohemi was sitting on the border of New Mexico within a stone’s throw of the United States. Only a few days later, on March 11, she was found hanging in a bathroom of a Ciudad Juarez children’s shelter.

Nohemi was 12 years old.

The still-unexplained death of an Ecuadoran child who was traveling across continents without the supervision of adult relatives has stirred public opinion while recasting scrutiny on a state justice system officials say has been reformed. [...]

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Taking On the Fashion Industry

by David L. Wilson, MRZine
April 19, 2014

Tansy E. Hoskins. Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion. Pluto Press, 2014. 254 pages.

To say that Tansy E. Hoskins' Stitched Up deconstructs the garment industry would be a misrepresentation. What the British activist and journalist does is more like a controlled demolition, using facts and footnotes to strip away the apparel trade's decorative exterior and then to dynamite the foundations.

Hoskins' polemic begins with the title. In British usage "to stitch up" is "to swindle, to overcharge exorbitantly," according to the Oxford English Dictionary, and Hoskins' goal is to show the many ways that fashion swindles us all. Through its own media outlets and its billions of dollars in advertising, the industry creates a glittery illusion of beauty and sophistication. The reality is a $1.5 trillion industry as grimy and profit-driven as any, and the glossy pages of Vogue conceal a record of human and environmental damage we might expect from coal mining or oil drilling. [...]

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Washington detainees on hunger strike released from confinement after lawsuit

ACLU asks judge for injunction to halt US immigration agency's practice of placing detainees in solitary confinement

The Guardian (UK), from Associated Press
April 4, 2014

Lawyers who sued the federal government on behalf of about 20 immigrant hunger strikers at a Washington state detention facility say their clients have been released from solitary confinement.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Washington and Columbia Legal Services sued on behalf of the men, and said they were returned to the general population by Friday morning after six days in solitary confinement.

In the lawsuit filed this week, the lawyers said US immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) were unlawfully retaliating against the men for exercising their right to free speech.

The agency denied that and said the men had been intimidating others to join their hunger strike.

The hunger strikers were protesting US immigration law as well as the conditions at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. [...]

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