Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant

[This article has circulated widely among immigrant rights supporters. It makes some good points, but readers should keep the author's orientation in mind and think about why he's now interested in immigration. Davidson is a professional apologist for neoliberal economic policies, sweatshops, charter cities, etc. One of the people he cites, Giovanni Peri, is an advocate of guest worker programs, which he wants implemented without "the government micromanag[ing] permits, rules and limits." See the articles linked to after Davidson's piece.--TPOI]

By Adam Davidson, New York Times
March 24, 2015

When I was growing up in the 1980s, I watched my grandfather — my dad’s stepdad — struggle with his own prejudice. He was a blue-collar World War II veteran who loved his family above all things and was constantly afraid for them. He carried a gun and, like many men of his generation, saw threats in people he didn’t understand: African-Americans, independent women, gays. By the time he died, 10 years ago, he had softened. He stopped using racist and homophobic slurs; he even hugged my gay cousin. But there was one view he wasn’t going to change. He had no time for Hispanics, he told us, and he wasn’t backing down. After all, this wasn’t a matter of bigotry. It was plain economics. These immigrants were stealing jobs from “Americans.”

I’ve been thinking about my grandfather lately, because there are signs that 2015 could bring about the beginning of a truce — or at least a reconfiguration — in the politics of immigration. Several of the potential Republican presidential candidates, most notably Jeb Bush, have expressed pro-immigration views. Even self-identified Tea Party Republicans respond three to two in favor of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Every other group — Republicans in general, independents and especially Democrats — is largely pro-immigrant. According to Pew, roughly as many people (18 percent of Americans) believed in 2010 that President Obama was a Muslim as believe today that undocumented immigrants should be expelled from the United States. Of course, that 18 percent can make a lot of noise. But for everyone else, immigration seems to be going the way of same-sex marriage, marijuana and the mohawk — it’s something that a handful of people freak out about but that the rest of us have long since come to accept.[...]

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For information on Davidson:

For Peri on guest workers:

Monday, March 30, 2015

What is this political space we call 'immigration'?

Four frames white people in the UK use to understand immigration.

By Steve Garner, Open Democracy
March 23, 2015

Immigration is a flypaper issue: all kinds of anxieties about a variety of problems get stuck to it. The people I have been listening to in interview-based research projects over the past decade[1] use it as a device through which to express losing their place in the world, being abandoned by government to their struggles over dwindling, stigmatised social housing, employment, and the ways they now perceive themselves to be at a disadvantage relative to migrants and other ethnic minorities.[...]

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Operation Streamline Protesters Go on Trial in April

[Twelve activists are to go on trial on April 13 in Arizona for an October 2013 protest in which they blocked a bus transporting immigrants to the "assembly line justice" of the government's Operation Streamline. The activists now face two misdemeanor charges; other charges were dropped in a hearing on March 16 (although the protesters were not "acquitted" of the charges, as the Tucson Weekly reported).--TPOI]

Activists put on trial for defending immigrants
By Gabriel M. Schivone, Arizona Daily Star
March 15, 2015

In a few seconds, it was all over. On that October 2013 morning, a group of us — students and young professionals, seasoned retirees and a mother, ranging in age from 20 to 68 — had scurried up to two halted prison buses filled with shackled migrants off the I-10 frontage road near downtown Tucson.

We locked our arms around the buses’ front tires. After several hours of delay, the transport vehicles would not make it to their fateful destination that day a few blocks away at the U.S. District Court of Arizona.

Today, the Pima County attorney will open its criminal prosecution against us, providing a new opportunity to impugn the ugly aspects of U.S. immigration and border enforcement policies.[...]

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Operation Streamline Immigration Activists Acquitted of All But Two Charges
María Inés Taracena, Tucson Weekly
March 17, 2015

The immigration rights activists who blocked two buses carrying roughly 70 undocumented men and women to Operation Streamline proceedings two years ago have been acquitted of all but two charges.

It was relieving to hear the good news, but the 12 defendants in court— Gabriel Schivone, Maryada Vallet, Alexandra Nicole Sabo, Angelica Moreno Loreto, Charles Kaufman, Michelle Jahnke, Steve Johnston, Julia Mihich Harden, Sarah Launius, Ethan Beasley, Paula McPheeters and Devora Gonzalez—still wanted to gear the focus back onto the Streamline proceedings and the reasons they feel it's necessary to have actions like the one that occurred Oct. 11, 2013.

"The feeling that I can't escape from is outrage, because Streamline is still going on, it went on today and it's gonna go on tomorrow and the next day and the next month," Schivone said after leaving court. "By putting our bodies, our minds together to figure out how we can stop Streamline and...resist, until the United States obeys international law, until the United States can stop treating people this way."[...]

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Giving a Voice to Immigrant Workers in New York

Ms. Toribio has helped win contracts for eight of what are now the 10 unionized carwashes in the city, achieving higher wages, back pay and better conditions for workers.

By Liz Robbins, New York Times
March 15, 2015

It was 8 p.m. last Wednesday inside a Manhattan office building, and Modesta Toribio would not let the men in the room rest. She was directing a presentation about immigration reform for a dozen carwasheros, workers from Latin America who toil in the city’s carwash industry.

As the free pizza settled in their stomachs and their eyes began to glaze over while she detailed the federal government’s reform plans, Ms. Toribio ordered the men, sweetly, to stand in a circle. “Move, if you believe in change!” she commanded.

And then: “Better to die standing than to live on your knees!” She was borrowing the slogan often attributed to Emiliano Zapata, even if her exhortations were more practical than political; she did not want the men to fall asleep.[...]

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?

By Mawuna Remarque Koutonin, The Guardian
March 13, 2015

In the lexicon of human migration there are still hierarchical words, created with the purpose of putting white people above everyone else. One of those remnants is the word “expat”.

What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’)”.

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.[...]

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Annual Compilation of US Immigration Statistics From MPI

March 10, 2015
Contact: Michelle Mittelstadt

Some of the Most Sought-After Current and Historical U.S. Immigration Statistics Published in Useful Compilation by MPI's Online Journal

WASHINGTON — The Migration Policy Institute’s (MPI) online journal, the Migration Information Source, has published its annual compilation of some of the most frequently sought-after current and historical U.S. immigration statistics.

A comprehensive and easy-to-use resource, Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States, compiles data from MPI; the U.S. Census Bureau (American Community Survey, Current Population Survey, and decennial census); the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and State; Mexico's National Population Council and National Institute of Statistics and Geography; and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The article answers questions such as: How many people gained green cards last year? How many unauthorized immigrants are in the United States? How many children live with immigrant parents? What jobs do immigrants hold? How many unauthorized migrants have been deported? How do today's top source countries compare to those 50 years ago?

Among other interesting facts, the article reports that:

• Between 2012 and 2013, the immigrant population in the United States increased by about 523,000, or 1.3 percent, to a historic high of 41.3 million. Immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 80 million persons, or one-quarter of the total U.S. population.
• In 2013, Mexican immigrants accounted for approximately 28 percent of all immigrants in the United States, making them by far the largest foreign-born group in the country.
• Between 1970 and 2013, the percentage of foreign-born workers in the U.S. civilian labor force more than tripled, from 5 percent to 17 percent.
• In 2013, 69,909 refugees were admitted to the United States, a roughly 20 percent increase from 2012.
• In 2013, 55 percent of all newly naturalized citizens lived in one of just four states: California (21 percent), New York (14 percent), Florida (13 percent), and Texas (7 percent).
• The highest shares of the 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants in 2013 resided in California (28 percent), Texas (13 percent), New York (8 percent), and Florida (6 percent).
• The total number of deportations in 2013 was 616,792, including returns and removals, a 5 percent drop from 2012 (648,783).

The article is available from the Migration Information Source, which provides fresh thought on U.S. and international migration trends as well as authoritative data from numerous global organizations and governments. To sign up for the free, bimonthly Source e-newsletter, which includes a monthly feature on U.S. immigration policy developments at the national and state levels, Spotlights providing demographic data on major immigrant populations in the United States, and other features on international and U.S. migration developments, click here.

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, D.C. dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at the local, national and international levels. For more on MPI's work, visit www.migrationpolicy.org.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Death on Sevenmile Road

The rush to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border has tragic consequences in Texas.

By Melissa del Bosque, Texas Observer
March 2, 2015

The pickup truck accelerated. Jose Isabel Coj Cumar could see the glow of the sun through the thin black fabric that concealed him and the five other men in the bed of the truck. They lay staggered side by side, packed so tight Jose Isabel could scarcely move. The truck swerved then drove faster, and now he heard the wail of a siren and understood they were being pursued. His heart began to race. Then a sound like rocks pelting the side of the truck, and a scream so terrible he felt a chill in the sweltering heat.

It was his brother, Jose Leonardo. “My foot, my stomach,” he moaned. Jose Isabel and the others pulled the fabric tighter to prevent the wind from ripping it from their hands. They held onto it as if their lives depended on it, as the smugglers had warned them to do after they crossed the Rio Grande into Texas. But now something had gone horribly wrong.

The truck swerved again but didn’t slow. There was no way to communicate with the driver. The smugglers had been in such a rush that Jose Isabel hadn’t even seen the driver’s face. It had been nearly a month since they’d left the Guatemalan highlands in early October. In Mexico, the nine men had ridden on top of the freight train La Bestia and had their backpacks stolen near the Rio Grande. When they’d arrived in Texas with nothing but empty wallets, they’d felt lucky to have made it. Just this final drive to a safe house, they thought, and then they’d be on a bus to New Jersey, where they had construction jobs waiting for them.

Now all Jose Isabel wanted was for the driver to stop. Something had happened to his brother. He could barely hear Jose Leonardo over the deafening noise of the speeding tires on the dirt road, and now a strange sound engulfed them. A helicopter blotted out the sun. Through the fabric he saw, above him, the outline of a soldier and the thick barrel of a gun.[...]

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Indian Guest Workers Win in Trafficking Suit

VICTORY! U.S. Jury Awards $14 Million to Indian Guest Workers in Historic Labor Trafficking Case
By American Civil Liberties Union
February 18, 2015

Five victims of a massive human trafficking scheme were awarded $14 million by a federal jury in New Orleans today, the largest amount ever awarded by a jury in a labor trafficking case.

The historic decision comes in a lawsuit against Signal International, LLC, a shipbuilding company that, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, lured more than 500 Indian guest workers to the United States with false promises of green cards. After paying exorbitant fees to a network of brokers, the workers were forced to work in horrifying conditions under threat of deportation.[...]

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Indian Workers Win $14 Million In U.S. Labour Trafficking Case
By Reuters, via Huffington Post India
February 18, 2015

A New Orleans jury on Wednesday awarded $14 million to five Indian men who were lured to the United States and forced to work under inhumane conditions after Hurricane Katrina by a U.S. ship repair firm and its codefendants.

After a four-week trial, the U.S. District Court jury ruled that Alabama-based Signal International was guilty of labour trafficking, fraud, racketeering and discrimination and ordered it to pay $12 million. Its co-defendants, a New Orleans lawyer and an India-based recruiter, were also found guilty and ordered to pay an additional $915,000 each.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

South's unique immigration trends shape region's response to deportation relief

"[T]he states opposing Obama [on executive action] also tend to be those more sheltered from the broader wave of immigration that has washed over America since the 1960s."

By Allie Yee,
The Institute for Southern Studies
February 6, 2015

Debate over President Obama's executive action on immigration, which could bring up to 5.2 million immigrants out of the shadows, raged on this week in the courts and the halls of Congress.

With Department of Homeland Security funding on the line, Senate leaders have been grappling over a funding bill that would gut the president's deferred action programs for unauthorized immigrants. Meanwhile, a group of 33 mayors filed an amicus brief on Jan. 26 supporting the president's action as part of a federal lawsuit brought by a 26-state coalition trying to block the policy.[...]

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

When Americans Lynched Mexicans

By William D. Carrigan and Clive Webb, New York Times
February 20, 2015

THE recent release of a landmark report on the history of lynching in the United States is a welcome contribution to the struggle over American collective memory. Few groups have suffered more systematic mistreatment, abuse and murder than African-Americans, the focus of the report.

One dimension of mob violence that is often overlooked, however, is that lynchers targeted many other racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, including Native Americans, Italians, Chinese and, especially, Mexicans.

Americans are largely unaware that Mexicans were frequently the targets of lynch mobs, from the mid-19th century until well into the 20th century, second only to African-Americans in the scale and scope of the crimes.[...]

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