Monday, September 28, 2015

It's Time for Bernie Sanders to Step Up on Immigration

If immigration is a problem, it's because US policies have made it one. For someone like Bernie Sanders, there should be no difficulty finding a solution.

By Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson, Truthout
September 28, 2015

As the presidential primary races heat up, Donald Trump has gotten a lot of attention for spouting racist diatribes against Mexicans and proposing to deport all undocumented immigrants.

On the other end of the spectrum, Democratic contender Bernie Sanders has a record of supporting rational immigration policies. He backs legalization for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living here now. He supports efforts to make sure immigrant workers have the right to organize and to earn a decent wage. He opposes guest-worker programs, which bring foreigners here to work for low pay with limited labor rights and then boot them out of the country when the job's done - or whenever they try to organize or speak out about abuses.

Yet in an interview with the news website Vox, Sanders dismissed "open borders" as "a Koch brothers proposal," referring to the notoriously right-wing billionaires Charles and David Koch.[...]

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Kindness of Strangers: The Refugees in Budapest, and my Father's World War II Refugee Story

The refugee influx struck a strong emotional chord with me, as a Hungarian-American visiting my parents' homeland. I had arrived in Hungary on August 25 with my wife Debi, to visit my late Catholic mother's relatives, and retrace the stories of my Jewish father who had survived the genocide of World War II.

Zoltán Grossman, Portside
September 20, 2015

Hungary is becoming the Arizona of Europe. It is the main country where war refugees and other immigrants first set foot in the North -- in this case the contiguous states of the European Union. Just like in the American Southwest, immigrants are dying in sweltering trucks, officials are erecting border walls and detention camps, and far-right hate groups are targeting the immigrants as a threat to national identity.

Yet also like in the Southwest, many individual Hungarian citizens have stepped forward, providing water, food, medical aid, and encouragement to the Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, and other refugees who are fleeing repression and war. Despite their right-wing government's opposition to immigration (at least by brown, Muslim immigrants), some Hungarians understand that any refugees who are returned home face violence or even death. A few even compare the Syrians to the refugees who fled across the Austrian border after their own failed 1956 revolution.[...]

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Civil Rights Commission: Detention centers violate immigrants' constitutional rights

The Commission's report adds to calls for the Department of Homeland Security to release detained children and mothers.

By Molly Jackson, Christian Science Monitor
September 20, 2015

The US Commission on Civil Rights released a report Thursday strongly criticizing the Obama administration’s immigration detention centers, which, for the past two years, have housed record-setting numbers of families and unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America.

The commission, an independent government body created in 1957 and tasked with ensuring that the federal government fairly enforces civil rights laws, calls on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release all detained families, reduce its reliance on long-term detention, and improve detainees’ legal access and protection from abuse.

The report follows months of confusion about how to efficiently yet humanely process asylum claims from tens of thousands who have entered illegally along the US-Mexican border in a sudden uptick that many blame on drug-related violence.[...]

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Poll: 62% say birthright should be continued in the United States

Issues 2016: Immigration Reform and Race Relations

By Marist Poll
September 14, 2015

Immigration reform and race relations continue to be hot-button issues in the headlines and for the 2016 presidential campaign. When it comes to U.S. immigration policy, many Americans, including more than eight in ten Latinos, think that birthright should remain in place so that children born in this country receive U.S. citizenship, regardless of whether or not their parents are undocumented immigrants. Americans divide about whether or not the term “anchor baby” is offensive. And, a plurality of residents say undocumented immigrants should be deported which would eliminate the need for so-called “sanctuary cities.” Not surprisingly, a majority of Latinos consider the description “anchor baby” to be insulting, and about two-thirds support maintaining “sanctuary cities.”

On the issue of police-community relations, nearly two-thirds of Americans say minorities are treated the same as anyone else. However, one in four U.S. residents, including 31% of Latinos, believe authorities treat minorities more harshly.

What do Americans and Latinos think of the Black Lives Matter movement? When compared with another movement in the United States, the Tea Party, more Americans view “Black Lives Matter” positively. 37% of Americans have a positive impression of “Black Lives Matter” compared with one in four Americans who says the Tea Party conjures up positive feelings for them. [...]

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Huge Majority of Latinos Concerned About the Air Pollution, Environmental Issues - Poll

By Roberto Ontiveros, Latin Post
August 30, 2015

According to a new poll conducted by Latino Decisions, a majority of Latinos think that going green is a good idea.

The poll, which gathered responses from 1,200 registered Latino voters, states that 85% of those surveyed saw that reducing smog and air pollution was an “extremely” or “very important” thing to do and that 78% supported state mandated clean energy standards in order to prevent global warming and climate change.

A press release from the Environmental Defense Fund suggests that this information should come as no surprise as “Latinos have rich ties to the outdoors, but are too often the first and worst impacted by pollution.”

Gary Segura, a co-founder of Latino Decisions, describes the reasons behind the results to NPR, saying, "A lot of Latino households in the United States are in locations that are adversely affected by particulate pollution, by poor water quality."[...]

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hillary Clinton Defends Call To Deport Child Migrants

But legal groups say virtually all unaccompanied minors from Central America qualify for humanitarian relief.

By Roque Planas, The Huffington Post
August 19, 2015

Hillary Clinton this week defended her call to deport children from the U.S. who are fleeing violence in Central America.

Speaking at a press conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, the former secretary of state and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination said that deporting the children, many of whom are seeking asylum, would send a “responsible message” that would deter Central American families from sending their children to the United States.

“Specifically with respect to children on the border, if you remember, we had an emergency, and it was very important to send a message to families in Central America: Do not let your children take this very dangerous journey,” Clinton said.[...]

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Life as Donald Trump’s guestworker

By Saket Soni, The Hill
August 8, 2015

What’s it like being a guestworker for Donald Trump?

I don’t know firsthand. But as director of the National Guestworker Alliance, I’ve met and organized thousands of guestworkers in the same federal visa programs Trump used to apply for over 1,000 foreign workers for his companies since 2000. So I’ve got some pretty good guesses.

If Trump’s guestworkers are like the overwhelming majority of workers in the H-2A, H-2B, and H-1B programs, they were lured by recruiters in their home countries who promised them steady work, good pay, and the chance to provide for their families.

Maybe they’d heard stories from friends and relatives who’d gone to the U.S. as guestworkers with high hopes, only to face brutal conditions, stolen wages, threats of physical violence by bosses, sexual harassment and even assault.

But they must have decided it was worth the risk—likely because the prospects at home were even grimmer. Many guestworkers, especially in the H-2A and H-2B programs, come from areas wracked by economic desperation and violence, such as Mexico’s Sinaloa region, home to the drug cartel that U.S. authorities call the most dangerous in the world.[...]

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Monday, September 21, 2015

US failing kids fleeing Central America

By Philippa Garson, IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks)
July 17, 2015

NEW YORK, 17 July 2015 (IRIN) - Fleeing gang violence in his hometown near San Pedro Sulas in Honduras, 14-year-old Gredys Alexander Hernández tried to reach safety in the United States, only to be intercepted in Mexico and sent back. Two days later, just as he was about to re-attempt the journey, masked gangsters burst into his house and shot him dead.

Honduran police say Hernández was murdered because he had witnessed gangsters killing his sister’s boyfriend. The authorities in Honduras say he failed to tell staff at the migrant processing centre there that his life would be in danger if he was sent home.

Hernández’s story illustrates how mechanisms put in place to stop an unprecedented influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America to the southern US border – which peaked last summer – are failing scores of children fleeing violence in their native countries.[...]

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Media Run With Discredited Nativist Group's Research To Claim More Than Half Of Immigrant Households Receive "Welfare"

More Questionable Research From the SPLC-Labeled Nativist Group, the Center tor Immigration Studies

Craig Harrington and Cristina Lopez, Media Matters
September 3, 2015

Numerous conservative media outlets are parroting the misleading conclusions of a September 2015 report by an anti-immigrant nativist group, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which claims that "immigrant households use welfare at significantly higher rates than native households." Like previous flawed CIS studies, these findings have been called into question by immigration experts for failing to account for the economic hardship of some immigrant families, lumping American-born beneficiaries into "immigrant household" categorizations, and conflating numerous anti-poverty programs with so-called "welfare."[...]

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Report: The Educational, Psychological, and Social Impact of Discrimination on the Immigrant Child

By Christia Spears Brown, Migration Policy Institute
September 2015

The past 15 years have seen a surge in research examining how and when the children of immigrants experience discrimination, and what the psychological and educational consequences are. Discrimination—simply defined as harmful actions toward others because of their ethnicity, nationality, language ability and accent, or immigration status—may take place at an institutional or individual level, and can have considerable consequences for the developmental outcomes of young children.

Experiencing discrimination can provoke stress responses similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Children who experience discrimination from their teachers are more likely to have negative attitudes about school and lower academic motivation and performance, and are at increased risk of dropping out of high school. In fact, experiences of teacher discrimination shape children’s attitudes about their academic abilities above and beyond their past academic performance. Even when controlling for their actual performance, children who experience discrimination from teachers feel worse about their academic abilities and are less likely to feel they belong at school, when compared against students who do not experience discrimination.

This report focuses on incidents of direct discrimination, as perceived and noticed by the child—incidents with identifiable educational, psychological, physical, and social repercussions. While discrimination can be difficult to counteract, the report also presents a number of recommendations on how to prevent these negative interactions, through anti-bullying policies, communicating effectively with immigrant families, and carefully evaluating services targeting immigrant children.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015


Por Elvira Arellano, Sanctuary Movement
9 de Septiembre, 2015

(English version follows below)

Esta semana las noticias han estado repletas con fotos de los decenas de miles de refugiados que pretendan llegar desde Irak y Siria a los países ricos de Europa. Las historias de los viajes peligrosos sobre 30 kilómetros del mar incluyen reportes de la muerte de niños jóvenes. En general los gobiernos europeos parecen simpatizar hasta cierto punto más allá del enfrentamiento inicial en Hungría. Estos mismos gobiernos, no obstante, han dejado bien claro que solo aceptarán admitir cierto número de refugiados. Pero aun con esos límites, los movimientos derechistas en Europa se están movilizando.

Me parece interesante que nuestro propio gobierno ha hecho caso omiso a los llamamientos de aceptar algunos de los refugiados. Me acuerdo que hace apenas unos cuantos meses los republicanos insistían que la administración de presidente Obama rechazara los miles de niños hondureños y guatemaltecos que se presentaban en la frontera sureña de los Estados Unidos.[...]

By Elvira Arellano, Sanctuary Movement
September 9, 2015

This week the news has been filled pictures of tens of thousands of refugees attempting to make their way from Iraq and Syria to the wealthy countries of Europe. The reports of the dangerous journey over twenty miles of a turbulent sea included reports of the deaths of young children. In general, the governments of Europe have seemed sympathetic after the initial stand-off in Hungary. These same governments have also made it clear that they will only accept a limited number. Even with these limits the right wing anti-immigrant movements throughout Europe are already mobilizing.

I find it interesting that calls on the United States to take some of the refugees have mostly fallen on deaf ears in the government. I recall that only a few months ago how the Republicans demanded that the Obama Administration turn back thousands of Honduran and Guatemalan children who were presenting themselves at the southern border.[...]

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Evidence suggests that amnesty for undocumented immigrants in 1986 significantly reduced crime in the US

Scott Baker, London School of Economics Blog
August 27, 2015

In 2015, the role of undocumented immigrants in US society has become much more prominent, with many arguing for a full amnesty for the 11 million currently in the country. In new research, Scott R. Baker finds that a 1986 amnesty for nearly 3 million undocumented immigrants led to a 3-5 percent persistent fall in crime. He writes that this fall in crime is linked to the much improved labor market prospects of previously undocumented immigrants, which led to a decreased motivation to commit crimes for economic gain.

Beginning in the late 1970’s, rates of undocumented immigration into the United States began to increase dramatically. Fearing negative labor market and social effects, Congress passed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). The primary purpose of the bill was to enhance controls on the hiring and recruiting of undocumented immigrants. However, the legislation also represented a near-universal legalization of undocumented immigrants in the United States, a group comprising almost 3 million people, about 1 percent of the nation’s population.

This widespread legalization drove a persistent decline in crime of approximately 3-5 percent, equivalent to 120,000-180,000 fewer crimes committed each year across the nation, primary due to a large fall in property crimes. This decline cannot be explained by pre-existing trends, economic conditions, declines in drug crimes, changes to police forces and prison populations, or other common explanations of changes in crime rates during this period.[...]

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Pacific Coast Farm-Worker Rebellion

From Baja California to Washington State, indigenous farm workers are standing up for their rights.

By David Bacon, The Nation
August 28, 2015

A burned-out concrete blockhouse—the former police station—squats on one side of the only divided street in Vicente Guerrero, half a mile from Baja California’s transpeninsular highway. Just across the street lies the barrio of Nuevo (New) San Juan Copala, one of the first settlements of migrant farm workers here in the San Quintín Valley, named after their hometown in Oaxaca.

Behind the charred stationhouse another road leads into the desert, to a newer barrio, Lomas de San Ramón. Here, on May 9, the cops descended in force, allegedly because a group of strikers were blocking a gate at a local farm. A brutal branch of the Mexican police did more than lift the blockade, though. Shooting rubber bullets at people fleeing down the dirt streets, they stormed into homes and beat residents.

By then a farm-labor strike here was already two months old. Some leaders say provocateurs threw rocks and egged on a confrontation, but the beatings undeniably set off smoldering rage in the Lomas and Copala barrios. In addition, a government official who’d agreed to negotiate had failed to show up to talk with strike leaders.
By the end of the day, the police headquarters was a burned-out shell.[...]

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