Immigration

Immigration (8)

Saturday, 09 July 2011 22:21

Implementing the DREAM Act, Piece by Piece

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By George Zornick

There is virtually no chance the DREAM Act will become law in the current Congress. The bill, which would provide conditional US residency to undocumented high school graduates who are pursuing either a college degree or a military career, died in the last Congress—before Republicans took control of more seats in both chambers. The new Republican House of Representatives would sooner pass a bill rescinding citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants, rather than extending it to anyone.

But the Obama administration is doing what it can to implement the DREAM Act through the back door by refusing to deport many undocumented students. It’s not nearly as effective as the comprehensive DREAM Act legislation—but it does keep talented immigrants in the country, and resembles several similar efforts in a dozen different states.

By Jeff Biggers

Mark down July 8th as a day history was made in Arizona.

In a swift affirmation of Arizona’s fast growing and powerful new political movement, Secretary of State Ken Bennett notified Gov. Jan Brewer that the once seemingly invincible architect of the state’s controversial SB 1070 “papers please” immigration law has officially been recalled. Bennett confirmed that the recall petitions delivered by the Citizens for a Better Arizona “exceeds the minimum signatures required by the Arizona Constitution.”

“Let’s make no mistake about it,” said Randy Parraz, co-founder of the Citizens for a Better Arizona. “Russell Pearce has been recalled.”

According to Bennett’s statement, Pearce has two options: Resign from office within five business days, or become a candidate in the recall election. Either way, Pearce becomes the first state senate president in recent memory to be recalled in the nation.

“No one expected this or picked up on this political earthquake,” said Parraz, one of the main organizers behind the extraordinary grassroots campaign, which electrified a bipartisan effort in Pearce’s Mesa district. Parraz credited a “dramatic shift” over the past six months due to Pearce’s often extremist leadership in state senate.

“We had people pouring into the office,” Parraz said, citing the role of Republicans, Democrats and Independents in the door-to-door canvassing initiative, “and they told us: Russell Pearce is too extreme for our district and state.”

Sunday, 14 November 2010 16:51

The Missing Immigration Debate

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by Esther J. Cepeda, Op-Ed

Chicago - If I were a member of the third largest minority group in the United States, I'd be really frustrated that the immigration issue continues to be discussed almost exclusively with Latin Americans in mind.

As immigrants' rights advocacy groups across the country wonder whether there's even a slim chance Congress will take up debate about comprehensive reform anytime soon, recent national conversations have been set exclusively in the context of the Latino vote and Republican Hispanics.

Despite President Obama's failure so far to deliver on his campaign promise to shepherd through meaningful reforms, Latinos turned out to help Democrats hold a few hotly contested seats. Paradoxically, Hispanics also boosted the Republican Party by helping elect several high-profile Latinos who had few ideas for solving our current illegal immigration woes and instead campaigned on tighter border controls and stepped-up enforcement.

Friday, 07 May 2010 18:02

Obama, Immigration and The Latino Vote

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This past weekend I attended the Midwest Political Science Association's annual meetings at the Palmer House in Chicago. Local Congressman Luis Gutierrez gave the Pi Sigma Alpha lecture on Friday afternoon, and he spoke at length about immigration reform, the developing situation in Arizona, and his worry that President Obama and the Administration will not rise to the challenge.

He did sugarcoat what he had to say. Although I didn't have my digital tape recorder on hand to record his comments in regard to immigration and the Administration, I can assure you Gutierrez' remarks were not as diplomatic as this recent press release on the subject, but rather were much closer to his recent Huffington Post comments, in which he expressed his growing impatience with Obama. He also flatly called Obama's promise to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in his first year a "broken promise." More to the (electoral) point, Gutierrez has begun to openly suggest that he may consider encouraging Latinos to stay home this November which, if they did, would exacerbate the Democrats' expected problems and electoral losses.

Sunday, 09 May 2010 13:43

Latino Giant to Change U.S. Politics

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by Froma Harrop

ANTONIO -- It was over frozen lattes three blocks from the Alamo that Lydia Camarillo and I discussed the wave of Latino voters expected to change politics in Texas -- and America. Camarillo is vice president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, a group that signs up new Hispanic voters and spurs them to the polls.

Some Texans predict that the "Latino giant" won't fully flex its political might until 2012. Some say 2014. Others see the tough immigration law in Arizona moving the impact to this year. All agree that when Latinos arrive at the polls in huge numbers, the results won't please Republicans.

I think they know that the day is coming," Camarillo said. "That's why they are coming up with obstructions, such as voter ID laws."

And there's not much Republicans can do about a surging Latino electorate in the short term. Even if they appeal to more Latino voters and Hispanic turnout stays weak, the raw numbers may overwhelm them.

Friday, 07 May 2010 18:02

Obama, Immigration and The Latino Vote

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This past weekend I attended the Midwest Political Science Association's annual meetings at the Palmer House in Chicago. Local Congressman Luis Gutierrez gave the Pi Sigma Alpha lecture on Friday afternoon, and he spoke at length about immigration reform, the developing situation in Arizona, and his worry that President Obama and the Administration will not rise to the challenge.

He did sugarcoat what he had to say. Although I didn't have my digital tape recorder on hand to record his comments in regard to immigration and the Administration, I can assure you Gutierrez' remarks were not as diplomatic as this recent press release on the subject, but rather were much closer to his recent Huffington Post comments, in which he expressed his growing impatience with Obama. He also flatly called Obama's promise to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill in his first year a "broken promise." More to the (electoral) point, Gutierrez has begun to openly suggest that he may consider encouraging Latinos to stay home this November which, if they did, would exacerbate the Democrats' expected problems and electoral losses.

by Greg Palast

Our investigation in Arizona discovered the real intent of the show-me-your-papers law.

Phoenix - Don't be fooled. The way the media plays the story, it was a wave of racist, anti-immigrant hysteria that moved Arizona Republicans to pass a sick little law, signed last week, requiring every person in the state to carry papers proving they are US citizens.

I don't buy it. Anti-Hispanic hysteria has always been as much a part of Arizona as the saguaro cactus and excessive air-conditioning.

What's new here is not the politicians' fear of a xenophobic "Teabag" uprising.

What moved GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign the Soviet-style show-me-your-papers law is the exploding number of legal Hispanics, US citizens all, who are daring to vote - and daring to vote Democratic by more than two-to-one. Unless this demographic locomotive is halted, Arizona Republicans know their party will soon be electoral toast. Or, if you like, tortillas.

In 2008, working for "Rolling Stone" with civil rights attorney Bobby Kennedy, our team flew to Arizona to investigate what smelled like an electoral pogrom against Chicano voters . . . directed by one Jan Brewer.

Brewer, then secretary of state, had organized a racially loaded purge of the voter rolls that would have made Katherine Harris blush. Beginning after the 2004 election, under Brewer's command, no fewer than 100,000 voters, overwhelmingly Hispanic, were blocked from registering to vote. In 2005, the first year of the Great Brown-Out, one in three Phoenix residents found their registration applications rejected.

That statistic caught my attention. Voting or registering to vote if you're not a citizen is a felony, a big-time jail-time crime. And arresting such criminal voters is easy: After all, they give their names and addresses.

Sunday, 02 May 2010 19:32

Arizona Boots Up Brown Immigrants’ Guantanamo

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by Pierre Tristam

For the past several years, Maricopa County in Arizona has been America’s best-local-effort approximation of a police state. That’s where Sheriff Joe Arpaio rules, where he made his fame imprisoning inmates in tents in the heat of the Arizona desert and issued them pink underwear to humiliate them, where he imprisoned children as young as 12, supposedly with their consent, to teach them lessons, and where he set loose vigilante posses without badges but with arrest powers.

Maricopa County is also where Arpaio began redrawing the rules of immigration by flouting federal law and becoming a one-man, one-county anti-immigration czar. He profiles brown-skinned immigrants without reserve, rounds them up by the truckload, forces his “aliens” to sing “God Bless America,” and keeps them in his jails for extra indoctrination instead of turning them over to federal authorities, as law requires. Arpaio is an enforcer, but not of law. I wrote three years ago that if the federal government didn’t reform immigration soon, Maricopa County would soon be the bleak future of immigration enforcement for the rest of Arizona and other states with big, brown-skinned populations.

That future is here.