Thursday, January 12, 2017

National Immigrant Rights Demonstrations

IMMIGRANTS RALLY BEFORE TRUMP: Immigrants and their allies will hold a national day of action on Saturday, with calls to halt deportations, preserve an Obama-era deportation relief program, and create sanctuaries against immigration enforcement. Organizers - the immigrant rights group United We Dream and Service Employees International Union, among others - have scheduled more than 50 events across the country. 

There is not a demonstration listed on the site for Sacramento.  If you know of such a demonstration in Sacramento, please post it in comments. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rev. William Barber on Next Steps After Obama & Dylann Roof's Death Sentence for Hate Crime | Democracy Now!

Xavier Becerra Passes First Hurdle

Republicans vote No.
Democratic Los Angeles Congressman Xavier Becerra today cleared the first hurdle to becoming California's next attorney general.
A state Assembly committee controlled by Democrats voted six-to-three to support him. Becerra would replace Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Becerra told committee members he wants to work with the state legislature.

"I hope you'll find me as someone who will listen," said Becerra. "More than that, I'm ready to do stuff. I'm probably on the downside of my life and certainly of my career in public service. And I intended to make sure I do something with it."
Becerra - who turns 59 later this month - is the first in his family to graduate from college. His mother was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. after marrying his father.
"I understand exactly what my parents made possible for me," said Becerra. "And what my wife and three daughters have put up with. And so I want you to know that I take this very seriously. I look forward to working with you because each and everyone one of you can make a difference for this state and for our country. And I hope to partner with you so we can get some stuff done."
Republicans on the panel questioned Becerra on how he would work with law enforcement to curb crime. All three Republicans on the nine-member committee voted "not to confirm." Becerra promised to vigorously defend California laws from federal interference.
Becerra will now be considered by the full Assembly chamber. The Senate is also scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hearings Today - Anti Immigrant Trump Appointees

THIS WEEK: KELLY, SESSIONS CONFIRMATION HEARINGS: The Senate will hold confirmation hearings Tuesday for two nominees who'll affect immigration policy: retired Marine Gen. John Kelly (Department of Homeland Security) and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (Justice Department). The hearing for Labor nominee Andrew Puzder was originally set for this week but is now postponed to Jan. 17.
Kelly has gotten a warm reception from Democratic members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Still, Kelly will be grilled about the immigration policies of President-elect Donald Trump. The border wall (Mexican-financed or otherwise) will come up. So will Trump's threatened termination of President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants deportation relief to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children. And it's hard to imagine a hearing that doesn't touch on Trump's idea to deport millions of immigrants with criminal records, or Trump's proposed reinstatement of a registry to track visitors from certain Muslim countries. 

How might an Attorney General Sessions affect immigration policy? Well, the Justice Department may be asked to defend the constitutionality of re-establishing a registry of visitors from Muslim countries (or Trump's more constitutionally-dubious ban on Muslims entering the United States), Matt Zapotosky and Sari Horwitz report in the Washington Post. Advocacy groups also fear that Sessions will use information obtained through DACA to deport undocumented immigrants. 
Sessions' views on immigration are well-known. In 2007 he opposed legislation supported by then-President George W. Bush that gave legal status to millions and enhanced border security. Armand DeKeyser, Sessions' former chief of staff, told the Post that Sessions' hardline views were influenced by a listening tour in the late 1990s visiting city police chiefs and county sheriffs. "In the years that followed his listening tour," Zapotosky and Horwitz report, "Sessions came to believe that the undocumented immigrants in rural Alabama were taking the jobs of other residents. He advocated against even legal immigration, arguing that anyone coming to the United States should benefit the citizens already here." More here.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

US Policies Drive Migrants from Central America

By David Bacon
The mass migration of children from Central America has been at the center of a political firestorm in the United States. Both migration and deportation increased again in late 2016, causing the mainstream media to run even more stories blaming families, especially mothers, for sending or bringing their children north. Even President Barack Obama himself lectured them, as though they were simply bad parents. “Do not send your children to the borders,” he said recently.

(Post originally written in 2016.  Updated 2017)

Under the new Trump administration,  the Tea Party and conservative Republicans are using this issue to attack Obama’s executive action in 2009 deferring the deportation of young people, along with his proposal to expand it to include family members of legal residents and citizens. More broadly, the right wants to shut down any immigration reform that includes legalization and is gunning for harsher enforcement measures. Marine Corps general John Kelly, former commander of the U.S. Southern Command, calls migration a “crime-terror convergence.”

This push for greater enforcement and a conflation of migrants with terrorists ignores the real reasons families leave home. Media coverage focuses on gang violence in Central America, as though it were unrelated to a history of U.S.-promoted wars and a policy of mass deportations.

In fact, U.S. foreign and immigration policy is responsible for much of the pressure causing this flow of people from Central America.

There is no “lax enforcement” on the U.S. - Mexico border. The United States spends more on immigration enforcement than on all other enforcement activities of the federal government combined. There are more than 20,000 members of the Border Patrol, the largest number in history. We have walls and a system of detention centers that didn’t exist just 15 years ago. More than 350,000 people spend some time in an immigrant detention center every year. Yet the Tea Party and the Border Patrol demand increases in the budget for enforcement, and the Obama administration bends before this pressure.

 The migration of children and families didn’t start recently. The tide of migration from Central America goes back to wars that the United States promoted in the 1980s, in which we armed the forces most opposed to progressive social change. Two million Salvadorans alone came to the United States during the late 1970s and ‘80s, as did Guatemalans and Nicaraguans. Whole families migrated, but so did parts of families, leaving loved ones behind with the hope that someday they would be reunited.

The recent increase in the numbers of migrants is not just a response to gang violence, although this seems to be the only reason given in U.S. media coverage. Growing migration is a consequence of the increasing economic crisis for rural people in Central America and Mexico. People are leaving because they can’t survive where they are.

The North American and Central American Free Trade Agreements and structural adjustment policies required privatization of businesses, the displacement of communities by foreign mining projects, and cuts in social budgets. Huge U.S. corporations dumped corn and other agricultural products in Mexico and Central America at low prices, forcing rural families off their lands when they could not compete.

When governments or people have resisted NAFTA and CAFTA, the United States has threatened reprisals.