Sunday, September 28, 2014

Immigration Reform, Activism, and Moral Certainty

by Duane Campbell
An argument is being made in many places in the Latino community  condemning Obama for his not taking executive action  and condemning  Civil Rights veterans such as Dolores Huerta and Eliseo Medina for their positions of not condemning the Obama lack of action. Here is an example.
A problem with this effort is that attacking our allies does not move immigration policy forward.  And, an argument from a position of  moral correctness does not necessarily change policy.  We need to be on the morally correct side,  as Huerta and Medina are, but that is not enough.  See prior posts on this blog about Medina and Huerta.
I learned this in the anti war movement against the war in Viet Nam.  We had hundreds of thousands in the streets opposed to the war, but the war went on.  58,000 U.S. soldiers died, 100,000s were injured.  Over 1.2 million Vietnamese died.  Although we were morally correct, the war went on.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Congressional Democrats Demand an End to Child Labor in Tobacco Fields

September 26, 2014

Author: : 
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.)
U.S. Representatives David N. Cicilline (D-RI) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA) urged U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to take immediate action to prohibit tobacco farms from using children for work that can have dangerous effects on their health. The Representatives sent a letter to Secretary Perez requesting him to close a loophole that allows children over the age of 12 to perform hands on work with tobacco plants and leaves.
Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch released a study that found children - some as young as seven - working in tobacco fields suffered from symptoms closely associated with acute nicotine poisoning such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches, dizziness, skin rashes, difficulty breathing, and irritation of the eye and mouth.
“No child's health should be at risk because of their work,” said Cicilline, who introduced the Child Tobacco Free bill (H.R. 5327) to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to prohibit children under the age of 18 from having direct contact with tobacco plants or leaves. “Working in tobacco fields can have harmful consequences on children and it's time child protection laws and regulations caught up with our values as a nation.”

Brown Signs Legislation to provide legal services to Unaccompanied Minors

SACRAMENTO - In action announced earlier today, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed legislation to provide legal services to the unaccompanied minors arriving in California from Central America.

"Helping these young people navigate our legal system is the decent thing to do and it's consistent with the progressive spirit of California," said Governor Brown when the legislation was introduced last month with the support of Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and members of the Latino Legislative Caucus. 

SB 873 by the Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review eliminates any ambiguity regarding the jurisdiction of the state court to make findings necessary to enable the federal government to grant these minors special immigrant juvenile status. This federal status provides for an expedited naturalization process. The legislation also reinforces the court's authority to provide interpreters to unaccompanied, undocumented minors. Additionally, the Budget Act of 2014 signed today appropriates $3 million to qualified nonprofits to provide legal services for unaccompanied minors. 

During California's Trade and Investment Mission to Mexico in July, the Governor met with Archbishop of Los Angeles José H. Gomez and religious and diplomatic leaders from Mexico and Central America for a wide-ranging discussion on immigration reform and pledged to help with the influx of unaccompanied children migrating to the United States. 

For full text of the bills, visit:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Five Blatant Lies Immigration Hawks Want You to Believe

With November's midterm elections fast approaching, the immigration issue is heating up once again. Politicians often debate immigration with little regard for the facts, and the recent child migrant crisis and the rise of the Islamic State terrorist organization have provided fodder for a new series of wildly inaccurate claims that play on Americans' fears.
Here are five flat-out untrue statements that immigration hawks want you to believe.

by Roque Planas 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lessons from the Civil Rights Movement

Charles Cobb     September 18, 2014

The Washington Post

The protests in Ferguson, Missouri mirrored images from the Civil Rights Movement 50 years earlier. But that’s where the similarities ended.

Many images that came out of Ferguson, Mo., last month looked like scenes from Birmingham, Ala., in the 1960s: the gun-wielding police officers, the sign-carrying protesters and the chants demanding equal treatment and human dignity. But that’s where the similarities ended.

For all the righteous indignation it inspired, the Ferguson turmoil has become the latest in a series of flash-in-the-pan causes that peter out without inspiring lasting movements for racial justice. As an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Mississippi during the ’60s, what I learned was the importance of organizing at the grass-roots and how even small actions at this level can have national impact. That is why I cannot help but notice that many black leaders, in their efforts to drive change, are ignoring some of the great lessons of the Southern Freedom Movement.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dolores Huerta argues for politics and voting

Dolores Huerta, Latina Civil Rights leader, co-founder of the United Farmworkers Union, and feminist leader spoke to over 800 students at CSU-Sacramento on Sept 18, on the topic of civic engagement, particularly of young people.
Her talk was lengthy, but she carefully and explicitly connected  the assigned themes of the Constitution and civic engagement to a long list of  issues important to young people. She explained the role of a two party government,  the paralysis of the current Congress, the obstruction of the U.S. Supreme Court, efforts on voter suppression and more.
She began by explaining that the effort at comprehensive immigration reform was blocked by Republicans in the House and predicted that if the Republicans were able to gain control of the Senate in November, the extreme anti immigrant legislation of Republicans would be advanced to an audience that was over 80% young and Latino.
Dolores used current issues to explain constitutional debates including Citizens United, voter suppression, restrictions on women’s  choice on reproduction, equal pay, and the importance of labor unions. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dolores Huerta Speaking at Sac State on Thursday

Dolores Huerta, DSA Honorary Chair and longtime friend of members of our work  will be speaking at Sac State on Sept.18.  Free. Dolores is a leader in Latino, Civil Rights, Feminist and Labor politics.

See more here.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jilted Once More on the Promise of Immigration Reform

Jilted Once More on the Promise of Immigration Reform
Posted on September 15, 2014 by Jimmy Franco Sr.
President Obama has stated that any action on immigration reform either legislatively or through any type of executive action will once again be postponed until the end of the year. The official reason given for yet another postponement in regard to resolving this pressing issue are the upcoming mid-term elections and the need to get Democrats elected. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus was not even consulted nor informed of this decision by Obama before it went public. The real reason which Obama and other Democrats didn’t mention is the unprincipled need to distance themselves from the “taint” of immigration reform and  statements or actions that appear sympathetic to immigrants so as to not alienate xenophobic and anti-immigrant voters in the November elections. This political decision essentially confirmed that the priority for Obama’s Democrats is to cater to voters who are fervently opposed to immigrants and reform by not saying or doing anything that would harm their chauvinist “sensitivities” in order to win their votes. This so-called “pragmatic and Machiavellian” policy and action by the Democrats takes precedence in the real world over the political sensitivities of Latinos and the continuing harm being inflicted upon immigrants and their families due to a callous and broken immigration system. Immigration activists, their organizations and the eleven million undocumented persons within the country have been left standing alone at the altar holding a hollow Democratic proposal after having been jilted once again by the unfaithful suitor Obama with another one of his false promises. This political relationship between Obama’s Democrats and the Latino community resembles a deja vu scenario and is similar to an insincere groom once again making lame and repeated excuses to not show up at the church wedding in order to avoid making a final and decisive commitment which in this case is immigration reform.