Thursday, December 30, 2010

NNIR; Immigration in the next year

As a memorable 2010 comes to a close, we ask for your support of NNIRR. Giving an end-of-the year donation takes only a few minutes, and your contribution will help us to continue the fight for immigrant rights and justice. Please contribute as much as you can.
We're sure you've seen the news -- the Republicans and anti-immigrant proponents are promising to squash any proposals for genuine immigration reforms, while drumming up more anxieties through their hateful and misguided proposals like Arizona's SB 1070.Among their plans is a challenge to the 14th amendment, which ensures citizenship of those born in the U.S., including the children of undocumented immigrants. And with the 2012 general election on the horizon, anti-immigrant posturing will likely storm ahead.
So we will have a lot to do -- all of us -- to stop the further deterioration of rights and continue the fight for the well-being and safety of all immigrants and their families.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Global Poverty Doubled- U.N. Report

By Agence France-Presse

November 26,
2010 "AFP" - -GENEVA — The number of very poor countries has doubled in the last 30 to 40 years, while the number of people living in extreme poverty has also grown two-fold, a UN think-tank warned Thursday.

In its annual report on the 49 least developed countries (LDCs) in the world, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that the model of development that has prevailed to date for these countries has failed and should be re-assessed.

"The traditional models that have been applied to LDCs that tend to move the LDCs in the direction of trade-related growth seem not to have done very well," said Supachai Panitchpakdi, secretary general of UNCTAD.

"What happened is that in the past 30-40 years, the number of LDCs have doubled so it has actually deteriorated, the number of people living under the poverty line has doubled from the 1980s."

The report indicated that the situation has sharply deteriorated in the past few years.

GENEVA — The number of very poor countries has doubled in the last 30 to 40 years, while the number of people living in extreme poverty has also grown two-fold, a UN think-tank warned Thursday.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Administration to endorse U.N. Treaty on Rights of Indigenous People

The outrage began after the President announcedon December 16 that the U.S. would reverse course and support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The Declaration was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2007, but the U.S., under President Bush, opposed it.
"The aspirations it affirms -- including the respect for the institutions and rich cultures of Native peoples -- are ones we must always seek to fulfill," the President said of the Declaration at White House Tribal Nations Conference where he announced the reversal. He went on to describe efforts to improve health care, education, and unemployment rates in tribal areas.
"While the declaration is not legally binding, it carries considerable moral and political force," the State Department wrote of the Declaration, "and complements the President's ongoing efforts to address historical inequities faced by indigenous communities in the United States."
Despite this, the right has seized onto some of the language to attack the President -- including Article 26, which says:
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

International Migrants Day

Continue the Dream, Fight for Justice for All Migrants

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Convention on Migrant Workers

On December 18, International Migrants Day, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights recognizes the sacrifice and desire of migrants worldwide to seek a safe and healthy life for themselves and their families. We also recognize their untold suffering due to unfair, discriminatory and abusive governmental policies and actions, and recommit with them to fight for recognition of their human rights, redress and justice.
In a report we released yesterday, Injustice for All: The Rise of the Immigration Policing Regime, we call attention to the growth of a restrictive and often abusive system of immigration control that has matured in the US in the last decade. This system includes laws, policies and infrastructure that disregards immigrants’ rights and human dignity; such a system provides little or no hope for those who seek nothing more than a fair chance at a decent life. (Haga clic aquí para leer el informe, Injusticia para todas y todos.)
On this 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (Migrant Workers Convention), we call on the United States government to recognize, ratify and implementthis important Convention.

Monday, December 13, 2010

David Bacon; Rethinking Immigration

David Bacon: "Rethinking Immigration."

Please note location: Our lectures are held at the Sol Collective, 2574 21st Street, Sacramento, CA (1 blk south of Broadway).
Bacon is a photojournalist based in the Bay Area, who has devoted his career to chronicling the conditions, history and struggles of immigrant workers.
See more at
Thursday, Dec.16.  7 PM. 

Indigenous Organizations reject Cancun "agreement"

Peasant, Indigenous Organizations Reject Market Schemes for Global Warming
By Laura Carlsen
The UN Climate Conference (COP16) in Cancun is turning out to be both anti-climactic and anti-climatic.Negotiators have given up on a binding agreement to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. Instead, they are seeking to expand schemes to allow contaminating industries and nations to continue with business as usual and add another lucrative area to their portfolios–trade in carbon offsets and credits.
These include market-based incentives like the UN Reduction of Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) proposal and the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. Both allow developed-country polluters to use peasant and indigenous lands and projects in developing countries to offset continued pollution. In the bargain, not only do polluters avoid having to reduce emissions, but the land-management contracts that verify offsets typically strip traditional communities of their rights over the carbon-absorbing lands they have preserved for millennia.

The Americas Program.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dolores Huerta letter on Dream Act

The following is Dolores Huerta's open letter to Arizona's Senator John McCain:
Dear Senator McCain:
You stood shoulder to shoulder with me and Cesar Chavez’s family at the
unveiling of the official commemorative postal stamp in honor of Cesar Chavez.
We need you to live up to the legacy of justice you represented in that press
conference. Vote to bring the DREAM Act to the Senate floor, and vote to pass
DREAM Act into law.
Seventy percent of the people in the United States support the DREAM ACT. Do
the will of the American public. As Cesar Chavez often said, “It Can Be Done.” .
Throughout your distinguished career, Senator, you have continually identified
with the legacy of Cesar Chavez, a native son of your own state of Arizona.
As sponsor and chief spokesperson for SB164 the “Cesar Estrada Chavez Study
Act” for the past decade. You invoked Cesar Chavez’s passions for justice and
education as if they were your own. You continuously identified with his legacy.
You said:
“Mr. Chavez’s legacy is an inspiration to us all and he will be
remembered for helping Americans to transcend distinctions of
experience and share equally in the rights and responsibilities of
freedom. It is important that we honor his struggle...”“Cesar Chavez, an Arizonan born in Yuma, was the son of migrant
farm workers.... His efforts on behalf of some of the most
oppressed individuals in our society are an inspiration, and through
his work he made America a bigger and better nation.
And quoted Cesar’s words:
“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and
prosperity for our community... our ambitions must be broad enough to
include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our
The young DREAM Act students with whom I am fasting believe that you can
once again stand tall with independence and conviction, and that you will
continue Cesar Chavez’s legacy by bringing justice to the DREAM students.
The benefits of this bill for our country are great. There will be educated
professionals contributing to the American economy. They will bring in billions
of revenue from taxes and will help us create jobs. The Congressional Budget
Office reports that DREAM Act students would help cut the federal deficit by
$1.4 billion over 10 years and would generate $2.4 billion in revenue. A UCLA
study estimated this revenue number would be $3.6 trillion over a forty year span.
For children whose only home has been the United States and never committed a
crime, you can offer your hand so they can contribute their talents to our society.
They are students—Dream Act students—with a passion for the service of others
and this great country. You must not turn your back on them.
Senator McCain, you are aware of this hunger and this passion, because you are a
father who cares about providing opportunity for your children. You are a
decorated veteran who cares about protecting our country. You are a
distinguished leader in the U.S. Senate who cares deeply about the future of our
The fasting DREAM Act students (Dulce Juarez and Celso Mireles, as well as the
mother of a DREAM Act student Rosa Marta Soto) outside your office are hungry
for knowledge and eager for the opportunities to learn and to serve our great
country. But they are not alone. Joining them in this fast and in this fight for
justice are students from Illinois, California, Washington, D.C., Texas, Georgia,
Iowa, Florida and New York. They are looking to you for leadership, Senator.
With your past support of the DREAM Act, you have shown this leadership.
They need you now.
You are in a unique position to make the difference and bring justice for these
students by exerting your leadership in the Senate. Please continue your
commitment to honor Cesar Chavez’s legacy by voting YES for the DREAM Act.
¡Sí Se Puede!
Dolores Huerta
Dolores Huerta Foundation

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Leisa Faulkner aid work in Haiti

Aid worker from Cameron Park undeterred


Rioting didn't stop Leisa Faulkner from her mission of delivering antibiotics to a Port-au-Prince orphanage Wednesday.
It simply took longer and required detours around angry mobs and burning barricades of tires and rubble – and the help of a card emblazoned with a red cross.
"We never fail, like the Pony Express," said an exhausted Faulkner by phone from Port-au-Prince.
Faulkner, 56, of Cameron Park arrived in Haiti Monday to spend the week delivering medical supplies and cholera-fighting medications to free clinics and children's homes.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

House passes Dream Act

Last night, the House of Representatives voted to pass the DREAM Act. It was a big victory, but now we keep up the fight to get it passed in the Senate[1].

The DREAM Act is just one step away from becoming a reality, but we must keep pushing. Call your Senator now and ask them to vote YES on the DREAM Act.

Dial 866-996-5161 or click here to call your Senator.
The Senate is expected Thursday to vote on whether to advance similar legislation, but it's unlikely Democrats can muster the 60 votes needed to advance it past opposition by Republicans and a handful of their own members.
"It's an uphill struggle," Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat, acknowledged.
The Senate was unable to block a Republican fillabuster.  The vote was put off for the future.

Please stop what you're doing and call your  Senators as soon as possible and ask them to support the DREAM Act.
U.S. Senate:  202-224-3121

Debate on the measure was fraught with politics. Obama has made an intense public push in recent days in favor of the measure, eager to demonstrate his commitment to Hispanic voters, a key voting bloc that's been alienated by his failure to push broader immigration legislation.
With the GOP taking control of the House and representing a stronger minority in the Senate next year, failure to enact the legislation by year's end dims the prospects for action by Congress to grant a path toward legalization for the nation's millions of undocumented immigrants.

Demand Mexican Government protection of travelers


Sacramento California -December 7, 2010

Migrant ,Labor, students Organizations from Northern California will hold a press Conference at the Sacramento Mexican Consulate’s offices to protest and demand safe passage of those Mexican Migrant families traveling to Mexico to visit their families, in their home states during the Christmas holidays. 

At the same time representatives of Migrant organizations will demand the resignation of Mexican Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, for having to fail in responding to numerous complaints of Migrants who have been Victims of violent attacks, Robberies ,that were presented to the Mexican Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez ,“Almost a year ago we submitted actual documents to the Consul General Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, but he ignored our complaints, he failed to respond to our complaints, nor did we ever receive a written response neither the Mexican Consul nor the Mexican Gov’t. ”, according to Luis Magaña, Rep. of the California Agricultural Migrant Workers organization.

Luis Magaña further stated, “maybe many of these Migrants tragic deaths and those injured could have been avoided, like in the case of a young child who was shot and wounded recently, but the Consul failed to act, because of his failure to act in behalf of the Migrants safety and well being, these incidents may have never happened, it is for these reasons that we now Demand the Mexican Federal Government recall him back to Mexico for his having failed to act responsibly”.

Dream Act up for a vote today

Dream Act in Congress Today

The House is set to consider the DREAM Act (HR 6497) today. In the afternoon, the Senate is expected to vote on a cloture motion (to end debate and an anticipated filibuster on the bill) in order to bring it to the floor for a vote.
We urge you to call your congressional representatives NOW to ask for their support of an improved DREAM. Click to get the contact info for yourRepresentative and Senators. They need to hear from you.
As you may know, this legislation – the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act -- could provide access to legalization to tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant students.
The Dream Act is still following a rocky path. Conservative policy makers are  threatening to add increased border enforcement amendments to it.
This week's consideration of DREAM follows a report from the Congressional Budget Office, which last week provided a cost estimate of S. 3992, the latest Senate version of the DREAM Act. According to the report, an increase in authorized workers over 10 years could generate $2.3 billion in various tax revenues and reduce the budget deficit by some $1.4 billion between 2011 and 2020. This should be reason enough to expand the DREAM Act.
Please join us in calling your representatives to support DREAM -- and urge them to bring DREAM to more youth and students by including access and options to community service, as well as educational opportunities and job training.
Take a few minutes to call (202) 224-3121 to connect to your representatives’ offices and ask that they support and improve the DREAM Act.
Tens of thousands of young immigrants -- "undocumented and unafraid" -- and their supporters have rallied to support DREAM. Let’s send a message to Congress that we stand on the side of justice and in support of immigrant youth and students, for their future and that of their families.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sacramento Demonstration for the Dream Act-Dec 2.

Demonstration at the California Capitol today, Dec.2.2010.

The goal of the demonstration  is to bring to light the thousands of students caught in the horrible, perpetual limbo of being educated, bright and ready to work, but denied the chance to because of their illegal immigration status.

The DREAM Act would give more than 100,000 young immigrants, brought to the United States before the age of 16, a chance to become legal residents if they attend college or join the military. 

Many of us have known or do know Californians that have had to live in hiding. 

The DREAM Act is bipartisan legislation that would provide undocumented young women and men who were brought to the U.S. as young children a pathway to U.S. citizenship.  See Just the Facts: Five Things You Should Know About the DREAM Act or check out NILC’s website at for more information.

Haiti Journal

I should have spent Thanksgiving in Haiti this year. Instead, because of some unavoidable document work, I will be leaving this Saturday for about the saddest place in this half of the world.

This disease is gaining momentum. It is now projected to infect 400,000 people, half of those in the first three months (or by the end of January). Cases have already jumped to over 72,000 and confirmed dead now stands at 1,648. More than one thousand people are hospitalized every day and more than 50 people are now dying each and every day from this disease that wealthier countries no longer consider a threat. 

Today are the presidential elections. There are people marching in the streets...lamenting the lack of a fair election, clean water, sanitation...asking for the keeping of promises. For example, only a minor fraction of earthquake relief funds promised by foreign countries, including the US, has arrived.

And now, although thousands more are likely to die from this cholera epidemic, aid workers are cancelling travel to Haiti. Many aid workers there are simply going home. Children's Hope is doing neither. We will leave to return to Haiti this Saturday for our 6th humanitarian relief trip this year.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dream Act caravan

Thursday December 2nd, 2010 11:00am-12pm    

Sacramento Capitol Building (North side steps on Ist) 

1. Dream Graduation

The goal of this action is to bring to light the thousands of students caught in the horrible, perpetual limbo of being educated, bright and ready to work, but denied the chance to because of their illegal immigration status. We come together to send our representatives the message that we need the DREAM Act now, our economy needs it. We also aim to raise awareness to our community and our state legislators about this growing student movement. 
Thursday December 2, 2010 11 am-12 pm

Please check FACEBOOK for updates

WHO:  Immigrant students, including AB540 students, families, and district residents.  Members of the California DREAM Network, a project of CHIRLA, Wise Up!, the Korean Resource Center, S.T.A.N.D., and Sac State Coalition


Loretta Sanchez:  Fullerton Community College, Cal State Fullerton.  Rally to welcome the Statewide Dream Caravan which will be driving from Palm Springs to Sacramento lining up the votes for the DREAM Act. Diplomas symbolizing the thousands of unresolved Dreams of students across the nation.‬

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tea Party Politics seek to establish Arizona 1070 in California

The California Secretary of State's office today authorized a signature drive to place an Arizona-style immigration law before California voters.
Called the "Support Federal Immigration Law Act," the proposal was submitted to state authorities in September by Michael Erickson, a Tea Party activist in in the Bay Area city of Belmont and former chair of the Sonoma County Republican Party.

Erickson said  that he's tried to draft his proposal -- which also makes it a state crime to hire illegal immigrants -- to avoid constitutional pitfalls. The Arizona law now faces challenges that it is unconstitutional and an overreaching of state law into federal responsibility for immigration enforcement.
Initiative supporters must gather at least 433,971 signatures of registered voters by April 21, 2011, to qualify for an election. Erickson said he'd aim to put the measure before voters during the 2012 election cycle.
The effort will rely largely on volunteers from California's Tea Party network, Erickson said.
The California proposal would make it a state crime for undocumented persons to seek work while hiding their immigration status, and a state crime for employers to "intentionally or negligently" hire an illegal immigrant.
I understand the  people so full of fear that they support such measures. The purpose of the effort is to generate fear and bigotry. Remember, California was once part of Mexico. It was taken by force. In the 1850's newly arrived Irish and German immigrants drove Mexican and Chinese miners from the mines with the foreign miners tax. Then the Anglos came and took the land. Anti immigrant campaigns have a long history in the California; 1878 Constitution was anti Chinese, 1911 Anti Japanese, 1930's-1950's, Anti Mexican. 1940's anti Japanese. 1994, Prop.187. It will take hard work, but reasonable people will be able to defeat these fear filled campaigns. Immigrants are not the cause of the economic crisis- it was Wall Street. But, Tea Party folks want to protect Wall Street by focusing fear on immigrants.

Movimiento Tea Party empuja proyecto antiinmigrante

LOS ANGELES - La secretaria de Estado de California autorizó el martes que se empiece a recolectar firmas para proponer a los electores locales una ley de inmigración similar a la polémica legislación de Arizona, SB1070, tiene como propósito criminalizar a los indocumentados en ese estado fronterizo con México.

La propuesta, titulada "Apoya la Ley de Inmigración Federal", fue presentada en septiembre a las autoridades estatales por Michael Erickson, un activista del movimiento ultra conservador Tea Party en la zona de San Francisco (norte de California y tradicionalmente liberal).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We Are America » DREAM Stories

We Are America » DREAM Stories

Gabe Gonzalez: No More Dreams Deferred (features Carlos Roa and Michael Nazzario videos)

Right now it's a dream deferred. A dream for people like Michael Nazario, a young man who grew up in Arizona and wants nothing more than to serve in the Marines. Or Carlos Roa, a 23-year-old man who is now studying architecture after being denied an opportunity to enlist in the armed forces.

San Francisco student to be released from federal custody (Steve Li story)

Federal immigration officials are releasing San Francisco college student Steve Li, who was jailed for more than two months as officials sought to deport him to Peru.

Harry Potter Is a DREAM Act Kid, on the Run in America (Yves Gomes featured)

I do not know whether, like countless American teenagers, Yves Gomes will be watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I this weekend. If he does, he will probably not recognize himself in the film. Gomes has no lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. But like Harry, 17-year-old Gomes is bespectacled, owlishly serious, an unlikely warrior thrust into a battle much bigger than him. It’s a fight that has already claimed his parents.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Arizona boycott is working - conferences cancelled

Arizona’s enactment of harsh, anti-immigrant legislation—S.B. 1070—sparked an incendiary national debate over the role of states in making and enforcing immigration policy. Some states and localities rushed to copy Arizona’s draconian approach; others adopted resolutions condemning Arizona’s intolerance. But all states would be wise to consider the practical implications of their decisions before following Arizona any further down the proverbial garden path.
Passage of the Arizona legislation triggered a fierce, national public-opinion backlash against the state and led many national organizations and opinion leaders to call for economic boycotts. Arizona’s business community, especially those in the tourism industry, anticipated and feared this type of response to S.B. 1070. And the convention industry felt the effects of this backlash immediately when major groups and associations started canceling events and conventions in the state. Arizona’s Hotel and Lodging Association publicly reported a combined loss of $15 million in lodging revenue due to meeting cancellations just four months after the bill’s passage.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Unemployed ask for your assistance

Congress returns this week and it's time to raise our voices with a clear, simple message:
Congress must continue the expanded federal unemployment benefits program, and not extend tax giveaways to millionaires.
To help deliver that message, we are urging you to call your Senators as part of a National Call-in to Congress Action Day this Tuesday, November 16.
Call Congress!  Tell your Senators to continue the expanded federal unemployment benefits program through 2011, and not extend tax giveaways to millionaires.
The federal unemployment benefits program will end November 30th unless Congress acts.  Two million unemployed job-seekers face the threat of having their benefits cut-off prematurely this holiday season alone.  Millions more would confront that prospect after the New Year, unless Congress acts.
Never before has Congress decided to cut-off extended unemployment benefits when the jobless rate was so high.  And not since the 1930s have so many unemployed job-seekers been out-of-work for so long.
Congress, meanwhile, is considering extending budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthiest two-percent -- revenue that should be going to job creation programs.  We have to ask:  what kind of person would extend tax giveaways to millionaires while cutting off unemployment benefits to job-seeking Americans?
Call Congress!  Tell your Senators to continue the expanded federal unemployment benefits program through 2011, and not extend tax giveaways to millionaires.
You can call your Senators toll-free at 1-866-606-1189 or Click to Call here.
Many thanks.
The Team
Mitchell, Chris, Andy, Maurice, Judy, Christine, Rebecca, Mike, Rick, George, Norman, Claire and Blase
Follow us on Twitter

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dying in Haiti

A Million Haitians Dying Slowly by Bill Quigley,
Monday, October 11, 2010

Nine Months After the Quake -- A Million Haitians Slowly Dying

"If it gets any worse," said Wilda, a homeless Haitian mother, "we're not going to survive." Mothers and grandmothers surrounding her nodded solemnly.

We are in a broiling "tent" with a group of women trying to raise their families in a public park. Around the back of the Haitian National Palace, the park hosts a regal statute of Alexandre Petion in its middle. It is now home to five thousand people displaced by the January 2010 earthquake.
Nine months after the quake, over a million people are still homeless in Haiti.

Haiti looks like the quake could have been last month. I visited Port au Prince shortly after the quake and much of the destruction then looks the same nine months later.

The Associated Press reports only two percent of the rubble has been removed and only 13,000 temporary shelters have been constructed. Not a single cent of the US aid pledged for rebuilding has arrived in Haiti. In the last few days the US pledged it would put up 10% of the billion dollars in reconstruction aid promised. Only 15 percent of the aid pledged by countries and organizations around the world has reached the country so far.

With other human rights advocates from CCR, MADRE, CUNY Law School, BAI and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, I am huddled under faded gray tarps stamped US Aid. Blue tarps staked into the ground as walls. This is not even the hot season but the weather reports the heat index is 115.

The floor is bare dirt, soft from a recent rain. Our guide works with a vibrant grassroots women's organization, KOFAVIV, which is working with women in many camps, and she encourages residents to tell us their stories.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

In California Latino Votes made the difference

Unlike 1994, the Latino vote made the critical difference in keeping California in the Democratic Party column on election day in 2010.   Democrats actually increased their majority in the State Assembly. While the rest of the nation was swept by a Republican wave, California became more Democratic.
According to exit polls, Latinos made up 22 percent of the California  electorate Tuesday,  compared with 18 percent in 2008 and 12 percent in 2006. Brown won 64 percent of the Latino vote, while Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman won 30 percent. The Latino vote was higher and more partisan toward Democrats than had been predicted by the Field Poll just days prior to the election. 
The poll also showed 42 percent of voters identifying themselves as Democrats, 31 percent as Republicans and 27 percent as nonpartisans or minor-party members.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Arizona and Multicultural Education

Multicultural education conference
The  Sacramento conference  on November 6 began with an excellent presentation by Dr. Eugene Garcia, a prominent researcher on Latino school achievement. and a  vice president for education partnerships at Arizona State University.  The morning speech was to some 600 students and teachers from the Sacramento community.
Garcia explained Arizona’s new immigration policies and the infamous SB 1070, and how it affects the education of children. 
"Arizona is taking a set of steps to mitigate what they perceive to be the negative effects of immigrants, particularly Mexican immigrants. There's a very ambiguous and negative climate towards Latinos in Arizona," Garcia said. "The idea here is to present a set of commentaries and analysis, research that we've done."
Garcia described dramatic demographic changes in Arizona ,  California and the Southwest leading to a 400% increase in Latino students in the last 30 years.  Of these students over 70% are U.S. citizens, but they are citizens impacted by the immigration experience.
In Arizona specifically, crime is down.   Employment and prosperity was actually up prior to the current national economic crisis. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

5 days until the election

It looks now as if  the Democrats will lose the House, and they may lose the Senate. In either case, most of the limited progress we have seen will stop.  Anti immigrant forces are mobilizing in Arizona and some 20 other states.  See Arizona's law SB 1070. The current governor- who was not elected as governor, was well behind in the polls. She polled at less than 40%.  Then she began her anti immigrant rants and promoting SB 1070.  She now has an over 60% support. 
Anti Mexican racism works.  Here is how it happened in California in 1994.
 "In the Summer of 1993, a failing economy and governmental retrenchment combined to make Governor Pete Wilson the most unpopular governor in recent history.  By November of 1994 Wilson won re-election with over 56% of the vote.  Two factors combined to deliver victory to Wilson; a mean spirited, divisive, and racist campaign directed against Mexican and Mexican Americans, and an inept campaign by Democratic Candidate Kathleen Brown.
    In 1994 The voters of California voted 62% to 38% in favor of Proposition 187, the Save Our State initiative to restrict illegal immigration.  A number of groups including FAIR, the Republican Party, and the Perot organization worked together to qualify the initiative.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brazil - after Lula

Dilma Rousseff came very close to winning in the first round of voting in Brazil, she ended up on the threshold of the government currently led by Lula de Silva. Lula, the most popular president Brazil has ever had, is stepping down after eight years that changed the face of the country and transformed its place in the world.
How can it be that a nearly unknown woman, who barely had 8.4% of projected votes two years ago, is about to become the next president of Brazil? Lula’s role, along with his 80% approval rating, has undoubtedly been a key factor. But Lula achieved his phenomenal backing for a number of internal and external reasons that merit close analysis. A phenomenon called lulismo was born during his eight-year presidency that explains Dilma’s success.
Electio results show that Rousseff, candidate for the ruling PT (Worker’s Party), got 46.9% of the vote, followed by social democrat José Serra of the PSDB (Brazilian Social Democracy Party) with 32.6% and the ecologist Marina Silva (Lula’s former minister) with 19.3%. On October 31, the day of the second round of votes, Dilma will need four million more votes to become president.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

David Bacon on Labor Solidarity

The Key to Organizing Unions
By David Bacon
Monthly Review, October 2010

        When I was a union organizer, I had an experience that dramatized for me the importance of the cultural and historical traditions that immigrants from Mexico bring with them when they come to the United States, and how they affect the way people organize.
I was working for the United Electrical Workers, one of the most progressive U.S. unions. We were contacted by workers at a huge sweatshop, Cal Spas. Unhappy with low wages and abusive conditions, they began to organize a union. Then the head of the workers' organizing committee was beaten up in the middle of the street in front of the plant. It was an obvious effort to scare the workers and make them stop organizing.
   That night, the workers' committee met and discussed what should be done. Many had no legal immigration status. They had no resources, or even food at home in some cases, because their wages were so low. Yet most people wanted to strike.
   But they did have one big question. They wanted to know if a strike was legal. I told them that strikes under those circumstances in the United States were legal, and they decided that this would be their course of action. The next day, they held a big rally at lunchtime in front of the plant. The committee got up on the back of a flatbed truck and made speeches about the beating and intimidation. At the end of the rally, the committee asked the workers not to go back to work. Hundreds of workers set up picket lines, and the strike was on.
       The next morning, however, there were dozens of people at the plant office, applying for jobs. The company spent a day signing them up. The following morning, the police arrived in a massive show of force. Escorted by the cops, these new workers crossed the picket lines and went to work.
        The strike committee turned to me. One worker, in a tone that indicated he thought I had lied to them, said that I had promised the strike would be legal. I said it was, and they pointed to the strikebreakers. How can it be legal, they asked, if there are people going in to work?

Different Concepts of Rights

    The difference in understanding is crucial. They meant one thing when they said legal, and I meant another. In Mexico, during a legal strike, workers can put red and black flags across the doors into the plant, and the company must remain closed until the strike is over. No one can legally go in to work. The problem, of course, is that it is very difficult for most workers to get legal status for independent unions and strikes.
In the United States, unions do not have to be registered with the government, and anyone can form one. But there is little real legal protection for unions, and they have few rights. A company can legally break a strike, just as Cal Spas did.