Thursday, April 29, 2010

DSA position on immigration

Statement on Immigration
February 2010

DSA will join with humanitarian and labor organizations in calling for immigration
legislation that ensures basic labor rights for immigrant and also undocumented workers,
gives permanent resident status to undocumented workers currently in the United States,
establishes an expeditious and non-punitive road to citizenship, promotes family
reunification, halts deportations, and demilitarizes the border. DSA will also work for
economic development and labor rights in the third world, so as to reduce the forces that
push desperate people to emigrate.

Massive migrations of exploited workers, refugees, displaced farmers, agricultural workers,
and asylum seekers result from an unjust global political and economic system that works for
the benefit of transnational corporations and at the expense of the world’s peoples.
Immigration to the United States does not only result from the “pull” of greater economic
opportunity. It is also caused by the “push” of growing economic inequality and exploitation
in developing societies. Much of the current wave of migration to the United States from
Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean can be traced to NAFTA and other unjust “free
trade” agreements that enabled subsidized U.S. agribusiness to flood these societies with
cheap produce, destroying the livelihoods of millions of small farmers and other rural
workers. The export-oriented, often capital-intensive form of manufacturing imposed on
them by the IMF, World Bank, and WTO also limits the number of good jobs in the urban
economy of these developing nations.

Arizona law and the economic crisis

Arizona has a severe state budget crisis.  They are cutting police officers, schools, medical clinics, and public services ( as is California).  What is the cause of this crisis ?  It was caused by the great bank heist of 2008, finance capital and banking, mostly on Wall Street , Goldman Sachs, Chase Banks, Bank of America, AIG, and others, robbed the banks.  This cost millions of jobs and the pension savings of millions.   BTW. Almost all of the bankers were White.

The Republicans and the Tea Party in Arizona is responding by assaulting U.S. citizens of Mexican descent, immigrants, and anyone who might look like an immigrant.  Peter Wilson and the Republicans in California did the same in 1994- and won re-election.  But, that did not resolve any of the problems. 
Arizona, like  California, has a crime problem.  If you want to be responsible about this issue, we should increase significantly the number of police on the streets.  And, to avoid making the problem worse, we should significantly increase the number of teachers in the schools. 
Duane Campbell 

Arizona law and racism


The Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) stands shoulder to shoulder with our Sisters and Brothers of the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, Tonatierra, the National Day Labor Organizing Network, and the thousands of students, workers, people of faith, and Americans all who oppose the passage of SB1070 in the state of Arizona. The organizations and people of Arizona, not just Mexicans and Latinos, but Native Americans, African Americans and others of color, and working people generally, are truly the real victims on the front-lines of such a backward and racist law signed by Governmor Jan Brewer, but approved by the predominant Republican Party statelegislature. While the law targets people of color, all Arizonans will be adversely damaged. It is no accident that the country, but particularly Arizona, finds itself mired in the worst economic downturn since the 1930s manifested in high unemployment, massive home foreclosures, budget deficits and program reductions and public employee lay-offs, spiraling national debt, and almost unprecedented repression directed at immigrants and their families by a Democratic administration.
The proverbial question that we must ask ourselves is why now SB1070 and who stands to benefit and who stands to lose? Who stands to benefit that immigrants would be scapegoated during these economic times? Who stands to benefit that white Arizonans and the native-born are pitted against immigrants and people of color, even though we constitute the same social class? Who stands to benefit from the public people of color who will lose confidence in the local and state police, and therefore, cause a break-down in public order? Who stands to benefit from an increased state-police mind-set and experiment with such order in Arizona? What are the implications of this for other states and for the country as a whole?
The Coalition for Human Rights, based in Tucson, attempts to answer some of these questions for us in their newsletter below. MAPA and Hermandad MexicanaLatinoamericana will continue to weigh in on the Arizona situation with a series of enewsletters to speak to the issue and definitively answer the questions we pose above.

Arizona and shame

by Darlene Sylva, Sacramento
I just got off the phone with my youngest sister, who lives in Phoenix. She is upset and nervous.
Arizona's new immigration law has her asking me, her sister, the attorney, does she have to carry a certified copy of her birth certificate? How does she prove she's a citizen?
Under the new law, set to go into effect within a few months, any law enforcement officer may, based upon a "reasonable suspicion" ask her to prove her legal status. The law makes it illegal to racial profile, but the only reason to ask my sister would be because she just looks illegal, in other words, existing while brown.
Has the heat finally taken its toll on a majority of the voters in Arizona? Are they so lost in their insecurities they don't see the harm they do to fellow Americans?
Why is it that every time there is a downturn in the economy, those of us born brown become the focus of Anglo insecurities?
This time, without even a hint of shame, Arizonans, mostly immigrants from frigid climes, support action to implement their bigotry in the name of protecting our borders.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mexico violates the rights of immigrants- Amnesty International

MEXICO CITY — Amnesty International called the abuse of migrants in Mexico a major human rights crisis Wednesday, and accused some officials of turning a blind eye or even participating in the kidnapping, rape and murder of migrants.
The group's report comes at a sensitive time for Mexico, which is protesting the passage of a law in Arizona that criminalizes undocumented migrants.
The Interior Department acknowledged in a statement that the mainly Central American migrants who pass through Mexico on their way to the United States suffer abuses, but attributed the problem to criminal gangs branching out into kidnapping and extortion of migrants.
Rupert Knox, Amnesty's Mexico researcher, said in the report that the failure by authorities to tackle abuses against migrants has made their trip through Mexico one of the most dangerous in the world.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eliseo Medina of SEIU on Arizona law SB 170

Arizona: This is what Apartheid Looks Like

By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

Those who think that there’s an immigration crisis in Arizona are correct, however, this is but part of the story. The truth is, a civilizational clash is being played out in the same state in which the state legislature questions the birthplace and legitimacy of President Barack Obama and where Sen. John McCain competes with Senate hopeful, J.D. Hayworth, to see who is the most anti-immigrant.

It is also the same state that several years ago, denied a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr., and that today permits virtually anyone – on the basis of trumped-up fear – to carry concealed weapons anywhere.

Welcome to Apartheid Arizona – the land of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, “States Rights” and a desert that has claimed thousands of migrant lives. By way of the same extremist legislature, the battle here is even much larger and more profound. This civilizational clash is being waged daily here via more bills involving who belongs, what language can be spoken here and who and what can be taught in the state’s schools. This is beyond the notion of who is “legal.”

Whoever said that this crisis is proof that the illegal Mexican American War never ended is partially correct because this conflict is even older than that war in which Mexico lost half its territory to the United States. The irony regarding the recently signed SB 1070 – which permits law enforcement to question people about their citizenship, based on “reasonable suspicion” – is that those principally targeted will be those who look the “most Hispanic.”

“Looking Hispanic” has always been a misnomer; what it really means is those who are dark and short and who look the “most Indigenous.” Truthfully, here in Arpaio Country, that profiling that everyone fears is already here with us. And to dispel illusions, the darkest amongst us have always been subjected to racial profiling by the “migra” and by law enforcement agencies everywhere in the country. This is true whether we’ve been here for a few days or for thousands of years. And to dispel further illusions, this civilizational clash alluded to is national in scope; witness the many hundreds of anti-immigrant bills nationwide since 2006. Only its epicenter is here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

La Opinion - Boycott Arizona

La Opinión Calls for National Boycott of Arizona
La Opinión, Editorial, Staff, Posted: Apr 24, 2010 Review it on NewsTrust
An editorial in the Los Angeles Spanish-language daily La Opinión calls for a national boycott of Arizona after the governor signed the nation's toughest bill on illegal immigration into law on Friday. The new law makes it a misdemeanor to be undocumented, and requires police to question people about their immigration status if the police officers have "reasonable suspicion" that they are in the country illegally. While lawyers challenge the law's constitutionality in the courts, editors of La Opinión call on U.S. residents to take direct action by boycotting all goods and services from Arizona.

We call on those who believe in the U.S. Constitution to boycott the state of Arizona.

The anti-immigrant bill signed yesterday in Arizona is a violation of our right to be free from police harassment based on the way we look.

SB 1070 requires the police to question people about their immigration status if they suspect they are in the U.S. illegally, without any objective basis for that suspicion. This gives free reign to racial profiling and the discriminatory actions that will ensue for being —or appearing to be— Latino.

The law is a violation of basic civil rights. It also wrongfully asserts that states can set their own immigration policy when that is the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government.

The Arizona law is based on inflammatory depictions of the undocumented —repeated by Governor Jan Brewer when she signed the executive order— to justify such a repressive piece of legislation.

There are two ways to fight this law: one is in the courts and the other is through direct action. As for the first, lawyers will be filing lawsuits challenging the law's constitutionality. The latter, direct action, is a call to boycott the state of Arizona.

We express our outrage in the face of this abuse of power. We call for a boycott of all goods and services from Arizona and pledge to avoid tourism in the state as well. Let's send a signal of our disgust with an arrogant state government that asserts powers it does not have in order to persecute a minority population.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Split in Arizona Over Immigration

Published: April 25, 2010.New York Times
MESA, Ariz. — They stood a few miles from each other, but as far apart as heat and cold.
Clutching a copy of a Spanish-language article on the tough new law making it a state crime for illegal immigrants to be in Arizona and requiring those suspected of being violators to show proof of legal status, Eric Ramirez, 29, still waited on a corner for work. He nervously kept watch for the police and wondered what his future held.
“We were already afraid, and I was thinking of leaving for California,” Mr. Ramirez said as he waited on the corner in a heavily Latino enclave already drained of people by the recession and the fear of police harassment. “We shop in their stores, we clean their yards, but they want us out and the police will be on us.”
In a nearby neighborhood, Ron White, 52, said he felt a sense of relief that something was finally being done about “the illegals” — whom he blames for ills like congregating on the streets, breaking into homes in his neighborhood, draining tax dollars and taking jobs from Americans.
“I sure hope it does have an effect,” Mr. White said of the new law as he packed his car with groceries. “I wouldn’t want to show proof of citizenship, but I also don’t feel it is racial profiling. You are going to look different if you are an alien, and cops know.”
Immigration has always polarized residents of Arizona, a major gateway for illegal immigrants. But the new law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday has widened the chasm in a way few here can remember.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Arizona law criminalizes immigrants

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed today what is now the most punitive and sweeping anti-immigrant state law in the nation. This law’s full effects will not be measurable for months to come, but it is already clear that it will be challenged in court because it denies rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. And until the legal issues are settled, the new law will have a detrimental effect on Arizona’s economy, as well as city and state budgets.

The law essentially legalizes racial profiling

  • The law puts communities of color in the crosshairs by requiring state and local government workers to determine if a person is illegally in the United States based on a “reasonable suspicion.”
  • Legal experts maintain that the law will result in racial profiling, as it does not prohibit police officers from relying on race or ethnicity in deciding who to investigate. Of course all Arizonans don’t all look alike. Like America, Arizona is a diverse state with multiple generations of U.S. citizens. Three out of every 10 Arizonans are Hispanic, 1 out of 10 is American Indian, and 13 percent are foreign born.

The law undercuts the Constitution and imbues local police with federal authority

  • Arizona is attempting to grant local police arrest authority for administrative violations of federal immigration law, even though the state police does not even have that authority under federal law.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Arizona law criminalizes immigrants

Stop the Criminalization of Immigrants, End Racial Profiling! 

Demand that Governor Brewer Veto SB 1070

This week, Arizona could make history and protect human rights by VETOING one of the worst anti-immigrant and racially targeted laws our nation has seen in decades.
SB 1070 was passed by the Arizona state legislature and awaits the signature of Governor Jan Brewer. 

Raise your voice now for justice & equality: We are all Arizona

Click here to read and sign the petition to tell Governor Brewer to VETO SB 1070.

In no small coincidence, on Thursday, April 15,the Department of Homeland Security carried out multiple massive raids in Arizona, terrorizing hundreds of workers, families, and children. Over 800 ICE agents were joined by U.S. Marshals and local law enforcement, causing fear and panic across several Arizona communities while the state legislature passed SB 1070, which permanently criminalizes the immigrant community. 
With one click, help our sister communities in Arizona to stop DHS attacks on our rights and the new Arizona law. Click here to tell Gov. Brewer to veto SB 1070, the anti-immigrant racial profiling law.

If signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer, SB 1070 would:

  • Criminalize all undocumented immigrants as "trespassers" in the state of Arizona. SB 1070 would subject all undocumented workers and their families to arrest and conviction for misdemeanors, and in some cases felony charges for the new crime of "trespass" (reminiscent of HR 4437, the 2005 'Sensenbrenner bill').
  • Legalize unchecked racial profiling by police of anyone they "suspect" is undocumented.
  • Give police the authority to enforce federal immigration law and arrest people who cannot produce identification proving their legal residency in the U.S.
  • Give police the power to investigate and entrap employers for hiring undocumented workers.
  • Make seeking work illegal for day laborers and force all individuals, regardless of immigration status or citizenship, to carry identification papers or be subjected to detention and even deportation. Public agencies and service providers would have authority to demand identification documents from any person.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lets have a debate on Immigration reform

To:  The Obama Administration
An Open Letter

This letter was initiated by the Grassroots Immigrant Justice Network, a group which was recently formed by leaders in the immigrant rights and labor movements across the country. Initial members include Isabel Garcia, David Silva Villalobos, Carlos Arango, Juan Jose Bocanegra, Nativo Lopez, David Bacon, Lisa Luinenburg, Cristobal Cavazos, John Steinbach, Daniela Ortiz-Bahamonde, George Shriver, Jason McGahan, and Domingo Gonzales.

Although the political climate seems uncertain, we are proposing a different approach to discussing Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We need to generate a national debate based on immigration as a labor mobility and human rights issue, not as an issue of national security and enforcement. Immigrants have made vast contributions to the U.S., and they should be granted the right to live here legally and without fear. We should recognize migration as the global phenomenon it is and address the root economic causes of migration.

The principles guiding the national debate around immigration reform should consist of:

1. Build bridges between the peoples of the U.S. and Mexico instead of walls that segregate them and turn them into competitors in a struggle for survival. Take immediate action to stop the deaths along the border and end border militarization.

2. Analyze the effects of free trade agreements like NAFTA on the economies of “sender” countries. End all economic and foreign policies that leave people in “sender” countries with no choice but to migrate in order to support their families.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

DSA Honorary Chair Dolores Huerta Celebrates Birthday

 By  Duane E. Campbell
Dolores Huerta will  celebrate her 80th. birthday with activism.
         Dolores, along with Cesar Chavez, Philip Vera Cruz and others created the United Farm Workers union, the first successful union of farm workers in U.S. history.

            Each of the prior attempts to organize farm worker unions were destroyed by racism and corporate power. Huerta and Chavez chose to build a union that incorporated the strategies of social movements and community organizing  and allied itself  with the churches, students,  and organized labor. 
Dolores was long the Vice President of the UFW and the chief negotiator of contracts as well as the primary advocate for farm worker rights in the legislature. The successful creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing  in the Southwest  and contributed significantly to the growth  of Latino politics in the U.S. Dolores was recruited into DSOC ( predecessor of DSA) by Michael Harrington.
             Today Mexican, Mexican American and Puerto Rican union leadership is common  in our major cities and in several  industries. Hundreds of activists in labor, community organizing and politics  owe their skills to UFW training and experience.    Training this cadre of organizers remains a major legacy of the UFW. 

Friday, April 09, 2010

Mexico's new dirty war

Mexico’s  New Dirty War
Kent Paterson.
Carlos Montemayor broke a political taboo. An astute social analyst and prolific writer, Montemayor's novels about the leftist guerrilla uprisings and state repression of the 1960s and 1970s recovered the memory of the dirty war from the historical dustbin. Although the Mexican government still guards the fates of hundreds of people disappeared by its security forces during the dirty war as state secrets, Montemayor's literary contributions helped puncture an official silence at a time when popular forces were struggling to make Mexico a more democratic and just country.
Montemayor's untimely death on February 28 came during a year when Mexico celebrates the twin anniversaries of the 1810 War of Independence and 1910 Revolution, events that unleashed pent-up historical aspirations for land, freedom, democracy, and equality.
Ironically, the dirty war the Chihuahua-born intellectual so brilliantly recreated is back in force just in time for Mexico's historic year. From Chiapas in the south to Chihuahua in the north, forced disappearances, murders of activists and politicians, attacks against journalists, and other violations of human rights are steadily mounting.
Read the entire report: here.
Read Americas Online.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Read King's Beyond VietNam speech

Steve Poizner, Meg Whitman, engage in Fear Mongering

From an editorial in the Sacramento Bee. April 6, 2010.

So will Republican gubernatorial candidates Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman step up and admit they're misleading California's voters about college students who are also illegal immigrants?
Both have been bashing the students as a financial burden on taxpayers to prove their tough-on-illegal immigration bona fides to the party faithful. They both want to repeal Assembly Bill 540, which grants in-state tuition to some non-residents, including some illegal immigrants.
But as The Bee's Susan Ferriss reported last week, those students represent a tiny fraction – 1 percent or less – of all students in all three of the state's higher education systems. On University of California campuses, for instance, there were fewer than 2,000 students who were not state residents but were paying in-state tuition in 2007-08 – and UC says only as many as 400 were illegal immigrants.
So the savings from rescinding AB 540 would be far less than the candidates suggest, a minuscule portion of the higher education budget.
Many of the students were brought here as young children by their parents; even to be eligible for in-state tuition, they have to graduate from California high schools and must have attended for at least three years. And many of them will stay in California, so the state has a real stake in their education and future.
Poizner, in particular, isn't letting the facts get in the way in his desperation to catch Whitman. He also wants to change federal law to bar the public school doors to illegal immigrant children. In a TV spot promising to end taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants, he rails against "years of liberal failure."
"We all know California is heading right over a cliff," Poizner says in the ad, as a car falls off a precipice. "Politicians have lacked the guts to tackle the problem."
Read more:

Sunday, April 04, 2010

An exciting time for former UFW volunteers!


1. Randy Shaw started the ball rolling with his  "Beyond The Fields: Cesar Chavez, The UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century" (2008).  Randy writes: Cesar Chavez always expected the spirit of 'si se puede!' to live on in future generations. Continuing the struggle for justice in the twenty-first century is the best testament to his and the UFW's legacy."

2. Miriam Pawell rolled out: "The Union of Their Dreams: Power, Hope, and Struggle in Cesar Chavez's Farm Worker Movement". (2009)  Miriam states that - to date - most of what has been written about Cesar Chavez is hagiography and the purpose of her book is to provide a reevaluation of Chavez's legacy, and then for the next 200 pages she trashes his leadership abilities.

3. Not to be outdone, writer Richard Rodriguez takes up Pawel's theme with an article in the Wilson Quarterly (2010) stating that Cesar Chavez is a "loser" and characterizes him as a "bully" - and that he spoke like a Mexican.

4. Rising to the occasion, Jeffrey Rubin, professor of history at Boston University, writes in the Christian Science Monitor (March 31,2010) that Cesar Chavez and Hugo Chavez "are more alike than they are different . . . and as journalist Miriam Pawel makes clear, the cause of the UFW demise was Cesar Chavez himself. The charisma and brilliance that enabled Chavez to rally supporters across the US, from students to ministers to suburban housewives, also led him to ignore the on-the-ground needs of running a union and throw out anyone who opposed his top-down authority."  (Wow!!)