Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What Real Immigration Reform Would Look Like

antiracismdsa: What Real Immigration Reform Would Look Like: WHAT REAL IMMIGRATION REFORM WOULD LOOK LIKE Clue:  It's Not a New Guest Worker Program By David Bacon The Progressive web edition, 7/...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Civil Rights Leaders meet with Obama

Plan for March on Washington.

Meteor Blades, Daily Kos
Some 15 civil rights leaders emerged from a 45-minute meeting at the White House Monday afternoon saying they were heartened by what they said was President Obama's commitment not to roll over in the face of the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision outrageous weakening the Voting Rights Act. Those in attendance included Attorney General Eric Holder and representatives of the National Action Network, NAACP, ACLU, National Council of La Raza, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the National Urban League.

 New York Times: WASHINGTON — Days after his administration filed suit against Texas to protect minority voters, President Obama told civil rights leaders and local officials on Monday that the federal government would vigorously enforce voting rights in the country despite a Supreme Court ruling against a core section of a landmark 1965 law, several participants said after a White House meeting.
“The president said that the Voting Rights Act is not dead, it’s not even critical, it’s just wounded,” said the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and MSNBC talk show host. “He was very reassuring,” Mr. Sharpton added.
Mr. Obama met with the group for about 40 minutes, and administration officials led by the attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., met with the group for a bit longer. The administration was addressing what Mr. Sharpton described as the civil rights community’s “alarm” over the court’s 5-to-4 vote last month. In that case, Shelby County v. Holder, the majority struck down as outdated and unnecessary the law’s language requiring that the federal government review and clear any changes in election laws in nine states, most of them in the South.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

What Real Immigration Reform Would Look Like

Clue:  It's Not a New Guest Worker Program
By David Bacon
The Progressive web edition, 7/27/13

Oralia Maceda asks her question at the Fresno meeting.

Oralia Maceda, an immigrant mother from Oaxaca, asked the obvious last weekend in Fresno.  At a meeting, talking about the Senate immigration reform bill, she wanted to know why Senators would spend almost $50 billion on more border walls, yet show no interest in why people leave home to cross them.

This Congressional blindness will get worse as immigration reform moves to the House.  It condemns U.S. immigration policy to a kind of punitive venality, making rational political decisions virtually impossible.  Yet alternatives are often proposed by migrant communities themselves, and reflect a better understanding of global economics and human rights. 

Rufino Dominguez, who now works for the Oaxacan state government, describes what Maceda knows from experience: "NAFTA forced the price of corn so low it's not economically possible to plant a crop anymore.  We come to the U.S. to work because there's no alternative."  The reason for the fall in prices, according to Timothy Wise of the Global Development and Environment Institute, is that corn imports to Mexico from the U.S. rose from 2,014,000 to 10,330,000 tons from 1992 to 2008. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

U.S. deported over 13,000 unaccompanied children last year

On Tuesday, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) released a report confirming that 13,454 unaccompanied Mexican minors under the age of 18 were deported from the U.S. in 2012, according to Animal Politico.
Last year, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 6,548 accompanied and 24,481 unaccompanied children, a total that includes Mexican minors. The rate of border-crossing minors tripled since 2008 to the point that in 2012, unaccompanied minors comprised 79 percent of all juvenile border crossers.
Once apprehended, minors are placed with the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), an U.S. Health and Human Services agency that takes custody of minors while their cases are being adjudicated. While the majority of minors from Mexico are returned without being detained, some children are kept in adult detention centers. In 2012, those children spent anywhere between three days to more than an year. Indeed, over 1,300 children spent a combined one hundred years in adult detention centers last year.
Whereas the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a policy of detaining children in the least restrictive setting appropriate to their age and needs, they have not always followed through on those orders. One four-year old child was subjected to freezing conditions.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

California Legislators encourage Chicano/Latino students to stay in school

Legislators and state officials extolled the power of education to a group of 120 students participating in the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project at the state Capitol on Wednesday.
High school juniors and seniors from across the state gathered in Sacramento for a weeklong leadership program that included meetings with lawmakers and mock policy debates.
Prominent Latino officials, like Anna Caballero Secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing agency and Diana Fuentes-Michel executive director of the California Student Aid Commission, encouraged the students to seek higher education.
Caballero told the students her success would not be possible without education.
"Education is what opened the door to opportunities in my life," Caballero said. "To become a lawyer, to have my own business, to become the mayor of Salinas, to be elected to the state Assembly, and now to be appointed as a cabinet secretary to Gov. Jerry Brown."
More than 90 percent of the 3,800 students who have participated in the 31 years of the program have gone on to attend college. Alicia Vidales-Vera, a 17-year-old student from Wasco., hoped to become one of them.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Real Immigration Reform. Ahora es cuando.

A Message to Washington: There is no Room for Failure

In a united effort, El Diario/LaPrensa, La Opinion, New America Media, Irish Echo, Bangla Patrika, Daily Khabrain, Nowy Dziennik, Primera Hora and other media are issuing this joint call to Congress.

In the Republican-controlled House, many legislators are positioning themselves to not only resist but also undermine immigration reform. Speaker John Boehner has said that he will not bring a bill to the floor unless a majority of Republicans support it.
Immigration reform has been on hold for more than a decade, leaving 11 million people in a legal limbo. We strongly urge representatives in Washington to instead work on sensible and humane policy solutions that will resolve the plight of families across this nation.
But for legislators who want to usher a bipartisan reform effort into a minefield of backwards amendments, we remind them of the following.
In 2006, immigrants and allies rallied across the country in massive demonstrations. The slogan then was "Today we march, tomorrow we vote."
It was not an empty promise.
The anti-immigrant attacks from the right had grown so hostile that it drove outraged voters to the polls. They helped cast a Democrat in the White House. This trend continued as Republicans moved to be more inclusive in 2012 but failed to offer a real program for immigration reform. The political implications for those who choose to go to the negotiation table in bad faith are clear.
But more importantly than the political consequences, Congress has a moral obligation to children who should not be separated from their parents. It must bring out of the shadows people who stand ready for full integration and to contribute to our nation's economy as baby boomers age out.
In these weeks, the issue of border security has been allowed to dominate the discourse around reform. We understand that controls at the border are needed. However, the conversation around immigration reform doesn't begin and end at the border. And this two-step process that many Republicans are obsessed with – that legalization must be conditioned on a military border complex– is the same delay tactic they have been using for years.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Acuña- Some Time You Have to Shout to be Heard

by Rodolfo F. Acuña. 

Why should Latinos support Justice for Trayvon Martin? It is not the first time that I have been asked that question about another group. Take care of the family first.

Through the years, people have questioned why I was against capital punishment and supported cases such as that of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a black journalist originally sentenced to death in 1981 for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner.

When people asked me why we were supporting a black instead of concentrating on Chicanas/os, my first reaction was flippant (porque me da la chingada gana) but after thinking my response changed and ir was similar to that that I have toward the Trayvon Martin case: “It is not only Trayvon Martin who was wronged, it was society. The law is bad and encourages this behavior toward people who look different. Look at the attacks and murders of undocumented immigrants.” In supporting Mumia or Trayvon Martin, we are insuring that this injustice will not spread.

I also reject the argument that George Zimmerman should be supported because he is Latino. Incidentally, he never identified as a Latino, and he obviously identified as white. The Huffington Post’s Gene Demby dug into his past and came up with an old MySpace page belonging to Zimmerman. In it, he made disparaging comments about Mexicans, and he bragged about a 2005 criminal case against him.

The prosecution was so afraid of the issue of race that to my knowledge it was not brought up.

In Myspace Zimmerman he discussed his hatred toward Mexicans, saying why he did not miss his former home in Manassas, Virginia:

I dont miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft ass wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) dont make you a man in my book. Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into!”

In that same year, he was arrested and charged after an altercation with a police officer and his fiancé at the time got a restraining order against him.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Justice for Trayvon Denied- Renewing the Fight Against Racism

 Justice for Trayvon Denied:  Renewing the Fight Against Racism
Statement of the Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee, July 14, 2013
 Democratic Socialists of America joins the broad civil rights and progressive community in expressing its outrage at the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin.  Only an insane, ALEC-inspired “stand your ground law” combined with the racist assumption that African Americans automatically pose a threat to anyone’s person and property enabled George Zimmerman to be acquitted. In the law of most other societies, the armed party would have been responsible for “standing down” and avoiding an altercation with an unarmed party.  But in the United States, an unarmed black teenager, walking in his father’s neighborhood, is viewed by all too many as a threat to an armed vigilante who not only initiated the deadly encounter, but stalked the victim.
If the “stand your ground” law and a lax prosecution enabled George Zimmerman to get off, this is clearly one in a long series of cases in the United States where racist laws and true justice fail to coincide. George Zimmerman’s words to the police dispatcher –who urged him to stand down—ironically summarized what many of us see to be the outcome of the trial:  “Fucking punks; these assholes always get away.” Indeed, George Zimmerman got away.

On the Zimmerman decision

Bill Fletcher Jr.
I received the news when I was getting ready to eat.
I was prepared, intellectually, for a not-guilty verdict.  I was not ready in my gut. As a radical i am quite aware of the injustices that regularly and historically have happened to people of color and to the poor.  I am aware of how the system regularly justifies the murder of black people.
Yet i am nothing but sickened.  And sitting here listening to these so-called defense attorneys gloat over their victory and place the blame for Trayvon Martin’s death on Trayvon is actually more than i can take.
This verdict is a verdict in favor of white fear.  We should all be clear about that.  This is a verdict that says that white people have every right to fear any and every black person and, if the law permits it, to act upon such fear.  I do not care whether Zimmerman is part Latino, he acted as a white man and that is certainly how he will be remembered.  Zimmerman looked at Trayvon through the eyes of a white man and assumed danger when no danger existed.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Dignity Campaign opposes S 744- Immigration

The many grassroots organizations across the U.S. who stand behind the Dignity Campaign ( have worked tirelessly for immigration reform based on human, civil and worker's rights of immigrants, especially those who are undocumented. Senate Bill 744 is not the immigration reform we seek. S. 744 is a corporate boondoggle that will be a civil rights disaster for immigrant communities.

This bill holds the limited legalization program hostage to the further advancement of the security state, by doubling the number of Border Patrol agents, and spending an incredible $50 billion to build a double wall on the US/Mexico border, and deploy more drones and other tools of electronic warfare in border communities. S.744's beneficiaries are a very narrow class of elite contractors in the "security" and surveillance industries (like Bechtel), privatized prison corporations (like Geo Corporation), and corporate-scale agriculture, and technology giants striving to keep wages as low as possible through the expansion of guest worker programs. S. 744 accomplishes this by moving away from family-based immigration to an employment-based system.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Repressive Immigration Legislation in the House of Representatives

Two weeks ago, the Senate passed immigration reform with a robustly bipartisan 68-32 vote, and now the big question is what the House will do. So far, House Committees have approved five bills, none of which create a path to citizenship, and all of which contain provisions that would negatively impact our community members. (See short bill summaries below.)

On the eve of this meeting, ALL Representatives, Democrats and Republicans, need to hear from their constituents. Raise your voices and tell your Representative to focus on legislation that creates a pathway to citizenship and reunites families. 

Call: the Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Representative or find your Representative's direct line at

Sample script: 

"I am from [City, State], and I urge Representative (name) to support immigration reform that creates a path to citizenship and reunites families. 

I urge the Representative to OPPOSE bills like the SAFE Act, Border Security Results Act, Agricultural Guestworker Act, and SKILLS Visas Act. These are not real reforms to our immigration system. We need immigration reform that creates a path to citizenship and reunites separated families."

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Price of Immigration Reform is Steep

By David Bacon, Rosalinda Guillen and Mark Day
New America Media, 
            As the Senate prepares to vote on comprehensive immigration reform, it's important to remember that workers and immigrants have never made significant progress in gaining civil and human rights in the U.S. without a fight.  The same is true today.
            No political party or Gang of Eight can bestow upon undocumented immigrants rights that can only be won through an organized social movement.  President Barack Obama would not have issued an executive order to defer the deportations of undocumented students had not these courageous youths fought those deportations, staged protests, and proposed their own immigration reform - the Dream Act.
            The Senate's proposed bill, however, does not reflect the reality in which most immigrants live, starting with the reasons why people come to the U.S. to begin with.
            This bill will not stop the flow of undocumented immigrants, its stated purpose, because it does not address the root causes of migration.  The North American Free Trade Agreement alone displaced millions of Mexican workers and farmers, forcing them to leave their country.  When it went into effect, 4.6 million Mexicans lived in the U.S.  Today 13 million people do - 11% of Mexico's population.