Friday, April 30, 2010

The Department of Homland Security News

I didn't know this until today, but the Department of Homeland Security website has a blog and also a news section where they post information about how our laws are being enforced. Each statement provides a link to a corresponding website. Titles include things like: "Managers of 2 Suburban Staffing Companies Charged With Hiring Illegal Aliens." Also, there is a list of definitions which was helpful for me.

Thought this might be useful for some of your portfolios. 


Census: Who Am I? (How we became white people)

I thought that this is an interesting twist to our normal blog posts. It's an opinion piece not particularly focused upon any one topic (other than Arizona at the end) but relevant to many and certainly our class as we have talked about oppression and dominance throughout all discussions. I included the editor's note too because he/she gives a brief description.

Editor's note: America's 300 million-plus people are declaring their identity in the 2010 census. This piece is part of a special series on in which people describe how they see their own identity. Christian Lander is a writer living in Los Angeles. His book "Stuff White People Like" is published by Random House.

tzleft.lander.christian.cnn.jpg(CNN) -- I am white. I know that's a terribly big surprise, considering that I write a blog called Stuff White People Like, but I mean it, I'm white.

Like really white.

I'm not attempting to assert some sort of superiority through my whiteness; quite the opposite actually. Thanks to my liberal upbringing, I am imbued with the appropriate amount of guilt and shame about my ancestors and their actions in the New World.

Even in my home, I can't offer a blanket to a nonwhite friend without the fear that they will look at me and say "no smallpox on this right?" A joke, but I still want to apologize.

I'm a white male. I belong to a group that pretty much always been able to own land and to vote. I'm more or less from the kind that grabbed power somewhere after the fall of Rome and never let go. In other words, I'm the kind of white guy that has never experienced any real oppression.

Although I guess my ancestors technically left England because of some religious persecution and in spite of a rough boat ride and a rough first Thanksgiving, it's safe to say it worked out pretty well. Unless you got one of those aforementioned blankets.

But in addition to being white and having ancestors on the Mayflower, I'm also Canadian. Yes, I know that might actually make me more white than before, but it also technically makes me an immigrant to this country.

Still, I am loath to call myself an immigrant because I don't want to demean the very real, very difficult challenges faced by immigrants to this country who have had to overcome differences in language, culture and distance from their families. I would say my biggest hardship has been trying to find Ketchup Chips.

But in the eyes of the U.S. government, I am an immigrant, the same as someone from China, Mexico or India. I would not be in this country had I not met my wife in graduate school, and I am thankful every day for her and the opportunity to live in the United States.

So when the census came around, I was absolutely thrilled. I've lived in the United States for eight years (four of them as a graduate student), and in that time, I have never been able to vote or access any public services. The census meant I was going to be counted, I was going to be a part of American history. A good part, not that blanket part.

When the form arrived, I scanned the options and quickly checked "white." I would have checked "Canadian" but that option wasn't anywhere to be found. There it was, I was a white American, or technically a white American Permanent Resident. But then I started thinking about what it really means to be a white American.

As long as America has been around, I would have been considered white. I would have checked the same box in the 1790 census, had my relatives decided to stay on their land instead of moving to Canada to stay loyal to the King of England. But not everyone who checked that box on the census has always been considered white. Irish, Italian, Jewish, German and Eastern European have all been considered not white. or at the very least "not American."

All of these groups came to America amid widespread discrimination, and yet through the process of assimilation and Americanization, the status of white was slowly conferred upon them (read "The History of White People" or "How the Irish Became White" for actual, intelligent research on how this happened).

And with this new-found white status also came the status of "ethnically American." Of course, a lot of people will say that there is no such thing as an ethnic American and that everyone who becomes a citizen is an American. And this is true to the letter of the law, but if we consider the popular perception of immigration and the American dream, to say that white skin has nothing to do with it would be complete folly.

In the popular myth, immigrants arrive as huddled masses yearning to be free and most of the women wear scarves around their head. They move to the Lower East Side or some other suitably "ethnic" community, they change a last name, they learn English and within one generation they are welcomed into the country as ethnic Americans and granted that wonderful privilege of checking the white box on the census.

The reality is that America has a long history of welcoming immigrants who will never be able to check that white box on the census, and unfortunately that means America also has a long history of discrimination against those people regardless of their status in the country. Just one example would be the treatment of Japanese-Americans during World War II contrasted against the treatment of German-Americans.

But all of that was in the past right? Well, ask yourself this: Who is more likely to get pulled over and forced to show his papers in Arizona today? A first generation Canadian immigrant, or a 10th generation Mexican-American?

What I hope this census will force the country to deal with is the fact that white immigrants like me will never again make up the majority of people that come to this country. America is not getting whiter, it will never get whiter. Well, unless we start handing those blankets out again.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Christian Lander.

One Person's Story

Well my father is back from a month in South America and he has many, many interesting stories. Some sad, some very funny. I am sharing this story that he emailed me because it pertains to my portfolio topic: family reunification and it is very powerful (but sad). He wrote:

"Racheal, I thought you might be interested in this encounter. Monday night I boarded a Taca plane in San Salvador for my return trip home. During the three hour flight I sat next to a man named Carlos who was from El Salvador. In my discussion with him he told me that he had been visiting with family. He continued to tell me that he had taken advantage of the amnesty program offered by Ronald Reagan in the 1980's. He now has legal permanent resident alien status. He regularly makes return trips home to visit his father and mother as well as his wife. As we sat and talked he lamented the fact that he cannot bring his wife into the US as there has been no immigration process for foreigners like her. He explained that he and his wife are hopping that president Obama keeps his promise and develops a legal entry immigration process. Even though he had hope for immigration reform, he was also disappointed, saying that because Obama chose to push healthcare reform he does not expect him to do anything soon. Carlos told me that he had promised his wife that president Obama would provide a means for her to come to America in 2011. Now they both await to see if that promise will be fulfilled.

It's a sad story, I'm sure repeated thousands of times.


Arizona Grades Teachers on Fluency State Pushes School Districts to Reassign Instructors With Heavy Accents or Other Shortcomings in Their English

What kind of accent may they be speaking of? Glad the WSJ is covering this.


Arizona Grades Teachers on Fluency
State Pushes School Districts to Reassign Instructors With Heavy Accents or Other Shortcomings in Their English


PHOENIX—As the academic year winds down, Creighton School Principal Rosemary Agneessens faces a wrenching decision: what to do with veteran teachers whom the state education department says don't speak English well enough.
The Arizona Department of Education recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English.
Joshua Lott for The Wall Street Journal

Karla Campillo-Soto teaches a kindergarten class for students with limited English at Creighton School in Phoenix. The native of Mexico took a course to try to reduce her accent in English. Two other kindergarten teachers at the school were deemed not fluent enough for such students.
Journal Community

State education officials say the move is intended to ensure that students with limited English have teachers who speak the language flawlessly. But some school principals and administrators say the department is imposing arbitrary fluency standards that could undermine students by thinning the ranks of experienced educators.
The teacher controversy comes amid an increasingly tense debate over immigration. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer this month signed the nation's toughest law to crack down on illegal immigrants. Critics charge that the broader political climate has emboldened state education officials to target immigrant teachers at a time when a budget crisis has forced layoffs.
"This is just one more indication of the incredible anti-immigrant sentiment in the state," said Bruce Merrill, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University who conducts public-opinion research.
Margaret Dugan, deputy superintendent of the state's schools, disagreed, saying that critics were "politicizing the educational environment."
In the 1990s, Arizona hired hundreds of teachers whose first language was Spanish as part of a broad bilingual-education program. Many were recruited from Latin America.
Then in 2000, voters passed a ballot measure stipulating that instruction be offered only in English. Bilingual teachers who had been instructing in Spanish switched to English.
Ms. Dugan said some schools hadn't been complying with the state law that made English the only language in the classroom. "Our job is to make sure the teachers are highly qualified in fluency of the English language. We know districts that have a fluency problem," she said.

Arizona's enforcement of fluency standards is based on an interpretation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. That law states that for a school to receive federal funds, students learning English must be instructed by teachers fluent in the language. Defining fluency is left to each state, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education said.
"The teacher obviously must be fluent in every aspect of the English language," said Adela Santa Cruz, director of the Arizona education-department office charged with enforcing standards in classes for students with limited English.

The education department has dispatched evaluators to audit teachers across the state on things such as comprehensible pronunciation, correct grammar and good writing.

Teachers that don't pass muster may take classes or other steps to improve their English; if fluency continues to be a problem, Ms. Santa Cruz said, it is up to school districts to decide whether to fire teachers or reassign them to mainstream classes not designated for students still learning to speak English. However, teachers shouldn't continue to work in classes for non-native English speakers.

About 150,000 of Arizona's 1.2 million public-school students are classified as English Language Learners. Of the state's 247 school districts, about 20 have high concentrations of such students, the largest number of which are in the younger grades.
Nearly half the teachers at Creighton, a K-8 school in a Hispanic neighborhood of Phoenix, are native Spanish speakers. State auditors have reported to the district that some teachers pronounce words such as violet as "biolet," think as "tink" and swallow the ending sounds of words, as they sometimes do in Spanish.

These teachers "are very good educators who understand the culture" of their students," said Ms. Agneessens, Creighton's principal. "Teachers should speak grammatically correct English," she acknowledged, but added, "I object to the nuance of punishment for accent."

"It doesn't matter to me what the accent is; what matters is if my children are learning," said Luis Tavarez, the parent of sixth- and eighth-graders at Creighton.

"Student achievement and growth should inform teacher evaluations, not their accents," said Kent Scribner, superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District.

John Hartsell, spokesman for the Arizona Education Association, a union that represents 34,000 teachers, said the recent focus on fluency was a distraction from more important issues. "This is not the time to be pressuring districts to deal with accents that have nothing to do with quality teaching; we are trying to figure out how to best fund operations" because of cuts in education, he said.

State education officials deny any discrimination against teachers, saying they are acting in students' best interest.

Ms. Santa Cruz, the state official, said evaluators weren't looking at accents alone. "We look at the best models for English pronunciation," she said. "It becomes an issue when pronunciation affects comprehensibility."

"Teachers should speak good grammar because kids pick up what they hear," said Johanna Haver, a proponent of English-language immersion who serves as an adviser to Arizona educators. "Where you draw the line is debatable."

After evaluation and despite completing an accent-reduction course, some teachers at Creighton were ruled still unsuited to teaching English-language learners.

That poses a dilemma for Ms. Agneessens, the principal. In kindergarten, three of four classes are for English-language learners. Two of those three classes are taught by immigrants whose English didn't pass muster.

Ms. Agneessens said she was trying to find a way to retain those two teachers by shifting them into classrooms not designated for English-language learners, even if that meant teaching a different grade. Both teachers declined to comment for this article.

Recently, she informed one experienced kindergarten teacher that she would have to be reassigned to a mainstream class in a higher grade in the fall, if she wished to remain at the school.

"We both cried," she said.

Write to Miriam Jordan at

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Racist roots of Arizona law

In case you haven't seen this about SB 1070 yet...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Texas lawmakers closely watching Arizona

I was hopeful that this wouldn't happen here, but, alas, it seems like it may be headed this way. --Lauren

April 27, 2010, 8:53PM
AUSTIN — Texas lawmakers are closely watching Arizona's get-tough immigration law, with some Republicans saying they will push for similar action here while Democrats say the legislation is wrongheaded and the GOP would suffer politically for the attempt.

“The first priority for any elected official is to make sure that the safety and security of Texans is well-established,” said Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball. “If our federal government did their job, then Arizona wouldn't have to take this action, and neither would Texas.”

Riddle introduced a similar measure last legislative session — it stalled in committee — and said she will do the same when the Legislature meets in regular session in January.

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, called the Arizona law “extremely damaging and hateful” and said any attempt to replicate it in Texas would not pass, but would damage the GOP.

Any such measure that gains traction “just adds to the Democratic side,” said Van de Putte, a former president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.
She said she has scotched Arizona travel plans.

“I will not step into that state, and every single group that I'm a part of, if they plan a meeting there, I will not go, and I will ask all of my colleagues to please not go,” she said. “If my family would be treated differently just because of the color of their skin, then I don't want to be in that state.”

‘A different relationship'
The Arizona law, which has sparked protests and questions over its constitutionality, would require local and state lawmen to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to believe they may be in the country illegally. The measure would make it a crime under Arizona state law if immigrants lack registration documents. They could face arrest, a jail term of up to six months and a fine.

Jim Harrington, of the Texas Civil Rights Project, predicted “zero” chance of a similar effort here, saying Texas has “a different relationship with the Hispanic community.”
Such a push “would cause an enormous political transformation of the state a lot quicker than it's happening at this point,” Harrington said. “It would galvanize the Hispanic community astronomically.”

Asked about the Arizona law, GOP Gov. Rick Perry and his Democratic challenger, Bill White, emphasized through spokespeople that immigration is a federal responsibility.
“You can take the political temperature by just looking at Rick Perry being quiet,” Harrington said.

In Washington, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday that the Obama administration has concerns about Arizona's action and that a Justice Department review is under way to determine the law's constitutionality.

“We believe it will detract from and siphon resources that we need to focus on those in the country illegally who are committing the most serious crimes in addition to violating our nation's immigration laws,” said Napolitano, who was governor of Arizona until joining the Obama administration.

Seen as misguided
Even if the Arizona law is constitutional, she said it is misguided because it would hamper trust between law enforcement investigating crimes such as domestic violence, human trafficking, even routine traffic accidents. Napolitano said she hoped the federal government's review would be complete before the Arizona law takes effect in late July or early August.

The Texas Association of Business' Bill Hammond said that while it is likely similar legislation will be filed in the Lone Star State, “I think and hope there's little likelihood the Texas Legislature would pass anything so misguided as what they've done in Arizona. I think it is blatantly unconstitutional.”

‘Proud of Arizona'
Whether the Arizona move could increase immigration to Texas is an open question. Harrington said he does not think so, partly because people who go to Arizona typically come from a different part of Mexico than those who come to Texas.

But Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, former State Affairs Committee chairman who did not advance immigration measures in 2007 because he said he was advised they would violate constitutional standards, said the Arizona action could increase immigration to Texas. He said he expects a similar push here but also expects Arizona to face a court fight.

“I'm real proud of Arizona,” said Swinford. “A lot of this stuff we wanted to do, we just couldn't do because I didn't want Texas going bankrupt trying to defend it in the courts. ...”
Gary Martin contributed to this report from Washington.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Baseball caught in Ariz. boycott

Baseball caught in Ariz. boycott
Backlash from immigration law also hits tourism

Immigrants, activists and supporters of illegal immigrants rally against a new Arizona law on Tuesday outside of Federal Plaza in New York City.
View related photos
By David Schwartz and Tim Gaynor
updated 7:19 p.m. CT, Tues., April 27, 2010

PHOENIX - Immigration-rights activists called on baseball fans on Tuesday to stay home from Arizona Diamondbacks games as part of a broad economic boycott to protest a statewide crackdown on illegal immigration signed into law in Arizona.
As a backlash by Hispanic groups, organized labor and civil liberties activists gained steam, the leader of the California Senate and officials in two of the state's biggest cities also moved to cut ties with companies based in neighboring Arizona.
Opponents of the state immigration law, the toughest on the books in the United States, urged travelers to avoid the tourism-dependent Grand Canyon state and for business groups and other organizations to hold their conventions elsewhere.

Detained Migrant Women Shackled During Childbirth

By Valeria Fernández

Miriam Mendiola with her son Angel, who was born in a hospital while she was in custody. She said she was immediately shackled after her C-section.

PHOENIX, Arizona, Mar 4, 2010 (IPS) - When Maricopa County sheriff's deputies raided Celia Alejandra Alvarez's workplace and discovered her hiding place, she says they lifted her off her feet and slammed her face into a wall, causing injuries to her jaw and teeth. Later, in detention for having false documents, she says she was not given medical care.

"I'm never going to forget what I went through behind bars," the 32-year-old Mexican immigrant told IPS. Last month, she filed a lawsuit against the sheriff's office.

Alvarez is not alone. Other immigrant women and mothers like her describe allegations of physical abuse and being shackled during childbirth while in the custody of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who runs five county jails, is in the national spotlight for his crusade to have local police arrest undocumented immigrants and facilitate their deportation. But he is also the subject of a probe into civil rights violations, and a federal grand jury on abuse of power.

Advocates contend the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the sheriff's office are equally to blame for the alleged violations occurring at the jails. They argue the cooperation between local police and immigration authorities has led to increased arrests of undocumented immigrants for minor offences.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the enforcement arm of DHS, has an agreement with Arapio known as 287(g) that allows jailers to place retainers on undocumented immigrants to transfer custody once their state charges are resolved.

ICE officials defend the agreement, reporting that 69 percent of immigrants detected through this programme in Maricopa have committed serious crimes. Among the categories included in "serious crimes" are people accused of forgery and identity theft - crimes connected with immigrants' inability to present legal documents to work.

Part of the issue is that laws in Arizona related to employment are being used to "cast a wide net" across immigrant communities in order to deport people, said Victoria Lopez, an immigration attorney and immigrant rights advocate at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona.

"This is sad. It's a crime out of the necessity to feed one's children, to live and function and take care of one's family," she told IPS.

That is what Alvarez did. She took on the false name of Francisca Perez Mendoza and got a job at a landscaping company for six dollars an hour. The mother of four children born in the U.S. was still nursing her three-month-old baby at the time of the raid.

On the early morning of Feb. 11, 2009, dozens of sheriff deputies wearing ski masks arrived at her job and arrested 60 workers.

"It was unfair the way they arrested us, it was like they were chasing rabbits," said Alvarez.

She said after a deputy injured her jaw, one of them hit her with a clipboard for trying to speak to a family member who had also been detained.

Her experience only worsened when she was incarcerated in Estrella Jail.

The facility holds over 2,000 women at a time. According to estimates, about 10 percent are undocumented immigrants and 70 percent haven't yet been convicted of any crime.

Alvarez was forced to strip in front of male guards and take off the religious garments she wore as a member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints to don the black-and-white-striped uniform used in the jail. She says that during her three months in the jail, she didn't receive proper medical treatment or medicine to ease the pain of her injuries.

Maria del Carmen Garcia, a Mexican immigrant and mother of three, told a similar story. She has a pending civil lawsuit against the sheriff's office.

Garcia, 46, was arrested when police come to her home to tell her not to put up yard sale signs around her neighbourhood. The officer decided to arrest her on forgery charges when she presented her identification.

She was only in Estrella Jail for five days when the charges were dropped for lack of evidence. But her nightmare began on the way out.

The incident happened on Mar. 11, 2009. Six deputies forced her to put her fingerprint on a form to be transferred to ICE and allegedly broke her arm. After that, she was locked in a room all night.

Garcia, a housewife who has been living in the U.S. for close to 20 years, was fortunate enough to have a criminal defence attorney assist in securing her release.

"Had I been deported, I wouldn't be able to tell my story," she said. "I promised all the other women in there that I would speak up."

An internal investigation by authorities determined that her claims were "unfounded", but did not dispute the fact that she was forced to put her fingerprint on the form.

An alarming problem for advocates is that "many people are traumatised, many feel very pressured by the conditions (in the jails) to sign voluntary deportations or to wave their rights to see an immigration judge," said immigration attorney Lopez.

Undocumented immigrant women who enter the jail must await trial behind bars. They are denied bond under state laws and they are also held on a retainer to be turned over to immigration authorities after their cases are resolved.

This has resulted in situations where pregnant women had to give birth in detention, unlike other detainees who can be bailed out. The sheriff's office practice is to shackle pregnant inmates during childbirth.

In October 2008, Alma Chacón, 35, an undocumented immigrant arrested during a traffic stop for having unpaid tickets, gave birth in a "forensic restraint". The sheriff office said they used a 12-foot-long chain to restrain her. But she recalled that they shackled her hands and legs. She wasn't allowed to hold her baby until she was released from immigration custody 70 days later.

"I hope that if I tell my story, they are finally going to change things," she told IPS.

Last December, Miriam Mendiola-Martinez, 34, had a similar experience. The undocumented Mexican immigrant was arrested for using somebody else's name to work in a department store for six years.

She said that she spent the last two months of her pregnancy in Estrella Jail being shackled every time she was transported and poorly fed. She had a Caesarian section at the hospital, but a deputy shackled her to the bed when she was still bleeding from her recovery.

"There wasn't a reason for it, I couldn't escape," she told IPS.

Sheriff Arpaio plans to expand his immigration enforcement programme. He dismisses allegations of human rights abuses and says his officers have helped to identify over 33,000 undocumented immigrants that came to his jails in the past three years.

Currently, legislators in Arizona are working on a bill that would allow local police to arrest an undocumented immigrant for trespassing on state land. If it becomes law, the number of immigrants arriving at the jails is expected to increase.

In fiscal year 2009, ICE held more than 380,000 migrants in detention. About 60 percent of them were detained by local law enforcement through programmes like 287(g). More than half had no criminal record, according to a report issued by a former official at DHS.

Last October, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a review of the detention immigration system to prioritise health, safety and responsibility. Part of the plan includes expanding agreements with local authorities to identify undocumented immigrants that come into the jails.

In response, human rights groups across the country launched the campaign "Dignity, Not Detention". It denounces the expansion of detention and the increased role of local police in the incarceration of undocumented immigrants for minor offences.

"We don't feel there could be any true reform of the detention system without taking a look at the use of local law enforcement and the number of people being swept up by it," said Jacki Esposito, policy coordinator with Detention Watch Network (DWN), the group that is spearheading the campaign.

'Shooting Itself in the Foot': Is U.S. Turning Away Entrepreneurs?

This article speaks to an ironic "reverse brain drain" in the United States. Another point made, though, was that some immigrants study in the US and then start up businesses, thus creating jobs for Americans rather than "stealing" them. This article focuses on skilled workers, but I wonder if people would make the connection that an immigrant doesn't have to come in with all the know-how to become successful. What about the immigrant children who go through the US school system? Shouldn't we encourage them to continue through college so that they too have increased opportunity to become productive entrepreneurs?


'Shooting Itself in the Foot': Is U.S. Turning Away Entrepreneurs?

Some Say New Immigration Policy is Needed Specifically for Skilled Foreign Workers


WASHINGTON, April 21, 2010—

Microsoft founder Bill Gates famously declared last year that U.S. immigration policy should have "an exception for smart people."
And now with immigration reform poised to possibly be the next political hot button issue, a growing chorus of people is saying just that. They're calling on lawmakers to address what they see as a growing economic problem -- the flight of highly skilled immigrants from the United States.
It's a trend that not only hurts the U.S. economy but also stifles entrepreneurship and job growth, proponents argue.
"Good-paying jobs don't come from bailouts. They come from start-ups," journalist Tom Friedman wrote in an op-ed earlier this month. "And where do start-ups come from? They come from smart, creative, inspired risk-takers. How do we get more of those? There are only two ways: grow more by improving our schools or import more by recruiting talented immigrants."
Many large U.S. companies are the brainchild of foreign-born entrepreneurs -- think Yahoo, co-founded by Chinese-American Jerry Yang; eBay, created by French-born Iranian Pierre Omidyar; and Google, co-founded by Russian-American Sergey Brin.
Immigrants across the United States own 12.5 percent of all businesses, both big and small. In the technology and engineering fields, nearly a quarter of all businesses are founded by immigrants and they account for a significant chunk of jobs.
Many of these entrepreneurs came to the United States as students and stayed. But now, much of this labor force is eyeing returning to their home countries because of better opportunities there and visa constraints in the United States.
A report conducted last year found that more foreign students than in the past wanted to return to their home countries after completing their education, worried about their visas and job opportunities.
"We are suffering a massive reverse brain drain," said Vivek Wadhwa, a visiting scholar at Berkeley University and a senior research associate with the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, who co-authored the report. "The best and the brightest don't see America as the best land of opportunity. They see equal or better opportunities back home."
Another report by the Technology Policy Institute in 2009 found that in the absence of green card and H1B visa constraints, roughly 182,000 foreign graduates of U.S. colleges and universities in science, technology, engineering and math would have remained in the country.
H1B visas are temporary work visas that allow foreign workers to remain in the United States for six years. The study found that these workers would have earned roughly $13.6 billion in 2008, raised the gross domestic product by that amount and would have contributed $2.7 billion to $3.6 billion to the economy.
"Highly skilled immigrants contribute very strongly to economic activity and economic growth in particular in the innovation sectors," said senior fellow Arlene Holen, who directed the project.
But because it's getting harder for this group of immigrants to stay in the United States legally, she said, "a lot of them come here and take higher education and then they leave. We don't let them stay. It's kind of a shooting yourself in the foot scenario."
While Americans are divided on the issue of immigration and how laws should be overhauled, most agree that highly skilled immigrants benefit the economy. There has, however, always been concern that such immigrants take away American jobs or depress wages, but experts say that's not always the case.
"I think there's a certain level playing field. A lot of these high skilled immigrants we're talking about start companies, they're making more jobs for Americans," said Dane Stangler, a manager in the office of the president at the Kauffman Foundation, which focuses on advancing entrepreneurship and education.
"If we're going to either affirmatively shut the door or somehow ignore this source of entrepreneurship and source of job creation, then we will be losing jobs because we won't have this subset of entrepreneurs," Stangler said.
The numerous immigration bills in the Senate and House of Representatives have attempted to address this issue but with the immigration reform debate in limbo, few are optimistic that any progress will be made in the near future.

Immigration Reform Prospects Look Bleak, Many Say

The bipartisan framework for immigration reform drafted by Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., proposes that certain immigrants who are receiving degrees in fields like math, science, engineering and technology receive a green card immediately upon their graduation, instead of having to get an H1B visa through an employer.
A comprehensive immigration bill drafted by Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., expands green cards for skilled immigrants and seeks to cut the backlog that goes into processing these visas.
In February, Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., introduced the Start Up Visa Act of 2010. The bill would allow immigrant entrepreneurs to receive a two-year visa if he or she can show that a qualified U.S. investor is willing to dedicate a minimum of $250,000 to their start-up venture.
If, after two years, the immigrant entrepreneur can show that the venture has attracted $1 million in additional capital investment or achieved $1 million in revenue and generated at least five full-time jobs, the entrepreneur would get legal permanent residency.
"There are those little things that can expand the pipeline without revisiting the giant debate over immigrant reform," Stangler said. "The Start Up Visa Act is a hugely responsible act."
But across the board, there is little optimism about whether such an act or piecemeal measures can pass.
"Congress has its plate pretty full and I don't know if they have the stomach for another big debate," Stangler said.
Immigration reform proponents such as Gutierrez argue that a comprehensive overhaul is the way to go because all the different components are related, and that immigration shouldn't just be about high skilled workers.
That, some say, could be the death of reform for high skilled immigrants altogether.
"I'm pessimistic that anything will happen. Our leaders used all their bullets on health care and this is a very contentious issue," Wadhwa said. "Both political sides agree on the need for skilled immigrants and they create jobs and they are good for the economy.
"The trouble is that some lawmakers are worried if they just allow debate of skilled immigrants, this will pass and everyone will declare success and forget about illegal immigrants," Wadhwa said. "I see it being more contentious than the health care debate. How many battles can one government fight?"

Outcry Continues Over Controversial Ariz. Immigration Law

 According to this article, some are beginning to compare the Arizona Immigration law to Nazi Germany. That seems extreme but I see some parallels, mostly a biased and irrational racial fear.



Outcry Continues Over Controversial Ariz. Immigration Law

Ariz. Gov. Feels Heat of National Spotlight, Lashes Out at Obama


April 27, 2010—

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is feeling the heat of the national spotlight as thousands protest across the state and some have called for a boycott of Arizona goods following the signing of a controversial immigration bill into law.
Opponents of Arizona's new immigration enforcement law protest outside the state capitol building on April 25, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.
(John Moore/Getty Images)
In response to the criticism, Brewer has lashed out at President Obama who has called the new law "misguided" and ordered the Justice Department to see if it would violate civil rights.
"I've spoke to the president personally in regard to that, [it] has been met with complete and total disrespect to the people of Arizona. I mean, we don't even get an answer back," Brewer said.
Brewer said it was the state's way of working to solve a crisis that it did not create and which the federal government refused to fix.
"I firmly believe [the law] represents what's best for Arizona," Brewer said before signing the bill into law Friday. "Border-related violence and crime due to illegal immigration are critically important issues for the people of our state, to my administration, and to me as your governor and as a citizen."
Obama wasn't alone in criticizing Arizona's new law. Critics ranged from a former Arizona governor to the president of Mexico.
Mexico's foreign relations department issued an advisory today urging Mexicans in Arizona to "act with prudence and respect the framework of local laws."
Thousands of protesters descended on Arizona's Capitol Sunday to rally against a tough new immigration law they say will lead to police harassment of legal immigrants and U.S. citizens who look Hispanic."It should be assumed that any Mexican citizen could be bothered and questioned for no other reason at any moment," according to the travel alert.
"That one is a misguided law," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told ABC News. Napolitano had vetoed the bill three times while she was governor of Arizona.
"It's not a good law enforcement law... But beyond that, what it illustrates is that other states now will feel compelled to do things, and you will have this patchwork of laws where we need a federal immigration system that meets our security needs, that recognizes where we need to go in this 21st century and gives us a better framework on which to stand," Napolitano said.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who once championed immigration reform, blamed the federal government for the passages of the bill, saying that the frustration that led to it was justifiable.
"The fact is that our borders are broken. They are not secure. It is a federal responsibility to secure our borders. It is not being done," McCain said on the Senate floor Monday.
The state capitol was vandalized when refried beans in the shape of a Nazi swastika was found smeared across it.
Democrat Chicago Alderman Daniel Solis had a similar message when he said "what has happened in Arizona is very similar to what happened in Nazi Germany."

President of Mexico Blasts Arizona Immigration Law

The president of Mexico expressed his anger with the legislation.
"My government cannot and will not remain indifferent when these kinds of policies go against human rights," President Felipe Calderon said.
Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton promised even bigger protests if the lawsuit filed to block the law fails.
"We're going to bring people into the state of Arizona and refuse to show our IDs and openly walk the streets with people that appear Mexican," Sharpton said.
So far this year, Congress and the administration have made little progress in advancing immigration reform legislation, but Obama said Friday that if Congress failed to enact comprehensive reform, "We will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country."
The absence of a federal resolution of the controversial issue, he said, "opens the door to irresponsibility by others," and he cited "the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans."

Ariz. Immigration Bill Supporters Say They're Enforcing Law

The president has instructed the Justice Department to examine the Arizona law to see if it would violate civil rights. Other legal challenges are expected.
But even as the outcry continues, so does the applause from supporters of the law.
"Illegal is illegal," said Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce, who sponsored the bill. "We'll have less crime. We'll have lower taxes. We'll have safer neighborhoods. We'll have shorter lines in the emergency rooms. We'll have smaller classrooms."

Law Would Criminalize the Undocumented

Immigration reform has become a polarizing topic at all levels of government across the nation.
An estimated 12 million illegal immigrants live in the United States, and their presence is keenly felt in border states such as Arizona.
The Arizona law makes it a crime under state law to be in the U.S. illegally and allows police to arrest and question suspected undocumented persons about their status without a warrant. It also criminalizes the transporting of an illegal immigrant anywhere in the state, even if by a family member.
Brewer, who faces a tough Republican primary in August, signed the same bill that former Arizona Gov. Napolitano vetoed three times.
After the signing, crowds outside of the state capitol building erupted in anger. Carrying signs and American flags, they marched nearby, protesting the governor's decision.
Thousands of people wrote or called the governor's office, with a 10-to-one majority opposing the bill, a spokeswoman said.
"I don't think anything has been this extreme until this point," said Bridgette Gomez, a 24-year-old math tutor. "The evil is racial profiling, to think that you're going to always have to show identification. Because I'm tan, I must be illegal."
The Arizona bill takes effect in 90 days after the current legislative sessions over the next several weeks.
Click here to go to the "Good Morning America" Web site.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Unexpected Governor Takes an Unwavering Course

April 24, 2010
Unexpected Governor Takes an Unwavering Course
PHOENIX — One night last week, Grant Woods, the former state attorney general, spent more than an hour on the telephone with Gov. Jan Brewer, a fellow Republican who was considering whether to sign into law the nation’s toughest immigration enforcement bill.

The governor listened patiently, Mr. Woods recalled, as he laid out his arguments against the bill: that it would give too much power to the local police to stop people merely suspected of being illegal immigrants and would lead to racial profiling; that some local police officers have been abusive toward immigrants; and that the law could lead to costly legal battles for the state.

When he hung up, Mr. Woods knew he had lost the case. “She really felt that the majority of Arizonans fall on the side of, Let’s solve the problem and not worry about the Constitution,” he said.

Read on here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Immigration reform taking center stage

WASHINGTON, April 23 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama used the backdrop of a naturalization ceremony Friday to urge the overhaul of U.S. immigration policy.

Speaking in the Rose Garden where 24 active-duty U.S. service members from more than a dozen countries became Americans, Obama said their efforts to earn their citizenship is a reminder "of how we must remain both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws."

"This includes fixing America's broken immigration system," he said.

The president said that while disagreements have gone on for years, "surely we can all agree that when 11 million people in our country are living here illegally, outside the system, that's unacceptable."

He called for "common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform grounded in the principles of responsibility and accountability."

He said his administration is working to strengthen border security and that businesses that "ignore the law and exploit and abuse vulnerable workers and try to gain an unfair advantage" over law-abiding businesses will be held accountable.

"And people who are in America illegally have a responsibility -- to pay their back taxes and admit responsibility for breaking the law, pay a penalty, learn English, pass criminal background checks, and get right with the law -- or face removal -- before they can get in line and eventually earn their citizenship," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has given Democratic and Republican point men three weeks to reach bipartisan agreement on immigration reform aides said.

Aides told The Washington Post Thursday that Reid, D-Nev., told Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., if they can't get it done by then, Democrats will forge ahead with their own bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has agreed to bring immigration legislation up for a vote before the congressional elections in November if the Senate acts, the aides told the Post.

Obama thanked Schumer and Graham for working to reach a bipartisan consensus and said he hopes the 11 Republican senators who voted to pass reform legislation four years ago can be counted on to do so again.

But Graham appears to have recently backed off reform proposals on the table, Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, both R-Ariz., are threatening to filibuster any legislation that doesn't deal with border security first, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said in a statement that with unemployment near 10 percent, "there is little enthusiasm in Congress to pass legislation that would legalize millions of unlawful residents."

Students Arrested at AZ. State Capitol opposing SB 1070



La Embajada de México ve con gran preocupación los efectos potencialmente graves que para sus nacionales pudiera acarrear en materia de derechos civiles la aprobación definitiva de ciertas iniciativas de ley, como la SB1070, que se encuentra actualmente a discusión en el estado de Arizona. Como lo han indicado distintas organizaciones nacionales defensoras de los derechos de los migrantes y de los latinos, las iniciativas que se limitan a criminalizar el fenómeno migratorio crean espacios para la aplicación indebida de la ley en función del perfil racial.

México observa además con inquietud los posibles efectos negativos que, de aprobarse, podría tener esta medida en el desarrollo de los lazos amistosos, comerciales, turísticos y culturales que por generaciones han caracterizado a la relación de México con Arizona, y en particular para las relaciones con Sonora.

A través de su amplia red consular, el Gobierno de México seguirá brindando la asistencia y protección que requieran sus nacionales en este país para garantizar el debido respeto y ejercicio de sus derechos fundamentales, indistintamente de su estatus migratorio.

Lazos es un servicio informativo del IME, se distribuye de lunes a viernes, y contiene información sobre la población de origen mexicano y latino en EE.UU. y Canadá

Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior
Plaza Juárez #20, Col. Centro
Deleg. Cuauhtémoc C.P. 06010
México, D.F.
Vicente Neria Sánchez

Su dirección de correo electrónico se obtuvo por alguno de los siguientes medios:
Lazos, Página Web, Eventos IME, Recomendación

U.S.’s Toughest Immigration Law Is Signed in Arizona

U.S.’s Toughest Immigration Law Is Signed in Arizona
Published: April 23, 2010 / NYTimes

PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration into law on Friday. Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants.

The move unleashed immediate protests and reignited the divisive battle over immigration reform nationally.

Even before she signed the bill at an afternoon news conference here, President Obama strongly criticized it.

Speaking at a naturalization ceremony for 24 active-duty service members in the Rose Garden, he called for a federal overhaul of immigration laws, which Congressional leaders signaled they were preparing to take up soon, to avoid “irresponsibility by others.”

The Arizona law, he added, threatened “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.”

The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.

The political debate leading up to Ms. Brewer’s decision, and Mr. Obama’s criticism of the law — presidents very rarely weigh in on state legislation — underscored the power of the immigration debate in states along the Mexican border. It presaged the polarizing arguments that await the president and Congress as they take up the issue nationally.

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was worried about the rights of its citizens and relations with Arizona. Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles said the authorities’ ability to demand documents was like “Nazism.”

As hundreds of demonstrators massed, mostly peacefully, at the capitol plaza, the governor, speaking at a state building a few miles away, said the law “represents another tool for our state to use as we work to solve a crisis we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix.”

The law was to take effect 90 days after the legislative session ends, meaning by August. Court challenges were expected immediately.

Hispanics, in particular, who were not long ago courted by the Republican Party as a swing voting bloc, railed against the law as a recipe for racial and ethnic profiling. “Governor Brewer caved to the radical fringe,” a statement by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said, predicting that the law would create “a spiral of pervasive fear, community distrust, increased crime and costly litigation, with nationwide repercussions.”

While police demands of documents are common on subways, highways and in public places in some countries, including France, Arizona is the first state to demand that immigrants meet federal requirements to carry identity documents legitimizing their presence on American soil.

Ms. Brewer acknowledged critics’ concerns, saying she would work to ensure that the police have proper training to carry out the law. But she sided with arguments by the law’s sponsors that it provides an indispensable tool for the police in a border state that is a leading magnet of illegal immigration. She said racial profiling would not be tolerated, adding, “We have to trust our law enforcement.”

Ms. Brewer and other elected leaders have come under intense political pressure here, made worse by the killing of a rancher in southern Arizona by a suspected smuggler a couple of weeks before the State Legislature voted on the bill. His death was invoked Thursday by Ms. Brewer herself, as she announced a plan urging the federal government to post National Guard troops at the border.

President George W. Bush had attempted comprehensive reform but failed when his own party split over the issue. Once again, Republicans facing primary challenges from the right, including Ms. Brewer and Senator John McCain, have come under tremendous pressure to support the Arizona law, known as SB 1070.

Mr. McCain, locked in a primary with a challenger campaigning on immigration, only came out in support of the law hours before the State Senate passed it Monday afternoon.

Governor Brewer, even after the Senate passed the bill, had been silent on whether she would sign it. Though she was widely expected to, given her primary challenge, she refused to state her position even at a dinner on Thursday for a Hispanic social service organization, Chicanos Por La Causa, where several audience members called out “Veto!”

Among other things, the Arizona measure is an extraordinary rebuke to former Gov. Janet Napolitano, who had vetoed similar legislation repeatedly as a Democratic governor of the state before being appointed Homeland Security secretary by Mr. Obama.

The law opens a deep fissure in Arizona, with a majority of the thousands of callers to the governor’s office urging her to reject it.

In the days leading up to Ms. Brewer’s decision, Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, a Democrat, called for a convention boycott of his state.

The bill, sponsored by Russell Pearce, a state senator and a firebrand on immigration issues, has several provisions.

It requires police officers, “when practicable,” to detain people they reasonably suspect are in the country without authorization and to verify their status with federal officials, unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment.

It also makes it a state crime — a misdemeanor — to not carry immigration papers. In addition, it allows people to sue local government or agencies if they believe federal or state immigration law is not being enforced.

States across the country have proposed or enacted hundreds of bills addressing immigration since 2007, the last time a federal effort to reform immigration law collapsed. Last year, there were a record number of laws enacted (222) and resolutions (131) in 48 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The prospect of plunging into a national immigration debate is being increasingly talked about on Capitol Hill, spurred in part by recent statements by Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, the majority leader, that he intends to bring legislation to the Senate floor after Memorial Day.

But while an immigration debate could help energize Hispanic voters and provide political benefits to embattled Democrats seeking re-election in November — like Mr. Reid — it could also energize conservative voters.

It could also take time from other Democratic priorities, including an energy measure that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has described as her flagship issue.

Mr. Reid declined Thursday to say that immigration would take precedence over an energy measure. But he called it an imperative: “The system is broken,” he said.

Ms. Pelosi and Representative Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland and the majority leader, have said that the House would be willing to take up immigration policy only if the Senate produces a bill first.

Helene Cooper and Carl Hulse contributed reporting from Washington.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 23, 2010

A earlier version of this article misspelled the last name of the Arizona state senator who sponsored several provisions of the bill. He is Russell Pearce, not Pierce.

Support MALDEF's Fight against SB1070


April 23, 2010
Contact: Lizette Jenness Olmos, LULAC
(202) 365-4553 mobile
Press Release

LULAC will partner with sister organizations to develop the most effective legal strategy to fight this discriminatory law in court

Washington, DC - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer today signed into law Arizona's discriminatory immigration enforcement bill which requires law enforcement to question individuals about their immigration status during everyday police encounters. LULAC strongly condemns the governor's decision to sign the unconstitutional law and are dismayed by her disregard for the serious damage it could cause to civil liberties and public safety in the state.

“We are horrified," said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. “This law opens the doors to racial profiling. It requires police officers, if they form a 'reasonable suspicion' that someone is an illegal immigrant, to determine the person’s immigration status.”

President Barack Obama addressed comprehensive immigration reform at the White House Rose Garden ceremony prior to the Governor’s signing saying, “Our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.” The president said that comprehensive immigration legislation, debated for years, is overdue.

The measure has several provisions. Under Arizona state law it does not go into effect until 90 days after Legislature ends. It would:

-- Create a new state misdemeanor crime of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document.

-- Allow officers to arrest immigrants unable to show documents proving they're legally in the country.

-- Ban so-called soft immigration policies at local police agencies and allow people to sue if they feel a government agency has adopted a policy that hinders the enforcement of illegal immigration laws.

-- Prohibit people from blocking traffic when they seek or offer day-labor services on street corners.

-- Make it illegal for people to transport illegal immigrants if the drivers of vehicles know their passengers are in the country illegally and if the transportation furthers their illegal presence in the country, even if they are family members.

LULAC called on the Governor to do what is right and veto this legislation, which poses a significant threat to the general welfare, civil rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Arizona. LULAC will now do what it has successfully done in the past and defend the civil and human rights of Latinos in our courts.

Until Congress passes a fair and just immigration reform bill, states will continue to take matters into their own hands and communities and families will remain terrorized and subject to racial profiling.

With your help, we can make sure this doesn't go any further and remind our Congressional leaders and the people of Arizona that this is not the way it is done in America. LULAC vows to challenge the measure.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest and largest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic conditions, educational attainment, political influence, health, housing and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide. For more information, visit

LULAC National Office, 2000 L Street, NW, Suite 610 Washington DC 20036, (202) 833-6130, (202) 833-6135 FAX

AILA Votes to Boycott Arizona After Signing of Anti-Immigrant Law

AILA Votes to Boycott Arizona After Signing of Anti-Immigrant Law
Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 10042331 (posted Apr. 23, 2010)"

Friday, April 23, 2010
George Tzamaras or Jenny Levy

Washington, D.C. – The Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), moments after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law the harshest anti-immigration bill passed in the U.S. in more than a decade, instructed its Executive Committee to move the Association’s fall 2010 conference, previously scheduled for Arizona, to another state.

AILA President Bernie Wolfsdorf explained, “We cannot in good conscience spend association dollars in a state that dehumanizes the people we represent and fight for. What Governor Brewer has done by signing this bill into law is to validate all of the irrational fears by people who are not willing to acknowledge the economic and cultural benefits of immigration to our country.”

“If Arizonans are serious about ending illegal immigration, they should be the first in line at the United States Capitol to urge Congress to the do the right thing and pass comprehensive immigration reform,” Wolfsdorf concluded.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.


SB1070 is not only NOT the answer the law itself is racist.


Apr 23, 2010


Urgency for White House, Congress to Act on Immigration Reform

Washington, DC-Calling it a "sad day" for the people of Arizona and our country, Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, expressed deep disappointment that Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) signed Arizona SB 1070 into law today. The bill gives law enforcement license to stop citizens and noncitizens to check their immigration status based simply on "reasonable suspicion" that individuals are in the country without proper documentation. The law opens the door to the indiscriminate use of racial profiling and comes at a high cost to Arizona taxpayers.

"We are extremely disappointed that Governor Brewer chose politics over sound policy," said Murguía. "She joins a long line of other Arizona politicians who are trying to ensure their own political survival at the expense of the people they claim to represent and serve."

"This is a watershed moment for the President and Congress. Will they continue to abdicate their responsibility and allow other states to follow suit or will they show leadership and respond to the state of emergency that our communities face by enacting comprehensive immigration reform?"

The new law also requires state, county, and municipal employees to ascertain the immigration status of a person if there is "reasonable suspicion" that the person is unlawfully present in the U.S. It also subjects local governments and their personnel to lawsuits by any citizen who feels that the new law is not being enforced sufficiently. The law will impose a $500 fine and a misdemeanor charge leading to possible deportation for individuals unable to show proof of legal presence. President Obama stated that the new law threatens to "undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe." (For a complete summary of the bill by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, click here

"The passage of SB 1070 will legitimize racial profiling in Arizona and it goes against our laws and our values as a country," continued Murguía. "At this moment, we need to appeal to the better angels of what makes us Americans, and not our worst fears. Unfortunately, the rhetoric of division, and not unity, has prevailed today. We will continue to work with our allies to find a solution to our broken immigration system at the federal level, the urgency of which cannot be overstated due to this new law."

For more information, please visit

All Content © 2010 NCLR. All Rights Reserved

CPLC Vows to Push for Federal Immigration Reform: Organization Outraged Over Governor Brewer Signing SB 1070

We all need to be equally outraged by this travesty. This IS Mexicans' Star of David. This is the clearest manifestation of the rise of fascism in our country. Folks really need to read Noam Chomsky's piece on "Remembering Fascism." We must all oppose and seek ways to oppose Governor Brewer's decision to sign SB 1070.

-Dr. Valenzuela


April 23, 2010

Phoenix – Arizona’s leading community development is deeply disappointed and outraged over Governor Brewer’s decision today to sign Senate Bill 1070, the most hateful piece of legislation in recent history.

Senate Bill 1070 mandates racial profiling by requiring police officers to check the immigration status of anyone they have a “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in the United States illegally. This law does not have any exemption for children, who would not typically carry identification, making our young people especially vulnerable. This is only one of the several violations of civil rights contained in this bill that concern Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC).

The Governor’s action has reaffirmed CPLC’s commitment to push for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level.

“Our state’s leadership has let us down tremendously, but they have not broken our spirit of determination. We will now focus our efforts on urging our nationally elected leaders to fix our broken immigration system,” said CPLC President and CEO Edmundo Hidalgo.

CPLC has a 41-year history of empowering citizens around the state of Arizona through programs and services that promote sustainable economic development. The group vows to unite with other leaders in the community to push for comprehensive national immigration reform, the only solution for our nation to move forward.

CPLC will be joining U.S. Congressmen Raul Grijalva and Luis Gutierrez at the State Capital Sunday as they begin a dialogue on how Arizona and the nation will move forward in the face of this new law.


ABOUT CPLC: Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC) is a statewide community development corporation committed to building stronger, healthier communities as a lead advocate, coalition builder and direct service provider. The organization promotes positive change and self-sufficiency to enhance the quality of life for the benefit of those we serve.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ariz. governor signs immigration enforcement bill

Associated Press Writers

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law the nation's toughest legislation against illegal immigration Friday, a sweeping measure that supporters said would take handcuffs off police but which President Barack Obama said could violate people's civil rights.

The bill, sent to the Republican governor by the GOP-led Legislature, would make it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It would also require local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants.

Brewer, who faces a tough election battle and growing anger in the state over illegal immigrants, said the law "protects every Arizona citizen."

"We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act," Brewer said after signing the law. "But decades of inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation."

Obama said in Washington that he's instructed the Justice Department to examine the Arizona bill to see if it's legal, and said the federal government must enact immigration reform at the national level - or leave the door open to "irresponsibility by others."

"That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe," Obama said.

Brewer was under intense pressure from anti-illegal immigration groups and lawmakers in her own party to sign the bill, but has given no indication what she will do.

Hundreds of protesters gathered at the State Capitol complex Friday calling on Brewer to veto the legislation.

Demonstrators have been camped outside the Capitol since the measure passed out of the Legislature on Monday. Their numbers have grown steadily throughout the week, with buses bringing protesters from as far away as Los Angeles.

About a dozen supporters of the measure also gathered.

Senators request deportation of "Dream Act" Activist

Dear friends,

Gaby, Carlos, Juan and Felipe need your help.
These four brave students have been walking from
Miami to Washington, D.C. to call for solutions
to our failed immigration system, and for an end
to deportations of students like them who would
qualify under the DREAM Act.

Now, two U.S. Senators have come out with a
letter urging the Obama administration to halt
all deportations of undocumented "DREAM"
students. It's a critical moment.

As the walkers approach their final destination
in Washington, DC, we need to show President
Obama that there is a wave of support behind this
effort to stop student deportations - a first
step toward real change in our immigration
system. I have added my voice of solidarity with
them. Will you add your voice and stand with them
also? Peace, Carlos

Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Jr.
Professor Emeritus
Department of Ethnic Studies

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Arizona’s Effort to Bolster Local Immigration Authority Divides Law Enforcement

April 21, 2010
Arizona’s Effort to Bolster Local Immigration Authority Divides Law Enforcement

PHOENIX — A bill the Arizona Legislature passed this week that would hand the state and local police broad powers to enforce immigration law has split police groups and sown confusion over how the law would be applied.

While Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, has yet to say whether she will sign the bill into law, on Wednesday a national police group condemned it as likely to lead to racial and ethnic profiling and to threaten public safety if immigrants did not report crime or did not cooperate with the authorities out of fear of being deported.

The police group joined a growing list of organizations and religious and political leaders far from the state’s borders urging Ms. Brewer to veto the bill. Her spokesman said that of the 15,011 calls and letters her office had received on the bill, more than 85 percent opposed it.

The law would require the police “when practicable” to detain people they reasonably suspected were in the country without authorization. It would also allow the police to charge immigrants with a state crime for not carrying immigration documents. And it allows residents to sue cities if they believe the law is not being enforced.

Members of the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, a group of police leaders pressing for a federal overhaul of immigration law, said they worried that other states would copy Arizona, despite the likelihood that the law will be challenged in federal court.

“Just because it is in Arizona doesn’t mean it’s likely to remain there,” said George Gascón, the chief of the San Francisco Police Department and a former chief in Mesa, a Phoenix suburb. “We are very concerned about what could happen to public safety.”

The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police and several sheriffs have also come out against the bill, calling it burdensome and an intrusion into a federal matter.

Most police agencies or jails here already check the immigration status of people charged with a crime, in consultation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but the new law would expand that power and allows the police to stop people on the suspicion of being in the country without documents.

The Mexican Embassy released a statement expressing concern that the law would lead to racial profiling and damage cross-border relations.

But some of the largest rank-and-file police groups have come out strongly in favor of the bill.

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, the city police department’s largest union, has promoted the bill as a “common sense proactive step in the right direction in the continuing battle on illegal immigration.”

The Fraternal Order of Police, which represents 6,500 officers statewide, endorsed the bill but said it had reservations over the potential costs to departments and the lack of training for local officers to identify who might be in the country illegally.

Bryan Soller, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said if officers ended up arresting large numbers of illegal immigrants, that could add to already crowded jails and costs. Mr. Soller also said departments were worried about the expense of defending any lawsuits by people contending that the law was not being enforced.

But he said he thought many concerns were overblown. His group initially opposed the bill but endorsed it after language was included that he and sponsors believe give officers discretion to use it, in part to ward off federal civil rights claims.

“Some will go out and use it a lot,” Mr. Soller said. “But you are not going to see them doing things much different from what they do now.”

All sides agree that a federal overhaul to better control immigration would help, and advocacy groups, pointing to the Arizona bill, are pushing lawmakers to act soon. But several people involved in the negotiations in Washington said a federal bill was not close to being ready.

Julia Preston contributed reporting from New York.

Oakland sues company, saying it scams immigrant families

By Kelly Rayburn and Matt O'Brien | Oakland Tribune

OAKLAND -- The city sued an Oakland company Thursday in Superior Court, alleging the firm ripped off immigrant families by fraudulently representing itself as a service to help people seeking legal residency in the United States.

Oakland-based American Legal Services cost families "many thousands of dollars" and, in some cases, "prejudiced their clients' opportunities for immigration status," the city said. The company is headed by Musa Bala Bald and Irene Penaloza Bald , the lawsuit said. The Bald s live in Alameda.

City Attorney John Russo called the company a "menace to some of the most vulnerable" people in the city.

"American Legal Services is an outlaw company here in Oakland that has based its business on swindling the families of immigrants who are seeking legal residency in America," he said.

The lawsuit asks for restitution for the victims, punitive damages, an injunction and civil penalties of up to $8.2 million. Attempts to reach the Bald s at home and their business were not successful.

Oakland's lawsuit is part of a growing effort among cities and legal groups across the country to halt the widespread practice known as "notario fraud," in which consultants purporting to have legal expertise prey on unsuspecting immigrants and sometimes end up ruining their chances of remaining in the United States when applications for changes in immigration status are rejected.

"They're placing people in jeopardy of deportation," said Allison Davenport, an attorney with the Oakland-based Centro Legal de la Raza, which worked with Russo's office on the case. "People go in for a consultation to talk about their case, and then they're being told, 'Sure, it's no problem.' "

One of the alleged victims in the Oakland case said he went to American Legal Services in hopes of obtaining green cards for himself and his wife. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because of his immigration status.

The man, a 56-year-old construction worker, has children who are citizens -- including one who had just turned 21 when he went to American Legal Services. Sometimes undocumented immigrants are able to earn residency when they have a citizen child age 21 or older.

The man said he paid the company about $7,000, believing the firm could help his family. When the company asked for another $10,000, he said he'd had enough.

"I said, 'No m s,' " he said. " 'That's it. I'm not giving you another penny.' "

He subsequently spent more money trying to straighten the matter out. Because he had applied unsuccessfully for a change in his immigration status, he is now on the government's radar and faces a deportation hearing this spring, he said.

The city based its lawsuit on his family's experience and the experiences of five other families, officials said. Russo said the families are mostly Latino and Arabic.

"Given the patterns we're seeing, we're concerned there could be hundreds of victims of this particular racket," he said, "and that this is a very widespread problem in Oakland."

California allows people to work as immigration consultants but prohibits those consultants from advertising themselves as attorneys when they are not and requires them to follow a number of rules designed to make it clear to consumers what they can and cannot do.

Daniel Torres, an attorney for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, which also worked with Russo's office, said American Legal Services tricked families both with its name, which suggests it employs legal experts, and through an aggressive advertising campaign that touted its immigration services on fliers distributed throughout immigrant neighborhoods.

Attorneys say the popularity of such consultants in Spanish-speaking communities sometimes stems from confusion about the job title known as "notario publico," which in some Latin American countries signifies a person who can help with travel or immigration documents.

"They can, in some Latin American countries, properly give immigration advice," said Karen Grisez, who chairs the immigration commission at the American Bar Association.

In the United States, however, Grisez said fraudulent consultants "set themselves in neighborhoods heavily populated with Latinos and put themselves, for example, in a travel agency. It's culturally a place where people are used to going to, and the consumer has no idea there's anything wrong with the practice."

Obama calls for immigration overhaul, says Ariz. bill 'misguided'

Obama calls for immigration overhaul, says Ariz. bill 'misguided'
By Spencer S. Hsu and Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 23, 2010; 12:29 PM

President Obama urged Congress on Friday to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, saying that inaction would lead to "misguided efforts" and "irresponsibility by others."
The president also said an immigration bill currently on the Arizona governor's desk was "misguided," and said he has ordered his staff to "closely monitor the situation" to make sure the measure will not violate people's civil liberties. The bill, already passed by the state House and Senate, would require authorities in Arizona to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally.
Obama's remarks came in a Rose Garden naturalization ceremony for 24 foreign-born members of the U.S. military. The immigrants earned citizenship through their active-duty service.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid is also pushing for action on immigration on Capitol Hill. Reid this week vaulted the issue to the top of Congress's spring agenda, saying at a leadership meeting that the Senate could take up the immigration legislation before it considers an energy bill.
Reid (D-Nev.) has concluded that talks to advance a bipartisan immigration overhaul are stalled and party lines in the Senate are hardening, aides and lobbyists said Thursday. He told Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) that if they can't strike a deal within three weeks, the Democrats will bring their own bill forward, the aides and lobbyists said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has agreed to hold a House vote on immigration before the congressional elections in November if the Senate passes a bill, aides said.
The developments underscore election-year realities and appear to reflect in part a political calculation by some Democrats: even if an immigration bill fails, a debate on it could rally their base and mobilize Hispanic voters against GOP lawmakers in some districts. At the same time, the Arizona legislation has provided Democrats the opportunity to put Republicans on the defensive.
In recent weeks, key Democratic supporters including Latino groups, labor unions and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have stepped up pressure on Reid and Obama to tackle the immigration question, as Obama pledged to do in the 2008 presidential race and as Reid has committed to supporters in his Hispanic-heavy home state, where he faces an uphill re-election battle.
As pressure on Democrats has increased, Graham has cooled his support for the proposed bi-partisanframework, which that would strengthen border enforcement, crack down on employers who exploit illegal workers and establish a path for legalization or expulsion of roughly 12 million illegal immigrants. Instead, Graham has made clear in interviews that his priority is an energy and climate bill. He also has blasted the White House for failing to lay groundwork for a Schumer-Graham immigrationpackage.

Immigration advocates said Graham's new stance decreases the odds that an immigration overhaul will pass the Senate. If Democrats choose to advance a bill with no Republican backing, however, they could attempt to shake loose support from nine or 10 Republican senators, using language voted on recently by the House and debated by the Senate in 2006 and 2007.
"They [Democrats] can fold their tent, say Lindsey Graham doesn't want to go ahead, or they can say, 'We're the ones in the majority, in the White House, let's lean into it, see if we can make it harder for them [Republicans] to say no,' " said Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, an umbrella pro-immigration advocacy group.
If the Senate acts, supporters of immigration reform in the House say they are confident they could muster the votes to pass a bill this year. Already, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said Thursday, "we believe we have a little over 200 votes in the Democratic caucus for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to legalization."
Obama has joined the fray, calling Republican Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), George LeMieux (Fla.), Richard G. Lugar (Ind.) and Judd Gregg (N.H.) on Tuesday to solicit their support, his spokesman said.
"Our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others," Obama said at the Rose Garden ceremony Friday. "And that includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threatened to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe."
White House officials said Obama had not reached out to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), who is up for reelection, about whether she will sign the bill. Instead, he has asked the Justice Department to keep track of what happens with the bill and how it is enforced if it is enacted.
Press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama was not taking other steps without knowing the Arizona bill's fate. But in his remarks, the president urged Congress to pre-empt similar state efforts elsewhere.
"As a nation, as a people, we can choose a different future -- a future that keeps faith with our history, with our heritage, and with the hope that America has always inspired in the hearts of people all over the world," he said.
With the immigration battle brewing in his home state, Sen. John McCain (R) -- who also is facing a primary challenge this year -- and fellow Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R) have threatened to filibuster any immigration legislation that does not secure borders first.
Republicans appear to welcome a fight on the issue. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that at a time when one in 10 Americans are unemployed, "There is little enthusiasm in Congress to pass legislation that would legalize millions of unlawful residents to compete with out-of-work Americans for needed jobs."
He added, "One has to ask: are members raising the idea of comprehensive reform now because they believe the majority of Americans truly want it, or because it serves a specific political purpose in a tough election year?"
Staff writer Ben Pershing contributed to this report.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Are Arizona Latinos to wear Latino Star of David?

Equating the new law in AZ to the "Star of David" is on point, an apt metaphor. Hopefully, this will jolt some folks into seeing the severity of this.

Are Arizona Latinos to wear Latino Star of David? Editorial

Has Arizona become the Germany of the early 1930’s where Jews had to identify themselves with a Star of David pinned on their clothing? Should Arizona Latinos be made to wear such identification?

Under the premise that it will make it harder for illegal immigrants to stay in Arizona, a white Republican Party dominated state legislation has passed the toughest anti-immigration law in the United States, SB 1070, "Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Act."

The law mandates police officers to question the immigration status of anyone they pull over or stop anywhere for just cause or even suspicion of non citizenship or legal status in the country.

Just cause can be anything from “one tire seems to be low and can be a safety hazard,” to “your clothes don’t seem to be in keeping with what most wear” so “now prove to me you are legally in the country.”

So will Latinos now have to carry proof of citizenship or legal immigration status? Failure to carry such documents is under SB 1070 a misdemeanor. Can one grasp this? Is this not the makings of a Police State?

Further, the law allows for private citizens to “sue” a police department if they believe that they are not enforcing the law to their satisfaction. Suspicion and accusation is to be the conviction?

This new law along with the state’s law previously enacted forbidding the hiring of illegal immigrants may seem to white non-Latinos as just the right ticket to stop illegal immigration in Arizona. If you’re skin happens to be white, you may consider applauding the new law. It is after all a way to discourage illegal immigration and fearing being snared many will leave, and already many have.

But if your skin happens to be brown, and if you happen to be a US citizen either by birth or nationalized, and if you happen to be a legal resident of the United States, this is a draconian set of laws that only the very misinformed or racist bunch of people would even consider this is the way to do things in the U.S.

Who exactly does any citizen of Arizona believe will be the target of such “stopping”? Is there any doubt that it will be “brown faces”? If a first generation immigrant legally in the country or a US citizen has an accent in his speech, is there any doubt that far too many law enforcement officers of the “red neck” persuasion will challenge the immigration legality of the person they stop?

And when it comes to hiring, is there doubt that far too many employers will not gamble hiring brown faced applicants in fear that they may get the police visit due to a denunciation from an employee who “suspects” the brown faced hired is in Arizona illegally? That many Latinos will then be the victims of hiring discrimination?

And what about visitors or tourists who daily cross along one of the various ports of entry between the U.S. and Mexico? Once in the interior of Arizona, will they not be stopped with more frequency? And if they show their local border crossing pass that allows for legal visits, is the police officer to be an expert on that status or will the person be detained until Federal officials confirm the legal status of the visitor?

How terrible it is that in the United States we are coming to this. How terrible that Arizona legislators are dragging the Constitutional rights of so many down the drain and introducing ill advised Nazi style draconian enforcement methods.

What’s next in Arizona? A Latino Star of David to be worn at all times in public while all none affected remain in passive silence? Welcome to Nazi Arizona.
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Will others follow Arizona's lead on immigration?

All of this is deeply concerning.-Angela

Will others follow Arizona's lead on immigration?

Story Highlights:

Arizona bill requires police to question people if there's reason to suspect they're in U.S. illegally
Governor has not yet signed bill
Attorney says lawmakers from 4 states have asked how to follow Arizona's lead
"Arizona's approach is the wrong one," ACLU attorney says

By Kristi Keck, CNN

(CNN) -- Now that Arizona lawmakers have passed what's considered some of the toughest immigration legislation in the country, other states are watching to see whether they should follow in the state's footsteps or stand back.

Arizona's bill orders immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant day laborers or knowingly transport them.

Critics, including immigrant advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, are concerned that the legislation will foster racial profiling, arguing that most police officers don't have enough training to look past race while investigating a person's legal status.

The bill made it through the state Senate on Monday after it was passed by the state House last week. It's now awaiting the signature of Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. Supporters of the measure expect her to sign it. Latino members of Congress are calling on Brewer to veto it.

Michael Hethmon, general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, helped draft the language of the Arizona bill. The institute is the legal affiliate of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

On the heels of the Arizona initiative, Hethmon said he has been approached by lawmakers from four other states who have asked for advice on how they can do the same thing where they live. He declined to identify the states, citing attorney-client privilege.

"Arizona was meant to be the leading edge," Hethmon said. "If you are going to work on developing a state-based response to this enormous problem -- the lack of a national immigration policy -- Arizona is the place to do it."

Hethmon pointed to Arizona's history of citizen ballot initiatives in support of immigration reform, noting that "what's happening in Arizona just didn't pop out of nowhere. It's the latest step in a fairly deliberate process."

Republican State Rep. Russell Pearce, who sponsored the legislation in Arizona, said the four initiatives he put on the 2006 ballot regarding illegal immigrants passed by an average of 75 percent.

State laws relating to immigration have increased in recent years, according to numbers from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In 2005, 300 bills were introduced. The next year, that number nearly doubled, and in 2007, more than 1,500 bills were introduced. Another 1,305 were introduced in 2008, and about 1,500 were considered in 2009.

About 15 percent of those were enacted, dealing with issues such as driver's licenses, health and education.

About1,000 bills have been brought up so far this year.

Hethmon cited the election year, the Democratic leadership's position on the issue and the tough economic times as catalysts for introducing legislation.

"Historically, not only in the U.S. but in virtually all industrialized nations, when the unemployment rates go up ... the public becomes much less sympathetic toward programs which bring in large numbers of foreigners as workers and economic players," he said.

Whether Arizona becomes the standard-bearer on illegal immigration depends on the fate of the legislation, said Ann Morse, the program director of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Immigrant Policy Project.

"Certainly states will look at it, but not in a rush," she said. With court challenges promised from opponents, states will be watching to see if the legislation is deemed constitutional and if it's costly, Morse said.

Omar Jadwat, the staff attorney with the ACLU's Immigrants Rights' Project, said following in Arizona's footsteps would take states in the wrong direction.

"Although we are aware that people are trying to convince other legislatures to go down this path, I think it's clear that both as a policy matter and a legal matter, that Arizona's approach is the wrong one," he said.

Isabel Garcia, a legal defender in Arizona's Pima County, blasted the bill as "the most dangerous precedent in this country, violating all of our due process rights."

"We have not seen this kind of legislation since the Jim Crow laws. And targeting our communities, it is the single most largest attack on our communities," she said.

Pearce brushed off her criticism, saying, " 'Illegal' is not a race, it's a crime."

"We do not tolerate those who break into our country, just like we don't tolerate those who break into our homes," he said.

Hethmon praised the legislation as "the most cost-effective and the most humane way to deal with the illegal immigration problem."

"Every time you convince an illegal alien to self-deport, you bypass having to resort to direct physical deportation," he said.

In addition to providing a model for other states, Hethmon said the legislation in Arizona and other bills in the works in other states also provide an example on the national level.

"The states are laboratories for democracy. The federal government is in gridlock," he said. "We're providing models for the day when the ice breaks up on the Hill and the legislative waters flow and the country decides to confront this problem in a realistic way."

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