Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Excellent Talk Dispelling Myths Put by Opponents of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Robert Gittleson has an excellent piece dispelling many of the myths set forth by opponents of comprehensive immigration reform. The piece is entitled "Dispelling the Divisive Myths of Comprehensive Immigration Reform" in the current issue of Immigration Daily. Gittleson articulates the gist of his position:

In the article, I identify four of the most prominent and divisive myths. First, That CIR is bad for our national security. Second, that Immigrants cost our country more in social services then they contribute in tax revenue. Third, the CIR is basically just code for amnesty, and that if it passes, it will just make the problem worse, by encouraging increased illegal immigration. And fourth, that because these undocumented immigrants came here illegally, the U.S. has no moral or ethical obligation to legalize their status and allow them to stay.

Most definitely worth a read. Pass it on to interested parties.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

DREAM Act deserves immediate attention by the Democratic Congress

Barack Obama’s presidential victory is fueling widespread optimism among student and immigrant-rights’ groups that Congress and the next White House will endorse long-debated legislation to help undocumented students gain legal status.

These organizations see an opportunity to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, through which undocumented students who complete high school and two years of college could gain conditional legal status and eventual citizenship.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act sole aim is to aide undocumented youth who was brought to the United States as children and have no means of continuing an education in order to contribute to society. Its provisions, would allow undocumented students to enroll in a 2 year higher learning institution, or enroll in the armed forces while serving under a six-year conditional status that would eventually allow them a path to permanent resident status.

· Proof of having arrived in the United States before age 16.

· Proof of residence in the United States for a least five (5) consecutive years since their date of arrival.

· Must be between the ages of 12 and 30 at time of bill enactment.

· Having graduated from an American high school, or obtained a GED.

· "Good moral character," essentially defined as the absence of a significant criminal record (or any major drug charges), compliance with Selective Service laws and an absence of fraudulent information in documents

Keep in mind that the student is to obey ALL of the above requirements and maintain their good moral character for the six-year period in order to benefit from the Dream Act.

This bill was drafted by (D) Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, and has since been presented in several sessions of Congress where it has received much bipartisanship support. Critics of the bill, however, stand firm that these students would take away federal money in order to fund their education, leaving citizens of the country short changed and without any funding. Let me assure you that this is a popular misconception (and there are plenty of others that I would gladly shed light on if you happened to have any questions) as these students ARE NOT allowed to receive any sort of financial aide, or grants from the government.

The Dream Act was introduced in the Senate in October of that same year. Senator Sessions, among others led the opposition that defeated the bill with a vote count of 52 in favor and 44 against the measure.

A year has since gone by, and it is now time to renew our efforts and make sure that the Obama administration (a clear supporter of the bill) hears our voices and the importance of the passage of the Dream Act. Please check out the website CHANGE.ORG.

“Our strategy is to get it done in the first 100 days [of the new administration],” says Shanta Driver, spokeswoman for BAMN, the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary.

Groups such as the United States Student Association, based in Washington, D.C., also share that view. “The DREAM Act is one of our top priorities for the first 100 days,” says Angela Peoples, USSA legislative director.

Make your voice heard and let your legislator know that you support the DREAM Act.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

On the Death of a Little Man

Fitting that Professor Samuel P. Huntington should die as a mixed race African-American man readies to become president of the country that Huntington claimed for himself and "his kind." And, although Barack Obama, graduated from Harvard Law School, I am sure that Prof. Huntington of Harvard University, never made the acquaintance of the young Obama. As I wrote in my inaugural post for this blog, Huntington articulated a shallow ideological basis for the most base and gutteral elements of our society; the cancer of racism and exclusion. As a favored son, which is to say a white, anglo-saxon, Protestant Brahmin of the ruling class, Huntington clearly feared the rise of so-called "non-Western," brown, yellow or black-skinned members into American society. No wonder that not even the East Coast establishment, to which he so tightly clinged, should put the racist codger into his grave with nary a murmur and an obituary befitting an nondescript actuary. Only two days before Huntington's death, Nobel Laureate, Harold Pinter met his maker and the contrast could not be more stark. Shortly after Chilean Dictator, Augusto Pinochet, crushed Democracy in Chile, the poet Pablo Neruda died, as if expressing in his being and in his death the spirit of that society. Despite brutal repression and martial law, thousands of Chileans lined the roads for Neruda's casket and blanketed the way with roses from end to end. When Pinochet died, he was a despised little man, not unlike Huntington, remembered mostly by his coterie of criminals but despised by everyone else. So goes Samuel P. Huntington, a little man buried and quickly forgotten. Pablo Neruda and Harold Pinter were big men. They live on. As they should. As the should.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Anti-immigrant Hate Groups Latest Front: Immigration News Daily

Among the losers in this year's elections were the anti-immigrant lobby with their message of hate. Marginalized, they are now engaging in a full scale blood-bath of blame amongst their followers. But those of us who want progressive and humanitarian immigration policies cannot rest. We are hopeful that the incoming administration and the new Congress will undo the worst aspects of the Bush administration draconian anti-immigrant policies.

As we have discussed in previous posts, the anti-immigrant lobby is not a grass-roots movement fed by the energies of a large constituency. Organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA, amongst others are really just a shell game of front organizations designed to hide their extremist agenda from the general public, legislators and the media. The latest incarnation of this web of hate is a seemingly neutral Immigration news index by the name of Immigration News Daily. But idexer.com is anything but a neutral RSS feed of immigration stories. The stores featured in this index have distinctly anti-immigrant slant, the links all lead to the usual suspect of extremist anti-immigrant organizations and their FAQ's all have prominent anti-immigrant slant.

As with other front organizations funded by FAIR and its coteries of extremist supporters, idexer.com is merely another way to infiltrate the media and the public sphere in the guise of a moderate or neutral site on immigration. The mainstream media will reference this site, it pops up as number one when you Google "immigration news," until it is shamed into exposing its extreme agenda of hate. So mainstream media and bloggers, file idexer.com and "Immigration News Daily," under "hate groups."

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Tide is turning: Microsoft to provide free legal representation to undocumented minors

The Seattle Times is reporting that Microsoft, in conjunction with some powerhouse law firms, will be providing free legal representation to undocumented minors in immigration proceedings.

Partnered with some of the nation's legal powerhouses — and with actress Angelina Jolie as a spokesperson — Microsoft today launched an initiative to provide free legal help to hundreds of illegal-immigrant children who are on their own and facing deportation.

Through Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the Redmond company and a group of law firms in nine cities will spend about $14.5 million over the next three years on an immigration legal-defense program for children, similar to a partnership Microsoft has had with local attorneys for years.

Last year, about 8,000 illegal-immigrant children with no official adult supervision were processed in immigration court. They came from all over the world — the majority from Central America — some fleeing untold horror and abuse.

Lydia Tamez, associate general counsel for Microsoft, told of two brothers, ages 3 and 5, who crossed the border with their mother but became separated from her after she was detained. The boys were found wandering the freeway, naked and begging for food.

Another local case involved a 3-year-old who became separated from her aunts in California. When she appeared before an immigration judge and was asked how old she was, she raised three tiny fingers.

Great for Microsoft! In return I vow not to call Microsoft the evil empire or otherwise malign them for two months.