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 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, 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 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.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Latinos Swing Hard for Obama and the Democrats

Let us now put to rest the nasty canard that Latinos will not vote for a black candidate. This election season, Democratic Presidential candidate, Barak Obama, stands to gain several Western states on the strength of the Latino vote. Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and perhaps Arizona are all in play for Obama. Never mind that the Latino vote in the state of California forms a Democratic firewall guaranteeing a Blue status to this very large state. Despite some rank racist statements by various Hispanic Republican leaders, the Latino community is strongly behind the African-American Democratic candidate and come election day the overwhelming majority will be punching the Democratic ticket.

I do not want to discount the fact of racism in the Latino community anymore than I would in the Anglo community. But anti-black sentiment is no more pronounced in the Hispanic community than it is in the larger majoritarian community. Whatsmore, Latinos have come to see their interests as largely consistent with those of the African-American community. Like African-Americans, Latinos feel that their ethnicity and national origin are keeping them from getting jobs and that receive unfair treatment by the criminal justice system. As well, the heavy handed tactics of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) have cast a siege mentality amongst Latinos.

Polls have consistently demonstrated overwhelming support of Latinos for Barack Obama. The media narrative going into the presidential election posited that Latinos would split their vote for John McCain, who had sponsored legislation for comprehensive immigration reform. As McCain backed away from his prior stance, and embraced the pro-enforcement policies of the Bush administration, Latinos saw little reason to back a Republican candidate who towed the Bush Party line. This was all the more evident when one considers the demoralizing effect that the harsh ICE enforcement tactics of the Bush administration were and are having on the Latino community. As articulated by the Pew Hispanic Center:

Half (50%) of all Latinos say that the situation of Latinos in this country is worse now than it was a year ago, according to a new nationwide survey of 2,015 Hispanic adults conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center.

This pessimism is especially prevalent among immigrants, who account for 54% of all Hispanic adults in the United States. Fully 63% of these Latino immigrants say that the situation of Latinos has worsened over the past year. In 2007, just 42% of all adult Hispanic immigrants--and just 33% of all Hispanic adults--said the same thing.

Some Latinos are experiencing other difficulties because of their ethnicity. One-in-seven (15%) say that they have had trouble in the past year finding or keeping a job because they are Latino. One-in-ten (10%) report the same about finding or keeping housing.

Not surprisingly, worries about deportation and perceptions of discrimination in jobs or housing because of Hispanic ethnicity correlate with the view that Latinos' situation has worsened in the past year. Two-thirds (68%) of Latinos who worry a lot that they or someone close to them may be deported say that Latinos' situation in the country today is worse than it was a year ago, as do 63% of Latinos who have experienced job difficulties because of their ethnicity and 71% of Latinos who report housing difficulties because of their ethnicity.

Naturally, Latinos are very unhappy with the status quo, which translates to a toxic environment for Republican candidates (of any stripe). On a personal level, I live in an area with a heavy Latino population and the concerns set forth in the Pew survey are very real to this community. One Chilean friend who had a grocery store that catered to Latinos closed shop because he said fear of ICE and law enforcement in general was keeping many Latinos close to home. Fear of law enforcement is not confined to undocumented Latinos. There is now a pervasive fear of the police amongst Latinos, who are see the criminal justice system as discriminating against all Latinos.

I have heard many personal stories of people being accosted and treated rudely because they are Latino. The anger is palpable both as a community and on a personal level. And that anger is being translated into strong support for Barack Obama. Senator Obama, who is viewed as championing changes to the harsh immigration policies of the Bush administration, as well as shifting economic priorities, is clearly benefitting. Economic concerns play an important role in this allegiance. Although McCain’s inept campaign has not helped his cause amongst Latinos.

The choice of Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, as McCain’s running mate did nothing for the presidential candidates standing in the Latino community. Unlike Texas governor, George Bush, who hails from a border state, Alaska has virtually no cross-border issues of significance for the Hispanic community. (Although a substantial percentage of the Alaska fishing work-force is now Latino.) And although a significant portion of the Latino community identifies itself as evangelical Christians, this alone is not significant to undo the political realignment brought about by the Bush Administration’s policies.

Eristic ragemail has previously written how Republican designs on the Hispanic vote were being undermined by a misguided and inept enforcement-only immigration policy. What I see now, is a wholesale shift away from the Republican Party in all its manifestations. Whatever conservative cultural factors may have once aligned a segment of the Latino community to the Republicans has given way to more pragmatic concerns. As with the larger community, it appears that Latinos are more strongly shifting their allegiance to the Democratic Party. This shift by Latinos to the Democratic Party is, in my estimation, permanent.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Anti-immigrant Crusader, John Tanton revealed to be Racist and Anti-Semite

The Southern Poverty Law Center has published a piece, based on anti-immigrant crusader, John Tanton's correspondence, demonstrating his racist and anti-Semitic views. Herein, their post:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan is an unassuming place, more like a small-town library than a research institute. But hidden away in 17 cardboard boxes deep inside the simple facility are the papers of John Tanton, the retired Michigan ophthalmologist who has been the most important figure in the modern American anti-immigration movement for three decades. The papers, which include more than 20 years of letters from the founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and a batch of other nativist groups, contain explosive material about Tanton’s beliefs. They also show that FAIR, where Tanton still serves as a member of the board, has been well aware of Tanton’s views and activities for years.

Tanton has long claimed that he is no racist — that, in fact, he came to his immigration restrictionism through progressive concerns for population control and the environment, not disdain for the foreign born. He characterizes himself as a “fair person,” and on his website he condemns the “unsavory characters whose views can easily be characterized as anti-American, anti-Semitic and outright racist.”

Fair enough. But what do Tanton’s letters have to say?

As it turns out, quite a lot. Although Tanton has been linked to racist ideas in the past — fretting about the “educability” of Latinos, warning of whites being out-bred by others, and publishing a number of white nationalist authors — the papers in the Bentley Library show that Tanton has for decades been at the heart of the white nationalist scene. He has corresponded with Holocaust deniers, former Klan lawyers and the leading white nationalist thinkers of the era. He introduced key FAIR leaders to the president of the Pioneer Fund, a white supremacist group set up to encourage “race betterment,” at a 1997 meeting at a private club. He wrote a major funder to encourage her to read the work of a radical anti-Semitic professor — to “give you a new understanding of the Jewish outlook on life” — and suggested that the entire FAIR board discuss the professor’s theories on the Jews. He practically worshipped a principal architect of the Immigration Act of 1924 (instituting a national origin quota system and barring Asian immigration), a rabid anti-Semite whose pro-Nazi American Coalition of Patriotic Societies was indicted for sedition in 1942.

As early as 1969, Tanton showed a sharp interest in eugenics, the “science” of breeding a better human race that was utterly discredited by the Nazis, trying to find out if Michigan had laws allowing forced sterilization. His interest stemmed, he wrote in a letter of inquiry that year, from “a local pair of sisters who have nine illegitimate children between them.” Some 30 years later, he was still worrying about “less intelligent” people being allowed children, saying that “modern medicine and social programs are eroding the human gene pool.”

Throughout, FAIR — which, along with Tanton, refused repeated requests for comment for this story — has stood by its man. Its 2004 annual report praised him for “visionary qualities that have not waned one bit.” Around the same time, Dan Stein, who has led FAIR since 1988 as executive director or president and who was copied on scores of Tanton’s letters, insisted FAIR’s founder had “never asserted the inferiority or superiority of any racial, ethnic, or religious group. Never.”

Blood and Soil

In the world view of John Tanton, successful societies are not based on a mere sharing of territory, values and political systems. Nations and their cultures, he has suggested on numerous occasions, are largely determined by biology — race.

In a Nov. 13, 1994, letter to white nationalist columnist Lawrence Auster, a regular correspondent, Tanton suggested that the Declaration of Independence was actually a document based on the “bond of blood and ethnicity — nationhood.” Almost a year earlier, in a Dec. 10, 1993, letter to Garrett Hardin, a controversial ecology professor, he said: “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.” On Jan. 26, 1996, he wrote Roy Beck, head of the immigration restrictionist group NumbersUSA (and then an employee of Tanton’s foundation U.S. Inc.), questioning whether Latinos were capable of governing California.

“I have no doubt that individual minority persons can assimilate to the culture necessary to run an advanced society,” Tanton said in his letter to Beck, “but if through mass migration, the culture of the homeland is transplanted from Latin America to California, then my guess is we will see the same degree of success with governmental and social institutions that we have seen in Latin America.” Referring to the changing California public schools, Tanton wondered “whether the minorities who are going to inherit California (85% of the lower-grade school children are now ‘minorities’ — demography is destiny) can run an advanced society?”

For Tanton, the question was entirely rhetorical.

“The situation then is that the people who have been the carriers of Western Civilization are well on the way toward resigning their commission to carry the culture into the future,” he wrote in an Aug. 8, 1997, letter to Harvard professor Samuel Huntington, a fellow immigration critic. “When this decline in numbers is coupled with an aging of the core population … it begins to look as if the chances of Western Civilization passing into the history books are very good indeed.”

This kind of thinking led Tanton to defend racial quotas imposed on immigrants. In a Nov. 3, 1995, memo to FAIR boss Dan Stein and the entire FAIR board of advisers, Tanton defended the infamous “White Australia” policy that restricted non-white immigration into that country from 1901 to 1973, saying it was not racist, but intended to protect native-born labor (the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act outlawed racial quotas in Australia). Tanton also mocked the idea that the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, banning Chinese immigration to the U.S., was racist.

Similarly, Tanton has defended America’s Immigration Act of 1924, which formalized a racial quota system that was only dismantled in 1965. In fact, as shown in his correspondence, Tanton has long lionized a principal architect of the act, John B. Trevor Sr. (In addition to founding the American Coalition of Patriotic Societies, Trevor was an adviser to the extreme-right, anti-Catholic Christian Crusade of Billy James Hargis, who regularly referred to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as Communist documents.) Tanton arranged for the Bentley Library to house the papers of both Trevor and his son, long a Pioneer Fund board member and a close friend of Tanton’s until his 2006 death.

Despite the elder Trevor’s extremely unsavory past, Tanton has sent his unpublished autobiography to numerous friends, including, on Nov. 21, 2001, FAIR board member Donald Collins. In a cover letter, Tanton told Collins that the work of Trevor — who distributed pro-Nazi propaganda, drew up plans to crush uprisings of “Jewish subversives,” and warned shrilly of “diabolical Jewish control” of America — should serve FAIR as “a guidepost to what we must follow again this time.”

Communing with the Movement

John Tanton has not merely flirted with and adopted many of the core ideas of white nationalism over the past three decades. He has carried on correspondences with some of the key leaders of the white nationalist movement, meeting and even vacationing with some of them, and pushing many of their central ideas.

Over the years, his closest friend on the white nationalist scene seems to have been Jared Taylor, the man who began publishing American Renaissance, a racist, pseudo-scientific magazine focusing on race, intelligence and eugenics, in 1990. (“When blacks are left entirely to their own devices,” Taylor wrote in its pages a few years ago, “Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.”)

Tanton, who met Taylor shortly after American Renaissance began publication, seems to have been particularly taken with Taylor’s angry opposition to affirmative action, spelled out in Taylor’s 1992 book, Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America. On Nov. 12, 1993, Tanton wrote Taylor and three of his American Renaissance colleagues — Wayne Lutton, who would later work for Tanton; Sam Francis, a white nationalist ideologue then working as a Washington Times columnist; and Jerry Woodruff, who wrote for the nativist publication Middle American News — suggesting that their new journal take on literary critic Stanley Fish, who had defended affirmative action in an article for The Atlantic. Tanton enclosed “a little something” for Taylor’s “start-up costs.”

Tanton promoted Taylor’s efforts repeatedly. On Dec. 15, 1994, he wrote a friend to suggest that he read Taylor’s 1992 book. More remarkably, on Jan. 24, 1991, he wrote to the then-president of the Pioneer Fund, Harry Weyher, about Taylor’s American Renaissance effort. And as recently as April 20, 1998, Tanton wrote to several FAIR employees, including Dan Stein, to ensure that they were receiving American Renaissance mailings: “I write to encourage keeping track of those on our same side of the issue, but who are nonetheless our competitors for dollars and members.” (The bolded words were underlined in Tanton’s original letter.)

Tanton also corresponded for years with the late Sam Francis, a one-time Washington Times columnist who was fired after details of a racist speech he gave at an American Renaissance conference became public. From 1999 until his death in 2005, Francis edited the crudely racist and nativist Citizens Informer, the tabloid published by the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), an organization that says it “oppose[s] all efforts to mix the races of mankind.”

What may have been most remarkable of all was Tanton’s endorsement of a proposal from another friend — Peter Brimelow, who would later start a racist anti-immigration website — that FAIR hire Sam Francis to edit its newsletter. That proposal, which Tanton sent to FAIR’s Dan Stein on Nov. 3, 1995, was made two months after The Washingon Times fired Francis for racism.

Tanton’s contacts with other white nationalists also are instructive:

• Beginning in the late 1980s, Tanton corresponded regularly with Virginia Abernethy, now a professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University. Abernethy is a member of the CCC and recently described herself as a “white separatist.”
• On June 26, 1996, Tanton wrote to Sam Dickson — a Georgia lawyer who has represented the Ku Klux Klan, written for and been on the editorial advisory board of Holocaust denial publications, and spoken at several of the biannual conferences put on by American Renaissance — to thank him for a good time during a visit by Tanton and his wife. “The next time I’m in Atlanta,” Tanton wrote Dickson, “I hope to take one of your ‘politically incorrect’ tours.”

• In a Dec. 23, 1996, letter, Tanton complained that it was hard to write checks for Theodore O’Keefe, who was involved for years in the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review, because O’Keefe would only use a pen name. It was not clear from the letter what O’Keefe had written for Tanton.

• On June 17, 1998, Tanton wrote to Stan Hess, who was then a member of the CCC, about Hess’ proposal to open a FAIR office in California (the letter was copied to Stein). The letter recounted how Tanton had “presented” Hess’ idea to the FAIR board. Hess was arrested later that year for burning a Mexican flag at an Alabama CCC rally that was attended by an unrobed Klansman. Hess would go on in 1999 to help form the neofascist American Friends of the British National Party and, later, to become California state leader of a group headed by neo-Nazi and former Klan leader David Duke.

Tanton on ‘the Jews’

In some ways, given his ideas, it’s not surprising that John Tanton would cozy up to white nationalists and their fellow travelers. What is unexpected, even among long-time observers of the FAIR founder, is his attitude toward “the Jews.”

In the late 1990s, Kevin MacDonald, a California State University, Long Beach, professor, was finishing up a trilogy of books that purported to show that Jews collectively work to undermine the dominant majorities in the host countries in which they live, including the United States. MacDonald said that Jews pursue these tactics — including promoting non-white immigration into white-dominated nations — in order to weaken the majority culture in a bid to enhance their own standing. He would later go on to speak and write for white nationalist groups across America.

Tanton liked what he read. On Dec. 28, 1998 — the same year that the last two books of MacDonald’s trilogy were published — he wrote MacDonald, saying, “I hope we can meet some day.” On that same date, Tanton sent a memo to Dan Stein and the FAIR board of directors about a MacDonald paper “on the segment of the Jewish community that has an open borders mentality.” The paper, Tanton said, “would be fertile for group discussion at the forthcoming board meeting.”

Earlier that month, on Dec. 10, 1998, Tanton also sent MacDonald’s work to Cordelia Scaife May, a now-deceased millionaire philanthropist who gave regularly to far-right causes and was a close Tanton friend. “I’m sure [MacDonald’s article] will give you a new understanding of the Jewish outlook on life, which explains a large part of the Jewish opposition to immigration reform,” he wrote.

Tanton’s criticism of religious groups wasn’t limited to Jews, however. Over the years, he — like some principals of FAIR — lashed out at a variety of religious denominations, especially Catholics, for their welcoming attitude toward immigrants coming to America from the Third World. In his letter to the FAIR board suggesting a discussion of Kevin MacDonald’s theories, for instance, he described “the Roman Catholic Church [and] several of the Protestant denominations, the Lutheran Church in particular,” as being among “our opponents.” In an earlier, May 24, 1994, letter to Roy Beck of NumbersUSA, he said that “one of the problems with churches is that they see themselves as universal, and as transcending national boundaries.”

Endorsing Eugenics

For years, FAIR President Dan Stein has hotly denied that his organization had anything to do with eugenics. “Eugenics,” he wrote in a 2004 op-ed in the Kansas City Star, “is pure junk science, and it is utterly unrelated to FAIR’s efforts to bring order to immigration in America.” Two months later, in a press release attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for suggesting otherwise, the group called SPLC’s reporting “utterly specious” and “McCarthyist.”

The press release went on to accuse the SPLC of unfairly linking FAIR to “a long discredited pseudo-science of eugenics” by noting the group had accepted $1.2 million from the eugenicist Pioneer Fund, ending in 1994. The release also claimed that the idea that FAIR had an interest in eugenics had been disproven.

Apparently, John Tanton failed to get that message.

On Dec. 30, 1994 — at the end of the year that FAIR finally stopped soliciting Pioneer donations (after negative publicity) and issued its denunciation of eugenics — Tanton wrote to German academic Wolfgang Bosswick to defend the Pioneer Fund, saying its critics were the “hard (Marxist) left in the United States.”

On Sept. 18, 1996, he wrote to now-deceased California multimillionaire Robert K. Graham, a eugenicist who started a sperm bank to collect the semen of Nobel Prize-winning scientists: “Do we leave it to individuals to decide that they are the intelligent ones who should have more kids? And more troublesome, what about the less intelligent, who logically should have less? Who is going to break the bad news [to less intelligent individuals], and how will it be implemented?”

On May 21, 1997, Tanton wrote to Richard Lynn — a race “scientist” who claims that black people “are more psychopathic than whites” and suffer from a “personality disorder” characterized by a poverty of feeling and lack of shame — to congratulate Lynn on his book, Dysgenics, on how less intelligent individuals are outbreeding the intelligent. The next year, on Feb. 9, 1998, he wrote to Pioneer Fund President Harry Weyher to propose that Weyher hire Lynn to write “a study of Barry Mehler.” Mehler, the Ferris State University professor who founded the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism, is a harsh critic of race science and eugenics.

FAIR officials may not have known of these contacts, but they certainly knew of others. On Oct. 29, 1998, for instance, Tanton wrote a memo for his file on Harry Weyher discussing the Pioneer Fund’s new website and a paper on “sub-replacement fertility” by Roger Pearson, a notorious race scientist who heads the Institute for the Study of Man. The memo was copied to FAIR’s Dan Stein and K.C. McAlpin, the executive director of ProEnglish, a group on whose board Tanton now sits.

Most remarkable of all, however, was the Feb. 13, 1997, gathering organized by Tanton at the New York Racquet and Tennis Club. Three years after FAIR had stopped taking Pioneer Fund money, Tanton brought FAIR board members Henry Buhl, Sharon Barnes and Alan Weeden — along with Peter Brimelow, future founder of the hate site — to a meeting with Pioneer Fund President Harry Weyher. The meeting, held expressly to discuss fundraising efforts to benefit FAIR, was memorialized in a Feb. 17, 1997, memo that Tanton wrote for his “FAIR Fund-Raising File.” A year later, on Jan. 5, 1998, Tanton wrote to John Trevor, a Pioneer Fund board member and the son of the notorious pro-Nazi eugenicist John Trevor Sr., to thank him for his personal “handsome contribution” to FAIR.

It’s not that Tanton didn’t understand, just as well as Stein and the other leaders of FAIR, exactly how controversial eugenics was. After starting his own eugenicist group, the Society for Genetic Education, in 1996, he wrote to Graham, the California eugenicist, to discuss public relations strategies. In a Sept. 18, 1996, letter, Tanton explained how his new group’s website “emphasized mankind’s use of eugenic principles on plants and the lower animals as a way to condition the public to the idea of genetic manipulation, and raise the question of its application to the human race.” Elaborating, he added: “We report ways [eugenics] is currently being done, but under the term genetics rather than eugenics.”

Immigration and Race

Throughout its history, the United States has been subjected to periodic outbreaks of xenophobic nativism, angry reactions to waves of immigrants who are seen as somehow different than “real” Americans. These movements, directed at different times at Germans, Catholics, Jews, Asians, southern Europeans, blacks and others, have typically been undergirded by racist stereotyping. Again and again, the new immigrants are described as stupid, ugly, disloyal, diseased and more.

Today, no one disputes the vulgar racism of the 1920s Ku Klux Klan, which grew to nearly 4 million members on the strength of hating Catholics and Jews. And much the same can be said of nativist movements from the Know-Nothings of the 1840s, who saw German Catholics as dangerous subverters of American democracy, to the racist demonization of Mexican “wetbacks” during the 20th century.

But John Tanton and his Federation for American Immigration Reform have repeatedly claimed that they are different, that FAIR and its founder are not linked to the irrational fears and hatreds of the past. Their critics, they say angrily, are simply tarring them with the brush of racism to unfairly denigrate their arguments.

As the Bentley Library files show, that is far from true.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

ACT NOW: Latinos and Other Minorities Being Disenfranchised

In recent national elections there have been some pretty blatant disenfranchisement of minority voters. When the Republicans cannot win by using wedge issues to divide and conquer they resort to dirty tricks. Mebe, over at Daily Kos is reporting that some major purging of Latino and minority voters is taking place in critical swing states. Herein, Mebe's post:

Votes being purged left and right, well not really right, they are the purgers not the purgees.


Keith Olberman, Bill Moyers, anyone and everyone.

Yesterday, thankfully there was a diary on the rec list about 600,000 votes in Ohio, I am happy and glad that diary got some damn attention, far too many like it drop like rocks. EVERYTIME.

I saw this over at Huffington Post.

"Kansas, Michigan and Louisiana are purging their voter lists.

Colorado dumped ONE FIFTH of all voter registrations -- the largest in history

Florida is refusing to accept 85,000 new registrants -- overwhelmingly blacks.

New Mexico: purged half of the democrats in Mora county (Hispanics) and 600.000 mailers were returned

Ohio & Nevada are scrubbing tens of 1000s of voters who lost their homes to foreclosures
(Kerry lost by a mere 10-votes per district in Ohio)

We have got to get this information out. To all of the folks distracted by the she-devil, get your head out of Palin's ass and help us alert the media and everyone we know.

Can you digg it? This story must get out, right now it's about 60 diggs short of making the page:

Edited to add: Hey Kos could we please have a constant reminder of this issue up until the election? Something, please, I'm begging you. PS Love you and thanks for the site.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

John Tanton Keeps Expanding his Racist Tentacles

The Southern Poverty Law Center HateWatch project is reporting that the racist anti-immigrant advocate, John Tanton is funding ProEnglish which has given $19,000 and legal advice to Nashville English First, which hopes to force a countywide vote on a proposal to limit all Metro Nashville government business, publications and meetings to English, with no exceptions for health or safety. Both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have listed John Tanton and his network of white–supremacist anti-immigrant organizations as hate groups. Eristic Ragemail has written extensively on the racist roots of the anti-immigrant movement. Further information onJohn Tanton and his nativist network can be found John Tanton’s Network of Hate: How A Small Group of the Wealthy founded the Contemporary Nativist Wave and at Eugenics and Nativism: Joined at the Hip and at The Lies, Distortions and Fabrications of F.A.I.R. Any organization that Tanton touches should be viewed with considerable skepticism.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Settlement Reached in Class Action Suit Challenging Delays in Granting Citizenship

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU-WA), announced that they have reached a preliminary settlement agreement with the federal government in a landmark class action lawsuit challenging delays in the granting of citizenship. In granting class certification, Federal District Court Judge Pechman, rejected the government's arguments asserting that the inability to vote does not prevent individuals from fully participating in our democracy: "This suggestion that Plaintiffs should be resigned to participate vicariously in civic society is shocking, offensive, and wrong. It echoes the sentiments of those who challenged woman's suffrage, suggesting that women should be content to participate in the political process vicariously through their husbands' votes." Such strong language, “shocking, offensive and wrong,” in rejecting the government argument is unusual for a Federal District Court Judge and indicates how far out-of-bounds the Department of Justice and the Bush Administration have gone in defending their immigration policies.

Detainee Dies In Agony

Describing conditions out of a Third World prison, The New York Times’ Nina Bernstein describes the horrible ordeal of Hiu Lui Ng, an immigrant who had lived in the United States for most of his adult life and died an excruciating death at the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ng was suffering with such crushing pain, from undiagnosed cancer, that he needed help from other detainees just to get out of his bunk and use the toilet. Orwellian bureaucrats refused to give him painkillers because he would not get up to get in line to receive them, (due to his excruciating pain). On his deathbed he was told by ICE's staff to stop faking it. Herein an excerpt from the New York Times article:

He was 17 when he came to New York from Hong Kong in 1992 with his parents and younger sister, eyeing the skyline like any newcomer. Fifteen years later, Hiu Lui Ng was a New Yorker: a computer engineer with a job in the Empire State Building, a house in Queens, a wife who is a United States citizen and two American-born sons.

But when Mr. Ng, who had overstayed a visa years earlier, went to immigration headquarters in Manhattan last summer for his final interview for a green card, he was swept into immigration detention and shuttled through jails and detention centers in three New England states.

In April, Mr. Ng began complaining of excruciating back pain. By mid-July, he could no longer walk or stand. And last Wednesday, two days after his 34th birthday, he died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a Rhode Island hospital, his spine fractured and his body riddled with cancer that had gone undiagnosed and untreated for months.

Instead, the affidavits say, guards at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., dragged him from his bed on July 30, carried him in shackles to a car, bruising his arms and legs, and drove him two hours to a federal lockup in Hartford, where an immigration officer pressured him to withdraw all pending appeals of his case and accept deportation.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Torture and Repression Brought to You by the U.S.A.

Much shock and dismay has been expressed over the U.S. military’s use of torture in Iraq, Guantanamo and at so-called “black sites." However, the use of torture by the military or its surrogates is by no means new. The United States has a long dark history in the use, training and implementation of torture in Latin America. The most infamous institution associated with the promotion of torture, summary execution, disappearance and repression of dissidents is the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia.

For decades the U.S. has propped up military dictatorships in Latin America that stifled progressive change and entrenched small cliques of elites which were completely out of touch with the population over which they ruled. The most notorious of these nefarious regimes were the Argentine junta, Chile's Augusto Pinochet and the Central American military dictatorships. The Mexican government, despite its dressings of democracy, has always operated with torture and disappearance of dissidents. These regimes assured a free hand for U.S. business interests and the iron fist for the impoverished masses. The modus operandi for the military and U.S. intelligence agencies was well established prior to 911. In fact some of the most active agents in promoting torture in Latin America include such well known Iraq war figures as Dick Cheney and John Negroponte.

Although the documentary history of this long and dark history of repression is abundant, most Americans have little knowledge of just how reprehensible their government has been in brutally repressing social change in Latin America. The history of the United States relationship with Latin America needs to be understood in order to gain a complete understanding of the migration of Latin Americans to the United States. More on this in future posts.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Legal Resident Jailed Indefinitely: Accused of lying to ICE agent

Just when you think that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could not get more outrageous they pull out a new trangression. Apparently, ICE can jail you indefinitely for “lying" even if you are here legally and even if there is no probable cause for their questioning. Maximiliano Mateo-Mendez was minding his own business in Raleigh, North Carolina when an immigration officer approached him on the street and asked him what he was doing. Unlike most law enforcement agencies which abide by a minimum standard of conduct respecting civil rights, apparently ICE has a free hand to do whatever the f*ck it wants, whenever it wants to. As reported in the North Carolina Times-News is reporting as follows:

Mateo-Mendez's case highlights the ability of immigration agents to question people on the street without the probable cause that limits other police agencies. Immigration lawyers and advocates worry this will help lead to greater levels of racial profiling and have a chilling effect on the willingness of immigrant crime victims and witnesses to talk to police and testify in court.

``To allow immigration agents to come into the federal and state courthouse and questioning people is really going to pose problems,'' said Sara Dill, a Miami-based immigration and criminal lawyer.

Dill is a co-chairwoman of the American Bar Association's committee on immigration law and said the group is studying the legal rights of clients, especially as more local law enforcement agencies work closely with federal immigration agents to deport illegal immigrants who commit crimes.

While incarcerated, Mateo-Menendez’ business has apparently suffered due to his absence. Strike another low for civil and human rights in the United States.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Diversity Train Has Arrived

The United States is multi-cultural and ethnically diverse. So, you may ask, why is that news? It is news, in large measure, because nativists and the anti-immigrant lobby in particular, argue that we need to immediately shut our borders lest, we become multi-cultural and ethnically diverse. For better or worse, and I would vehemently argue for better, the U.S. is already a multi-cultural society. The horse, so to speak, has left the barn and closing the gate will not prevent what nativists fear most. The U.S. Census Bureau confirms that minorities now form a much larger part of the American population. As reported recently in the New York Times:

Foreshadowing the nation’s changing makeup, one in four American counties have passed or are approaching the tipping point where black, Hispanic and Asian children constitute a majority of the under-20 population, according to analyses of census figures released Thursday.

Racial and ethnic minorities now account for 43 percent of Americans under 20. Among people of all ages, minorities make up at least 40 percent of the population in more than one in six of the nation’s 3,141 counties.

The latest population changes by race, ethnicity and age, as of July 1, 2007, were generally marginal compared with the year before. But they confirm the breadth of the nation’s diversity, and suggest that minorities — now about a third of the population — might constitute a majority of all Americans even sooner than projected by census demographers, in 2050.

Reasons for this emerging diversity will, of course, cause much ink to be spilled, never mind the rancor that will be evinced. But one thing should be unequivocally clear: anyone who argues that immigration alone is causing this shift is quite simply howling at the wind. Nativists cannot speak of “our culture” as if they had some proprietary lock. I am reminded of Woody Guthrie’s song: “This Land is Your Land.”

This land is your land, this land is my land

From California, to the New York Island

From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters

This land was made for you and me


The sun comes shining as I was strolling

The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling

The fog was lifting a voice come chanting

This land was made for you and me


As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there

And that sign said - no tress passin'

But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!

Now that side was made for you and me!


In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple

Near the relief office - I see my people

And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'

If this land's still made for you and me.

Yes, indeed, some are grumblin’ and wonderin’ if this land’s still made for you and me.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

ICE petty bureaucrat whines, oversteps her authority

Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Julie L. Myers, has been dipping into the evidence locker at ICE since she apparently thinks she has authority, not only beyond that of her boss at the Department of Homeland Security but also over the legislative branch. Since ICE seems to have no shortage of hubris, the petty bureaucrat Myers, is deluded with the notion that she can discipline a member of Congress.

The head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will ask Congress to consider taking disciplinary action against one of its members for a statement he made equating ICE agents with the Gestapo, a senior agency official said Wednesday.

Luis V. Gutierrez , vice chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee that handles immigration, has called for a moratorium on ICE enforcement actions until Congress passes a comprehensive overhaul, something it has failed to do in each of the past two years.

In a column written for Politico, Gutierrez, D-Ill., commenting on recent ICE arrests of illegal immigrants in Iowa, said: "You know who is in charge now? The Gestapo agents at Homeland Security. They are in charge."

A senior ICE official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Julie L. Myers, the assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was "absolutely appalled and deeply angered" by the statement. The official said Myers would send a letter to senior members of Congress asking that disciplinary action be taken against Gutierrez’ for his remarks.

I guess all the bullying of immigrants has deluded the hapless Myers into thinking that she can push around members of Congress. This stunt by Myers is fat in and of itself, but when you consider that Myers likes to attend office parties where the good folks running ICE participate in racist skits complete with black face and Ratafarian wigs, well it makes the whole thing completely laughable. Daily Kos had a great take on this episode.

Oh noes!!! Julie Myers is "appalled and deeply angered."

Glass houses, my friend:

Democratic lawmakers yesterday accused Julie L. Myers, an assistant secretary of homeland security, of misleading Congress after photographs emerged of Myers at an office Halloween party honoring a white employee dressed as an escaped prisoner with dreadlocks and makeup that made him look African American or Hispanic.

Myers, whose Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency runs the nation's 32,000-bed immigration detention system, was on a three-judge panel that gave a "most original costume" award to the worker at an ICE charity event Oct. 31. Myers subsequently apologized, saying the costume could leave "a negative impression" of ICE's respect for people whom it detains and explained that she learned only the next day that the man was wearing makeup.

My advice? Stick to disciplining your own branch. You've got no business looking outside your own agency -- and some would say none outside your own behavior, quite frankly -- much less outside your own branch. The executive has done quite enough meddling in the legislature, thank you very much. The last thing we need is petty bureaucrats with their own ethical rap sheets whining to Congress about which legislators do and don't need disciplining for huwting your widdle feewings. …. Keep your nose in your own branch, please. You don't have oversight authority here. And maybe keep your thoughts about who needs to be disciplined for appalling behavior a little closer to home.

I would guess that Julie Myers is the odds on favorite in the running for worst person of the year award. My advice, take a civics lesson and retake the citizenship test that Immigration administers, since you were apparently sleeping when they discussed the three branches of the Federal Government. Come to think of it, Julie, there is this thing called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. You might want to read it sometime since your agency seems unaware of its existence.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Just How Arbitrary Is Immigration? Scientist to be deported for imperfect profile photos.

Just how arbitrary and inflexible is U.S. Immigration? So arbitrary that they are about to deport a scientist with a top security clearance who has been working to make us safe from bio-terrorism because of bureaucratic snafus that would rival Joseph Heller (Catch 22). Katarzyna Dziewanowska is a Polish born scientist recruited to the University of Idaho in 1994 and has been involved in studying methods of fighting biological agents, such as the plague, that could be used in germ warfare. Her travails began in 2003 when she applied for Permanent Residency. She submitted her application and an application for a work permit.

While immigration officials considered her application, she was required to apply annually for temporary work permits called employment authorization documents.

In the fall of 2004 her application for a permit was rejected because she had submitted a profile photo rather than a face-forward one as required under new rules. She sent a face-forward photo, but that was rejected because officials said it included glare on one lens of her glasses.

In a letter in September 2004, immigration officials wrote, "There is no appeal to this decision."

By then, her previous work permit had expired.

Dziewanowska said the university's human rights office told her she could keep working during a 240-day grace period, a claim The Spokesman-Review found was supported by Cherasia and e-mail records.

During that period Dziewanowska worked on finding ways to protect against humans from bioterrorist attacks with the plague, but the university's advice that she could keep working turned out to be incorrect.

Immigrations officials then told her that, because she had worked illegally for eight months without a work permit, her application for permanent residency was being rejected.

In April 2005 the university told her to stop working.

Dr. Sziewanowska is now set to be deported, as is her son. She had just recently purchased a home and now will lose both her job and her home. Immigration insists that there is no room for good faith mistakes. If U.S. immigration can ensnare a scientist, well-versed in the English language, in this bureaucratic Catch 22, imagine how the system handles the cases of immigrant laborers.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

U.S. Hospitals Dump Disabled Immigrants

Just when you think things could not get more f*cked up for undocumented immigrants in this country comes a story in The New York Times about hospitals "privately repatriating" disabled immigrants desperate for medical and rehabilitative help. The Sunday August 3, 2008 issue of The New York Times is carrying a story entitled "Immigrants Facing Deportation by U.S. Hospitals," by reporter Deborah Sontag. The story relates the heart-wrenching ordeal of being an undocumented immigrant with disabling injuries. Here are some excerpts:

High in the hills of Guatemala, shut inside the one-room house where he spends day and night on a twin bed beneath a seriously outdated calendar, Luis Alberto Jiménez has no idea of the legal battle that swirls around him in the lowlands of Florida.

Shooing away flies and beaming at the tiny, toothless elderly mother who is his sole caregiver, Mr. Jiménez, a knit cap pulled tightly on his head, remains cheerily oblivious that he has come to represent the collision of two deeply flawed American systems, immigration and health care.

Eight years ago, Mr. Jiménez, 35, an illegal immigrant working as a gardener in Stuart, Fla., suffered devastating injuries in a car crash with a drunken Floridian. A community hospital saved his life, twice, and, after failing to find a rehabilitation center willing to accept an uninsured patient, kept him as a ward for years at a cost of $1.5 million.

What happened next set the stage for a continuing legal battle with nationwide repercussions: Mr. Jiménez was deported — not by the federal government but by the hospital, Martin Memorial. After winning a state court order that would later be declared invalid, Martin Memorial leased an air ambulance for $30,000 and “forcibly returned him to his home country,” as one hospital administrator described it.

Since being hoisted in his wheelchair up a steep slope to his remote home, Mr. Jiménez, who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury, has received no medical care or medication — just Alka-Seltzer and prayer, his 72-year-old mother said. Over the last year, his condition has deteriorated with routine violent seizures, each characterized by a fall, protracted convulsions, a loud gurgling, the vomiting of blood and, finally, a collapse into unconsciousness.

“Every time, he loses a little more of himself,” his mother, Petrona Gervacio Gaspar, said in Kanjobal, the Indian dialect that she speaks with an otherworldly squeak.

American immigration authorities play no role in these private repatriations, carried out by ambulance, air ambulance and commercial plane. Most hospitals say that they do not conduct cross-border transfers until patients are medically stable and that they arrange to deliver them into a physician’s care in their homeland. But the hospitals are operating in a void, without governmental assistance or oversight, leaving ample room for legal and ethical transgressions on both sides of the border.

Indeed, some advocates for immigrants see these repatriations as a kind of international patient dumping, with ambulances taking patients in the wrong direction, away from first-world hospitals to less-adequate care, if any.

“Repatriation is pretty much a death sentence in some of these cases,” said Dr. Steven Larson, an expert on migrant health and an emergency room physician at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “I’ve seen patients bundled onto the plane and out of the country, and once that person is out of sight, he’s out of mind.”

I wish I could cast a stone here, but the fact is that our medical system is so inadequate that it barely serves the needs of its own, never mind the poor immigrant unlucky enough to suffer a griveous injury in this country. Some things just boggle the mind.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Ideology of Peter Brimelow

The Nativist ideologue, Peter Brimelow, insists that he is not a racist but rather is merely looking to engage this nation in a dialogue as to its direction. The issue, he argues, is whether the complexion of this country, both figuratively and literally, should be changed by the growth of non-whites who are not Anglo-Saxon Protestants? The terms of this "debate," as well as the persons entitled to debate this issue, per Brimelow and his nativist bretheren, are highly instructive as to the nativist mindset and more particularly as to Brimelow's true purpose. We are to assume that this is simply a dry policy issue, not unlike farm support subsidies. Why, so the unstated refrain goes, do liberals get so enraged over the mere invitation to such a debate? Instead of engaging us, so the narrative proceeds, does the immigrant lobby attack us as racists, xenophobes or extremist right-wingers? All we want, so Brimelow would conclude, is a fair and open debate -- no holds barred.

A central premise of Brimelow's argument as advanced in his nativist tome, Alien Nation, is that the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which removed the racist national-origin categories which had governed immigration policy since the enactment of the the restrictive and racist Immigration and Restriction Act of 1924, was a great mistake which irrevocably changed the "character" of this country. If it were possible, Brimelow would turn back the clock and undo the changes wrought by the 1965 Act. Accordingly, the persons entitled to a voice in this debate are the white Anglo-Saxon protestants who comprised the overwhelming majority of citizens in 1964. Anyone born of non-white immigrants should not be entitled to a voice because such people are not the progeny that gave birth to this, "our country." This is especially true of anyone who immigrated to this country after 1965 from any country that was not formerly a part of the United Kingdom. This exclusion would apply to anyone born from such emigrant stock, no matter how assimilated or removed from the original immigrants. Accordingly, underlying this debate is a racist premise, nonwhites need not voice their views or concerns. The message to nonwhites, per Brimelow, is "shut up, while we decide your fate!"

And what are the terms of Brimelow's complexion debate? We have already established that since nonwhites are not a part of this debate any recourse to self-interest, group-identity and the elements of sovereignty for nonwhite are off the table just as they were off the table for the indigenous population after Europeans arrived in the New World. If anyone is to speak for Latinos, Asians and even African-Americans, it has to be vis-a-vis the good graces of white overlords, not unlike Colonialism, which Brimelow has championed. As any student of the American legal system will tell you, an adversary who is absent at his own trial has no chance of redeeming himself. The verdict, for those tried in absentia, is a dead certainty.

Having assured that their deliberations will not be encumbered by those whose fate they are debating, Brimelow's nativists are not content to let the outcome be endangered by inconvenient truths. The nativists who write for VDare, Michelle Malkin's website or ALIPAC, make no bones about their disdain, even hatred, for nonwhites and for nonwhite immigrants. Hence, the marriage of nativist ideology with racism. Brimelow, who is himself racist, prominently features racists, Steve Sailer, Jared Taylor, Kevin MacDonald and Patrick Buchanan, amongst others. These writers are not a counter-balance for pro-immigrant writers, they are the core of authors who regularly perorate in nativist publications. Such views are the heart of the definition of bigotry, a stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own, no matter how true. So much for debate. This is not the presentation of positions, it is the shouts of the hooligan.

Shortly after being liberated from a Nazi Prisoner of War camp, Jean-Paul Sartre penned the classic tome, Anti-Semite and Jew. In this seminal essay, Sartre explored what animates the anti-Semite, the racist and the bigot. The anti-Semite is not concerned with an actual Jew (qua Jew) just as Brimelow is not concerned with real Latinos or Hispanics. For the racist, hate of the other is, among other things, a way by which to "lay claim to the nation in which they reside, and an oversimplified conception of the world in which the antisemite sees "not a conflict of interests but the damage which an evil power causes society." Nativism, like antisemitism is not an idea in the commonly understood sense of the word: it is not a point of view based rationally upon empirical information calmly collected and calibrated in as objective a manner as is possible. It is not an idea, ‘It is first of all a passion.' (Sartre, Anti-Semite and Jew, (Schocken Books, Paris, 1948), p.10.) It is a deep passion, 'Some men are suddenly struck with impotence if they learn from the woman with whom they are making love that she is a Jewess. It is an involvement of the mind, but one so deep-seated and complex that it extends to the physio-logical realm, as happens in cases of hysteria.' (Ibid. p.10-11)

Sartre comments that, ‘It is not unusual for people to elect to live a life of passion rather than of reason. But ordinarily love the objects of passion: women, glory, power, money. Since the anti-Semite has chosen hate, we are forced to conclude that it is the state of passion that he loves.’ (Ibid. p.18.) He chooses to reason from passion, to reason falsely ‘because of the longing for impenetrability. The rational man groans as he gropes for the truth; he knows that reasoning is no more than tentative, that other considerations may intervene to cast doubt on it.’ Anti-Semites are attracted by ‘the durability of a stone.’ (Ibid.) What frightens them is the uncertainty of truth. (Ibid. p.19.) ‘The anti-Semite has chosen hate because hate is a faith.’ (Ibid.) He has escaped responsibility and doubt. He can blame anything on the Jew; he does not need to engage reason, for he has his faith.

Anti-Semitism is a way of feeling good, proud even, rather than guilty at the abandonment of responsibility and the flight before the impossibility of true sincerity. (Ibid.) The anti-Semite abandons himself to the crowd and his bad faith, he ‘flees responsibility as he flees his own consciousness, and choosing for his personality the permanence of the rock, he chooses for his morality the scale of petrified values.’ (Ibid. p.27.) He pulls down shutters, blinds, mirrors and mirages over his consciousness to keep himself in his bad faith away from his responsibilities and his liberty. The anti-Semite is afraid ‘of himself, of his own consciousness, of his own liberty, of his instincts, of his responsibilities, of solitariness, of change, of society, and the world – of everything except the Jews.’ He is ‘a coward who does not want to admit his cowardice to himself.’ (Ibid. p.53.)

The nativist, like the anti-Semite and the racist, expounds at length on the great evils wrought by the subject of his hatred. The fact that most of his "views" are false or gross distortions is of little consequence. What matters to the hater is the confirmation of his hatred. Hence, the pathological fixation on the social ills supposedly wrought by "the menace." The crime of one becomes the guilt of all who share the criminal's ethnicity. The drain on society, however false, becomes an article of faith which no amount of reason will remove. Hispanics are demonized for each and every action which any one of the group commits. As well, the fact that an immigrant is working at low wages with false documents is not an indication of economic need but rather an indication of mendacity and venality common to the whole group. All characteristics must bear out the durability of his hatred for this evil race. The nativist constantly resorts to images of defilement, the dark rapist who preys on white women, nay who preys on under-age girls, the avaricious alien who steals not only your job but your very bread. Our culture, the white Anglo-Saxon culture is constantly said to be at risk, defiled and sullied. The nativist is so steeped in his hatred that he unconcsiously parrots the very same tired arguments of such anti-Semitic tomes as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Such is the nature of anti-Semitism, racism and nativism. And this truly is what Peter Brimelow wants to advance when he calls for a debate on the "immigration question." It is not a debate but a call to action, all true whites stand up for your race, you are at peril. Brimelow is not concerned with real Latinos, Hispanics or immigrants. For the nativist, hate of the other is a way by which to lay claim to the nation in which they reside, and an oversimplified conception of the world in which the nativist sees not a conflict of interests but the damage which an evil power causes society.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Another Nativist Myth Bites the Dust: Gallup Poll Indicates Most Mexicans Do Not Want to Emigrate to U.S.

Nativist Groups would have you believe that the U.S. Border is teeming with Mexicans waiting to cross over to the United States. Not so, says the highly respected Gallup Organization. The poll indicates that the overwhelming majority of Mexicans have no desire to emigrate, much less emigrate permanently to the U.S. The recently conducted Gallup poll found that when asked, "Ideally, given the opportunity, would you like to move permanently to another country, or would you prefer to continue living in this country?" only 21% of Mexicans responded affirmatively. Of this percentage only 46% indicated that they would like to emigrate to the United States. (The majority indicated a preference for Spain.) Given the cross-border familial ties between Mexico and the U.S., this is a remarkably small amount of Mexicans indicating a desire to emigrate to their northern neighbor.

What the poll really underlies is the complexity of the immigration issue. Contrary to the rants of Lou Dobbs and his ilk, the issues attendant to emigration and immigration between the United States and Mexico are considerably more nuanced than their simplistic sloganeering would have one believe. Almost every aspect of the immigration issue, from assimilation to the factors driving immigration, are riven by a set of complex factors that defy irreducibility to simple-minded solutions such as the much vaunted border fence. Until we move past the simpleton rhetoric of cable-news screamers, we will continue to fail to comprehend the complexities of this issue.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Delivering Child while Shackled, Baby Removed, Father Barred

She had gone through labor with a sheriff’s officer standing guard in her hospital room, where one of her feet was cuffed to the bed most of the time...The phone in her room was turned off, and she was not permitted to speak with her husband when he came to retrieve their newborn son from the hospital

Human Rights Organizations have condemned the tactics of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), including the raids by ICE, the discriminatory enforcement by local officials and the conditions of detainment amongst other human rights violations. One especially ugly aspect of ICE’s war on immigrants is a program called 287g which promotes local enforcement of immigration by law enforcement officials who are neither trained nor equipped to enforce Federal laws. Worse, many of these local officials often exhibit anti-Latino bias which leads to profiling and harassment of the Hispanic community. One such egregious example of local enforcement run amok, but not in any way isolated, was reported in the New York Times.

It started when Juana Villegas, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who was nine months pregnant, was pulled over by a police officer in a Nashville suburb for a routine traffic violation.

By the time Mrs. Villegas was released from the county jail six days later, she had gone through labor with a sheriff’s officer standing guard in her hospital room, where one of her feet was cuffed to the bed most of the time. County officers barred her from seeing or speaking with her husband.

After she was discharged from the hospital, Mrs. Villegas was separated from her nursing infant for two days and barred from taking a breast pump into the jail, her lawyer and a doctor familiar with the case said. Her breasts became infected, and the newborn boy developed jaundice, they said.

Mrs. Villegas’s arrest has focused new attention on a cooperation agreement signed in April 2007 between federal immigration authorities and Davidson County, which shares a consolidated government with Nashville, that gave immigration enforcement powers to county officers. It is one of 57 agreements, known formally as 287G, that the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has signed in the last two years with county and local police departments across the country under a rapidly expanding program.

Lawyers and immigrant advocates say Mrs. Villegas’s case shows how local police can exceed their authority when they seek to act on immigration laws they are not fully trained to enforce.

“Had it not been for the 287G program, she would not have been taken down to jail,” said A. Gregory Ramos, a lawyer who is a former president of the Nashville Bar Association. “It was sold as something to make the community safer by taking dangerous criminals off the streets. But it has been operated so broadly that we are getting pregnant women arrested for simple driving offenses, and we’re not getting rid of the robbers and gang members.”

She was stopped on July 3 in her husband’s pickup truck by a police officer from Berry Hill, a Nashville suburb, initially for “careless driving.” After Mrs. Villegas told the officer she did not have a license, he did not issue a ticket but arrested her instead. Elliott Ozment, Mrs. Villegas’s lawyer, said driving without a license is a misdemeanor in Tennessee that police officers generally handle with a citation, not an arrest.

So when Mrs. Villegas went into labor on the night of July 5, she was handcuffed and accompanied by a deputy as she was taken by ambulance to Nashville General Hospital at Meharry. Cuffs chaining her foot to the hospital bed were opened when she reached the final stages of labor, Mrs. Villegas said.

The phone in her room was turned off, and she was not permitted to speak with her husband when he came to retrieve their newborn son from the hospital on July 7 as she returned to jail, she said.

As Mrs. Villegas left the hospital, a nurse offered her a breast pump but a sheriff’s deputy said she could not take it into the jail, Mrs. Villegas said.

Such treatment of non-criminal immigrants is unfortunately all too common under ICE’s war of attrition against undocumented immigrants. I can hear the nativists trolls scream “but she was here illegally!” Whether she was here illegally or not, such treatment is not only undeserved but its wide-scale application demeans our society and the values for which this Republic stands. We continue to fritter away any moral basis for criticizing the human rights violations of other countries. We have reduced our values to the lowest common denominator, the racists who rant on about “illegals” who “have no rights.” Who is next?

Download: Your Rights If Your are Detained by Local Law Enforcement

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jason Riley, African-American Conservative Writes Pro-Immigrant Book

Politics makes strange bedfellows, a cliche perhaps, but it certainly fits in the case of Jason Riley’s latest book "Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders" (Gotham), which makes the case for an expansive immigration policy. Jason Riley is a conservative African-American and a member of the very conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board. Pro-immigrant views are not exactly the stuff we have come to associate with the right-wing but Riley’s book is a breath of fresh air nonetheless. Here is an excerpt from the May 15, 2008 Op-Ed piece that Riley penned for the Wall Street Journal, which gives a peek into his book.

The public, we were told, was fed up with illegal immigrants, especially those coming from Latin America. These foreign nationals were stealing jobs, depressing wages, filling our jails and prisons, refusing to learn English, and not assimilating like past immigrant groups. The conventional wisdom was that any presidential candidate who stood a chance of being elected would have to take a hard-line stance on illegal aliens.

Yet somehow the issue seems to have faded, if not disappeared entirely. The presumptive Republican nominee, John McCain, isn't a fire-breathing "seal the border" restrictionist. Rather, he's the candidate most closely associated with a comprehensive immigration reform proposal that would have given most undocumented immigrants a shot at becoming legal residents if they met certain requirements. As for the Democrats, when's the last time you saw the term "illegal immigrant" appear in a story about Mrs. Clinton and Barack Obama?

So what happened?

Well, I have a theory, and it is that Americans are basically pro-immigrant but ambivalent about it. This ambivalence is reflected in polls, which of course provide different results based on how questions are asked. For example, last year a CBS News poll asked, "Should illegal immigrants be prosecuted and deported or shouldn't they?" And 69% of respondents favored deportation. When the same interviewers asked the same respondents what should happen to illegal immigrants who have lived and worked in the U.S. for at least two years, and then offered a specific alternative to deportation, only 33% favored deportation; 62% said they should be given a chance to keep their jobs and eventually apply for legal status.

When a separate Gallup poll asked a similar question but offered four alternatives, just 13% favored deportation, and 78% said illegal immigrants should be allowed to keep their jobs and apply for citizenship.

In other words, for all the loud talk we've heard in recent months, via cable news, talk radio and the blogosphere, the American public seems not to have lost confidence in the melting pot. And rightly so, because there's plenty of evidence that assimilation is proceeding apace. True, it doesn't always seem that way, but we all know that perceptions can sometimes be illusions.

The media offers up a steady diet of data about current immigration from Mexico, and much of it consists of "averages" regarding English-language skills, income, home-ownership rates, education and so forth. But while digesting these figures, it's important to keep in mind that Latino immigration is ongoing. These averages are snapshots of a moving stream and therefore of little use in measuring assimilation. To properly gauge assimilation, we need to find out how immigrants in the U.S. are faring over time. Only longitudinal studies that track individuals can provide that information.

Just looking at averages can give you a very distorted view of who's learning English or dropping out of school or climbing out of poverty. How so? Because overall statistics that average in large numbers of newcomers can obscure the progress made by pre-existing immigrants.

Dowell Myers, a demographer at the University of Southern California, calls it the "Peter Pan Fallacy." "Many of us assume, unwittingly, that immigrants are like Peter Pan," says Mr. Myers, "forever frozen in their status as newcomers, never aging, never advancing economically, and never assimilating." In this naïve view, he says, "the mounting numbers of foreign-born residents imply that our nation is becoming dominated by growing numbers of people who perpetually resemble newcomers."

The reality, however, is that the longitudinal studies show real socio-economic progress by Latinos. Progress is slower in some areas, such as the education level of adult immigrants, and faster in others, such as income and homeownership rates. But there is no doubt that both assimilation and upward mobility are occurring over time.

With respect to linguistic assimilation, which is one of the more important measures because it amounts to a job skill that can increase earnings, the historical pattern is as follows: The first generation learns enough English to get by but prefers the mother tongue. The children of immigrants born here grow up in homes where they understand the mother tongue to some extent and may speak it, but they prefer English. When those children become adults, they establish homes where English is the dominant language.

There's every indication that Latinos are following this pattern. According to 2005 Census data, just one-third of Latino immigrants in the country for less than a decade speak English well. But that proportion climbs to 75% for those here 30 years or more. There may be more bilingualism today among their children, but there's no evidence that Spanish is the dominant language in the second generation. The 2000 Census found that 91% of the children of immigrants, and 97% of the grandchildren, spoke English well.