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Weekly Diaspora: One Year After SB 1070, What's Changed?

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 10:54:55 AM EST

by Catherine A. Traywick, Medica Consortium blogger

A year ago this month, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law, effectively pushing an already vibrant anti-immigrant movement to a new extreme. Over the following months, immigrant rights advocates prepared for the worst, and grappled with multiple setbacks as other states threatened to follow Arizona's example.

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Weekly Diaspora: The 2012 Budget and Our Unsecured Border

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 11:51:46 AM EST

By Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger

President Obama is taking heat from all sides this week for his 2012 budget proposal, which proposes increased funding for immigration enforcement and border militarization. While immigrant rights advocates are predictably up in arms over the proposal, House Republicans are (somewhat uncharacteristically) demanding significant cuts to border security funding - on the grounds that the Obama administration's efforts to secure the border have been ineffective and fiscally irresponsible.

 
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Weekly Diaspora: Justice for Brisenia as Minutemen Leader Convicted of Murders

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 11:36:57 AM EST

By Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger

Days after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne filed suit against the federal government for allegedly failing to protect the state from a Mexican "invasion," the high-profile murder conviction of a Minutemen border vigilante underscores the state's misguided border priorities.

 
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Weekly Diaspora: Why Sexual Violence Against Latina Farmworkers is a Hate Crime

by: The Media Consortium

Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 12:38:47 PM EST

by Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger

This week, two high-profile trials involving the racially motivated murders of Latinos in Pennsylvania and Arizona are exposing the unsettling implications of growing anti-immigrant sentiment. But while antagonistic political discourse and incendiary policy are shown to provoke ethnic violence-correlating with a 52 percent increase in hate crimes-they also indirectly drive sexual violence against immigrant women. The combination of stricter enforcement and increased cultural animosity toward immigrants renders undocumented women workers more susceptible to workplace rape and sexual exploitation-violent crimes that don't generally register as hate crimes but that nevertheless bespeak of racially charged motives.

 
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Weekly Diaspora: Local Laws Target Immigrants; Activists Take to the Streets

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 12:18:32 PM EST

By Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger

While immigrant rights groups pressure the federal government via high-profile marches and rallies, anti-immigration forces are pushing punitive laws on the state and local levels. Thousands of immigration reform proponents rallied last week to push federal lawmakers to pass reform this year, but the Arizona House of Representatives passed one of the toughest immigration laws in the country, which enables racial profiling of Latinos.

If the Senate fails to propose a reform bill this Spring, immigration reform won't be on the agenda for 2010. With elections at the end of the year, it's uncertain if reform will pass after that, as the resulting Congress could be more conservative.

More rallies from the grassroots

As Seth Freed Wessler reports at RaceWire, "Rallies for immigration reform were held in at least seven cities on Saturday, including Las Vegas, Seattle and Chicago, and were meant to maintain momentum from the massive march in Washington last month." The rallies were part of a sustained effort by reform supporters to pressure the Senate to take up reform this year.

In Las Vegas, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made an appearance and told supporters that the Senate would start work on reform soon after legislators came back from a brief recess this week.

"Speaking before a crowd of more than 6,000, Reid, a vulnerable incumbent, assured his audience of his commitment," Steve Benen wrote for the Washington Monthly.

"We're going to come back, we're going to have comprehensive immigration reform now," Reid was quoted as saying. "We need to do this this year. We cannot wait."

New America Media cites a report from Univision, writing that "Reid, fresh from the fight for health system reform and with a difficult re-election campaign ahead, told demonstrators that there is some urgency to passing legislation to reform the immigration system, including improving border security and creating a guest worker program for seasonal workers."

New America Media also reports on a surprising conservative-evangelical alliance that supports comprehensive immigration reform that protects children and families. "While not entirely new, the involvement of conservative Latino and evangelical leaders in the immigration debate puts additional pressure on Congress and the president to take up the issue this year."

In Seattle, AlterNet reports  on the large presence of Asian immigrants at the local rally, quoting Diane Narasaki, executive director of the Asian Counseling and Referral Service:  "There are about 1 million Asians living in this country who are undocumented, so comprehensive immigration reform is really key to our community," Narasaki said.

Local laws target immigrants

Meanwhile, the GOP-controlled Arizona House of Representatives voted along party lines this week to pass a state law that would, as RaceWire's Freed Wessler reports, "make it a criminal offense simply to be an undocumented immigrant on Arizona soil and to require local cops to determine a person's immigration status if there is any 'reasonable suspicion' the person is undocumented."

"The law would essentially require police to racially profile Latinos and threatens to terrorize immigrant communities already trying to survive in what is arguably the country's most anti-immigrant state," writes Freed Wessler.

In Colorado, where a similar state law passed despite wide criticism of civil rights abuses, there are reports on an effort in Denver to push back against a a local city-wide anti-immigrant  law that encourages police to impound vehicles of undocumented immigrants.

"Members of the city council here are considering eliminating a controversial vehicle impound law that has raised financial and constitutional questions," Joseph Boven reports for the Colorado Independent. "It's unconstitutional, for example, to require Denver police to judge whether someone driving in Denver without a license might be an illegal alien."

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Linking national concerns with local issues, the National Radio Project reports on a panel called "Race, Immigration and the Fight for an Open Internet," which focused on how telecommunications corporations' moves to restrict internet access could affect immigrant communities.

"Right now, telecommunications companies are pursuing a restrictive pay-for-play business model for online access that many say will only further the digital divide, discriminating between those who have Internet access and those who do not," the news outlet notes.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members  of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Pulse . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

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Weekly Diaspora: The Game Plan for Immigration Reform

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Apr 01, 2010 at 12:04:15 PM EST

By Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), started a hubbub among comprehensive immigration reform advocates last week when he expressed  to members of the Capitol press corps that  progressive immigration legislation was "dead" for 2010 due to the contentious passage of health care reform. But the battle isn't over yet. In an interview with Sandip Roy at New America Media, Frank Sharry, the executive director of DC-based immigration organization America's Voice, says, "I think we have a good chance of seeing a bipartisan bill being introduced in April."

Graham's declaration mirrors similar antics that happened around the health care debate-where insurance reform was pronounced dead countless times by a wide array of pundits and lawmakers.  In fact, Seth Freed Wessler of ColorLines reports that Graham, who has been working with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on an immigration reform bill for a year later changed his tune, stating that he would continue to craft a bipartisan bill.

The Battle in the Senate

Gabriel Arana with The America Prospect questions just how the GOP lawmakers will react to the upcoming immigration debate, arguing that, "Even for those Republicans who are willing to publicly  support immigration reform, partisan rancor all but ensures it won't go  anywhere."

And outside the Capitol? As Laura Flanders of GRITtv points out, the immigration debate, "has the potential to be far, far messier-and more violent-than the health care battle," and will likely galvanize those with xenophobic tendencies on the far Right to become even more unhinged.

On top of that, providing a pathway to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States will most likely be dead in 2010 if a bill isn't proposed in the Senate this Spring. There needs to be time to debate the issue before the end of the year, and more importantly, before election season kicks off in the Fall. While there's already an immigration bill in the House of Representatives, a timeline for when one will actually be introduced in the Senate is unknown.

Immigration agents go rogue

Combined with the uphill battle for immigration reform, AlterNet reports on a government memo revealing that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has set quotas to initiate more deportations of undocumented immigrants, targeting those who had committed no crimes. The memo was in stark contrast to the Obama administration's stated goal to focus on deporting criminal offenders with violent histories, and prompted immigration rights groups to question the White House agenda.

At the same time, anti-immigration activists are also trying to label all immigrants as criminals. As the Colorado Independent documents, the shooting death of an Arizona rancher near the Mexican border has influenced former Colorado lawmaker Tom Tancredo and his followers to demand that the National Guard be sent the border-even though the death has not even been tied to an undocumented immigrant at this time. (The Department doesn't have jurisdiction over the National Guard to begin with.)

The Inter Press Service also reports on the  results of such criminalization, as human rights abuses in immigration detention continue to increase each day. "More abuses in the U.S. immigration detention system came to light last week," notes the media outlet, writing that "It was revealed that two mentally disabled men continue to be held in detention while facing possible deportation for criminal assault convictions, despite having already served their time." The inmates were later released after the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed legal petitions against federal government.

For more links on immigration check out:

 
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Weekly Diaspora: No Sleep 'Till March on Washington

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 12:08:07 PM EST

By Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger

This Sunday, tens of thousands of people plan to march on the National Mall in Washington, DC in an effort to persuade Congress and the Obama administration to tackle immigration reform in 2010. More than 700 buses are bringing an estimated 100,000 supporters to the nation's capital for the March for America. Participants are hoping to show strength in numbers on the ground, and flex muscle on Capitol Hill as well.

Advocacy groups are organizing countless phone banks and Congressional office visits to encourage lawmakers to support a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants who live and work in the United States.

On top of that, immigrant rights supporters are eager to note that President Barack Obama promised to overhaul the immigration system during his campaign, and said that immigration reform would be a "top priority in my first year as President of the United States of America." But now that year has passed, and with Congress still deadlocked on health care and economic issues, reform supporters just can't wait any longer.

 

While an immigration reform bill has been proposed in the House of Representatives, the same can't be said for the Senate. If the Senate fails to propose a reform bill this Spring, it won't be on the agenda for 2010 either. With elections at the end of the year, there's an aura of uncertainty over how possible it will be to pass reform after that, since the resulting congress could be more conservative.

Keeping a promise

For Obama and the Democratic lawmakers, keeping the promise of immigration reform could be essential to their political future. As Feministing  noted this week, "the March is meant to send a message to Congress: immigration reform cannot wait. It's also a message to President Obama to keep good on his word and push immigration reform."

Obama's promise to reform the immigration system helped earn him 67 percent of the Latino vote in 2008, exit polls show. Latinos-who make up approximately 15 percent of the U.S. population and are the fastest growing minority in the nation-also delivered Democratic victories in states like Colorado, Florida, and Ohio during that same year.

But with 81 percent of undocumented immigrants in the United States originating from Latin America, a failure to take action on immigration reform could prove disastrous for Democrats and the White House. Numerous polls show that Latino voters want immigration reform, in part because nearly 9 million people in the country live in "mixed-homes," where some family members are documented and others are not, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

In a story about the upcoming march, TPMDC reports that "organizers of the rally have a simple retort for Democrats: pass reform now, or lose Latino support in November." The news site quotes march organizer Gabe Gonzalez, who expresses frustration with the slow movement on immigration reform. "I cannot tell you how angry and outraged people are," she says. "I have conversations with my progressive friends and they're always surprised at how visceral it is."

About-face

On the other side of the political spectrum, conservative politicians who do not have a reputation for embracing immigration reform are trying to change course. The population of Latino voters will only continue to grow as children of undocumented immigrants reach voting age. Both Republicans and Democrats are fighting to secure that demographic as a reliable voting bloc.

 

In 2003, 63 percent of the 4.3 million children born to undocumented parents in the U.S. were citizens. By 2008, there were 5.5 million children in the same situation and 73 percent of them were born in the country. This new generation signifies what could be a significant political shift as Latinos continue to gain prominence and influence in the U.S.

There is a rift on the right when it comes to immigration, as AlterNet explains. "One segment of the Republican Party completely understands that critical political fact. They understand that to compete successfully in the future -- on a national scale -- they must be able to contest for a sizeable segment of the Hispanic vote. ... But there is another group of Republicans who want to use immigration as wedge issue to win short-term political advantage among anxious voters who think of Latinos as threats to their culture, their tax dollars, and their jobs."

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks notes that both sides of the immigration argument are very passionate. "You got a lot of people in the country saying 'Aw, we need a border fence, and the damn immigrants are taking our jobs, etc.,'" he says. "On the other side you have people who are in favor of immigration, making it into some sort of sane system."

Although reform supporters are hopeful that a bill will be proposed in the Senate this Spring, whether it will have a wide bipartisan backing remains to be seen. But with changing demographics and an organized movement for reform, passing immigration reform would empower a reliable--and organized--voting block that is growing more significant by each election. In the end, it could change the political climate of the United States for generations to come.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members  of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Pulse . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

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Coming up to March 21st, raids undermine White House talk of immigration reform

by: Restore Fairness

Mon Mar 15, 2010 at 16:23:16 PM EST

From the Restore Fairness blog.

With less than a week to go, advocates across the  country are gearing  up to “March for America,” the massive mobilization for   immigration reform where 100,000 supporters are expected to descend on   the nation’s capital on March 21st. In anticipation of the march,   members of the National  Day Labor  Organizing Network (NDLON) have set off from  different  parts of the country to Washington D.C., with the aim of  building  support amongst local communities on the way and calling  attention to  the desperate need for reform of immigration laws that  tear families  apart and repress the immigrant community.

The Puente   Movement, and their “Human  Rights Caravan” of day laborers, advocates  and community members  left Phoenix on March 6th for a three-week,  awareness-raising journey  through Arizona that will culminate in  Washington D.C. on March 21st.  As part of their efforts, they have been  organizing events in small  towns and big cities to highlight the civil  and human rights crisis in  Arizona and other places where large  communities are impacted by  increased enforcement policies. On March  13th, the caravan was joined  by Rep. Luis   Gutierrez in Houston for a large rally that  called for immigration reform. On  the East Coast, several day laborers  from New York and New Jersey began a  300-mile “Walk for Human  Dignity” on Saturday, March 13th.  Inspired by the courageous “Trail of Dreams” walkers, they will be stopping at   various day labor corners, churches and worker centers on their way to   Washington D.C.

So is all this buzz around the “march” reaching  Washington D.C.? When  President Obama announced three meetings on the issue of   immigration reform last Thursday (March 11th), it seemed like the message that immigrant rights advocates across the   country were sending out was finally hitting home. After the President   had a “feisty” meeting with representatives from   immigrant rights groups on Thursday morning, Sen. Schumer and Sen. Graham  presented their legislative plans for the bill on comprehensive   immigration reform in the Oval office. The Senators requested the   President for his support in ensuring  bipartisan support for the bill,   and while the President committed his “unwavering support” to reforming   immigration laws, he gave no concrete plan of action or time-line for   moving forward. However, as summed up in a New York Times editorial about the meetings that President Obama had with immigrant    rights advocates, with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and with Sen.    Charles Schumer and Sen. Lindsey Graham, “What we’d rather know is  when   the bill is coming, what it will look like and what he is going  to do  to  get it passed. Enough with the talk.”

In a statement released by the White House after the   meetings-

Today I met with Senators Schumer and  Graham and was pleased to  learn of their progress in forging a proposal  to fix our broken  immigration system. I look forward to reviewing their  promising  framework, and every American should applaud their efforts to  reach  across party lines…I also heard from a diverse group of grassroots   leaders from around the country about the growing coalition that is   working to build momentum for this critical issue. I am optimistic that   their efforts will contribute to a favorable climate for moving  forward.  I told both the Senators and the community leaders that my  commitment  to comprehensive immigration reform is unwavering, and that I  will  continue to be their partner in this important effort.

As indicated  by White House press secretary Robert   Gibbs, it seems that while  immigration remains an important issue for   President Obama, it is not a  priority in this election year, thereby   making the concrete action that  the Obama administration had promised   within the first year of office,  seem like a distant dream. It is clear   that the meetings were a result of the mounting pressure for action on   immigration reform from the grassroots and community level. In spite  of  the build-up towards the nation-wide mobilization on March 21st, the   outcome of the meetings, beyond a reiteration of the promise of  support,  remains unclear.

As if to highlight just how pressing  the need for reform of the  broken immigration system is, while Obama  was meeting with advocates who were frustrated with increased enforcement and   deportations under the Obama administration and anxious to enlist his   support for moving reform forward, a series of raids in Maryland led to the arrest and   detention of 29 workers. Not far from D.C. on Thursday morning,   Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted simultaneous raids in Anne Arundel and   Baltimore counties at two restaurants, several residences and an office.   On Friday, advocates from the immigrant rights organization Casa de Maryland were back outside the White House,   but rather than meeting with the President, they had gathered to protest the raids and splitting of families as a   result of enforcement policies. Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of   Casa de Maryland denounced the raids-

Everyday,  tens of thousands of  hardworking immigrants in Maryland leave their  families to go to work,  and tonight twenty-nine of our brothers are  detained as their families  are left to grieve…This is not an acceptable  way to treat members of our  community who work hard every day to make  Maryland strong for us all.

In the face of the push for the  nation-wide push for reform, the  efforts of mobilization towards the  March for America, and the  Presidential meetings, it is not difficult  to wonder about the timing of  the ICE raids in Maryland. Either way,  the continuation of such unjust  and inhumane enforcement policies is  unacceptable. We can only hope that  the final push for support over the  next week bears fruit and the  impact of the march in Washington D.C.  is felt by everyone.

A New York Times op-ed states that the “March for America” could be the “game changer” in   the equation, so come to Washington D.C. and make it count! Like we said before, this is your march, so see   you at the National Mall in Washington D.C.!

Photo courtesy of  flickr.com/photos/americasvoice

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Weekly Diaspora: Rallying the Grassroots

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Mar 04, 2010 at 11:49:07 AM EST

By Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger

Ed. Note: After a brief hiatus, the Diaspora is back! We're very excited to have Erin Rosa on board for this project. Please stay tuned for a the latest developments on the immigration reform front every Thursday morning.

Fed up with Congress and frustrated with President Barack Obama's brief mention of immigration reform in the State of the Union address, immigrant rights supporters are now organizing around the clock to push legislators to move on reform in 2010. It will not be an easy feat.

Congress is already bogged down with health care reform and a lingering economic crisis. While Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) has proposed a bill in the House of Representatives to provide a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, immigration reform could be doomed for 2010 if it's not introduced in the Senate by this Spring. Otherwise, it's very unlikely that Congress will get around to debating the issue by the end of the year.

Aware of these bitter facts-and even more cognizant of the human rights abuses that will continue so long as the status quo is maintained-reform proponents are gearing up for a number of key battles to improve the immigration system.

La marcha

Born from dissatisfaction with Congress and Obama's inability to deliver reform, organizers from around the country are preparing to march on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. On March 21, the first day of Spring. The objective is to draw tens of thousands of immigrant rights supporters to Capitol Hill. As New America Media reports, March for America "will be a test of immigrant advocates' organizing capacity and their increasing use of technology to stoke a popular groundswell on immigration."

The march, which is organized by the Reform Immigration For America coalition, will also "bring together advocates focused on different parts of the immigration policy agenda," including supporters of agricultural labor, better immigrant detention standards, and the DREAM Act, federal legislation that provide a pathway to citizenship for certain immigrants who entered the United States before the age of 16.

While mainstream media coverage of the march has been relatively quiet, with many English-language outlets ignoring it completely, the organizing behind the scenes has been even more hush hush. This is a massive grassroots effort to raise public awareness around the country. Members from hundreds of state immigration groups are attending churches, making phone calls, knocking on doors, and organizing caravans to get people to Washington in March. Even mainstream Spanish-language outlets have gotten involved and encouraged their audiences to contact the Reform Immigration For America campaign for all the latest information.

Perhaps most refreshing is that unlike the immigration reform fight in 2007, which was plagued by a number of organizational hurdles, national immigration organizations in Washington have reached out to grassroots groups across the nation for the march. As Bill Chandler, an executive director for the Mississippi Immigrant's Rights Alliance, told the National Radio Project recently, "The grassroots groups were left out of the discussion [in 2007] and what we're trying to do is make sure that doesn't happen again."

Speed bumps on the Trail of Dreams

While organizers are preparing for his month's march, four young students are continuing a 1,500 mile trek on foot, dubbed the "Trail of Dreams," in support of the DREAM Act. The students, three of whom are undocumented immigrants, started their journey on Jan 1. in Miami and are currently hiking through Georgia on their way to Washington, where they are expected to arrive in May. Along the way, they are educating people about how the DREAM Act would help kids like them.

Under current law, some of the walkers still face deportation, even though they were only children when their parents brought them into the United States. While the four students have encountered a lot of support from the communities that they've visited, they've also come across some ugly opposition. As AlterNet notes, a recent Ku Klux Klan rally in Georgia "was timed to occur when the Trail of Dreams walkers were passing through the area," and there was a "a stark difference between the messages of the two groups: one for tolerance and human rights, the other for hatred and racism.

Immigration Detention Abuses Continue

The Varick Federal Detention Facility, a privately-run immigration prison in New York city that was overseen by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, is closing and relocating approximately 250 of its inmates to a New Jersey lockup. As RaceWire reports, the move is "partially because of public pressure" since "Varick has a well-documented track record of detainee abuse and fatal medical negligence," but "shutting down one facility doesn't address the broader system."

When immigration officials granted a media tour to The Nation shortly before the prison closed, reporter Jackie Stevens described the scene inside: "The dorms are packed with rows of narrow beds, fifty in all; the law library has dated resources; there is no privacy; and there is no natural light, ever."

On top of that, even "the agents hosting the tour seemed embarrassed and emphasized the upcoming transfer as we looked through a long hall window at men slouching, feet on the floor, using their beds as backless chairs." Varick is just one of many immigration detention facilities with documented abuses, and while the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that ultimately controls ICE,  has promised to reform the system, they have still refused to introduce any legally-binding regulations for detainee treatment.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Pulse . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

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Weekly Diaspora: Does Coakley's Loss Spell Trouble for Immigration Reform?

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Jan 21, 2010 at 12:30:15 PM EST

By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

Professional pundits and Democratic politicians are in a frenzy over what Martha Coakley's senate seat loss to Republican Scott Brown might mean for American politics.

Immigration reform in jeopardy

As Harold Meyerson of the American Prospect reports, the loss of one seat probably won't derail heath care reform, but it does make the chances of passing immigration reform slimmer. Meyerson writes that immigration reform is "necessary to restore our economic vitality and political equality," and actually passing reform would benefit the Democratic faction. Unfortunately, that means that immigration reform will require 60 votes in order to pass the senate.

The Texas Observer's Melissa del Bosque writes about the slim chances of immigration reform passing in 2010. According to Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a 2011 target date is "probably more realistic." del Bosque refuses to lose hope, reminding us that Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) has assured the public that "the Obama administration promised to bring up the issue in 2010." Of course, bringing up an issue and actually passing reform are two very different animals.

Holding on to hope for 2010

In her daily roundup of Spanish-language media, Erin Rosa of Campus Progress also urges a positive outlook "despite the reorganization of the Senate." Rosa relays that Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) assured the media during a telephone conference that President Obama "remembers his promise well." While "most latinos" interviewed are impatient, they hold on to hope that 2010 is the year for reform.

TPS for Haitians

Haitian undocumented that are currently within U.S. borders will be given Temporary Protected Status (TPS), as Julianne Hing reports for RaceWire. The decision only applies to Haitian immigrants in the U.S. prior to January 12, 2010. Hing observes that it is unfortunate that it took "a disaster of this magnitude" to inspire the White House to offer TPS to Haitian immigrants, though it is "a great relief."

What will the recently granted TPS status mean for Haitians that are already in deportation proceedings? Such is the case of Haitian immigrant Jean Montrevil, as Aarti Shahani reports for New America Media. Montrevil came to the U.S. on a green card in 1986 to "make it big," but in his efforts, "got stupid," and caught up in selling drugs from his taxi cab. That was 20 years ago, and Montrevil has served 11 years in prison to pay for his errors. Montrevil is now a father of four and a community leader. The Department of Homeland Security considers his prison time proper cause to deport him. Many others feel he has done his time, and is a positively contributing member of our society. Democracy Now! also covered Montrevil's story recently, as noted in the Jan. 7 Diaspora.

Invisible to the first world

Why are countries like Haiti mostly invisible to first world nations like the U.S. until catastrophe strikes? Leonardo Padura asks, before the earthquake, "Who talked about Haiti?" for IPS News. Haiti desperately needs the emergency aid so generously given today, but the country has needed help for a long time. "Let us hope that tomorrow, when the tragedy no longer dominates the headlines, and the dead are buried," writes Padura, "we will not forget Haiti exists...."

Disappointingly, "U.S. corporations, private mercenaries, Washington and the International Monetary Fund" are remembering Haiti in a rather cruel and opportunist fashion, as Benjamin Dangl reports for AlterNet. At a time of crisis and great human need, Washington D.C. is "promoting unpopular economic policies and extending military and economic control over the Haitian people." This is disturbing, as a long history of economic exploitation helped render the country vulnerable to disaster. The recent earthquake has claimed roughly 200,000 lives so far.

Haiti in context

While borders and border cities bear the brunt of blame when migrants move, the cure won't be found in bigger bails of barbed wire, or harsh enforcement tactics that deny escape from economic desperation or dangerous conditions.

Jocelyn Barnes, reporting for The Nation, provides a much needed contextualization of Haiti. There are many related factors that weakened and harmed Haiti's ability to thrive, not the least of which have been storms and earthquakes. But the privatization of Haiti's infrastructure-which was "championed" by current envoy to Haiti in charge of "leading the quake assistance brigade" former president Bill Clinton-have definitely been instrumental in the country's fate.

Marching against Arpaio

Finally, given the recent holiday celebrating the life and efforts of civil rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr., we would be remiss in overlooking the January 16 march in Arizona protesting Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The event was organized by Salvador Reza, a respected Mexican American activist and community organizer in Arizona. Musician Linda Ronstadt, Co-Founder of United Farm Workers Dolores Huerta, and approximately 5,000 people marched from a park to Tent City, the name for the sheriff's makeshift detention center.

Arpaio is reviled by many in the Latino and undocumented community for his methods of racial profiling and humiliating treatment of detainees. Recently, Arpaio was compared to Bull Connor by an ad published in in the Arizona Republic by 60 black leaders and the Center for New Community.

King's vision was large and led to new horizons; it cannot possibly be contained to one era, or one day on a calendar. The struggle continues, every day, everywhere.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Pulse . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

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Weekly Diaspora: Quiet Raids, Slippery ICE and Grinches

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 18:29:02 PM EST

By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

The Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is shifting its focus to silent or "quiet" raids, as Erin Rosa reports for Campus Progress. In quiet raids, ICE conducts "audits" of staff at pre-selected organizations and gives employers a chance to fire all workers who cannot produce documents of citizenship.

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Weekly Diaspora: Autumn Holiday Edition

by: The Media Consortium

Fri Nov 27, 2009 at 14:02:27 PM EST

By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

Ed. Note: This week's Diaspora is short because of the holidays. We'll be back to full-length next week.

There's More... :: (1 Comments, 505 words in story)

Weekly Diaspora: Deporting Dobbs

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Nov 12, 2009 at 12:40:32 PM EST

By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

After 30 years, commentator Lou Dobbs-infamous for his tirades against undocumented immigrants-has left CNN, as TPM reports. Dobbs employed disturbing, dangerous, and dated language to slur immigrants, often equating them with disease and infection. There is a connection between this type of demagoguery and violence.

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The Weekly Diaspora: We Can Prosper Together

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 12:36:02 PM EST

By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

For the most part, it's been a good week for immigration reform. The Senate approved a measure that will end the "Widow Penalty," which rescinded applications for U.S. residency if one's spouse of two years or less years dies, and on Tuesday, as RaceWire reports, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation that restores the right of due process to immigrant youth.

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Weekly Diaspora: A Return to Reason

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 11:16:38 AM EST

By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

After the shadowy Bush years, the emergence of reasonable policy can be a little surprising. Immigration law has suffered from a lack of planning and is often influenced by fear rooted in the Sept. 11 attacks. But the national dialogue on immigration has begun to grow healthier. Activists, immigration advocacy groups and Latino and Asian American communities dug in and are working toward reform. Right wing and anti-immigration voices have less sway. This week we see two tangible and positive developments on this front: An announcement from the White House regarding detention policy reform and a letter against aggressive enforcement sent to the White House from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

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Weekly Immigration Wire: Piecemeal Reform is Dangerous

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Sep 10, 2009 at 11:24:34 AM EST

By Nezua, Media Consortium Blogger

We're coming to the close of the year in which President Obama said that immigration reform would be a priority. But to date, the Obama administration has only extended harsh immigration enforcement provisions put in place by the Clinton or second Bush administrations. These punitive pieces of legislation include E-Verify, a 100% detainment policy, the Secure Communities initiative, and the infamous 287(g) agreement. Cumulatively, they do not reflect a workable philosophy on immigrants, society, or the U.S. economy. Instead, this enforcement agenda destabilizes communities with police persecution and terror.

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Weekly Immigration Wire: Post-Racial Hypocrisy

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 10:47:52 AM EST

By Nezua, TMC Mediawire Blogger

Nobody said becoming a post-racial nation would be easy. The United States has its first black president, but as the son of a Kenyan immigrant, his citizenship and legitimacy are still being questioned. In the meantime, the White House is advancing programs like the 287(g) agreement, which have been linked to racial profiling and civil rights violations. It's a form of oppression made possible, perversely, by the very administration that many hoped would combat such injustices.

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Weekly Immigration Wire: It's a Multicultural World, After All

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 11:39:48 AM EST

by Nezua, TMC MediaWire Blogger

In the 1970s and 1980s, it was common to hear the phrase "melting pot." Many people said our nation's greatest strength could be found in its multitude of cultures, languages and histories. This sentiment has been lost, as right-wing pundits and politicians increasingly espouse a dread of anything different and a fear of the Other.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 988 words in story)

Weekly Immigration Wire: The White House vs. Reality

by: The Media Consortium

Thu Jul 09, 2009 at 12:06:03 PM EST

by Nezua, TMC Mediawire Blogger

The immigration discussion is sometimes reduced to symbols or a war of "sides," be it on blogs, comment threads, or conference calls between legislators, media outlets, and activists. But it's important to remember what this fight is about: People. In last week's Wire, we covered the White House's June 25th meeting with lawmakers, during which an intention to address immigration reform was formally announced. The meeting yielded much celebration and discussion by advocacy groups and activists alike, but waiting for reform does not change the situation on the ground. This week, we look at everyday situations-from students who are deported upon graduation to the growing number of hate crimes-that make a clear argument for reform now, not later.

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The Politics of the DREAM Act: Laying the Groundwork For Migration Reform

by: kyledeb

Thu Mar 26, 2009 at 12:29:15 PM EST

Originally posted on Citizen Orange.

It is official.  According to the St. Petersburg Times, the DREAM Act will be reintroduced this week by Sen. Richard Durbin and Sen. Richard Lugar:

The movement's moment could arrive as early as Tuesday when Durbin reintroduces the bill with co-sponsor Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.
Saundra Amrhein - St. Petersburg Times (21 March 2009)
Dreamactivist.org is also beginning to sound the war drums through their change.org blog.  Thousands have already been invited to call-in in support of the DREAM Act through facebook.  The DREAM Act will be the first major migration policy battle of the 111th Congress and the Obama administration. 

As such, I thought it would be good to step back and reflect a little bit on the politics of the DREAM Act.  I've already written a post advancing a comprehensive argument for passing the DREAM Act during these trying economic times.  It was published on Alternet this morning.  Today, I thought I'd reflect a little bit on the political climate the DREAM Act faces. 
There's More... :: (0 Comments, 2075 words in story)
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