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Friday, 03 July 2009

Weekly Immigration Wire: Reform Stagnates, Polarization Grows

by Nezua, TMC Mediawire Blogger

President Obama has often statedthat immigration reform cannot be approached in a piecemeal fashion, and that his administration would tackle the issue in 2009.This week, Obama will be meeting with members of Congress to kick off abi-partisan approach to reform. These meetings don't guarantee anylegislative action will take place this year, but are at least anencouraging sign. In the meantime, the deportation industry shows nosign of slowing, hate crimes are rising and hate groups are being mainstreamed. As a result, the polarization between reform advocates andfoes is getting worse.

New America Media's Jun Wang writes about the disapointing consensus reached by a panel of immigration activists last Thursday at California StateUniversity in Los Angeles. A lack of movement around immigration reformwon't help curb rising rates of hate crimes against Latino/as, andcompounds other instances of "othering" and racism. According to onepanelist: "Employers in conservative cities" are learning that "theyare better off not hiring people who are 'foreign looking or havingforeign sound names.'”

Not content with simply raiding homes,workplaces, or storming the local  7-11, Immigrations Customs andEnforcement (ICE) is escalating its enforcement tactics. Also in NewAmerica Media, Hiram Soto reports on the joint operation between the Border Patroland the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in deporting threehigh-school age girls, one as  young as 16, who were stopped by ICE ontheir way to school. Immigration attorney Lilia Velasquez, who isrepresenting the minors, said she "hasn’t seen anything like this inher 25-year career," because the children are being let back into theU.S. to fight their deportation.

The plight of these girls isproof that the destructive deportation fetish sweeping the Department of Homeland Security isproducing increasingly ridiculous results.

Pundits like MichaelSavage are also feeding the violent and anti-immigrant, anti-Latino/aenergy in the U.S. Samhita Mukhopadhyay at Feministing writes that these broadcasts areare created "for the purpose of inciting violence against immigrantsand to fuel racial tension." Exposing Savage's "paranoid" and fearfulobfuscation of reality, Mukhopadhyay clears up the anti-immigrantpropaganda by pointing out that despite Savage's tortured logic, thetruth is that Immigrants are the "working base" of California, and notthe ones creating a drain upon it. California's immigrants pay roughly$40 billion in taxes every year.

One of the loudest politiciansfeeding anti-immigrant hostility is Tom Tancredo, a former Republicancongressman from Colorado. The Colorado Independent has linked Tancredo to the MinutemanAmerican Defense (MAD) and its former Executive Director Shawna Forde,accused of murdering Raul and Brisenia Flores, via a letter expressingthe politician's solidarity and gratitude to the organization fororganizing a rally. It turns out that not only was this beaming"boilerplate rejection letter" (as campaign chair Bay Buchanan hopes toposition it) sent to Forde, but a story published by the Everett Heraldin 2007 places official Tancredo campaign staff at the event. Theconnections don't end there and only grow more unsettling.

Thosefighting for justice and on the side of human rights are hardly layinglow in this time of legislative uncertainty. In a guest column forRaceWire, undocumented immigrant Sonia Guinansaca writes about how over 500 students from all overthe U.S. attended a "Mock Graduation ceremony" on Capitol Hill lastTuesday. The ceremony was intended to both draw attention and showsupport for the DREAM Act.Guinansaca reminds us of our country's most inspiring ideals: To be anation where "nothin' is impossible."

RaceWire also brings usmore news of youth behind change in Immigrants’ Kids File Lawsuit Against US, and Other News. Inthis political lull, "the kids of hundreds of deported parents arefiling a lawsuit against the government claiming their constitutionalright to stay in the U.S. is violated by the deportation of theirparents."

*Editor's note: The original version of this postimplied that all movement towards immigration reform had halted. We'veupdated this blog to reflect recent developments. Stay tuned to nextweek's Wire for in-depth analysis of the push for effective immigrationreform.

This post features links to the bestindependent, progressive  reporting about immigration. Visit Immigration.NewsLadder.netfor a complete list of articles on  immigration, or follow us on Twitter. And forthe best progressive reporting  on critical economy and health issues,check out Economy.NewsLadder.netand Healthcare.NewsLadder.net.This is a project of The MediaConsortium, a network of 50 leading independent mediaoutlets, and was created by NewsLadder.
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