Category Archives: immigration

Quoted: Native American Lawmaker Schools Congressman

Kansas state Rep. Ponka-We Victors (D). Image via Kansas state legislature.

The hearing concerned the legality of offering children of illegal immigrants to pay the in-state tuition rate to attend universities and community colleges in Kansas. The Legislature was seeking to overturn a statute that has been on the books for nearly a decade –a Topeka Capital-Journal story described the effort as an “annual attempt.”Ponka-We Victors (D-Wichita), a member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma and the Tohono O’odham Nation, and the only American Indian in the Kansas State Legislature, offered her reading of the situation to Kris Kobach, Kansas’ Secretary of State.

“I think it’s funny Mr. Kobach, because when you mention illegal immigrant, I think of all of you,” Victors said, prompting cheers from the gallery, described by the Capital-Journal as “heavily pro-immigrant.” Rep. Arlen Siegfreid (R-Olathe) the chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, felt moved to tell the room, “Please don’t do that.”

- From Indian Country Today Media Network

Oscars Aftermath: Watch Best Documentary Short Winner Inocente And Read Our Live-Snark

By Arturo R. García

“Just because I’m homeless doesn’t mean I don’t have a life,” Inocente Izucar tells the viewer at the beginning of the short documentary bearing her name. The film, which won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short on Feb. 24, follows the young undocumented immigrant’s journey toward becoming an artist despite hiding her homelessness from her classmates.

“If people would find out, they’d probably make fun of me,” she says. “Especially at the school I’m going to right now. Most of the kids here are like, really rich.”

Directors Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine met the young San Diegan while researching a documentary about homelessness in the area, but quickly opted to focus their project around her.

“We want to thank this young lady who was homeless just a year ago and now she’s standing in front of all of you,” Sean Fine told the audience as the trio accepted their Academy Award. “She’s an artist and all of you are artists and we feel like we need to start supporting the arts. They’re dying in our communities. And all of us artists, we need to stand up and help girls like her be seen and heard. It’s so important.”

With a tip of the hat to Lalo Alcaraz, you can watch the documentary and follow Inocente’s story above. And below the cut, for those of you who follow us on Twitter, the collected live-snarking of the rest of the ceremony.

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Beauty In Color: Oscar Highlights

by Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour

Quvenzhane Wallis and Halle Berry bond at The Oscars. Image via Buzzfeed.

We’re trying something new here at The R. In coverage of awards shows I’ve noticed fashion writers tend to completely ignore people of color, since there are so few nominated for the big awards. This holds true much more so for white-centric awards like The Oscars–less so for The Grammys. Unless you’re Halle Berry (and even then), beautiful people of color have to clamor for the spotlight. That’s where I come in.

There’s so much beauty in the world and, while I love Jennifer, Anne, and Jessica, I would like to shine a light on Inocente, Quvenzhane, and Octavia–some of the best dresses of the night. Beauty in color, under the cut.

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Open Thread: 2013 State Of The Union Address

In a speech that built on the progressive agenda laid out by his second inauguration, President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address touched on a wide range of issues: he called for the minimum wage to be increased to $9 an hour; he continued asking lawmakers for immigration reform. And in the clip above, he invoked the memory of Hadiya Pendleton as part of an appeal for gun safety legislation:

She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago, she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later, she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house.

Hadiya’s parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote. Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek, and Tucson, and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence – they deserve a simple vote.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party turned to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)–himself at the center of the party’s own push to court Latino voters–to deliver the response. And this happened.

Your thoughts on this year’s latest bout of political theater, Racializens?

On South Korean “Superficiality”: We Are Deeper Than You Want To Know

By Guest Contributor Esther Choi

Image by Byoung Wook via Flickr Creative Commons.

Existing in very distinct manifestations of Korean American diaspora, but occupying similar spaces, we the American-born Koreans defined “fobs” (Fresh Off the Boat, more recently immigrated Koreans) by their cutesy antics, superficial looks, plastic surgery craze, and love of K-pop. We may have considered it all in good humor, but ultimately it assured us we were morally superior, a higher art form.

When I finally grew up a bit and began challenging my own internalized racism, I began to realize my judgments of “fob culture” were more about my desire to raise myself above it rather than any attempt to understand their world. Perhaps we thought that by defining ourselves against the less assimilated, we could stamp out our own sense of foreignness.

I am now living in South Korea, the place I was never from but to which my life has always been bound. Centering this society, I find a renewed appreciation for the ways that the Korean side of my bi-cultural divide has always challenged and deepened my perspectives. As I learn more about the connections between Korean society today and its incredible history of struggle and endurance, which echoes throughout the next generations and across diasporas, my identity takes new roots.
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Race, Rehabilitation, And The Private Prison Industry

Image by x1klima, via Flickr Creative Commons.

By Lisa Wade, PhD, cross-posted from Sociological Images

In 1984 the U.S. began its ongoing experiment with private prisons. Between 1990 and 2009, the inmate population of private prisons grew by 1,664%  (source). Today approximately 130,000 people are incarcerated by for-profit companies.  In 2010, annual revenues for two largest companies — Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group — were nearly $3 billion.

Companies that house prisoners for profit have a perverse incentive to increase the prison population by passing more laws, policing more heavily, sentencing more harshly, and denying parole.  Likewise, there’s no motivation to rehabilitate prisoners; doing so is expensive, cuts into their profits, and decreases the likelihood that any individual will be back in the prison system.  Accordingly, state prisons are much more likely than private prisons to offer programs that help prisoners: psychological interventions, drug and alcohol counseling, coursework towards high school or college diplomas, job training, etc.

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Sundance Film Festival: Fruitvale Scores Big After Gaining Distribution

By Arturo R. García

TRIGGER WARNING: Video contains footage from the shooting of Oscar Grant between :38-:58, between 3:25 and 4:02 and between 13:11 and 13:28.

Last week we mentioned that Ryan Coogler’s film Fruitvale had been picked up for distribution after becoming a favorite at the Sundance Film Festival. Now we know it’s leaving with the festival’s top honors, as well.
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In Immigration Reform, A Path To Citizenship Is The Only Option

By Guest Contributors Tanya Golash-Boza and Amalia Pallares; a version of this op-ed was originally published at Counterpunch

One of the supposed lessons of Obama’s electoral victory was that Republicans could no longer afford to advocate an enforcement-only position on immigration reform. So, it says something that the party’s first nod in that direction was extraordinarily weak.

At the tail end of 2012 and of their careers, retiring Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) introduced the ACHIEVE Act, which would provide legal status to a narrow group of undocumented youth. However, this proposal does nothing to appeal to Latin@s because it provides no real path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Whereas the DREAM Act provides undocumented youth with legal permanent residence and then citizenship, the ACHIEVE Act offers a W-1 visa, which leads to a W-2, and then a W-3, with no direct path to citizenship.

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