Tag Archives: DREAM Act

Not Your Model Minority: Asian Americans and the Immigration Fight

By Guest Contributor S. Nadia Hussain, cross-posted from Hyphen Magazine

Gregory Cendana arrested in Washington DC during Oct 8th’s action for immigration reform. Photo by Soyun Park/AAPI Immigration Table.

On October 8, Gregory Cendana, the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) was arrested, along with two hundred other activists and eight members of Congress in our nation’s capitol. In photos from that day, he is seen being led away in handcuffs with a pride flag tied around his neck like superhero cape and a handwritten t-shirt — with the words “Not your Model Minority” scrawled on the front. Cendana is Asian American and his actions that day stood as a testament to the diverse communities that are impacted by the lack of immigration reform.

Immigration is often framed as an issue impacting mostly Latino populations. According to the Pew Hispanic Center — though the modern immigration wave from Latin America has made up 50% of US immigration, migration from Asia makes up a substantial 27%. Outside of Mexico, the leading countries of origin of immigrants are India, the Philippines and China.  Asians make up 13% of the US undocumented population. The US Office of Homeland security estimates that as of 2009, the largest undocumented Asian populations are 270,000 immigrants from the Philippines, 200,000 from India, 200,000 from Korea and 120,000 from China.

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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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Anti-Latino Laws Ignite The South

By Guest Contributor Lamont Lilly

Protesters at a rally against Alabama’s HB56. All photos by the author.

In its original format, Alabama’s Beason-Hammon Act granted school resource officers the right to badger fifth graders on the basis of their immigration status. The state of Alabama, which passed the law, also known as HB 56, in June of 2011, was the only state in the country requiring public school administrators to verify immigration data for new K-12 students.

However, just two months ago in August of this year, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the student provision of HB 56, declaring it unconstitutional and a legal breach of Plyer vs. Doe, which mandates that states provide an education to all children, regardless of their immigration status. The 11th Circuit also struck down Georgia’s HB 87, a state proposal to criminalize the “transporting and harboring of illegal immigrants,” a statute with anti-Latino written all over it, a proposal with no parallel within the U.S. system of federal law.

These recent rulings were key in dispelling the notion that individual states can create their own immigration regulations, bypassing federal authority. When initially proposed, Alabama’s HB 56 along with Georgia’s HB 87, were sold as valuable pieces of legislation that would boost local economies – laws that would crack down on the presence of those entering the U.S. illegally. Conservatives billed such bigotry as a quick fix to unemployment and poorly performing schools. Instead, such rogue policies were a complete setback to Civil Rights and due process.

In Alabama, children of all ages were deterred from attending school and pursuing their education. Many withdrew out of fear that their families could be deported if questioned about their immigration status. According to the U.S. Justice Department, over 13 percent of Latino children withdrew over the one year HB 56 operated before federal intervention. Instead of teaching Geometry, classroom instructors were fishing for birth certificates.

As for those local economies and decreasing unemployment rates, the state’s number one industry, agriculture, was damn near decimated. We’re talking an agricultural sector accustomed to generating over $5.5 billion per year. Industries dependent upon migrant labor, like poultry operations, were devastated. Small farming operations were brought to a halt, as valuable workers were scared indoors. Others simply migrated for the purpose of mere safety.
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Mitt’s Tragic Number: Why The GOP Should Worry About The 74 Percent

By Arturo R. García

While the Mitt Romney campaign is regrouping in the wake of the infamous “47 percent” video circulated by Mother Jones earlier this week, it’s interesting to note that his infamous remarks came out not long after he tried yet again to connect with members of the Latino community, a demographic in which he–and the GOP along with him–still can’t win over.
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Must Read: Jessica Colotl’s DREAM and Legal Reality

Jessica Colotl: Eye Of The Storm is a twelve page comic exploring one of thousands of stories behind the DREAM act. The description:

Jessica Colotl is an undocumented immigrant who was brought to America as a child – and who now faces deportation. Reporter Ryan Schill and artist Greg Scott bring to life the story that has become a flash point for America’s immigration debate. This comic was produced in cooperation with the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. It is available in Spanish here.

Video: Jose Antonio Vargas And The Voices Of The DREAM Act

In the year since my essay went viral, at least 2,000 undocumented Americans — and we are, at heart, Americans — have personally contacted me and outed themselves. Their stories flooded in at public events and in late-night Facebook messages.

Across the country, more and more Americans are challenging how our politicians, the media — and even the Supreme Court (in its current deliberation on Arizona’s immigration law) — talk about immigration.

These brave deeds must be met with equal bravery from those of us who have the power to pass it on.

- From Define American

Race + Politics: Univision Flexes Some Muscle

By Arturo R. García

With the Latino electorate emerging more and more as a key constituency, the dust-up over this commercial highlights the tightrope both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will have to walk in engaging with not only this diverse array of voters, but the media outlets they follow.

In the ad, Univision News anchor Jorge Ramos is shown saying, “Close to 46 million Americans do not have health insurance.” The ad–not Ramos himself–goes on to tout Obama’s Healthcare Reform Bill. The commercial is part of the opening salvo in a $4 million advertising campaign pitched toward Spanish-speaking households.

On Monday, Ramos, the host of Univision’s Al Punto, closed the program denouncing the Obama campaign for using his image in the ad. Courtesy of Mediaite, here’s Ramos’ commentary:

And here’s the English translation:

A few hours ago the Obama reelection campaign aired an ad using my image and that of Noticias Univisión. I want to make clear that I reject the use of my likeness and that of Noticias Univisión in any election campaign. We have let the Obama campaign and the White House know, and we want to leave a public notice of our disagreement. We have always defended our journalistic integrity and will always continue to do so.

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Open Thread: Jan. 24 State Of The Union Address

By Arturo R. García

From telling Congress, “I intend to fight obstruction with action” to calling for a more “common sense” approach to handling the country’s growing income gap, last night’s State of the Union address seemed to boil down to President Barack Obama telling his would-be opponents this election year, Come at the King, you best not miss.

But rather than quote more pundits, Racializens, we’d like your take on the speech: was it fair of him to call on Congress to deliver “comprehensive immigration reform right now,” while not mentioning the DREAM Act by name? Can Obama’s announcement of a task force to investigate what he called “the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis” and his “common sense” line be called, as The Guardian’s Gary Younge suggests, a response to the Occupy Wall Street movement? Was his take on what he described as partisan obstruction, as Indiana governor Mitch Daniels said in the Republican response, needlessly decisive?

If you missed the speech, the New York Times has a full transcript here. Otherwise, the floor is yours.