Tag Archives: immigration

Links Roundup 2.7.13

The predictable conservative hand-wringing about Beyoncé’s Super Bowl show is exactly whythe recent “feminist” slut-shaming of Beyoncé bothered me so very much. In general, if you find yourself agreeing with the right-wing modesty police concerned about “the children” (and, weirdly, also “old people”?), it’s usually a red flag.

It’s interesting–and telling–that every conservative critic I’ve seen who took Beyoncé to task for “gyrating in a black teddy” acknowledged that, aside from all that awful sexiness, she’s a great performer. Kathryn Jean Lopez says that she “is talented, has a beautiful voice, and could be a role model” if only she wore “another outfit, perhaps without the crotch grabbing.” S.E. Cupp–who is no stranger to slut-shaming herself–notes that some performers need to rely on their sex appeal, but Beyoncé is “immensely talented” so it’s odd that she “would choose to make her sex appeal the main attraction.” Though “Single Ladies” is an “ode to female empowerment and self-worth,” Cupp writes, “humping the stage and flashing her lady bits to the camera” is “sad.” Rich Lowry says her performance “was stunning and athletic,” before going on to add, “as well as tasteless and unedifying.”

But flaunting her sex appeal automatically undermines Beyoncé’s talent and credibility as “role model” for these conservatives. (Just as it did for Freeman, too.) Since there seems to be some sort of superficial agreement between feminists and conservatives that “sexual objectification” is bad, let’s pause for a second to talk about exactly what it is and why it’s bad. For conservatives, it’s generally because of the sex. For feminists, it’s generally because of the objectification. And, importantly, objectification is not about presenting yourself as as sexual being–or even as an object of sexual desire. After all, that is a normal and fairly universal human urge–who doesn’t like to feel attractive sometimes? Objectification is about being dehumanized by being reduced solely to a sex object.  

In recent years, the Obama administration has detained and deported immigrants at a record-setting pace. Though the administration purports to target serious criminal offenders, critics say immigration laws paint “serious” in exceptionally broad strokes. The bulk of the 1.5 million people deported in the last four years were charged with minor violations, and many of these people would still find themselves subject to deportation even if they’re on track to legal status or have a green card.

And for immigrants pegged with a long list of convictions, detention before deportation is mandatory. Laws passed in the 1990’s took the power away from ICE agents and immigration judges to review the particulars of cases, release detainees or stop their deportation. Approximately two-thirds of the 400,000 detainees last year were held on a mandatory basis in one of the more than 300 facilities that dot the American landscape, without the possibility of release, according to the advocacy group Detention Watch Network.

Advocates hope that an immigration reform bill will begin to replace punitive lock up with alternative, community-based measures to keep track of non-citizens in deportation proceedings. Last week, President Obama nodded in that direction. The White House’s guiding principles for immigration reform note that the president’s proposal “allows DHS to better focus its detention resources on public safety and national security threats by expanding alternatives to detention and reducing overall detention costs.”

In 2012, the federal government spent over $2 billion on detention operations, a nearly 150 percent increase from just seven years ago. And the two leading private detention companies, Corrections Corporation of America and Geo Group, together netted about $425 million in revenues from their ICE contracts. The industry spends millions lobbying Congress.

Eventually, Calacanis took it to his blog, in a post entitled “Doing the Right Things.” It’s a shockingly un-self-aware document, even by the low standards of tech writing; it opens with the lines “I’m a white guy so I’m not allowed to talk about race. At least that’s what they tell me,” and goes downhill from there.

He drops the factoid “Ninety percent of the people in Silicon Valley were not born there” as a rebuttal to the straw-man charge “Silicon Valley is in some way a closed, secret society.” (Very few Bonesmen were born inside the Skull and Bones clubhouse at Yale, either.)

He jokingly apologizes to his father for the attenuation of identifiable white-ethnic identity in his mixed-race kids.

He posits that maybe those of us in the “1st world” shouldn’t be allowed to talk about “inequality,” because he “can’t talk about race because I’m white”—to show how illogical and unfair this prohibition against white people discussing race is. (He never names or identifies the “they” who have told him that as a white person he is not allowed to discuss race.)

He describes his former employee Rafat Ali: “much darker skin than mine (brown, but not black for those obsessed with the exact tone — really?)” It is unclear whether or not this is a joke, or if he actually thinks that Bouie or his other critics are “obsessed with the exact tone” of anyone’s skin.

Every job candidate lives in fear that a Google search could reveal incriminating indiscretions from a distant past. But a new study examining racial bias in the wording of online ads suggests that Google’s advertising algorithms may be unfairly associating some individuals with wrongdoing they didn’t commit.

After learning that a Google search for her own name surfaced an ad for a background check service hinting that she’d been arrested, Harvard University professor Latanya Sweeney set out to investigate whether race shaped online ad results. She searched over 2,000 “racially associated names” to determine if names “previously identified by others as being assigned at birth to more black or white babies” turned up ad results that indicated a criminal record. Specifically, she focused on ads purchased by companies that provide background checks used by employers.

Sweeney concluded that so-called black-identifying names were significantly more likely to be accompanied by text suggesting that person had an arrest record, regardless of whether a criminal record existed or not.

Rush Limbaugh thinks John Lewis should have been armed.

“If a lot of African-Americans back in the ’60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed Selma?” he said recently on his radio show, referencing the 1965 voting rights campaign in which Lewis, now a congressman from Georgia, had his skull fractured by Alabama state troopers on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. “If John Lewis had had a gun, would he have been beat upside the head on the bridge?”

Right. Because a shootout between protesters and state troopers would have done so much more to secure the right to vote.

Incredibly, that’s not the stupidest thing anyone has said recently about the Civil Rights Movement.

No, that distinction goes to one Larry Ward, who claimed in an appearance on CNN that Martin Luther King would have supported Ward’s call for a Gun Appreciation Day “if he were alive today.” In other words, the premiere American pacifist of the 20th century would be singing the praises of guns, except that he was shot in the face with one 45 years ago.

Thus do social conservatives continue to rewrite the inconvenient truths of African-American history, repurposing that tale of incandescent triumph and inconsolable woe to make it useful within the crabbed corners of their failed and discredited dogma.

This seems an especially appropriate moment to call them on it. Not simply because Friday was the first day of Black History Month, but because Monday is the centenary of a signal event within that history.

Long story short, Lewis did not commit murder. He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and then “did his best to help the prosecutors’ case” by testifying against the murder suspects. Ultimately, no one was ever convicted of murder in the deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar–this was more about the strength of the case than Lewis’ crime.

Lewis was sentenced to 12 months’ probation, the maximum for a first-time offender, and later reached civil settlements with the families of both victims. He was also fined $250,000 by the NFL.

If he’s had a legal run-in since then, I’m unaware of it.

In part because of his run of on-field dominance, Lewis had managed to successfully rehabilitate his image. He starred in national advertising campaigns for the NFL Network, Under Armour, EA Sports and Old Spice, among others.

Lewis also has been involved in a number of charities in Baltimore, including his Ray Lewis 52 foundation which offers “personal and economic assistance to disadvantaged youth.” The foundation adopts 10 families in the city for the holidays, hosts food drives and raises money through a number of other endeavors. A portion of Baltimore’s North Avenue was renamed “Ray Lewis Way” in honor of his work in the community.

Until Lewis announced last month that he planned to retire, little had been said or written about that awful night in Atlanta 13 years ago.

Then all of a sudden, we were inundated with reminders.

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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Politics: Targeting the AAPI Vote for the 2012 Presidential Election

by Guest Contributor Erin Pangilinan, originally published at Hyphen

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are the fastest growing racial group in the United States, making AAPI voters a force to be reckoned with as a key constituency group for the 2012 presidential election. The Obama For America (OFA) campaign is attempting to capture the attention of ethnic voting blocs in various states.

Unfortunately only 48 percent of AAPIs turned out to vote in 2008, making them the lowest registered group, compared to 62 percent of all Americans. Only half of eligible AAPIs are registered to vote, making AAPIs the lowest racial or ethnic group recorded. OFA can still remain optimistic though, since 81 percent of first-time AAPI voters voted for President Obama.

While mainstream news outlets focused on AAPI Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as flashy campaign donors in the already blue state of California, what’s really at stake for many is outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. AAPI populations can make a big difference in battleground states throughout the country, especially Nevada.

Holding six electoral votes, Nevada is a key swing state to win the presidential election. Nevada is home to the nation’s fastest growing AAPI population. AAPI and Latino voters were the margin of swing victory in U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s run for re-election in Nevada during the 2010 mid-term elections.

Filipino Americans are the second largest ethnic group in Nevada alone, and make up 4 percent of the state’s population at 98,000 — 86,000 of whom reside in Clark County. Tagalog will be the third language, aside from English and Spanish, to be used in election materials in Clark County. OFA has a clear investment in AAPI communities, with a total of seven field offices in Las Vegas alone, which is located in Clark County.

Some speculate that because of poor voter turnout during the previous mid-term elections, as well as a likely loss of white swing independent voters supporting Obama, OFA will attempt to recapture base voters, particularly communities of color.

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Now Reading: Jose Antonio Vargas on “[His] Life As an Undocumented Immigrant”

by Latoya Peterson

Jose Antonio VargasLast year, at a Poynter function, I had the privilege of meeting Jose Antonio Vargas in person. Both charming and interesting, with a huge drive to make journalism a true tool of democracy, he seemed like someone I wanted to get to know.

Last week, Vargas wanted the world to get to know exactly who he was. So he took the bold step of writing a piece that could change his life forever. Called “My Life as an Undocumented Worker,” Vargas used the New York Times platform to reveal his secret:

Over the past 14 years, I’ve graduated from high school and college and built a career as a journalist, interviewing some of the most famous people in the country. On the surface, I’ve created a good life. I’ve lived the American dream.

But I am still an undocumented immigrant. And that means living a different kind of reality. It means going about my day in fear of being found out. It means rarely trusting people, even those closest to me, with who I really am. It means keeping my family photos in a shoebox rather than displaying them on shelves in my home, so friends don’t ask about them. It means reluctantly, even painfully, doing things I know are wrong and unlawful. And it has meant relying on a sort of 21st-century underground railroad of supporters, people who took an interest in my future and took risks for me.

Vargas artfully describes the pain of the political becoming personal:

The debates over “illegal aliens” intensified my anxieties. In 1994, only a year after my flight from the Philippines, Gov. Pete Wilson was re-elected in part because of his support for Proposition 187, which prohibited undocumented immigrants from attending public school and accessing other services. (A federal court later found the law unconstitutional.) After my encounter at the D.M.V. in 1997, I grew more aware of anti-immigrant sentiments and stereotypes: they don’t want to assimilate, they are a drain on society. They’re not talking about me, I would tell myself. I have something to contribute.

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“Oriental or Islamic” Immigrants Would Be “More Problematic”

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

cross and bible

This is an interesting Politico article on evangelical groups and the key role they are playing in getting immigration reform moving in Congress: Churches eye immigration’s upside.

While they’ve largely couched their arguments in moral terms, the fact of the matter is, they see Latino immigrants — both legal and undocumented — representing a significant population for proselytizing.

However, evangelical leaders are also advancing a more controversial line of argument: that immigration reform is practical or even desirable because Latinos subscribe to moral and religious values in line with social conservatives. Here’s a quote from Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention:

Some evangelicals have stirred the pot further by drawing a contrast between predominantly Christian immigrants to the U.S. and a largely Muslim migration to Western Europe.

“Realistically, I think it is probably more politically feasible to do this because the overwhelming majority of the people that we’re talking about come from a European civilization,” said Land. “It would be more problematic if we had 12 [million] to 14 million undocumented people and they were either Oriental or Islamic… Whether that is right or wrong, I’m just giving you a realistic political calculation.”

“When I talk to political and religious leaders in Europe, one of their great concerns is their migration is coming from non-Christian regions, whereas most of our immigration is coming from people who have a Christian tradition,” Anderson said.

First of all — Oriental? Seriously? Guess Land never got the memo.

What’s disturbing is the idea that these deeply held moral and religious convictions that are motivating the push for immigration reform could suddenly shift if we were talking about immigration from somewhere else.

In that case, why do I suspect they’ll find some twisted reasoning to justify an organized effort to block the immigration of “Oriental or Islamic” people?

9500 Liberty Opens This Friday In the Bay Area

by Guest Contributor Angry Asian Man, originally published at Angry Asian Man

9500 Liberty Poster

For all my friends in the Bay Area, don’t miss the theatrical premiere of Eric Byler and Annabel Park’s 9500 Liberty, a documentary on how Prince William County, Virginia became ground zero in America’s explosive battle over immigration policy. Here’s the synopsis:

Prince William County, Virginia becomes ground zero in America’s explosive battle over immigration policy when elected officials adopt a law requiring police officers to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect is an undocumented immigrant.

9500 Liberty reveals the startling vulnerability of a local government, targeted by national anti-immigration networks using the Internet to frighten and intimidate lawmakers and citizens. Alarmed by a climate of fear and racial division, residents form a resistance using YouTube videos and virtual townhalls, setting up a real-life showdown in the seat of county government.

The devastating social and economic impact of the “Immigration Resolution” is felt in the lives of real people in homes and in local businesses. But the ferocious fight to adopt and then reverse this policy unfolds inside government chambers, on the streets, and on the Internet. 9500 Liberty provides a front row seat to all three battlegrounds.

Here’s the trailer:

It’s a powerful film, telling a very real story about one community’s culture war over immigration — a struggle more relevant than ever with what’s happening now in Arizona. Here’s a scene from the film:

The film opens this Friday, June 11 at Rialto Cinemas Elmwood and Landmark Lumiere in San Francisco. Some details:

“9500 LIBERTY” Bay Area Theatrial Premiere

Berkeley, CA
Starts Friday, June 11
Rialto Cinemas Elmwood
Daily Showtimes TBA
2966 College Avenue at Ashby
Berkeley, CA 94705
(707) 539-9771
Co-director Eric Byler in person at Friday, June 11 evening shows.
Co-director Annabel Park in person at Saturday, June 12 evening shows.

San Francisco, CA
Starts Friday, June 11
Landmark Lumiere
Daily Showtimes TBA
1572 California St. (at Polk)
San Francisco, CA 94109-4708
(415) 267-4893
Co-director Annabel Park in person Friday, June 11 evening shows
Co-director Eric Byler in person Saturday, June 12 evening shows and Sunday, June 13 afternoon shows.

Think what’s going down in Arizona is crazy and insane? Guess what? It already happened in Prince William County, and it tore apart an entire community. For more information about the film, go to the 9500 Liberty website here. Also read this piece by Eric in the Huffington Post: Arizona, Immigration, and the Coming Shake-Up.

Feminist Intersection: So when does an issue become feminist?

by Special Correspondent Jessica Yee, originally published at Bitch


We’ve all heard about the continuous saga of human rights violations in Arizona, from legalizing racial profiling, to eliminating ethnic studies, to preventing anyone with an “accent” from teaching English (read: anyone who doesn’t sound like an old white man from the eastern/northern states since I’m pretty sure we ALL have accents) and this extremely racist, oppressive, colonial, and cultural genocide list goes on.

What’s been happening in Arizona is horrific on so many levels to so many people and communities – but it has really had me reflecting. When do certain issues get considered “feminist” and when do they not? And when do they require a real feminist response in action?

There have been several excellent female responses to the situation in Arizona by way of intersecting the impacts to women and children, sexuality, and even religion (read all of the amazing stuff the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is posting here), yet so much of the mainstream media we’ve been hearing is of course way too predictably patriarchal in nature; people making excuses for enacting racist legislation, utilizing fear-based tactics to legitimize white supremacy to “protect” the women and children, etc., etc.

So here I am responding to it and asking you frankly: Does an issue have to have an identified or presenting woman involved to truly be considered feminist? When abortion rights are threatened, we’re out in the masses online and offline to protect them repeatedly, blog post after Facebook link, clinic defense after pro-choice club initiation, without question – and we certainly come together on it even if we disagree on tactics.

But what about when status, documentation, skin color, ethnicity, and culture are threatened? What’s our feminist response to this? And how much or to what degree are we going to mobilize and do something the same way we would if the usual suspects (like sexual/reproductive health) came into play? (And no, I don’t mean, “Oh look at this one blog post here on a feminist site about this” – I mean the same amount of feminist response that you would see on other issues. You know what I mean).

Or are we again going to leave this to the so-called “ethnic” groups to deal with?

Editor’s Note: Jessica originally wrote this piece for a feminist website, so she is addressing this to a feminist audience. – LDP

Black responses to the Arizona immigration law

by Guest Contributor Daniel Hernandez, originally published at Intersections


The signing of SB1070 in Arizona has sparked a wave of negative reaction across the United States and across the political spectrum, from Barack Obama on down. There are numerous calls for a boycott of the state, a pledge against the law for people of faith, and a statement from the Major League Baseball players association condemning SB1070.

Some high school seniors are now deciding against going to college in Arizona. One comment on the New York Times blog post on the topic struck me as particularly intelligent, and hinting at the root of African American disdain for SB1070.

Barbara, a Duke alumnus, writes:

When I was a student at Duke there were many male African-American students who felt like they were being profiled because of the relatively high rate of crime on campus, and the fact that a disproportionate amount of it was attributable to young black men in the community. In some cases students were held even after they proved they were students. It made their college experience a lot worse than if they gone elsewhere. It’s a legitimate consideration.

It’s not that I don’t understand that border states face special challenges and find the lack of progress frustrating, or that I don’t agree that Mexico has long shown lack of inclination to face its social problems because it has a safety valve next door — I share those concerns. But there is simply no way to enforce this law without targeting Hispanics. I don’t care if that was the intent or not, it is almost certainly going to be its practical effect. Continue reading