12/22/07

When the Extreme becomes Mainstream

When the Extreme becomes Mainstream (by Duke1676 - MigraMatters - 12.14.07)

There are probably no two people in the media who are more associated with the immigration issue than CNN's Lou Dobbs and NBC's Pat Buchanan. Both have revitalized their careers by becoming self-proclaimed experts, and have probably logged more media face-time discussing the issue than any two people in American. Recently, they met on Dobbs' show to discuss their common concerns:



Yet if one were to compare some of the rhetoric used in the segment:

DOBBS: And congratulations on the new book, a best seller doing great.

Let me turn to the very first thing. The first chapter, declaring that the American century is over. I would like to share this with our viewers. "America is indeed coming apart, decomposing, and that the likelihood of our survival as one nation through mid century is improbable and impossible if America continues on her current course. For we are on a path to national suicide." My God, I don't think you could be more pessimistic.

BUCHANAN: Well that is where we are headed, Lou. As I write in the last chapter, we can still have a second American century. But look what is happening. You've got 12 to 20 million illegal aliens in the country, 38 million immigrants. The melting pot that turned our grandfathers and great grandfathers into Americans is cracked, broken and rejected as an instrument of cultural genocide. You have that going on in the country at the same time that the dollar is going down, the manufacturing base is being exported, you're overextended abroad with a smaller army than we had in 1939. All of these things are hitting at once and I don't get the awareness of the gravity of the crises comes at us.



DOBBS: We're back with Pat Buchanan, author of the important new book, which I highly recommend, "Day of Reckoning." Let's deal with an issue on the minds of Americans. That is the issue of illegal immigration. What has to be done?

BUCHANAN: Well first thing, you've got to secure the border. If we don't do it, it won't exist anymore in ten years. You've got to crack down on businesses that hire illegals. You've got to cut off the magnets by ending social welfare benefits as they voted to do Arizona. You've got to end this absurd practice that if someone comes to the United States and has a baby the next day it is automatically a citizen for life and entitled to a whole lifetime of benefits. I think you need a time-out on legal immigration of about 250,000 a year. This is the sea into which illegals move. We need another time out to get the melting pot up and running again.

DOBBS: What about the 12 to 20 million illegals in this country?

BUCHANAN: Start the deportations with gang members, felons, scofflaws and you start with felons and people who are drunk drivers and others. Then you start the process by cracking down on business, removing the magnets, they'll go home. What draws them here is free education, welfare, good jobs, good paying jobs much better than in Mexico. Basically business and the welfare, the social safety net draws them here.
CNN

With these quotes from hate groups complied back in the spring of 2001 by the
Southern Poverty Law Center:

"America's culture, customs and language are under assault from foreigners who come to live here and, instead of learning the American way of life, choose to impose their own alien cultures, languages, and institutions upon us... . [E]thnic cleansing ... may seem a harsh term to apply here in America, but it accurately describes the expulsion of Americans from their communities by illegal aliens."
AMERICAN IMMIGRATION CONTROL FOUNDATION

"[S]ince that time [about 1950], Western culture faces a growing and potentially fatal crisis: the widespread folly of believing that Hmong and Haitians can carry that culture forward as meaningfully as Europeans."
AMERICAN RENAISSANCE

"These men [ranchers who capture illegal border-crossers at gunpoint] are the true heroes of our troubled times! Every illegal alien they halt is one less that will go on our welfare rolls, overcrowd our schools, bring in more drugs to poison our kids, or rob, rape and murder another innocent American citizen."
CALIFORNIA COALITION FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

"[T]he meaning of this massive increase in non-white and non-Western populations groups within U.S. borders is that the United States is not only ceasing to be a majority white nation but also is ceasing to be a nation that is culturally part of Western civilization."
COUNCIL OF CONSERVATIVE CITIZENS

"America becomes darker — racially darker — every year, and that is the direct result of our government's immigration policy. ... We White people, we descendants of the European immigrants who built America, will be a minority in our own country. ... [M]alicious aliens [European Jews] came into our land and ... spread spiritual poison among our people, so that our spirits became corrupted and our minds became confused."
NATIONAL ALLIANCE

"Unless stopped now, massive illegal immigration from the Third World will surely make America more like the Third World than the nation of our forefathers. ... Forced integration and unrestrained immigration destroy schools, neighborhoods, cities and ultimately nations."
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF WHITE PEOPLE

"[T]he very underpinnings of America are being gnawed away by hordes of aliens who are transforming America into a land where we, the descendants of the men and women who founded America, will walk as strangers... . Unless we act now ... we will be helpless to halt the accelerating dispossession of our folk."
NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR EUROPEAN AMERICAN RIGHTS

"America is not just a geographical entity. It is a nation with certain values. I'd go beyond the proposal of a zero immigration moratorium and say we should begin deportation. Deportation now!"
THE SOCIAL CONTRACT PRESS

"The Mexican culture is based on deceit. Chicanos and Mexicanos lie as a means of survival. Fabricating false IDs is just another extension of that culture ... [which]condones everything from the most lowly misdemeanor to murder in the highest levels of government."
VOICES OF CITIZENS TOGETHER

"[Even] beyond immigration, legal or illegal, the very numbers of non-Whites already here, and their high birth rate, are enough to plunge North America into a banana republic status within two decades or less. ... [After America is split up into racial mini-states, if] an area like Florida wanted to accept the dregs of the Caribbean, let them, with the understanding that the second this mud flood oozed into the sovereign state of Georgia, it would be 'lock and load' time."
WHITE ARYAN RESISTANCE

compliled spring, 2001 by SPLC

It becomes obvious that ideas that were once relegated to the vilest fringes of the extreme far-right have become mainstream. Note just how many of the sentiments expressed in these statements by hate groups can now be heard almost daily coming from both the media and politicians. Republican politicians, the right-wing noised machine, and now the main stream media, have managed to shift the whole national debate, and possibly the nation itself, to a point where this kind of eliminationist rhetoric is now the accepted norm.

This shift can be seen quite clearly in this segment from the O'Rielly Factor, where Sen. John McCain, discussing comprehensive immigration reform legislation, allows O'Rielly to lecture him unchallenged about the supposed "liberal plan" to "change the complexion" of America by breaking down "the white, Christian, male power structure".



Back in March, 2006 The Nation examined this shift to the far right through the eyes of former grand wizard of the KKK, David Duke.

Relaxing in the Hyatt lobby, (David) Duke reminisced about his glory days. "I was the first candidate who ran against affirmative action. And I predated Clinton on welfare reform," Duke told me. He rehashed his controversial term as a Louisiana state representative and his losing 1990 Republican gubernatorial candidacy, in which he captured more than 60 percent of the white vote. He happily recalled his 1977 Klan Border Watch, when he and seven other Klansmen drove a few sedans in circles along the California-Mexico border, waving a shotgun in the moonlight while dozens of reporters in tow tried not to crash their cars into one another.

Back in those good old times, in 1982, explaining the Klan's anti-immigrant advocacy, Duke said, "Every new immigrant adds to our crime problems, our welfare rolls and unemployment of American citizens.... We are being invaded in the southwest as if a foreign army were coming over the border.... They're going to take more and more hard-earned money from the productive middle class in the form of taxes and social programs." And Duke called for the deportation of all undocumented immigrants and harsh penalties for businesses that employ them. "I'd make the Mexican-American border almost like a Maginot line," he said, referring to the militarized barrier France constructed between itself, Italy and Germany after World War I.

At the time, Duke was widely dismissed as little more than a turbo-charged version of the paranoid style--"the Klan's answer to Robert Redford," as reporter Patty Sims described him in 1978. But today his anti-immigration rhetoric sounds not so remote from one of top-rated CNN host Lou Dobbs's fulminations during his daily "Broken Borders" segment. Duke's Klan Border Watch, meanwhile, served as the forerunner and inspiration of the Dobbs-touted Minutemen groups that have proliferated from the Mexico border to Herndon, Virginia, the city that hosted the American Renaissance conference, where disgruntled locals hold regular protests outside a day-labor center. Under pressure from Colorado Representative Tom Tancredo, chair of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, and with sponsorship from House Judiciary Committee chair James Sensenbrenner (tough-talking heir to the Kotex fortune), the Republican-dominated House has approved a bill that makes it a felony to be in the United States illegally, mandates punishment for providing aid or shelter to undocumented immigrants and allocates millions for the construction of an iron wall between the United States and Mexico. Duke may have fallen short on the national stage, but his old notions have gained a new life through new political figures.

The Nation, 3/23/2006
In the 20 months since The Nation first published this article things have only gotten worse. As every Republican presidential candidate falls over themselves trying to race further and further to the right, David Duke must be grinning ear to ear.

U.S. War on Immigrants

Planning the War on Immigrants (by Tom Barry, Americas Program, Center for International Policy - 12.13.07)

Politics can be an ugly affair, and it doesn't get any uglier than when politicians try to best one another in the politics of hate and scapegoating.

That's what is happening in America, as politicians and political candidates at all levels of government join the anti-immigration bandwagon. Meanwhile, immigrants who do the dirtiest work in America are living in fear as they face a generalized immigration crackdown and stepped-up immigration raids.

The war against immigrants and immigration is being fought on three main fronts: in Congress, in local and state government, and on the campaign trail. While the anti-immigration movement that is coursing through American politics is beyond the control of any individual or organization, the leading restrictionist policy institutes in Washington are setting the policy agenda of the anti-immigration forces at all levels of U.S. politics.

As this war against the country's most vulnerable population deepens, the American people will need to ask themselves if they feel any safer or more secure, if they have more hope to find better-paying jobs, if their neighborhoods and town economies are more or less vibrant as immigrants leave, and if they are proud of themselves and their country.
Following their success in stopping a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate that included legalization provisions, immigration restrictionists have rallied around a common strategy: "Attrition through Enforcement."

Turning Up the "Heat" on Immigrants

"Attrition through enforcement" as a restrictionist framework for immigration reform has been percolating within the anti-immigration institutes in Washington, DC for the last couple of years. But it wasn't until the restrictionist movement beat back proposals for legalization that the strategy has taken hold as a unifying framework for restrictionism in America.

The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) took the lead in developing this strategic framework. In April 2006 this restrictionist think tank published, "Attrition through Enforcement: A Cost-Effective Strategy to Shrink the Illegal Population," which lays out the main components of a war of attrition against immigrants along with the estimated cost of a multi-front campaign to wear down immigrant residents and dissuade would-be immigrants.

CIS analyst Jessica Vaughn opens the report with this observation: "Proponents of mass legalization of the illegal alien population, whether through amnesty or expanded guestworker programs, often justify this radical step by suggesting that the only alternative—a broad campaign to remove illegal aliens by force—is unworkable."

"The purpose of attrition through enforcement," according to Vaughn, "is to increase the probability that illegal aliens will return home without the intervention of immigration enforcement agencies. In other words, it encourages voluntary compliance with immigration laws through more robust interior law enforcement."

Key components of the war of attrition include:

- Eliminating access to jobs through employer verification of Social Security numbers and immigration status.
- Ending misuse of Social Security and IRS numbers by immigrants in seeking employment, bank accounts, and driver's licenses, and improved information sharing among key federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, in the effort to identify unauthorized residents.
- Increasing federal, state, and local cooperation, particularly among law enforcement agencies.
- Reducing visa overstays through better tracking systems.
Stepping up immigration raids.
Passing state and local laws to discourage illegal immigrants from making a home in that area and to make it more difficult for immigrants to conceal their status.

CIS predicts that a $2 billion program would over five years substantially reduce immigration flows into the United States while dramatically increasing the one-way flow of immigrants back to their sending communities. According to CIS, the attrition war would require a $400 million annual commitment—"less than 1% of the president's 2007 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security."

Without driver's licenses and without work because of employment-centered enforcement, immigrants will leave the country—as many as 1.5 million annually, predicts the CIS study. "A subtle increase in the 'heat' on illegal aliens can be enough to dramatically reduce the scale of the problem within just a few years," says Vaughn.

War of Attrition

"Attrition through enforcement" represents an aggressive step forward for restrictionism. The "attrition through enforcement" strategy signals the advance of the anti-immigration advocates from defensive and hold-the-line positions to a long-term offensive aimed at definitively taking the battlefield.

Tasting the blood of their victory over liberal immigration reform, the restrictionist movement, led by Washington, DC institutes including the Center for Immigration Studies, Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and Numbers USA, has opted for a war of attrition as the best strategy for rolling back immigration.

The "attrition through enforcement" is a strategic framework that builds on tactical approaches. To counter proposals for legalization, restrictionists successfully argued that any proposals for increased legal immigration—either through legalization or guestworker programs—should not be considered until the borders were secured and current immigration law fully enforced.

The "secure borders" and "enforcement first" frameworks for discussing immigration have been largely accepted by politicians of both parties, eliminating approval of any immigration reform initiatives that would address the plight of the 12 million-plus undocumented residents of the United States.

Over the past six months, the restrictionists have moved beyond "enforcement first" to the more aggressive "attrition through enforcement" strategy. And the federal government, state government, and Congress seem to be marching in lockstep with the restrictionists as they all harden their anti-immigration posture.

Anti-immigration groups are propagating "attrition through enforcement" as the sensible, practical "middle ground" or "third way" in immigration reform. Rather than calling for a costly and morally repugnant mass deportation of millions of immigrants, the restrictionists have united behind a strategy aimed at wearing down the will of immigrants to live and work in the United States.

Immigration raids in the interior of the country and imprisonment by immigration officials of those crossing the border illegally combined with pervasive enforcement of the "rule of law" by police and government bureaucrats will slowly but surely drive all undocumented immigrants out of the country. Restrictionists increasingly argue that mass deportation will be unnecessary since an ever-increasing number of immigrants will "self-deport."

"Attrition through enforcement" also addresses another weak point in previous restrictionist strategy. Having long demanded that the federal government gain control of the southern border, the restrictionists found that as border control increased more immigrants were staying in the United States, fearing that if they left they would never be able to return. Border control has actually increased the number of undocumented immigrants who have opted for permanent residency.

Although still demanding tighter border control with more agents and more fences (virtual and real), restrictionists also have in "attrition through enforcement" what they consider to be a pragmatic and palatable solution to ridding the country of "illegal aliens." Permanent residency in the United States, if this strategy is fully implemented, will become a permanent nightmare.

Attrition on the Campaign Trail

All the Republican Party candidates have to some degree adopted a restrictionist agenda. Even John McCain, an original sponsor with Sen. Kennedy of comprehensive immigration reform, has said that he now supports an "enforcement first" approach.

Fred Thompson won the plaudits of restrictionists when he released his immigration platform, which explicitly adopts the "attrition through enforcement" strategy. According to Thompson, "Attrition through enforcement is a more reasonable and achievable solution [than] the 'false choices' of 'either arrest and deport them all, or give them all amnesty.'"

This more "reasonable" solution supported by candidate Thompson includes measures such as denying federal money to states and local governments that provide social services to undocumented residents, and ending federal educational aid to public universities that provide in-state tuition to undocumented residents.

FAIR is spearheading the attrition war on the state level, working closely with a new group called State Legislators for Legal Immigration. Formed by right-wing restrictionists in the Pennsylvania state legislature, the group says nothing about legal immigration in its mission statement. Rather, the founders say the group "represents a 21st century Declaration of Independence."

"Similar to the American Revolution, the personal and economic safety of Pennsylvanians and all American citizens depends upon definitive action being taken by our federal, state, and local governments to end the ongoing invasion of illegal aliens through our borders," declares the legislators' organization. By turning back this invasion, they say they will protect U.S. citizens from " property theft, drug running, human trafficking, increased violent crime, increased gang activity, terrorism, and the many other clear and present dangers directly associated with illegal immigration."

State Legislators for Legal Immigration and FAIR intend to take the war of attrition to every state. According to this restrictionist group, "Once the economic attractions of illegal jobs and taxpayer-funded public benefits are severed at the source, these illegal invaders will have no choice but to go home on their own." FAIR says that the legislators' group "will be teaming up with FAIR to develop state-based initiatives to deal with the national problem of mass illegal immigration."

The war of attrition is already leaving a trail of divided communities and split families in its wake. Detentions and deportations are shattering immigrant communities and families as restrictionists applaud and call for ever-harsher measures. It is also ramping up the fear and loathing on the campaign trail.

As this war against the country's most vulnerable population deepens, the American people will need to ask themselves if they feel any safer or more secure, if they have more hope to find better-paying jobs, if their neighborhoods and town economies are more or less vibrant as immigrants leave, and if they are proud of themselves and their country.

Tom Barry is a senior analyst with the Americas Policy Program (www.americaspolicy.org) of the Center for International Policy.

12/15/07

To Iowa & New Hampshire

The following "call-to-action" is from Sag Harbor's Michael O'Neill (aka, MO), a member of the Long Island Immigrant Alliance.

How we might help in the upcoming primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire speaking out against the Republican anti-immigrant disinformation and mainstreaming extremist, racist rhetoric.
All Republican candidates are running a sleazy one issue wedge campaign to scapegoat immigrants as the blame for conditions they in fact engendered by their own disastrous policies, resulting in decline of wages and deterioration of working conditions for a now angry middle class in economic distress or insecurity, just one paycheck away from sinking debt or one serious medical diagnosis away from economic calamity or one mortgage payment away from homelessness. As we hear from these nativist extremists, immigrants are the blame for the rising taxes, with the burden of their anchor babies filling our schools, welfare offices and hospitals and their parents, congenital "illegals," causing neighborhood deterioration and falling real estate values, filling our courthouses and prisons.

Worse, we are told, they are culturally incapable of becoming true Americans by the likes of Prof Samuel Huntington, because they obstinately cling to their language, refusing to speak English, preferring to live in barrios where they can become less visible, less traceable, hiding in a concentration of their own kind rather than integrate in the dominate culture. They are incapable of understanding democracy because of their long acceptance of Roman Catholicism and governance by dictatorships. That is why they read their own newspapers, have primitive toilet hygiene and primitive norms of publicly going when/wherever they want, play their own music, dance all night long, eat their own food, drink all day, and make anchor babies at the drop of a shillelagh. Unreliable, sneaky, thieves. papists.

Irresponsible, dirty, lazy louts of uncontrollable lust, with unruly numbers of children, given over to gangs, violence and crime, vectors of disease, mentally deficient, threatening and dangerous, drunks. These spurious charges made against the Irish might seem laughable today were they not the very same, precise accusations dredged up for alleged behavior of Latino immigrants. The same mindset that accompanied the evident cultural degradation inherent in the Irish invaders a 150 years ago is claimed for the immigrant invaders today, with the additional opprobrium of being intrinsically illegal beings, since the instance of their first step into the land of liberty and home of the free. This innate incapability to become civilized justified the hatred, bias, exploitation, vigilantism & legal discrimination used against the despised Irish.

It was in reaction to the profound economic change from the incipient industrial revolution moving the nation from an agricultural based economy on the one hand, while deteriorating structures of the traditional political parties' changing traditional alignments exerted upon the popular zeitgeist a great confusion, doubt, apprehension, anxiety and a sense of dislocation, easily manipulated by "patriotic" politicians in this time of antebellum national stress of perplexing division. Against this political turbulence, with so many parallels to our own times, a national campaign began taking off to allow the singling out an identifiable "criminality from a debased national character," making a scapegoat of the Irish immigrant as the other, the outsider, the alien, the papal agent of suspect loyalty, even conquest, as cause for the economic dislocations. Fashioning this scapegoat became the impetus to fashioning the Native American Party in 1843, Better known today as the Know Nothing Party, it would thrive in its toxic brew to become, even to this day, the most successful and largest 3rd party in American history.

Their electoral successes in the following years helped them take majority power based on a fevered nativist jingoism that promised exclusion, deportation and turning back the clock to a non-existent time before the arrival of immigrant invaders from Ireland, taking the jobs of natives, putting them in economic peril. Promises that could not be kept. They won office in many cities, including Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago; took over state legislatures, including Mass. Pennsylvania, Calif., and sent scores of their candidates or sympathizers to the House and Senate in Washington. Countless towns and hamlets passed anti-immigrant laws outlawing Irish from spending one night within their boundaries.

If we look back in astonishment at the popular charges against the Irish, we are baffled how this segment of the population, who dug by hand the Erie Canal, who would lay the trans-Continental RR from the East to Utah (& from the West by Chinese immigrant labor, who were to receive even harsher treatment than the Irish) & other feats of intensely menial labor, which laid the foundation for an expanding industrial revolution. This new economic order threatening the union of the states, would soon go on to enlarge our young country's economy enormously, bringing such prosperity to the U.S. that it would reach the pinnacle of world economic success and dominance in scant few decades.

Just as the present day no-good-turn shall-go-unpunished phenomena of our showing strange national gratitude for valued work, so too is it just as bizarrely exhibited for the undeniable contributions of recent immigrants to our well-being by growing our economy over the past decade & a half. We are also baffled how elected officials could elicit such prejudice against the Irish in face of the very visible contributions of their near heroic labor--even then widely recognized, just as is today's by los journaleros. In some inexplicable psychological sleight of hand, demagogues were able to transfer with alacrity the deeply and widely ingrained racist assumptions towards African slaves, if without the same intensity & longevity, upon the Irish. (See the wonderful book, How the Irish Became White)

I have no idea how to stop or foil the Republican Party's heedless plunge into a divisive, intolerant, nativist, wedge campaign to hold immigrants responsible for the outcome of their own policies and ideology of enlarging the power, privilege and wealth to the powerful, privileged and wealthy, which has so adversely affected the vast majority of working people, dismantling our Constitutional promise to democracy. Only by soundly defeating them will they be stopped. None of us can do much but continue our limited, small efforts to change the media-fueled dialogue (where "illegal immigrant" becomes acceptably neutral, no matter how indisputably it conveys instant criminality) from one impassionedly informed by the most vile, racist and openly neo-Nazi militants and their seemingly less strident demagogic Republican mouthpieces.

It is clear, Republicans are all too willing to embrace, use and enfold anti-immigrant extremism into their primary races, in a leap-frogging, not to be out-positioned by a rival's anti-immigrant polemic and extremist proposals. I propose something each of us can do in the next two weeks before the Iowa caucuses & New Hampshire primary to lend our voices to naming this rightward Republican kow towing to the hard right, making common cause with the worst purveyors of racial bias, for what it is: the nativists' same old, tattered, irrational hatred and fear, waged under guise of the same implacable false patriotism (of true Americans) that will cause our nation inevitably greater economic and social harm.

One way we can help is to pass letters-to-the-editors (lte) to pro-immigrant advocates in Iowa and New Hampshire to give them to local people as aid to formulate their own letters to the editors to magnify influence and add their voices to the national conversation about immigration and stand up to the irrational fear and misinformed bigotry. Short, pithy letters on just one single aspect of immigration have the best chance of being selected, published and make the most effective reading.

There will be no single letter that will change minds and hearts, but the accumulated drip of letters, repeated over and over again could become a torrent of sanity to counter the screaming, in your face racism and disinformation of the most extreme out there who believe their hostility will threaten and intimidate into silence most ordinary people busy living their own lives, trying to keep their heads above water, without inclination or time to be consumed with hating immigrants they see as people not unlike themselves or their parents who arrived with only their suitcase or their immigrant great grandparents who worked hard to give their loved ones and their own grandkids they would never know or meet, a better life, a better chance than their lives at hard labor, with different cards in hand than the ones they were dealt,

Their literal and figurative backbreaking labor would elevate their hopes and ideals of democracy guaranteed in the dignity of their work that gives substance and meaning to our mythos of the U.S as a beacon of light, the shining city on the hill, a nation we proudly claim is a nation of immigrants. They believed their place at the table for their children and theirs would be obtained by an unbelievable ability to persevere and sacrifice for a future greater good. It is for that same greater good for which we must fight today, but from the comfort of our heated homes. We owe at least that in gratitude for our own privilege of keeping their memory vital, and being faithful to honor and carry on their hard won struggle to persevere against this once more renewed eruption of nativist anti-immigrant bigotry in our country.

Just one short letter a day or every other day from the hundred people or so on this listserv might have incalculable value in influencing what is happening on the ground in Iowa & New Hampshire for those of us without the resources or time or have responsibilities keeping us from going there ourselves to walk the walk. But enough of my preaching, here are some local progressives &/or groups that might agree to farm out your lte to friends they know and members of their orgs. Be sure to send only one letter to one addressee in one state, so 2 people would not send in the same letter to one paper or one paper in the same state. Under Tools in Outlook Express, click the "request read receipt" just to make sure it is not lost in cyberspace, but in fact arrived to an intended person's still current email.

--mo

Stoking the Immigration Fire - (one man's `anti-immigration'
efforts in New Hampshire)


"Only 5% of the New Hampshire population is foreign-born, but even here, illegal immigration is among the most volatile issues in the presidential primary campaign. Dennis Williams is one reason why.

Mr. Williams, a retired computer project manager, says he has faxed his senators, representative and the presidential candidates 217 times in the past 20 months about his opposition to illegal immigration. He has made dozens of phone calls to Washington. He emails immigration news to a circle of 100 friends

Immigration, and Its Politics, Shake Rural Iowa

The nation's struggle over immigration may seem distant in states like Iowa, hundreds of miles from any border, but the debate is part of daily life here, more than ever now as residents prepare to pick a president. Nearly all of more than two dozen people interviewed here last week said they considered immigration policy at or near the top of their lists of concerns as they look to the presidential next month.

And yet, nearly everyone interviewed said that none of the political candidates had arrived at a position on immigration that fully satisfied them. In real life, they said, the issues surrounding immigration, both legal and illegal, were far more complicated than bumper sticker slogans or jabs on a debate stage or even the carefully picked language of campaign policy papers.

The subject went largely unaddressed in Wednesday's Republican debate in Des Moines after the moderator discouraged discussion of immigration, suggesting that Iowans already were familiar with the candidates' positions."

In IOWA:

Iowa Immigration Rights Network
ssanchez@afsc.org

Nueva Esperanza Siouxland UMC
www.iaumc.org/sc/HispMin/HISPMIN.html

Gilberto González
ggonzalez@enlacesamerica.org

JoAnn Mackey
joannm@latinoheritagefestival.org

latino-conference@uiowa.edu

Vicki Pratt, PSD Social Justice Program Coordinator
vlpratt@aol.com

Nancy Hernandez deRiehl
chihuahuota@hotmail.com

info@friendsoftheimmigrant.org

iowa@richardsonforpresident.com

Rich Pleva
rich@ucciaconf.org

Ron Eslinger
ron@ucciaconf.org

Tony Stoik
tony@ucciaconf.org

Julia Rendon
Julia@ucciaconf.org

Names of Democratic Committeepeople, opponents of Republican immigrant bashing

Dave Neas
429 S. Temple St
Osceola, IA 50213
641-342-2059
chair@idp5.org

Rick Mullin
3715 Cheyenne Blvd.
Sioux City, IA 51104
H: 712-277-1376
vicenorth@idp5.org

Les Lewis
2884 Hwy 30
Denison, IA 51442
H: pm 712-263-4037
vicecentral@idp5.org

Ann Stough
306 E Main St
Panora, IA 50216
641-755-3378
secretary@idp5.org

Ron Feilmeyer
305 E 21st St
Atlantic, IA 50022
H: 712-243-1137; Wk: 712-243-1663
treasurer@idp5.org

Josh Robinson
112 W. 5th St, #109
Storm Lake, IA 50588
712-732-0971
ruraloutreach@idp5.org
head of the IA Dem Media Alert

Erin Seidler
eseidler@iowademocrats.org

Iowa State University Dems

Sarah Sunderman
sarahsun@iastate.edu

Prof. Jose Amaya
jamaya@iastate.edu
Prof. Hector Avalos
havalos@iastate.edu

University of Iowa Dems

Nakhasi Atul
atul-nakhasi@uiowa.edu

John Mulrooney
john-mulrooney@uiowa.edu

University of Northern Iowa
vaughn.shannon@uni.edu

Southwest Iowa Latino Resource Center
info@swilrc.org

If you prefer to send directly to local Iowa media, click here for a list.

In New Hampshire:

latinosunidosnh@yahoo.com
hyoungdems@gmail.com

Judy Elliot
nhcosh@totalnetnh.net

Keith Kuenning
keithkuenning@msn.com

Maggie Forgarty
mfogarty@afsc.org

Arnie Alpert
aalpert@afsc.org

Emina Zlotrg
ezlotrg@afsc.org

Julia Ramsey
jramsey@nhdp.org

Tess George
tess@uuactionnetworknh.org

NH Immigrant Rights Network
wtinker@metrocast.net
info@democracyfornewhampshire.com
jeanie@nhhealthequity.org

County Dem Committeepeople:

Belknap: Lynn Chong
chonglyn@metrocast.net

Carroll: Mike Cauble
MCa4941@aol.com

Cheshire: Dan Eaton
eatonsstore@juno.com

Coos: Paul Robitaille
paulr@ncia.net

Grafton: John Chamberlin
thechamberlins@verizon.net

Hillsborough: Chris Pappas
pappas@post.harvard.edu

Merrimack: Rob Werner
rwerner@totalnetnh.net

Rockingham: Lenore Patton
gandlpatton@comcast.net

Strafford: Joan Ashwell
jfashwell@comcast.net

Sullivan: John Cloutier
jocloutier@adelphia.net

University of Southern New Hampshire

Jolan C. Rivera
jolancrivera@yahoo.com

David Dologite
dologite@earthlink.net

Yoel Camayd-Freixas
y.camayd-freixas@snhu.edu

Evelyn Friedman
efriedman@nuestracdc.org

Nelly Lejter
n.lejter@snhu.edu

Al Selinka
azelinka@rbf.com

Cynthia Hernandez Kolski
CYNTHIA@COMMUNICATIONEDUCATION.COM

William Huang
bill.huang@lacdc.org

Juan Gonzalez
gonzalez@allstonbrightoncdc.org

Matt Leighninger
mattleighninger@earthlink.net

William Maddocks
w.maddocks@snhu.edu

Armand Magnelli
magnelli@sprynet.com

Patricia Maher
pat@haymarket.org

Nancy Anne McArdle
nancymcardle@comcast.net

Randal Pinkett
rpinkett@bctpartners.com

Reemberto Rodriguez
reemberto@comcast.com

Tia Juana Malone
tmalone@developmentleadership.net

Karen Murrell
kmurrell@comcast.net

Jeffrey Nugent
jgfn@aol.com

Al Zelinka
azelinka@rbf.com

Adjibodou, Expedit Michel - e.adjibodou@snhu.edu
Aricanli, Tosun - t.aricanli@snhu.edu
Barongereje, William - w.barongereje@snhu.edu
Brace, Susan - s.brace@snhu.edu
Camayd-Freixas, Yoel - y.camayd-freixas@snhu.edu
Chalu, Henry - h.chalu@snhu.edu
Clamp, Christina - c.clamp@snhu.edu
Furany, Kadry - kadry.furany@snhu.edu
Gonzalez, Juan - j.gonzalez1@snhu.edu
Hack, Nadine - n.hack@snhu.edu
Harper, Malcolm - m.harper@snhu.edu
Hotchkiss, Charles - c.hotchkiss@snhu.edu
Hutchins, Shannon - shannon.hutchins@snhu.edu
Jackson, Deborah - deborah.jackson1@snhu.edu
Jacobs, Eric - e.jacobs@snhu.edu
Kaiza-Boshe, Theonestina - t.kaiza-boshe@snhu.edu
Kayandabila, Yamugu - y.kayandabila@snhu.edu
Kazungu, Khatibu - k.kazungu@snhu.edu
Kisoza, Lwekaza - l.kisoza@snhu.edu
Lejter, Nelly - n.lejter@snhu.edu
Lett, Woullard - w.lett@snhu.edu
Maddocks, William - w.maddocks@snhu.edu
Maher, Patricia - p.maher@snhu.edu
Malone, H. - h.malone@snhu.edu
Manyanda, Julius - j.manyanda@snhu.edu
Marealle, Maria - m.marealle@snhu.edu
Masasi, Rukia Saleh - r.masasi@snhu.edu
Mburu, Chris - c.mburu@snhu.edu
Milton, August - a.milton@snhu.edu
Mutasa, Felician - f.mutasa@snhu.edu
Ngaruko, Deus - d.ngaruko@snhu.edu
Ngatuni, Proches - .ngatuni@snhu.edu
O'Reilly, Martin - m.oreilly@snhu.edu
Onyango, Monica - m.onyango@snhu.edu
Palakurthi, Puneetha - p.palakurthi@snhu.edu
Paris, Paula - p.paris@snhu.edu
Reese, T David - t.reese@snhu.edu
Richmond, Anne Elizabeth - a.richmond@snhu.edu
Rielly, Catherine - c.rielly@snhu.edu
Rivera, Jolan - j.rivera@snhu.edu
Seib, Rebecca - rebecca.seib@snhu.edu
Shulman, Steven - s.shulman@snhu.edu
Shungu, Hamidu - h.shungu@snhu.edu
Sinda, Sinda - s.sinda@snhu.edu
Swack, Michael - m.swack@snhu.edu
Walcott, Derrick - derrick.walcott@snhu.edu
Werema, Samwel - s.werema@snhu.edu
Wilkinson, Alan - a.wilkinson@snhu.edu
Wilson, Kimberley - k.wilson@snhu.edu

Click here for a list of New Hampshire media.

12/9/07

1930's Mexican Deportations: U.S. Ethnic Cleansing?

It's happened before in the 1930s. Local, state and federal authorities arrested residents of Mexican heritage--citizens and noncitizens alike; confiscated their property, and deported them to Mexico.

This American version of ethnic cleansing--the mass deportation of people of Mexican heritage from U.S. soil--has gone largely ignored--that is, until now.

As part of a class history assignment while she was a undergraduate student at Cal State Fullerton, Christine Valenciana, now a professor of education, began her extensive research on the plight of her mother and many other Mexican-Americans who were illegally deported to Mexico during the 1930s.

Dr. Valenciana was always aware that her mother, as a child, had been forced to return to Mexico in 1935. What she didn’t realize was that her mother was just one of up to 2 million Mexican and Mexican-Americans who were deported during that era.

“I thought what happened to her and her family was an isolated incident,” she recalled. “I had no idea that this happened on a much larger scale.”

Dr. Valenciana discusses her work as it relates to the mass deportation of people, many of whom were American citizens, that was systematically practiced during the Great Depression. (Source: CAL State Fullerton website)

Q: How did you first learn that close to 2 million Mexican and Mexican-Americans were deported to Mexico in the 1930s?

A: I was a history major at Cal State Fullerton, and one of the classes I took was a community history class. Having a Mexican background, I was interested in researching an area that had to do with Mexican-Americans. While I was trying to determine a topic, I spoke with my mother, Emilia Castaneda, about her experience as a child. That’s when I discovered that many families had been deported to Mexico in the late 1920s through the 1930s.

Even prior to this, there were “whisper” campaigns and employers were asked not to hire those suspected of being of Mexican descent. Actually, there were laws passed that “aliens” could not be hired to work. In addition, massive deportation raids were conducted throughout the country, including Orange and Los Angeles counties. An atmosphere of fear was created in the Mexican-American community.

Q: So what happened? Why were these people deported?

A: During the Great Depression, anywhere from one to two million people were deported in an effort by the government to free up jobs for those who were considered “real Americans” and rid the county governments of “the problem.” The campaign, called the Mexican Reparation, was authorized by President Herbert Hoover. Although President Franklin Roosevelt ended federal support when he took office, many state and local governments continued with their efforts.

Estimates now indicate that approximately 60 percent of the people deported were children who were born in America and others who, while of Mexican descent, were legal citizens.

Q: How did you go about conducting your research?

A: It was all primary research because historians hadn’t really paid much attention to it. I spoke to my mother, who referred me to some of her cousins. I made public announcements and found other interviewees. It snowballed from there. These interviews are housed in the Center for Oral and Public History. Now, I am conducting new research focused on the education and language of the children and families involved.

Q: What was it like for those who were deported?

A: It was traumatic, of course. For example, my mother was nine years old. She lived in Los Angeles. Her dominant language was English, although she knew rudimentary Spanish. Suddenly, she was removed from the only home she’d known, taken out of her school and away from her friends, and sent to an unfamiliar country. She didn’t understand the customs. She was forced to live outdoors. She was teased because she couldn’t speak Spanish very well. And keep in mind that she was an American citizen.

Q: What was it like for adults?

A: It was very difficult for them as well. Mexico also was going through a depression at that time, and it was hard for the adults to find jobs in Mexico. Returning Mexicans were unwanted. Many of these people had jobs, homes and families in the United States. They hadn’t been in Mexico for decades – they couldn’t just pick up and start again.

This act literally broke up families. For instance, some who were deported had subsequent children who were born in Mexico – that meant that some children in the same family were American citizens while others were not. As these children grew older and married, they often had children who were born in Mexico and so these children were not considered American citizens either. The effects of this unconstitutional deportation are far ranging and have ramifications even today.

Q: Were there ever any attempts to rectify this wrong?

A: art of the problem is that many did not realize this was part of a huge concerted effort. Now that they’re aware of it, there have been some attempts to recognize what happened. Some looked at what happened to those who were interned in Japanese camps during World War II and recognized that they were, in fact, discriminated against. It’s also important to realize that it took the Japanese community several decades to organize in response against their treatment – and they were still in this country.

Q: What kind of attempts have been made to publicize this?

A: One of our alums – Bernie Enriquez, a field representative for State Sen. Joseph Dunn – was aware of the Mexican Reparation, having read my husband’s – Francisco Balderrama – book, Decade of Betrayal. He brought the book to the attention of Sen. Dunn [D-Santa Ana], who introduced a bill in 2003 asking for a removal of the statute of limitations for survivors like my mother to make claims against the state of California for, what was quite frankly, an unconstitutional deportation.

MALDEF [Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund] filed a class action suit on behalf of the survivors. Sen. Dunn sponsored a state senate hearing in July 2003 on this unconstitutional deportation. My mother was one of the survivors who spoke. My husband was an expert historian witness.

Q: What was that like watching your mother?

A: I had very mixed emotions. On the one hand, I was tremendously proud of her. This is a woman – in her 70s – with very little formal education, speaking before a group of powerful legislators. On the other hand, I was nervous for her and helped her prepare. But she did just fine. I asked her what she hoped to get out of all this. She said simply, “I just want people to know what happened.”

Q: Did they get an apology?

A: No. Both Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger refused. Apologizing is an admission of guilt and neither wanted to get involved in what they considered financial ramifications. What was very disappointing about Schwarzenegger’s response was that he indicated that those affected had had years to file civil suits. But most of those who were deported were children. They were abused, had their constitutional rights violated and were kicked out of their country. They weren’t even aware that they had constitutional rights let alone that they had been violated.

Q: So what happens now?

A: Sen. Dunn will re-introduce related legislation. We are doing our best to educate others about what happened so that this never happens to anyone again. People were denied their rights, sent to a foreign land and children were not allowed to finish their education.

Related:

1930s Mexican Deportation
U.S. Concentration Camps: Wrong during WWII; Wrong Now
The U.S. also put 2,300 Japanese Latino Americans in Concentration Camps
The T.Don Hutto Residential Facility: A Concentration Camp
U.S.A. Ignores Petition from Marshall Islands H-Bomb Testing Victims

12/5/07

Manhattan DA to Fight Anti-Immigrant Crime

Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau is setting up an Immigrant Affairs Advisory Council to fight crimes targeting that group, including green card and investment scams.

People selected to serve on the panel include Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer; Brian O'Dwyer, chair of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center; and representatives of the New York Immigration Coalition, Catholic Charities and the Chinese Benevolent Association.

Good to see someone in authority finally taking note of the real crime problem involving immigrants: crimes perpetrated ON immigrants.

Question: In a City that is 1/3rd Latino with a disproportionate number of immigrants hailing from Latino nations, why on earth are there no Latinos (or Latino organizations) selected for the panel? Very odd.

Related:

IMMIGRANT PROTECTORS

12/4/07

Lou Dobbs: Race Baiter

From Citizen Orange...

When it comes to race baiting, Lou Dobbs is a hypocrite. Check out this new video that I've put together where Lou Dobbs gives a pass to a staunch racist at forum in Illinois. Then, just a day later, he accuses Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) of race baiting on his show. This and Gutierrez didn't even mention race once! I can't help but see hypocrisy when Dobbs gives a pass to an anti-migrant racist in his forum at the same time that he constantly calls out pro-migrant advocates for race-baiting on his show.

Dobbs's popularity results from filling the vacuum spineless establishment Democrats are leaving in their wake. In the absence of strong progressive leadership, Lou Dobbs has been able to twist populist rhetoric into anti-migrant hate and economic irrationality.

Make sure to sign the petition to boycott Lou Dobbs over at boycottdobbs.us. Let him know that the people he claims to represent will not stand for his harmful rhetoric. His words divide and degrade human kind.

12/3/07

Anti-Immigration Madness

In Losing Our Minds over Immigration, Eric Haas calls it what it really is--a sort of madness that's overcome so many otherwise sensible Americans. It's a madness which obscures the real problem: the exploitation of all low-wage American workers.

Sad that struggling American workers are distracted into bashing lower wage immigrant workers while the super rich and politically powerful evade responsibility for their rapacious ways.

12/1/07

Tom Tancredo - A Nativist Criminal Employer?

Anti-Latino immigrant zealot and GOP presidential wannabe Tom Tancredo hired what he often refers to as "criminal aliens" to fix up his Littleton, Colorado McMansion.

Figures.

Q: What part of "illegal" don't these criminal nativists understand? Illegal hiring is illegal, no?

More

11/27/07

Patrick Buchanan's Anti-Latino Racism Featured on Fox

Anti-immigrants have been able to hold up the "illegal" status of some as a fig leaf to cover their racism.

Until now.

Patrick Buchanan, spiritual leader of today's Know Nothings, and two time presidential candidate, said on Hannity & Colmes what it is that really bothers him about immigration: Latinos.

Yup. Buchanan admitted fearing Latinos will soon number 100 million (regardless of the flow of undocumented workers), and that we're contributing to the evolution of American culture. It's a major theme in his new book Day of Reckoning in which he breathelssly blames Latinos for the fall of America.

It's beyond silly and very dangerous propaganda--and it's being aided by Fox and Sir Hannity.

When asked by Alan Colmes if he isn't simply fighting immigration the way the Know Nothings did against his own earlier immigrant family members, Buchanan said a few very telling things:

1) That Latinos are different because they own media, hail from countries nearer to the U.S. and they come with their own culture.
“Let me tell you the difference in the American southwest. The fastest growing television stations and radio stations are Hispanic. There’s a huge number of folks contiguous to Mexico. Our ancestors came across the seas. Look, they’ve got their own language, their own culture. They don’t want to be Americans.”
2) That the Irish immigrants that were brutalized by American nativists damaged America because they too came in large numbers. Buchanan started to blame the so-called gang wars of New York City on Irish immigrants but he was cut off by Sir Hannity.

Buchanan coming out and speaking so clearly about his anti-Latino bigotry is actually a good thing. All Latinos and decent Americans everywhere need to be real clear about what we're up against. It's only when we as a society know the and who's afflicted can we being cut out the cancer.

Below is the video courtesy of NewsHound and YouTube. It offers an important teaching moment on the dangers of nativism, racism, politics and media for concerned Americans everywhere.

11/26/07

¡Ya basta! Petition

Under the pretense of fighting "illegal" immigration, racists across America are using the media and political offices to foment anti-Latino hostilities.

The anti-Latino bullies and bigots have thus far gone unchallenged.

If you believe that it's time to hold the anti-Latinos--and the institutions that support them--to account, please say so by signing the ¡Ya basta! petition.

Click here to sign the ¡Ya basta! Petition.

11/25/07

Decency on Immigration

Decency on Immigration: Apart from John McCain, it's hard to find that quality in the Republican presidential contest. (Washington Post Editorial - 11.24.07)

THE SPEAKER was discussing the human face of illegal immigration. "People are continuing dying in the Sonoran desert, and it's just a very sad thing to see," he said. "One 3-year-old baby died, a 16-year-old girl with a rosary in her hand. There's a side of this that grieves me terribly. These are God's children. They're not from another planet, and the whole thing . . . frankly, this whole issue saddens me a great deal."

These statements were moving, but they would not have been especially remarkable except for the fact that the person speaking is a presidential candidate -- a Republican presidential candidate, in fact -- at a time when the campaign has taken a particularly toxic tone when it comes to the issue of immigration. In a meeting with Post editors and reporters the other day, Arizona Sen. John McCain described the toll that he believes his championing of comprehensive immigration reform took on his campaign. "It was the issue of immigration that hurt my campaign," he said. "I have not encountered a domestic issue that has provoked the emotional response that this issue does with a lot of Americans."

Indeed, even as Mr. McCain was speaking, his GOP rivals were busy turning an ugly immigration debate even uglier. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who said in 2005 he thought that the McCain-Kennedy comprehensive immigration approach was "sensible," and former New York mayor

Rudolph W. Giuliani, who as mayor protected illegal immigrants from being reported to immigration authorities when they sought police protection or hospital care, competed to see who could sound toughest.

"As governor, I opposed driver's licenses for illegals, vetoed tuition breaks for illegals and combated sanctuary city policies by authorizing the state police to enforce federal immigration law," Mr. Romney said in a statement. "As president, I will secure the border and reject sanctuary policies by cities, states or the federal government."

The Giuliani campaign shot back, in a statement by communications director Katie Levinson: "On Governor Romney's watch, the number of illegal immigrants in Massachusetts skyrocketed, aid to Massachusetts sanctuary cities went through the roof and Governor Romney even went so far as to hire illegals to work on his lawn." Mr. Romney and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson have also taken shots at former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for allowing the children of illegal immigrants in Arkansas to qualify for in-state tuition and academic scholarships if they graduated from high school there. As Mr. Huckabee told Fox News, "the basic concept, and I know this is still an anathema to some people, I don't believe you punish the children for the crime and sins of the parents."

Illegal immigration provokes strong emotions, understandably so. But it would behoove all the candidates to engage in a little less chest-thumping and speak with more of the decency and compassion that Mr. McCain exhibited.

11/13/07

Immigrant issue can’t save GOP

Immigrant issue can’t save GOP (by Linda Chavez, Boston Herald, 11.13.07)

For the second time in as many years, immigration has fizzled as a wedge issue at the polls. In 2006, Republicans hoped to use anger over illegal immigration to maintain control of Congress, but failed miserably, losing races even in states like Arizona and Colorado that have experienced large influxes of illegal aliens.

This year, Virginia Republicans tried the same maneuver in state races, with the same results. The Virginia GOP lost control of the state Senate last Tuesday despite efforts to rile up voters on the illegal immigration front.

More

11/10/07

Angry migrant underclass might erupt in U.S.

Angry migrant underclass might erupt in U.S. (by Andres Oppenheimer, Maimi Herald - 11.04.07)

The rapid escalation of the U.S. anti-immigration hysteria -- fueled by ratings-hungry cable-television hotheads and leading Republican presidential hopefuls -- is a dangerous trend: It may lead to a Hispanic intifada that may rock this nation in the not-so-distant future.

Remember the Palestinian intifada of the early 1990s, when thousands of frustrated young Palestinians took to the streets and threw stones at Israeli troops? Remember the French intifada of the summer of 2005, in which disenfranchised Muslim youths burned cars and stores in the suburbs of Paris?

If we are not careful, we may see something similar coming from the estimated 13 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, most of them Hispanic, who are increasingly vilified in the media, forced further into the underground by spineless politicians and not given any chance to legalize their status by a pusillanimous U.S. Congress.

We are creating an underclass of people who won't leave this country and, realistically, can't be deported. They and their children are living with no prospect of earning a legal status, no matter how hard they work for it. Many of them will become increasingly frustrated, angry, and some of them eventually may turn violent.

I was thinking about all of this when I read about last week's U.S. Senate refusal to pass the Dream Act, a bill that would offer a path to legalization to children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States at a very young age, and who get a college degree or serve in the military.

MIAMI BROTHERS

The bill would have regularized the status of youths like Juan and Alex Gomez, the two Colombian-born Miami brothers who were brought by their parents to this country as toddlers, graduated near the top of their high school classes, and now face deportation to a country they don't even remember.

There are an estimated 1.8 million children in the United States who are growing up like other American kids, often speak no language other than English, but don't have legal documents, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. They are denied in-state college tuition fees or scholarships that are available to legal U.S. residents, and are eventually thrown into a labor market where they are barred from being employed.

Further, the Bush administration-backed escalation of raids against undocumented workers in factories, the increase of city ordinances prohibiting people from leasing apartments to undocumented immigrants, and the overt xenophobia spilling daily from Hispanic-phobic radio and cable-television shows will leave their mark on these and other children in immigrant communities.

A study released last week by the Urban Institute and the National Council of La Raza says there are about five million U.S. children with at least one undocumented parent.

''The recent intensification of immigration enforcement activities by the federal government has increasingly put these children at risk of family separation, economic hardship, and psychological trauma,'' the report says.

The study looked at the impact of recent U.S. immigration raids in Colorado, Nebraska and Massachusetts, where about 900 undocumented workers were arrested at their work sites, and their children -- most often infants -- were suddenly deprived of their fathers or mothers.

''The combination of fear, isolation, and economic hardship induced mental health problems such as depression, separation anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide thoughts,'' it said.

My opinion: We have to stop this xenophobic hysteria. And please, dear anti-immigration readers, don't tell me I'm being dishonest for failing to point out that you are not against legal immigration, but only against ``illegals.''

You are making a deceptive argument. Leaving aside the fact that nearly half of the undocumented immigrants came to this country legally, and overstayed their visas, their non-compliance with immigration rules should not stigmatize them with the label of ``illegals.''

DANGEROUS PATH

You may have violated a rule, but that should not make you an ''illegal'' person. You may have gotten a ticket for speeding, but that doesn't make you an ''illegal'' human being, even if the potential harm of your reckless driving is much greater than anything done by most of the hard-working undocumented immigrants in this country.

Carrying out enforcement-only policies, labeling undocumented workers as ''illegals'' and depriving them of hope for upward mobility -- rather than working toward greater economic cooperation with Latin America to reduce migration pressures -- is not only wrong, but dangerous. The millions of undocumented among us will not leave. They will only get angrier.

10/25/07

Racist Dr. James Watson Quits Cold Spring Lab Post

Great news from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory! The racist, sexist and homophobic Dr. James Watson has stepped down from the famed research institution's chancellorship.

Interestingly, accepting Dr. Watson's resignation was Cold Spring's Board Chair Eduardo Mestre, an investment banker--and a Cuban immigrant.

Related: Controversial DNA scientist retires

Hall of Shame: Ira Mehlman - FAIR's smooth-talking face of tribal hate


Ira Mehlman doesn’t publicly ridicule Mexican culture like many anti-immigrant radio hosts or patrol the border “locked and loaded” like the Minutemen. As the media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Mehlman is constantly giving interviews to the largest mainstream media outlets, so he needs to appear civilized, logical and even friendly. Although the ideology of FAIR hasn’t changed much since its days of being funded by white nationalist organizations, Mehlman’s savvy smooth-talking has helped make this vicious mentality sound much more benign.

For example, Mehlman’s demand that “(Americans) have to create conditions that encourage people to deport themselves” might not sound too inhumane at first glance, but Mehlman has proven willing to carry this argument to its deadly conclusion. In 2005, Mehlman strongly advocated a federal bill that would have made it a felony to offer support to undocumented immigrants - even if they were dying of thirst in the middle of the desert. Unfortunately, this isn’t a hypothetical scenario: two college students who were volunteering for the No More Deaths organization were prosecuted in Arizona under a similar law for rescuing three sun-stroked migrants from a brutal fate. Even after the prosecutions, Mehlman still denied that the law would be enforced in such cases.

Mehlman rarely lets facts get in the way of his analysis: He blames immigrants for the health care crisis, “destroying middle class jobs” and is always quick to claim that most Americans share his point of view. His sweeping, distorted accusations against immigrants serve FAIR’s agenda of demonizing immigrants and his widely publicized opinions are clearly meant to increase animosity.

Mehlman’s fear-mongering “expertise” still gets plenty of media coverage, but his deceitful attempts to help fabricate a diverse coalition of anti-immigrant front groups to follow FAIR’s monochromatic leadership have proven to be an embarrassing flop. Although Choose Black America, You Don’t Speak for Me! and Coalition for the Future of the American Worker posed as groups representing African-American, Latino and labor communities, respectively, their flimsy cover was blown when it was discovered that all shared the same spokesperson - Ira Mehlman. Undeterred, Mehlman continues to spread his message of intolerance.

Via Campaign for a United America and their Voices of Intolerance series.

10/24/07

Giving License to Minutemen: The GOP In the Driver's Seat by Michael O'Neill

The following is a letter of hope for those fighting the good fight during this ugly period of American nativism. Its author is Michael O'Neill of Long Island's Sag Harbor and a champion of immigrant rights. It is respectfully presented here with his permission.

License to Minutemen: The GOP In the Driver's Seat

In the noisome living room of the nativist hard right, for the GOP Militant today, there is only a cesspool darkness of the future of our nation. A darkness threatening to overtake the U.S. by a demographic ascendancy and territorial conquest; this darkness has replaced that traditional vanquished enemy, godless communism, by a far more subversive danger spreading over America's interior, throughout its breath and width. There is no longer any lip service to "Morning in America" given the future framed by a permanent Midnight in America where darkness descends upon our culture as a dark people of color rise to become the democratic majority.

The GOP is now mainstreaming extremists into the body politic of the U.S. to drown out the fearful, the timid, the intimidated with the effluence of their wedge politics. With our country in the middle of a catastrophic military and diplomatic defeat of unforeseeable consequence; with the drums of war again reverberating through our land, in a seeming effort to plunge the world deeper in the mire of blood as a Hail Mary desperation pass to pull victory out of defeat. The economic prospect of the middle class looks even grimmer as a war with Iran will cost a staggering amount.

It has not been so difficult for the GOP to maneuver extremists into channeling anger into blaming terrorists—the swarthy invaders. If it was simple enough to convince the majority that Iraq was responsible for 9/11, there should not be any obstacle to faulting illegal immigrants for all our economic and social problems. There is little doubt the GOP now see very well how they can muster and use angry racist mobs to further enflame a citizenry, as we saw today in Albany, primed to blame and scapegoat the "illegal immigrant," the brown invader, for outsourcing jobs, falling wages, record foreclosures, rising homelessness, unaffordable health care and a bleaker future, with no retirement, working till you are dropped in a hospital to expire...

The GOP at every level of government, national, state and regional, has been flushed into this seemingly fixed midnight of darkness where shades of reality are masked by their blinding affiliation with white supremacist, anti-immigrant, neo-con hard right organizations. Fueled by enormous wealth coming out of the Bush Administration protection racket for the likes of Ari Fleischer, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Coors family's tax-free billions, the Eric Prince (head of Blackwater, the mercenary group that has put in a bid to patrol the Mexican border) extended family, Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh, Coulter, Roger Ailes, and all their other glum warriors who repeat clichés to each other that privilege must be controlled, just as the cream rises to the top. Just as they, themselves are rewarded, praise the Lord.

They astutely see the threat to Christian white Western Civilization by the non-white hordes from the south, the invaders who corrupt even our language, refusing to speak English, which the right claims with a straight face unites us as a people, as if they so highly value unity with those outside their own identity. This is the trajectory mapped by Samuel Huntington, who understood that the Roman Catholic Latino is culturally incapable of understanding the true nature of democracy, because their tradition of being ruled by an all powerful caudillo, an elite, a hierarchy of papists. This anti-Catholicism has been a significant, popular belief in the U.S. since colonial times when U.S. was surrounded by Catholic enemies, their economic rivals to the North and the South, with their French and Spanish rulers.

Today in the rotunda of the State Legislature in Albany, bands of Minimen, American Border Patrol, their gun-obsessed buddies, pious acolytes of Lou Dobbs, Tancredo & his grotesque clone Tedisco, bonded in the happy glue of despising Latino illegals, screamed in a tantrum of mob fury for the head of Spitzer, for the passage of a meaningless gesture that will reinforce their certainty they are riding the powerful steed of the headless horseman, to wreak terror in the hearts of legislators who ignore their Halloween cartoon of what our democracy means and what it looks like when we ship them back to Africa, Haiti, Mexico...

Yes, I know there are also Dems, like Levy, and there are a few progressive Republicans, like Chafee, Bloomberg, but they are anomalous, the exception. The grand ole party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, LaGuardia, Lindsay, Rockefeller, even Reagan, and Bush pere have been widened to include and welcome those in the resurfacings of this amalgam of anti-government and violent squads of posses militati, NRA John Birchers, Christian Identity, states' militias, neo-Nazi minutemen rallying around the red, white & blue of anti-immigrant patriotism. While they open wide their tent to this flotsam of lunatics, they demand we close entry to hard working immigrants. The lunatic fringe appears to be in the driver's seat, on their way to becoming the mainstream of Republicanism.

Don't be demoralized by their appearance of power that seems to leave so many Dems cowering, as in our Suffolk County legislature. Remember that the Know Nothing Party was the largest 3rd party in the history of American politics, holding a majority in several state legislatures, including Mass. & Penn. and a powerful force in others, with several senators elected to Congress and dozens in the House of Representatives. Yet, they were completely defeated in just 10 years by a nation undergoing unprecedented economic boom, finding pursuit of business, innovation and wealth to be more rewarding.

This nativism flares up periodically throughout our history in times of national stress; but has always been finally defeated by progressive forces building coalition, usually with a resulting expansion of a more inclusive definition of our democracy.

If nativists appear to be in the Republican driver's seat, you can be certain that with the putting of our shoulders to the wheel, the coming together as we speak, of progressive forces building a grassroots coalition, we will win out. We have history as our peloton* at our backs and the future in our reach. These minimen losers of GOP reaction are running on fumes. They are in the driver's seat for but a very short trip.

Michael O'Neill

Peloton is a fancy word, but useful. The peloton travels as an integrated unit, like geese flying in formation of a V, each rider making slight adjustments in response to the riders around them (particularly the one in front of each). When developed, riders at the front are exposed to higher loads, and will tend to slip off the front in order to rejoin the pack further back where there will be less aerodynamic resistance, thus able to conserve energy as they move, in turn up to the front. In some cases, with sufficient room to maneuver, this will develop into a fluid situation where the center of the peloton appears to be pushing through its own leading edge, exactly like the UFW tactic of the boycott..

10/23/07

The Manassas Anti-Immigrant War of 2007: A 13 Part YouTube Documentary (Unedited)

Hi everyone,

We need your help to share this YouTube video and go viral!

Two colleagues (Eric Byler and Annabel Parker) have created this Interactive Documentary on YouTube about the battle over immigration in Virginia. They have been on the ground in Northern Virginia and It really feels like a battle over the meaning of America.

I believe that Youtube can be an important tool for civic activism. Help us achieve the goal of raising our voices in this very important debate.

We hope that the YouTube video below can help promote greater understanding and alleviate the hostility in Northern Virginia.

Here is the link: www.youtube.com/9500Liberty

The format is experimental. We're inviting people to give Eric and Annabel feedback and suggestions for what you would like to see in the series.

Background Information:

In July, Prince William Co. Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the harshest local legislation in the nation aiming to remove "illegal immigrants" from their county. Supporters say that the Board is brave and it is necessary in order to preserve the law and quality of life. Critics say that it's racist and a cynical case of self-serving political grandstanding in an election year.

On November 6th, all local and state-level seats are up for election in Virginia including PW Co. Board Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisor John Stirrup who introduced the controversial resolution.

Because of the timeliness of the subject, we felt compelled to create a real-time, interactive documentary YouTube channel--breaking with the usual documentary post-production method that delays public feedback for months and months.

We invite you to join the conversation on our YouTube channel and/or on one of the following blogs:

http://www.bvbl.net/index.php/2007/10/14/documentary-filmmakers-release-clips/#comments
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/10/15/74153/725
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/10/12/163236/60
http://raisingkaine.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=10891
http://www.raisingkaine.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=10864
http://www.raisingkaine.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=10878
http://www.bvbl.net/index.php/2007/10/14/documentary-filmmakers-release-clips/#comments
http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/blog/2007/10/documentary-chorus.php

Thank you for your support! And feel free to contact Annabel about this project. Her email is parkinstein@ gmail.com

Cordially,
Carlos Soles

J.C.Watts to GOP: Quit Dissing African Americans or Else

J.C.Watts, former Oklahoma football star, Congressman, Republican Party evangelizer, and all around nice guy, is fed up. He's had enough of the GOP presidential contenders dissing African Americans, i.e., Republican African Americans.

J.C. has penned this column in which he puts his party on notice that there will be a price to pay come the fall of '08 if Republican candidates continue shunning African Americans in their run up to the nomination.

Good for J.C. Watts! He's worked probably harder than anyone in America to create room within the GOP for African Americans. If he says that people like him are being dissed by his party's honchos, I'm compelled to believe him. Of course, this is made all the easier to believe as a result of the clear and very public restrictionist illness which has engulfed that party.

Is it me or is the GOP starting to sound like an exclusive party for angry white men? For those of you not paying attention, here are the GOP's messages to various voter groups:

Moderate Republicans (aka RINOs): Moderate this!!
Moderates generally: Moderate this!!!
Women: Lebos for Hill, but real women vote love war.
Gays: Take your sodomite asses out of here! (And to stall 3 at 6, OK?)
Latinos: Round em up and dump em across the border. Who needs hard-working, god-fearing, family oriented, productive people, anyway? I mean....
Liberals: Rot in hell.
Independents: Reactionaries, yes. Free thinkers? No effing way.
Muslims: Die!!!
African Americans: NOT our kind!
Atheists: Hell no!
Mormons: Hell no!
Quakers: Definitely, Hell no!
Buddhists: Aren't they yellow people? Hell no!
Hindus: Gandhi and stuff? Hell no!
American Indians: American what?
Union workers: F#;% Off!
Americans w/o Health Care: Whiners!
Unemployed Americans: Get a job!!
Wounded veterans: What commitment?
Car drivers: Be glad it's not $5 a gallon.
Tax payers: Yes, we're wasting billions, but we stopped S-CHIP.
Homeowners at risk of foreclosure: Of course, we'll bail out our banking buddies.
Americans concerned about the environment: Dupes!!
Voters concerned about America's standing in the world: Commies!!!
Americans concerned about civil liberties: Islamo-facist sympathizers!
Senior Citizens: Didn't we give them prescription drugs? Enough already!
Single mothers: Serves you right.
Jews: What the hell do they want now?
Disenfranchised voters: Good!

Ronald Reagan's dream of a Big Tent GOP is beginning to look more like a lean-two nightmare.

Related:

J.C. WATTS: Does GOP care about the black vote?
W's Priorities: War, Yes; Children's Health, No

Turning off Younger Voters, Too
The Political Perils of Targeting Immigrants

10/22/07

Ain’t That America

Ain’t That America (NYTimes Editorial - 10.22.07)

Think of America’s greatest historical shames. Most have involved the singling out of groups of people for abuse. Name a distinguishing feature — skin color, religion, nationality, language — and it’s likely that people here have suffered unjustly for it, either through the freelance hatred of citizens or as a matter of official government policy.

We are heading down this road again. The country needs to have a working immigration policy, one that corresponds to economic realities and is based on good sense and fairness. But it doesn’t. It has federal inertia and a rising immigrant tide, and a national mood of frustration and anxiety that is slipping, as it has so many times before, into hatred and fear. Hostility for illegal immigrants falls disproportionately on an entire population of people, documented or not, who speak Spanish and are working-class or poor. By blinding the country to solutions, it has harmed us all.
More

Hall of Shame: Dr. James Watson - Scientist















Exhibiting America's raw racism while speaking abroad, acclaimed scientist James Watson declared that Africans are genetically inferior.

A pioneer in DNA research and the head of the prestigious Cold Spring Research Laboratory, Watson delivered his findings minus any shred of evidence.

Hey, it's America 2007. Who needs evidence?

Of course, Watson is not alone in his beliefs. He's simply a trustee of an increasingly public--and even cocky--American racism.

Made acceptable by post 9/11 fear mongering, the terror of American racism was flashed at Americans perceived as Arabic and/or Muslim. Remember Abdo Ali Ahmed and Balbir Singh Sodhi? They were American shopkeepers killed in separate parts of the country simply because they were thought to be Arabic.

Uncontained racism is viral. It spreads quickly and multiplies as it seeks out new opportunities of attack.

Allowed to flood the public square via hate radio, cable and the Internet, it's now homing in on new and old targets. Bashing immigrant laborers have been the racists bread and butter. Immigrants--especially Mexican day laborers--have become the scapegoats for just about every problem facing Americans.

Encouraged by their unrestrained successes against Latino immigrants, American racists are circling back to historic targets: African Americans and Jews. For example, the dreaded noose has been re-introduced to terrorize African Americans from Jenna, Louisiana to Hempstead, New York. And the evil swastika has also found renewed interest as an instrument of terror against Jews.

Together with O'Reilly's surprise at Sylvia's, the histrionics of Lou Dobbs, the unfiltered anti-semitism of Ann Coulter and the anti-Arabic tone of most American reporting, Watson's comments are current with American imperial racism.

Of course, Watson is dead wrong. Casting historically oppressed people as imbeciles is an old racist canard. Africans are as bright and talented as any in the world--a trait readily demonstrated with even the slimmest of opportunities.

Really, Watson's believes says little about Africans and much about Watson and his fellow American racists of today.

Related:

Fury at DNA pioneer's theory: Africans are less intelligent than Westerners
African immigrants make the smartest Americans?
Home-made helicopters hit northern Nigeria

10/21/07

It's Bobby Jindal!!!! Son of Indian Immigrants Wins Louisiana Governorship

Awesome!

Proving that America's future truly is being shaped in its Southern tier, voters in Louisiana elected Bobby Jindal as the state's first nonwhite governor since Reconstruction.

Representing the almost forgotten promise of America to today's immigrants, Jindal is the Oxford-educated son of Indian immigrants.

My mom and dad came to this country in pursuit of the American dream. And guess what happened. They found the American dream to be alive and well right here in Louisiana.
At 36 years of age, Jindal is also the youngest serving governor of an American state.

Jindal's election is also a dramatic break from Louisiana's past of corrupt, incompetent and single party rule--a legacy fully on displayed for the nation and the world in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Congratulations to Bobby Jindal and the Jindal family. But more importantly, congratulations to the courageous people of Louisiana who voted for change, and in so doing put down a clear marker in the emergence of the New America.

Related:

Indian immigrants' son new La. governor
Go, Bobby, Go! II
Go, Bobby, Go!
Latinos & African Americans Gain in the New America
Obama Rises: Is A New America Close Behind?

10/8/07

Vicente Fox: U.S. Racists Stop Immigration

In an interview promoting his new English language book, Revolution of Hope, former Mexican president Vicente Fox believes he knows why immigration reform has not happened the United States:

"The xenophobics, the racists, those who feel they are a superior race ... they are deciding the future of this nation," he said, without naming names, in an interview with The Associated Press.
He's right.

Still, Fox' words will set-off the xenophobes and racists. Expect the radio/cable screechers to spend countless hours denouncing Fox for the audacity of telling the truth.

It's a funny thing but racists don't like being called racist. Why is that?

But Fox' questioning the United States' commitment to democratic values will cause many here to become unglued.

"To be so repressive isn't democratic or free ... to be putting up fences, chasing Mexicans, that isn't right. The U.S. needs better answers than repression, weapons and violence."
The tendency will be to dismiss Fox because he's Mexican, a foreigner and Mexico's democracy credentials are at best shaky. But still, aren't we in trouble when the former leader of a neighboring nation feels compelled to go public with his denouncements? And it's not as though he's saying anything that hasn't been said by a growing number of Americans and allies around the world.

Related:

Ex-Mexico Prez: Racists Stop Immigration

10/6/07

Jena: Take your nooses down

Jena, a small town in Central Louisiana, exploded onto the headlines as the latest example of an undiminished American racism.

In the case of Jena--as in the many other Jenas of America--a virulent racism, suffered mostly quietly by its victims of color for eons, appears to be a prominent aspect of life. So much so that the local high school had a Tree for Whites Only on its grounds.

Yes, in this 21st Century there are still places in America reserved just for Whites--and the Whites Only Tree in Jena is just one of many such White preserves. It's American Apartheid.

The Tree Whites Only of Jena bore 3 nooses a year ago--and it was probably not the first time the lynching ropes hung there. They were a warning to Blacks to stay in their place, that is, the same place they've been put since they were owned.

The three nooses led to a fight, and in keeping with Jena's heritage, six Blacks teenagers were arrested and charged with attempted murder--a crime punishable in Louisiana with life in prison for Blacks.

Of course, the first of the six was found guilty of aggravated assault against a young white man by an all white jury despite conflicting testimony from witnesses.

White America can't figure out what all the fuss is about--Hannity and O'Reilly empathize, but only for the white dud who was made to pay for a tiny fraction of the sins committed by the good people of Jena.

Outrage broke out--but only in Black America. A march was called and instantly 20,000 young Blacks from across the nation turned out. The White response? Al Sharpton is to blame.

And rightwingers rush to uphold the law: The noose hanging was just boys being boys. The Black boys? They should all get life--'cause they broke the law.

Ya braak duh law, ya doo duh tyme, rot? Dat ders 'Merica!
Seems that the Jena racists and their co-conspirators don't take kindly to people calling them on their backwards ways.

Example?

Good Ole Boys around Jena and elsewhere have been spotted dragging nooses from their pick-ups.

And this week the mayor of Jena denounced John Mellencamp. Why? Because Mellencamp--a prominent white songwriter and performer--had the audacity of siding with justice for the Jena 6. He does so movingly in a song titled Jena .

The good thing is that finally many in America are now watching. No longer can Jena just be Jena--and that's a good thing.



Related:

Mellencamp song about Jena, La. upsets mayor; calls song's video inflammatory
The Case of the Jena Six: Black High School Students Charged with Attempted Murder for Schoolyard Fight After Nooses Are Hung from Tree
In La., a missed opportunity ignites a racial uproar
Two arrested in noose incident near Jena, Louisiana