“One line that routinely floats around election season holds that unauthorized immigrants are mired in poverty and are a disproportionate drain on public resources. Some numbers, however, show a clear contribution: U.S. employers in 2007 reported wages of $90 billion for millions of workers whose paychecks did not match real names and Social Security numbers (http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2017113852_immigtaxes29.html). From that, $11.2 billion went to the Social Security Trust Fund and $2.6 billion went to Medicare. Yet unauthorized immigrants are not eligible for most public benefits; even legal immigrants are not eligible in the first five years after gaining legal residency.”—Don’t Kick Immigration Reform Down the Road | Human Rights Watch (via humanrightswatch)
On September 9, I wrote that the Obama administration, based on statistics from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was nearing its millionth deportation. It seems I was only about three days off. According to Reuters, the administration hit that milestone on September 12. How does that compare with Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush? The answer, if you’ve been hearing Republicans accuse Obama of “backdoor amnesty” and holding the border hostage, may surprise you.
The Obama administration had deported about 1.06 million as of September 12, against 1.57 million in Bush’s two full presidential terms.
That’s right, Obama is on the verge of deporting more undocumented immigrants in a single term than Bush did his full eight years in office.
Despite the administration’s stated focus on unauthorized immigrants with criminal records, more than half of those deported had no criminal records, 54 percent to 46 percent. But that number doesn’t convey what percentage of removals categorized as criminal include serious or violent offenses as opposed to minor ones.
Federal District Judge Susan Bolton ruled Sept. 5 that Arizona can now start enforcing the “show me your papers” provision of the contentious anti-immigrant state law known as SB1070.
The provision requires that state and local police ask to see evidence of legal status of individuals they stop for other reasons, if they have some sort of reason to suspect that they are in the country without authorization.
I belong nowhere. I pledge allegiance to no flag and no land. I don’t smell home in the damp earth of my motherland or the rain slicked streets of this big city. I can’t see myself in posters, magazines, television screens, window panes, mirrors. I am innoculated and simultaneously vulnerable and asthmatic, utterly ethnic but a bland and watered down expression of my color. I was born in a neighborhood of exported souls and displaced humans, just like me, on a crossroads of livelihoods and new misplaced lives. A better life, a better life, a bitter life — a life with helter-skelter opaque identity, a life evaluated by material goods and the luxury of education — we want a house, and a car, and 2.5 kids and enough money to never be hungry — but we want the old world’s value, the mystery of that agape kind of love, that treasured close family dynamic, that language, that religion, that home away from home — an invisible house made of glass. The feeling of being surrounded by items and feeling completely empty and inarticulate. Why am I here? Do you think I want to be here? Do you think I’m here to steal your job? Do you think I like being asked where I’m “orginally” from, or if my marriage will be arranged, or how many arms my god has in comparison to your white washed messiah (who probably looked more like me than you if and when he existed)? I just want to be comfortable somewhere. I just want a home somewhere. But I am who I am. I am the child and grandchild of immigrants, and I have to fight every day to formulate my identity and evaluate my existence.
Join us as we protest the sentencing of Puerto Rican Political Prisoner/Machetero Norberto Gonzalez Claudio!
Thursday September 27th, 2012 at 5pm Picket and Rally at 26 Federal Plaza Take the 4-5-6 to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall.
After a year of physical and psychological abuse, Norberto will be sentenced on Thursday September 27th in Connecticut! As part of an international display of solidarity, there will be protests throughout the United States and Puerto Rico on this day!
Norberto’s arrest and mistreatment is part of the U.S. government’s continued harassment and repression of the Puerto Rican independence Movement! Our political prisoners are not terrorists, they are freedom fighters! The U.S. government are the real terrorists for colonizing Puerto Rico for 114 years! We must stand together and demand an end to this repression!
Sponsored by: The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign, The Ricanstruction Action Party, El Partido Independentista Puertorriqueña-Nueva York, El Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadores-NYC, IFCO/Pastors for Peace, La Fundacion Andres Figueroa Cordero (list in formation)
“On immigration, Governor Romney’s views, these really freaked me out, his views could not be more extreme. He says that we should make life so unbearable for 11 million people that they simply “self-deport.” What is that? He said that Arizona’s immigration law should be a model for our country. Don’t boo. Vote! He even made the architect of that horrible law an immigration adviser for his campaign.”
"If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire; if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores; if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote; if a generation could defeat a Depression and define greatness for all time; if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream; and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love, then surely, SURELY we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American dream."
“I can see my toes…” was scribbled in Arabic on a piece of torn cardboard smuggled out of a Syrian jail.
It was the third note my grandfather, a Syrian general, was able to send to his wife, my grandmother, by bribing one of the guards overseeing the cell holding him and several other senior Syrian army officers.
The bribe: a half empty packet of cigarettes. But it was enough it seems.
It had been two months since these officers were thrown into prison, and the men would remain there for another seven months. Meanwhile their direct families were under house arrest and relations were spied on.
A fourth note came a month later on a piece of coarse toilet tissue, and it said: “I can see my knees.”
My grandmother, now in her 80s, smiles as she revisits this chapter of her life, dated somewhere in the early 1960s.
“He knew only I would understand his messages,” she recalls. “They were his love notes to me.” After I have made five guesses, all wrong, as to what these messages meant, she finally told me.
“He was telling me multiple things in that one line. That he is losing weight but not losing his eyesight,” she said. With that, I was supposed to understand that most Syrian cells don’t have windows and that they haven’t done anything to his eyes. Not yet anyways.
“And,” she added. “That he wasn’t losing his mind because he wasn’t losing his sense of humour.”
Two months had passed and no notes were delivered. It was an extremely difficult time on the families of the prisoners, as no visitations were allowed and no questions were ever answered directly.
When you are down on your luck and targeted, most of the community will shun you and want nothing to do with you. It is only then you know who truly is your friend.
My grandmother never forgot a neighbor who always made sure she had enough food and medicine by sending them up a basket that was hung and pulled up from grandmother’s bedroom window. (This friend later become a very important Lebanese official.)
There were no consistent house arrest rules followed by the guards of the regime. There were days they allowed the families to go out, and then there were times when they kept them locked in for weeks.
Then one note finally arrived with the baker’s son. It was a verbal one and it was just one word: “Gypsy.”
That one still brings tears to my grandmother’s eyes. She denies of course they are tears and simply dismisses them as a result of malfunctioning “tear ducts” because of old age.
I realized that sometimes the most powerful love stories don’t even have the word “love” in them despite the fact there are many ways to say love in Arabic.
“Where we slept was made of metal sheets and there was no air conditioning, so the thermometer went up to 38 degrees Celsius,” he said. Both men said the water provided to the workers at the orchard was unsanitary, looking milky and smelling bad. They described difficulty sleeping in the warehouse, and being roused at 3 a.m. to harvest fruit in the cool of the night. This arrangement presumably worked to protect the cherries from damage during the harvest, but left the two men and their co-workers sleep deprived and working at the top of tall ladders in the dark. “It was so hot we could not sleep and because we worked at night starting at 3 a.m. and finishing at 1 p.m., by the time we got home to sleep the heat in the warehouse was inhuman and did not allow us to rest so we remained up until the heat went down, giving us a few hours sleep before starting the new day at 3 a.m.,” said Pablo. “Work was dangerous because we worked standing up on a ladder,” said Jose. “We were in the dark, extremely tired and on top of that we couldn’t see the ground.”—
So I just finished reading this book Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario. It’s probably the most wonderful piece of journalism I’ve read to date. For all of you who are interested in non-fiction (LOL who am I kidding this is Tumblr) or immigration, this is an outstanding read. AND it’s pretty quick.. I finished it in 5 hours :)
Rosemary Yu, Co-Director of the New York County DA’s Immigrant Affairs Office (and AABANY member), shares the following press release about the ongoing efforts of her office to stop immigration fraud which has victimized our immigrant communities:
Inga Barysheva has a masters degree in philology and speaks six languages. She wants to teach English and has a five year-old son. But she’s been in detention for half his life, despite having family members who are citizens and legal residents in the US already. She’s a grave threat to the US government, I’m sure… Ugh.
“An earlier, informal survey among local Hungarians showed that the informants are generally in favor of the maintenance of ethnic traditions and customs. Among these, they frequently indicated the keeping of Hungarian cuisine, commemoration of national holidays and celebration of name days, listening to folk music, and displaying folk art at home. Other, less frequently mentioned traditions and culturally determined techniques are: giving Christmas presents on Christmas Eve instead of the morning of Christmas Day; kissing good friends on the cheeks when greeting them; the celebration of “Mikulás”-day (Santa Claus, who arrives on December 6th); the occasional indication of quantities in the metric system; and the bestowing of Hungarian first names on children.”—Gergely Tóth. Linguistic Interference and First-Language Attrition: German and Hungarian in the San Francisco Bay Area. 2007. (via mikroblogolas)
My Spanish isn`t enough.
I remember how I`d smile
listening my little ones,
understanding every word they´d say,
their jokes, their songs, their plots.
Vamos a pedirle dulces a mama. Vamos.
But that was in Mexico.
Now my children go to American High Schools.
They speak English. At night they sit around
the kitchen table, laugh with one another.
I stand by the stove and feel dumb, alone.
I bought a book to learn English.
My husband frowned, drank more beer.
My oldest said, ‘Mama, he doesn´t want you
to be smarter than he is.’ I´m forty,
embarrassed at mispronouncing words,
embarrassed at the laughter of my children,
the grocer, the mailman. Sometimes I take
my English book and lock myself in the bathroom,
say the thick words softly,
for if I stop trying, I will be deaf
when my children need my help.
The resource guide Trans Bodies, Trans Selves is looking for contributors to its chapter on intersections of immigrant and transgender identities. Please post this call for submissions to any community bulletin boards or listservs you find relevant. Thank you!
“Of course, with unemployment here above eight per cent, too little immigration may not seem like a bad thing: surely we need more jobs, not more workers? But this is a shortsighted view. Economies are not static, with a limited set of resources to go around.”
“The national debate on immigration makes it seem as if immigrant workers were competing with native-born workers for shares of a fixed pie. That’s always a questionable assumption, but in the case of skilled immigrants it’s simply wrong. Their presence makes the pie bigger for everyone.”
Hi! For the last question: if you type in “LGBTQ undocumented scholarships” you get a few results. One being the Pride Foundation. Also, many local LGBTQ Latin@ organizations (like ALMA in Chicago) provide scholarships to queer youth regardless of status so that’s another place to look. Also, check out places like the Immigrant Youth Justice League and see if anyone there knows something for scholarships! :D Suerte!
“[I]t starts with education. Twenty years ago, Joaquin and I left home for college and then for law school. In those classrooms, we met some of the brightest folks in the world. But at the end of our days there, I couldn’t help but to think back to my classmates at Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio. They had the same talent, the same brains, the same dreams as the folks we sat with at Stanford and Harvard. I realized the difference wasn’t one of intelligence or drive. The difference was opportunity.”—Julian Castro @ DNC (via le-kif-kif)