Thursday, March 19, 2009

Immigrant Rights News - Thursday, March 19, 2009

Immigrant Rights News – Thursday, March 19, 2009


1. Caribbean World News: Caribbean Immigrants Too Need Immigration Reform

2. Dallas Morning News: President Barack Obama promises to tackle immigration system

3. Washington Post: Language, laws a challenge for indigenous migrants


5. My State: Pelosi: Immigration Enforcement “Un-American”

6. Los Angeles Times: A deportation case against a dead man



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Caribbean World News


Caribbean Immigrants Too Need Immigration Reform


CaribWorldNews, LOS ANGELES, CA, Thurs. Mar. 19, 2009: His voice was tinged filled with emotions as a lack of a greencard and the worsening economic situation has made it harder to find a job or renew his driver`s license. He is Sean Singh, a Trinidadian immigrant who is among the millions of undocumented immigrants, who like his Hispanic brothers and sisters, is also in desperate need of reform to bring them out of the shadows.

Singh, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, was intently watching President Obama`s town hall forum was on Wednesday, where the U.S. head of state was forced to address the hot button issue of immigration reform for the undocumented at a Costa Mesa town hall forum designed largely to focus on the economy.

While Obama did not deal with the issue in opening remarks, he was soon confronted with it by an audience member, lucky enough to get a microphone. `I'd like to ask you what are you planning to do on immigration, the broken system that we have?  And when do you plan on doing this?,` asked the audience member to applause.

`That`s what I want to know,` said Singh, his Trinidadian accent still obvious.

`But also why do they keep making it out to seem its only Hispanics who need reform when we Caribbean people do too?` he asked.


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Dallas Morning News


President Barack Obama promises to tackle immigration system


01:31 PM CDT on Wednesday, March 18,


By LAURA ISENSEE / The Dallas Morning News


WASHINGTON President Barack Obama renewed his campaign promise to tackle the immigration system in a meeting with Hispanic lawmakers Wednesday.

"The president made clear to us that he is a man of his word," said Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Obama also told the lawmakers that he will travel next month to Mexico to discuss escalating violence from drug cartels and immigration with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, White House officials said.

During the campaign, Obama supported a comprehensive overhaul of immigration policy, including creation of a possible path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are otherwise law-abiding.


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Washington Post


Language, laws a challenge for indigenous migrants



The Associated Press

Wednesday, March 18, 2009; 5:26 AM


MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- When immigration agents arrested 16 farmworkers in a mass arrest of illegal immigrants early this year, legal advocates raced to find interpreters for some of the men, a few who spoke only a language called Mixtec.

But by the time an interpreter was found, most of the men were on their way out of the country after signing away their rights to contest deportation _ a procedure they might not have understood.

The deportations alarmed immigrant advocates in this agricultural city 60 miles north of Seattle. It also raised questions about the deportation proceedings for people who speak little Spanish or English.


On the Net:

Bi-national Center for the Development of the Oaxacan Indigenous Communities:


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United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) release on CIS study


For Immediate Release:


Media Contact:

March 19,  2009


Scott Frotman 202-466-1537



UFCW cites serious flaws in group’s analysis of historical industry data and  finds its conclusion about  Swift raids absurd


The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), the largest meatpacking and processing union in North America, released the following statement today in response to serious  flaws in a new report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) regarding  immigration enforcement efforts at meatpacking facilities:


“Mark Twain once noted, ‘Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.’ This new report by the Center for Immigration  Studies is a case study in the misinterpretation and manipulation of data to  reach a totally biased and flawed conclusion.


“The report demonstrates a complete lack of understanding about the history of the meatpacking industry.  Throughout history, immigrants from across the globe have helped strengthen the  .S. meatpacking industry by organizing around increased wages and improved  industry standards.


“During the 1980’s, consolidation, mergers and company induced strikes helped drive down wages. Employers forced workers onto the streets to fight unacceptable concessions. During the strikes, companies aggressively recruited strike breakers—who were not immigrants but individuals who came from the decimated farm industry—to cross the picket lines. Many of these workers soon realized that the jobs were  too difficult, particularly at the wages companies were offering, and they left  the industry. But the damage was done. Ever since that time, the UFCW has been  fighting to rebuild wages and standards for these jobs.


“In the case of Swift, the UFCW had negotiated wage increases prior to the raid. This fact disproves CIS’central  argument that wages and benefits increased as a result of a change in workforce  at the plant.


“In addition to these historical inaccuracies, the CIS report fails to address the devastating impact that the Swift raid had on thousands of workers – both immigrant and native born. In the aftermath of the raid, the UFCW documented numerous examples of racial profiling, U.S. citizens harassed and detained by armed agents and a sheer  disregard for the constitutional rights of workers.


“The UFCW filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of these raids and formed a commission to examine the ramification of ICE raids, including Swift. A report documenting the commission’s findings will be made public in the next few months.


“The raids at Swift, and across the country, have done nothing to protect workers or to raise standards in our industries. They have done nothing to address our broken immigration system. They have been a complete travesty of justice.


“If our immigration system is going to work for the benefit and betterment of our nation it is critical that our laws are upheld. That applies to both immigrant workers and government agents. If the last eight years have shown us anything, it is that enforcement-only strategies do not work. Yes, we need enforcement, but to truly reform our immigration system, we need to address trade relationships, workforce needs, family unification, legalization, workers’ rights and living standards, and 12 million undocumented individuals suspended on the edge of hope. And we need to do it in a comprehensive manner.


“The enforcement-only stance routinely endorsed by CIS is a short-sighted view that fails to take into account our larger national interest. It is as if they worked backwards on this report. They started from their rigid immigration stance and tried to make the facts fit their view. The problem is that it doesn’t add up. It is basically 16 pages of unproductive scapegoating, cherry picked quotes, and historical misinterpretations.


“The irony is that if you take an objective look at the data being presented, free of  the author’s slanted view, it makes a pretty clear and compelling case for  comprehensive immigration reform.


“There is the saying that you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. Well, you can seek out a respected journalist to write a report for the Center for Immigration Studies, but at the  end of the day you end up with the same old, tired, anti-immigrant extremist drivel.”


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The UFCW represents 1..3  million workers, 250,000 in the meatpacking and poultry industries. UFCW members  also work in the health care, garment, chemical, distillery and retail  industries.


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My State


Pelosi: Immigration Enforcement “Un-American”


Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 @10:12am


(San Francisco, CA) -- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says t he enforcement of existing immigration laws is "un-American." Pelosi made the comments before a group of both legal and illegal immigrants and their families in San Francisco recently.

While condemning raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Pelosi said, quote, "who in in this country would not want to change a policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families? It must be stopped....What value system is that? I think it's un-American." Speaking before a mostly Hispanic gathering at a San Francisco church, the Speaker went on to call the immigrants, quote, "very, very patriotic" while telling the crowd they were, quote, "taking responsibility for our country's future. "


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Los Angeles Times,0,6363826.story


A deportation case against a dead man

Nasin Rivera, an illegal immigrant, died in San Bernardino County in August. Seven months later, the federal government is still proceeding with the deportation case against him.


By Anna Gorman

March 16, 2009


Nasin Mauricio Rivera died in San Bernardino County in August and his body was shipped to his native El Salvador for burial.


Seven months later, the federal government is still proceeding with the deportation case against him. A hearing is scheduled for this summer.


Attorneys for Rivera, an illegal immigrant, said his case is a waste of resources and should be closed.


"To us, it's a matter of principle -- a dead person should not be deported," said immigration attorney Edgardo Quintanilla. At a November hearing in Los Angeles Immigration Court, attorney Alberto Lopez presented a photocopy of Rivera's death certificate. Lopez had obtained the copy from Blanca Ramirez, who was divorced from Rivera but still lived with him in Echo Park.


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