Obama Hails Bipartisan Plan to Overhaul Immigration

January 29, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Immigration, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, White Privilege

From NYT:

There were hints in Mr. Obama’s speech of potential fault lines in the debate. He declared, for example, that there must be a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants “from the outset.” That would seem at odds with the assertion by some senators that citizenship must be tied to tighter border security.

Although Mr. Obama did not say it in his speech, the White House is also proposing that the United States treat same-sex couples the same as other families, meaning that people would be able to use their relationship as a basis to obtain a visa.

Mr. Obama offered a familiar list of proposals: tightening security on borders, cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers and temporarily issuing more visas to clear the huge backlog of people applying for legal status in the country.

His speech, on the heels of the bipartisan Senate proposal, sets the terms for one of the year’s landmark legislative debates. These are only the opening steps in a complicated dance, and the effort could still founder, as did the effort to overhaul immigration laws in the George W. Bush administration.

But the flurry of activity underscores the powerful new momentum behind an overhaul of the immigration system, after an election that dramatized the vulnerability of Republicans on the issue, with Mr. Obama piling up lopsided majorities over Mitt Romney among Hispanic voters.

Obama Will Seek Citizenship Path in One Fast Push

January 14, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Immigration, Intersectionality, Poverty

From NYT:

President Obama plans to push Congress to move quickly in the coming months on an ambitious overhaul of the immigration system that would include a path to citizenship for most of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, senior administration officials and lawmakers said last week.

Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats will propose the changes in one comprehensive bill, the officials said, resisting efforts by some Republicans to break the overhaul into smaller pieces — separately addressing young illegal immigrants, migrant farmworkers or highly skilled foreigners — which might be easier for reluctant members of their party to accept.

DREAM Act Could Add $329 Billion To U.S. Economy

October 02, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Economic Development, Immigration, Intersectionality, Poverty, White Privilege

From ThinkProgress:

The DREAM Act was first introduced as a bipartisan measure in 2001, but has languished in Congress ever since. Republicans have blocked the bill, which would help young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children gain citizenship. President Obama says he supports the policy and issued a directive in June to help protect DREAMers from deportation by giving those who qualify temporary legal status.

But if Congress passed the DREAM Act and granted legal status to eligible undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, it would add an additional $329 billion to the U.S. economy and 1.4 million more jobs by 2030, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress and the Partnership for a New American Economy.

Immigration Debate: The Problem With the Word “Illegal”

September 25, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Immigration, Intersectionality, White Privilege

From Time:

Calling undocumented people “illegal immigrants” — or worse, “illegal aliens,” as Mitt Romney did in front of a largely Latino audience last week — has become such standard practice for politicians and the media, from Bill O’Reilly to the New York Times, that people of all political persuasions do not think twice about doing it, too.

But describing an immigrant as “illegal” is legally inaccurate. Being in the country without proper documents is a civil offense, not a criminal one. (Underscoring this reality, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority opinion on SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law: “As a general rule, it is not a crime for a movable alien to remain in the United States.”) In a country that believes in due process of the law, calling an immigrant “illegal” is akin to calling a defendant awaiting trial a “criminal.” The term “illegal” is also imprecise. For many undocumented people — there are 11 million in the U.S. and most have immediate family members who are American citizens, either by birth or naturalization — their immigration status is fluid and, depending on individual circumstances, can be adjusted.

When journalists, who are supposed to seek neutrality and fairness, use the term, they are politicizing an already political issue. (How can using “illegal immigrant” be considered neutral, for example, when Republican strategist Frank Luntz encouraged using term in a 2005 memo to tie undocumented people with criminality?) And the term dehumanizes and marginalizes the people it seeks to describe. Think of it this way: In what other contexts do we call someone illegal? If someone is driving a car at 14, we say “underage driver,” not “illegal” driver.” If someone is driving under influence, we call them a “drunk driver,” not an “illegal driver.” Put another way, how would you feel if you — or your family members or friends — were referred to as “illegal”?

Each newsroom abides by its own stylebook — how it defines and uses words and phrases. In the past few years, a small handful of news organizations have ceased using the term “illegal immigrant” in favor of “undocumented immigrant.” The Miami Herald, for example, began doing so as early as 2003 and instituted it paper-wide a few years later. The Huffington Post — one the largest general news sources in the U.S. — followed suit in 2008. Two years later, the San Antonio Express-News amended its policy. That was around the same time a campaign called Drop the I-word was launched, targeting influential news organizations like the Associated Press, whose influential stylebook still stands by “illegal immigrant.”

Some of the First Deferred Action Beneficiaries Already Received Notification

September 19, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Immigration

From Migration Policy Institute:

Earlier this week, some of the first applicants for a two-year reprieve from deportation, aka deferred action, were notified of their successful application by a much-anticipated text message. As more than 72,000 applications have already been submitted for the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in its first few weeks, pressure is increasing on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to clarify his position on the program, for which only unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children and meeting other qualification criteria are being considered.

Media reports speculate that at the current pace, a few hundred thousand applications for deferred status and work permits could be in the pipeline by the time of the election on November 6th. Although Romney has been critical of the administration’s decision to launch the program, saying he would pursue a longer term policy, he has not offered additional detail or said how his administration would deal with deferred action recipients.

The Migration Policy Institute has estimated that potentially as many as 1.76 million unauthorized immigrants could meet the deferred action educational, length of residence, age of arrival and at application, and clean background check criteria. Earlier this week, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials stated they were prepared to receive upwards of 250,000 applications in the first month. Many applicants are likely still gathering papers and discussing risks and opportunities with family members.

DREAMers Seek Deferment

August 16, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Immigration, Intersectionality

Nathan Weber for New York Times

New York Times:

CHICAGO — Tens of thousands of young illegal immigrants waited excitedly in lines as long as a mile and thronged to information sessions across the country on Wednesday, the first day that a federal immigration agency began accepting applications for deportation deferrals that include permits to work legally.

The public outpouring surprised both federal officials and immigrant advocates, who had expected an enthusiastic response to the Obama administration’s deferral program but were unprepared for the size and intensity of it. At Navy Pier here, young people began lining up on Tuesday evening for a counseling session about the program that was organized by an immigrants’ rights group….

Three prominent Illinois Democrats, all longtime supporters of the Dream Act, gathered at Navy Pier to mingle with the young immigrants and reap some of the political benefits from Mr. Obama’s initiative.

One of them, Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, wrote the original Dream Act bill 11 years ago. Mr. Durbin, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, said he was elated to see the huge crowd. “You can’t stop this force,” Mr. Durbin said to applause from the immigrants. “This is a force of people who have grown up in this country and want to be part of its future. They are creating a moral force beyond a legal force.”

Another of the Democrats, Representative Luis Gutierrez, compared the scene at Navy Pier to the immigrants arriving at Ellis Island a century ago. “While they saw New York City then, today they see Chicago,” he said.

The third Democrat, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was Mr. Obama’s White House chief of staff, announced that the city had raised $275,000 in private donations for a college scholarship fund for immigrants who were granted deferrals. Mr. Emanuel pressed home his political point.

“Don’t let anybody tell you on a day like today that who sits in that Oval Office does not matter,” he said.

Dreamer’s Dreams: Dream Act Interactive

July 14, 2012 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: 2012 Election, Civil Rights, Education, Immigration, Workers' Rights

Romney Repeatedly Refuses To Say Whether He Would Undo New Obama Immigration Policy

June 18, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Immigration, White Privilege

From ThinkProgress:

Mitt Romney was asked five times whether he would continue Obama’s new policy on immigration, ending deportations for DREAM-eligible youth. Romney flatly refused to take a position. The transcript, via Politico:

SCHIEFFER: “[W]ould you repeal [Obama’s immigration] order if you became president?” …

ROMNEY: “This is something Congress has been working on, and I thought we were about to see some proposals brought forward by Senator Marco Rubio and by Democrat senators, but the President jumped in and said I’m going to take this action … [H]e was president for the last three and a half years and did nothing on immigration. Two years he had a Democrat House and Senate, did nothing of a permanent or long-term basis. What I would do, is I’d make sure that by coming into office, I would work with Congress to put in place a long-term solution for the children of those that have come here illegally.” …

SCHIEFFER: “But would you repeal this?” …

ROMNEY: “[M]y anticipation is I’d come into office and say we need to get this done, on a long-term basis, not this kind of stop-gap measure. What the president did, he should have worked on this years ago, if he felt seriously about this he should have taken action when he had a Democrat House and Senate, but he didn’t. He saves these sort of things until four and a half months before the general election.” …