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January 2008 U.S.
Immigrant Alert! Newsletter
by National Immigrant Solidarity Network
Please read the Newsletter, download URL:
[Requires Adobe Acrobat, to download, go: http://www.adobe.com]
Immigrant Rights Movements for 2008
Latest Information, and What You Can Do
In This Issue:
1) Call to Immigrant Rights Actions 2008
2) 2008 Immigrant Analysis--Congress, Prez Election
3) e-Activism.org ActivistVideo.org
4) US Immigrant News Brief
5) REAL ID
6) NISN is Looking for Student Interns!
7) Please Support NISN! Subscribe the Newsletter!
2008 Analysis: Immigrant Congressional Legislation, Presidential Race
National Immigration Forum (January 14, 2008)
The second session of the 110th Congress begins this week, when the House convenes. The Senate will be back next week. This is going to be an ugly year for immigrants, as Republican presidential candidates compete with each other to show that they are tougher on immigrants than the next guy, and Congressional candidates try to make immigration a wedge issue. But before we get into that, let’s review where we left off.
Congress Wraps Government Operating Funds into Giant Omnibus Package
At the end of last session, Congress and the President were deadlocked over appropriating money for various government agencies for the fiscal year that began October 1, 2007. Democrats were unable to advance their priorities past the President who, since the Democrats have assumed command of Congress, has discovered his authority to veto legislation. When political stalemate prevents appropriations bills from being completed individually, Congress will sometimes combine a number of spending bills into one giant “omnibus” spending bill. Such was the case in December, when Congress folded 11 spending bills that it had not completed into the 2008 omnibus spending bill. The omnibus bill was signed into law on December 26.
For the most part, the immigration enforcement measures favored by immigration restrictionists were kept off the final bill. One exception was an amendment related to public housing. This amendment restricts eligibility for homeownership assistance funds to U.S. citizens or to immigrants who are lawfully present and authorized to work. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the restriction may go beyond barring undocumented immigrants, but may also prevent legal immigrants who are elderly or have disabilities (and therefore do not have work authorization) from receiving this assistance.
Efforts to obtain relief for businesses that rely on certain temporary workers were also thwarted, including a provision to continue exempting returning H-2B workers (seasonal, non-agriculture laborers) from the annual cap. An increase in visas for the H-1B program was also set aside. With various factions pushing for changes to the immigration laws—whether to open them up for businesses, tighten labor standards for workers, protect the undocumented, or increase restrictions on immigrants—the final outcome was that almost everyone went home empty-handed.
There was a provision in the Defense Department Authorization bill (signed in December) that would authorize admission of up to 5,000 Iraqis per year as “special immigrants.” This provision applies to persons who believe they are in danger as a result of aiding the U.S. They do not necessarily have to have fled Iraq; they may be processed inside that country. The provision also streamlines the process for admission of other Iraqi refugees and provides for better coordination of efforts to resolve the growing refugee crisis generated by the war.
The Presidential Race
While the Congress was away, Americans were hearing more about Iowa than we thought possible. On the Republican side, candidates have been touting their tough-on-immigration plans. Early in December, it looked like the only candidate who wasn’t repudiating an earlier compassionate view towards undocumented immigrants was Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee…but then he became a front runner. In early December, he released his immigration plan that, among other things, would give undocumented immigrants a 120-day window to register with the government and leave the country; promote measures such as the CLEAR Act to have state and local police enforce immigration laws; and would eliminate the diversity visa lottery program and the family immigration category reserved for brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens. His program was lifted—verbatim, in some cases—from a paper written by the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies.
For that he got the endorsement of the Minuteman border vigilante group.
Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), meanwhile, discovered that the populist anti-immigrant wave he rode in to the Presidential race wouldn’t lift his surfboard off the sand. In Iowa, where immigration was a hot topic in candidate forums, he polled a consistent two percent. On December 20th Tancredo announced that he was dropping out of the race and endorsing former Massachusetts Governor Mitt “get out of the country when you finish mowing my lawn” Romney. As Dana Milbank of the Washington Post amusingly noted, Tancredo made his announcement in a hotel where, just steps away, there was a “South of the Border” lunch special being served. Tancredo dropped out in advance of the Iowa caucuses and endorsed Romney in part because Mike Huckabee, who Tancredo said had an “abysmal” record of “inviting” undocumented immigrants, was surging in the polls.
After getting Tancredo’s blessings, Romney promptly lost to Huckabee in Iowa. He then went on to New Hampshire and…lost again. To John McCain. The guy who co-sponsored the comprehensive reform bill that all the candidates are now distancing themselves from. Ouch! However, as Romney is fond of telling us, he did win in Wyoming, picking up eight of the 1,191 delegates he will need to win the nomination.
The results of these early returns are repeating a pattern we have seen in the Congressional elections in 2006 and local elections in 2007. A candidate’s focus on immigration enforcement may please a segment of the electorate, but that is not necessarily good enough to actually win an election where voters with a variety of concerns come out to the polls. For an analysis of the elections of November 2007.
Shuler Bill Gains Sponsors
In November, Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) introduced a companion bill, S. 2368, in the Senate. There are only two co-sponsors. Not to be outdone, Senator David Vitter (R-LA), introduced an identical bill, S. 2366. It has no co-sponsors....
As we noted last year, North Carolina Representative Heath Shuler (D), a former football player, teamed up with immigration restrictionist Congressmen Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and Tom Tancredo (R-CO) to introduce the enforcement-only “SAVE” Act, H.R. 4088. That bill now has 132 co-sponsors, including a fair number of Democrats. One of the political struggles this year in Congress will be to prevent the Democrats from favoring proposals that might be seen as “Republican lite”—that is, enforcement- and deportation-only proposals that may not be as draconian as last Congress’ “Sensenbrenner bill,” but might have the same effect of making our bad immigration policies worse while alienating the Hispanic and immigrant vote.
To read more, please go to the newsletter, download URL: http://www.immigrantsolidarity.org/Newsletter/Jan08.pdf
New On-Line Tools for Congressional Advocacy and Community Activism!
National Immigrant Solidarity Network, along with ActionLA Coalition and Activist Design Studio, are launching a breakthrough on-line activism tools: e-Activism.org and ActivistVideo.org Beta version!
e-Activism.org: a free open-membership social networking site for the community activists for on-line activism with different tools to create your campaigns, useful tools for the policy research and on-line policy advocacy tools to contact the elected officials.
ActivistVideo.org: a free video-sharing site for activist communities! Can create your own campaign pages to upload related videos!
Official Launch Date: Spring, 2008 Please visit our Beta version TODAY!
Several Great Immigrant Rights Videos from ActivistVideo.org
T Don Hutto - America's Family Prison
(link to the video: http://www.activistvideo.org/views.asp?id=155)
11/11 2007 Border Patrol agents violently Attacks No Borders Camp
(link to the video: http://www.activistvideo.org/views.asp?id=21)
National Immigrant Solidarity Network is Looking Student Intern/Volunteers!
Project: National Immigrant Support Hotline
National Immigrant Solidarity Network (NISN), a national grassroots-based immigrant activist coalition, looking for passionate students and volunteers to support our research to help us create, planning and open our National Immigrant Support Hotline Service. Still in the planning stage, this will be a volunteer-based multi-language immigrant support 24-hours toll-free hotline for immigrant-related emergency supports and general support referrals, we’re targeting launching day for summer of 2008.
We are looking for students or volunteers with backgrounds on: Immigration law, Public policies and Computer science to help us develop the strategies, policy research, data/information gathering and analysis for this project.
If you’re interest to help or for more information, contact us: (213)403-0131 or e-mail: info@ImmigrantSolidarity.org
Immigrant Resources on Detention and Deportation
Thanks for GREAT works from Detention Watch Network (DWN) to compiled the following information, please visit DWN website: http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org
ICE's Enforcement Agenda
Deal fact sheet on detention
Deal fact sheet on border
Raids to Deportation-A Community Resource Kit
- Know Your Rights in the Community (English,
Your Rights in Detention
Community Safety Plan
to Deportation Map
to Deportation Policy Map
More on Immigration Resource Page
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