Monday, April 6, 2009

Last Week: In Our Community (Mar. 30- Apr. 6)

Immigration news and updates from Monday March 30 through Monday April 6.

Tragedy at American Civic Association in Binghamton
This blog post from The Sanctuary captures the deep sadness felt by the immigrants' rights community after Friday's shooting in Binghamton, NY at the American Civic Association, an organization which helped immigrants and refugees prepare for their citizenship exams. It has brought together statements from immigrants' groups across the country.

Immigrant Detainee Dies, and a Life Is Buried, Too
This front-page article from the NY Times demonstrates how immigrants can fall through the cracks of the U.S.' swiftly growing immigrant detention network. Ahmad Tanveer, a Pakistani New Yorker died on September 9, 2005. But it was not until March 20 of this year that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement acknowledged his death and that it had been overlooked.

Evangelicals for Immigration Reform
After speaking at the book release of Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang's new book "Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate," Leith Anderson--the president of the National Association of Evangelicals--took the time to post on the Washington Post's Post on Faith Blog. He believies that immigration policy should be important to evangelicals because, first, of "what the Bible teaches about treatment of 'aliens in the land'" and second, because "so many Hispanic, African, and Asian immigraants are evangelical Christians...They are us."

Farm Workers' Rights, 70 Years Overdue
This opinion piece in the NY Times calls for farm workers' rights, which have been put off and denied since the 1930s. As the article states, the massive inequality in farm work is a "perverse holdover from the Jim Crow era. Segregationist Southern Democrats in Congress could not abide giving African-Americans, who then made up most of the farm and domestic labor force, an equal footing in the workplace with whites. "

Immigrants in the United States and the Current Economic Crisis
This publication by the Migration Policy institute carefully examines historical flows of migration through varying legal (and unauthorized) channels to provide insight into how these groups might behave in the current recession.

Immigration Courts Face Huge Backlog
This article begins by stating "The nation's immigration courts are now so clogged that nearly 90,000 people accused of being in the United States illegally waited at least two years for a judge to decide if they must leave..." Others wait more than five years and some even wait a decade. In many of these cases, immigrants must wait in detention centers which have become known for their substandard conditions. In response to the backlog, courts have begun "fast-tracking" immigrants through the system which often results in the violation of their rights.

Citing Census, Hispanics Urge Immigration Reform

Fearing Latinos will be overlooked by traditional census outreach, Hispanic groups are urging the Obama administration to pass immigration reform or "risk an undercount of millions of people."

Foreign Ways and War Scars Test Hospital
This article tells the story of how the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN has learned to address the challenges posed by an increasing immigrant population.

Rahm's Rabbi, Michelle's Cousin Join 'Progress by Pesach'

Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel's rabbi and Michelle Obama's cousin were two of five speakers pressing for humane comprehensive immigration reform at a press conference last week.

Don't Deport Benita Veliz
This NY Times article tells the compelling story of Benita Veliz, a 23-year old woman who came to the United States from Mexico when she was 8-years old. She went on to graduate valedictorian of her high school class and then went to St. Mary's University on a full scholarship. While she would like to go on to law school, a fateful encounter with a police officer after supposedly taking a "rolling stop" through a stop sign put her in the hands on immigration enforcement. If the DREAM Act were passed, Benita Veliz could gain legal status.

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