Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In Our Community: Immigration News

News on immigration from Monday, August 31 to Tuesday, September 8. Happy reading!

The Media That Matters film festival has released a short documentary on YouTube, "Exiled in America," which received the festival's Changemaker Award. Angela Torres Camarena recounts the experiences of a legal permanent resident who was detained for a year and a half and then deported, forced to leave behind her five children, all of whom are U.S. citizens.

A New York Times article from September 5 addresses constituents' concerns that health care reform would provide openings for undocumented workers to receive care at others' expense. This article also discusses whether citizenship verification may be required in the health care overhaul, a requirement which would restrict care significantly for immigrant and non-immigrant families unable to readily provide original documents proving their identity. In related news, the state-subsidized health insurance in Massachusetts will no longer cover dental, hospice, or skilled-nursing care for legal immigrants, a change in coverage which will affect at least 31,000 immigrants in that state. However, a report released by the Foundation for Child Development indicates that immigrant youth, boys in particular, are at high risk for obesity.

A study on low-wage workers across multiple states has contributed strong evidence on issues that FCNL has been calling attention to for some time now, namely that low-wage workers (including immigrants) are regularly paid less than minimum wage, discouraged from filing workers' compensation, and denied overtime pay. Wage-law violations will hopefully be addressed in comprehensive immigration reform. (See a New York Times article for a brief summary of the report.)

In a step that will benefit immigrants and non-immigrants alike, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division will be ramped up to address structural and institutional discrimination in fields such as housing, employment, and voting rights.

In more local news, a Baptist pastor in Texas has announced that he will go on a hunger strike from September 7 to September 13 to protest the expansion of Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationalization Act to include Houston, TX. Section 287(g) permits local law enforcement to act as federal immigration officers, a policy which opponents say encourages racial profiling and discrimination. Here is an article on a man in New York facing deportation who has received an outpouring of support from his local community. And here, an article from the New York Times discusses a new report on anti-immigrant sentiments in Suffolk County, NY, which have led to a number of brutal attacks on Latinos in the area.

I'll leave you with a beautiful blog entry by Maira Kalman, "I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door." Her sketches on immigration and diversity are heart-warming and thought-provoking. Enjoy!

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