Monday, April 19, 2010

In Our Community: Immigration News

Here it is, your news on immigration from Monday, April 12 to Monday, April 19.

This week, the Arizona legislature passed a bill that would allow police to check the legal status of anyone they encounter who they "reasonably suspect" to be an undocumented immigrant. It also allows people to sue local police agencies if they feel that the agency is failing to enforce immigration laws. This bill is one of the most anti-immigrant proposals in recent history. Immigration advocacy groups, faith leaders, and civil rights organizations strongly oppose its passage but it is expected that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will sign it into law when it lands on her desk. Bottom line: This bill would terrorize immigrant communities.

As Arizona State Representative Kyrsten Sinema said, "This legislation would do nothing to solve the problems Arizona faces as a border state, would enshrine racial profiling, would be prohibitively expensive, and will create a permanent culture of fear and panic in innocent communities. The Governor should veto the bill."

Also in Arizona, a massive ICE raid focusing on shuttle companies suspected of transporting migrants across the border has caused widespread panic. More than 800 agents and officers mobilized for the raid, which resulted in 47 arrests. John Morton, the director of ICE, said he intended for the raid to give "such a shock to individuals that they won’t recover as they have in the past." Well, he has certainly done so. Social service organizations reported that the disproportionate show of force - which included helicopters circling overhead - has caused hotlines to ring off the hook and led droves of people to seek refuge in local churches. FCNL strongly opposes raids and encourages the Obama adminstration to align enforcement with humanitarian values.

In brighter news, Senator Robert Menendez (NJ) introduced the Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation (POWER) Act. This bill would protect immigrants' labor rights and would also protect immigrant workers from retaliation if they submit complaints about dangerous working conditions. FCNL supports strict enforcement of employment and labor laws, in order to ensure that all workers' rights are protected regardless of their legal status.

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