Monday, July 26, 2010
In Our Community: Immigration News
It's been a hot, hot week in DC and immigration has been heating up around the country, with Arizona's new immigration law (S.B. 1070) so close to taking effect. Keep up with the news on immigration from Monday, July 19 to Monday, July 26.
On July 24, advocates created their own ICE checkpoint at Netroots Nation, demanding the "papers" of all white conference participants before they would be allowed to enter the cafeteria. This creative direct action drew attention to the problems of racial profiling in immigration enforcement. One of the people who got stopped said, "Even though it was a total satire, it was right on. And you can begin to get a sense of what that would be like to constantly have the fear that you will be asked to produce papers." The checkpoint was inspired by this direct action, posted on YouTube earlier in the year.
Human Rights Watch has published a new report, "Deportation by Default," which addresses the particular vulnerabilities of immigrants with mental disabilities who are held in jail-like detention centers for months or even years. These immigrants do not have the right to a lawyer and they are often unable to represent themselves. Justice is denied. As Sarah Mehta, the report's lead author, says, "Someone who doesn't know their own name or what country they're from is going through some of the most complicated legal proceedings in the United States with no right to assistance, even when everyone in the courtroom knows they need it."
One in five New York public school districts is requiring immigration papers in order for a child to enroll in school, even though the Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that all children, regardless of legal status, must be given equal access to public education. This discriminatory requirement discourages families from bringing their children to school, for fear of being deported.
The Feet in Two Worlds blog has posted an excellent story, "Listening to Both Sides in Arizona's Immigration Debate," which interviews two individuals on different sides of the immigration debate. It's an important reminder of this basic lesson: Listening to one another helps establish trust, which counters the fear that too often drives the conversation on immigration issues.
The TransAfrica Forum has released a new report assessing the conditions in Haiti, now six months after the devastating earthquake. The displacement camps continue to face "atrocious" conditions, with issues such as flooding, gender-based violence, disease, and access to food, water, and housing remaining severe. FCNL worked to secure Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the United States, which was granted just after the earthquake.