Weekly Update on Immigration: Hispanics Poised to Flex Muscle in Politics, Policy; NY Exemplifies Need for Immigration Overhaul

Hispanics Poised to Flex Muscle in Politics, Policy - Check out Andres Ramirez's op-ed published in Roll Call.  Andres writes:

There is no doubt the 2008 elections were indeed historic, but while the results of the 2010 midterms — and the decennial U.S. Census in the same year — may not have the rock star quality of the presidential contest, they very likely will have a far-reaching and long-lasting impact on our nation’s politics and electoral map.

In particular, Hispanics stand to gain substantially from the census as the U.S. Hispanic population continues its rapid rise...it is projected that Hispanics will represent at least 16 percent of the American work force by 2014...The political influence of Hispanics will be felt in key regions and politically important states.

Understandably, as Hispanics are the fastest-growing population and electorate, the issues of most importance to this demographic will become increasingly important.  As NDN's analysis and polling has showed since long ago, immigration remains a pivotal issue to all Hispanics because even if they are not immigrants themselves, it is very likely they have immigrant friends or family.  And also because of the way the tone of the immigration debate turned over the last few years to one that calls into question the most basic civil rights of Hispanics.

State of New York Exemplifies Need for Immigration Reform - It is understandable that Sen. Chuck Shumer (NY) is motivated to move immigration reform legislation; the state he represents is in urgent need of it as illustrated this morning by Kerry Kennedy on Morning Joe as she discussed the motivation behind an auction to raise funds for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice, and the project to which proceeds will go:

K.Kennedy: In New York State we’re working on a change to a bill called the Farmworkers Justice Act.  Right now in New York State farm workers are not allowed to form unions; you can be fired for forming a union, and they don’t get the right to a day off per week.  In the duck business for instance, the people who feed the ducks to make fois gras have to work 32 days in a row, feed 350 ducks per day 4 times a day and get a total of only four hours off at a time.  So this has to change, and this bill will make that happen.

M.Barnacle: Does this apply also to the largely migrant worker field that arrives in state after state? States like New York, seasonal work?

K.Kennedy: The problem is that there is not Federal legislation, so each state makes its own laws on it.  This will apply to all workers here in New York State.

The trap door under wages will continue due to the undocumented population, and the abuses that take place under the current system of legal immigration will continue until we overhaul our current ineffective federal immigration law in order to protect all workers and all Americans.