NDN Blog

Racism for Ratings?

Cable news seems to be multiplying blatantly racist shows, as opposed to shutting them down.  By accident I happened to catch some of the new "Ed" show, 6pm time slot on MSNBC and was less than happy to see the man who almost had to resign for recommending the U.S. bomb Mecca - Tom Tancredo - on with him to discuss immigration reform of all things.  I mean, even Fox news no longer has Tancredo on.  Mind you, one thing is to have a healthy debate and someone on the show who opposes reform, but Tom Tancredo does not know healthy debate. He is no opponent of immigration, he is a proponent of hate and mass destruction.  Lest we forget his campaign ad equating immigrants and Hispanics with "Islamic terrorists."  On the bright side, bring him on - keep bringing on the Tancredos out there - there will be no better tool to pass CIR.  As Simon has said before, anti-immigrant positions don't deliver politically.  Hence Tancredo was at 1% favorability among  Republicans during his vie for his Party's nomination.   His anti-immigrant stance and hatred towards other cultures is not popular.  He did so poorly in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination and in his own district, that he didn't even attempt to run for re-election in 2008.  A post on Kos pretty much expresses the same reaction to seeing Tancredo on the air, re-posted below.  So we are left with the question? Is Ed going to be MSNBC's Lou Dobbs?  Don't networks want to report actual news stories, or riveting educational pieces as opposed to serving as a space for bigoted individuals to air their frustrations? 

Ed Schultz: Why Tancredo?
by ademption

Thu Apr 09, 2009 at 06:43:22 PM PDT
This diary is about the new Ed Schultz show on MSNBC called "The Ed Show" which airs at 6 pm EST in place of the 1600 Penn Ave hosted by David Schuster. I have watched the Ed Show since its inception and for the most part I've enjoyed it. The Ed Show's main focus is topics related to the middle class. For instance, one day he discussed the rising costs of healthcare and had Senator Wyden of Oregon to discuss his healthcare plan. Another day, he discussed the EFCA and had a union guy as a guest. On Wednesday, he talked with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on how to fix the education system. Until today, I liked Ed's topics and guests.

Unfortunately, today's show I think Big Ed may have jumped the shark with his invite of Tom Tancredo to appear on his show.

ademption's diary :: ::
Now I understand that immigration is a very divisive issue, even among Democrats. I also gather from today's show that Big Ed does not support comprehensive immigration reform like Obama. That's fine. We as progressives can't always agree on everything. I can understand Ed Schultz wanting to discuss the topic of immigration and even invite a guest that shares his viewpoint on the topic. But I cannot accept his choice of guest to discuss the issue tonight.

Tom Tancredo was the absolute wrong choice to discuss immigration. I can't understand why a professed progressive like Ed Schultz would give a divisive figure like Tancredo a platform for his show. Does Big Ed recall his insane remarks about bombing Mecca? His likening Miami, Florida to be a third world country? Tom Tancredo is so radioactive that even he and Karl Rove had a falling out. That is how much of a cretin that Tancredo is. I am absolutely flabbergasted that Tancredo was even invited on a so called progressive show. I don't even think that Fox News has Tancredo on the air anymore. Maybe I'm wrong, but I haven't even heard about Tancredo since the Republican primaries in 2007. I thought that he had fallen off the face of the earth until I watched the Ed show today.

I know that the Ed Show has gotten really decent ratings in his first week on MSNBC. But I don't think that having Tom Tancredo on his show helps. I am so offended by Ed Schultz having Tancredo appear as a guest that I am seriously considering not watching the show ever again. And again, I like the show. But having Tancredo appear really touched a nerve. I'm not only writing my concerns on Dailykos, but I'm going to let MSNBC know as well.

For those who watched Big Ed during his regular timeslot at 6 pm or his guest stint on Countdown at 8 pm EST, do you think it was appropriate for Ed Schultz to invite Tom Tancredo to appear on his show?

Soccer, Tequila, Immigrants and...Education

Immigrants in the New York area received important support from a major Mexican enterprise and one of the all-time favorite Mexican soccer players yesterday. The Institute for Mexicans Abroad (abbreviated IME in Spanish) received an important donation yesterday to further its IME Becas scholarship program. IME Becas help Mexicans located outside of Mexico continue their education and vocational training wherever they may be. The Mexican Consul for the New York area, Rubén Beltrán, received a generous donation yesterday from the hands of Ramón Ramírez, the former midfield player for the Mexican national team and spokesperson for José Cuervo. José Cuervo, one Mexico's primary tequila producers, donated $10,000 that will go to help 26 community plazas in New York provide classes to help children and adults finish primary and secondary education, learn English, learn to read, and vocational training. Over the last two years, more than 1,000 people have benefitted from the programs supported by IME Becas, which are available not only to Mexicans but to immigrants from other countries as well.


Illinois Voters Send a Message - Another Vote for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Election Results in Illinois 5th Congressional District Represent Another Win for Comprehensive Immigration Reform - Cook County commissioner, Mike Quigley will travel to Washington as early as Thursday to prepare to take over the 5th Congressional District seat formerly held by Rahm Emanuel.  He obtained a major victory yesterday, defeating Republican Rosanna Pulido and Green Party candidate Matt Reichel by taking 70 percent of the vote with 94 percent of precincts reporting.  Pulido is not only extremely anti-immigrant in an incredibly diverse district, she was the state director of the Illinois Minutemen Project.  By contrast, Mr. Quigley is a staunch supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, and has stated:

He'll stand up to the extremists in Congress who try to use immigrants as scapegoats and whose harsh policies would divide spouses, parents and children. Mike will fight for the rights of families to stay united here in America.

Voters clearly favor solution-oriented reformers over mass-deportation hardliners, and they send one more vote for comprehensive immigration reform to the House of Representatives. 

In Sinking Media Market, Hispanic and Other Ethnic Media Thrive

There is coverage today of a new study indicating that Hispanics made up nearly half of the more than 1 million people who became U.S. citizens in 2008 - almost 1 of 2 new Americans are Latino.  Additionally, the number of Latinos who became American citizens in FY 2008 more than doubled from the previous year.  It stands to reason the sucess of ethnic media that reflects this growing multicultural reality. A piece by Mandalit de Barco today on NPR's morning edition focuses precisely on the growing market share of "ethnic media," happening for various reasons: 

Many of these newspapers and broadcast stations are doing well because they've tapped into an expanding audience - the sons and daughters of immigrants.  In Los Angeles, the No. 1 TV station isn't NBC, CBS, ABC or Fox - it's Spanish-language KMEX, the flagship of Univision. And it isn't just Los Angeles' top station - Nielsen says it's No. 1 in the U.S. with viewers aged 18-49. KMEX built big numbers with immigrant audiences, but is now drawing their sons and daughters - and even their grandchildren.

University of Southern California journalism professor Felix Gutierrez says it's more than just language that's attracting those younger viewers.  "I was watching last night, and they were talking about the border wars - drug smuggling and all that. But they were covering it from the Mexican side. They had the same kind of footage, but it was a different perspective, a different angle that I don't see on CBS, NBC, CNN and the other networks," Gutierrez says.

Largely in response to the ties of many immigrants, one will undoubtedly find that these multicultural outlets have a great deal more international news than local, and thus a wider breadth of stories.  They must cover the local school, storm, or kindapping, in addition to the elections in El Salvador, violence on the border, and new constitution in Bolivia.

Not only is the content more diverse than traditional media, these outlets are forced to be more dynamic and market to a more diverse, multigenerational, audience: 

Previously, these stations used to rely on ethnic audiences that had few other options because they weren't comfortable in English. But that's not necessarily true of immigrants' children.

"We know that the first generation watches us," [Eric Olander] says. "The second generation's much more difficult to capture, in part because they have language skills, which allow them to watch MTV, to go listen to NPR. They have a much wider array of choices. Not to mention, the second generation, which are younger, is watching less TV - they're on the Web, they're not reading the newspapers in the numbers they were. Their media patterns are changing."

That's why in addition to its broadcasts, KSCI now offers podcasts, blogs and video online in various Asian languages and in English.

The biggest Spanish language daily newspaper in the country, La Opinion, is also reaching out online. The Los Angeles paper's circulation has dipped, but it still has half a million readers.

Publisher Monica Lozano says the newspaper, which was started in 1926 by her grandfather, survived the Great Depression, battles over immigration and world wars, and it's now adapting to the recession and new media appetites. Lozano says Latino households tend to be multigenerational, multilingual and multimedia.

Weekly Update on Immigration: Immigrants and the Census, Drug War, and Labor

I. The Role of Immigrants and the Census - Yesterday on Al Punto, Raul Cisneros (Census spokesman) and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ) responded to key questions on this topic. Jorge Ramos reports that each person counted represents $2900 in funding for their community. Ramos also tackles the important question of how to avoid the politization of the Census and discrimination among respondents.

- Ramos asked, "why does the Census matter?" Sen. Menendez appropriately noted that the Census count largely determines the amount of resources allocated to a community and a state for important programs such as maintenance of resources, education, public programs, infrastructure, etc. The data is also used by corporations when analyzing potential private sector investments, and it is the count that determines representation in Congress through the apportionment process.

- "Are we starting too early?" asked Ramos. A very important question, as many Hispanics and immigrants might not understand the urgency of informing their community about the Census and the importance of participating. Cisneros noted, "No. We've already been working to reach out to the community and inform them of the Census," as part of the Department's duty. Census will be sending out about 120 million Census surveys.

- Ramos also draws the connection between immigration and the Census: "One of the biggest concerns among people is that [if they are out of order with] the IRS or ICE might come after them with this [Census] information. Would stopping immigration raids help make the 2010 Census more accurate?" To which Senator Menendez responded by highlighting that all information provided to the Census is strictly confidential, and that its only purpose is to count individuals, "their tax or legal status is not inquired about, nor is it relevant," and added, "I hope the raids are stopped, but people should know that if a Census worker approaches them, they are not in danger because of their immigration status. The Census worker is only trying to count them."

The Census is pivotal for Hispanics.  In the interview, Ramos also takes on a very important issue that Simon and NDN discuss at length - the potential politization of the Census if debate ensues over who can/should be counted:

Jorge Ramos (JR): Some believe it's impossible to count everyone - we are 306 million people in the U.S. If we can't count everyone, is there a statistical method we can use to ensure everyone is counted?
Menendez: First, we must respond the Census form, and respond to Census workers.
JR: "How many Hispanics are there in the U.S.? 45 million?..."
Menendez: About 45 million, but that's also why the Census is important, we need to be able to see how our community has changed.
JR: Do you think this 45 million is an undercount? Given undocumenteds, etc.
Menendez: I wouldn't know for sure, but what matters is that the [United States] Constitution calls for "all persons" to be counted, regardless of their legal status.

II. U.S. Visa Limits Hit Indian Workers - This piece by Emily Wax in today's Washington Post alludes to stories we wrote about earlier, on the effect of the current economic climate on some of the world's best and brightest:

"Hiring H-1B visa holders has become as toxic as giving out corporate bonuses," said Vivek Wadhwa, a Duke University professor and Harvard University research fellow.

"This is part of the broader story of the unwinding of globalization in the current economic crisis. As goods have moved more freely around the world, so did people, but now that's ending," said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations and author of the book "The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11."
The stimulus bill contained the Employ American Workers Act, which was sponsored by Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.). They say that they are worried that laid-off Americans struggling to find work are being displaced by foreign junior investment analysts, computer programmers and corporate lawyers who accept a fraction of the pay commanded by Americans.

Grassley's argument is precisely why we need to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform this year. We need to fix the broken system to help our economy, not avoid it. Closing our border to the best and brightest when we need them most is not the answer. Yes, some employers and employees suffer a kind of indentured-servitude under the existing visa programs because that is how they are currently designed. There are so few legal channels for companies to hire the talent they need and for students or employees to obtain status that they are willing to endure unfair conditions in order to remain. Grassley's proposal is not a solution, it's demagoguery - if not worse. 

The article continues:

But many immigration experts say shutting out the talent from abroad will only hurt U.S. competitiveness in the long run. "It's really unfortunate because we will lose an entire generation of wonderful minds as a by-product," Wadhwa said. "The next Google or Silicon Valley will be in Bangalore or Beijing." Nations such as Canada, Singapore and Australia have created "fast-track" immigration policies and incentives to attract foreign professionals. Immigrants founded more than half of all Silicon Valley start-ups in the past decade, Wadhwa said. These immigrant-led, U.S. technology companies employed more than 450,000 workers and grossed $52 billion in 2005. "My view is that we need to always bring in the best talent from everywhere -- more skilled and educated people end up creating jobs and making the pie bigger for everyone," Wadhwa said.

III. Another Example of the Broken Immigration System - Very interesting article in yesterday's Pittsburg Post Gazette also highlights the problem with our current, unrealistic, ineffective and broken immigration system:

When he was 20, Mr. Vielma contacted an aunt living near Los Angeles. She offered to help him cross into the United States illegally....Work visas were scarce, but a strong American economy beckoned with well-paying jobs...

Lest we forget, after the economic downturn, we will again have a larger economy that needs workers.  Will we leave it up to unscrupulous employers to fill that void? Or will we be proactive and forward-looking, and fix our broken immigration system this year?

IV. Immigration Reform: One Way to Take the Fight to the Cartels - Following our piece on the bilateral drug problem, an article in Saturday's Washington Post by Josh Kussman and Brian C. Goebel highlights the need for greater cooperation in this regard. Among other recommendations - like fully funding the Merida Initiative, assisting the patrolling of the Coasts, preventing the traffic of U.S. cash and guns, and fighting drug cartels domestically - they posit that comprehensive immigration reform that provides legal channels for Mexicans to come to the U.S. will eliminate the need for "coyotes" and the human trafficking network that largely feeds organized crime. This is particularly important at a time of economic depression in the border region that, together with the violence, pushes people to cross the border - legally or illegally.

In related news, more statements by Secretary of State Clinton, reported over the weekend by one of Mexico's most prominent periodicals, El Excelsior.  It appears that after her visit to Mexico, the Secretary understands the urgency of passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform this year as a tool to avoid what could become an immigration crisis:

The war against the Mexican drug cartels is important for the United States because..."greater instability and insecurity in Mexico can lead to greater migration [from Mexico] to the North."

V. "Progress by Passover" - According to the EFE news wire, a group of Jewish organizations all over the U.S. provided the White House a petition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform signed by 3500 individuals. Having this group join the faith community support of CIR is a landmark event.

VI. More Unions Favor Legalizing Workers - Changes in labor force spur rethinking, according to an interesting piece by Leslie Berestein in the San Diego Union Tribune. I thought this piece was worth re-printing:

In the early 1960s, a guest-worker program that had imported workers from Mexico since the days of World War II was drawing to a close. Those who were left picking crops were largely legal residents or U.S. citizens of Mexican and Filipino descent, along with working-class white and black Americans. "Back then, probably 80 percent were documented, and about 20 percent were undocumented. Today it would be just the reverse," said Arturo Rodriguez, president of United Farm Workers, the nation's first farm labor union.

The UFW was founded by Cesar Chávez, whose birthday is celebrated Tuesday....It is now estimated that as many as 90 percent of California's farmworkers are foreign-born, most of them here illegally. This resonates in San Diego County, home to more small farms than any other county in the United States, according to the San Diego County Farm Bureau. Agriculture has repeatedly ranked fourth or fifth among the county's top industries.

As the labor force has changed, so has many organized labor groups'attitude toward unauthorized workers, whom they once viewed as low-paid competition and, in the case of farmworkers, as strikebreakers. Along with prominent labor groups such as the Service Employees International Union, the UFW, which has about 27,000 members, is a vocal proponent of revamping immigration laws to grant legal status to those already working here.

While guest-worker plans continue to be a sticking point and dissent persists among trade unions in some industries, the general thinking in recent years has gone as such: If you can't beat the competition, let them join.
Unauthorized workers who are easily exploited give an unfair advantage to employers who hire them and drive down wages for other workers [in the same sector], say labor leaders who favor legalization. Giving them legal status and rights would level the playing field, while bringing them into the union fold would boost membership and bargaining muscle. "There has been a significant change in the mind-set of the labor movement," Rodriguez said.

"If you bring in people more hungry than the ones already here, those workers are forced to do what is necessary to take care of their families," he said. Today, legalizing workers once seen as competitors has become a priority; the UFW kicked off a new pro-legalization campaign this month.
It is also viewed as a necessity.
"We think this is really critical for the future," Rodriguez said.


Violent Attack Might Highlight the Need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

We hope today's tragedy does not further existing divides on immigration lines and that today's terrible tragedy is not made worse by negatively affecting the perception of our immigrant, Asian and Asian-American communities as a whole.  Today, a Vietnamese or Vietnamese-American man went on a shooting rampage at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, NY.  We are left guessing the motivation for this senseless attack, whether this attack was a protest against immigrants, or the retaliation of an immigrant for hardships endured. 

All we know is that the civic association played an instrumental role in helping immigrants learn English, with their immigration and naturalization application processes, and thus become better incorporated into the United States of America.  We've seen repeated instances recently of horrific random violence, but not all these instances are the same.

Barring severe mental illness, as was the case of Virginia Tech shooter, Seung Hui Cho, this case could be an example of what we have cautioned in prior occasions: postponing comprehensive immigration reform will only lead to a more radical population on both sides of the issue.  MSNBC
has reported that the shooter, Jiverly Voong (or Linh Phat Voong), was recently let go by IBM.  Coupled with the emotional distress of dealing with unemployment, if the man was an H1-B visa holder, or if he was going through the application process for a green card sponsored by IBM, that would mean that he was also dealing with his life in the United States coming to a halt.  Without the job at IBM, he would lose his immigration status.  Our immigration laws must change, our broken immigration system must be fixed to reflect the reality that immigrants do become part of the fabric of our communities.  And it is up to each of us and our elected officials to vehemently speak out against any rhetoric or action that is hostile to immigrants.  Our condolences go out to the families, the community, and those affected by today's devastating events. 

Another Reason Why Immigration Reform Should Pass This Year: We Are All In Agreement

I have written before about the Center for Immigration Studies, CIS, recognized as part of a hate group network, as anti-Hispanic and self-describedly anti-immigrant.  Their latest study, covered by the CQ Weekly, finds that - even in this time of economic crisis - wages actually rose at packing plants after immigration raids.  What does this tell us? It does not tell us that raids are a good idea, but rather, this conclusion gets to the point that a legal work force is a higher paid, more secure work force - and this is good for all workers and business owners.  It tells us that not only is immigration reform the right and humane thing to do, but it is in the best interest of all American workers in order to further elevate the wages and conditions of all our work force.  Per CIS, after the raids:

"Swift also has recruited a large number of refugees who are legal immigrants," to replace its undocumented work force; and "at the four facilities for which we were able to obtain information, wages and bonuses rose on average 8 percent with the departure of illegal immigrants...There is a widespread perception among union officials, workers, and others in these communities that if pay and working conditions were improved, it would be dramatically easier to recruit legal workers (immigrant and native)."

I never thought I'd say this, but CIS's findings demonstrate that we are actually all in agreement! "Conservative" and "liberal," "anti-immigrant" and "pro-immigrant," and everyone in between - we all want to look after our workers' and our businesses' best interests to improve the U.S. economy.  This study demonstrates that legalizing all our work force and having sufficient (realistic) legal channels for workers is the best way to ensure the best wages, bottom line. The study's author, Jerry Kammer, says that unscrupulous employers will never go along with higher wages without the threat of enforcement - "There's always new guys coming in willing to work for less," he says.  So then we're in agreement - we have to fix our broken immigration system; let's pass comprehensive immigration legislation that legalizes all our workers, that sanctions bad-actor employers, provides an earned path to citizenship, and provides sufficient legal channels to address economic demand for workers in the future. Based on this report, there is no legitimate policy (or political) reason why the status quo makes more sense than comprehensive immigration reform.

Weekly Update on Immigration: Immigration Reform Featured on Sunday Morning Shows- In English and Spanish

Immigration reform remains at the forefront of voters' minds. Yesterday, immigration reform came up during Meet the Press and Al Punto, Univision's Spanish-language Sunday morning show.  

I.  Al Punto - The program began with an interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during which she made encouraging statements in regards to hemispheric relations and our bilateral relationship with Mexico.  However, when the subject of immigration came up, her message was mixed.

[Translation from Spanish voiceover]:
Jorge Ramos: Secretary Clinton, Immigration Reform - when will it come up in Congress?
HRC: Well it is certainly on President Obama's agenda, but because of the economic crisis there are many challenges we must address first...we feel that we have to wait.  Of course the U.S. economy recovery is very important to both the U.S. and Mexico, and we must address the economic challenges before we resolve strictly U.S. problems and shared issues like immigration.

Of course the President's primary focus should be the economic crisis.  But in truth, immigration reform should be a tool precisely to help get our economy back on track.  As the economy worsens, CIR would remove a trap door under the minimum wage. Fully 5 percent of the American workforce today is undocumented.  Bringing them under the protection of American law will allow them to be paid minimum wage, prevent exploitation by unscrupulous employers, allow them to unionize, and will relieve downward pressure on the wages of all Americans.  Moreover, putting the undocumented population on the road to citizenship will undoubtedly increase tax revenue and lift wages for all Americans in a time of economic crisis.  Revenue from fees and fines will be generated - as stated by the last Congressional Budget Office score that accompanied the CIR legislation that passed the Senate in 2006 - CIR would net "increased revenues by about $44 billion over the 2007-2016 period." 

When times were good, it was not the time for immigration reform; now that times are bad it is once again not time for immigration reform - so when is the "right" time?  We have seen this cyclical public debate about the "timing" of immigration reform occur in the 1960s, 1980s, and again in this decade. It is urgent for U.S. rule of law, it is urgent for the people who currently live in the shadows, it is urgent for the businesses that want to compete in a global economy, and it is urgent for both Democratic and Republican candidates in order to have a major legislative achievement this year, and to consolidate gains with the electorate - particularly Hispanic voters.  

II. Meet the Press - Immigration reform is an issue that is about right and wrong, and about achieving practical solutions versus status quo, but at this juncture, more than anything it is about past versus future.  A great deal of the resistance against immigration reform is actually rooted in a profound resistance against immigrants and against the changing face of America.  This new, 21st century demography of America is reflected in its electorate.  As he interviewed U.S. Sen. John McCain on Meet the Press (MTP) yesterday, David Gregory replayed a video from an earlier episode, during which Mike Murphy (Republican strategist) stated:

At the end of the day, here's the one statistic we all got to remember:  The country's changing.  Ronald Reagan won in 1980 with 51 percent of the vote.  We all worship Ronald Reagan. But if that election had been held with the current demographics of America today, Ronald Reagan would have gotten 47 percent of the vote.  The math is changing.  Anglo vote's 74 percent now, not 89.  And if we don't modernize conservatism, we're going to have a party of 25 percent of the vote going to Limbaugh rallies, enjoying every, every applause line, ripping the furniture up.  We're going to be in permanent minority status.

Gregory's questioning on immigration reform was linked precisely to the issue of how to modernize conservatism:

MR. GREGORY:  Given that, assuming you agree, how does conservatism modernize itself?  How does the party get back to power?

SEN. McCAIN:  The party of ideas, party of inclusiveness, outreach to other ethnic aspects of the American electorate; in my part of the country especially, Hispanic voters.  We have to recruit and elect Hispanics to office.  We have to welcome new ideas.  And there are-you know, a lot of people complain about divisions within the Republican Party.  That's good right now. Let's let a thousand flowers bloom.  Let's have different clashes of ideas, sharing the same principles and goals.....I have-I'm very optimistic about the future of the Republican Party if we do the right things.

MR. GREGORY:  Speaking about the Hispanic vote, would you like to work on immigration policy with this president?

SEN. McCAIN:  At any time I stand ready, but the president has to lead.  The, the administration has to lead with a proposal.

MR. GREGORY:  Do you think they have that proposal, want to do that?

SEN. McCAIN:  They have not come forward with one yet. They said that they are going to-I understand the president met with the Hispanic Caucus and he said he would have some forums and, and other things.

MR. GREGORY:  Right.

It's important to note that Sen. McCain stands ready to support the President's proposal on CIR, which means he would likely support the items outlined in the President's Immigration Agenda: interior and border enforcement, increasing the number of family visas, an improved system for future flow, and collaboration with immigrant-sending nations.  Without a doubt, Sen. McCain's support will be an integral part of any legislation if it is to pass in Congress. 

III. Press coverage in Mexico of HRC Visit - A piece in El Financiero, focuses solely on immigration: Tema Migratorio No Ha Sido Dejado de Lado: Clinton, "Immigration Issue Has Not Been Cast Aside: Clinton."

IV. Exodus in Rhode Island After 287(g) Agreement -  A news piece on Univision highlights the case of Rhode Island, were Governor Don Carcieri passed anti-immigrant ordinances and entered into a 287(g) agreement one year ago.  The effects are visible today, with much of the immigrant community reported to have moved south - but not south of the border.  As we've stated before, local enforcement does not serve to help deport individuals (while that is often the intention).  In this case, this "attrition" caused a loss in business to the locality, while immigrants moved to a different - more welcoming - state within the U.S. It is reported that many of the Hispanic immigrants in Rhode Island moved to North Carolina.  This is yet another example of how local and state immigration ordinances won't cut it - we need CIR in order to resolve the issues caused by the broken immigration system. 

V. Shifting the Focus of Enforcement - As Sam mentioned, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has delayed proposed immigration raids, asking that the raids be given closer scrutiny before being carried out.  This could signal a very much needed shift in policy, away from workplace raids as immigration enforcement.  

Weekly Update on Immigration: Yes We Can! Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2009

I. Signs That Immigration Reform is On Track - Last week I previewed the meeting held between President Barack Obama and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Immigration, Simon provided NDN's Backgrounder on the issue, and Andres recapped for us what occured during the meeting and afterwards at a townhall meeting in Costa Mesa.  The CHC meeting was declared an important step forward for immigration reform by those who participated.  Immigration reform was the sole issue discussed, which demonstrates the level of importance this issue holds for Hispanics, as well as the commitment on the part of Members of Congress and the President to pass reform.  Dan summarized the coverage of these steps  towards movement on CIR, and NDN's thoughts on the same:

1. The San Francisco Chronicle:

After the hour-long meeting, the Latino leaders pronounced themselves pleased, saying they had gotten the president's pledge that he would move forward with a plan for "comprehensive immigration reform" this year. Caucus chair Nydia Velazquez of New York had this to say: "The President made clear to us that he is a man of his word. He clearly understands the consequences of a broken immigration system. We believe that under his leadership we can finally provide some dignity to the thousands of families that are living in the shadows and in fear."

Pro-immigrant Democratic strategists were also calling the confab a success. "It's an exciting day," said Simon Rosenberg of NDN. And given the magnitude of Obama's other legislative challenges, he predicted: "The White House is going to realize that passing comprehensive immigration reform is one of the easier things he can do this year."

2. Major Mexican Publication, El Excelsior: "Immigration Reform Takes on Greater Importance." This piece reports that President Obama has set immigration reform as a "national priority," and quotes Simon's political outlook on issue (translation):  Democrats promised passage of CIR this year, and it is an issue that could help them secure the electoral gains achieved in 2008 among Hispanics, while Republicans need this issue to sue for peace with the Hispanic community; "oppose CIR this year, and watch your chance to win national elections again evaporate for a generation or more," said Simon.

As Andres pointed out, the President continued to outline his position at a townhall in Costa Mesa:

"We are a nation of immigrants, number one. Number two, we do have to have control of our borders. Number three, that people who have been here for a long time and put down roots here have to have some mechanism over time to get out of the shadows, because if they stay in the shadows, in the underground economy, then they are oftentimes pitted against American workers. Since they can't join a union, they can't complain about minimum wages, et cetera, they end up being abused, and that depresses the wages of everybody, all Americans."

Importantly, the President also announced that he will be visiting Mexico to discuss this and other issues with President Calderon.  

As President Obama puts Immigration Reform back on the agenda, a realization suddently hits folks: maybe our biggest menace is not immigration?  Maybe illegal immigrants aren't our worst nightmare? As articulated in this op-ed by Lawrence Downes.

II. Immigration and Public Opinion - As Kos discussed a recent statement by Congressman Steve King - "the overwhelming majority of Americans who support enforcement of our immigration laws, border security and no amnesty for illegal immigrants" - he lays out all the evidence, including NDN polling, that disproves such a statement, and reiterates: Immigration Bashing Isn't the American Mainstream. 

III. Would You Stop a Hate Crime In Progress? - This hidden camera experiment found that most would NOT intervene.  What would you do?

IV. In Case You Missed It - Sheriff Arpaio appeared on Al Punto yesterday - the Univision Sunday morning political program.  On the recent DOJ investigation and Congressional hearings to investigate his methods, he does not fear criticism.  He feels Chairman Conyers, "...only reads the New York Times editorials..." and doesn't know what it's like to be sheriff. When challenged by Jorge Ramos on the increase in crime in Maricopa County despite his "tough" enforcement efforts, and the increasing number of pending criminal cases, he argues crime has actually dropped, and that he has support of Hispanics in Arizona. 

Congressional Hispanic Caucus to Meet with President Obama

As highlighted by KOS, Roll Call, and The Hill, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus will meet tomorrow with President Barack Obama.  Immigration reform is expected to be one of - if not the - issues of top priority discussed.

In anticipation of the meeting tomorrow at the White House with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, NDN is re-releasing its basic backgrounder on the recent history of the immigration reform debate.  You can find it and download it here.

Simon Rosenberg and Andres Ramirez, VP of Hispanic Programs at NDN, are available for comment on the background and future of the immigration debate.  Simon is also available to discuss the issue on television news programs tomorrow.  Contact Dan Boscov-Ellen: 202-384-1226.

Simon stated, quoted by Kos:

Our broken immigration system is a national disgrace, yet another terrible vexing governing challenge left over from the disastrous Bush era. Legitimate workers have a hard time getting legal visas. Employers knowingly hire and exploit undocumented workers. Our immigrant justice system is a moral outrage. And of course, the scapegoating of the undocumented migrant has become the staple for right-wing politicians and media, giving them something to rail against as the rest of their agenda has collapsed all around them. It is long past time to fix this broken system and replace it with a 21st century immigration system consistent with traditional American values and the needs of our modern ideas-based economy.

For links to other reference materials including a great deal of recent polling on immigration, click here.

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