Immigration Hysteria May Affect Voting Rights in Tennessee

A disturbing and growing hysteria over immigration—most evident in Arizona’s horrifyingly oppressive new law—has now spread into election administration legislation in at least one state. On the same day that the Maine Republican Party adopted a blatantly xenophobic Tea Party platform, the Tennessee Senate injected anti-immigrant sentiment into a draconian bill to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

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We need you to vote now @ "Ideas for Change in America" to restore fairness to immigration

From the Restore Fairness blog.

We need your vote! Vote to Restore Fairness to our broken immigration system on Change.org’s Ideas for Change in America and take us one step closer to to ensure that 2010 is the year for immigration reform.

Ideas for Change in America is a competition that empowers citizens to build momentum for solutions to pressing problems facing us today. The 10 ideas with the maximum number of votes will go to Washington.

Immigration reform has been proven to benefit the livelihood and stability of all of us, leading to a vibrant and viable future. So vote now! Here’s our idea.

Unite to pass immigration reform this year that “Restores Fairness” to our broken immigration system

Today, a broken immigration system denies basic human rights and due process to people who live here.  In the aftermath of 9-11, immigrants have borne the brunt of harsh policies with the U.S. government allowing raids and arrests without warrants, holding thousands in inhumane detention conditions, and deporting people without a fair trial.

But there is hope. This year, people across America are coming together to ask for just and humane immigration reform, one of President Obama’s election promises. Right now, Senator Schumer is crafting a bill with Senator Graham to be introduced in the Senate after which it will move to the House. But there are divisive, nativist, voices out there that are trying to stop this.

Raise your voice for a just and humane immigration reform that:

1.  Creates a fair path to citizenship for the millions of hardworking individuals and families who live here.
2. Creates fair enforcement practices that include -

- creating legally enforceable detention standards and implementing secure alternatives to detention so that we stop locking up harmless individuals, children and people with severe medical conditions
- stopping indiscriminate raids and the continued use of local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law
- restoring the ability of immigration judges to consider individual circumstances before they detain and deport people

Immigration reform must also address border security, workers rights, family reunification and future flows of workers.

Biweekly Public Opinion Roundup: Latinos in the U.S.

Over the next few decades, the United Sates’ Latino population is estimated to triple, comprising about 29% of US residents. At the same time, voters of Latin descent made up 7.4% of the electorate. In a continuing effort to better understand the attitudes and values of Latinos as expressed in survey studies in the past, we rounded up below findings from recent months.

The Pew Hispanic Center released today a new survey of Latinos focusing especially on young people who are ages 16 to 25. The survey explores the “attitudes, values, social behaviors, family characteristics, economic well-being, educational attainment and labor force outcomes of these young Latinos”. We will look more carefully at this study in one of our upcoming blog postings, but we wanted to bring attention to the racial identification of Latinos in this survey, in case it’s taken out of context in the various coverage of the study. Three out of four Latinos don’t identify themselves as white in the race question (“What race do you consider yourself to be: white, black or African- American, Asian, or some other race?”), or they volunteer that their race is Hispanic or Latino, although based on the U.S. Census these terms are used to describe ethnicity. This finding is consistent with what we see in studies of Latinos every day. The questions usually asked and response choices offered to identify the respondent’s ethnicity and race are not aligned with the way Latinos think about race.

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Citizenship 2.0: New Hampshire Style

There's cold. There's New Hampshire cold. And then there's New Hampshire cold in January when even for a boy from Boston, it was freezing. I still remember how incredibly bitterly cold it was the Saturday before the primary in 2004 (yes, more than five years later, I still am warming up.) I was there working for the Kerry campaign, and we were doing a series of events to promote John. As I stood listening to his speech I noticed that one of the people who braved the bitter cold to attend the event that morning was a New Hampshire man in his 50's. With him was his 10-year old son. He had a notebook and listened intently to what Senator Kerry had to say. After our event, I spoke with him and learned that father-son team planned to go hear Senator Edwards speak, and then Governor Dean. The father was both making up his mind by listening to each of the candidates' views, and teaching his son a powerful lesson in fulfilling his duties as citizen of the United States of America. For anyone who has asked me since what I think about New Hampshire having the first primary, I always tell this story because, to me, they deserve to have it.

New Hampshire is a state that often leads the union, and I have had the pleasure of working with some dedicated Granite Staters on building an online resource worthy of the citizens of New Hampshire like that father I saw back in 2004. Today, the Live Free or Die Alliance launches its new website and with it, a model for online citizen engagement for the rest of the nation to consider. The Virtual Town Hall is built to be a resource for informed discussion and debate of issues facing the Granite State. The Live Free or Die Alliance lays out the facts of an issue that both sides agree to, and then invites citizens to share their thoughts and debate the pros and cons with their neighbors and others from across the state.

Regardless of your political inclination, we all can see that pressing problems are everywhere. Yet the rancor, and partisan spin that dominates the public debate at every level of government keep reasonable and rational, fact-based discussion underground where it exists at all. In that environment, many citizens find little they can contribute to the mutual understanding that can allow compromise to happen and solutions to emerge. Seeing this problem, New Hampshire citizens Paul Montrone, Anna Grace Holloway and others decided to create an interactive, nonpartisan venue to inform New Hampshire citizens and stimulate their interest and engagement in the issues facing their state and their communities.

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Are you an authentic American?

From Restore Fairness blog

"Police officers giving drivers $204 tickets for not speaking English? It sounds like a rejected Monty Python sketch. Except the grim reality is that it has happened at least 39 times in Dallas since January 2007....All but one of the drivers were Hispanic."

Reporting on the issue, a New York Times editorial asks the question - is racism alive and kicking in America? If this were a one off incident, it could be an aberration. But 39 times makes it a growing pattern of injustice.

So how does one question who or who is not an American? Does it have to do with language, race, ethnicity, how long one has been in the United States - or is it about the more legal aspect of possessing citizenship.

Recently, an incredible achievement by Meb Keflezighi's, winner of Men's NYC Marathon, kicked off a number of doubts about whether this is truly an "American" achievement, or one imported in from outside.


"Meb Keflezighi, who won yesterday in New York, is technically American by virtue of him becoming a citizen in 1998, but the fact that he's not American-born takes away from the magnitude of the achievement the headline implies."

Comments from a CNBC Sports Business Reporter who half apologized in a post the next morning.

"Frankly I didn't account for the fact that virtually all of Keflezighi's running experience came as a U.S. citizen. I never said he didn't deserve to be called American."

Keflezighi came to the United States when he was 12 from war torn Eritrea. Is that enough time for him to be an American? Ironically the last American to win the marathon was also born in another country - Cuba. Alberto Salazar's comments from a New York Times article are insightful.

"What if Meb's parents had moved to this country a year before he was born? At what point is someone truly American? Only if your family traces itself back to 1800, will it count?"

The same article talks about the racial stereotypes that seem to be emerging to the surface.

"The debate reveals what some academics say are common assumptions and stereotypes about race and sports and athletic achievement in the United States. "Race is still extremely important when you think about athletics," said David Wiggins, a professor at George Mason University who studies African-Americans and sports. "There is this notion about innate physiological gifts that certain races presumably possess. Quite frankly, I think it feeds into deep-seated stereotypes."

So are we heading for a "clash if cultures" figuring out where the identity of America lies. This Huffington Post article has a few answers.

What's been missing from our national discourse on "is it race or isn't it?" is the distinction psychologists and neuroscientists have made for over two decades between conscious and unconscious (often called "explicit vs. implicit") prejudice.

Asking what the difference may have been if over the last 25 years, a half million Englishmen a year had entered the U.S., it wonders if

"what turns up the volume on Americans' feelings about immigration is that immigrants are not white, English-speakers from London but brown-skinned Mexicans who may not speak our language well and don't share our Anglo-American culture."

Demographers now place it around 2040 when whites may be in the minority in the U.S. And so it seems, the best way to deal with this reality may be -

"There's nothing shameful about admitting that you're among the majority of Americans - of every color - who has sometimes judged another person on the color his skin instead of the content of his character - and then realized it wasn't fair. The best antidote to unconscious bias is self-reflection. And the best way to foster that self-reflection is through telling the truth in a way that doesn't make people defensive or point fingers - except at those who wear their prejudice proudly and deserve our scorn."

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