Weekly Diaspora: One Year After SB 1070, What’s Changed?

by Catherine A. Traywick, Medica Consortium blogger

A year ago this month, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law, effectively pushing an already vibrant anti-immigrant movement to a new extreme. Over the following months, immigrant rights advocates prepared for the worst, and grappled with multiple setbacks as other states threatened to follow Arizona’s example.

Looking back, though, it’s clear that the draconian immigration law hasn’t quite measured up to its bad reputation—in part because a federal injunction blocked several of its more pernicious provisions.Kent Peterson at New America Media/Frontera NorteSur suggests that anti-immigrant policymakers “overreached” with SB 1070, pushing the restrictionist movement to its own peak with the controversial law.

Arizona’s political influence has waned

Certainly in the long term, the law seems to have done more harm than good to the movement. While it initially added plenty of fuel to the restrictionists’ fire, it has ultimately failed to spread through other states the way many expected it to. While a few states (seeColorlines.com’s infographic or Alternet’s rundown) are still considering SB1070-type laws, most others have backed off the idea.

As Seth Hoy explains at Alternet/Immigration Impact, “states learned from Arizona — the numerous protests, Supreme Court challenge, costly litigation, economic boycotts that are still costing state businesses millions — and rejected similar laws.” Peterson similarly notes that a number of states have moved away from Arizona’s example because of SB 1070’s unexpected economic consequences—chiefly, an estimated $769 million in economic and tax revenues lost as a result of boycotts.

Immigrants still marginalized

That’s not say that the law has had no effect on immigrants. While a federal judge stayed several of its provisions last summer, SB 1070 proved to be a precursor to other insidious state laws targeting immigrants. Empowered by their success with SB 1070 and the ensuing media frenzy, state legislators quickly moved forward with several other harsh laws. As Feet in Two Worlds’ Valeria Fernandez explains, many immigrants in Arizona continue to live in fear even though SB 1070 is only partially enacted. She writes:

When you talk to immigrants in the street, they’ll tell you that not much has changed. Some continue to live in fear that they could be stopped by the police and deported. Others are having a difficult time getting work due to another Arizona law that harshly sanctions employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

At Colorlines.com, Seth Freed Wessler elaborates on the real impact of bills like SB 1070. He writes:

[The bills] send waves of fear and confusion into immigrant communities. … In the period since SB 1070 passed, uncounted numbers of immigrants have fled their homes in Arizona. … And the provisions in the law that were not blocked by the court, including one that makes it a crime to harbor or transport undocumented immigrants, put everyone at risk.

The role of the federal government

Nevertheless, Wessler points out that the federal government—not SB 1070 and not Arizona—is to blame for the brunt of the damage inflicted upon undocumented immigrants in the last year. Besides deporting record numbers of immigrant detainees and significantly expanding border enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security laid the groundwork for SB 1070 with its 287(g) program—which enabled local law enforcement to act as ICE agents. Adding insult to injury, President Barack Obama never came to close to fulfilling his campaign promise of passing comprehensive immigration reform.

Whether he will do so this year is up for debate, but many reform advocates remain skeptical after last year’s ups and downs. As Marcos Restrepo of the American Independent reports, several immigrant rights activists voiced disappointment after Obama convened a White House meeting on immigration last Tuesday. Chief among the critics was Pablo Alvorado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, who said in a statement:

While we appreciate the President’s effort to keep immigration reform on the national agenda, his actions belie his intent…If the President genuinely wanted to fix the broken immigration system, he would respond to the growing chorus of voices calling for the suspension of the secure communities program and move to legalize instead of further criminalize our immigrant communities.

The American Prospect’s Gabriel Arana is similarly skeptical of both the president’s approach to the problem, and his ability to enact meaningful reform:

On one hand, it is laudable that the president has revived the immigration debate, but there is a reason it died last year, even with Democrats in firm control of Congress and the executive branch. Instead of trying to tack immigration reform to an enforcement bill, the president should change the frame and stop talking about immigration as a national-security issue rather than an issue in its own right.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration bymembers of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The AuditThe Mulch, and The Pulse. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

My Conversation With Donald Trump

OK, I admit it. I’m not a US citizen. I’ll never be President. I’ll be a permanent member of the no-fly list and my phone will be constantly bugged. Jan Brewer will kick me out of the country because I have no papers proving who I am or where I was born. I’m very disappointed to find I’m some sort of exotic, white “anchor baby“.

Note to self: Avoid Arizona.

Now I know what it’s like to be Barack Hussein Obama – if that is indeed his real name.

Family legend said I was born in Elkins, WV. But sorting through my personal papers I was unable to find a real birth certificate bearing the imprint of Orly Taitz‘s signet ring in wax. In fact, I don’t even have a pitiful “Certificate of Live Birth” like Obama’s. All I have is a scrap of paper looking as though it’s been ripped from a ship’s log. All it says is, “A kid was born just off the coast of Somalia during our last pirate takeover. Don’t know his name. Not sure of the date, but it wasn’t long ago. But this is all the proof he needs to show he was actually born. He’ll probably grow up to be a liberal communist anyway.” It was signed and Ensign Hikaru Hussein Sulu.

My Mom Was a Nigerian Official’s Wife
As I dug deeper, I learned I’d been abandoned to a Norfelia Lumbago, the wife of a Nigerian government official who couldn’t access his money held up in Banco Lagos until he came out of exile. Apparently, I had a very poor childhood. Mom never did get the money.

From Lagos, I went to a madrasa in Pakistan where I learned a useful trade making amateur Betamax videos for worldwide news distribution. It was a very prestigious career. I was even allowed to sleep on the softest rocks in our Tora Bora studio cave. I minored in bomb making.

I tell you all of that to tell you this, I – like every member of the Republican Party – want to run for President in 2012. I figured I’d be a shoo-in with a platform of rolling government back to its state in 1850 and by being the first Presidential candidate running with two part-time Vice Presidential candidates. Michele Bachmann, because she looks so scrumptious in a bikini and always tells the truth as relayed to her by God. And, Sarah Palin because she looks adorable with that naughty school marm vibe she has going on. Plus, she said she could only be Vice President for half a term. She needed to take time off for the salmon fishing and snowmobile racing seasons.

Just as I was ready to launch my pre-campaign to decide whether I was going to kick off my exploratory committee leading to my final decision to announce, at some time in the future, that I thought I might be running, but tell everyone, “I might be running or I might not be running. That’s for me to know and you to find out,” Donald Trump called.

A ‘Fabulous Opportunity’
Of course I met with The Donald™ – that’s what his friends call him. I believe I’m the third or fourth friend he has. I’m so honored. During the meeting he told me he had a fabulous opportunity for me. He said, “I have a fabulous opportunity for you.”

He said, “I’m richer than God and the smartest man in the world too. Of course, that goes without saying. I know I can talk to you like I’ll talk to Cesar Chavez and convince him to give us his oil for free. Nothing to it. It’s an exciting, fabulous, stupendous piece of cake. I’d offer him a casino or a missile up his butt and he’d be all over the deal. Fantastic. Smart man, that Chavez. No nose for business though. Not like me. I’m world-famous. I even have my own university for God’s sake.”

“Um Mr. Trump, I’m a little confused. Why did you invite me to this fabulous, high-end Waffle House to talk?”

Mr. Trump Loves the Waffles
“Well first, I love the waffles. But I really want to make you a deal, because you know, I know, you know what a fabulous businessman I am.”

“Here’s the deal. A really good deal. Fantastic actually. You show me your birth certificate – because we all know you’re lying about having one – and I’ll release my tax information. I gave the same deal to Obama, but the man is an imbecile. Turned me down. Shows why I’m rich and he’s not.”

“Of course everyone would read it and see just how rich I am. Mega-rich! Uber-rich! Richest man in the world, no matter what Forbes says! They always hated me for being so rich, but I’m going to buy their lying asses out. It’ll be a fabulous deal.”

“So when can we sign the papers? I’ll even let you keep the luxurious gold Bic embossed with the Trump logo if you want.”

That’s how I came to tell this story now. My campaign is in ruins. I told the truth about not being a citizen and Mr. Trump released his taxes. He was right, it caused quite a stir.

Mr. Trump offered me a lot of money, a fabulous amount actually, to go away. That’s how I’ve become a rich man like Mr. Trump. I have millions now and Mr. Trump found me a fabulous new job as Venezuelan oil minister. I get to do super deals and money is no object. I’m smarter now that I’m rich too. Cesar and I go to dinner all the time. We’re great friends because we’re both so rich and I still have that butt-missile Mr. Trump gave me wholesale (because multi-millionaires never pay retail). But I’m terribly sad about one thing … I really miss Sarah and Michele. We could really do some fancy clubbing down here. I even have a penthouse in the Trump Caracas Holiday Inn.

Fabulous! Just super-gargantuous really!

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

My Conversation With Donald Trump

OK, I admit it. I’m not a US citizen. I’ll never be President. I’ll be a permanent member of the no-fly list and my phone will be constantly bugged. Jan Brewer will kick me out of the country because I have no papers proving who I am or where I was born. I’m very disappointed to find I’m some sort of exotic, white “anchor baby“.

Note to self: Avoid Arizona.

Now I know what it’s like to be Barack Hussein Obama – if that is indeed his real name.

Family legend said I was born in Elkins, WV. But sorting through my personal papers I was unable to find a real birth certificate bearing the imprint of Orly Taitz‘s signet ring in wax. In fact, I don’t even have a pitiful “Certificate of Live Birth” like Obama’s. All I have is a scrap of paper looking as though it’s been ripped from a ship’s log. All it says is, “A kid was born just off the coast of Somalia during our last pirate takeover. Don’t know his name. Not sure of the date, but it wasn’t long ago. But this is all the proof he needs to show he was actually born. He’ll probably grow up to be a liberal communist anyway.” It was signed and Ensign Hikaru Hussein Sulu.

My Mom Was a Nigerian Official’s Wife
As I dug deeper, I learned I’d been abandoned to a Norfelia Lumbago, the wife of a Nigerian government official who couldn’t access his money held up in Banco Lagos until he came out of exile. Apparently, I had a very poor childhood. Mom never did get the money.

From Lagos, I went to a madrasa in Pakistan where I learned a useful trade making amateur Betamax videos for worldwide news distribution. It was a very prestigious career. I was even allowed to sleep on the softest rocks in our Tora Bora studio cave. I minored in bomb making.

I tell you all of that to tell you this, I – like every member of the Republican Party – want to run for President in 2012. I figured I’d be a shoo-in with a platform of rolling government back to its state in 1850 and by being the first Presidential candidate running with two part-time Vice Presidential candidates. Michele Bachmann, because she looks so scrumptious in a bikini and always tells the truth as relayed to her by God. And, Sarah Palin because she looks adorable with that naughty school marm vibe she has going on. Plus, she said she could only be Vice President for half a term. She needed to take time off for the salmon fishing and snowmobile racing seasons.

Just as I was ready to launch my pre-campaign to decide whether I was going to kick off my exploratory committee leading to my final decision to announce, at some time in the future, that I thought I might be running, but tell everyone, “I might be running or I might not be running. That’s for me to know and you to find out,” Donald Trump called.

A ‘Fabulous Opportunity’
Of course I met with The Donald™ – that’s what his friends call him. I believe I’m the third or fourth friend he has. I’m so honored. During the meeting he told me he had a fabulous opportunity for me. He said, “I have a fabulous opportunity for you.”

He said, “I’m richer than God and the smartest man in the world too. Of course, that goes without saying. I know I can talk to you like I’ll talk to Cesar Chavez and convince him to give us his oil for free. Nothing to it. It’s an exciting, fabulous, stupendous piece of cake. I’d offer him a casino or a missile up his butt and he’d be all over the deal. Fantastic. Smart man, that Chavez. No nose for business though. Not like me. I’m world-famous. I even have my own university for God’s sake.”

“Um Mr. Trump, I’m a little confused. Why did you invite me to this fabulous, high-end Waffle House to talk?”

Mr. Trump Loves the Waffles
“Well first, I love the waffles. But I really want to make you a deal, because you know, I know, you know what a fabulous businessman I am.”

“Here’s the deal. A really good deal. Fantastic actually. You show me your birth certificate – because we all know you’re lying about having one – and I’ll release my tax information. I gave the same deal to Obama, but the man is an imbecile. Turned me down. Shows why I’m rich and he’s not.”

“Of course everyone would read it and see just how rich I am. Mega-rich! Uber-rich! Richest man in the world, no matter what Forbes says! They always hated me for being so rich, but I’m going to buy their lying asses out. It’ll be a fabulous deal.”

“So when can we sign the papers? I’ll even let you keep the luxurious gold Bic embossed with the Trump logo if you want.”

That’s how I came to tell this story now. My campaign is in ruins. I told the truth about not being a citizen and Mr. Trump released his taxes. He was right, it caused quite a stir.

Mr. Trump offered me a lot of money, a fabulous amount actually, to go away. That’s how I’ve become a rich man like Mr. Trump. I have millions now and Mr. Trump found me a fabulous new job as Venezuelan oil minister. I get to do super deals and money is no object. I’m smarter now that I’m rich too. Cesar and I go to dinner all the time. We’re great friends because we’re both so rich and I still have that butt-missile Mr. Trump gave me wholesale (because multi-millionaires never pay retail). But I’m terribly sad about one thing … I really miss Sarah and Michele. We could really do some fancy clubbing down here. I even have a penthouse in the Trump Caracas Holiday Inn.

Fabulous! Just super-gargantuous really!

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

My Conversation With Donald Trump

OK, I admit it. I’m not a US citizen. I’ll never be President. I’ll be a permanent member of the no-fly list and my phone will be constantly bugged. Jan Brewer will kick me out of the country because I have no papers proving who I am or where I was born. I’m very disappointed to find I’m some sort of exotic, white “anchor baby“.

Note to self: Avoid Arizona.

Now I know what it’s like to be Barack Hussein Obama – if that is indeed his real name.

Family legend said I was born in Elkins, WV. But sorting through my personal papers I was unable to find a real birth certificate bearing the imprint of Orly Taitz‘s signet ring in wax. In fact, I don’t even have a pitiful “Certificate of Live Birth” like Obama’s. All I have is a scrap of paper looking as though it’s been ripped from a ship’s log. All it says is, “A kid was born just off the coast of Somalia during our last pirate takeover. Don’t know his name. Not sure of the date, but it wasn’t long ago. But this is all the proof he needs to show he was actually born. He’ll probably grow up to be a liberal communist anyway.” It was signed and Ensign Hikaru Hussein Sulu.

My Mom Was a Nigerian Official’s Wife
As I dug deeper, I learned I’d been abandoned to a Norfelia Lumbago, the wife of a Nigerian government official who couldn’t access his money held up in Banco Lagos until he came out of exile. Apparently, I had a very poor childhood. Mom never did get the money.

From Lagos, I went to a madrasa in Pakistan where I learned a useful trade making amateur Betamax videos for worldwide news distribution. It was a very prestigious career. I was even allowed to sleep on the softest rocks in our Tora Bora studio cave. I minored in bomb making.

I tell you all of that to tell you this, I – like every member of the Republican Party – want to run for President in 2012. I figured I’d be a shoo-in with a platform of rolling government back to its state in 1850 and by being the first Presidential candidate running with two part-time Vice Presidential candidates. Michele Bachmann, because she looks so scrumptious in a bikini and always tells the truth as relayed to her by God. And, Sarah Palin because she looks adorable with that naughty school marm vibe she has going on. Plus, she said she could only be Vice President for half a term. She needed to take time off for the salmon fishing and snowmobile racing seasons.

Just as I was ready to launch my pre-campaign to decide whether I was going to kick off my exploratory committee leading to my final decision to announce, at some time in the future, that I thought I might be running, but tell everyone, “I might be running or I might not be running. That’s for me to know and you to find out,” Donald Trump called.

A ‘Fabulous Opportunity’
Of course I met with The Donald™ – that’s what his friends call him. I believe I’m the third or fourth friend he has. I’m so honored. During the meeting he told me he had a fabulous opportunity for me. He said, “I have a fabulous opportunity for you.”

He said, “I’m richer than God and the smartest man in the world too. Of course, that goes without saying. I know I can talk to you like I’ll talk to Cesar Chavez and convince him to give us his oil for free. Nothing to it. It’s an exciting, fabulous, stupendous piece of cake. I’d offer him a casino or a missile up his butt and he’d be all over the deal. Fantastic. Smart man, that Chavez. No nose for business though. Not like me. I’m world-famous. I even have my own university for God’s sake.”

“Um Mr. Trump, I’m a little confused. Why did you invite me to this fabulous, high-end Waffle House to talk?”

Mr. Trump Loves the Waffles
“Well first, I love the waffles. But I really want to make you a deal, because you know, I know, you know what a fabulous businessman I am.”

“Here’s the deal. A really good deal. Fantastic actually. You show me your birth certificate – because we all know you’re lying about having one – and I’ll release my tax information. I gave the same deal to Obama, but the man is an imbecile. Turned me down. Shows why I’m rich and he’s not.”

“Of course everyone would read it and see just how rich I am. Mega-rich! Uber-rich! Richest man in the world, no matter what Forbes says! They always hated me for being so rich, but I’m going to buy their lying asses out. It’ll be a fabulous deal.”

“So when can we sign the papers? I’ll even let you keep the luxurious gold Bic embossed with the Trump logo if you want.”

That’s how I came to tell this story now. My campaign is in ruins. I told the truth about not being a citizen and Mr. Trump released his taxes. He was right, it caused quite a stir.

Mr. Trump offered me a lot of money, a fabulous amount actually, to go away. That’s how I’ve become a rich man like Mr. Trump. I have millions now and Mr. Trump found me a fabulous new job as Venezuelan oil minister. I get to do super deals and money is no object. I’m smarter now that I’m rich too. Cesar and I go to dinner all the time. We’re great friends because we’re both so rich and I still have that butt-missile Mr. Trump gave me wholesale (because multi-millionaires never pay retail). But I’m terribly sad about one thing … I really miss Sarah and Michele. We could really do some fancy clubbing down here. I even have a penthouse in the Trump Caracas Holiday Inn.

Fabulous! Just super-gargantuous really!

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

Weekly Diaspora: Justice for Brisenia as Minutemen Leader Convicted of Murders

By Catherine A. Traywick, Media Consortium blogger

Days after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne filed suit against the federal government for allegedly failing to protect the state from a Mexican “invasion,” the high-profile murder conviction of a Minutemen border vigilante underscores the state’s misguided border priorities.

Earlier this week, a jury found Shawna Forde—leader of the Minutemen American Defense (MAD)—guilty of murdering 8-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father, Raul Flores, Jr. during a racially motivated home invasion in 2009. Forde faces the death penalty for orchestrating the robbery and murders.

ColorLines’ Julianne Hing reports that Forde had planned a number of elaborate home invasions to raise funds for her border patrol activities—targeting individuals whom she (erroneously) believed to be drug dealers. Though no drugs were found in the Flores home, Forde—who, incidentally, has close ties to both the Tea Party and the conservative think tank Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)—nevertheless justified Brisenia’s murder on the grounds that “people shouldn’t deal drugs if they have kids.” After watching Forde’s accomplices shoot her mother and kill her father, Brisenia was shot twice in the face.

While Latino advocacy groups have characterized the Flores murders as hate crimes provoked—at least in part—by state leaders’ incendiary anti-immigrant rhetoric, many regard Forde’s conviction as one of many indicators that the tables are turning on anti-immigrant politicos like Brewer who have curried political support through fear-mongering and misinformation.

Less tolerance for border vigilantes

As Valeria Fernandez reports at New America Media, the verdict comes just weeks after another Arizona court upheld a decision against rancher Roger Barnett who, in an act of unwarranted border vigilantism, assaulted a group of migrants traveling across his property. Barnett was fined $80,000. While the Forde and Barnett cases are only two incidents of a nationwide rash of anti-Latino crime, their convictions are particularly significant in Arizona, where state leaders have long tolerated and even encouraged border vigilantism as a necessary response to purported border-related violence.

A year ago, state politicians—including Brewer—fomented a national anti-immigrant mania (which handily ushered in SB 1070) by promoting false reports of border violence. As Valeria Fernandez reported at Feet in 2 Worlds last March, lawmakers were quick to attribute the shooting of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz to an unidentified, undocumented Mexican immigrant—though the sheriff in charge of the case later told the press that the prime suspect was not actually Mexican.

Brewer, for her part, gained national notoriety after fabricating tales of beheadings in the Arizona desert—which, as I wrote for Campus Progress at the time—generated support for her anti-immigrant political agenda while diverting public attention away from the reality that  most of Arizona’s border violence is directed at immigrants, rather than perpetrated by them.

Arizona’s countersuit against the federal government

Brewer’s recent countersuit against the federal government—which alleges that Arizona is under invasion from the south and that the feds have failed to protect the state accordingly—similarly conjures nativist fantasies of immigrant-fueled border violence. But, as Scott Lemieux posits at TAPPED, the suit idly and transparently villainizes immigrants:

It is (to put it mildly) a stretch to argue that Arizona is undergoing an “invasion.” Illegal immigration does not constitute a military threat or an attempt to overthrow the state government; anti-immigration metaphors are not a sound basis for constitutional interpretation.

Like those propagated by state lawmakers during Arizona’s nativist heyday last spring, this new offensive belies the reality that, while anti-Latino hate crimes have risen by 52 percent nationally in recent years, border crime has been on the decline for quite some time—a fact noted by Alternet’s Julianne Escobedo Shepherd in her coverage of the countersuit.

Yet, in an effort to further their extreme, anti-immigrant agenda, Arizona’s nativist lawmakers determinedly maintain the myth that Latin American immigration somehow generates a groundswell of violent crime—even when doing so requires the hasty revision of a rancher’s death, and the callous disregard of an innocent child’s murder.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Diaspora for a complete list of articles on immigration issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, and health care issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Pulse. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

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