Thursday Immigration Blog Roundup

Highlights of immigration news this week:

• A Washington Post blog takes a look how immigration affects the financial health of Social Security.

• Advocates of the DREAM Act—a bill that would help thousands of young, undocumented, high school graduates attain citizenship—are writing personal letters to President Obama to encourage its passage.

• Some Latino Republicans are beginning to speak out against the recent anti-immigrant laws and posturing.

And finally, The Opportunity Agenda released tools to help protect the 14th Amendment. For more, visit here.

The Inclusive American Spirit

Public opinion on comprehensive immigration reform is quite clear, Americans want workable solutions in order for us to move forward as a nation. Polls by major news stations, both national and local, show that the American public supports providing a way for illegal immigrants already living in the United States to stay here and apply to legally remain in this country, provided they have a job and pay back taxes.

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As Goes Cordoba House Goes America

The edges are fraying.  While xenophobia is nothing new in American life, the use of particularly rancorous and fear-inspiring rhetoric by prominent spokespeople, affiliated with mainstream institutions that have real power to shape our dialogue, is surely on the rise, and ideas that were once whispered (or grumbled under the breath, perhaps after one too many drinks) are becoming increasingly mainstream.  These ideas not only demean us all, but they are also one of the surest harbingers of those dark events in our nation’s history—the Red Scare, the Chinese Exclusion and Geary Acts, Executive Order 9066—that most fundamentally undermine our founding values.

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Injunction Placed on Portions of SB 1070 Reveals Numerous Flaws

Just a day before Senate Bill 1070 was set to become law in Arizona, District Judge Susan Bolton stepped in and made the critical decision to put an injunction, or temporary hold, on the most contentious portions of the bill.

The injunction request came straight from the United States, who filed a complaint against Arizona earlier this month challenging the constitutionality of SB 1070. The United States’ primary argument is that immigration law falls under federal, not state, authority. Therefore, Arizona doesn’t have the constitutional right to enforce SB 1070 since federal law preempts state law, and immigration is a federal issue.

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Mixed Numbers on Unemployment

“We are all in it together” was the sentiment portrayed in last week’s opinion polls on the extension of the unemployment benefits. The passing of the bill last week Tuesday was a decision supported by the majority of Americans across the board, regardless of income, race or political orientation.

• According to the CBS News poll, 52% of respondents said Congress should extend unemployment benefits for people currently out of work, even if it meant increasing the budget deficit.
• According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll 62 percent of respondents said Congress should approve another extension.

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America Lags Behind on Equal Rights for LGBT Community

While Americans grappled over the military’s contentious “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in court last week, the Argentine Senate passed a bill last Thursday legalizing gay marriage and allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.

Arguments for and against the don’t ask, don’t tell policy regarding LGBT members’ service in the military, began last week Tuesday in a California federal court. The original lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the rule was filed in 2004 by the Log Cabin Republicans – a Republican group that supports gay rights.

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A Victory in Arizona

In a victory yesterday, a judge's ruling (PDF) will prevent some of the most contested provisions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law from going into effect.

One of the problematic provisions of the law, S.B. 1070, requires police officers to verify the immigration status (i.e., “check the papers”) of anyone stopped, detained, or arrested—even for traffic violations and other routine stops—when there is "reasonable suspicion" the person is undocumented.

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Shirley Sherrod: An American Tale of Redemption and Courage

Shirley Sherrod, as most of us know by now, is the Agriculture Department official vilified this week after a distorted video posted by right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart went viral. When the facts were in, it was clear that Breitbart had engaged in an intentional and callous attempt to smear Ms. Sherrod, an African American, and the NAACP with a false charge of racism.

At first glance – and without the facts – Breitbart’s doctored tape seems to be credible, so much so that Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asked for her resignation, and the NAACP quickly concurred with that decision – all in a span of just a few hours. But wait, let’s go to the whole tape, as Ms. Sherrod had urged. In it, we see the March 2010 meeting at which Ms. Sherrod described an incident that occurred 24 years ago, before she was an Agriculture official. Contrary to the viciously edited tape excerpts, Ms. Sherrod was really telling an admirable and uplifting story of redemption, respect, and racial justice. She had recounted how she had been called upon to help a white farmer save his farm at the same time that so many black farmers were losing. The unedited tape shows how she, the daughter of a man slain by a member of the Ku Klux Klan, America’s homegrown terrorists, had learned to overcome her initial misgivings and looked beyond race to treat all farmers – black and white – fairly.

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Kicking Up a Storm on Immigration

Farewell World Cup.

You will be sorely missed, although as as European I only have to wait two years instead of four to see my national team, Engalnd, once again spectacularly fail to deliver. Congratulations Spain, and moreover, congratulations to the many immigrants who put in jaw-dropping performances for their adopted countries, despite - in many instances - anti-immigrant rhetoric stirring political waters back home.

To name but a few: Jozy Altidore, born in Haiti, and Jose Torres, born in Mexico, both wore Team USA colors; Gael Fernandes, born in Cape Verde, scored a gamewinner for eventual champions Spain; and even the North Koreans fielded players born in South Korea and Japan.

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Soundtrack for the Next Collapse

Call me late to the party, but I heard what has apparently become the song of the summer, Billionaire,” for the first time this past weekend. Actually, I heard it three times this weekend, including twice in situations where I had no choice but to actually sit and listen to all the lyrics.

The Travie McCoy single, currently number five on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, is a paean to the type of high-flying, me-first greed that brought us such classics as The Economic Collapse of 2008 and The $3 Billion and Counting BP Oil Spill That Could Have Been Prevented by a $500,000 Acoustic Trigger. And, in this crucial moment, with our economy on a tipping point between continued, albeit slow, recovery, and slipping back into recession, this catchy ditty promotes the precise values we DON’T need.

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