People Desire Action on Immigration

Some opinions that have been overlooked by the media in the last couple of weeks:

• According to an AP/Gfk poll (PDF), 49% of Americans believe that police crackdowns on undocumented or illegal immigrants unfairly target Hispanics

•The same poll found that 79% of Americans believe that it is somewhat, very or extremely likely that police in Arizona will wind up stopping and questioning Hispanics who are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants as they try to enforce this law and 65% considers this a  serious problem

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Marching Forward

A coalition of over 150 social justice and public interest groups has come together to call for job creation and investment in opportunity, including for the country's hardest hit communities. They'll launch their call in a march on Washington October 2, 2010. It's the right call at the right time.

The Washington Post reported this week that a coalition of over 150 social justice and public interest groups has come together to call for job creation and investment in opportunity, including for the country's hardest hit communities. They'll launch their call in a march on Washington October 2, 2010. It's the right call at the right time.

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Synopsis of the DOJ's Arguments in United States v. Arizona

On Tuesday, July 6, 2010, the United States filed a lawsuit against the State of Arizona to invalidate, and stop the enforcement of, S.B. 1070 (as amended by H.B. 2162).

The United States, suing on behalf of itself, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Department of State, challenged Arizona's new law and argued that:

1. The Arizona law, as a whole, is invalid because it sets forth a state-level immigration policy that interferes with the federal government's preeminent authority to administer and enforce immigration laws; and

2. Sections 2-6 of the Arizona law are invalid because each section either conflicts with, or undermines, established Congressional objectives, federal enforcement and policy priorities, and/or existing federal laws and Constitutional principles.

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Bloomberg, Murdoch and Top CEOs Push for Immigration Reform

Joined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, media mogul Rupert Murdoch appeared on Fox News recently to discuss his support for immigration reform in America. The two are members of the recently created Partnership for a New American Economy, a coalition of high profile businessmen and politicians advocating for comprehensive immigration reform.

Prominent members of the partnership include the CEOs of Hewlett-Packard, Walt Disney Co., Marriot International and Boeing. The mayors of San Antonio, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Los Angeles are also part of the group.

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Immigration Blog Roundup

Last week, President Obama delivered a major speech in which he called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Reactions to the speech among progressive blogs are mixed: the speech was "everything we've come to expect of him," says Teresa Puente at ChicagoNow, because it was well written and delivered, but short on concrete details. For example, the speech did not offer any new details about the Justice Department's upcoming lawsuit over Arizona's S.B. 1070. The Rev. Jesse Jackson was more enthusiastic about the speech, however, calling it "a high moment of vision" on the Huffington Post.

Over at The Daily Beast, Bryan Curtis wonders why Obama chose to run with immigration reform now, after very little action on the issue for most of his presidency thus far. Curtis comes up with a few reasons: Obama's recent meeting with a group of immigration activists, his steadily decreasing approval rate among Hispanics, and the mass defection of Latinos from the Republican party, most likely due to the party's increasingly hard-line stance on immigration. The full article is worth a read.

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What Americans Want

Americans are known, for better of for worse, for their strong support of “capitalism” and hesitancy towards “socialism.” A recent poll by Pew Research Center confirmed this notion, although perhaps not with the intensity one would expect. When asked what their first reaction to the word “socialism” was, 59% gave a negative response and only 29% responded positively. Their reaction to the word capitalism was exactly the opposite, 52% gave a positive response, and 37% responded negatively.

How does this translate into what Americans want from the government now? Another poll by Pew Research Center asked how much a certain solution, such as cutting taxes or additional government spending, would help to improve the current job situation. Additional spending on roads, bridges, and other public works projects scored the highest with 37% of respondents agreeing that it would “help a lot.” On the flip side, 29% asserted that cutting personal income taxes would “not help at all.” This seems rather contradictory to what capitalism would dictate to do in an economic recovery.

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Thursday Immigration Blog Roundup

Talk of immigration-related lawsuits filled the news this week, and it all started with a television interview that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave overseas in Ecuador.

The rather obscure interview footage most likely would have never made it into American news, except for a brief, but politically explosive, remark Clinton made on tape when the discussion turned to Senate Bill 1070. Set to take effect July 28, the bill passed in Arizona will allow police officers to question and detain anyone whom they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe is an undocumented immigrant.

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YouTube and WITNESS Use Video to Promote Human Rights

Last week, YouTube partnered with WITNESS, an international group that uses video to promote human rights, to begin a series of blog posts that will demonstrate and explore how film has become an integral facet of the worldwide human rights initiative.

Last week Saturday’s blog post kicked off the start of the series, and featured the full-length version of “For Neda,” a documentary on citizen reporting. The title of the documentary is a reference to Neda Agha Soltan, the young Iranian woman whose death by a sniper during the 2009 Iranian election protests was captured on camera and quickly distributed across the internet.

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Supreme Court Decision Restores a Sense of Fairness to Criminal Immigration Proceedings

Prior to the Supreme Court's recent decision in Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, many legal U.S. residents who had committed minor misdemeanors were unfairly classified as having committed "aggravated felonies" under immigration law, which subjected them to automatic deportation. The Supreme Court took note of the unfair deprivation of due process and took a strong stance in support of human rights when it corrected the deportation requirement for minor drug offenses.

The controversy over Mr. Carachuri-Rosendo's case stems from the government's increasingly broad application of "aggravated felony" charges that lead to mandatory deportation for noncitizens without the opportunity to contest the order. Because there was no official limit to the government's application of the "aggravated felony" charge, and due to disparities in how courts interpreted its definition, legal residents were often deprived a chance to defend themselves against automatic deportation because their offenses were, often incorrectly, labeled "aggravated felonies."

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Beware the Easy Answer

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about the state of affairs in America. His assessment was as follows: America never goes too far one way or too far the other. It’s like a sine wave; sometimes one side is up for a little while and the other side is down, then they switch. Despite this yo-yo phenomenon, overall he felt like things were improving.

As comforting as the sentiment was meant to be, I found myself troubled by the succinctness of my friend’s evaluation. He made it sound as though we, the people, can more or less take our hands off the wheel and America will steer itself in the right direction – or that the politicians will, perhaps. To me, that was akin to saying that even without the Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage movements, that America would pretty much be where it is today.

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