Archive for category Immigration
Human rights activist Enrique Morones wil be honored by the University of
San Diego on April 27, 2013. Morones is the founder and president of Border Angels, whose volunteers work to save the lives of individuals crossing the mountains and deserts along
the U.S.-Mexico border. At hundreds of rescue stations, the group provides
food, water and clothing to help those facing the extreme heat and cold in
Morones, who earned a master’s degree in executive leadership from USD in
2002, will receive the Bishop Charles Francis Buddy Award for Contributions
to Humanitarian Causes.
“Enrique is a ‘changemaker’ who has used the knowledge and leadership skills
he acquired at USD to save lives and help make the world a better place,”
said USD President Mary Lyons. “He exemplifies USD’s mission of excellence
and service and we are very proud to honor him.”
Morones was also the first person to create and direct a Latino marketing
department in major league sports as the vice president of Latino marketing
for the San Diego Padres between 1995 and 2001. He also served as president
of the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce from 1996 to 1998. In
2009 he became the first U.S.-born man to receive Mexico’s National Human
Morones lives in downtown San Diego.
The 18th Annual Alumni Honors celebration on April 27 will recognize nine
outstanding University of San Diego alumni for career achievement,
contributions to humanitarian causes, extraordinary athletic success and
exemplary service to USD. The cocktail-attire event begins at 6 p.m. with
the awards ceremony in the Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace & Justice,
followed by a gourmet soiree and live music under the stars. Tickets are $75
per person and can be purchased at www.sandiego.edu/alumnihonors or by
calling (619) 260-7889.
Centro de la Cultura de la Raza and SAME present “LGBT Immigrants, Asylees, and Refugee Seekers Explore Emerging Issues”
10/01/12 (written by mayaaw) – On Saturday, September 29, the Centro de la Cultura de la Raza and the San Diego Alliance and Marriage Equality (SAME) hosted an event titled “LGBT Immigrants, Asylees, and Refugee Seekers Explore Emerging Issues.” The event, held at the Centro de la Cultura de la Raza in Balboa Park, was an open discussion about topics that affect both persons belonging to the LGBT community and/or migrant population, specifically focusing on legislation that has wide-ranging effects on such populations, like the the Defense of Marriage Act.
Ginger Jacobs, a lawyer at Jacobs and Schlesinger, LLC, who works primarily with immigration law, led the discussion. Jacobs highlighted the many intersections between LGBT and immigration policies, especially where the definitions of marriage meet definitions of citizenship. Also present was a representative from SAME, who shared stories of struggles endured by people from the San Diego area who fall into both the LGBT and immigrant categories.
The Trans-Border Institute was able to participate in the event to provide information about its work with migrant communities in the area. Also in attendance was the Immigration Justice Project of San Diego, which provides pro bono legal counsel to immigrants who need assistance navigating the citizenship process. Local artists used the opportunity to showcase their artwork depicting LGBT and migrant identities. For more information, click here.
09/26/12 (written by maritza313) – A stark difference exists between the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the latter which has been implemented in lieu of the DREAM Act while it sits stalled in Congress. The main objective of the DREAM Act is to provide immigrants who first qualify under DACA with better opportunities, such as the possibility to remain in the United States, achieve higher education, and have better jobs. On the other hand, as stated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, “the deferred action does not provide lawful status or a pathway to citizenship, while individuals who would qualify for the DREAM Act deserve certainty about their status. Only Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer the certainty that comes with a pathway to permanent lawful status.” Instead, DACA “allows young illegal immigrants who entered the United States before their sixteenth birthday to apply for a two-year deportation deferment,” reports Latinos Post. As well, it “grants those accepted work permits for two years.”
According to the Pew Hispanic Center and the New York Times, there are approximately 1.7 million undocumented minors that could become beneficiaries of the DREAM Act as it encourages them to first apply for deferred action, a step that could ultimately help lead them to pursue higher education and achieve employment authorization documents. The Immigration Policy Center stated that about 68% of undocumented immigrants that qualify for DACA are Mexican and currently reside in large immigrant‑receiving states, such as California and Texas. In just over a month since the government has been accepting applicants under DACA, over 72,000 applications have already been received, a number of which already approved.
In promotion of DACA and the DREAM Act, one young, undocumented migrant, Benita Veliz (27), a leader of a group called the Dreamers, spoke at the recent Democratic National Convention on September 5. Veliz took the stage and delivered a speech that was arguably “the highest profile public appearance to date by an immigrant from that movement,” reported the NYT, “and it was a measure of how young people have emerged from the shadows despite their illegal status.” Stated Veliz, “I was brought here as a child. I’ve been here ever since,” she said. “I graduated as valedictorian of my class at the age of 16 and earned a double major at the age of 20. I know I have something to contribute to my economy and my country.”
The Immigration Policy Center reiterated the benefits of the deferred action program on the country as a whole, not just for individuals, citing that accepted applicants will mean more taxable income as their access to higher education should result in better paying jobs. In turn, the more income earned, the more it “encourages [accepted applicants] to invest…in their own education, open bank accounts, buy homes, and start businesses.” As a result, DACA could provide more purchasing power for immigrants and thus provide a boost to the economy.
For more information on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, click here to access Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Frequently Asked Questions page.
09/12/12 – Over the past few months, a number of events related to the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) have unfolded as the ongoing debate on immigration ensues in the United States. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 1.7 million people living in the United States without proper documentation could benefit from the DREAM Act, a bill intended to protect undocumented migrants who arrived to the United States before they were 16 from being deported if certain criteria are met.
As El Universal reported, the Act would provide an avenue for temporary residency for this population–who have come to be known as the “dreamers”–if they apply for deferral before the age of 31, have lived in the United States for at least five consecutive years, and have no criminal background. In addition, those eligible under this bill can apply for unconditional permanent residency if they complete two of four years at an institute of higher education, and/or serve at least two years in the military. Moreover, the DREAM Act applies not only to students and military members, but also to fieldworkers. According to El Universal, approximately 54,000 field workers could benefit from the Act’s passage. All said, the “dreamers” who qualify would have the opportunity to eventually obtain U.S. citizenship and legal status, thereby potentially opening doors to a higher quality education and better working conditions.
Supporters of the DREAM Act, who have been frustrated in the past due to Congress’s delay in passing the bill, were excited this summer to hear President Obama declare that he would open avenues for temporary residency under new federal immigration policies, relax deportation measures, and specifically stop deporting potential “dreamers,” which was reassuring news to many given the administration’s record-breaking number of deportations in the past three and a half years. In addition, as The New York Times reported, thousands of people across the United States seized the opportunity to apply for their temporary deferral on August 15, the first day the application process began.
However, the DREAM Act has been met with criticism, including from potential “dreamers” themselves. Among other issues, given that the Act only benefits a specified group of people with strict qualifications, many “dreamers” have argued that the its benefits ought to extend to the “dreamers’” relatives. In fact, on Tuesday, September 4, ten undocumented immigrants were arrested for blocking the street while organizing a march outside the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, demanding that President Obama reform immigration policy and end the deportations of “dreamers’” family members. The migrants were part of the so-called “Undocubus” that travelled from Arizona to North Carolina–a bus of over 50 undocumented migrants drawing attention to their plight and circumstances. All of the arrested individuals were eventually released, a move that falls in line with the Obama Administration’s push to focus on deportations of migrants with criminal pasts and high-profiles. As Vincent Picard with the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) noted regarding the release of the individuals in Charlotte, “ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, recent border crossers and egregious immigration law violators, such as those who have been previously removed from the United States.” Additional criticism continues to come from Governor Jan Brewer in Arizona who ordered state offices to deny any applicants seeking deferred action the opportunity to apply under Obama’s relaxed measures. Her executive order was issued on August 15, the same day the application process was opened nationwide.
It is important to note that the full DREAM Act has thus far failed to pass in Congress, despite being introduced back in 2001 and being put to vote in 2007 and 2010, both times falling short by eight and five votes, respectively. Nevertheless, immigration will undoubtedly remain an important issue in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections.
09/12/12 – On Saturday, September 8, the Trans-Border Institute (TBI) hosted the screening of the film “Al otro lado” (“To the Other Side”) as part of the border region film series, “Ambulante Border: New Perspectives on Gun Policy, Arms Trafficking, Violence and Immigration, Freedom of Expression, and Violence Towards Journalists.”
Produced and directed by Natalia Almada, the 2005 documentary narrates the story of 23-year-old Magdiel, a Mexican fisherman that dreams of having a better a life. Through Magdiel’s story, the movie shows that the reason many Mexicans want to migrate to the United States is for a better future–for the opportunities to study and to improve their economic conditions by finding better-paying jobs–even if it means crossing illegally.
Not only does the film focus on immigration, it weaves in topics of drug-trafficking and day-to-day realities that many Mexicans face. Given the economic hardships and lack of opportunity present for many Mexicans, and the difficulties one endures if attempting to cross the border, the movie shows that many turn to drug trafficking as a source of income and resources to solve their financial problems. This ever-present reality in Mexico is often captured in the popular “corridos,” a type of Mexican music that has embraced the narco-lifestyle and that narrates, for example, the stories of average Mexicans struggling to survive and to overcome financial hardships, even if that means crossing the border without documents or drug trafficking. The film relies on such “corridos” to help tell their story, as well as showcase their importance in Mexican culture and the influence that drug-trafficking has had on this genre of music and thus on Mexican culture.
In sum, “Al otro lado” explores these broader topics of immigration, economic hardships, drug trafficking, and “corridos” through its protagonist, Magdiel.
05/07/2012- Norma Ramírez, a mother of six, had been living illegally in North Carolina for eight years, when earlier this year she was diagnosed with a malignant growth on her urethra in January. Ramírez went through several medical procedures at WakeMed Hospital, but was facing deportation if she continued to receive treatment in the United States. Living with Ramírez in the United States were her two youngest daughters, ages 4 and 5, who are both U.S.-born citizens. Deportation would mean her two young daughters would be left without a guardian in the United States. On the other hand, if she were to move back to Mexico with her daughters, she did not know if she would be able to receive the medical treatment she would need.
Ramírez and her family received an overwhelming amount of support from the Mexican Consulate in Raleigh as well as from many other North Carolinians. The consulate offered to pay for her family to return to Mexico, and for her treatment at a hospital in Acapulco. Selene Barcelo, the deputy consul in Raleigh, said that all treatments, services, and medications would be paid for by the state and provided through the Mexican government.
Ramírez arrived with her two youngest daughters in Acapulco on April 16 and checked in to the Cancer Institute there. She was greeted there by her father and mother; her four other daughters had been living in Mexico with her mother. She has begun receiving treatments, but still has many ahead because the cancer has spread to her other organs.
05/04/2012- Thursday May 3, 2012, protesters across the nation marched to bring to light to a call for justice concerning the death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas. Hernandez Rojas was an undocumented immigrant who was killed in a struggle with Border Patrol agents in 2010. In May 2010, patrol agents caught Hernandez Rojas, 42, crossing the Mexican border illegally to return to his family in San Diego where he had been living for close to thirty years. According to the agents who were processing him, Hernandez Rojas became violent, and they were forced to stun gun him. He died the next day in the hospital; he had suffered a heart attack, likely due to being tasered, and lost oxygen to his brain, rendering him brain dead before he died. According to the San Diego County coroner, his death was ruled a homicide, and the Department of Justice opened an investigation. It has been two years since the investigation was opened, yet no one has been charged and the Justice Department has not commented on its progress.
Now, two years later, activists are asking for the investigation to be put in the spotlight so that justice might be served. Why the sudden call to action? In a recent episode of PBS’ “Need to Know,” a never before seen pedestrian video was aired of the attack , which was recently tracked down by activist and documentary filmmaker, John Carlos Frey. The video shows Hernandez Rojas on the ground, surrounded by a dozen Border Patrol agents yelling at him to stop resisting, even though he is lying virtually motionless on the ground.
In San Diego Thursday, approximately 150 protesters marched from Balboa Park to downtown carrying signs in Hernandez Rojas’ likeness. Their aim, along with protesters from eight cities nationwide including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston, has been to raise awareness and bring renewed attention to the investigation in light of the new pedestrian video. Thus far, no comments have been made by either the Customs and Border Protection Agency or the Justice Department concerning the ongoing investigation.
The nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center has recently released data that the net migration from Mexico between 2005 and 2010 was zero. What does this mean? It essentially tells us the same number of immigrants arriving from Mexico to the United States is equal to the number leaving. A total 1.4 million migrated and left. The four decades prior had brought nearly 12 million Mexicans to the U.S., more than half illegally. The reason’s for Mexicans staying or returning to Mexico can be attributed to several factors:
- A growing economy in Mexico-Mexico’s GDP for 2011 grew by 3.7% and in 2010 by 5.5%
- A Lower birthrate- Once at 7 for every single women, now standing at about 2, very close to the U.S.
- High Prices charged by “coyotes”-border crossing guides
- Risk of kidnapping or forced illicit trafficking by drug cartel’s while crossing
- A bad market in the U.S.-some 700,000 migrants in 2000compared to 150,000 in 2009 after the economy crashed.
This is in comparison to the time between 1995 and 2000, where 3 million Mexican’s immigrated to the U.S. and fewer than 700,000 went back. The study also found that 6.1 million unauthorized Mexicans lived in the U.S. in 2011, compared to 7 million four years earlier. Mexican President Felipe Calderon said the zero net migration could be attributed to, better education, more job-opportunities, and broader healthcare, when he spoke to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the US-Mexico business summit yesterday, April 24th.
04/23/2012-Arizona’s SB 1070 will be one of Washington D.C.’s hot topics this week, as supporters and opponents of the bill make a cross country trek for this week’s hearings. On Tuesday April 24, 2012, Russell Pearce, SB 1070’s sponsor, will speak before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on immigration. Pearce has been one of the law’s fiercest supporters. “Just the threat of 1070 has made a huge difference in the state of Arizona,” Pearce said. “It is a success story.” It’s forced thousands of illegal immigrants to leave Arizona, he says. In opposition to the Senate Bill, a representative from Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform, a business group, will speak out against the law and claim that it is bad for the state’s economy.
On Wednesday April 25, the debate will be taken to the Supreme Court. Justices of the Supreme Court will be looking at the injunctions of SB 1070, which have been put on hold due to their controversial nature, namely the clause which requires police officials to check the immigration status of those who they believe to be in the country illegally.
Each side of the debate brings up arguments that are unique to their own causes. Supporters of the bill call use words like ‘patriotic, reasonable, and necessary’ when describing it, while opponents use words like ‘hate, fear, and extremism’ to describe its effects. The Supreme Court will not likely make a decision on SB 1070 until later in the summer, but what the Justices have to say will be a final word of sorts for this debate.
O’Dowd, Peter. “Busy Week Ahead for SB 1070, Arizona’s Immigration Law: Besides a Hearing Before the U.S. Supreme Court, a Congressional Committee Will Hold Hearings on SB 1070.” Fronteras Desk. April 23, 2012.
04/20/2012-Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 has had mixed effects on residents, both legal and illegal, who are living in the state. For some, the law has driven people to leave Arizona in search of another state, where laws are more accepting of immigrants. For others, the law is just a minor road block, which they intend to find a way around so they can stay in Arizona.
Jossie, who is living in Arizona illegally, would not give her last name when being interviewed by Fronteras Desk for fear of being deported. Jossie and her family were living in Phoenix in 2010 when SB 1070 was passed, and even though a federal judge blocked the most controversial parts of the law (one part of the law would have required police officers to check the immigration status of those they believed to be in the country illegally), Jossie still felt afraid driving in front of police. She was so nervous driving to work as a housekeeper that she once hyperventilated and lost consciousness on the road, she said. She and her family are now moving to New Mexico. She told Fronteras Desk’s Peter O’Dowd, “New Mexico offer me opportunities…I am going to do something for New Mexico. I am going to tell my kids to do something good for New Mexico.” (O’Dowd)
Alison Gamez is another resident of Arizona who intends to leave the state behind, and move to a place more accepting of immigrants. Her situation is quite different from Jossie’s, though. Gamez is a legal U.S. citizen who was born in the United States. In 2009, she married her husband, who at the time was working illegally in the construction industry. He now has his papers in order, and is legally allowed to work and live in the United States, but it has not stopped the family from wanting to move out of the state. Gamez has her eye set on North Carolina, where she’s heard of good jobs and friendlier laws toward immigrants; if all works out, she and her family will be gone by 2014.
For others, self-deportation laws have also caused them much strife, but they are finding ways to work around them to stay in the state. Francisco Duran is an undocumented student, whose tuition went up by 300 percent with the passing of Proposition 300 in 2006, which requires all state colleges (including community colleges) to charge undocumented students non-resident tuition. Duran, who loves Arizona and does not want to leave, has found a way around the law which allows him to pay a more reasonable tuition fee. His solution is the Navajo Technical College (NTC), which is based in Crown Point, New Mexico. Since the college is chartered through the Navajo Nation, tuition fees are based on tribal membership, not residency, so Proposition 300 does not apply. Most of NTC’s Phoenix students are non-residents like Duran. Cesar Valdez is one of them, and he is so excited about the college that he makes presentations at high schools to convince other immigrant students to sign up. At one of the presentations, Valdez told Fronteras Desk’s Devin Browne, “One of the girls actually started crying. Because she was a senior, she was like, ‘I’m so glad you came because up to this day, I didn’t know what I was going to do, I was thinking about moving to California or New Mexico or even going back to Mexico,’ and she’s like, ‘I didn’t know this was happening’.”
Browne, Devin. “Immigrants Find Loopholes in Arizona Self-Deportation Laws: The Point of So-Called “Self-Deportation” Laws Is to Make a Place so Difficult for Unauthorized Immigrants That They Leave on Their Own. But the Data Show That in Spite of the Laws, Many Haven’t Left.” Fronteras Desk. April 20, 2012.
O’Dowd, Peter. “After SB 1070, Some Migrants in Arizona Self-Deport: The Supreme Court Will Hear a Case Challenging the Controversial Law. Some Argue it Has Achieved Its Goal by Forcing Immigrants Out.” Fronteras Desk. April 19, 2012.