April 30, 2006
Since pro-immigration t-shirts are a little hard to come by around here and I don't have time to order any online, I am going to make my own -- DIY style -- with my computer and iron. Here are my designs (art is royalty-free).
April 29, 2006
do the math
T. Don Hutto Correctional Center in Taylor, TX has been renovated to house families of undocumented immigrants (non-Mexican) until they can be deported to their home countries. In this report and video, it is said that the Center could house up to 600 families. Other reports have said 600 individuals. The county will receive $1,000 per day for each immigrant housed.
So lets go with the low figure... 600 people (instead of families) x $1,000 x 365 = 219 MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR to house immigrants who pose the absolute lowest security risk to our country.
That's right. Let our most violent criminals roam the streets, but be sure to lock up all the hardworking families escaping impoverished conditions. Brilliant.
I just can't wait to see the pictures these little ones draw of their new "home". Yet Focus on the Family and other Family groups say the immigration issue "lies beyond the scope of their agenda". article
To truly be pro-life and pro-family is to be pro-immigrant.
let the racial profiling begin
Welcome to the new reality for dark-skinned Latinos -- undocumented, documented, U.S. born and raised alike.
Manuel Mendez was removed from his work site on Wednesday because he had not brought his identification with him to work that day. Manuel is a U.S. born citizen. Text and video from News 8 Austin here.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports:
A prominent anti-immigration leader has secretly urged the nation’s largest neo-Nazi group to launch a campaign of violence and harassment against undocumented workers in the United States. article here
As bad as this news is, in one case, an African woman who was strip searched and jailed won a settlement for the abuses she endured. Acticle here.
The media would have us believe that the pro-immigration forces are merely screaming for Amnesty. But there is so much more at stake in this debate. We are fighting for U.S. citizens of non-European origin, for legal residents AND for the humane treatment of undocumented immigrants.
The issues are not as simple as the media would have us believe.
April 28, 2006
it is a creepy time
I am outraged that the Department of Homeland Security considers it a priority to lock up not only undocumented immigrants, but ENTIRE FAMILIES -- CHILDREN INCLUDED, yet creepy registered sex offenders can be returned to society. I have two sex offenders living within half a block of my house. Now today, I read of another local who was not arrested until FOUR developmentally disabled women filed complaints against him. What is wrong with this country?! And when you get down to the article about the local creep, I want you to notice that never once is he referred to in any disrespectful way -- even though he is a CREEP. No, he is a "psychotherapist" a "doctor" a "man" But the undocumented are referred to as "illegal", "criminal", "scourge", bacteria-ridden", "an invasion" and the list goes on and on and on and on.
Read some exerpts from the following AP article:
WASHINGTON — China is refusing to take back an estimated 39,000 citizens who have been denied immigration to the United States and have clogged detention centers at federal expense, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said yesterday.
...Currently, 687 Chinese are being held in federal detention facilities, at a daily rate of $95 each, while some 38,000 have been released on bond or under a monitoring program, such as wearing an electronic surveillance bracelet, the Homeland Security Department said later yesterday.
Illegal immigrants can be held for 180 days before they are released.
Chertoff also said Homeland Security would open detention facilities in the next few weeks to house entire families of illegal immigrants who hope to bring their children along in order to avoid jail time. "It'll be humane, but we're not going to let people get away with this," he said. (emphasis not in original)
Chertoff's remarks comes as the Homeland Security Department aims to end its "catch and release" immigration policy by Oct. 1. After that date, all illegal immigrants will be held in U.S. detention centers until they can be returned to their nation of citizenry.
Contrast that with this:
A psychotherapist is accused of sexually assaulting developmentally disabled clients, including two women in their Loveland homes. Dr. Donald Ellsworth Fish, 66, turned himself in Wednesday at the Larimer County Detention Center to face three felony charges of sexual assault of an at-risk adult by a psychotherapist — allegations that, if proved, could carry a collective maximum of nine years in prison.read full article
The Fort Collins man has not entered a plea to the charges and could not be reached Wednesday.
While Fish has no prior criminal charges against him, he was disciplined by the state for having a sexual relationship with a client in 1995.
April 27, 2006
let's get busy!
The following are excerpts from an email I received today from Gina Huett of the American Friends Service Committee in Denver.
If you wish to participate in a march/rally on May 1st, the Denver-specific information will not apply to you, but much of her advice can be adapted to your city:
The media would lead us to believe that every one of the tens of thousands of people turning out to support comprehensive immigration reform across the country is undocumented. Let's help them see the thousands that support our friends, co-workers and neighbors in the struggle for a just society. As we continue to see the many contributions immigrants make to our communities, let US be seen wearing white in solidarity. We encourage families of all backgrounds to join in the We Are America/Somos America March for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
What you can do!
Monday, May 1st, 2006, march from Viking Park to the Capitol with your church organization, your school flag, your organizational banner! Gather at Viking Park (intersection of Federal and 29th) at 9:00; march steps off at 10:30 and walks to the Capitol. Please wear white and remember to bring water and a snack. During the march, find the media and tell them you support a path to citizenship, worker protections, an end to the back logs and family unification. After the events on May 1st, write a letter to the editor reflecting on your experience unified with your community! Your voice in support of comprehensive immigration reform is necessary!
The following is a specific way you can be involved in preventing deaths in the desert. This group tries to reach immigrants in physical distress before tragedy occurs. They help provide first aid, food and water to those in need. Last year such acts landed two of their volunteers in jail. Here is how you can help:
***Food and First Aid Kits Needed at the Border*** No More Deaths and Coloradans for Immigrant Rights (CFIR) need your help! We must take death out of the migration equation!
The number of tragic, migrant deaths in the desert along the Arizona/Mexico border is continually increasing. Coloradans for Immigrant Rights (CFIR) is helping No More Deaths/No Mas Muertes collect the following items to distribute to migrants. CFIR members will take the kits to Tucson at the end of May for No More Deaths to distribute at water camps and other designated areas along the border.
For each Gallon-Sized Closable Plastic Bag, place 7-10 items, ideally 1 bag contains each of the following items:
„X Sports Drink
„X Pop-top lid meat or tuna
„X Nuts, Trail mix, dried fruit, chips, fig bars, or cookies
„X Granola, Power, or snack bars
„X Pudding or fruit cup (with spoon)
„X Peanut Butter or Cheese filled crackers
FIRST AID KITS:
For each Small Closable Plastic Bag add the following items:
„X 4 to 8 bandages
„X Gauze Pads
„X Small first aid cream or ointment
„X Alcohol Wipes
„X Sunscreen, Chapstick, Hand Cream or Lotion
„X Foot care creams, powders, or Moleskin
„X Wrapped Candy or throat lozenges
„X Aspirin, Tylenol, or Advil packets
What You Can Do!
1) Create a collection drive for the above materials at your church/organization/job etc.
2) Deliver the kits:
a. Contact Corey Sampson, with CFIR, at 303.861.0165 or firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or for large pickups. Contact Corey before May 17, 2006.
b. Drop off kits to the American Friends Service Committee by May 17, 2006 from 9-4 Monday-Friday, except May 3-5, when the AFSC office will be closed. AFSC¡¦s address: 901 W. 14th Ave., Suite #7, Denver 80204; phone: 303.623.3464.
c. Mail kits directly to No More Deaths, c/o St. Mark¡¦s Presbyterian Church, 3809 East 3rd Street, Tucson, AZ 85716.
this is a must read
on the increasing violence and racism directed at those advocating for immigrants and the immigrants themselves. Click here.
April 25, 2006
instructions for national day of action
The following was posted on Latina Lista -- today's entry.
May 1st, Day of Action Instructions for workers
1) Take the day off, try to use a vacation or sick day in advance.
2) Talk to your employer and request permission to take the day off.
3) If your employer will not give you the day off and threatens to
terminate you, then we request that you go to work and wear a white ribbon or shirt
to show solidarity with the cause.
4) If you are terminated, you may have legal rights to sue your employer
for violating your first amendment rights and violation of the National Labor
Laws. However, there is no guarantee of any legal outcome.
5) We are asking that all students to go to school, but write letters and
make calls to congress and Texas US Senators to make changes.
6) Please put on your car lights, to symbolically put light on the need
for fair immigration reform.
7) All emergency, police and teachers are exempt from the call to action,
but are asked to wear white ribbons in support of the day of action.
Instructions for Employers and Supervisors
1) Please consider giving your employees a vacation, sick or unpaid day
off on May 1, 2006.
2) If you need to maintain the office open consider having a skeleton
crew, so that some employees can participate and others work.
3) Employers who refuse any use of the first amendment rights of its
employees can be subject to litigation.
4) Employers try to find creative ways to allow your employees to
exercise their right to have their voices heard, without disciplinary action
Primero de Mayo, Dia de Accion
Instrucciones Para los Trabajadores
1) Tome el dia libre, trate de usar vacaciones o dia
libre por enfermedad.
2) Hable con su empleador y pida permiso para tomarse
el dia libre.
3) Si su empleador no le da el dia libre o amenaza con
desemplearlo, entonces no falte al trabajo y vista un
liston blanco o una camisa blanca como muestra de
solidaridad con la causa.
4) Si usted es desemplado por apoyar la causa, puede
que tenga derechos legales para demandar su empleador
por violar sus derechos de acuerdo con la 1era
Enmienda y por violacion de los Derechos Nacionales
del Trabajo. Sin embargo, no hay ninguna garantia de
los resultados legales.
5) Les estamos pidiendo a todos los estudiantes que
asistan a clases, pero que escriban cartas y hagan
llamadas al Congreso de los Estados Unidos y a los
Senadores de Texas.
6) Por favor prendan las luces de sus coches, como
forma simbolica de alumbrar la necesidad de una
reforma migratoria justa.
7) Todo personal de emergencia, policia y maestros
estan exemptos ala llamada de participar en este
evento. Pero se les solicita que vistan listones
blancos como forma de apoyar esta iniciativa.
Instruciones Para los Empleadores y Supervisores
1) Por favor consideren dar un dia de vacaciones , un
dia de enfermedad o un dia libre sin pago a sus
trabajadores el primero de Mayo.
2) Si necesitan mantener su oficina o lugar de trabajo
abierto, consideren disminuyir las operaciones, para
que algunos empleados se puedan tomar el dia libre.
3) Los empleadores que se reusen a hacer valer los
derechos otorgados por la 1era Enmienda de la
Constitucion a los trabajadores estaran sujetos a
4) Traten de encontrar maneras para que sus empleados
ejerzan sus derechos y que sus voces sean escuchas sin
recurrir a acciones disciplinarias.
This story of an immigrant family from Rwanda is a breath of fresh air.
April 23, 2006
immigration raid tears families apart
We knew the stories would come.
Read of how two housewives suddenly have to find work, pay the rent, save for bus fare and provide for children. Alone.
Their husbands were 2 of the immigrants arrested in Wednesday's raid.
One of the gals left school at age 10 to become a tomato picker and has never learned how to drive.
Place yourself in her shoes for a few minutes...
April 22, 2006
internment camps "temporary immigration detention centers"
While it looks like Frist is going to keep immigration reform on the agenda, and I agree that some sort of appropriations have to be passed in order for a reform bill to get through, I'm getting the willies over the "construction of detention facilities" part. Perhaps because a Haliburton subsidiary was awarded the contract for such centers months ago. Internment camps anyone?
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Majority Leader Bill Frist intends to seek Senate passage of immigration legislation by Memorial Day, hoping to revive a bill that tightens border security and gives millions of illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship, Republican leadership aides said Friday. In a gesture to conservative critics of the measure, Frist and other Republicans also intend to seek roughly $2 billion in immediate additional spending for border protection. The aides said the money would allow for training of Border Patrol agents, construction of detention facilities for immigrants caught entering the country illegally, the purchase of helicopters and surveillance aircraft and construction of a fence in high-traffic areas. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to pre-empt a formal announcement. full article
The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a contract worth up to $385 million for building temporary immigration detention centers to Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary that has been criticized for overcharging the Pentagon for its work in Iraq. KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space, company executives said. KBR, which announced the contract last month, had a similar contract with immigration agencies from 2000 to last year. full article
April 21, 2006
did Mexico give maps to migrants?
Remember when this was all over the news back in January? Remember the outrage?
Well, it turns out that the infamous maps were actually created by Humane Borders which made the maps to warn migrants of the dangers and to discourage them from making the trip. The signs say clearly, "Don't go! "There isn't enough water! It's not worth it!" The red dots indicate where other migrants have died attempting to cross the desert.
The Mexican government did indeed do some printing and distribution, but with the same goal -- to discourage migration and save lives. Not exactly the spin the media gave it, huh? More details.
Mexico gives maps to migrants?
Remember when this was all over the news back in January? Remember the outrage?
Well, it turns out that the infamous maps were actually created by Humane Borders which made the maps to warn migrants of the dangers and to discourage them from making the trip. The signs say clearly, "Don't go! "There isn't enough water! It's not worth it!" The red dots indicate where other migrants have died attempting to cross the desert.
The Mexican government did do some printing and distribution with the same goal -- to discourage migration. Not exactly the spin the media gave it, huh? More details.
April 20, 2006
1,187 immigrants arrested yesterday
Yesterday, DHS conducted a massive raid on IFCO Systems. The raid encompassed 26 states and 1,187 undocumented workers were arrested. A plant in Commerce City, CO, where 38 workers were arrested, was among those raided. My heart goes out to the families affected by this, however, not to the executives and managers who will face stiff penalties. They face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each undocumented worker. ($250,000 x 1,187 = $296,750,000 -- just 199,150,000 less than the company's generated revenue for 2004. source)
New York State Police Superintendent Wayne E. Bennett said, “It is disturbing that there are businesspeople who have decided to exploit illegal aliens for the sole purpose of their own financial gain. Compounding the issue is the fact that corporation officials also engaged in tactics to obtain false identifications; instructed illegal aliens on how to avoid detection by law enforcement officials; and, practiced deception with government agencies regarding the true identifications of the workers.” source
This brought to mind again how important it is for all parents (documented or undocumented) to have an emergency plan in place for their children. I blogged about this last week. I am also glad to see the quick response in Indianapolis of those concerned for the children:
The sweep at IFCO Systems may have been the largest in the city for more than 10 years, according to a longtime advocate for immigrants. The Rev. Thomas Fox was among the activists who rushed to the federal office building near 10th and Illinois streets where detainees were being processed. "We're concerned mostly for the families," said Fox as he stood in front of the building. "It's causing a lot of fear and there are women and children who are afraid to come out."
The raids come less than two weeks after Fox and other advocates rallied 20,000 people to march in Downtown Indianapolis over proposals to reform the nation's immigration laws. Fox was joined Wednesday by at least two other activists outside the federal offices. Inside, Mexican Consul Lorena Alvarado tried to calm detainees. The raids were poorly timed, coming so close to the protest this month, Alvarado said, but assured the workers that the raid targeted IFCO Systems and not them. Alvarado planned a news conference today in an effort to ease fears in the Latino community. source
While the timing of this raid is raising many eyebrows (mine included), I place myself in the shoes of the investigators and think that if I had been working for a year to put together a solid case against this company, I might do the raid before legislation could pass too. Some activists are calling for President Bush to declare a moratorium on immigration enforcement while the issue is being debated in Congress.
To be honest with you, I think that is just about as silly as the Minutemen insisting Bush start building a fence. Do these people think we live in monarchy?!
Unfortunately, undocumented workers live in fear of raids everyday and are all too often taken advantage of by unscrupulous executives and managers. I feel sad for the workers and their families, but this is their reality right now.
My hope is that this raid will be an eye opener for those who would villify the immigrant. The contributing factors to the immigration crisis are complex. Which is exactly why we need a good, solid piece of comprehensive reform that won't be slapped together by backroom wheelers and dealers.
The Minutemen have given President Bush an ultimatum (pardon me while my side splits)
Baaaah! Oooo-hoo-hoo! Eeee-hee-hee! Ohh... Ahhhh......
Okay, I feel better. Nothing like a good laugh.
Click here if you really want to read the article.
They boast that they can (and will if the President doesn't start by May 25th) start building the fence system on private land for $125-$150/foot, er, um, that is with volunteer labor (from the surveyors to the actual grunts) and donated machinery. These are the people who would like to see a 700 mile long fence erected along our southern border. That would cost $462,000,000 - $554,400,000 just in materials (assuming they mean per linear foot) -- which we all know costs only about 25% of the total cost once labor is factored in -- oh and let's not forget to factor in the cost of sending out the National Guard to our borders (another of their demands).
The Minutemen, dulled by their bravado (and lack of knowledge of the political process), still fail to realize that a southern-border fence cannot deal with:
It is called COMPREHENSIVE immigration reform for a reason! Comprende?
April 19, 2006
Legal Immigrants Awaiting Deportation
Of the hundreds of immigrants I've known, I only know of two who have been deported.
In one case, her spouse is a U.S. citizen, but I'm not certain of her immigration status.
My other friend, however, is a grandmother in her 60s who was in the U.S. legally. She very dutifully got on a Greyhound and returned to Mexico every six months to comply with her visa and to see her doctors in Mexico.
This year as she was returning to the States, she was turned back at the border because the customs officials didn't believe that she wasn't employed.
The thing is that she never was employed here. She lived with her daughter and helped raise her grandchildren while her daughter worked.
So this devout Christian, grandmother and LEGAL immigrant must now remain outside of the U.S. for 5 years.
All for a "crime" she didn't even commit.
We need immigration reform that will not just be slapped together by a bunch of vote-hungry politicians. There are so many holes in the system that victimize those who have done everything possible to comply with immigration law.
In this video, the CAIR organization interviews legal immigrants awaiting deportation -- including one who is being deported for a choice her mother made when she was 12. It runs about six and a half minutes and is worth watching to the very end.
April 18, 2006
Dr. Albert Reyes, President, Baptist University of the Américas has written an excellent article which brings the Biblical perspective to the immigration debate. Here is a glimpse:
To argue compliance with current U.S. immigration law while ignoring the agenda of Jesus is myopic, self-serving, and legalistic. I love the United States of America and her laws. My question to those with an eternal perspective: Isn’t it time that our laws reflect the agenda of Jesus? Protect our borders? Absolutely! Mistreat the poor? Absolutely not!
Click here for the entire sermon.
April 15, 2006
Welker one of the best????
Last week when Rep. Jim Welker announced he would not seek re-election to Colorado's District 51 House seat, he tried to "railroad" in a candidate he had handpicked.
He didn't succeed.
Now new candidates are emerging. My favorite excerpt from an article in yesterday's paper:
Welker said he nominated McNaught because he thinks he will be a good candidate. Welker said he believes McNaught’s lack of political experience is a plus. “What experience did I have before I got into office?” Welker said. “Sometimes the best people you have at the Capitol are the people without experience.” (emphasis mine)Um, I infer from this quote that Mr. Welker thinks he was one of the best. Hmmm. So apparently none of the many who asked him to step down (Gov. Owens included) got through to him that the practice of forwarding controversial, racist and hateful emails does not lend itself to being among the best.
I don't know a thing about this McNaught guy he nominated, but just the fact that Welker thinks so highly of him puts me on high alert.
April 13, 2006
What comes up when I Google the word "desperate"?
Yep. That's right.
Maybe those wives will get so desperate that they'll pack it up and stow away to Hong Kong.
What part of "desperate" don't we get?
I'm desperate for a back rub. Desperate for a good cup 'o Joe. Desperate for different countertops.
Hmmm. Webster's has a different take:
Pronunciation: 'des-p(&-)r&t, -p&rt
Etymology: Latin desperatus, past participle of desperare
1 a : having lost hope a desperate spirit crying for relief b : giving no ground for hope the outlook was desperate
2 a : moved by despair victims made desperate by abuse b : involving or employing extreme measures in an attempt to escape defeat or frustration made a desperate leap for the rope
3 : suffering extreme need or anxiety desperate for money
4 : involving extreme danger or possible disaster a desperate situation
5 : of extreme intensity
6 : SHOCKING, OUTRAGEOUS
synonym see DESPONDENT
- des·per·ate·ly adverb
- des·per·ate·ness noun
I'm annoyed by the seemingly endless articles and news programs that presume to explain what drives immigrants to the U.S. "Oh, they just want to suck Medicaid dry." "Well, it is the draw of the education system." "They want to take jobs from American workers."
Do they really think a mother is going to allow her child to be transported inside the trunk of a car for the chance at better schooling?
Do they see American workers lined up to clean 15 flithy hotel rooms in an 8 hr shift? Or suburban moms streaming into Burger King in the hopes that they will get to work 40 hours a week on the grill and fryers?
Oh, sure, they could find a handful of folks filled with adventure and bravado to serve as the poster children for their viewpoint, but for every one they find, I can find 500 for whom the converse is true.
People immigrate illegally because they are truly desperate. And this is true the world around.
We sponsor those living in the dumps of far off lands, sifting through rubbish for food. Their pictures grace our abundantly filled refrigerators and we occasionally even remember to offer up a little prayer.
But heaven forbid that an impoverished person grows weary of their desperate situation and decide to immigrate *gasp* by whatever means possible.
Once here to gather the spoiling fruits of the American garden they are criminals. Then they do not deserve mercy. Pack 'em up and ship 'em out boys. The same way they came in.
Have mercy on us.
April 12, 2006
the most vulnerable
Last Sunday, some friends and I were talking about the forced Mexican repatriation in 1930. The response of one father surprised me. He said, "If they've deported U.S. citizens in the past, they could do it again. We should send copies of our children's birth certificates to my mother in Mexico."
Unfortunately, fairly recent events demonstrate that it is more likely that parents would be deported and the children left behind. In a raid on July 26, 2005 in Arkadelphia, AK, nearly 100 children had one or both parents suddenly deported -- some children went for days without knowing what had happened. In another story from 2004, Virginia Feliz was left behind when her mother was deported in April of the previous year. While this is one of the risks that undocumented immigrants live with every day, few prepare a plan, thus leaving the children vulnerable.
As churches and individuals, we need to acknowledge that parents place their families at risk when living here as undocumented immigrants. In the case of deportation, they need to have a plan in place -- so that they are not hastily making arrangements for their children or letting that task fall to Social Services. They also need to be prepared to tell the truth gently to their children in the case of deportation proceedings -- not a "white lie" like Virginia's parents did. Since I could find nothing online that addresses this situation, I've come up with a few steps(mostly advice all parents should follow even if deportation isn't a risk):
1. All parents should have local emergency contacts. This contact should be extremely trustworthy and should be a legal resident or U.S. citizen. Be sure your children's schools and daycare providers have this person's contact information -- and update that information as phone numbers and addresses change.
2. The emergency contact should have documented authorization to seek medical attention for the children and to keep the children in his/her custody until arrangements can be made to relocate the children with the parent or with long-term guardians. Both the emergency contact and long-term guardian(s) should have notarized copies of a form authorizing Temporary Guardianship of a Minor Child. (Click here for a sample form found on the internet).
3. The emergency contact should have complete information on how to contact long-term guardians (as this could be a family member who lives in another state).
4. The emergency contact should have a spare key to the home and know where to find important documents: birth certificates, social security cards; passports; insurance cards; vaccination records; doctor's information; and contact information for family/parents in the home country.
5. Parents may wish to prepare other items such as letters, pictures, recordings, and other items that would bring comfort in case of separation.
6. Conversations regarding a worst-case-scenario should not take place in the children's presence.
7. Think through how to tell the children in a gentle, but truthful way about the situation.
Remember that the reasons for immigration are just as complex as the solutions. Until good solutions are in place, we need to encourage parents to take proactive precautions to provide the best protection for their little ones.
If anyone comes across any helpful information or has additional advice, please email me or post it as a comment.
April 11, 2006
did you enjoy your chicken salad, mr. tancredo?
It was at the Denver Athletic Club in Cherry Creek where Mr. Tancredo made a lunchtime speech expressing his pleasure that he is no longer the "prime mover" on the immigration issue.
Now, I'm sure that NO business in the exclusive Cherry Creek area would even THINK of hiring an undocumented worker, but considering the Denver Athletic Club's sous-chef is a personal friend (and *gasp* an immigrant herself), it sure would be interesting to know if any "criminals" helped prepare Mr. Tancredo's lovely luncheon.
Not that we would say a peep...
April 10, 2006
have we forgotten our proudest moments?
It seems to me that the sum and the whole of the extreme right's argument against immigration reform is "Should we reward lawbreakers?" Few choose to accept responsibility for some of the United States' irresponsible involvements in other countries leading to their instability. Few choose to accept that they hold a double standard: they oppose illegal immigration while being addicted to the goods and services it provides. Few choose to accept that some of history's greatest moments have been created by those violating an unjust law.
One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law. Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 9, 2006
"God and Country" theology
Many prominent evangelical associations are letting their "God and Country" theology cloud their understanding of the current immigration issues we face. In this article, one such organization mocks Sen. Clinton's remarks in particular and admonish that anyone using Scripture must understand the "whole counsel of God." The article then goes on to list many passages to support their anti-immigrant stance. While I certainly agree that we must consider the whole counsel of God, I find it ironic and telling that they don't heed their own admonition. Read just a few of the passages that didn't make it to their list:
"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one, answered Jesus, "is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: "Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him. "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. Mark 12:28-34 (NIV)
For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. Deuteronomy 10:17-21 (NIV)
You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance," declares the Sovereign LORD. Ezekiel 47:22-23 (NIV)
Latino evangelical groups have had a different response.
When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:33-34 (NIV)
The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD. Numbers 15:15 (NIV)
"So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laboters of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 3:5-6 (NIV)
If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. Jeremiah 7:5-8 (NIV)
April 8, 2006
a question of pigment
Forced Mexican repatriation in the 1930s is a little known part of U.S. history. Many of the children forced to leave were actually U.S. citizens. The laws passed then are hauntingly similar to some of the dialogue now.
We must not watch in silence.
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
“What is wrong about thinking about justice for the guy whose wages are being depressed because of the millions of people who are coming in here and willing to take the job for even a lower price?” Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., asked in a Fox News interview recently.
You know those "Made in the USA" or "Certified Organic" product labels? Well, I think Rep. Tancredo should create a new "Certified Legal Labor" label.
Hey, maybe he could even open an entire store... Super Tom-Mart. His slogan could be "Everyday high prices" ...iceberg lettuce $5, pork $10 per pound, 24 crayons $7... You get the idea.
Cheap goods and labor are more addictive than meth.
Check for a pro-immigration event coming to a city near you.
Wear a white shirt and carry an American flag.
April 7, 2006
immigration reform woes
The not-so-well-thought-through compromise ammendment failed today in the Senate. If something better emerges, this is good. But today, I am somewhat disappointed -- as flawed as the compromise was.
Supposedly, no one is for am#@$ty, but I'd say our lifestyles demonstrate we're for cheap goods and services (and the cheap labor that allows for it)-- especially when we get to pay less for our hotel stays, produce, meat, and housing. Too bad we cheapen our integrity in the process.
On to solving this nation's problems... The Senate should craft a compromise bill that would simultaneously approve and appropriate an enforcement first measure WITH A DEADLINE.
So, for instance, the "am#@$ty" provision would kick in as soon as enforcement has been reasonably strengthened OR on April 15, 2007 whichever comes first. For crying out loud. If Ty Pennington can get a 5,000 sq. ft. house built in 7 days, the U.S. should be able to make major changes in enforcement in 1 year. The legalization measure in this compromise should be across the board and tough. And frankly, I don't know any immigrants who disagree. Working under guest worker status for years, learning English and staying out of trouble are reasonable. The third component would be to create fexible visa caps, so that the labor demands can be met.
Such a measure would limit opportunity to the black market and would maximize the success of "getting people out of the shadows."
Granted, there will be flaws in any system, but this would be a compromise that might actually accomplish what it is supposed to do.
April 5, 2006
immigration or politics?
The Senate has taken us on a wild ride this past week and a half. Today there is a glimmer of hope that perhaps something will indeed pass. It is a compromise which would extend opportunities to immigrants depending on how long they've been in the States as of January 2004. For those here 5 or more years, the door will basically be wide open; those here 2-5 years, will have to leave the country temporarily and then can return as temporary workers with a chance for permanent legal status; those here less than 2 years will have to leave the country and may or may not have a chance at returning legally.
Will it work? In the sense of getting the Senate moving again, perhaps. But in reality, I highly doubt it. If you think document fraud is an issue now, wait 'til you see the market for false documents to prove one has lived in the country for the last 5 years. Even the folks who arrive after it passes will be able to obtain papers "proving" they've been here more than 5 years. The only ones who will have a tough time with this are those who arrived with a legal visa, but have overstayed it. In that case, the dates are on their expired documents. Great. Punish those who actually entered legally.
So let's fast-forward a couple chapters. The Senate will pass a compromise piece of legislation and will go home to their constituents boasting of their fight for tough reform. The immigrants and labor communities will be thrilled, and rightfully so. The black market will make a quick and painless switch from selling fake driver's licenses, Social Security numbers and the like to selling fake rental records, employment records, church membership records, income statments, etc.
Can someone please tell me why the Senate is setting up the black market to collect tolls on the path to legalization? I realize I sound harsh, but this sort of falsifying happened back in '86. And we've no reason to think it won't happen again.
A week and a half ago we had a good piece of legislation come out of the Judiciary Committee. Now it is deteriorating into a compromise that is just symbolic and pointless. If they pass it, the Senate's pride will be shortlived and they will once again be shocked at their lack of foresight.
But this really isn't about immigrants after all, is it.
April 4, 2006
Yesterday, Sen. Dick Durban of Illinois made some interesting observations in the immigration debate. He expressed concern over the lack of doctors, surgeons and healthcare workers in the Congo and other African countries. His argument was that because of the vast need for these workers in their own countries, we must be careful not to lure these skilled professionals with U.S. jobs. I'm not implying that I agree with all of Sen. Durbin's views, but he makes a good point -- because the exodus of skilled workers creates a void in struggling nations.
I think his observation probably applies to clergy, engineers, educators and other professionals as well. What can we do to avoid contributing to this crisis? We could raise up skilled professionals who already live in the U.S., help provide professional training in other countries, evaluate the needs of the other country when contemplating recruitment, etc
There are a many humanitarian and faith groups that build hospitals, clinics, churches and schools, or that actually go on medical or dental service trips, mission trips, etc. As wonderful as these tangible efforts are, perhaps we could also make less tangible investments such as sponsoring students as they study a profession in their homeland. The well-known saying is true, "give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you'll feed him for a lifetime."
Current immigration policy could be well on its way to tremendous change as early as this Friday. That might mean that the legal process of bringing in skilled professionals would be easier and more efficient.
But is it always responsible?
April 3, 2006
receiving immigrants with dignity
Although I am in favor of Comprehensive Immigration Reform, last Friday, I suggested that immigration rates will not decline in the long run until the immigrant's homelands are more stable politically and economically. I think history bears this out. Consider the following excerpts about European immigration to Brazil and Argentina:
Dom Pedro II, the ruling Brazilian monarch, was a learned and cosmopolitan man, who abhorred slavery (it was abolished by an imperial decree in 1888) and who thought that Brazil would only achieve progress by bringing in more European immigrants. He thus strongly encouraged immigration from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Middle East, Russia and other regions and countries which were exporting lots of their own people to the New World from 1860 on, due to the accumulation of political and economical crises in Europe. (emphasis not in original) At the same time, Brazil's economy, which was eminently agrarian (coffee, cotton, tobacco, rubber and sugar cane being the main crops) at the time, needed able laborers once slavery of black people was stopped. (Source)
The majority of immigrants, since the 19th century, came from Europe, mostly from Spain and Italy, but with a substantial influx of British and Germans. Also notable were Jewish immigrants escaping persecution. (emphasis not in original) Between 1860 and 1930, newcomers from Spain and Italy countries accounted for 80% of the total immigration.  The total population of Argentina rose from 4 million in 1895 to 7.9 million in 1914, and to 15.8 million in 1947; during this time the country was settled by 1.5 million Italians and 1.4 million Spaniards, as well as Poles, Russians, French (more than 100,000 each), Germans, Portuguese, Yugoslavians, Czechs, British, and people from many other countries. (Source)
My hope for our immigrant's is that their homelands will stabilize soon. In the meantime, let's receive our immigrants with all the dignity and respect they deserve as humankind.
"Call forth the Militia"
Excerpt from an email received today from Colorado State Representative Jim Welker:
Illegal immigration continues to be a very big thing for the citizens of our state and nation. The work in Washington D.C ., by Congress to actually do something about this very serious problem is causing tens of thousands of people to protest in cities all over the nation that they do not want to see any changes.
"Section 8 or our U.S . Constitution says "Congress is to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions ." I say that 10,000 people coming across our southern border every night, 42% being from countries other than Mexico, to be an invasion.
All elected officials, the executive branch and judges swear to uphold the U.S. Constitution. I recommend that all of these officials to get their U.S.Constitution out, read it, and then apply it to their public actions. We need to"do whatever it takes" to protect our southern border immediately!!!"
Before we all go running for our nearest copy of the U.S. Constitution, let us first reach for Webster's:
Main Entry: in·va·sionNow, I assume that Mr. Welker would apply the second option "the incoming or spread of something usually hurtful" to the current immigration situation and that is precisely where I differ with him. I don't think immigration is "usually hurtful", but he certainly does and wants to send a militia (would that be the Minute Men, Mr. Welker?) after hardworking men and women which would have the end result of dividing families and terrifying children.
Etymology: Middle English invasioune, from Middle French invasion, from Late Latin invasion-, invasio, from Latin invadere to invade
1 : an act of invading; especially : incursion of an army for conquest or plunder
2 : the incoming or spread of something usually hurtful
As for Welker's assertion that the tens of thousands of people are protesting in cities all over the nation because "they do not want to see any changes." He is wrong again. Mr. Welker, I protested in Denver for two reasons: 1) Pastors, priests, teachers and humanitarian workers should not be classified as felons along with human smugglers, murderers, drug dealers and the like and 2) Surprise, surprise I want to see immigration laws change! But whatever change occurs must be moral and just!
So enough with the sweeping generalizations. If we are to truly have a voice in the immigration debate, we must strive to have a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved.
Update: On April 8th, Rep. Welker announced that he will not seek re-election in the fall. His business has also come under federal investigation for invasion of privacy.
April 1, 2006
Since Sunday is a day of rest, I'm giving the whole immigration debate a rest... and writing about salsa. The food, not the dance.
Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the park with friends eating the first carne asada of the season. Made me want to spend a day making salsa and inviting friends to salsa bar night at our house.
Here is one of our favorites.
Eva's I-can-find-the-ingredients-anywhere-in-the-country Salsa
(This makes a lot, so reduce by half if necessary. Will last a few days... leftovers can be frozen in ice cube trays and then added to a roast or soup to add depth of flavor.)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
half a bunch of cilantro
jalepenos (4 jalepenos usually make this recipe pretty spicy)
salt (1/2 to 1 tsp)
WARNING: Jalepenos, like fruit can vary in flavor intensity. The hottest peppers have teeny cracks all over their skin and roasting, grilling or charring intensifies the heat. When adding peppers to a recipe add one at a time just in case you buy some that are extra hot.
1. Prep veggies by washing, trimming, and peeling the onion and garlic.
2. Char the onion, garlic and jalepenos in a comal (cast iron griddle) or under the broiler (if under broiler, line pan with aluminum foil to save yourself a cleaning headache).
3. Pour tomatoes into blender and give it a quick whirl to chop any big pieces.
4. Pour 2/3 of the tomatoes into a mixing bowl.
5. When the jalepenos, onions and garlic are charred, place into blender and puree.
6. Add and blend salt into mixture.
7. Add cilantro and blend.
8. Add mixture in with tomatoes and stir together by hand (this keeps the salsa more red than brown in color and provides better texture.)
If you like a chunky salsa, Use a 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes and a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes. Drain the liquid off the diced tomatoes. Only use the crushed tomatoes in the blender. I still suggest blending the jalepenos and garlic into the tomatoes (so you don't get chile all over your fingers and practically go blind when removing contacts), but you could use a food processor to chop the onions and cilantro, then hand stir all ingredients together.
we just don't get it
This is a picture I took at Denver's Rally to protest HR 4437 on March 25. There has been a lot of backlash about the quantity of Mexican flags at the Denver rally, and others nationwide.
The thing is that mainstream America makes all sorts of associations when they see a flag... nationality, patriotism, form of government, etc. Some even feel threatened and call it an invasion, an insult, a conspiracy. But while Mexican immigrants dearly love their land and culture I can't think of any who love the Mexican government. But we just don't get that. The U.S. government has been stable for 200 years. Mexico has not enjoyed such stability.
That being said, a political protest is meant to send a message, but the flags are getting in the way.
If you plan to march on April 10, "National Day of Action," bring plenty of water, wear good shoes and don't forget the red, white and blue.