Saying “the time for waiting is over,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez announced his comprehensive immigration reform bill, “the product of months of collaboration with civil rights advocates, labor organizations, and members of Congress.”
Tag: Congress and immigration
On the day that President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway, pro-immigration activists in New York were ready to remind him of what they consider a human rights crisis in the United States: the condition in which thousands of immigrants are detained throughout the nation.
Activists gathered Wednesday night at house parties across the country in a day of action for comprehensive immigration reform organized by the Reform Immigration for America campaign.
Organizations working for comprehensive immigration reform welcomed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s statement on Friday that Congress needs to move forward with an immigration overhaul early in 2010.
The Obama administration will push for immigration reform in Congress once Democrats are certain they have enough votes to pass it, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday in Washington.
According to the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión, Salazar attended an event organized by the National Association of Hispanic Publications, where he said the reform bill “will be introduced when there is certainty as to the availability of the necessary votes for it to be approved,” reporter Antonieta Cádiz wrote.
With immigration becoming an increasingly controversial issue and the Democrats’ health care reform plan about to reach the Senate floor for a contentious debate, the statement would seem to place some doubt on when (or even whether) the administration-backed bill being prepared by Sen. Charles Schumer will actually be introduced.
At the same time, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D- Illinios), who’s authoring a bill of his own to be introduced in the House, warned Tuesday that there will be a short window for immigration reform to be debated –and eventually passed– after the approval of the health care bill and before the start of campaigning for the 2010 Congressional election.
Almost two months after the deadline Sen. Charles Schumer had set for himself to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill on behalf of the Obama Administration, a congressman from New York called on the president to go forward with that initiative.
During a conference call Friday with immigration reform advocates, Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley, who represents parts of Queens and The Bronx, “stressed the urgency for action on a comprehensive solution to our dysfunctional immigration system,” according to a press release from the New York Immigration Coalition.
“We need to maintain the momentum for comprehensive immigration reform, and I’m glad that we have advocates for reform who are willing to fight for what is best for our nation,” Crowley said, according to the statement.
While Schumer missed his own deadline for introducing a reform bill in the Senate, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) has announced he will soon introduce his own initiative in the House. The bills differ greatly, since the senator’s focuses on a slew of enforcement measures and “a crackdown on illegal immigration,” while Gutierrez’s stresses legalization for undocumented immigrants, family unity and humane enforcement.
The fight is not over in the Senate over Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter’s proposal to amend the 2010 Census forms to add a question on citizenship. In a demonstration of what the argument is really about, groups on all sides of the immigration debate are urging their constituencies to press senators on the measure.
The amendment, which Vitter defends as a way of fairly apportioning Congressional representation to states, has not been voted on yet and it’s not clear if it will be. It would be added to a budget bill for fiscal year 2010 for the departments of Commerce, Justice and some federal programs.
Vitter has been accused by Latino congressmen and pro-immigration advocates of trying to politicize the census and of not-so-subtly playing to the conservative base on the highly controversial issue of immigration. Whether that was his goal or not, it has clearly been achieved.
Fear is the emotion most commonly associated with undocumented immigrants living in the United States today. Fear of being discovered during a routine traffic stop or a worksite raid. Fear of being deported and separated from one’s family.
But it turns out that fear is only one part of a complex emotional landscape that immigrants without legal status confront in their daily lives. A recent study of undocumented immigrants from El Salvador and Guatemala found that many “linked the current threats to their families posed by deportation to a history of conflict and terror in their countries of origin.” In other words, they escaped the war at home only to relive their war-related anxieties in the U.S.
The study by the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College, also discovered that the undocumented immigrants it surveyed reported symptoms including anxiety, weight loss and difficulty sleeping. Their children often had trouble keeping up in school and developing language skills.
The Boston College study is notable, not just for it’s troubling conclusions, but for its place in a large and growing movement by academic researchers. Studying undocumented immigrants — who according to most estimates number around 12-million in the U.S. – has become its own academic specialty.
The interest among researchers was highlighted last weekend as hundreds of professors and students from across the country met on the campus of Connecticut College in New London, Ct. for a conference called Undocumented Hispanic Migration: On the Margins of a Dream. (more…)
After the Census Bureau said his initiative would prevent the 2010 Census from being completed on time, Sen. David Vitter (R.-La.) has partially backtracked on his proposal that the Census questionnaire inquire about each person’s immigration status.
“Vitter agreed to drop language that would require the census short form to ask every person about their immigration status,” Nola.com’s Jonathan Tilove reported on Thursday. The senator now wants the form to ask about respondents’ citizenship instead, said another Louisiana news site.
The senator’s shift came after the Census Bureau said that it was basically too late to make any changes, because most of the forms had already been printed, and adding questions would cost hundreds of millions of dollars for additional training for workers and software programming.
At four o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, a handful of people gathered on the corner of St. Nicholas Ave. and Linden Street in Brooklyn, waiting for the van to arrive. The morning cold did little to temper the group’s enthusiasm as they were getting ready to head to Washington D.C. for an immigration reform march.
Nicolas Zambrano remembered the last time he made the trip two years ago. There were more people back then, filling up several buses. The economic crisis, he believes, had some impact on Tuesday’s turnout. Not everyone could afford the ticket.
Under the slogan of “family unity,” the event in Washington D.C. brought together some 3,000 people, including religious leaders, community organizers and immigrants who shared their stories about families separated by deportations. American citizens spoke about their fathers or wives being sent back to their home countries while they remained in the United States.
Listen to the story of Peter Derezinski, an activist with Chicago’s Polish Initiative, whose father was deported (English with Spanish translation):