Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Immigration News Roundup - September 15, 2009

1. Astronaut Speaks Up for Undocumented Immigrants: Spaceman Jose Hernandez said Monday the United States needs to legalize its undocumented immigrants — a rare, public stand for a U.S. astronaut on a political, hot-button issue...During a telephone interview with Mexico's Televisa network, Hernandez pushed for U.S. immigration reform — a key issue for Mexico that has been stalled in Washington amid fierce debate. "The American economy needs them," said Hernandez, 47, a California native who toiled in the cucumber, sugar beet and tomato fields alongside his Mexican-born parents. "I believe it's only fair to find a way to legalize them and give them an opportunity to work openly, so they can also retire in a traditional U.S. system."

2. Number of Immigrants Applying for U.S. Citizenship Is Down 62%, Study Finds: The number of immigrants applying to become U.S. citizens plunged 62 percent last year as the cost of naturalization rose and the economy soured, according to an analysis released Friday by the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy organization. Because of this drop in applications, the Associated Press reports that Citizenship and Immigration Services is expecting to come up about $282 million short of the $2.33 billion in fees it predicted it would collect in this fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

3. Health Care Reform and Undocumented Immigrants: Following the dust-up over Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) accusing President Obama of lying about health care for undocumented immigrants, Senator Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who is leading bipartisan negotiations on health care legislation, on Monday said he would include in his bill a proposal by the Obama White House to bar illegal immigrants from buying health coverage through a new insurance marketplace, or exchange, even if the illegal immigrants were willing and able to pay the full cost. Meanwhile, seizing this golden opportunity to get their point across, the anti-immigrant American Council for Immigration Reform released a new national poll they commissioned of 1,000 likely voters showing that "78% of Americans believe that high immigration levels have had an adverse impact on the quality and cost of our health care system."

4. Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2009: The Washington Post reports that the war of words between pro- and anti-immigrant groups is escalating as these two issues -- health care and immigration -- collide. On the tail of the anti-Obama crowd that invaded our capitol last weekend, 47 conservative radio talk show hosts are starting a 48-hour Hold Their Feet to the Fire 2009 Radio-thon. Broadcasting from the luxurious Phoenix Park Hotel (520 North Capitol Street, N.W. Washington, D.C.), to "remind Congress and the new administration that rampant
illegal immigration, efforts to grant amnesty, and taxpayer subsidized health care benefits to millions of law-breakers are hot button issues for the American public." The event is being organized by another major anti-immigrant group, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

5. Justice For Immigrants Philadelphia Regional Meeting: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 3:00 PM - Friday, October 9, 2009 12:00 PM at the Malvern Retreat House in Malvern, PA. Conference includes Mass celebrated by Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia. Click here for details and to register.

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