Monday, July 19, 2010

Immigration News Roundup - 7/19/2010

1. MARK YOUR CALENDARS: July 28 Children's March on the White House: On July 28th, Familia Latina Unida will join with organizations and families across the nation to bring 500 U.S. citizen children and young people to the White House. Marchers will gather in front of the White House at 4 P.M. on Wednesday, July 28th and then proceed to a nearby church (not sure which one but will post more information when I find out) for a town hall meeting at 7:00 P.M. to which they are inviting President Obama and his family.

2. New Immigration Detention Facility to Open in Virginia: In spite of protests last year from immigrant rights activists, the new private detention facility -- the largest in the mid-Atlantic region, is slated to open soon in Farmville, Virginia. The $21 million center will house up to 584 immigrant detainees when it opens its doors. Over the next year, it might grow to hold 1,000 prisoners, most of them tagged by the Secure Communities program. Last month, Virginia became the second state, after Delaware, to implement the program statewide, requiring jails and prisons to screen prisoners by immigration status and check their fingerprints against the country's immigration database. Farmville itself is largely united in support of the detention center, which is expected to bring 300 jobs to the community. "They have to send these people somewhere," said Mayor Sydnor C. Newman Jr. "Thank God they chose Farmville." 300 jobs...30 pieces of silver...

3. More illegal immigrants dying in the desert heat: More and more undocumented immigrants crossing in to the U.S. from Mexico are dying from heat-related illnesses in the scorching Arizona desert. This July could be the deadliest month ever recorded, beating out 68 in July of 2005. Pima County Medical Examiner Dr. Bruce Parks says 40 undocumented immigrants have been brought to his office since July 1. The office that handles the bodies is using a refrigerated truck to store some of them. Parks says his office is currently storing about 250 bodies and had to start using the refrigerated truck because of the increase in immigrant deaths this month. The office has handled the bodies of 134 undocumented immigrants from Jan. 1 to July 15, up from 93 at the same time last year and 102 in 2008. Many of the bodies appear to be coming from the desert southwest of Tucson, where it tends to be hotter than eastern parts of the border or the Tucson metro area. Authorities believe the high number of deaths may be due to an ongoing tighter border security that pushes immigrants to more remote, rugged and dangerous terrain...

4. Conservative Evangelicals Backing Immigration Reform: An interesting article in yesterday's New York Times talks about how heavyweight evangelical leaders are supporting President Obama on immigration reform even as they disagree with him on just about everything else. Why? “Hispanics are religious, family-oriented, pro-life, entrepreneurial,” said the Rev. Richard D. Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm. “They are hard-wired social conservatives, unless they’re driven away. “I’ve had some older conservative leaders say: ‘Richard, stop this. You’re going to split the conservative coalition,’ ” Dr. Land continued. “I say it might split the old conservative coalition, but it won’t split the new one. And if the new one is going to be a governing coalition, it’s going to have to have a lot of Hispanics in it. And you don’t get a lot of Hispanics in your coalition by engaging in anti-Hispanic anti-immigration rhetoric.”...About 70 percent of Hispanics in the United States are Catholic, but some 15 percent are evangelicals, and they are far more likely than the Catholics to identify themselves as conservative and Republican.

5. Va. AG joins 8 other states backing Arizona immigration law: And speaking of Republicans, to those of us who know the man's track record it should come as no surprise that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has joined with attorneys general from eight other states in a legal brief supporting Arizona's controversial new immigration law. Other state prosecutors who joined the brief include those from Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. All are Republicans. Surprise, surprise...NOT!

6. 106 Year Old Woman Becomes U.S. Citizen: We'll end this roundup with a lovely story that proves that you are never too old to become an American citizen. Ignacia Moya (106) of Mexico, who has been a legal permanent resident of Chicago for many years, became a U.S. citizen today with the assistance of Rep. Luis Gutierrez who helped her waive the English language requirement (Note: this is not really a special exception; elderly applicants and persons with doctor-certified disabilities can get waivers). Gutierrez was present as Moya took her oath. ¡Bienvenida, Doña Ignacia!

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