Friday, September 3, 2010

Immigration News Roundup - 9/3/2010

1. Leaving Water for Border Crossers Found Legal: Something to cheer about... A federal appeals court on Thursday overturned the littering conviction of an Arizona activist who left gallon-size bottles of water for illegal immigrants crossing into the United States through a desert wildlife preserve. Daniel Millis of had been convicted of violating a statute prohibiting the dumping of garbage in an area designated as a refuge for endangered species. In a 2-1 ruling, judges of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said water didn't meet the definition of waste. They also took note of Millis' practice of removing empty water bottles he found while on his missions to avert dehydration deaths in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. In response to today’s ruling Millis stated: “I continue to be saddened by the ongoing tragedy along the border; but I am pleased and relieved that the Court has finally made clear that humanitarian aid is never a crime.”

Meanwhile, migrants tell the Associated Press that the dangerous journey to el norte is still worthwhile.

2. Number of Undocumented in U.S. Drops: A deep recession and tougher border enforcement have led to a sharp decline in the number of immigrants entering the United States illegally in the past five years, contributing to the first significant reversal in the growth of their numbers in two decades, according to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center. The number of illegal immigrants entering the United States plunged by almost two-thirds between 2005 and 2009, a dramatic shift after years of growth in the population, according to the report.

3. Immigrants are Assimilating More: A new study by the Center for American Progress shows that immigrants to the U.S. are assimilating at high rates, most notably by becoming citizens and homeowners in the first 18 years of residency. Among the findings:
  • Only 9.3 percent of Latinos who were recently arrived owned homes in 1990, but the number surged to 58 percent by 2008.
  • High school completion and earnings also are rising. The share of foreign-born men earning above low income, for example, rose since 1990 from 35 percent, when they were recently arrived, to 66 percent in 2008, when they were longer settled.
  • Immigrant children — especially among Latinos — have higher rates of attainment in education and occupation than adult immigrants, who have less access to education as newly-arrived workers.

4. Fighting Back Against Copycat Immigration Laws Like Arizona’s: The Center for American Progress has also published a collection of resources and talking points for fighting back against anti-immigrant legislation at the state and local level. This resource comes at a critical moment given that candidates for governor in 20 states have endorsed anti-immigrant laws. States include Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Massachusetts, Colorado, Wisconsin and Nebraska among others. Word to the hermanos and hermanas: REGISTER ...and VOTE in November...por favor.

5. And speaking of Arizona...: Three important news stories emerging...

a) Brewer Linked To Private Prisons Housing Illegal Immigrants: Arizona TV station KPHO reports today that
Gov. Jan Brewer’s campaign chairman and policy adviser is also a lobbyist for the largest private prison company in the country. Chuck Coughlin is one of two people in the Brewer administration with ties to Corrections Corporation of America. The other administration member is communications director Paul Senseman, a former CCA lobbyist. His wife still lobbies for the company...

b) U.S. files new suit on Ariz. immigration issue: The Justice Department filed another lawsuit against immigration practices by Arizona authorities, saying Monday that a network of community colleges acted illegally in requiring noncitizens to provide their green cards before they could be hired for jobs... In Monday's lawsuit, Justice officials said the colleges discriminated against nearly 250 noncitizen job applicants by mandating that they fill out more documents than required by law to prove their eligibility to work. That violated the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, the department said.

c) Feds file suit against Maricopa County's infamous sheriff Joe Arpaio: Attorneys for the U.S Justice Department sued Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday, saying he refused to provide them with documents they want for their civil-rights inquiry. The lawsuit, filed in federal court, says the Justice Department began a preliminary inquiry into the Sheriff's Office in 2008 over allegations that employees "engaged in a pattern or practice of discriminatory law-enforcement conduct," both on the streets and in the jails.

6. Latinos Blame Both Parties On Immigration Reform: More than a third of Latino voters blame both parties in Congress for not trying hard enough to pass immigration reform, and Latino enthusiasm for voting in this year's mid-term elections is down, a new poll shows. Those findings of an election-year tracking poll by Latino Decisions -- released this week and to be updated weekly -- underscore Latino voter dismay over the lack of progress on immigration, an issue that ranks second in importance to them, behind the economy, says one analyst. "They are frustrated with both parties, and it would appear from the goings-on in D.C. that they are right - both parties are ignoring or avoiding the issue," said Matt Barreto, director of the poll and a political science professor at the University of Washington, Seattle. The telephone poll of Latino registered voters in 21 states -- which comprised 94% of the Latino electorate in '08 -- was conducted from Aug. 13 to Aug. 26, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5%.

7. Maryland Episcopal Bishops Issue Pastoral Letter on Immigration: The bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland have issued a pastoral letter addressing the need for comprehensive immigration reform. The Sept. 2 letter, titled Welcoming the Stranger, is intended to be posted or read in Episcopal congregations in Maryland "to remind all of us of the biblical values and imperatives that should guide our treatment of newcomers and sojourners," the bishops say. In a summary of the formal document, the bishops said, "In a world on the move, we need to learn to welcome the stranger, to embrace the 'other.' The moral principles of the Episcopal faith lead us to value every individual, to value family ties and seek to preserve families, and to cry out for justice for all people."

8. 72 Migrants Massacred in Northern Mexico: Last year we reported on the attacks by the Zetas against defenseless migrants. Last week, Mexican authorities discovered the bodies of 72 migrants from Central and South America who were kidnapped on their way to the United States and brutally shot and left to die in a remote, abandoned ranch near a small town in northeastern Mexico. Eighteen-year-old Luis Freddy Lala Pomavilla, one of two survivors of the massacre who managed to escape and lead authorities to the crime scene, claims that he and his fellow U.S.-bound migrants were kidnapped by the Zetas drug cartel and told they would either have to pay a ransom or work as drug couriers and hit men. When most refused, they were reportedly "blindfolded, ordered to lie down and shot." The police officer who was investigating the deaths has also been killed.

Mexico's Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera issued a statement condemning the massacre and calling for immigration reform in Mexico: "It is further evidence of the social disorder and loss of respect for fundamental values present in some parts of the shows the absence of a comprehensive immigration policy in Mexico that is coherent with the requirements of human mobility in view of a humane treatment of immigrants, as Mexico has required of the United States."

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