Immigration

Undocumented or Illegal?

Photo: Juan Camilo Bernal / Shutterstock.com

Photo: Juan Camilo Bernal / Shutterstock.com

When people who have immigrated to another country through methods other than the official legal system are discussed, we hear quite a few words bandied about: “illegal,” “undocumented,” and “alien” just to name a few. The terms are often used interchangeably, but are these terms interchangeable? On NPR’s, Tell Me More, Professor Kevin Johnson, Dean of the law school at the University of California at Davis says no.

“I fear that ‘illegal immigrant’—the term—is a loaded term. It is not as loaded as some of its predecessors like ‘illegal alien’ or ‘wetback,’ but it still is a loaded term,” says Johnson.

Race the Driving Factor Behind Arizona’s SB 1070?

E-mails from former Sen. Russell Pearce purportedly reveal the motivations behind SB 1070, claims the ACLU:

"The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona has released thousands of e-mails that it says proves Arizona's controversial immigration law was racially motivated.

The e-mails, acquired through a public records request to the state Legislature, are to and from former senator Russell Pearce, who authored Senate Bill 1070."

Read the full story HERE.

How Do You Call the Cops on the Cops? Sobering Accounts of Abuse by Border Patrol

Via PBS's "Need to Know."

Sexual assault survivor (name withheld) recounts her alleged attack by a Border Patrol officer. Via PBS's "Need to Know."

What would you do if you were offering a voluntary service, like medical or pastoral care to a vulnerable population, and the clients repeatedly spoke of abuses by a specific perpetrator? You would be a “mandated reporter,” which for the caring professions means you must report certain cases of abuse to authorities. But then you find out that federal employees—law enforcement, in fact—are committing the atrocities. How do you call the cops on the cops?

This was my dilemma as I started working on the Mexico-side of the Sonora-Arizona border washing blistered feet and bandaging wounds of migrants who were just repatriated back to Mexico. 

We set up the Nogales Migrant Aid Station to provide basic care to upwards of 1,200 deported people each day. But we did not expect that human rights documentation would become the most pressing part of that work. With each Homeland Security busload of migrants being released from Border Patrol custody, we listened and then documented case after case of abuse. 

The abuse involved cussing and yelling, being pushed into barbed wire fencing, sexual assault, denial of life-saving medical care, denial of adequate food and water to children and the list continues. 

Arizona “Papers Please” Law Faces New Challenge

Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber at the American Music Awards, 2011.

Last month, the Supreme Court struck down three of the four provisions of SB 1070, Arizona’s harsh anti-immigrant law. Now civil rights groups are going after the remaining provision—what many call, the “show me your papers” or “papers please” clause.

Of concern to these groups, along with many leaders in the faith community, is that the law will lead to people being targeted by law enforcement solely because of their race. As Luis Gutierrez (D – Ill.) explains:

"For our young C-SPAN [viewers]: Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez … have overcome their very different national origins and became apparently a happy couple. I’m sure Justin helped Gomez learn all about American customs and feel more at home in her adopted country.

"Oh wait a minute, I’m sorry," he continued. "Because I’m not a trained Arizona official, I somehow got that backwards. Actually, Ms. Gomez, of Texas, has helped Mr. Bieber, of Canada, learn all about his adopted country. Justin, when you perform in Phoenix, remember to bring your papers."

Immigration: Local v. Federal Battle Still Raging

Despite the recent Supreme Court ruling on Arizona's immigration laws, the battle between legislators at the local and federal level is still raging, writes Adam Sorensen for Time:

"Last Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a press conference to announce that he didn’t want his city’s law-enforcement authorities to follow federal requests to hold some undocumented immigrants, picked up on other charges, for deportation. The national media’s ears perked up. Emanuel, a former Chief of Staff to President Obama, was at loggerheads with his old boss — good copy in the making. But on the same day, back in Washington, D.C., much bigger news was developing on the future of federal and local cooperation on immigration policy. John Morton, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told a House subcommittee that his efforts to persuade officials to honor any of ICE’s detention requests in the jurisdiction of Cook County, which includes Chicago, had hit a wall. 'I won’t sugarcoat it,' he said. 'I don’t think that approach is going to work in full.'”

Read more here

DREAMers: Not So Different From Me

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

National Immigrant Youth Alliance Protest on June 26. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Spending time with family last week caused me to reflect on what it means to be an American and what it means to be family. I spent the evening of July 4th back home with family, half of whom are not U.S. citizens. We watched fireworks blast off above the Allegheny River in the hills of northwestern Pennsylvania—the place I grew up, and the place I will always call home. 

But my life story actually begins in a country outside of the United States.  

When I was a very young child, my parents decided a better future would likely be afforded for me in the U.S. Before an age when I could comprehend the situation and without my given consent, I was brought across the border into the United States.  

I am a foreign-born, U.S. citizen who was adopted as an infant. 

 

The U.S. Supreme Court: Health Care, Immigration, Juvenile Justice and More

Jim Wallis

Jim Wallis

Today, in a long and complicated ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. This is an important victory for millions of uninsured people in our country and ultimately a triumph of the common good. Children, young adults, and families will have access to basic health care, adding security and stability to their lives.

While I believe the decision is reason to celebrate, it doesn’t mean that this legislation is somehow the flawless will of God; it is an important step in expanding health care coverage and reducing long term costs, but it still is not perfect and more work is yet to be done.

Many Christian organizations and people of faith were involved in advocating for expanded insurance coverage, specifically for low-income and vulnerable people. And that’s what we can never forget: our involvement in the world of politics is always based in and motivated by the way that it affects the lives of real people, and especially poor people.

This last week, I’ve watched the endless political pre-coverage of the Supreme Court decision, and I was struck first by the poor quality of the questions being asked. Now that the decision has been made, the pontification is just as bad. We need to be focused on those who are left out and left behind, not who is up or down in politics and the polls.

But It’s a Dry Hate: The Human Spirit of Arizona Will Not Be Broken

Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images

Protesters opposed to Arizona's Immigration Law SB 1070 rally for immigrant rights. Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images

Even at 10 p.m., the dry heat caused the collapse of multiple people of faith gathered in a candlelight vigil outside Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s infamous tent city jail on Saturday evening. Earlier in the day, nearly 120 miles due south of Phoenix, the bodies of three immigrants who died of heat stroke were found. In one of those cases of tragic death, the man who collapsed was Guatemalan and his pregnant wife sat by his side.

Arizona continues to lead the way in the border humanitarian crisis and with immigrant rights violations. As a humanitarian, ally, and advocate, I came to the migrant justice movement with the belief that the U.S. immigration system and border policies were merely broken, but I am convinced now that these violations of human dignity are the symptoms of systemic racism targeted at immigrants.

The system is not broken, it is meant to break people.

The Politics of Immigration

 Ivone Guillen / Sojourners

Outside the Supreme Court as SB 1070 decision handed down, Ivone Guillen / Sojourners

Both sides have been spinning and claiming victory in Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s now infamous immigration legislation SB 1070. Not surprisingly the Court ruled on the side of federal supremacy, striking down three out of four measures in the Arizona legislation, but upholding the right of local law enforcement to demand “papers” if they believe someone is undocumented.

Since the 2008 failure to move comprehensive immigration reform and last year’s disappointment on the Dream Act, the immigration reform movement has had trouble getting any “air-time” in a country that is rightfully concerned about financial recession. However, the 2012 election and a strategically placed Hispanic electorate in key swing states has candidates talking about immigration anew since the GOP primaries.

There has for some time been a larger strategy at play here that I will bluntly call “evil.” 

Pages

Subscribe