Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is one of the key figures in the political wrangle over whether undocumented immigrants in the USA will be legalized or deported. He's also the recipient of over $100,000 in campaign contributions from the private prison industry, whose profits would skyrocket if his push for prison for all those people is successful.
Chuck Schumer is the lead Senate Democrat working on immigration reform--he gets to decide whether millions of undocumented immigrants will be imprisoned or legalized. Yet he’s also taken over $100,000 in campaign contributions from the private prison industry. Is it any surprise he’s pushing for billions more dollars spent on increased enforcement and detention of immigrants?
We can’t trust Sen. Schumer to push for fair legislation when he’s accepting money from private prison companies that have a strong interest in jailing as many immigrants as possible. How much of an interest? The two corporations from which Sen. Schumer took money, GEO Group and CCA, made $296.9 million in profits from the jailing of immigrants last year.
Tell Sen. Schumer to return this money immediately.
If 15,000 people sign, we'll personally deliver your petitions to Sen. Schumer and demand a response.
Paul sez, "Man is illegally detained at an internal border patrol checkpoint in New Mexico for nearly a half hour, not being allowed to leave and at first told that he wasn't being detained until the border patrol eventually told him he was being detained for unspecified reasons. He recorded the entire exchange on video, and spends most of the time asking when he is free to go. Eventually the patrol gives up and allows him to leave, but not before making threatening gestures, warning him that New Mexico police were on their way, and accusing him of criminally blocking traffic when he was asking to leave and wasn't given permission."
Princeton's alumni magazine has an excellent profile of Douglas Massey, Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs and director of Princeton’s Office of Population Research. Massey studies patterns of US migration, particularly illegal immigration from Mexico. His research is the only rigorous census of Mexican-American illegal immigration flows, and its conclusions are that the US perception of Mexican migration is completely backwards, and that the major immigration problems are the result of bad policy, not changes in volume:
The MMP’s reports are freely available to anyone through its website, http://mmp.opr.princeton.edu. But statistics can be sterile things. Get Massey going, and one gets an earful about the true state of affairs along the border. To wit:
* We are not being flooded with illegal Mexican migrants. The total number of migrants from Mexico has varied very little since the 1950s. The massive influx many have written about never happened.
* Net illegal migration has stopped almost completely.
* Illegal migration has not stopped because of stricter border enforcement, which Massey characterizes as a waste of money at best and counterproductive at worst.
* There are indeed more undocumented Mexicans living in the United States than there were 20 years ago, but that is because fewer migrants are returning home — not because more are sneaking into the country.
* And the reason that fewer Mexican citizens are returning home is because we have stepped up border enforcement so dramatically.
Mull over that last point for a minute. If Congress had done nothing to secure the border over the last two decades — if it had just left the border alone — there might be as many as 2 million fewer Mexicans living in the United States today, Massey believes.
The UK Home Secretary has announced changes to the "Life in the UK" immigrant test. Instead of containing information on human rights, the nature of the political structure of the UK and the EU, and who has the legitimate right to access benefits, the test will focus on useful things that everyone in Britain really cares about: Shakespeare, Christianity, the Duke of Wellington and the Battle of Trafalgar.
I sat this test before I established my UK residence (I later became a citizen) and a large part of it is about UK culture: the history of women's suffrage, the law and norms around childrearing and work and tax, and more. Much of it is a bit tedious. Is it necessary to be able to rattle off the number of seats in each regional assembly? The multiple choice answers for Scotland were something like: a) 131, b) 130, c) 120, d, 100 -- surely knowing the number plus or minus 20 percent is enough for daily life. The legendary difficulty of the test is largely down to this sort of fine-grained multiple choice answers; it's important to know that women got the universal franchise in the late 1920s and the tradition is firmly established in the UK, but being able to name the exact year is beside the point, something that the test-designers clearly missed.
Being able to name the plays of Shakespeare, or the dates of Trafalgar are also beside the point. As a naturalised immigrant, I'm here to tell you that this sort of thing is an ocean away from the sort of knowledge that one needs to become a part of UK society. It'd be far more useful, for example, to teach us that when you turn on the BBC's "Today in Parliament" and hear the back-benchers braying a kind of well-bred, adenoidal "hnnneagh, hnnneagh" that this is the way what antique posh people say "hear, hear!" and not some kind of mass-poisoning.
Tennessee and Arizona have been locked in a race to see which state can past the worst, most invasive, least constitutional anti-woman and racist legislation. In case you've lost track of which state is winning the race to the bottom, Skepchick provides a helpful scorecard. Arizona makes a strong showing, but I think that, for the moment, Tennessee is in the lead for most barbaric state in the union.
Also this week, Tennessee senators approved an update to the state’s abstinence-only education policy – which, I should add, doesn’t work seeing as the state has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country – which would outlaw the teaching of “gateway sexual activity.” I know what you’re thinking: what is this “gateway sex” all the kids are talking about? Is it as awesome as oral?
According to Tennessee legislatures, “gateway sexual activities” are kissing and hand holding. You know, things that small children do. Joyous things that bring us closer together, as humans. Ways we express affection every day. Evil.
The bill would warn teens about the dangers of kissing and hand holding, and prohibit teachers from demonstrating such activities. I’m not really clear on whether that means a teacher would be fired for, say, kissing his wife when she picks him up at the end of the day. And what about the teachers of small children who need their hand held every now and again? Off limits? Again, unsure.
What I am sure about is that a bill effectively warning teens about affection is one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard. But what do you think? Is Arizona worse for increasingly limiting the rights women have over their own bodies, or is Tennessee worse for providing us with a future world full of idiots who think evolution and global warming are myths and holding hands is a sin?
In the San Diego Reader, more on a bill passed last week by The U.S. House Judiciary Committee to help law enforcement crack down on illicit tunnels along the US-Mexico border: "The bill would allow law enforcement to prosecute landowners, prosecute those that fund the tunnels, and wiretap communications in suspected buildings that house tunnels. Previously wiretaps were only available with proof of drugs or contraband." — Xeni
The ACLU of Tennessee has brought suit against US Immigration and Customs Enforcement after a warrantless raid on an apartment complex where ICE officers believed some illegal immigrants were housed. After ICE agents broke into the complex and were asked for a warrant, one agent reportedly said, "We don't need a warrant, we're ICE," and, gesturing to his genitals, "the warrant is coming out of my balls."
Among the plaintiffs are U.S. citizens, including a child detained and interrogated while playing soccer on the playground simply because of the color of his skin. Looking Latino and speaking Spanish is not enough to justify probable cause for questioning and arresting a person. Another plaintiff was carted away in handcuffs in front of his frightened and crying children.
Unfortunately, the Clairmont raid is not an isolated incident. As the Department of Homeland Security and its enforcement arm, ICE, expand their aggressive immigration enforcement policies, all too often the constitutional rights afforded to everyone living in the United States are violated. Even as ICE carries out its mission, it must act in accordance with the law and in a manner that is humane.
The Guardian reports on life for visible minorities under Alabama's new "immigration" law that allows the police to detain and question "suspicious" (that is, brown) people and arrest them if they don't have immigration papers -- even if they're American-born US citizens. Many people of Hispanic origin have walked out of their jobs in protest, while others are fleeing the state:
Even families legally entitled to be in the country are being caught. Cineo Gonzalez was shocked a few weeks ago when his six-year-old daughter came home from school carrying a printout. It gave details of HB56 and its implications, under the heading: "Frequent questions about the immigration law."
Gonzalez is a US permanent resident, having come from Mexico more than 20 years ago. His daughter is an American citizen, having been born in Alabama. Both are entirely legal. Yet she was one of only two children in her class – both Hispanic in appearance – who were given the printout.
Why was she singled out, Gonzalez asked the deputy head teacher. "Because we gave the printout to children we thought were not from here," came the reply.
Gonzalez is a taxi driver. Soon after the law came into effect, he began getting calls from Hispanic families. "People started asking me for prices. How much would it cost to go to Indiana? How much to New York? Or Atlanta, or Texas, or Ohio, or North Carolina?"
A newlywed couple in Birmingham, AL had problems with the automatic checkout system at WalMart, which refused to ring up their $2.90 packet of chicken necks. A WalMart employee helped them with the system, and they paid and made to leave. A security guard confronted them and accused them of stealing the chicken necks, despite their receipt, which showed they had paid. The manager was summoned, reviewed the receipt and the security footage, and concluded the couple had done nothing wrong. However, the security guard insisted on calling the police, and then WalMart contacted the INS to alert them to the husband's legal trouble (he hadn't yet been naturalized following his wedding to a US citizen), as well as the WalMart where the wife worked in order to get her fired. The husband was deported, the wife lost her car and home in the ensuing legal battle. They're suing.
Plaintiff told these employees to look again as the item was on the bottom of the receipt and therefore accounted for. The security guard started screaming and asked to see the identifications of the plaintiff and her husband. The security guard screamed at the plaintiff and her husband saying they were going to be deported. The security guard, in overly loud voice, stated plaintiff and her husband were illegal and what were they doing in this country. Plaintiff asked for the assistant manager. The security guard answered by saying plaintiff and her husband were going to jail...
The assistant manager said in presence of plaintiff and her husband: 'I see where she scanned it, I see where it's been rung up.' Plaintiff responded: 'I did scan it, I told you.' Ricky, plaintiff's husband said I'll pay for it again if you want me to. The assistant manager then said to the security guard: 'Well what do you want to do?' The security guard said he wanted to put plaintiff and her husband in jail.
...When the security guard found that Mary Hill Bonin had worked at another Wal-Mart, he called that store and informed it "that she was being charged with a Theft of Property in the Third Degree," even though the assistant manager already had told him that the chicken bones had been bought and paid for, the Bonins say.