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I have NO idea whats up with the "moccasins" bit.

Walking a mile in an immigrant's moccasins Hector Tobar

Ben Reed married Deyanira Escalona in Mexico after she was deported at LAX while en route to their planned wedding in Idaho. They live in Mexico now. "I've been radicalized by the whole experience,

The wedding was all set. The bride would travel from Mexico City to Rexburg, Idaho, where she would walk down the aisle of the Mormon temple in her white dress. She would marry that crazy guy from the radio who had been courting her.

Then it all fell apart, here in Los Angeles, in the bowels of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.

The bride had to go through immigration in L.A. before catching her connecting flight to Idaho. She thought her papers were in order. So when the immigration agent asked her the purpose of her visit to the United States, she responded truthfully, "I'm going to get married."

Before she knew it, she had been deported and was on the next plane back to Mexico.
AT which point he saw the light
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The African Diaspora Dialogues

As the Obama Administration takes tentative steps towards addressing immigration, right-wing commentators and mainstream media alike have been jumping at the opportunity to sensationalize the divide between Blacks and immigrants. Taking a different approach, community organizers in Oakland, California have begun what they’re calling the African Diaspora dialogues—informal conversations between Black Americans and Black African immigrants about immigration, race and economic globalization. They’re hoping to use what they learn from these talks to build a Black Immigration Network that will advocate for immigration policies that are good for both communities.
Two of the organizers—Nunu Kidane, network coordinator with the Priority African Network, and Gerald Lenoir, coordinator of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration—sat down with me to talk about their work.MORE
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Civil rights leaders Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall -- whose names appear on schools, libraries, streets and parks across the U.S. -- are given too much attention in Texas social studies classes, conservatives advising the state on curriculum standards say.

"To have Cesar Chavez listed next to Ben Franklin" -- as in the current standards -- "is ludicrous," wrote evangelical minister Peter Marshall, one of six experts advising the state as it develops new curriculum standards for social studies classes and textbooks. David Barton, president of Aledo-based WallBuilders, said in his review that Chavez, a Hispanic labor leader, "lacks the stature, impact and overall contributions of so many others."

Marshall also questioned whether Thurgood Marshall, who argued the landmark case that resulted in school desegregation and was the first black U.S. Supreme Court justice, should be presented to Texas students as an important historical figure. He wrote that the late justice is "not a strong enough example" of such a figure.MORE

White woman gets raped, black man goes to jail, despite a certain glaring lack of evidence

Birth in Chains

Sikh Students Speak Out: “We Want Safe Schools Now!”

Quality of Black Nursing Home Care is Drastically Behind That of Whites

Payday Loans Squeeze Millions in Fees from Blacks and Latinos

Children of Utah's Immigrant crackdown

Language Barriers in the courtroom

They can't go home again: New Orleans making sure that poor POC don't find it easy to resettle there
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Europe Protests, America Sleeps

Last week, thousands of GM workers protested in the suburb of Ruesselsheim outside of Frankfurt. Demonstrations were also held at GM factories in Austria, Belgium, France, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Britain. European workers are not only protesting the financial crisis and the bank bailouts but nearly three decades of neo-liberal reform and free market fundamentalism. The question now is whether the left and labor can recover after years of acquiescing to the strategies of the right.
John R. MacArthur of Harper's, Newsweek's Senior Editor Rana Foroohar, and Tony Benn, a former Labour MP and Cabinet Minister discuss the protests in Europe and whether similar actions can be expected on this side of the Atlantic. Also, an interview with Sally-Anne Kinahan, the Assistant General Secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on recent protests in Dublin.
There is also concern that if the left does not step up to the challenge, economic unrest will fuel xenophobia and policies that continue to target illegal immigrants. In Arizona, several thousand people marched on Saturday to protest Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Program’s (ICE) sweeping crackdown on illegal immigrants. Roberto Lovato, a contributing Associate Editor at New America Media, Aarti Shahani, co-founder of Families for Freedom, and Salvador Reza an immigrant rights activist and one of the organizers of the protest on whether a change in policy can be expected from the Obama administration.
Thanks to the Coen Brothers and thisisreality, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and Jeremy Levine for video in tonight’s show.
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Some weeks, the chortling never ends. Driving home from kindergarten drop-off this morning, one of NPR's "sponsors" was the Department of Homeland Security's E-Verify system, which purportedly screens employees to make sure they are legal, and got rolled out to much fanfare earlier by Michael Chertoff:
“The federal government should lead by example and not by exhortation,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who has encouraged firms to use E-Verify.
Well. . . oooopsie. Looks like stigmatizing people to score politically advantageous points with the paranoid can come back to bite you in your own grandiosely inflated ego ass. Or, at least, bite your cleaning contractor:
Every few weeks for nearly four years, the Secret Service screened the IDs of employees for a Maryland cleaning company before they entered the house of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the nation's top immigration official.
The company's owner says the workers sailed through the checks -- although some of them turned out to be illegal immigrants. . . .
"Our people need to know," said the Montgomery County businessman. "Our Homeland Security can't police their own home. How can they police our borders?"
Chertoff's leading by example, alright. See how tough it is to sort all of this out, how complex issues of immigration, economy and neener-neener blame-gaming are? Oh, how quickly a demagogue can get hoisted on his own smug, self-serving, loathsome petard.
Heckuva job in proving that stigma-mongering doesn't solve the problems, Mikey. Heckuva job.
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The F Word: The Politics of Perception

US Secretary of State: A Cautionary Tale

For some, whether liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, it does not matter or pinch their consciences what happens to subsistence level indigenous farmers in a small town in Mexico. (Nor do they want to look at the direct consequences to their own communities when millions of Mexicans over the past 14 years have streamed over the border to the United States to escape from the economic and political harms that have inflicted them since the enactment of NAFTA.) So let me please tell you another story that should hit anyone of the most minimal conscience a bit closer to home


There are those who claim that Senator Clinton is a "champion" of human rights, based on a solitary speech she gave in September of 1995 to the UN Conference on Women in Beijing, China, because her most quoted soundbite from that speech was "women's rights are human rights."
Nobody - certainly not this correspondent - takes issue with that truth: Women's rights are human rights, as are men's rights, children's rights, minority rights, and everybody else's. But if a politician doesn't have a basic understanding of what human rights are to begin with, and has shrunk from the duty to defend them time and time again even when they have hit close to home, that politician is not going to be able and ready to extend them to any gender or demographic.
In Latin America, as everywhere, the doctrine of Human Rights, begun in the Carter administration but left to atrophy by all administrations since, walks hand in hand with any pro-democracy agenda. When human rights are deprived as part and parcel of state terror campaigns against peaceful dissidents, labor, environmental and other community organizers, the chilling effect on all free speech and freedom of association makes democracy impossible.MORE

Accidental Americans: Our Immigrant Labor Force

How about a new comprehensive, humane plan for immigration? While president-elect Barack Obama acknowledges that the US economy depends on millions of undocumented workers living in the shadows, the issue of immigration reform has itself remained in the shadows. The question of how attitudes toward 11.9 million undocumented immigrant workers will or or won't change in a workplace of diminished opportunities for everyone needs to be called. Well, there are those with a progressive plan and a new method of presenting the issue to the public. The idea is to change the frame that the Right has constructed, where immigration = border security and immigrant = criminal. The approach is to get up close and personal - talking about the experience of migration with a view to encourage policy that is responsive to people’s needs, rather than political jockeying.
The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization looks at the big ideas embeded in our immigration policy, about who is and can be an American. We welcome co-author, Rinku Sen, executive director of ARC, the Applied Research Center and publisher of Colorlines magazine; her co-author and one of the heroes of the book, Fekkak Mamdouh, a restaurant worker and union activist at the Windows on the World restaurant at the World Trade Center who organized the workers after that crisis; and Mamdouh's partner, Saru Jayaraman, an attorney, activist and professor. They co-founded ROC: Restaurant Opportunities Centers United which has set out to represent what they say is the some 40% of NYC's restaurant workers who are undocumented.
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Go thou to change.gov, scroll to the bottom and under Agenda, you can click on all the stuff that you want to know about what Mr. Pres proposes to do in improve our great nation. Here are some of my favorites:

The Women's Agenda

Caring for Women Vets, Trying to reduce poverty among women, Improving about of Women in Math and Science, Uphold Roe vs Wade,Create Work Pensions, Work to prevent Violence against women, working to prevent unintended pregnancy, reducing health risks due to mercury pollution, work to end pay discrimination (why not just work to pass the Equal Rights Amendment?) Etc. etc. Go read its full of good stuff.

Teh Civil Rights Agenda (scroll down for teh gay part.)
Now then. Re: civil rights for POC : There is end employment discrimination, and :

# Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: Obama and Biden will strengthen federal hate crimes legislation, expand hate crimes protection by passing the Matthew Shepard Act, and reinvigorate enforcement at the Department of Justice's Criminal Section.
# End Deceptive Voting Practices: Obama will sign into law his legislation that establishes harsh penalties for those who have engaged in voter fraud and provides voters who have been misinformed with accurate and full information so they can vote.
# End Racial Profiling: Obama and Biden will ban racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies and provide federal incentives to state and local police departments to prohibit the practice.
Also reduce crime recidivisms and use the drug courts more to do more drug rehab than straight prison for first time non-violent offenders.

Re LGBT issues: Repeal Dont Ask dont Tell, Expand hate crimes statutes, Fight Workplace Discrimination, Full Civil Union and Fed Rights equal to married couples ( which would work out well for straight ppl who don't want to get married as well, but seriously. Get over whatever the heck is bothering you and support gay marriage already for gods sake!)Expand adoption rights HELLO FLORIDA AND ARKANSAS , oppose constitution bullshitting about marriage =1 man, 1 woman, promote HIV/AIDS prevention with special emphasis on women.

In the first year of his presidency, Barack Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. Obama will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. Obama also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma -- too often tied to homophobia -- that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. He will continue to speak out on this issue as president.

Re: homophobia, may we hope to see him avoid homophobic gospel purveyors as well? Anyway...

More on Immigration, Defense, Rural and Urban Policy when we come back! )
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You get first class journalism and the kind of analysis of current events that needs a Pulitzer Prize, at the least. This blog is a gem of the Netroots, and I am NOT exaggerating.

(Please note: While you are reading about all of this stuff? For those who watched that Monsanto documentary I had up some time ago? Keep in mind that free trade destroyed local economies by allowing cheap foods from the US to flood Latin American markets and thereby fuck the farmers over quite royally. )

Crossing teh Liine at Postville

It seems there was good reason to be concerned about the unusual handling of the cases of illegal immigrants caught up in last month's massive raids at Postville, Iowa -- where, as we noted at the time, immigrants not only were treated like cattle, the prosecutors engaged in questionable tactics as they processed these cases: deploying the unusual tactic of threatening the immigrants with felony identity-theft charges and sending them to prison when they either plead guilty or were quickly found guilty.
Last week there was a New York Times editorial directing us to an essay by Erik Camayd-Freixas, a Spanish-language court interpreter who was called in to help process detainees in the raid. It makes the devastating case that the Department of Homeland Security, in collusion with the Justice Department, is (in the words of one observer we heard from about this case) "basically gaming the Federal judiciary using existing law, rules and regulations to force the judiciary to act as a coerced agent of the executive to imprison undocumented workers, after which they are deported with a prison record."
As Camayd-Freixas makes clear, these workers were charged improperly with a crime of which they were innocent as the means of forcing them to plead guilty to a lesser charge, for which they then accepted five-month prison sentence.

As the NYT editorial says:

Under the old way of doing things, the workers, nearly all Guatemalans, would have been simply and swiftly deported. But in a twist of Dickensian cruelty, more than 260 were charged as serious criminals for using false Social Security numbers or residency papers, and most were sentenced to five months in prison.
What is worse, Dr. Camayd-Freixas wrote, is that the system was clearly rigged for the wholesale imposition of mass guilt. He said the court-appointed lawyers had little time in the raids’ hectic aftermath to meet with the workers, many of whom ended up waiving their rights and seemed not to understand the complicated charges against them.
You really need to read the entire piece by Camayd-Freixas.


Are here are snippets, or at least a hefty chunk, of that piece

Interprting After the Largest ICE raid in History: A Personal Account by Erik Camayd-Freixas, Ph.D.
Florida International University

To an impartial and informed layperson, the process resembled a lottery of justice: if the
Social Security number belonged to someone else, you were charged with identity theft and went
to jail; if by luck it was a vacant number, you would get only Social Security fraud and were
released for deportation. In this manner, out of 297 who were charged on time, 270 went to jail.
Bothered by the arbitrariness of that heavier charge, I went back to the ICE Search Warrant
Application (pp. 35-36), and what I found was astonishing. On February 20, 2008, ICE agents
received social security “no match” information for 737 employees, including 147 using
numbers confirmed by the SSA as invalid (never issued to a person) and 590 using valid SSNs,
“however the numbers did not match the name of the employee reported by Agriprocessors…”
“This analysis would not account for the possibility that a person may have falsely used the
identity of an actual person’s name and SSN.” “In my training and expertise, I know it is not
uncommon for aliens to purchase identity documents which include SSNs that match the name
assigned to the number.” Yet, ICE agents checked Accurint, the powerful identity database used
by law enforcement, and found that 983 employees that year had non-matching SSNs. Then they
conducted a search of the FTC Consumer Sentinel Network for reporting incidents of identity
theft. “The search revealed that a person who was assigned one of the social security numbers
used by an employee of Agriprocessors has reported his/her identity being stolen.” That is, out
of 983 only 1 number (0.1%) happened to coincide by chance with a reported identity theft. The
charge was clearly unfounded; and the raid, a fishing expedition. “On April 16, 2008, the US
filed criminal complaints against 697 employees, charging them with unlawfully using SSNs in
violation of Title 42 USC §408(a)(7)(B); aggravated identity theft in violation of 18 USC
§1028A(a)(1); and/or possession or use of false identity documents for purposes of employment
in violation of 18 USC §1546.”

Created by Congress in an Act of 1998, the new federal offense of identity theft, as
described by the DOJ (http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html), bears no
relation to the Postville cases. It specifically states: “knowingly uses a means of identification of
another person with the intent to commit any unlawful activity or felony” [18 USC §1028(a)].
The offense clearly refers to harmful, felonious acts, such as obtaining credit under another
person’s identity. Obtaining work, however, is not an “unlawful activity.” No way would a
grand jury find probable cause of identity theft here. But with the promise of faster deportation,
their ignorance of the legal system, and the limited opportunity to consult with counsel before
arraignment, all the workers, without exception, were led to waive their 5th Amendment right to
grand jury indictment on felony charges. Waiting for a grand jury meant months in jail on an
immigration detainer, without the possibility of bail. So the attorneys could not recommend it as
a defense strategy. Similarly, defendants have the right to a status hearing before a judge, to
determine probable cause, within ten days of arraignment, but their Plea Agreement offer from
the government was only good for… seven days. Passing it up, meant risking 2 years in jail. As a
result, the frivolous charge of identity theft was assured never to undergo the judicial test of
probable cause. Not only were defendants and judges bound to accept the Plea Agreement, there
was also absolutely no defense strategy available to counsel. Once the inflated charge was
handed down, all the pieces fell into place like a row of dominoes. Even the court was banking
on it when it agreed to participate, because if a good number of defendants asked for a grand jury
or trial, the system would be overwhelmed. In short, “fast-tracking” had worked like a dream.

It is no secret that the Postville ICE raid was a pilot operation, to be replicated elsewhere,
with kinks ironed out after lessons learned. Next time, “fast-tracking” will be even more
relentless. Never before has illegal immigration been criminalized in this fashion. It is no longer
enough to deport them: we first have to put them in chains. At first sight it may seem absurd to
take productive workers and keep them in jail at taxpayers’ expense. But the economics and
politics of the matter are quite different from such rational assumptions. A quick look at the ICE
Fiscal Year 2007 Annual Report (www.ice.gov) shows an agency that has grown to 16,500
employees and a $5 billion annual budget, since it was formed under Homeland Security in
March 2003, “as a law enforcement agency for the post-9/11 era, to integrate enforcement
authorities against criminal and terrorist activities, including the fights against human trafficking
and smuggling, violent transnational gangs and sexual predators who prey on children” (17). No
doubt, ICE fulfills an extremely important and noble duty. The question is why tarnish its stellar
reputation by targeting harmless illegal workers. The answer is economics and politics.

After 9/11 we had to create a massive force with readiness “to prevent, prepare for and respond to a
wide range of catastrophic incidents, including terrorist attacks, natural disasters, pandemics and
other such significant events that require large-scale government and law enforcement response”
(23). The problem is that disasters, criminality, and terrorism do not provide enough daily
business to maintain the readiness and muscle tone of this expensive force. For example, “In
FY07, ICE human trafficking investigations resulted in 164 arrests and 91 convictions” (17).
Terrorism related arrests were not any more substantial. The real numbers are in immigration:
“In FY07, ICE removed 276,912 illegal aliens” (4). ICE is under enormous pressure to turn out
statistical figures that might justify a fair utilization of its capabilities, resources, and ballooning
budget. For example, the Report boasts 102,777 cases “eliminated” from the fugitive alien
population in FY07, “quadrupling” the previous year’s number, only to admit a page later that
73,284 were “resolved” by simply “taking those cases off the books” after determining that they
“no longer met the definition of an ICE fugitive” (4-5).
De facto, the rationale is: we have the excess capability; we are already paying for it;
ergo, use it we must.

Furthermore, by virtue of its magnitude and methods, ICE’s New War is unabashedly the
aggressive deployment of its own brand of immigration reform, without congressional approval.
“In FY07, as the debate over comprehensive immigration reform moved to the forefront of the
national stage, ICE expanded upon the ongoing effort to re-invent immigration enforcement for
the 21st century” (3). In recent years, DHS has repeatedly been accused of overstepping its
authority. The reply is always the same: if we limit what DHS/ICE can do, we have to accept a
greater risk of terrorism. Thus, by painting the war on immigration as inseparable from the war
on terror, the same expediency would supposedly apply to both. Yet, only for ICE are these
agendas codependent: the war on immigration depends politically on the war on terror, which, as
we saw earlier, depends economically on the war on immigration. This type of no-exit circular
thinking is commonly known as a “doctrine.” In this case, it is an undemocratic doctrine of
expediency, at the core of a police agency, whose power hinges on its ability to capitalize on
public fear.
Opportunistically raised by DHS, the sad specter of 9/11 has come back to haunt
illegal workers and their local communities across the USA.
A line was crossed at Postville.


Snort! No wonder the Mccain is losing Latinos to Obama

Anti-Immigrant Politics Push Latinos Away From the GOP

As with most Americans, Latinos view the Republican Party as being on the "wrong side" of key issues such as immigration, health care, the war, and the economy. In addition, the Republican Party's embrace of harsh anti-immigrant campaign tactics and policies has clearly undermined its ability to attract and retain Latino voters.

George W. Bush received approximately 40% support from Latinos in 2004. This number could become the high-water mark of Latino support for a Republican presidential candidate unless the GOP undergoes a major realignment on their immigration stance.

Since 2004, Republican opposition to immigration reform legislation and support of harsh, anti-immigrant policies has pushed Latinos into the Democratic fold.

* Partisan Gap Grows: 57% of Hispanic registered voters "now call themselves Democrats or say they lean to the Democratic Party, while 23 percent align with the Republican Party-a 34 percentage point gap in partisan affiliation among Latinos. In July, 2006, the same gap was just 21 percent. In 1999, it had been 33 percent." [Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanics and the 2008 Election: A Swing Vote?, 12/6/07]

* Nearly Half of Latino Voters Say Democrats Are More Supportive of Latinos than Republicans. By a 44% to 8% margin, Latinos say the Democratic Party has more concern for them than the GOP [Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanics and the 2008 Election: A Swing Vote?, 12/6/07]

* Nearly Half of Latino Voters Believe Democrats Do a Better Job Handling Illegal Immigration. By 41% to 14% margin, Latino voters say the Democrats are doing the better job of dealing with illegal immigration than the Republicans. Approximately 26% say neither Party is better, nor 12% say they don't know. [Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanics and the 2008 Election: A Swing Vote?, 12/6/07]

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[livejournal.com profile] zenlari at [livejournal.com profile] deadbrowalking pointed these out.

The photographer, one Dulce Pinzon, takes square aim at the traditional definition of a superhero:

After September 11, the notion of the “hero” began to rear its head in the public consciousness more and more frequently. The notion served a necessity in a time of national and global crisis to acknowledge those who showed extraordinary courage or determination in the face of danger, sometimes even sacrificing their lives in an attempt to save others. However, in the whirlwind of journalism surrounding these deservedly front-page disasters and emergencies, it is easy to take for granted the heroes who sacrifice immeasurable life and labor in their day to day lives for the good of others, but do so in a somewhat less spectacular setting.

The Mexican immigrant worker in New York is a perfect example of the hero who has gone unnoticed. It is common for a Mexican worker in New York to work extraordinary hours in extreme conditions for very low wages which are saved at great cost and sacrifice and sent to families and communities in Mexico who rely on them to survive.

The Mexican economy has quietly become dependent on the money sent from workers in the US. Conversely, the US economy has quietly become dependent on the labor of Mexican immigrants. Along with the depth of their sacrifice, it is the quietness of this dependence which makes Mexican immigrant workers a subject of interest.

BERNABE MENDEZ from the State of Guerrero works as a professional window cleaner in New York. He sends 500 dollars a month.

ERNESTO MENDEZ from Mexico City works as a gigolo in Times Square New York.
He Sends 200 dollars a week.

One might also point out that their heroism does not leave a devastated city that has to be rebuilt by tax-dollars behind them...

Go see the rest here
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People & Power- Broken promise- 06 Feb 08- Part 1

A look at how the UK's highly skilled migrant worker programme could result in thousands of talented migrants being deported.

People & Power- Broken promise- 06 Feb 08- Part 2

The second part of this report.

People & Power - Taylor Un-Made - 18 Jul 07 - Part 1

In Taylor Un-Made Al Jazeera's Gabi Menezes traces the story of Charles Taylor -- a man who went from being President to war-time suspect.

People & Power - Taylor UnMade/Re-Taylored - 18 Jul 07 - Part 2

In Taylor Un-Made Al Jazeera's Gabi Menezes traces the story of Charles Taylor -- a man who went from being President to war-time suspect./The Power of One:In Re-Taylored People & Power profiles the extraordinary work of a 25-year-old Liberian child activist.
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Fear and Loathing in Prime Time: Immigration Myths and Cable News


There are many problems facing the United States today: a faltering economy, a health-care crisis, and the continuing war in Iraq, to name a few. But viewers of some of the most prominent cable news programs are presented a different reality, one in which one issue stands above all others: illegal immigration.

Media Matters Action Network undertook this study in order to document the rhetoric surrounding immigration that is heard on cable news. When it comes to this issue, cable news overflows not just with vitriol, but also with a series of myths that feed viewers' resentment and fears, seemingly geared toward creating anti-immigrant hysteria.

There are two types of myths we discuss in this report. The first type is the large and most common myths, about crime and undocumented immigrants, and the costs of illegal immigration in social services and taxes. These topics are complex, and there are sometimes legitimate points buried within the arguments immigration opponents make. The second type of myth is the urban legend: that there is a conspiracy to take back the Southwest United States for Mexico; that there is a secret plan to construct a "NAFTA Superhighway" running from Canada to Mexico; that the U.S. is well on its way to surrendering its sovereignty to a "North American Union" (NAU); that Mexican immigrants are infecting Americans with leprosy; and that undocumented immigrants are responsible for a wave of election fraud. These myths are discussed less often, but are notable for their sheer ludicrousness. The North American Union and NAFTA Superhighway are closely related, and indeed are often discussed in tandem (the building of the Superhighway being posited as a step on the road to the creation of the NAU), but since each is also often discussed alone, we examine these two myths separately.

We focus our analysis on a trio of cable commentators: Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck. While hosts on other cable programs regularly discuss illegal immigration (particularly on Fox News, where it is a frequent topic on Hannity & Colmes and Special Report with Brit Hume), these three are the most notable for a number of reasons. On their eponymous programs, Dobbs, O'Reilly, and Beck serve up a steady diet of fear, anger, and resentment on the topic of illegal immigration.

Dobbs is the one most obsessed with the topic; indeed, instead of Lou Dobbs Tonight, his program might be more properly called Lou Dobbs Crusades Against Illegal Immigration Tonight. Fully 70 percent of the 2007 episodes of Lou Dobbs Tonight contained discussion of illegal immigration. The O'Reilly Factor is not far behind; 56 percent of 2007 episodes discussed illegal immigration. And though Glenn Beck was less consumed with the issue (28 percent of his 2007 programs discussed it), his show is the one on which viewers often find the most inflammatory claims.
Graph 1

Among the study's findings:

During 2007, the alleged connection between illegal immigration and crime was discussed on 94 episodes of Lou Dobbs Tonight, 66 episodes of The O'Reilly Factor, and 29 episodes of Glenn Beck.

During 2007, the allegation that undocumented immigrants drain social services and/or don't pay taxes was discussed on 71 episodes of Lou Dobbs Tonight, 13 episodes of Glenn Beck, and eight episodes of The O'Reilly Factor.

Dobbs and Beck have perpetuated two related myths, that there are plans to construct a "NAFTA Superhighway" running from Mexico to Canada, and that there are plans to join Mexico, Canada, and the United States in a "North American Union" similar to the European Union. Dobbs has discussed the fictional North American Union on 56 separate programs during the past two years. (These two myths were also given a boost by Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who pushed the ideas on the campaign trail.)1

All three programs have presented as fact the "reconquista" myth, which states that there is a movement afoot for Mexico to take over the American Southwest.

Lou Dobbs Tonight has also been the show on which viewers are told about a mythical explosion of leprosy cases due to illegal immigration, and a mythical epidemic of voter fraud due to illegal immigration.

An examination of the rhetoric on immigration on these programs reveals the subtle and not-so-subtle ways these myths find their way into mainstream discourse and are validated by figures like Dobbs, O'Reilly, and Beck. On some occasions, the hosts repeat a myth's key elements in explicit terms; at other times, they mention some of those elements but not others; and sometimes they bring up the catchphrases associated with those myths without elaborating. Through sheer repetition, they help propagate the myths. For instance, by airing dozens and dozens of segments on individual cases in which an undocumented immigrant committed a crime, Dobbs, O'Reilly, and Beck feed the misperception that these immigrants are responsible for a disproportionate share of crime in America, even if their comments about the specific case in question don't stray from the facts. Finally, these programs, particularly Lou Dobbs Tonight, have hosted some of the most radical immigration opponents, offering them a national platform to disseminate extremist views.

The result is that those opponents -- seeking to foster misunderstanding about immigration and promoting views often tinged with hate -- gain critical assistance from cable news. Though on any given night Dobbs or O'Reilly may not repeat the most egregious deceptions of the nativist right, they are a critical link in the chain that keeps anti-immigrant sentiment moving forward.

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Rubén G. Rumbaut and Frank Bean, both sociologists at the University of California, Irvine, and Douglas Massey, a sociologist at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School decided to conduct a study to test that hypothesis.

See: Linguistic Life expectancies: Immigrant Language Retention in Southern California (PDF)

Conclusion: By the third generation, in the most dense Hispanic immigrant community in the US, (Southern California, Hispanic immigrants don't speak Spanish anymore.

California Progress Report sums it up:The surveys asked respondents to rate their level of fluency in their native language and to identify the predominant language used at home. Those that responded “not verywell” and “English” respectively were categorized as “linguistically dead” in terms of their native tongue. The authors used these responses to derive “survival curves” of linguistic retention among immigrants--recording the fall-off in the degree to which immigrants and their descendants are able to speak their mother tongue and actually do so. These survival curves yield language “life expectancies,” or the average number of
generations a native language can be expected to persist.

The authors found that although the generational life expectancy of Spanish is greater among Mexicans in southern California than other groups, its demise is all but assured by the third generation. Third-generation immigrants are American-born with American born parents but with 3 or 4 foreign-born grandparents.

In the second generation, fluency in Spanish was greater for Mexican immigrants than for other Latin American groups, and substantially greater than the proportions of Asian immigrants who could speak their mother tongue very well. In the third generation, only 17% of Mexican immigrants still speak fluent Spanish, and in the fourth generation, just 5%. The corresponding fourth-generation figure for white European immigrants is 1%.

In short, as the study authors point out, the United States still its reputation as a language graveyard.

Also, blogger Manolo on the Toosense blog, who brought my attention to the study, points out that I’m sorry, but no ethnic group has completely assimilated. Other than language, which Latinos are losing just like any other group, every ethnic group has maintained some of their native culture. At my college graduation there were bagpipes leading the ceremony. That's what this country is about, acculturation. It's time we stopped labeling people as "other" and started a path towards intelligent immigration reform.

In addition to that, he conclusively proves yet again that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it:P.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN)...Bachmann also compared the situation on the border to the Israel/Palestine conflict, saying “the argument that fences don’t work doesn’t hold water. Look at Israel and Palestine. Fences work.”

Walls that have not worked:
Great Wall of China
Berlin Wall
Walls of Rome
Walls of Jerusalem (several times)

He might have also added that the point of the Israeli wall was to stop Palestinian militants from harming Israel. As we can see, that hasn't worked. Come to think of it, our Congresswoman was ridiculously ignorant of the recent past, as well. After all, the wall between Eygpt and Gaza went down at the beginning of 2008, at the height of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, because desperate Palestinians in need of food and other necessities blew it up with the help of Hamas Sure, the wall went back up in a couple of days. But what makes her think that it can't go down again? Or that the same thing can't happen to a wall built in the US?


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