A reader recently noted that Mexico is not doing anything to stem immigration and that the "U.S. is the only country to treat these immigrants as human beings." Like many populist renditions of the immigration issue, lore takes over common sense, and basic public information becomes misinformation. For poverty travelers, the "border" really begins in Guatemala, and extends across the Rio Grande and into Arizona, Texas, or New Mexico. The Instituto Nacional de Migración in Tapachula, Mexico (below), is a detention center for poverty travelers. Comparisons can be freely made with other detention centers closer to home.
Below, Cuban detainees
Below, 8 year old detainee
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Jenn Alva, Phanie, and Nina Díaz from San Antonio are Girl In a Coma. If anyone remembers the amazing Debora Iyall's voice from Romeo Void you'll certainly find echos here in lead singer Nina Díaz's formidable range.
For Amanda "pore-less" Lepore fans, "Road to Home" will redefine der unheimlich.
See Latina Lista Marisa Treviño's blurb.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
(left, Vincent Cianni's "Nelson," Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 1998)
The Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke University will house Vincent Cianni's photographic archives beginning with his impressive photographic collection of Latino youth in NYC published in We Skate Hardcore: Photographs from Brooklyn's Southside (NYU Press, 2004), as well as his more recent documentary work. The artist and cultural provocateur Slava Mogutin has called Cianni "one of the greatest living documentary photographers" in the tradition of "Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Weegee, and Bruce Davidson." I trust that one day that the abundant and transnational border-crossing work of Los Hermanos Mayo will receive their due along with Evans and his generation of documentary photographers on this side of the border.
Monday, June 18, 2007
A Mexican American man who is a U.S. citizen illegally deported to Mexico? Yes, it's true and the story speaks to subaltern forms of citizenship that make its conferral seemingly meaningless for the ethnically marked Chicano body. The LA Times call this a case of "mistaken deportation." Surreal.
From ACLU site
U.S. Citizen Illegally Deported From Jail Is Missing in Mexico
ACLU and Law Firm Seek Federal Help to Find Developmentally Disabled Man
Monday, June 11, 2007 printer version
LOS ANGELES — Federal immigration officers and the L.A. County Sheriff's Department illegally deported a U.S. citizen last month, the ACLU/SC has learned. He is missing in Mexico, and today the ACLU/SC and the law firm of Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court seeking his safe return.
Pedro Guzman, 29, was born in Los Angeles and raised in Lancaster, California. He was serving time at Men’s Central Jail for trespassing, a misdemeanor offense, when he was deported to Tijuana May 10 or 11. Mr. Guzman is developmentally disabled, does not read or write English well, and knows no one in Tijuana. He declared at his booking that he was born in California.
He spoke to his sister-in-law by telephone from a shelter in Tijuana within a day of his deportation, but the call was interrupted. Family members traveled to the city in an attempt to find him and have remained there, searching shelters, jails, churches, hospitals, and morgues.
There are no circumstances under which government officials may deport a U.S. citizen. Federal officials have refused requests by family members and a private lawyer to assist in the search for Mr. Guzman.
"This is a recurring nightmare for every person of color of immigrant roots," said ACLU/SC legal director Mark Rosenbaum. "Local jail officials and federal immigration officers deported the undeportable, a United States citizen, based on appearance, prejudice, and reckless failure to apply fair legal procedures."
"What has happened to Pedro Guzman is a tragedy," said Stacy Tolchin of Van Der Hout, Brigagliano & Nightingale. "His life may be in danger, and the government must act immediately to locate him and return him to the United States."
Jail and Department of Homeland Security officials failed to identify Mr. Guzman’s disability and improperly obtained his signature for deportation from the United States. "The procedures for determination of legal status implemented by Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs … fail even minimal criteria for constitutional due process," the lawsuit states.
Sheriff's deputies trained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conduct immigration checks at L.A. County jails. The ACLU and immigrant-rights groups warned that involving local law enforcement in immigration policing would lead to mistaken deportations and violate the due-process rights of inmates.
Anyone with information about Mr. Guzman can call the ACLU/SC at (213) 977-9500.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Politicos of all stripes are increasingly, if belatedly, aware of just how brown the country is, and just how much more brown it will be. The question involves the degree to which institutions are willing to respond, or not, to this reality. Hillary Clinton has received an important endorsement from Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. The immigration bill frenzy (or fallout depending on your politics) will likely not abate anytime soon, creating a window of opportunity for politicians capable of bringing the right Latina and Latino strategists aboard.
Raymond Hernández, "Menendez Is Set to Endorse Clinton for President, Aides Say"
Monday, June 11, 2007
Felipe Aguirre is deputy mayor of Maywood, California. The town, which is 97% Hispanic, is a self-declared sanctuary for 'undocumented' immigrants.
The town of Maywood has declared itself a "sanctuary" for illegal immigrants
We believe that no human being can be described as illegal.
These are people who work hard, pay taxes, buy houses and keep on the right side of the law for fear of being deported - they are part of the fabric of America.
Many have families and have been contributing members of community for years. But the debate is now affecting family units. Many people who do not have the right documents have children who are US citizens. These families need to stay united.
That is why we have seen so many young people taking part in the demonstrations, fighting for the rights of their parents.
These are people pay their taxes through the payroll system, but do not qualify to receive any benefits at the end of the work week. And, while they pay sales taxes and property taxes, they do not qualify for any of the benefits that are associated with this, such as healthcare.
There is a tremendous amount of hypocrisy surrounding the debate. So many businesses are doing well on the back of undocumented workers - from the oranges that are picked in Florida to the tomatoes harvested in Illinois.
Yet, their basic rights, such as the right to a safe workplace and fair treatment, are not protected. Undocumented workers never file complaints for injuries sustained at work for fear of being sacked.
Rich families in Los Angeles employ undocumented nannies to look after their children. They also employ undocumented housekeepers, cleaners and gardeners - many of whom have keys to their houses.
How can we be called criminals when we hold the keys to the houses of some of the richest people in the state?
Friday, June 8, 2007
I'd like to be able to count more Mexican, Mexican American, and Latino reporters in the group surrounding Harry Reid other than the Argentine Telemundo reporter in the black suit left of center. As is known to those who follow Telemundo news, his position in the photograph does not speak to his politics.
"Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, said the bill had become 'more punitive and more onerous' because of amendments adopted in the last few days. Mr. Menendez pointed, for example, to one that denied the earned-income tax credit to illegal immigrants who gain legal status under the bill.
Cecilia Muñoz, a vice president of the National Council of La Raza, the Hispanic rights group, said she had similar concerns. Changes approved by the Senate this week make the bill 'not only more punitive, but also less workable,' Ms. Muñoz said."
Thursday, June 7, 2007
The New York Times, ROBERT PEAR and CARL HULSE
Immigration Bill Suffers Setback in Senate Vote
"Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, scheduled another, make-or-break cloture vote for this evening. If that vote also falls short, Mr. Reid is expected to shelve the bill, meaning that changes in immigration law might not be considered again for many months."
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
The long awaited LA Times article on the state of affairs between Latinos and Blacks in Los Angeles is out and it confirms what many have known all along. Racial enmity is tearing at the city’s seams. The limited distribution of resources has made the two groups fight each other while leaving structural inequalities for both intact.
Blogger coverage: “L.A. is going to blow again, and its not going to be pretty, a race riot that will make the ones of the 60s look like a day in Disneyland Park.”
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
The proposed "point system" leaves Mexicans, the largest number of (im)migrants to the U.S., in limbo again. The system seeks to "award" points for better educated, higher skilled immigrants, and would remain in place for the next 14 years. But the point system isn't so much a compromise between Democrats and Republicans as it is a failed system from its conception. It does not address the most pressing issues affecting Mexican immigration to this country, the economies these immigrants help to keep afloat through their labor, nor the working conditions that make their bodies expendable commodities in this economy. Locking the point system into law for the next 14 years neither addresses the U.S.'s changing economy, nor its ability to compete in a "new world order" of its own creation.
"Ekaterina D. Atanasova, a civil engineer from Bulgaria who lives in southern Maine, wants to bring her husband to the United States. Under the Senate immigration bill, he would get high marks — at least 74 points — because he too is a civil engineer, has a master’s degree and is fluent in English.
But Herminia Licona Sandoval, a cleaning woman from Honduras, would have no hope of bringing her 30-year-old son to the United States. He works as a driver at an oil refinery, lacks a high school diploma, speaks little English and would fare poorly under the Senate bill, earning fewer than 15 of a possible 100 points." (Robert Pear, A Point System for Immigrants Incites Passions)
Monday, June 4, 2007
"The glue that is keeping this process going is the absolute agreement by all the disparate groups that the current system is absolutely dysfunctional," Bruce Josten, chief lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Jonathan Weisman, Washington Post)