Tag: immigration reform activists


A "Day of Happiness": Immigration Activists, Hispanic Press Relish Dobbs' Exit From CNN

It’s not often that the disparate collection of organizations, individuals, websites and media outlets that are pushing for progressive immigration reform can enjoy such a clear-cut victory as former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs’ announcement Wednesday that he was leaving the network.

Activists Push for Immigration Reform on Anniversary of Long Island Hate Crime

The badge that's part of an online campaign to remember Marcelo Lucero - Image: Long Island Wins.

The badge that’s part of an online campaign to remember Marcelo Lucero. (Image: Long Island Wins)

A year ago this Sunday, in the heady days following the election of President Barack Obama, a hate crime took place in Long Island that initially went mostly unnoticed: a gang of teenagers attacked and killed Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero, as part of what was later revealed to be a frequent activity for the youngsters “beaner jumping,” a slang term for attacking Latinos.

Thursday, there was big news in the case when one of the teenagers, Nicholas Hausch, pleaded guilty to gang assault and hate crime charges as part of deal in which he will testify against the other defendants. Meanwhile, relatives and friends of Lucero are preparing to remember him this Saturday with a vigil near the Patchogue train station, where he died. And Long Island Wins, a pro-immigration website, launched a blogging campaign asking other sites to post stories to “Remember Marcelo” and other victims of hate crimes.


Activists March on DC to Demand Immigration Reform and a Stop to the Separation of Families

Activists lobbied Congress members to stop deportations and pass immigration reform. (Photos: Jelena Kopanja)

Activists lobbied Congress to stop deportations and pass immigration reform. (Photos: Jelena Kopanja - Click for more)

At four o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, a handful of people gathered on the corner of St. Nicholas Ave. and Linden Street in Brooklyn, waiting for the van to arrive. The morning cold did little to temper the group’s enthusiasm as they were getting ready to head to Washington D.C. for an immigration reform march.

Nicolas Zambrano remembered the last time he made the trip two years ago. There were more people back then, filling up several buses. The economic crisis, he believes, had some impact on Tuesday’s turnout. Not everyone could afford the ticket.

Under the slogan of “family unity,” the event in Washington D.C. brought together some 3,000 people, including religious leaders, community organizers and immigrants who shared their stories about families separated by deportations. American citizens spoke about their fathers or wives being sent back to their home countries while they remained in the United States.

Listen to the story of Peter Derezinski, an activist with Chicago’s Polish Initiative, whose father was deported (English with Spanish translation):



Houston, Florida and Philadelphia activists gather with others at the Church of the Reformation in D.C. – Photo: milenavelis/twitpic

In the Streets and on Twitter, Activists Demonstrate Tuesday for Immigration Reform

Advocates started gathering Tuesday morning in Washington D.C. and other communities across the country to hold a day of demonstrations for comprehensive immigration reform.

 Houston, Florida and Philadelphia activists gather with others at the Church of the Reformation in D.C. (Photo: milenavelis/twitpic)

Houston, Florida and Philadelphia activists gather with others at the Church of the Reformation in D.C. (Photo: milenavelis/twitpic)

In the nation’s capital, groups started gathering in the morning at the Church of the Reformation before leaving for Capitol Hill, where they will “speak face-to-face with members of Congress, asking for their support of comprehensive immigration reform,” according to America’s Voice, one of the organizers.

Many participants are tweeting and posting pictures live from the event in Washington. You can follow the stream of live comment on Twitter by clicking here.

The marches include groups from Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and elsewhere. According to AHN, after the visit to Congress there will be “a prayer vigil on the West Lawn of the Capitol, where Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D.-Ill.) … will set forth principles needed for ‘rational and humane approach’ to reform.”

Gutierrez, Univision.com reports, is getting ready to introduce his own comprehensive immigration reform bill, which we’ve reported on recently, although the network’s website said it will not be ready by Tuesday.

With No Progress on Immigration Reform, Activists Ready to Take to the Streets Again

A May Day march for immigration reform in Downtown Los Angeles this year - Photo: j.r.mchale.

A May Day march for immigration reform in Downtown Los Angeles this year - (Photo: j.r.mchale.)

In the face of delays by the Obama administration on an immigration bill,  pro-immigration advocates are ready to take to the streets again to demand comprehensive immigration reform.

Univision.com’s Jorge Cancino reports that groups in several states are organizing marches that will take place between Oct. 10 and 13 to coincide with Hispanic heritage celebrations. They want to pressure the White House and Congress to move forward on immigration reform, despite all signs suggesting that debate will be delayed at least until 2010.

“We will go out on the streets on Saturday Oct. 10 to pressure Barack Obama’s government and Congress to start, not passing reform, but at least introducing some type of package so that we can start a serious conversation about the immigration issue,” Juan José Gutiérrez, director of Movimiento Latino USA in Los Angeles, told Cancino.


Activists See Reversal, Even Betrayal, in Obama's Postponement of Immigration Reform Bill

President Barack Obama has now made official something that had looked more and more likely ever since he took office: that, because he has too much to deal with, immigration reform won’t happen this year. For pro-immigration and Hispanic advocates, this is a clear backtracking on the president’s campaign promise and, while some try to keep a hopeful outlook, others are starting to use the “B” word: betrayal.

“This is a reversal of his campaign promise to pass immigration reform in 2009,” wrote Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Wisconsin nonprofit Voces de la Frontera in the Huffington Post. “Patience for 2010 is hard to come by when the new administration persists with an enforcement-only strategy that Obama criticized during the campaign trail.

“Both represent a betrayal to Latino voters who were a key constituency in delivering the presidency and a majority of Democrats to the U.S. Congress.

A week before the presidential election, Obama told La Opinión he was "committed" to putting together "a recipe" for immigration reform "starting in my first year" in the presidency.

A week before the presidential election, Obama told La Opinión he was "committed" to putting together "a recipe" for immigration reform "starting in my first year" in the presidency.

Obama never promised to pass an immigration bill in 2009; he always talked about dealing with the issue in 2009. (Anxious voters probably did not stop to weigh the nuance in his carefully chosen words.) But in addition to the matter of Congress passing (or not) a reform bill, advocates are starting to conclude that the candidate who ran on “Hope” and “Change” is not that different from his predecessor in the White House, whose approach to immigration was about strict enforcement and constant talk of the war on terror.

Responding to comments by Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano, Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, told The New York Times, “She’s increasing enforcement of laws that President Obama and she have both said are broken, and the result is going to be a lot of human misery.”


News Analysis: Rift Between Obama and (Former) Supporters in Pro-Immigration Camp Out in the Open

You promised us change, not more of the same, Rubiela Arias sign said at a New York protest against Janet Napolitano - Photo: Maibe Gonzalez Fuentes.

"You promised us change, not more of the same," Rubiela Arias' sign said at a New York protest against Janet Napolitano. (Photo: Maibe Gonzalez Fuentes.)

After June’s meeting on immigration reform between President Barack Obama and members of Congress, pro-immigrant activists were hoping for a new push towards what they thought was a shared goal.

So far, what they’ve gotten is an energetic effort by the administration to continue, expand and bolster Bush-era immigration policies criticized as insensitive, racist and ineffective.

“We are expanding enforcement, but I think in the right way,” Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano told The New York Times in an interview for a story published Monday.


Obama's Focus on Employers Causes Massive Firings, California Immigrant Activists Say

A month ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement sent letters to 652 businesses across the country to let them know their hiring records would be audited “to determine whether or not they are complying with employment eligibility verification laws and regulations.” The goal was to check whether those companies have been making sure they are not hiring people not authorized to work in the U.S., a.k.a. undocumented immigrants.

Workers protest firings at Overhill Farms - Illustration: Southern California Immigration Coalition

Workers protest firings at Overhill Farms - Illustration: Southern California Immigration Coalition

The initiative apparently has led to firings at some of those companies. Last Saturday, pro-immigration activists and workers demonstrated in Los Angeles to demand that President Obama stop the audits as well as the use of e-Verify, an employee ID verification system widely criticized by immigrant advocates.

ICE’s increased vigilance over employers –it said the number of letters it sent in July exceeds the numbers sent during the entire previous fiscal year– follows Obama’s promises that his approach to enforcing immigration laws would focus more on the labor demand side rather than on the supply, i.e. the undocumented workers who’ve been the target of raids and deportations in the last few years.

But L.A. activists said this particular measure has swollen the ranks of the unemployed in the midst of the economic crisis.


Immigration Reform Advocates To Protest Against Napolitano in New York Wednesday

NEW YORK — Local immigration activists plan to demonstrate against U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano Wednesday morning when she comes to the city to deliver a speech on terrorism, in what may be the first significant protest by presumed Obama administration allies against a member of the president’s cabinet.  (Editor’s note: We previously reported incorrectly that the demonstration was scheduled for Thursday.  We regret the error.)

May Day rally at Madison Square Park in Manhattan.

A previous demonstration by New York immigration groups, on May Day. (Photo: Maibe Gonzalez Fuentes)

Several pro- immigration groups are organizing a demonstration and press conference at the Council on Foreign Relations, where Napolitano will deliver a speech titled “Common Threat, Collective Response: Protecting Against Terrorist Attacks in a Networked World,” which will be broadcast live on the web.

The groups plan to protest Homeland Security’s “backward policies such as the implementation of e-Verify and the expansion of 287(g)” (a program that deputizes local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws) said Norman Eng, a New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) spokesman. The demonstration comes on the heels of the release last week of a report that found Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a DHS agency, violated the Constitution by conducting home raids without warrants and appropriate documentation under the Bush administration.


Group Calls On Ethnic Media Nationwide to Run Editorial Calling for "Urgent Immigration Reform"

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

Photo: SubZeroConsciousness/Flickr

Pro-immigration activists want the Obama Administration to approach immigration reform with a much stronger sense of urgency than it has shown so far, as Feet in 2 Worlds reported yesterday. As Thursday’s much-awaited –and twice-cancelled— White House meeting with lawmakers on the issue approaches, some activists are trying to ramp up the pressure.

News and advocacy organization New America Media is asking ethnic media nationwide to simultaneously publish the same editorial “calling for urgent immigration reform.”

The editorial asks the White House and Congress to “move quickly” to pass reform that will “remove the term ‘illegal or undocumented immigrants’ from the dialogue in this country,” according to a copy provided by NAM. It calls the current immigration system “inefficient, inhumane and economically debilitating” and “broken” for both undocumented and specialized workers, as well as for families trying to reunite.

The text also urges ethnic media readers and viewers to contact their representatives in Congress “and let them know that immigration reform must be a national priority.” [ You can read the full text below. ]