A project of the Center for Community Change

FIRM Update 3.24.08

Building America Together! 

FIRM is partnering with the National Training and Information Center around a major event in Washington, DC April 12-14 called National People’s Action.  Please consider attending this event.  For more information, go to www.npa-us.org. 

Many organizations in FIRM are planning events on May 1st.  If your organization is planning to hold an event on or around May 1, please send a brief description of the event to rstolz@communitychange.org by April 4, 2008. 

In response to a request for videos on immigration and community values, the Movement Vision Lab received some great examples of videos that are now available for you to view.  Vote on the one that you like the best!  http://www.movementvisionlab.org/blog/your-votes-community-values-immigration-video-contest/view 

Immigration Politics & Elections in 2008 

Quotations from the three major presidential candidates as reported on in US News and World Report: http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/campaign-2008/2008/03/17/where-clinton-obama-and-mccain-stand-on-immigration.html An interesting quote from Senator McCain cautioning Republicans on use of anti-immigrant rhetoric in the 2008 elections: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/03/17/politics/politico/thecrypt/main3944618.shtml 

Congressional News 

Congress will be on recess for one more week before returning to Washington, DC April 1.  Now is the time to keep the pressure on US Representatives to make sure they do not sign the discharge petition on the SAVE Act.  For more information about the SAVE Act please contact rstolz@communitychange.org.  T

here are 181 signatures on the discharge petition; Republicans need only 218 to force the bill to the floor.  Keep the calls coming! The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights launched a full campaign against the SAVE Act last week.  To see a video a blog coverage of their campaign, go to http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2008/03/illinois-immigrants-communities-urging.html.  Here is a letter to the editor that Fred Tsao of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights published last week: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/letters/chi-080320saveact_briefs,0,4905317,print.story. 

In the Senate, a coalition of United States Senators have formed the US Senate Border Security and Enforcement Caucus.  To see the members, go to http://vitter.senate.gov/bordersecuritycaucus.html Pressure is also mounting to support an H1B visa renewalhttp://blogs.computerworld.com/five_reasons_why_the_h_1b_visa_cap_will_increase (Note that this will continue to grow in significance in coming months as the business community maneuvers to get the Democratic Leadership to renew these visas without hitching it to broader immigration reform proposals.) 

State & Local News 

Before wrapping up their legislative session, Utah enacted an anti-immigrant bill that will allow local law enforcement agencies to coordinate with federal immigration officials, require public employees and contractors to verify the legal status of workers, and forbid localities from adopting so-called sanctuary policies.  The provisions of the bill will not be implemented until 2009 in hopes that a federal law may be enacted, and the bill did not include efforts to repeal in-state tuition.  To view the legislation go to http://le.utah.gov/~2008/htmdoc/sbillhtm/SB0081S01.htm.

 In Tennessee recent polls suggest a shift in opinion regarding immigration, as reported on in the Nashville Tennesseean: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080314/NEWS01/803140426 I

mmigration Agencies and Federal Regulations 

After a lot of waiting, the Department of Homeland Security is poised to release its new regulations on Social Security No Match letters next Tuesday.  Please find attached a copy of the rule prior to publication.  A number of national organizations have already begun to analyze the document; assuming that the regulation is released next week, anticipate a flurry of information, including action alerts in the coming days. 

An article in the NY Times higlights the abuse of power that some immigration agents have used against naturalization applicants.  This story focuses on an example of alleged sexual coersion: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/21/nyregion/21immigrant.html?_r=1&oref=slogin Other articles have raised serious concerns regarding management of the immigration agencies and criminal behavior on the part of some agents, particularly those that deal with issues of immigration enforcement: http://www.star-telegram.com/national_news/story/512023.html 

Raids, Detentions and Deportations 

Please find attached an interesting article framing the growth of the “national security state, one raid at a time” by Robert Lovato for Public Eye. org: http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v23n1/immigrant_crackdowns.html 

FIRM Member Activities

 The Ayuda Business Coalition recently celebrated victories in the Virginia State Legislature, won in part by a wide range of community-based immigrant groups across the state.  For a summary of ABC‘s role, please go to: http://ayuda.com/pages/page.cfm?id=41&pid=&eid=37;  For a review of state bills in Virginia, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/14/AR2008031403912.html. 

Allies and Partner Activities 

Last week the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) launched a new website: http://www.truthinimmigration.org/.  The purpose of the web site is to bring attention to the myths and hate speech being aired against immigrants and immigrant communities. 

On May 8, the Rights Working Group Liberty and Justice for All Campaign will be holding The Night of 1000 Conversations in support of immigrant rights and civil liberties.  For more information about the event, please go to http://www.rightsworkinggroup.org/?q=NOTC_May08. 

A new pro-immigrant organization, America’s Voice, announced its creation last week in Washington, DC.  The organization, which was created by the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and partner groups, received coverage on CNN: http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/03/19/pro-immigration-group-opens-dc-war-room/ 

The Southern Poverty Law Center will hold a live webcast on March 26 at 2 PM Eastern Time to brief interested parties on their Year in Hate report, including the exponential rise in hate crimes and hate speech against immigrants and immigrant communities.  To register for the webcast go to: http://www.webcastgroup.com/client/start.asp?wid=0890326083995 

News to Use 

In the debate on health care, immigration has become a wedge issue being used by opponents of needed reforms to try to defeat such proposals.  At risk in this debate are immigrants themselves, regardless of their status.  This column ran in the Washington Post last weekend: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/15/AR2008031500172.html?referrer=emailarticle; it demonstrates why everyone should be covered.

 Please find the link to report from the National Employment Law Project highlighting economic risks states face by enacting harsh anti-immigrant legislation: http://www.nelp.org/docUploads/Costly%20in%20every%20way%20022108.pdf 

And here is a column that ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune linking strategies around reforming NAFTA to the immigration debate: http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080229/news_lz1e29lewis.html 

Announcements 

The National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) is seeking an Immigrant Rights Project Manager.  Job announcement attached. The National Immigration Forum announced this week that Ali Noorani, currently head of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, would take the Forum’s executive director position.

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