A project of the Center for Community Change

FIRM Update!

Building America Together! 

Join the pledge to Build America Together! www.buildingamericatogether.org! Questions about the pledge or should be directed to mgraciosa@communitychange.org. To support our campaign, FIRM is partnering with other organizations to create training opportunities for immigrant organizersA March 7 deadline for applications for a training that will be held in Chicago April 5-9 is fast approaching.  For more information about the training, please go to http://www.communitychange.org/genchange/what-we-do/advanced-leadership-support/advanced-leadership-support.html.

 Immigration Politics & Elections in 2008 

As the Democratic candidates prepare for their primary showdowns in Ohio and Texas next week, Senator McCain is flip flopping on this immigration stance.  Reported in the Associated Press: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hASkL7CyMOJGBunkx_s-mXyCZhtgD8V2TIN02.  This, despite hopes that Republicans have pinned on McCain to gain ground among Hispanic voters: http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20080227/NATION/267093512&SearchID=73310165848243. 

Congressional News 

Earlier this week you received an action alert on the SAVE Act.  For an updated summary of the SAVE Act, please go to http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/index.php?content=fc071215 Immigration politics within the House of Representatives are being driven by efforts by the Democratic Leadership to head of the possibility of procedural motions that would allow sponsors of the SAVE Act to force a vote on the floor over the objections of Democratic Leaders, including Speaker Pelosi.  Please call your representatives now and urge them to oppose the SAVE Act.  We also need to pressure the Democrats on the bill to withdraw their support for the SAVE Act. A list of Democratic co-sponsors of the SAVE Act is attached. Yesterday, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) introduced an alternative employment verification bill that would take a different approach than the SAVE Act, though it may be just as bad.  An article from the Dallas Morning News: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/022908dnbuseverify.1cd9039.html. Recent polling has suggested that Democrats should shift their language on legalization toward a tougher stand that would allow them to be more proactive in debates in immigration with anti-immigrant candidates in the general election.  Namely, polls suggest that Democrats say that immigrants should be “required to legalize” or leave the country.  A debate has begun among Democrats about whether this language will really work.  The Huffingpost broke the story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/29/confidential-study-sugges_n_89077.html. 

State & Local News 

Today the Indiana legislature passed an anti-immigrant bill that includes a crackdown on employers hiring undocumented immigrants and a requirement that law enforcement agencies cooperate with federal authorities.  The Indianapolis Star: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008802290420. 

A coalition of pro-immigrant organizations and legislatures introduced a package of bills to fight off anti-immigrant proposals in the Rhode Island state legislature.  For coverage on the proposals go to http://www.projo.com/news/content/IMMIGRANTS_02-29-08_DE96HCF_v21.1ab07e2.html. 

In Utah, a package of anti-immigrant bills appears to be losing momentum in the state legislature, though the Governor has been ambiguous about whether he’s support or oppose them. Coverage in the Salt Lake Tribune: http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_8403372. 

A new report from the Center on Wisconsin Strategies provides examples of possible pro-immigrant ordinances at the local level: http://www.cows.org/about_publications_detail.asp?id=422 

Border, Raids & Deportation 

Rep. Solis (D-CA) is the sponsor of the Families First Enforcement Act, which would create new standards for how the Department of Homeland Security conducts immigration raids in worksites and communities.  Sen. Kerry (D-MA) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate.  For information about the legislation, please go to http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.03980:. 

The Washington Post reports on the Department of Homeland Security failed virtual fence project (Boeing had the contract): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/27/AR2008022703747_pf.html. The ACLU filed a law suit in federal court against the federal government for mistakenly deporting a US Citizen.  Coverage in the San Jose Mercury News: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime/ci_8390857?nclick_check=1 

FIRM Member Activities 

Several FIRM members are in preparation for mobilizations on May 1.  For example, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Voces de la Frontera will be holding a major mobilization calling for the end to the war on immigrants, with a special focus on the Social Security No Match letters.  For more information go to http://www.vocesdelafrontera.net/.  If your organization is planning a mobilization on May 1, please send a note about your plans to rstolz@communitychange.org. Last Monday, Casa de Maryland held its annual Immigrant Action Night involving town meetings with state legislators and rallies to bring attention to anti-immigrant, pro-immigrant and important labor and workplace legislation in the state legislature.  A flyer for the event is attached.  For more information go to http://www.casademaryland.org/. 

Allies and Partner Activities 

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union continued their campaign against ICE misconduct in worksite raids this week with a meeting of a commission to study the extent of abuses by ICE officials and agents.  For more information about the UFCW campaign, go to http://www.ufcw.org/icemisconduct.cfm An article on the commission ran in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/25/AR2008022503369.html The Southeast Asian Resource Action Center released their federal policy priorities for 2008 this week.  A copy of the policy priorities is attached to this document.  For more information about SEARAC, please go to http://www.searac.org/. 

Federal Regulations, Naturalization Backlogs & Social Security No Match 

Advocates are anticipating the new Social Security No Match regulations will be released by the Department of Homeland Security any day now.  A briefing on No Match concerns will be held for Congressional staff in Washington, DC on Wednesday, March 5. Speakers will include experts from the National Immigration Law Center, the Immigration Policy Center, Jobs with Justice, and the American Federation of Government Employees.  For more information, please go to www.lwiw.org. Here is a link to a story on CNN about the naturalization backlogs: http://www.criticalmention.com/vg/seiu/2008-2-22_cnn_2327.wmv 

News to Use 

A useful summary article on the relationship between NAFTA and immigration from the Americas Program: http://americas.irc-online.org/am/4705?utm_source=streamsend&utm_medium=email&utm_content=317992&utm_campaign=The%20North%20American%20Union%20Farce%20%7C%20Laura%20Carlsen

 A similar column ran on the Movement Vision Lab: http://www.movementvisionlab.org/blog/migration-and-corn. A recent study demonstrates that there is no correlation between immigration and crime.  The report by the Public Policy Institute of California can be found at http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=776 

Time Magazine reports: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1717575,00.html On AlterNet, an advocate for reproductive justice makes the link between anti-immigrant activists and population politics.  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/77491/ 

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