Category Archives: AgJobs

Senate “Gang of 8” releases framework for CIR – organizations respond

Democratic Senators Dick Durbin (c.) and Chuck Schumer (r.) are among a bipartisan group of legislators leading the comprehensive immigration reform negotiations. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Democratic Senators Dick Durbin (c.) and Chuck Schumer (r.) are among a bipartisan group of legislators leading the comprehensive immigration reform negotiations. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Today, the bipartisan group of Senators released their framework for immigration reform. It includes few details, but has both promising and alarming elements.

Here we provide links to the full text of the framework, as well as links to articles that provide feedback and critiques of the framework. Continue reading

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Breaking immigration news

Parte de la familia allá, parte de la familia aquí. ¿Cómo le hago?

Any expansion that CIR might include of immigration enforcement programs working with local law enforcement means more family separations and violation of civil rights. CIR should be about family unity, not expanding violation of human rights.

Update: The Senate “Gang of 8” has also release the framework that the bipartisan group will be working with. Read the Senate framework here and a response to the framework by our partners at the ACLU here.

Start taking your vitamins because the fight for comprehensive immigration reform is right around the corner.

Reports have just come out that President Obama will debut his plans for comprehensive immigration reform this Tuesday. The President will call on Congress to create a road map to citizenship for immigrants without papers.

Read the breaking news here.

In the past weeks, we have told you how important the fight for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) will be for the members of LUPE. We want to make sure that CIR includes legalization and a pathway to citizenship for as many of the 11 million undocumented Americans that contribute to the greatness of our nation.

Help us take 50 LUPE youth to Austin and DC to advocate for immigration reform! Make a gift by clicking here.

This is central to our struggle. There are already “immigration reform” proposals that would make citizenship next to impossible and other positions that would bar immigrants without papers from citizenship.

But a pathway to citizenship is not the only issues important to our members. Also topping the list are family unification and protection of the civil rights and liberties of residents of border communities. Every time immigration reform comes up, politicians use the opportunity to further militarize our border, extend the border wall, increase Border Patrol, and increase use of drones and other military technology along the border. The nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute notes that the U.S. spends roughly $18 billion on federal immigration enforcement, more than it spends on all other law enforcement efforts combined. Along with this increase in spending come increased reports of abuse by immigration agents. We are calling for increased accountability of immigration enforcement and protection of the rights of people along the border.

Our work for CIR will be redoubled in the coming weeks. Our members will travel to Austin to join folks from across the state who will march for CIR that includes a pathway to citizenship and protects the rights of border residents. We want to send a bus full of Dreamers who have received Deferred Action to march and share their stories. We will be calling on our supporters in the coming days with ways that you can help.

Just and Humane Immigration Reform! Si Se Puede!

Help us take 50 LUPE youth to Austin and DC to advocate for immigration reform! Make a gift by clicking here.

Menendez (D-NJ) bill “for show” but with improvements over Schumer framework

NJ Senator Robert MenendezThe Washington Independent reported yesterday:

Like Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced an immigration bill last night just before the Senate shut down for its pre-election recess. There was little time to act on the bills — each was referred to committee — and they will likely both die there. But being on the verge of unveiling his own immigration legislation didn’t stop Hatch from criticizing Menendez’s timing: “Anything done in this time period is just for show,” he told Politico Tuesday.

While Menendez’s bill is most likely a political stunt to attract Hispanic voters and reconfirms the notion that the Democrats would rather play politics with immigration than put the weight of the party (or the administration) behind real reform, the bill does offer important improvements over this spring’s Schumer framework and is evidence that the increased organization of border communities and grassroots immigrant rights groups are having an effect on our representatives.

Last spring’s Schumer proposal could barely be called reform. Though it included AgJOBS and DREAM Act and provided limited avenues for legalization, the vast majority of the framework was enforcement heavy and furthered the Republican and Democrat-backed trend of criminalizing immigrant communities.

While Menendez’s bill keeps many of the enforcement provisions, it also includes key recommendations from border communities that limit the power of immigration authorities, improve Border Patrol training and provide for some level of oversight and abuse reporting.

Also notable is the reevaluation of Operation Streamline, a program that has funneled federal dollars towards prosecuting hardworking men and women who’s only crime was crossing the border without documents, while allowing real criminals to evade prosecution and conviction.

The bill also includes the DREAM Act, AgJOBS and the Uniting American Families Act.

While this legislation will probably not go any where, we must keep pushing for these improvements from our representatives in both parties and in the Obama administration. These improvements must not die with this bill.

As I wrote yesterday, if we are to see a serious effort for CIR that fixes our broken immigration system and upholds human rights and dignity, it will be a result of the immigrant rights movement’s increased power and influence through broadening our use of popular education, creating inclusive and broad analysis, and the development of creative tactics. The Menendez bill is evidence that we are going in that direction, but much more organizing is needed if we are going to push our representatives to back a serious reform effort and not just play politics with the hopes and dreams of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Immigrant Farmworkers Say: Go Ahead, Take Our Jobs

Yesterday the United Farm Workers launched a new campaign meant to expose the unjust characterization of undocumented immigrants as taking jobs from U.S. citizens and legal residents.

In inviting native-born and eligible foreign-born workers to get a job as a farmworker, the Texas Tribune reports, the campaign “Take Our Jobs”

underscores what [UFW President Arturo] Rodriguez said is the unjustifiable label thrust upon farm and livestock workers, many of whom earn about $12,000 annually. Agriculture workers have been unjustly targeted as scapegoats during the current immigration debate, he said, and the tongue-in-cheek approach is meant to address the hypocrisy.

This messaging strategy may turn out to be genius, drawing out comments like this one from critical online commenters (and possibly talking heads?), who normally berate undocumented immigrants:

“Oh, yes! Let me sell my home, leave my family and move out west where at 64 years of age I can run a tractor, slaughter beef or plant vegetables.”

Story continues below

Join the 9th Annual Cesar Chavez March Celebrating 50 Years United in the Struggle! March 31, 2012. Click above for more info.

Join the 9th Annual Cesar Chavez March Celebrating 50 Years United in the Struggle! March 31, 2012. Click above for more info.

Comments like these say what reporters are not: immigrants and citizens generally are not in competition for jobs. This effort may force both critical online commenters and reporters to recognize this fact. And readers to rethink their support for AgJobs, the bill that would provide farmworkers legal status provided they continue working in the fields.

And with such a simple challenge that almost no one will take up, it will be hard to cover this story unfavorably to immigrant workers and their dreams of access to documents. Already this story has run favorably to immigrants on the front page of today’s edition of the Monitor, a paper known in this region for being considerably anti-worker and with little favorable coverage of immigrant issues.

You can read more about the campaign on the Texas Tribune website.

And consider helping our work for humane immigration reform by making a donation today.

Consider helping our work for humane immigration reform by donating today.