Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

SB 1070 Loses its Teeth

On Wednesday, June 28th, at the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Federal Judge Susan Bolton issued a preliminary injunction in the matter of “United States of America v. Arizona, State of, et al.” Four key provisions of Arizona’s harsh new immigration law, SB 1070, were put on hold:

Latino USA takes you to Phoenix to hear reaction on the ground: from activists, from politicians, and from average folks.


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On the day the injunction was handed down, Maria spoke with Professor Jenny Rivera of the CUNY Law School faculty, and the founder and director of the Center for Latino and Latina Rights and Equality. Here’s that conversation:


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

A note on how we produced this week’s program: A radio program like Latino USA is a collaborative effort. What you hear on the air is the work product of several journalists: reporters, producers, writers, editors, audio producers, web producers, photographers, and Maria, the host. Maria was not in Phoenix this week. But our Production Coordinator Nick Blumberg is, and it is his observations and conversations—his on-the-ground reporting and that of another reporter Valeria Fernandez—that informed what Maria says on the air.

In addition, and as you can see from one of the photos at the top of this page, Nick would find people for Maria to interview by phone, so that their interaction with one another could be part of this broadcast. Nick recorded the Phoenix side of the conversations. Mincho Jacob, another one of our radio producers, recorded Maria’s side of those phone calls. Then, we synchronize the two recordings and pulled sections of the composite interview to use on the air. We call this technique a “tape-sync” — and we use it often, in order to remove the phone line from the broadcast audio stream.

SB1070 and Jenny Rivera

PHOENIX – A Federal judge in Phoenix today blocked three of the most controversial sections of SB 1070, the law aimed at undocumented immigrants in Arizona.

Judge Susan Bolton, who was appointed to the Federal bench by President Clinton, ruled that the State of Arizona could not require law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of persons they stop for other reasons and whom they suspect are in the country illegally. Nor, the judge ordered, can Arizona require that individuals carry papers proving their immigration status. The law also would have made it illegal for undocumented people to seek employment in Arizona: that, too, was invalidated.

The law will go into effect on Thursday, but without three of the measures that most concerned civil libertarians.

Governor Jan Brewer (R) issued a statement saying she would appeal the ruling, adding “The fight is far from over.”

Maria Hinojosa talks with Professor Jenny Rivera of the CUNY Law School and the founder and director of the school’s Center on Latino and Latina Rights and Equality about today’s decision.


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Ester Hernandez

Maria talks to visual artist Ester Hernandez about the work she’s created in protest of SB 1070: including the striking image of La Virgen de Guadalupe as a wanted terrorist. (Click the image to see the full work.)

Hernandez was born and raised in California, on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevadas. She was a member of Las Mujeres Muralistas, the influential muralists working in the 1970s San Francisco Mission District. She has been a pioneer in the Chicana/Chicano civil rights art movement ever since.


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Lydia Camarillo and Evan Perez

The U.S. Justice Department has officially filed suit against the state of Arizona. Arizona’s new immigration law, officially titled the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act and more commonly known as SB 1070, is under heavy fire for being unconstitutional. Weighing in is Lydia Camarillo, Vice President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.


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Maria also spoke with Evan Perez, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.


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Read more about the Justice Department’s suit here.

From California, we hear two tales from Story Corps Historias, a cross-country project documenting and archiving the stories of everyday people.


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Reaction in Arizona

Alfredo Gutierrez

Activist – veteran – organizer.


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Gary Thrasher

Rancher – veterinarian – activist.


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National Reaction to National Guards

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called the deployment of National Guard troops “a very significant and important shift in the president’s immigration and border-security policy.” Texas Governor Rick Perry, who had asked for 1000 National Guard troops to be deployed to the Texas-Mexico border alone, said through a spokesman: “We remain hopeful that the federal government will step up and secure our international border by providing the resources we’ve requested.”

Frank Sharry, the Executive Director of America’s Voice, said that “President Obama went into the lion’s den today and challenged (Senate) Republicans to work with him on comprehensive immigration reform. So far, so good. But he left the lion’s den having given into the key GOP demand of ‘border security first’ without getting anything in return. Talk about one step forward and two steps back.”

We called two Latina activists for their take on the news. Lydia Camarillo is Vice President of the Southwest Voter Registration Project. Clarissa Martinez directs Immigration and National Campaigns for the National Council of La Raza.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Read more national reaction to the deployment.

President Deploys National Guard

This week, the Obama Administration announced that the National Guard will be sending 1200 troops to the four states that form the U.S. border with Mexico. It is not the first time National Guard troops have been sent to the border, but it may be the most controversial deployment.

It comes at a time of heightened rhetoric and emotion over the issues of immigration enforcement and reform. And Arizona — the site of this weekend’s large demonstration for Comprehensive Immigration Reform — has become the focus and flashpoint for that heightened rhetoric and political machination.

One activist told us: Arizona is a caldron of emotion.

The White House says the National Guard deployment is to assist the Border Patrol in drug interdiction and to combat narcotic and gun trafficking, not the apprehension of migrants. But people on the ground in Arizona say the move is being read as an indication that Latinos are an “invading horde” needing to be stopped at the border with military force.

Cecilia Muñoz is a longtime civil rights activist — the former Vice President at the National Council of La Raza. Now she directs Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House and is one of the highest-ranking Latinos in the Administration. We wanted to ask her the question we are hearing lots of people ask: What is Obama Thinking?


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The Coalition of Immokalee Workers

At today’s piece rate, Florida farmworkers have to pick more than two-and-a-half tons of tomatoes to earn the equivalent of Florida’s minimum wage for a 10-hour workday. And, because of exclusions from key labor reform measures, farmworkers do not have the right to overtime pay, nor the right to organize and collectively bargain with their employers.

Today on NPR’s Latino USA, we track the current efforts of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Florida. They have successfully won wage increases from a number of fast food restaurant chains, now they’re turning to a super market chain and its customers — trying to win a public relations battle by raising awareness of the connection between your salad and their lives. And along the way, they’re talking about modern day slavery in the state of Florida. Andrew Stelzer has our report.


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Read more about the Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum.

Arizona Crackdown

This week, Arizona’s legislature passed the toughest state law aimed at undocumented immigration. Senate Bill 1070, if enacted, would:

  • Require that police officers make reasonable attempts ‘when practicable’ to determine the immigration status of a person if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is in the U.S. illegally,
  • Require employers to keep E-verify records of employees’ eligibility, and
  • Allow law-enforcement officials to arrest a person without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe the person has committed a public offense that makes him or her removable from the U.S.

    Some are calling the strategy: “make life tough” — reflecting the view that undocumented immigrants will either leave Arizona or not pass through in the first place if this law is on the books and enforced..

    Critics of the new legislation say it’s unconstitutional and criticize the “get tough” policies of Arizona as unworkable. Mark Brodie is a reporter for public radio station KJZZ in Phoenix and has been covering the story.


    Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

  • Arizona Update

    This week in Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer singed into law a measure which aims to ban ethnic studies in Arizona schools, a move that proponents say will end divisive classes in schools and one that critics say is yet another AZ law targeting Latinos.

    HB 2281 bans classes designed for students of a particular ethnic group, or ones that advocate ethnic solidarity. It also bans classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.

    In 2008, when the measure was first introduced, Maria spoke with Professor Rodolfo Acuña, author of Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. Here’s that interview again:


    Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

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