Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

The Drop In Deportations

The Latino vote helped re-elect President Obama in 2012. Yet despite Latino support, the Obama administration has been responsible for a record number of deportations, on track to reach the 2 million mark sometime this year.

However, deportations fell slightly in 2013.

So…should advocates renew their faith in Mr. Obama’s campaign promise of immigration reform?

 

 

FT_Removals

Disappointment across the aisle

 

Graca Martinez, an organizer with United We Dream, says she’s upset with President Obama’s deportation policy.

 

“He promised the first year of his presidency to give us immigration reform and here we are in his second term and he’s given us nothing,” says Martinez.”

 

In fact, the president’s immigration policies displease people across the political spectrum.

 

Raul Grijalva was one of 29 democratic congressmen who signed a letter asking for the deportations of non-criminals to be halted. He says the administration has fallen into a Catch-22.

 

“Now they find themselves with no political response on the other side and owning a policy that’s deported more people than in the history of the country,” says Grijalva.

 

Republican congressman Mario Diaz Balart is critical of the president’s deportation policy.

 

“He said that he was not going to deport folks that didn’t have serious criminal records, he is deporting record numbers of people, many of which have families in the United States and have not committed serious crimes,” says Balart.

 

Looking ahead

 

There could be movement on immigration reform this year.

 

House Speaker John Boehner continues to support tackling immigration reform in a piece meal fashion.

 

In the meantime, democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez argues the president should stop breaking immigrant families apart through deportations.

 

“This isn’t amnesty, this isn’t a permanent solution,” says Gutierrez, “this is a temporary solution that allows you to say, ‘I’m going to protect you in the place you’re at right now, you don’t get to travel, you don’t get to vote, you just get to stay with your family in a safe place.”

 

The immigration reform effort is further complicated by this year’s midterm elections.

 

Some reform advocates hope Hope Republicans will be more open to compromise after primary season.

 

Now it’s a waiting game to see whether President Obama is remembered as the president who tackled immigration reform or the one who carried out a record number of deportations.

 

Migrant Deaths in Brooks County Texas

The road to the United States is paved with danger for tens of thousands of immigrants who come here illegally. Heavier enforcement in urban centers and along the Arizona border has made south Texas the latest hot spot for illegal crossings. One of the highest migrant death rates in the nation is in rural Brooks County, 70 miles north of the border.

 

MonicaOrtizUribe1_t210Mónica Ortiz Uribe is a native of El Paso, Texas, where she recently worked as a freelance reporter. Her work has aired on NPR, Public Radio International and Radio Bilingue. Most of her stories examined the effects of drug-related violence across the border in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Previously, she worked as a reporter for the Waco Tribune Herald in Waco, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a degree in history.

Texas Border Vigilantes

Reporter Amy Bracken spends a night with the Texas Border Volunteers, which has taken it upon itself to police the border and report migrants to the US Border Patrol. Her reporting was made possible by a fellowship with the French-American Foundation.

Photo by Amy Bracken

 

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BrackenShotAmy Bracken is a Boston-based freelance reporter and radio producer. She’s had stories on PRI’s The World and in The Christian Science Monitor and Boston Globe. Tweet @brackenamy.

Dangerous Deportations

Latino USA revisits one of our favorite stories from the past year. Mexican deportees are often dropped off in dangerous border cities at night. We take you to the Mexican city of Matamoros to see what they face when they arrive.

 

mzamudio2Maria Zamudio is an award-winning investigative reporter. She joined The Chicago Reporter Magazine to cover immigration, labor and health in 2011. Prior to joining the investigative magazine, she spent three years in California working for several daily newspapers. She’s a bilingual reporter and blogger with experience producing radio and video stories. She been awarded many prestigious fellowships including  the New York Times fellowship in 2003. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007.

Dearly Deported: Mexico City Edition

Our occasional series on the Dearly Deported continues with the story of Eduardo Arenas’ from Mexico City. Arenas tells of the meager food and harsh conditions of detention and what it’s like to have his family still in the United States.

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profilecropped Jennifer Collins is a freelance reporter based in Mexico City. Before moving to Mexico, she was with Marketplace from American Public Media for about five years. Collins has also reported for newspapers in Oregon, Alaska and Cambodia.

The Economics of Congressional Immigration Reform

We often about immigration reform in terms of the human cost, the loss of lives, families torn apart, the lack of due process, and the conditions of detention. But what about the money side of the equation?

A report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says immigration reform would actually increase the GDP by tens of billions of dollars each year.

“Every time a new group of immigrants comes in, whether it’s Italians, or Irish, or Mexicans, or Salvadorians, the claim is always the same,” says Walter Ewing, with the American Immigration Council, “’’They’re going to hurt us, they’re going to drive down our wages, they’re going to drain our social services,’ and that ends up not being the case.”

One major point of contention surrounding any proposed reform is a pathway to citizenship. Ewing says granting undocumented workers legal status would give the US economy a much-needed boost.
“Undocumented immigrants would earn more. If you earn more, you spend more, and you invest more, and you save more, and you are more likely to start a business.”
A bigger workforce also translates into greater tax revenue. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it’s enough to reduce the federal deficit by a trillion dollars over the next twenty years.

bpc-immigration-infographic

Infographic courtesy of the Bipartisan Policy Center

How Immigrant Workers Benefit The Economy 

Roel Campos is a former Securities and Exchange Commissioner. He says the best research we have shows immigrant workers not only benefit the economy but also aren’t an economic threat because they don’t steal jobs.

“In fact what happens is that, because, you know, they don’t have the same skill sets that American workers do, they do their own work. They set up their own businesses. They do work that other American workers don’t care to do. They work in the fields, work at restaurants, work at hotels.”

Immigrants also tend to be entrepreneurs. They’re more than twice as likely to start a small business than the native-born population.

Campos says current policy costs the US in potential tax revenues. But the US is also losing out on innovation and creative capital.

“We’re educating phDs and high-level people with masters and PhDs, and then they can’t stay in the US, even if they want to,” says Campos. “So after educating them, we send them away, and go live in other parts of the world that get the benefit of the education that the US provided for.”

Immigrants also make up an astounding number of PhDs in STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The National Survey of College Graduates reports that 40% of all PhDs in the sciences, and 60% of PhDs in Engineering, are from people born in other countries.

“If we had a comprehensive immigration bill… that bill would provide for very high skilled individuals coming from other places around the world to do jobs in Silicon Valley, in the East, all over America,” says Campos.

 

Photo by Luke Sharrett/Getty Images 

When A Business is Raided

For some Republicans, the push for immigration reform is about the bottom line and their employees’ welfare. Maria Hinojosa talks to conservative commentator Linda Chavez about ICE raiding her business.

(Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP)

FYR_LindaChavez_t700Linda Chavez is president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, based in Washington, D.C., and a FOX News Channel contributor.

Cheating Carnival Workers

At all-American carnivals, the workers who run rides and attractions are most often immigrants from Mexico and Central America. An estimated 5,000 workers are recruited abroad yearly to run rides and attractions in the United States.

And according to this report from the American University Washington College of Law and Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, many of these workers endure deceptive recruitment practices, high pre-employment fees and costs, wage theft, lack of access to legal and medical assistance, substandard housing and unsafe work conditions.

In a special report in collaboration with the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund, we examine how these workers were left out of some federal work protections and how some are now claiming their rights.

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John Carlos FreyJohn Carlos Frey is a freelance investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His investigative work has been featured on the 60 Minutes episode, “The All American Canal;” a three-part series for PBS entitled “Crossing the Line;” and several episodes of Dan Rather Reports, “Angel of the Desert,” and “Operation Streamline.” In 2011 Frey documented the journey of Mexican migrants across the US-Mexico border and walked for days in the Arizona desert risking his own life for the documentary Life and Death on the Border”. John Carlos Frey has also written articles for the Los Angeles Times, the Huffington Post, Salon, Need to Know online, the Washington Monthly, and El Diario (in Spanish). Frey’s documentary films include The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon (2007), The Invisible Chapel (2008), and The 800 Mile Wall (2009). He is the 2012 recipient of the Scripps Howard Award and the Sigma Delta Chi award for his Investigative Fund/PBS reporting on the excessive use of force by the US Border Patrol. He is a fellow at the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund.

The U.S. Auto Sector Went South…To Mexico

There are many reasons why immigration from Mexico to the U.S. has come to a virtual standstill. A slow U.S. economy, an increase in border security, and the passage of “show me your papers” laws in many states. But another reason that might not be so obvious is that right now, Mexico’s economy is booming.

Last year, it grew by 4 percent, four times the rate of Brazil’s economy. Reporter Marlon Bishop explains that a lot of the growth is due to high-tech manufacturing.

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Marlon Bishop_new headshotMarlon Bishop is a radio producer, writer, and reporter based in New York. His work is focused on music, Latin America, New York City and the arts. He is a frequent contributor to WNYC, Studio 360, The World, Latino USA and MTV Iggy. He is an Associate Producer for Afropop Worldwide.

Why Should Unions Support Immigration Reform?

You might not expect organized labor to advocate for immigration reform. But AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka tells us why he and his unions are making a push for reform to happen, and happen this year.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Richard-L.Trumka-AFL-CIO-President_mediumRichard Trumka is the president of the AFL-CIO, a national federation of labor organizations.

 

 

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