the state

-of second-class citizens by vastate

a friend recently directed me to a disturbing story from the international herald tribune.  the headline “over 100,000 deportees had children in the US” prefaced a department of homeland security investigation’s report that should be just as shocking and repugnant to a society of “family values” as an unnecessary war would be to a “culture of life!”

evidently DHS, or ICE, or formerly INS, has deported around 2.2 million folks in the 10 years prior to 2007.  108,434 of those being parents of u.s. american citizens, many kids were either separated from their family members, or deported by their own government (children cannot apply for their parents’ residency until they reach 21).

(Unfortunately,) INS/ICE preferred to move ahead w/ deportations, rather than keep track of citizen children (from the tribune):

Skinner warned the numbers were incomplete because Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn’t fully document such cases. The agency also does not keep track of how many children each parent has. He recommended immigration officials start collecting more data on removed parents and their children.

one of the most famous cases to hit the news, as ICE was ramping up its detentions & deportations under chertoff & the bush administration, was elvira arellano.

she was deported after seeking help and refuge in a chicago church.

many shenandoah valley folks have felt the direct (i.e. last year’s cargill raid) & indirect (fear) consequences of tightening enforcement & legislative inaction, even as many u.s. businesspeople and politicians profit from the immigration deadlock.

but wait–there’s good news in the new york times today: ¡a path to citizenship! legal temporary residents can get on a six-month fast-track to citizenship … as long as they sign up for the army.

evidently, some imigrants have quite a lot to offer:

Recruiters expect that the temporary immigrants will have more education, foreign language skills and professional expertise than many Americans who enlist, helping the military to fill shortages in medical care, language interpretation and field intelligence analysis.

and, we’re a little desperate:

Recruiters’ work became easier in the last few months as unemployment soared and more Americans sought to join the military. But the Pentagon, facing a new deployment of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, still has difficulties in attracting doctors, specialized nurses and language experts.

luckily, ¡so are they!

Pentagon officials expect that the lure of accelerated citizenship will be powerful. Under a statute invoked in 2002 by the Bush administration, immigrants who serve in the military can apply to become citizens on the first day of active service, and they can take the oath in as little as six months.

For foreigners who come to work or study in the United States on temporary visas, the path to citizenship is uncertain and at best agonizingly long, often lasting more than a decade. The military also waives naturalization fees, which are at least $675.

win win, right?  but, there is a dark lining on this silver cloud:

Commenters who vented their suspicions of the program on said it could be used by terrorists to penetrate the armed forces.

in all seriousness, though, i’m excited to begin to learn about local work folks are doing to bridge social, cultural, and economic gaps here in the valley.

the people united & the new bridges immigrant resource center are putting on an interpreters’ training next weekend (feb 20 & 21, details here).  looks like the object is to help folks interpreting for spanish, kurdish, and russian locals work more holistically & effectively w/ their clients & communities.

also, a variety of regional groups are working to stop construction of a privately run ICE detention center for immigration detainees in farmville, va.  the washington post recently ran a piece about the project, through which policy makers and businesspeople aim, not to address root causes of undocumented migration or tackle issues of humane treatment and due process for ICE detainees, but to profit:

The 1,040-bed facility will be unique not only because it will dwarf many of Virginia’s jails but also because it is a private venture aimed at capitalizing on the massive influx of detainees into the Immigration and Customs Enforcement system over the past year. A small group of Richmond investors looks to reap millions of dollars in profit by building what has been described as the “mid-Atlantic hub” for ICE operations in a town just three hours south of the nation’s capital.

potential protesters had to enlist the help of ACLU lawyers to challenge farmville’s bizarre, unconstitutional rules for public demonstrations, which:

prohibit assemblies attended by noise and boisterousness, shouting, clapping or singing that disturbs tranquility of the community, that require marchers to be in single file and no more than ten feet apart, that ban demonstrations of more than six people before any business or public facility, that prohibit anyone under 18 years old from demonstrating, and that restrict carried signs to 24 x 28 inches or less.

so, protests will go forward, w/ a main event evidently taking place march 7.  details can be found here, and the state will try to keep tabs on developments.

Also, a house bill could begin to address the injustice of family-splitting deportations (again, from the international herald tribune):

Serrano serves on the House Appropriations Committee’s panel that helps decide how much money is provided to the Homeland Security Department each year. He has filed a bill, the Child Citizen Protection Act, that would allow immigration judges to consider whether immigrants have children who are U.S. citizens when making deportation decisions.

“If, in fact, some (children) were left behind here, then you have the sad tragedy of breaking up families,” Serrano said. “If they were taken back, I would argue the direct result of our actions is the deportation of our citizens. How do you deport a U.S. citizen?”

good question.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

[…] posts on second-class citizens & the people […]

Pingback by -of farmville (what are they thinking?) « the state

[…] -of jgrimsrud, -of localism, -of politik we’ve been posting recently (farmville.1, .2, and second-class citizens) about protests and plans relative to a private-run immigrant detention center slated for […]

Pingback by -of immigration & detention.x « the state

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: