Out of the shadows and into the streets!
Tania Chairez and Jessica Hyejin Lee, openly undocumented and unafraid mujeres, block traffic in an act of civil disobedience in front of ICE headquarters in Philadelphia. They risked deportation to free Miguel.
Photo Credit: Jessica Hyejin Lee
Today in the USA, heroes are arrested and nobody notices, while Snooki is a household word. Kali Yuga has a sense of humor, too
In fact, in just four years, 2003-2007, the Iraq War resulted in 141 metric tons of CO2 emissions - the equivalent of 25 million cars. “Those who claim [that] slowing population growth,” Angus and Butler write, “will stop or slow environmental destruction are ignoring these real and immediate threats to life … Corporations and armies aren’t polluting the world and destroying ecosystems because there are too many people, and they won’t stop if the birth rate is reduced. If Afghan women have fewer babies, the US military won’t stop firing shells made of depleted uranium into their villages. Nor will military bases in Afghanistan stop dumping toxic wastes into open burn pits.”
The art of illustrator Julio Salgado has become synonymous with the immigrant rights youth movement, that embraced by U.S.-raised young people who were brought here illegally or stayed on with expired visas after their parents brought them to the U.S. as children.
His bright, chunky characters, sometimes depicted in graduate cap-and-gown attire, are found on posters and t-shirts advocating for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, proposed federal legislation that would grant conditional legal status to young people who arrived before age 16 of they go to college or join the military. Last year Salgado created “Liberty for All,” an online political comic strip about a young college graduate named Libertad, or Liberty, who can’t find work beyond menial jobs.
Here is Salgado’s take on what it’s like to come out twice – or not
clicky for interview!
AN INDIAN student who paid thousands of dollars to study in Australia was illegally detained at the Villawood detention centre for 18 months because of mistakes by immigration officers, the Australian Human Rights Commissioner has found.
The commissioner, Catherine Branson, has found that Prashant Cherkupalli, 31, should be paid $597,000 in compensation for the 509 days he was illegally detained between November 2004 and April 2006.
Mr Cherkupalli, 31, who kept his ordeal secret from his family, is now suing the Commonwealth in the NSW Supreme Court for damages.
”I was ashamed to tell my parents. I came here to do something and ended up in prison. I spent thousands of dollars from my family,” he said.
The detention caused him to miss classes and forfeit $57,000 in student fees. He has since graduated with a master of engineering degree from Sydney University.
…Mr Cherkupalli believes he lost the opportunity to gain permanent residency in Australia because the time spent in detention meant he was too old when he applied after graduation. ”Everyone’s aim after being a student is to get a job and settle down. I can’t do that,” he says.
Damn. Immigration abuses are so common here, it’s amazing that anyone still believes in the system with the regular court appeals against really shocking neglect, abuse and incompetence.
Also, it’s an open secret in the public service that the NSW section of the immigration department is the worst. The % of their decisions overturned on court appeal, including the High Court, is so high it’s obvious that mismanagement and politicization of the APS is enabling corruption.
“On Tuesday September 27th we are collaborating with the Chicago LGBTQ Immigrant Rights Coalition to present a community forum on the intersection between immigrant rights and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities. Using the event as an excuse, here is a short list of these intersections put together by the Association of Latino Men for Action’s LGBT Immigrant Rights Project coordinator and IYJL organizer Tania Unzueta. Find more info here, or watch the live broadcast.”
7 simple reasons why the LGBTQ community needs to care about immigrant rights:
#1. We are immigrants too: Of the 10.8 million people who live in the United States undocumented, many are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ). Some of these are LGBTQ youth who came with their families as minors and consider the U.S. their home, while others came to escape persecution in their own countries. They have built their lives here, fallen in love, and started families, but under current U.S. immigration law there is no legal process for them to become citizens. Today they remain in the country in limbo, vulnerable to abuse, and under constant threat of being deported.
#2. Our families have limited options: LGBTQ immigrants, both documented and undocumented, face hurdles when attempting to regularize their status or become citizens. If an immigrant with a visa happens to fall in love with a U.S. citizen of the same sex, their partner cannot help them change their immigration status to that of a permanent residentv. Because same-sex relationships are not recognized under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), for an immigrant who is in a same-sex marriage, there are an extra 2 years of residency before citizenship if the application is accepted compared to one who is in a heterosexual marriage. But if the application is denied, the immigrant partner will be put in deportation proceedings. There are at least 35,000 same-sex couples in the U.S. that are affected by the immigration system.
#3. We can’t help our immigrant partners: If a person is in deportation proceedings, whether it is because they traveled undocumented or were denied adjustment of status, there are very few options for them to remain in the country – heterosexual or LGBTQ. Some get a “cancelation of removal” from immigration when they have family members- children, husbands or wives, except that for same-sex couples, their citizen spouses do not count. As of May 2011 the policy of the Obama administration has explicitly been to deport immigrant same-sex partners of U.S. citizens, regardless of marital status. This year the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has estimated that they will deport over 400,000 people, the most annual deportations in the country’s history. According to statistics by DHS a third of immigrants detained have no criminal record, many of them include LGBTQ people, and permanent partners of U.S. citizens. [NOTE: This may change under the recent change in enforcement priorities announced by the Obama administration, and the guidelines for prosecutorial discretion announced by DHS. These procedures include LGBT people and same-sex couples, according to the White House, however there are still many questions about the implementation and efficacy of the policy].
#4. We are here escaping persecution: Many LGBTQ and HIV positive immigrants leave their country of birth escaping homophobic and transphobic violence, including threats to their lives. Since 1994 the U.S. considers this ground to request asylum and eventually permanent residency. However, the process for asylum can be a long and harsh process, where in the end, there is no guarantee that it will be granted. There are several cases of gay and transgender immigrants, who could not meet the burden of proof for their asylum claim. Some of them have accused immigration judges and officials of holding biased standards based on stereotypes of safety and behavior, and are still in limbo, or detained.
#5. We face harassment & death in detention: A civil complaint by the National Immigrant Justice Center against DHS details “sexual assault, denials of medical care, arbitrary confinement, and sever harassment and discrimination” against LGBTQ immigrants. The complaint is on behalf of 13 transgender and gay people who came to the U.S. to escape persecution in their won countries. In addition, there have been several documented cases where transgender immigrants have been denied access to hormones, and HIV+ detainees denied access to medication, resulting in a number of deaths and investigations into human rights abuses. These abuses reflect the wrongful treatment that thousands of immigrants face in detention facilities throughout the country, under a system that disproportionately affects LGBTQ immigrants.
#6. Queer undocumented youth are fierce: LGBTQ undocumented organizers have taken leadership roles in the national campaign for immigrant rights. This has been most visible in the campaign for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM), which would provide a conditional path to citizenship for immigrant youth who arrived to the country before the age of 16. LGBTQ youth have “come out” to speak about being LGBTQ and undocumented, using their stories to advocate for change.xiv Additionally some of these youth make specific references to the gay liberation movement as inspiration, citing Harvey Milk’s activism in the 1980s. If these youth were to be deported, some would be going back go countries that they have never known, and that may not be accepting of their sexuality and gender. For many of these LGBTQ undocumented youth the only country they have known is the U.S. and they are fighting for their lives.
#7. Our struggles are intertwined: The same politicians and organizations that oppose the rights of undocumented immigrants oppose the rights of LGBTQ people. Data shows that we are more likely to encounter a person who favors both immigrant and LGBT rights, than someone who supports immigration, but opposes same-sex marriage. Homophobic politicians are likely to attempt to block immigration reform to prevent LGBTQ immigrants from gaining legal status through same-sex permanent partnerships. LGBTQ movements need to build strategic alliances with immigration movements to ensure equal rights for all.
[Trigger warning for immigration and the other big queue myth in Oz]
ZHANG JIN came to Australia from China’s Guangdong province in 2008 to study translating and interpreting. Already fluent in English, his skills were listed as “in demand” by the federal government and he anticipated that once he had completed his master’s degree at RMIT University he would easily qualify for permanent residence in Australia. But after studying hard for two years – and paying $42,000 in tuition fees – he emerged from his course to find that the rules had changed.
It is not that Australia has rejected Zhang. His migration application remains valid, but – like tens of thousands of others – it is stuck in the system. So far he has waited sixteen months for his application to be processed. Others in his situation have waited more than two years and there is no end in sight.
“We deserve an answer,” says Zhang, “no matter whether that answer is yes or no.” The twenty-five-year-old is one of almost 40,000 international student graduates whose lives have been put on hold since the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, or DIAC, classified their visa applications as lowest priority.
Oz followers, read if you weren’t aware that there’s another misleading ‘queue’ to the asylum seeker one. Summarizes what the real process is in determining who gets a decision when, how many people are being kept in limbo.
July 29th is the day Arizona’s new tough illegal immigration law goes into effect.
As immigrants flee the state in fear of being arrested, neighborhoods are emptying and small businesses are feeling the lack of customers.
Nick Riccardi reports: “No one has measured the effect of SB 1070 on businesses, or the number of immigrants it has prompted to leave Arizona. But merchants say the repercussions are clear — not just in how it’s prompted many families to leave the state, but scared others enough to curtail their regular activities.”
Riccardi talks to business owners who say that the immigrants who do stay are afraid to leave their homes, which means fewer people shopping. Others report that their workforce has fled.
So much for “taking our jobs”. People afraid to leave their own homes just makes my heart ache.