Charles Barkley Stands Strongly for Immigration and LGBT Rights

Dave Zirin of The Nation writes that he is always astounded by Charles Barkley. It’s not just that the NBA Hall of Famer-turned-announcer speaks without a filter. There is many a Howard Stern–Kathy Griffin–Jersey Shore–fungal spawn who do that on a nightly basis. It’s that Barkley actually has something to say.

On TNT’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day NBA Double Header,Barkley was in fantastic form when speaking about the legacy of the great civil rights leader. First TNT showed a clip of Dr. King’s daughter Rev. Bernice King, the current President of Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Unlike her mother, Coretta Scott King, and allies of her father like Bayard Rustin and Julian Bond, King stands in stark opposition to the LGBT community and the notion that they have a stake in “civil rights.” She even once led an anti-gay march to her father’s gravesite.

On TNT, Bernice King, in an otherwise boiler-plate soundbite, said that she felt a “responsibility to continue” her father’s legacy. When the camera swung back to the Round Mound of Rebound, he was ready. “His daughter said something that was very interesting,”Barkley said. “People try to make it about black and white. [But] he talked about equality for every man, every woman. We have a thing going on now, people discriminating against homosexuality in this country. I love the homosexuality people. God bless the gay people. They are great people.”

On Martin Luther King, Jr. day, Barkley also didn’t stop there. He said “We have discrimination against Hispanic people in this country and we need to answer to that.”

This echoed his comments last Cinco de Mayo, after the passage of Arizona’s SB 1070 law where he said,“Immigrants aren’t the problem. The only people screwing it up are the politicians. You know, living in Arizona for a long time, the Hispanic community, they’re like the fabric of the cloth. They’re part of our community and any time you try to do any type of racial profiling or racial discrimination is wrong.”

For more on this story, click here.

Earned Legalization: Effects of Proposed Requirements on Unauthorized Men, Women, and Children

In a new report, Earned Legalization: Effects of Proposed Requirements on Unauthorized Men, Women, and Children, Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Senior Policy Analyst Marc Rosenblum and coauthors Randy Capps and Serena Yi-Ying Lin (Download Legalization-requirements[1]) examine the impact on unauthorized men, women, and children of four criteria for earned legalization (English proficiency, employment, continuous presence, and monetary fines) found in the major legalization bills that Congress has considered since 2006. The analysis finds that language provisions could exclude the largest number of unauthorized immigrants; employment requirements would disproportionately affect women, who are less likely than unauthorized men to be in the workforce; continuous presence rules would omit many children who (in general) have lived in the country for less time than unauthorized adults; and high fees and fines would significantly burden low-wage applicants. Total fines under some legislative proposals have been as high as $10,000, more than half the annual family income for some 2.5 million unauthorized immigrants.

This report is the fourth in an MPI series on how to shape and administer a legalization program. The series addresses the core issues that policymakers in Congress and the administration would need to consider in designing and implementing effective legislation. The first report in the series, Structuring and Implementing an Immigrant Legalization Program: Registration as the First Step, argues that an essential first step to any legalization program would be a registration process that rapidly identifies, screens, and processes potential applicants. The second, More than IRCA: US Legalization Programs and the Current Policy Debate, provides an historical overview and yearly data on US legalization programs since the 1920s, a discussion of the debate over the nation’s estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants, and a primer on the statutory language used to describe the differing types of legalization programs. The third, Immigrant Legalization in the United States and European Union: Policy Goals and Program Design, examines policy parameters on both sides of the Atlantic that characterize legalization programs, such as qualifications, requirements, benefits, and program design and implementation. The legalization series and other MPI research on US immigration policy can be found at www.migrationpolicy.org/research/usimmigration.php

R.I. Gov. Chafee Has it Right: A Welcoming Immigration Policy Contributes Much to U.S. Competitiveness and Prosperity

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a former Republican U.S. senator, gestures after taking the oath of office as Rhode Island's first independent governor on the steps of the Statehouse in Providence, R.I., Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 4, 2011 as his wife Stephanie looks on. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

According to the Associated Press, newly elected Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee rescinded an executive order of his predecessor on January 5 under which Rhode Island state troopers would have gotten involved in immigration enforcement.  The governor is to be commended for this action.

Proposals are proliferating at the state level that would pander to anti-immigration sentiment by purporting to “crack down” on illegal immigration.  Although one must sympathize with the temptation that state-level politicians face to act in order to fill the void left by the failure of Congress to fulfill its responsibilities in this area, these proposals are, as Gov. Chafee said, divisive without promising to deliver any concrete benefits.

NAFSA’s senior adviser for public policy, Vic Johnson, offers his views on the NAFSA blog about how Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee overturned an executive order that would have caused troopers to get involved with immigration enforcement.  Gov. Chafee said, “My view is that Rhode Island can grow economically by being a tolerant place to do business. The immigrant-rich areas, I want to see them prosper.” In his post, Vic commends the Governor: “Anti-immigration sentiment is rampant in this country right now, abetted by politicians who find it convenient to cater to it. But the reality is that immigration is essential to future U.S. competitiveness and prosperity. Making immigration work for us requires a great deal more than more troops and higher walls. Genuine political leaders recognize this and have the courage to stand up and say it. Gov. Chafee is among them.” For more on this story, click here.

Border Patrol Agent Arrested for Harboring Undocumented Immigrant Father

Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr., 26, was arrested Monday January 10th at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station, according to the FBI.  A federal SWAT team raided Manzano’s house in the 3600 block of Shooting Star Drive and arrested suspected undocumented immigrant Jose Alfredo Garrido-Morena, also 26. According to a complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court in San Diego this afternoon, Garrido-Morena had been living at the residence since at least November along with Manzano and the accused agent’s 46-year-old father, Marcos Gerardo Manzano Sr. In addition to purportedly harboring undocumented immigrants, Manzano Jr. allegedly lied to a fellow Border Patrol agent when asked while on duty if he knew the whereabouts of his father, who was convicted four years ago in a U.S. court of possessing marijuana for sale and was twice deported to his home country of Mexico.

Julianne Hing writing for the Atlantic:

I am a storyteller by trade, and a new one still learning my way around. Earlier this week I happened on this report about Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr., a 26-year-old California Border Patrol agent who was charged with giving shelter to an undocumented immigrant, and a twice-deported one at that—his 46-year-old father Marcos Gerardo Manzano Sr.

Manzano Jr. reportedly lied to federal investigators who came around asking about his father’s whereabouts after someone in the neighborhood said they’d seen him in town. When FBI agents raided the Manzanos’ San Ysidro home they didn’t find the father, but they did find another undocumented immigrant hiding out.

I read that report and felt so sad—I imagined the younger Manzano’s impossible choices, his emotional burden sitting on his chest making it hard to breathe as he tried to sleep at night. To abide by the law he was paid by the government to uphold or to turn in his own father for deportation again?

I decided immediately that I wanted to share the Manzanos’ story with you, TNC’s audience. It would be the perfect entry point to discuss the real human drama behind immigration policies and the way that they’ve have failed our country. Policing the border has become much more difficult in recent years since the new border walls and increased border enforcement have forced migrants away from traditional urban crossing points to treacherous, remote regions. Increased border security has also led to the professionalization of criminal networks who want to push drugs through the border. Now families coming to the U.S. in search of a better life and the small number of crossing drug smugglers alike—though immigration policy makes little distinction between the two—pass through increasingly dangerous choke points. In 2010 a record 378 people died trying to cross the border, and there was still one month in the year left to tally. This even though migration into the country is actually down. For more on this article, click here.

A Moment of Silence for the Victims in the Arizona Shooting

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 10: U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michele Obama bow their heads as they participate in a moment of silence to honor those killed and wounded during a shooting in Tucson, Arizona on January 10, 2011 in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama called on the nation to observe a moment of silence today at 11:00am in honor of those killed and wounded during a shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona, where six people were killed and wounding atleast 13 others including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Michele Obama;Barack Obama

District residents as well as Capitol Hill lawmakers and staffers joined President Barack Obama Monday morning by participating in a moment of silence to honor the victims of this weekend’s mass shooting in Arizona. Meanwhile, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and others participated in a moment of silence on Capitol Hill, as hundreds of staffers filled the steps of the Capitol Building at 11 a.m. Across the city, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray oversaw a moment of silence by District employees at the Wilson Building. In an article from the Washington Post, Gray used the event to address gun control and mental health, saying that D.C. refused to relinquish gun control laws in exchange for a potential vote in Congress. He also said the tragedy in Arizona was a reminder that many places lack strong mental health services.

A White House statement said the moment of silence at 11 a.m. would allow people to come together, in prayer or reflection, and keep the victims and their families close at heart. President Obama observed the moment of silence with White House staff on the South Lawn. The president also signed a proclamation calling for flags to be flown at half-staff. Six people were killed and 14 others were injured when a gunman opened fire at a political gathering Saturday in Tucson. Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffordswas shot in the head at close range and remains in intensive care.

According to ImmigrationProf, As more facts become known about the incident and we contemplate why it happened, the nation should, as Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has advised, do some soul-searching.  What kind of political culture have we created?

The truth be told, can anyone be surprised by the fact that this tragedy occurred in Arizona, which over the last year and more has been the place of constant agitation and frequent hateful debate over immigration, birthright citizenship, ethnic studies, etc.?  The hatred directed at the President, “illegal aliens,” “anchor babies,” and the like by a number of Arizona political leaders, conservative “shock jocks,” and news commentators has been non-stop for months.  Indeed, the focus of an economic boycott and daily national attention, Arizona has been referred to as the “state of hate.”

The Huffington Post has a story by Robert Naiman that discusses “the target map that Sarah Palin published, showing Gabrielle Giffords’ Congressional District under the cross hairs of a gun.”  Whether or not that imagery is directly related to yesterday’s violence, it is part of a prevalent form of political debate today that incorporates violent imagery and helps create an environment that can support and nurture the kind of tragic events that occurred in Arizona.  Some might say that, given the hateful nature of much of the modern political discourse with violent imagery of this kind, it was only a matter of time.

Nor, at a time when hate crimes have been directed at Latinos and immigrants in states across the nation (see, e.g., here for a story last August on anti-Mexican hate crimes on Staten Island), should we treat the issue as limited to political fringes of Arizona.  The nation, not just Arizona, must do some soul-searching.

What’s the Matter With Anchor Babies, Anyway?

UC Berkeley Law prof Ian Haney Lopez offers his thoughts on “anchor babies” and birthright citizenship in commentary on New American Media. In his commentary, Lopez discusses today’s hysteria about birthright citizenship and anchor babies is really about the recent wave of Hispanic and Asian immigration and their—our—future.

Let the campaign against “anchor babies” begin! I, for one, want to embrace this latest disparaging term.

Next up from Arizona in the campaign to demonize undocumented immigrants: an effort to restrict “birthright citizenship.” Under U.S. constitutional law, children born here are citizens here, irrespective of their parents’ citizenship. Seeking to end this purported outrage, Arizona and other states have announced plans to challenge this right, hoping to eventually end up in a fight before the U.S. Supreme Court. The more immediate goal, however, seems to be to stir up controversy.

Key to whipping up populist fervor is the specter of the “anchor baby”: the child born here to noncitizen parents, ostensibly as part of a nefarious plot to establish roots in this country, thereby securing rights to live, work, and flourish in the United States for the child and eventually the whole family.

But wait: Why aren’t we encouraging anchor babies, rather than vilifying them? Don’t we want immigrants to commit to making the United States their home, a place of firm attachments that they help build through their labor and their values, their ambition and their energy?

Which brings us to the origins of birthright citizenship. The United States has always had two traditions regarding work and belonging. In the one we regularly celebrate, we welcome those with the gumption to start a new life, promising that in exchange for help building this country, we will embrace them, or at least their children, as full and respected members of our nation. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” we proudly proclaim, confident that in a society unbound by caste and class, everyone has the ability to contribute and merits repayment with the dignity of belonging.

But in another, ignoble tradition, we have often betrayed that promise; for despite our aspirations of equality, we, too, remained a society obsessed with caste—in our case, defined by race. Historically we said to our supposed inferiors, “Thanks for your land and your labor, but you do not belong; you cannot be one of us.”

In the years before the Civil War, the infamous Dred Scott decision sought to protect slavery by declaring that, free or not, African Americans could never be citizens. After the war, the country adopted the 14th Amendment to secure the rights of the newly emancipated. Its very first sentence ringingly declared: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Birthright citizenship entered the Constitution.

Yet caste continued. In 1884, the Supreme Court in Elk v. Wilkins denied birthright citizenship to Native Americans by manipulating the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Intended to refer to the children of diplomats, Elk used that technical language to ostracize what the dissent lamented remained “a despised and rejected class of persons.”

Fourteen years later, the Court reconsidered. In Wong Kim Ark, it granted automatic citizenship to children born to Chinese immigrants—persons at the time barred from entering the country and prohibited from gaining naturalized citizenship. Though they were socially reviled, the Court stopped the excommunication of their U.S.-born children.

Should birthright citizenship end up before the Supreme Court again, lawyers will reargue the reasoning of Dred Scott, Elk, and Wong Kim Ark. The narrow issue will focus on the meaning of the words “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” But the real issue will be whether to resurrect racial distinctions in who belongs. Read more on Lopez’s commentary here.

Sheriff Blames Political Vitriol for Shooting of Congresswoman Giffords

From USA Today:

Mourners held a candlelight vigil Saturday evening as U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remained in critical condition after a shooting rampage that left six dead and 12 others wounded.

Her friend, Chris McGuire, called the shooting “an atrocity” and said she felt the violence was politically motivated.

“I’m shocked that this is what our country has come to,” she said. “It is vicious. It is unconscionable.”

Dupnik and others echoed her comments, blaming the shooting on vitriolic political rhetoric that has consumed the country.

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” the sheriff said. “And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

Giffords expressed similar concern before the shooting. Last March, shortly after the House passed health care, Giffords’ congressional office in Tucson was vandalized. Afterward, she referred to the animosity against her by conservatives, including former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s decision to list Giffords’ seat as one of the top “targets” in the November midterm elections.

“For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action,” Giffords said in an interview with MSNBC. Read more….

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