Support Filipino Advocates for Justice April 30th – ECO2: ECOFASHION MEETS ECOJUSTICE

 

Please join Filipino Advocates for Justice for their 38th Anniversary!

eco²: ecofashion meets ecojustice

Saturday, April 30, 2011

6 to 10pm

Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 9th Street, Suite 290, Oakland, CA 94607

A fashion show celebrating local eco friendly designers and honoring the contributions of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN) for their role in building the environmental justice movement.

In the spirit of this event, please dress in your best vintage, pre-owned, or sustainable clothing. Come enjoy an evening of fresh fashion with a variety of tasty eats by Mercury LoungeCafe Gabriela, and No Worries. The Mistress of Ceremonies is Christine Cordero, FACES Advisory Board member.

Designers, Julia RheeJenny TonMelissa UyRozel Cruz; and Robin David, are representative of today’s environmentally conscious designers with an innovative vision. Roseli Ilano will be directing the fashion show as well as contributing a youth design.

The fashion show models are community activists and leaders: Dawn Mabalon, Professor at San Francisco State University; Chris Punongbayan, Deputy Director of the Asian Law Caucus; Belle Santos, Development Manager for Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific; Aimee Suzara,writer/performer; Toussaint Haki Stewart, teacher, and creator of Besto Pesto; and elementary school student, Mahalaya Tintiangco-Cubales.

General admission is $60.

Purchase tickets at Brown Paper Tickets or by clicking here.

Sponsorships and advertisement space available! Please contact Judith at (510) 465-9876 or jolais@filipinos4justice.org.

Click here to download PDF details and instructions for sponsorships and ads.

Undocumented Immigrants Paid $11.2 Billion In Taxes While GE Paid Nothing

Here is a tax story from the Wonk Room that is well worth a read:

“This past month, there was much outrage over the fact that General Electric, despite making $14.2 billion in profits, paid zero U.S. taxes in 2010. General Electric actually received tax credits of $3.2 billion from American taxpayers. At the same time that General Electric was not paying taxes, many undocumented immigrants, who are typically accused of taking advantage of the system while not contributing to it by many on the right, paid $11.2 billion in taxes. A new study by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy shows that undocumented immigrants paid $8.4 billion in sales taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $1.2 billion in personal income taxes last year. The study also estimates that nearly half of all undocumented immigrants pay income taxes.”

ITEP bases its figures of what immigrants pay taxes based on the following factors:

  • Sales tax is automatic, so it is assumed that unauthorized residents would pay sales tax at similar rates to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants with similar income levels.
  • Similar to sales tax, property taxes are hard to avoid, and unauthorized immigrants are assumed to pay the same property taxes as others with the same income level. ITEP assumes that most unauthorized immigrants are renters, and only calculates the taxes paid by renters.
  • Income tax contributions by the unauthorized population are less comparable to other populations because many unauthorized immigrants work “off the books” and income taxes are not automatically withheld from their paychecks. ITEP conservatively estimates that 50 percent of unauthorized immigrants are paying income taxes.
  • While it’s impossible to estimate exactly how much in taxes undocumented immigrants paid, it is clear that undocumented immigrants are paying more taxes than General Electric, which paid absolutely nothing. This raises the question of who really is leaching off the American system: undocumented immigrants who pay their taxes and are typically too afraid of being deported to receive public assistance or corporations that pay nothing while receiving billions in credits.

    For more on this story, click here.

    Unauthorized Immigrants Pay Taxes, Too

    Estimates of the State and Local Taxes Paid by Unauthorized Immigrant Households

    From Immigration Policy Center:

    April 18, 2011

    Washington D.C. – Tax Day is an appropriate time to underscore the often-overlooked fact that unauthorized immigrants pay taxes. The unauthorized, like everyone else in the United States, pay sales taxes. They also pay property taxes—even if they rent. At least half of unauthorized immigrants pay income taxes. Add this all up and it amounts to billions in revenue to state and local governments.

    Today, the Immigration Policy Center releases estimates produced by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) of the state and local taxes paid in 2010 by households that are headed by unauthorized immigrants. Collectively, these households paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes. That included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.

    These figures should be kept in mind as politicians and commentators continue with the seemingly endless debate over what to do with unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States. In spite of the fact that they lack legal status, these immigrants—and their family members—are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs as well.

    To view the report visit:

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    For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at wsefsaf@immcouncil.org or 202-507-7524

     

    Los Angeles Musician Tasered Into Coma by Arizona Border Patrol

    Jose Gutierrez Guzman

    Link to video on this story can be found here.

    America’s Voice reports on the sad story of an immigrant father tasered into a coma by the Border Patrol.  Three weeks ago, Jose Gutierrez lived in Los Angeles with his wife and two children, had a solid job as a film engineer, and was the frontman for popular Spanish rock band, FZ10. Things changed when he was deported on March 21 for being an undocumented immigrant, even though Gutierrez has lived here since childhood, supports his U.S. citizen family, and has no relations in Mexico.  Gutierrez was tasered as he was trying to rejoin his family.

    Before this whole ordeal, Gutierrez wrote a song called “ICE” for his L.A. band, in which he criticizes the criminalization of immigration in America.

    Initially, “[t]hough Gutierrez remains in a persistent vegetative state, two Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers guard his hospital room 24 hours a day, ready to re-deport him if and when he recovers.”  ICE later decided not to seek to remove Gutierrez while he was receiving medical care.

    For more on this story, click here and here.

     

    AILA NorCal’s FREE Citizenship Day Event – Saturday, April 30, 2011

    From AILA Northern California:

    FREE WORKSHOP TO ASSIST BAY AREA RESIDENTS ON PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

    SAN FRANCISCO – People who are ready to become U.S. citizens but cannot afford to hire an attorney for assistance can benefit from a free citizenship workshop on Saturday, April 30, at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.  This event, coordinated annually by the Northern California chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA NorCal), is a phenomenal opportunity for immigrants to gain access to knowledgeable, bilingual legal counsel and receive guidance in the often confusing process of naturalization.

    Unlike lawful permanent residents (green-card holders), U.S. citizens have the right to vote and are protected against deportation.  Also, U.S. citizens are given priority over permanent residents when they file immigrant visa petitions for their family members, avoiding years of waiting and heartache.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) charges a fee of either $595 or $675 to file a citizenship application with the government (depending upon the applicant’s age) before the cost of hiring an attorney is even considered.  With such high application fees, many would-be applicants cannot afford the extra expense of hiring a lawyer to assist with the process – choosing either to wait until later or attempt to complete the daunting paperwork on their own.  This event provides the opportunity for quality legal assistance at no cost, from attorneys and other trained volunteers who speak a variety of languages.

    This free Citizenship Day clinic is coordinated by AILA NorCal and hosted by UC Hastings College of the Law.  AILA is a national association of attorneys who practice and teach immigration law, and the Northern California chapter has nearly members.  More than 30 AILA chapters across the country will be providing free legal advice on U.S. citizenship during the month of April.  This is the fourth year that AILA NorCal has participated; more than 160 applicants received assistance at last year’s event.  The clinic’s co-sponsors are the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Asian Law Caucus, Centro Legal de la Raza, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Chinese Newcomers, Jewish Children’s and Family Services, International Institute of the Bay Area, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, San Francisco Immigrant Legal & Education Network, Dolores Street Community Services, the Afghan Coalition, the Iranian American Bar Association, and the Afghan American Bar Association.

    This free walk-in clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 198 McAllister Street, and will bring together volunteer attorneys, law students and other bilingual volunteers who see the extraordinary value in assisting lawful permanent residents in applying for citizenship.  Volunteers will answer questions regarding the citizenship process, screen for eligibility, help complete the application form, and give guidance on how to file the application. The workshop is limited to naturalization/citizenship matters.  For a list of documents people should bring to the workshop, please visit http://ailanorcal.com/citz.  To apply for citizenship, an individual must be at least 18 years old and must have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, or for three years if married to a U.S. citizen.  Applicants also must demonstrate that they can read, write and speak in ordinary English (with limited exceptions) and that they have good moral character, and must pass a U.S. history and government test and take the oath of allegiance to the United States.

     

    ICE Begins Second Round of Deportations to Haiti During Humanitarian Crisis

    The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security has resumed deportations of Haitian nationals. On a conference call this morning, U.S. officials confirmed that they have received no assurances that the 19 individuals who were deported will be treated humanely upon their arrival in Haiti. In response, the Center for Constitutional Rights, University of Miami School of Law Human Rights Clinic and Immigration Clinic, FANM/Haitian Women of Miami, Alternative Chance, and Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center issued the following statement:

    This morning, the United States deported a second group of Haitian men to face jail and death in post-earthquake Haiti. In January, a 34-year-old man, Wildrick Guerrier, died only 9 days after being deported to Haiti. Guerrier and 26 other men were jailed without being provided with clean water or food and were held in a cell covered with human feces and vomit. Guerrier and other men fell ill, exhibiting cholera-like symptoms, and were refused medical care.

    As acknowledged by the U.S. State Department, conditions have only worsened since the January 2010 earthquake that caused ICE to suspend deportations. Haiti is reeling under a cholera epidemic, social unrest, and unsafe and deteriorating tent camps housing over 1.2 million displaced people. Haiti also continues its practice of jailing deportees with past criminal records under life-threatening conditions.

    Yet ICE unexpectedly announced in December 2010 that it was lifting the ban on deportations to Haiti for individuals with past criminal records and began rounding up Haitian community members.

    Before the first plane to Haiti left on January 20, a wide range of immigrants’ rights and human rights organizations warned that deportation could be a death sentence. On January 6, our organizations petitioned the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to instruct the United States to halt the deportations. On February 4, the IACHR issued an order urging the United States not to deport the Haitian petitioners to Haiti and expressing serious concern about the deportations separating families and placing people with medical conditions in life-threatening conditions.

    The cholera epidemic has resulted in over a quarter of a million known cases in Haiti with 4,717 reported deaths as of March 18, 2011. Even more alarming, a new study by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Harvard Medical School, published March 16, 2011 in the journal Lancet, is predicting that there could be nearly twice the number of previously expected cases of cholera – up to 779,000 – between this March and November 2011 alone. The U.S. government claims it is working with the government of Haiti towards “safe and humane” removals. This is simply not possible given the conditions on the ground, particularly in the jails where deportees are held.

    The United States has an obligation not to deport anyone to death. Our country must live up to its human rights commitments and immediately halt any and all deportations to Haiti.

    For more information visit www.StopHaitiDeportations.org and CCR’s legal case page.

     

    Arizona Senate Passes “Birther” Bill

    Maintenance man David Lee of Arvada, Colo., puts the finishing touches on a birther sign in the Denver suburb of Wheat Ridge, Colo., Nov. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

    Arizona’s state Senate approved a bill last Wednesday that will require presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens before they can be included on a state ballot. Prompted by challenges to President Barack Obama’s citizenship, see, e.g., here, and, therefore, eligibility for the job, the bill passed 20-9 in the Senate, and now moves to the state House for a final vote before heading to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk. Read more about the latest controversial bill from Arizona on Politico.com and Newser.com.

    It is hard to say what is fueling the persistence of the “birther” movement and the claim that President  Obama is not eligible for the Presidency. In the only provision of the U.S. Constitution of its kind for any office, the Constitution provides that “[n]o Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.” U.S. CONST. art. II, § 1, cl. 4 (emphasis added). Despite the release of public records establishing that President Obama was born in Hawaii, his eligibility for the Presidency has repeatedly been challenged on the ground that he allegedly was born outside of the United States. See Samuel G. Freedman, In Untruths About Obama, Echoes of a Distant Time, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 1, 2008, at A21; Frank Rich, The Obama Haters’ Silent Enablers, N.Y. TIMES, Jun. 14, 2009, at 8; Dana Milbank, President Alien, and Other Tales From the Fringe, WASH. POST, Dec. 9, 2008, at A3. There is even a website devoted to the so-called “birther” movement, which CNN’s Lou Dobbs gave mainstream credence on his prime time news show before his abrupt departure in late 2009, see Michael Shain & David K. Li,Dobbs Gave Up on $9M, N.Y. POST, Nov. 13, 2009, at 15.

     

     

    ICE Abuse in Detroit

    From America’s Voice:

    Contact: Ryan Bates, 248-787-6767, ryan@michiganimmigrationreform.org
    Jonathan Contreras, 313-404-9479, jonathan@michiganimmigrationreform.org

    Community Leaders Demand Strong Action to Prevent Future Abuses by ICE Agents

    Detroit – Community leaders applaud Immigration and Customs Enforcement for acknowledging Detroit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents went outside policy protocol after stalking students outside an elementary school last Thursday, March 31 but demand stronger action from Director Rebecca Adducci.

    The following is a statement from Ryan Bates, director of the Alliance for Immigrants Rights & Reform – Michigan:

    “We are pleased that ICE headquarters appears to admit there was a problem with the way Detroit agents conducted themselves, but we are a long way from achieving real accountability for what happened at Hope of Detroit Academy that day, the illegal search of Rogelio Perez’s home, and the way his pregnant wife was treated while in detention.

    “On April 6, Alliance for Immigrants Rights & Reform – Michigan, State Representative Rashida Tlaib, and State Representative Harvey Santana sent a letter to Detroit ICE’s Director, Rebecca Adducci, with the following demands.  We have yet to receive a response.

    1)      Pursuant to ICE’s own guidelines, “Field Guidance on Enforcement Actions or Investigative Activities At or Near Sensitive Locations,” we demand to know who authorized enforcement actions at schools, if anyone, and why.
    2)      We demand that ICE immediately respect their own policy, and end all enforcement activities near schools, churches, mosques, community centers and health clinics, and ends warrant-less searches and raids of homes.
    3)      We demand that the officers involved in Thursday’s incident here at Hope Elementary School be identified and disciplined.
    4)      We demand that officers involved in the warrant—less search of Maria and Rogelio Perez’s home be identified and disciplined.
    5)      We demand that Rebecca Adducci submit a “Civil Rights Plan” to the community that specifically addresses how problems like this will be prevented from occurring in the future.

    “The recent incidents are just the latest examples in a pattern of abusive treatment and illegal behavior by Detroit ICE agents.  ICE Director John Morton and Detroit Field Office Director Rebecca Adducci must address our concerns and punish those who violated agency policy and the law while acting on behalf of the federal government.

    “The incidents in Detroit are a stain on our democracy, and created great fear in our community.  Abusive tactics by law enforcement must not be swept under the rug.  Enforcement of federal immigration laws must be done with professionalism, accountability, and respect for human and civil rights.  The agents who authorized and carried out these actions must be held responsible for their actions.

    At a press conference held last week, community leaders gathered outside of Hope of Detroit Academy to demand that Detroit (ICE) Field Office Director Rebecca Adducci hold agents accountable for stalking parents as they dropped their children off at the school on March 31.  After ICE surrounded the school, parents were afraid to leave and the elementary school students were thrown into a panic.  Leaders also condemned an illegal, warrantless search conducted at a Detroit home earlier in March.  That search resulted in the detention and deportation of a pregnant woman, who was also denied access to her medication by ICE.

     

    Ninth Circuit Affirms Preliminary Injunction of Arizona’s SB 1070

    Please refer to the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in United States v. Arizona at Download Ninth circuit.  The result is not entirely surprising given that the Ninth Circuit affirmed the relatively straight-forward preliminary injunction entered by the district court on federal preemption grounds.

    The appeal was heard by Ninth Circuit Judges John T. NoonanRichard A. Paez, and Carlos T. Bea.  Judge Paez wrote for the majority, with a concurrence by Judge Noonan.  Judge Bea concurred in part and dissented in part.  The split between Judges Paez and Bea seemed apparent from the oral arguments in the case, although it was harder for me to speculate how Judge Noonan was leaning.  The depth of the split between the majority and dissent (as well as the tensions between the judges) is suggested by footnote 6 of the majority opinion:

    “We have carefully considered the dissent and we respond to its arguments as appropriate. We do not, however, respond where the dissent has resorted to fairy tale quotes and other superfluous and distracting rhetoric. These devices make light of the seriousness of the issues before this court and distract from the legitimate judicial disagreements that separate the majority and dissent.”

    Here is the introduction to Judge Paez’s opinion, which foreshadows the court’s holding:

    “In April 2010, in response to a serious problem of unauthorized immigration along the Arizona-Mexico border, the State of Arizona enacted its own immigration law enforcement policy. Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, as amended by H.B. 2162 (“S.B. 1070”), “make[s] attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona.” S.B. 1070 § 1. The provisions of S.B. 1070 are distinct from federal immigration laws. To achieve this policy of attrition, S.B. 1070 establishes a variety of immigration-related state offenses and defines the immigration-enforcement authority of Arizona’s state and local law enforcement officers.

    Before Arizona’s new immigration law went into effect, the United States sued the State of Arizona in federal district court alleging that S.B. 1070 violated the Supremacy Clause on the grounds that it was preempted by the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), and that it violated the Commerce Clause. Along with its complaint, the United States filed a motion for injunctive relief seeking to enjoin implementation of S.B. 1070 in its entirety until a final decision is made about its constitutionality. Although the United States requested that the law be enjoined in its entirety, it specifically argued facial challenges to only six select provisions of the law. United States v. Arizona, 703 F. Supp. 2d 980, 992 (D. Ariz. 2010).

    The district court granted the United States’ motion for a preliminary injunction in part, enjoining enforcement of S.B. 1070 Sections 2(B), 3, 5(C), and 6, on the basis that federal law likely preempts these provisions. Id. at 1008. Arizona appealed the grant of injunctive relief, arguing that these four sections are not likely preempted; the United States did not cross-appeal the partial denial of injunctive relief. Thus, the United States’ likelihood of success on its federal preemption argument against these four sections is the central issue this appeal presents.

    We have jurisdiction to review the district court’s order under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1). We hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion by enjoining S.B. 1070 Sections 2(B), 3, 5(C), and 6. Therefore, we affirm the district court’s preliminary injunction order enjoining these certain provisions of S.B. 1070.” (emphasis added).

    Farming Industry Urges State Lawmakers to Kill Costly Immigration Measures


    In Georgia last week, a group of 270 agricultural leaders sent a letter urging lawmakers to kill two Arizona-style enforcement measures (SB 40 and HB 87), which the industry has repeated warned “discriminates against workers” and puts “Georgia farmers at a disadvantage to growers in other states.” Leaders from the Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Agribusiness Council and the Georgia Urban Ag Council signed the letter, which warned:

    We must also weigh the unintended potential cost of losing major conventions, tourism, and international business opportunities. We urge you to consider the message we send to the foreign investors and workers that are vital to our success on the global stage.

    According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one immigration bill dismissed the letter as a “scare tactic.” Really? What’s NOT scary about an immigration bill that has already proven to cost Arizona an estimated $141 million in cancelled conferences, with future cancellations triggering “more than a quarter billion dollars in lost economic output, more than $86 million in lost wages and 2,800 jobs over the next two to three years?

    Conservative lawmakers in Arizona actually voted down an immigration omnibus bill last month after a group of 60 Arizona business executives—including the CEOs of Pet Smart and U.S. Airways—sent a letter to the Arizona Senate urging lawmakers not to proceed with the bills. The letter cited costly economic boycotts, a decline in sales, lost jobs and cancelled contracts in their plea to halt legislation.

    Legislators in California also cited the high cost of two immigration enforcement bills (AB1018 and AB 26) which target undocumented immigrants. State Rep. Mike Feuer said he “agreed with business representatives who said it would cost the state jobs and with law enforcement officials who said it would make Californians less safe by diverting resources otherwise used to fight more serious crimes.” Both measures were killed by a legislative committee this week.

    Although legislation continued to move through state legislatures in Alabama (HB 56), Florida (SB 1896),South Carolina (S 20) and Tennessee (HB 1380) this week, lawmakers, businesses, and agricultural and advocacy leaders continue to sound the alarm over these laws’ potential impact on their state’s bottom line.

    Read more…

     

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