Filipina Teachers Teaching in U.S. Inner Cities

From PBS POV The Learning:

A Century After American Educators Helped Create Public Schools in the Philippines, Filipino Teachers Are Returning the Favor – in America’s Inner Cities

“The Learning is like no other teaching film – it sensitizes you in fresh and unexpected ways to the transactions between instructors and students.” – Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun

One hundred years ago, American teachers established the English-speaking public school system of the Philippines. Now, in a striking turnabout, American schools are recruiting Filipino teachers. Ramona Diaz’s The Learning is the story of four Filipina women who reluctantly leave their families and schools to teach in Baltimore. They hope to use their higher salaries to transform their families’ impoverished lives back home. But the women bring idealistic visions of the teacher’s craft and of life in America, which soon collide with Baltimore’s tough realities.

The Learning has its national broadcast premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011 at 10 p.m. on POV (Point of View) on PBS. (Check local listings.) The film will stream in its entirety on the POV website, Sept. 21 – Oct. 21. POV is the winner of a Special Emmy for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking, an IDA Award for Best Continuing Series and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers’ 2011 Award for Corporate Commitment to Diversity.

Report finds Due Process Abuses in Secretive Deportation Program

Using a little-known government program, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has pushed nearly 160,000 immigrants – many with deep ties to the United States – through an expedited deportation process, sometimes without adequately informing them of their right to a day in court, according to a new analysis of thousands of pages of released government documents.

The report (Download Deportation-Without-Due-Process FINAL (2)), written by attorneys and law professors at Stanford Law School, the National Immigration Law Center, and Western State University College of Law, determined that DHS agents administering the program provided legally inaccurate portrayals of the opportunities to remain in the United States in order to boost deportation numbers, even though judges and others involved in the program voiced their concerns about how the program short-circuited individuals’ rights. Authors procured the previously unreleased documents, which included e-mails, memos, and data, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

According to the report, the documents revealed evidence that agents involved with the program routinely provided inaccurate and misleading information to detainees in deportation proceedings to coerce them into signing “stipulated orders of removal,” which waives a non-citizen’s right to a day in court in exchange for speedy deportation. At least one immigration judge involved in the program determined that, “the waiver is not knowing in almost all cases.” “The stipulated removal program has hit some of the most powerless members of our society the hardest: poor immigrants who are in immigration detention, who don’t have lawyers, and who are facing minor, civil immigration charges. Some of these noncitizens might actually have qualified to apply for lawful immigration status,” said

Jennifer Lee Koh, lead author of the report and assistant professor of law at Western State University College of Law. “Unfortunately, the documents reveal a government agency that is willing to cut corners around immigrants’ Constitutional due process rights in the name of boosting deportation numbers.”

Among the most troubling documents obtained through the lawsuit is a Spanish-language script, apparently used by agents administrating the program, to convince immigrants to sign the Stipulated Order of Removal. The script, which is replete with grammatical errors and legal inaccuracies, erroneously informs immigrants that the “only” way to “fix” their papers is through certain family relationships and openly discourages immigrants from taking their cases to court. “This report confirms what attorneys working in detention centers have heard for years: non-citizens, especially those with limited English skills, are pressured into signing documents without being informed of the severe consequences of their actions,” said Karen Tumlin, managing attorney at the National Immigration Law Center and co-author of the report. “Such activity flies in the face of our constitutionally-protected due process rights. Sadly, the DHS seems to have determined that flagrant disregard for the Constitution is a fair price to pay for the expedient expulsion of thousands of members of our communities.”

The report shows that the program, which began nearly a decade ago and dramatically expanded in 2003, has been encouraged by DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers at various levels of the organization. According to documents reviewed by the authors of the report, field offices were encouraged to use the program to boost deportation numbers and given incentives to increase the number of Stipulated Orders of Removals signed by detainees in their jurisdictions. “The stipulated removal program is a misguided solution to the U.S. government’s practice of over-detaining immigrants,” said Jayashri Srikantiah, professor of law and director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School and co-author of the report.  “The Obama administration should reconsider its detention practices instead of pressuring detainees to sign their own deportation orders. Due process requires more than a coerced choice between continued detention and giving up one’s day in court.”

The documents released show evidence that the noncitizens ensnared by the program were not given accurate information about their rights or current immigration law, and the documents reviewed suggest there are no policies preventing administrators from offering stipulated orders of removal to juveniles, the mentally ill, or other vulnerable populations. In 96% of all cases under the program analyzed by the authors of the report, immigrants did not have access to a lawyer, who could have provided immigrants with an accurate description of the often permanent ramifications of signing a Stipulated Order of Removal.

CHECKPOINT NATION: Racial Profiling by Law Enforcement on the Rise in The US since 9/11

Breakthrough and Rights Working Group (RWG), a coalition focused on ending racial profiling and fighting other human rights violations in the U.S., today released “CHECKPOINT NATION? BUILDING COMMUNITY ACROSS BORDERS,” a documentary video depicting the reality of racial profiling.

Several federal initiatives — such as 287(g) and Secure Communities, which give local and state police authority to enforce federal immigration law — have intensified racial profiling of migrants and people assumed to be migrants. Laws similar to Arizona’s SB1070, which would require Arizona residents to carry ID documents to prove their immigration status — and which lead to increased discrimination — are being passed in states around the country.

In CHECKPOINT NATION?, a woman named Maria describes being stopped and harassed by Arizona police for no discernable reason while nine months pregnant — and subsequently trailed by immigration agents into one of the most intimate moments of her life.

Set in the U.S./Mexico border area, which sees more and more migrant deaths every year, the video also demonstrates how diverse groups of allies — including Muslim, Arab-, South Asian-, African-, and Latino-Americans; civil rights lawyers and media activists — have found common ground in each other’s histories and united in the shared goals of justice, equality, and respect.

CHECKPOINT NATION? was produced to complement the release of a new report and Week of Action around the 10th anniversary of September 11th spearheaded by RWG, a national coalition of more than 300 civil liberties, national security, immigrant rights and human rights organizations committed to restoring due process and human rights protections that have been eroded in the name of national security. The report, “Reclaiming Our Rights: Reflections on Racial Profiling in a Post-9/11 America,” will be released on September 14th. CHECKPOINT NATION can be viewed here.

Americans Flee North to Canada for Economic Opportunity

John Ferri of GlobalPost writesthat as the US economy worsens, Americans seek jobs in Canada.  The jittery state of the U.S. economy is driving an increasing number of its citizens to seek better prospects north of the border.

Americans are the latest economic refugees, and they’re heading to Canada.

Canada: Naked in the streets

As he prepares to campaign for re-election, U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to make a speech Thursday night that calls for immediate stimulus spending to create jobs and improve infrastructure. But those reforms will be difficult to make. Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, have resisted any efforts to boost the economy through additional spending.

Canada: Pension debate heats up 

As life in the U.S. worsens, prospects in Canada seem all the brighter. Canadian officials say the number of Americans applying for temporary work visas doubled between 2008 and 2010. Immigration lawyers in Toronto and the border city of Windsor, right across from job-starved Detroit, say they’re seeing a dramatic growth in clients seeking to come to Canada to work, or even as permanent residents.

For more on this story, click here.

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