Last night, Jen Cook and I went to the National Council for Transgender Equality’s (NCTE) 10th Anniversary event. The evening was themed “Our Moment,” reflecting the organization’s intention to build upon the successes of the gay rights movement in the past year, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Windsor decision, and the many states that have enacted gay marriage. In fact, even as the party went on, the festivities were interrupted to announce that Hawaii became the 16th state to allow for gay marriage.
On Tuesday, August 20, approximately fifty people gathered at Benach Collopy’s offices in Washington, DC to meet and support a 27 year old candidate for Congress from the 4th District of Iowa. Jim Mowrer, born on a farm in Boone Iowa, and a veteran of our war in Iraq, is challenging the incumbent Steve King for his seat in Congress. Readers of this blog need no introduction to Steve King as he is a leader of the extreme anti-immigrant faction of American politics.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. that the state of Arizona cannot separately require an individual to prove he is a citizen in order to register to vote beyond the regulations set forth by the federal government. This decision stated that Arizona’s additional “proof of citizenship” form was contrary to the National Voter Registration Act, the federal law establishing a specific form for Voter Registration.
The day before the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the most significant piece of immigration legislation since 1996, the “President of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, the union representing 12,000 United States Citizenship & Immigration Services adjudications officers and staff” sent a letter to Members of the United States Senate in opposition to the immigration reform bill under review in the Senate. Despite claiming to be the “backbone of our nation’s immigration system,” the Union leadership complains that they were not consulted over the proposed immigration reform.
Yesterday, by a vote of 13-5, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee passed S. 744, the immigration reform bill. Three Republicans (Lindsey Graham (SC), Jeff Flake (AZ) and Orrin Hatch (UT)) joined all ten Democrats to vote the legislation out of committee. The five opponents were the five Republicans who had spent the several mark-ups attempting to torpedo the legislation with odious and unworkable amendments, most of which were defeated.
“¡Obama escucha, seguimos en la lucha!” This shouting was heard from downtown on 14th street as Sandra, Mariela, and I made posters to join thousands of people at the immigration rally held in front of the Capitol on Wednesday, April 10th. Since my arrival to the United States in 1999, I have attended every immigration rally in Washington, D.C. I find every experience of a rally to be very rewarding including being able to shout nonstop on the streets of DC without getting arrested.
Dear Congressman Bachus, Thank you very much for speaking out about the overuse of detention by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) in civil proceedings to determine the removability of individuals in the U.S. By stating and asking “it looks to me like there is an overuse of detention by this administration. If these people are not safety risks . . . why are we detaining them?,” you have joined the growing chorus of Americans who wonder why the government, during a time of fiscal crisis, spends so much money locking people up during immigration proceedings when they present no danger to society.
It took only three years longer than promised—and a leak that may or may not have been intentional—but the White House has finally produced a legislative proposal to fix the immigration system. Dubbed the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2013, the bill would create a pathway to citizenship for most of the 11 million removable noncitizens in the country, mandate the eventual use of E-Verify for most employers, and dull many of the draconian provisions enacted in the 1996 immigration bill.
Yesterday, after receiving a gift of $6 million, Florida Atlantic University announced that it was renaming its stadium “The Geo Group Stadium,” after the for-profit prison company, best known for operating detention facilities on behalf of Immigration & Customs Enforcement. It is remarkable that any university would name a stadium after a prison company, but simply stunning that Florida Atlantic University, which sits in South Florida, a community that has been decimated by the overuse of civil immigration, would be so tone deaf as to think this was a good idea.
The past few days have revealed tremendous silliness in the immigration reform debate. It is a true pity given the serious stakes involved for everyone persecuted by the U.S.’ brutal immigration laws. Just today, we saw prominent immigrant rights groups’ applauding the honesty of ICE bureaucrat representative, Chris Crane because he stated in some forum or another: For this pearl, Mr. Crane has been lauded by all sorts of ostensibly pro-immigrant types as a whistleblower.