Archive for January, 2010

Black Immigrants Rights Group Dispels Misconceptions

Monday, January 25th, 2010

By Andres Caballero, New America Media.

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Black Alliance for Just Immigration — a key player in immigrant rights advocacy and education — inaugurated their new office in downtown Oakland, starting off the year with an open house event attended activists and community leaders.

Unlike similar organizations, BAJI’s work extends beyond pushing for comprehensive immigration reform legislation. They believe in a long-term solution that brings forth information and dialogue on race, globalization and social justice among African Americans.

“No matter what legislation passes, it wont settle the issue of immigrant rights: it may or may not help us develop a social movement. We need to understand that whatever happens with immigration legislation, the struggle continues even after the battle is won or lost,” said BAJI Director Gerald Lenoir.

Their focus lies on directly addressing the root of the problem: misinformation among the African-American community and a general lack of knowledge regarding the international economic policies directly linked to immigration. Read more…

Alex Sanchez Wins Bail

Friday, January 15th, 2010

By Tom Hayden, The Nation

LOS ANGELES. Jan. 13. U.S. Judge Manuel Real granted Alex Sanchez bail after a closed ninety-minute session with law enforcement and civic officials today. The former gang member and founder of Homies Unidos is expected to be freed in ten days after posting $2 million property and sureties.

Sanchez still faces conspiracy charges with 23 others rounded up by the FBI in a government blitz using federal racketeering laws against alleged Mara Salvatrucha (MS) members. The trial is scheduled for October in Los Angeles.

A beaming Oscar Sanchez, the younger brother of Alex Sanchez, praised the ruling by Real, which he said “underlines the judge’s finding that Alex is not a danger to the community nor a flight risk. We believe he is in fact a great asset to communities like ours across the country.”

Supporters of Sanchez, organized as, were jubilant in many cities where pressure campaigns have been mounted. The decision was seen as a victory for gang intervention workers, many of whom have attended the LA proceedings since June.  Read more…

Police Chief Beck says Intervention is the Solution

Friday, January 15th, 2010

By Dennis Romero – LA Weekly

Police Cheif Beck calls intervention “the primary thing” that “will eventually be the solution to gang violence that gets exported out of L.A.”

Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck was asked if one of the reasons gang crime was low in the city because gang members are getting too old to get down. He didn’t think so, telling a town-hall gathering of listeners of KPCC (89.3 FM) that “gang membership is not down — gang violence is down.”

Beck said police were targeting trouble-makers, not necessarily gangs themselves. And he gave an endorsement for the city’s new, $200,000 gang intervention training academy. He called intervention “the primary thing” that “will eventually be the solution to gang violence that gets exported out of L.A.”

Beck made the comments on-air Thursday on Patt Morrison’s “Ask The Chief” segment, which aired before a live audience.

Beck is banking on gang intervention in part because he has a limited number of officers, and the city budget doesn’t seem to bode well for an increase in the number of badges at the department. Also, the state has been ordered to release 40,000 prisoners to relieve overcrowding. A plan by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to meet the federal order was recently approved, but it’s not clear when the convicts will reach the streets.

Experts believe that many of those released will end up in Los Angeles County, and that many are gang members. Beck has said if the community does not reintegrate them in a constructive way, gangs will take them in in a more-destructive way.

The Health Care Battle May Soon Be Over: Next Up? Immigration.

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

By Seth Hoy, Immigration Impact.

As the Washington Post editorial and numerous Immigration Policy Center fact sheets point out, distributing health care costs across a broader pool of people actually lowers the overall costs for everyone.

As Congress continues to broker the specifics of health care legislation, some reports cite key Democrats as allegedly holding out their support of the bill contingent on a solid White House promise that a comprehensive immigration reform bill will be addressed this year — a reform bill that would provide health care coverage options to all immigrants, including undocumented immigrants on an earned path to citizenship.

According to a recent Talking Points Memo article, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) — which threatened to block the health care bill back in November if restrictive language prohibiting illegal immigrants from accessing the public health insurance exchange wasn’t changed — is now allegedly willing to pledge their support as long as they have President Obama’s promise that a forthcoming immigration bill will include health care coverage for undocumented immigrants. CHC recently disputed this claim, but held that it still “opposes provisions in the Senate health care bill that would negatively impact immigrants.”

Currently, the House health care bill allows undocumented immigrants to purchase insurance on the exchange with their own money. The Senate bill, however, does not. It’s also important to note the neither the House nor the Senate health care bill subsidizes insurance for undocumented immigrants.  Read more…

Immigration Reform Will Ease Economic Decline

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

By Esther M. Gentile, New America Media

“It cannot be in any way justified to try to oppose immigration reform on the basis of an economic argument.”

WASHINGTON–A new study by a leading academic researcher contends that legalizing undocumented workers through comprehensive immigration reform would yield $1.5 trillion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over a 10-year period, generate billions of dollars in additional tax revenue, increase wages and consumer spending, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

The study, “Raising the Floor for American Workers: The Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” was conducted by Dr. Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda, associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Hinojosa presented the findings during a telephonic press conference moderated by Angela Kelley, vice president for immigration policy and advocacy at the Center for American Progress.

“Number one … legalization produces an immediate economic impact, based on what we’ve known happens in previous legalizations. The reason is because legalization empowers workers immediately to become much more committed and integrated into the economy,” Hinojosa said. Read more…

Legalizing unauthorized immigrants would help economy

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Washington (CNN)Legalization of the more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States would raise wages, increase consumption, create jobs and generate more tax revenue, two policy institutes say in a joint report Thursday.

The report by the Center for American Progress and the American Immigration Council estimates that “comprehensive immigration reform that legalizes currently unauthorized immigrants and creates flexible legal limits on future immigration” would yield at least $1.5 trillion in added U.S. gross domestic product over a 10-year period.

“This is a compelling economic reason to move away from the current ‘vicious cycle’ where enforcement-only policies perpetuate unauthorized migration and exert downward pressure on already low wages, and toward a ‘virtuous cycle’ of worker empowerment in which legal status and labor rights exert upward pressure on wages,” study author Raul Hinojosa-Ojeda writes. read more…