Category: immigrant rights

Dallas preacher says Jesus would seal the border

JeffressBy Alan Bean

The Rev. Robert Jeffress thinks Jesus would build a fence at the U.S. border so desperate children from violence-ridden countries would be discouraged from heading north.

“Yes, Jesus loved children,” Jeffress admits, “but he also respected law. He said, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars.”

In other words, Christians shouldn’t trouble themselves with immigration policy; that’s Caesar’s concern.

Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, once suggested that Barack Obama is preparing the world for the coming of Antichrist, so his “Caesar” reference probably doesn’t mean that we should leave immigration policy in the hands of the presiding president.  He means instead that everything Jesus said about welcoming children, and all the warnings he pronounced against those who harden their hearts against the pain of young ones, is irrelevant to American immigration policy.

Sure, Christians must be kind to the children they encounter within the suburban bubble, but the boys and girls of Honduras simply are on their own.

Since nothing can be done for the unaccompanied migrant children on our doorstep, the most compassionate course is to build a border wall so thick and so tall that the poor little blighters will have no choice but to return to the violence and squalor that drove them into the arms of America.

That young girl of seven or eight, carrying her two-year old sister on her back has spawned a crisis of conscience among American Christians.

On the whole, we have responded admirably.  “This is an unfortunate, even awful, situation for everyone,” said David Hardage,  Executive Director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. “So much of what has happened and is happening is out of our control. What we can control is our response to human need. We will try to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need.”

Hardage sees Jesus standing on the side of desperate children, an assumption shared by most Texas Baptists.

Terry Henderson, state disaster relief director for Texas Baptist Men, compressed the issue to a simple question: “If Jesus was standing here with us, what would he tell us to do? That sounds kind of basic, but that’s the deal.”

That’s supposed to be a rhetorical question, but Robert Jeffress doesn’t provide the expected answer.  He thinks Jesus would slam the door.  Call it tough love. (more…)

Five ways the Senate’s immigration bill falls short of justice

By Alan Bean

As comprehensive immigration reform wends its tortuous way through the legislative process, we have witnessed a lot of hand-wringing from politicians concerning “border security,” spiking welfare costs, crime, and fairness to those who became citizens the legal way.  Rarely do we hear from the men and women who work with immigrants and advocate on their behalf.  ICA, Immigrant Communities in Action, is a New York-based coalition of immigration reform groups.  Today, they released a response to Senate Bill 744.  They don’t like it.  I am sharing the heart of their statement with you because it captures an emerging consensus within the immigration reform community.  Some organizations worked so hard for so long to get a bill through the Senate that they are willing to hold their noses and live with a deeply flawed piece of legislation.  But most of the reform organizations I monitor are deeply disappointed with the Senate’s immigration bill and this statement explains why.

 

Statement on the Senate Immigration Bill (S.B. 744)                                                    July 10, 2013

Immigrant Communities in Action

New York City

 

“A Call to Immigrant Organizations, Workers Centers, and Allies:

Building for a Just, Humane and Inclusive Immigration Reform, and Beyond

 

On June 27, 2013, the Senate voted to pass its immigration bill with a bipartisan vote of 68 to 32. While the bill includes provisions that seem to benefit some segments of immigrant communities, we are disturbed by the many provisions that undermine the basic premise of a just, humane and inclusive “comprehensive” immigration reform:

1. S.B. 744 creates an onerous labyrinth of a gauntlet instead of a just a path to citizenship.  While the bill seeks to offer a path to citizenship, and allow the millions of immigrants to come out of the shadows and become a recognized part of the social fabric, the specific provisions place many “thorns on the road” by making the process overly complex, financially unaffordable for many, and with an excessively long waiting period of 10-20 years. As these provisions would exclude millions of immigrants, either from the outset or due to the various obstacles, we will continue to have a large population of immigrants who would become even more marginalized and excluded than the current situation. (more…)

Coincidence or crafty staging: Senators witness woman climb 18-foot fence

By Alan Bean

The Gang of Eight senators took a photo-op tour of the border fence in Arizona yesterday and, what-d’ya-know, they witnessed a desperate young woman successfully scale an eighteen-foot border fence.  We have just their word for it since no media people were allowed to accompany the tour and hence we have no video or pictures.  I’m not questioning the legitimacy of the report; I’m sure the senators saw what they say they saw.  But how convenient that a young woman made her move at precisely the moment the senators made their appearance?

Coincidence, or crafty staging?   (more…)

At Mexican Border, Four in Five Drug Busts Involve American Citizens

ImagePosted by  Pierre Berastain

“Three out of four people found with drugs by the border agency are U.S. citizens, the data show. Looked at another way, when the immigration status is known, four out of five busts—which may include multiple people—involve a U.S. citizen.”

Amidst the accusations of people like Governor Brewer and Sheriff Apaio that undocumented immigrants are dangerous criminals responsible for smuggling millions of dollars worth of drugs , this article brings a new and fresh perspective.

At Mexican Border, Four in Five Drug Busts Involve American Citizens

by 

The public’s view of a typical Mexican drug smuggler might not include U.S. Naval Academy grad Todd Britton-Harr, who was caught at a Border Patrol checkpoint in south Texas in December 2010 hauling a trailer with 1,100 pounds of marijuana.

Nor would someone like Laura Lynn Farris leap to mind. Border Patrol agents stopped the 52-year-old woman at a border checkpoint 15 miles south of the west Texas town of Alpine in February 2011 with 162 pounds of marijuana hidden under dirty blankets in laundry baskets. (more…)

Canadians outraged by immigration raid staged for the cameras

Diana ThompsonBy Alan Bean

Canadian activists are outraged by an immigration raid in Vancouver that they claim was staged for a reality show.  The folks with the cameras claim they are producing a documentary and only use footage after getting verbal permission.  A woman working across the street from the action claims to be deeply upset: “It doesn’t seem very Canadian,” she told the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) “It’s very sensationalized. I don’t like it. It’s just very creepy.”

This video is taken from the Vancouver Sun’s story on the raid.

http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/CBSA+raid+migrant+workers+complete+with+camera+crew+raises+concerns+Vancouver/8093462/story.html#ooid=huMzM3YTp5X9MjDEogQcyEYI834YBHGS

Canadians define themselves in opposition to the United States.  As Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once explained to an American reporter, “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant . . .  one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”  When Canadians say something “isn’t very Canadian” we usually mean it is very American.

Canadians have just recently gained a passion for deporting undocumented aliens.  True, the number of people deported from Canada increased by 50% between 1999 and 2009, but we’re talking about an increase from 8,361 deportations per year to 12,732.

Contrast that with the 400,000 folks the Obama administration deported last year.

Of course Canada is one-tenth the size of the US and doesn’t share a border with a less wealthy nation, so comparisons are precarious.  Still, I find the reaction of the populace gratifying.  People were generally outraged by the idea of staging an immigration sweep for the cameras, something that would hardly raise an eyebrow in the USA.  And the immigration people were quick to insist that they were really looking for a genuine baddie and just stumbled over the other people by accident.

Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, appears to be fascinated by all things American, including our war on drugs and our prison industrial complex.  Is he now taking an interest in mass deportation?  Will private detention centers soon be springing up along the border between British Columbia and Washington State?  Perhaps some of our Canadian readers can shed some light on these questions. (more…)

Back to Dred Scott and Jim Crow?

Rachel Maddow was the first American journalist to draw attention to a story the mainstream media has studiously ignored: a Republican plan to score presidential elections using gerrymandered state district maps.  It is thanks to these electoral maps that Republicans were able to hold on to House in the last election while losing the popular vote.  If six Republican states (including Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio) had calculated their electoral college tallies using the same maps employed in state elections, Mitt Romney would now be president even though he lost the popular vote.

In Virginia, for instance, Barack Obama would have won only for of the state’s thirteen electoral votes under this plan even though he won the popular vote.   The trick is to make rural and suburban votes worth more than urban (that is minority) votes.  When you do the math, as several bloggers have done, this means that your average urban vote is worth precisely three-fifths as much as your average white vote. (more…)