Colbert Breaks Character Over Immigration

First time I’ve seen him out of character. This was the final statement of his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law on September 24, 2010.

France Is Fucking Up

You will find the following video disturbing, if you are disturbed by the sight of policemen beating women and dragging their babies.

This video shows a police attack against immigrant women and children in France who were protesting for access to shelter. They had been camping out in a public space. (The video won’t imbed for some reason. Curse you WordPress!)

Notice how the newscaster frames the story, giving caveat after caveat to caution the viewer not to get too riled up. It was totally justified to beat unarmed women and children who are protesting for housing! The public order was at stake, and come on, these people are simply immigrants of color ruining the French way of life.

Two takes on this video:

Renee at Womanist Musings: It takes Courage to be a Brown/Black Mother in this World

BFP at Flip Flopping Joy: Mama

If you want to throw up in your mouth, read the disgusting comments following the NYTimes coverage. Basically, these homeless women, and not the police, are the ones who used brutality and harmed the children. So the NYT commenters would have it.

Utah Group Sends 1,300 Latino Names, Personal Info to Press

Vomit. Our White Supremacy is just fine, thanks for asking.

Utah state officials are investigating how a list of 1,300 largely Latino names and sensitive personal information got sent to media outlets and ICE officials this week. The list, which an anonymous group claims is a roll of the state’s undocumented immigrants, includes information like Social Security numbers, birth dates, workplaces, addresses and phone numbers. And in case it couldn’t get more frightening, it’s also got the names of children and due dates for the list’s pregnant women.

In an accompanying letter, the anonymous group demanded that those on the list be deported immediately. The list to news outlets also came with a letter, dated April 4, from “Concerned Citizens of America.”

[…]At least some of the people named on the list have already been proven to be documented residents.

Niiiice work vigilante racist assholes. You really need to go to the link and read their letters. No joke I can make could be better than what they actually wrote.

Ragheads in Government

From TPM:

On a talk show tonight in South Carolina, State Senator Jake Knotts told listeners “we already have one raghead in the White House, we don’t need a raghead in the governor’s mansion.” Obama is … well, Obama and “raghead” number two is gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, who is the child of Sikh immigrants from the Punjab. Knotts later released a statement saying that his comment had clearly been meant in “jest,” which I guess counts as exculpatory in those parts.

Carolina State Senator Jake Knotts

Real American.

Nikki Haley

Raghead.

Arizona at Forefront of Illegalizing People

I’d hate to be a cop in Arizona about now. The Arizona state Senate just passed a bill that requires cops, under threat of lawsuit, to enforce federal immigration laws. … They’re not supposed to use race to develop reasonable suspicion but how could they avoid using the color of a man’s skin as a preliminary determinant?

Aside from recent changes in Arizona law basically making it illegal to be brown in that state, there are also changes that could even effect white (i.e. good) Arizona inhabitants:

It’s also now illegal in Arizona to pick someone up in your car if you “know or recklessly disregard the fact” that they are an illegal immigrant. Thankfully, the Arizona House added “a prosecution exemption for people who drive illegal immigrants to church.”

Whew. So if you’re Christian the laws don’t apply. Thank God.

Joe Arpaio Swears That He Isn’t a Racist, Either

Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Thank Jesus that the Obama Administration has taken away Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s authorization to enforce federal immigration laws. This means he will be curtailed in his ability to terrorize Latino communities. Naturally, he is enraged.

Here are some interesting tidbits from Alexander Provan’s recent piece on America’s Toughest Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. I recommend reading the whole thing.

Since 2007, Arpaio’s deputies have arrested 33,000 illegal aliens (only 300 of whom were picked up on “crime suppression sweeps”), but they’ve failed to catch any drug kingpins, break up any smuggling rings, or stanch the Mexican drug gang violence spilling over the border. (In fact, the sheriff’s immigration crackdown has coincided with a surge in violent crime and the accumulation of over 40,000 outstanding felony warrants.)

…I ask him why he’s arrested so many immigrants who’ve come to the country to take on menial jobs, but hasn’t caught any major smugglers…[T]hese are not drug dealers; they’re gardeners and dishwashers and men paid six dollars an hour to stand in the sun wearing sandwich boards.

“We’re going after those that have violated laws—they are illegal,” he insists.

Sheriff Arpaio and chain gang

…“All these people that come over, they could come with disease. There’s no control, no health checks or anything. They check fruits and vegetables, how come they don’t check people? No one talks about that! They’re all dirty. I sent out 200 inmates into the desert, they picked up 18 tons of garbage that they bring in—the baby diapers and all that. Where’s everybody who wants to preserve the desert?”

With all of this, you would think he was a dyed-in-the-wool anti-immigrant vigilante who burst out of the womb ready to profile some brown people. The thing about Alexander’s article that surprised me the most is that he has only been this rabid about “illegals” for the last four years. Arpaio is 77 years old. What changed after over seven decades of not hating immigrants?

[In 2005} a 24-year-old Army reservist named Patrick Haab pulled a gun on seven suspected illegal immigrants at a rest stop in the desert, forcing them to lie face-down on the ground until the sheriff’s men arrived. “You don’t go around pulling guns on people,” Arpaio said after arresting him. “Being illegal is not a serious crime. You can’t go to jail for being an illegal alien.”

Nativists did not take kindly to this position, and in a matter of days they had thrust Haab into the national spotlight. He played the hero on conservative talk shows, where he denounced Arpaio for letting the country turn into “Americo.” All charges against him were soon dropped, and a chastened Arpaio embarked on a campaign to remake his image. Within the year, he emerged as an anti-immigration crusader.

h/t cp

Wow, That Went Downhill Fast

A couple days ago, I mentioned a story about a mother whose newborn baby was snatched from her by a knife-wielding woman claiming to be an immigration agent. The Tennessee mother, Maria Gurrolla, is an immigrant, you see.
Newborn kidnapped

Well good news/bad news.

Good news: The perp, Tammy Renee Silas, is in custody and baby Yair was recovered unharmed.

Bad news: Not only does Maria still not have custody of Yair, but he, along with her three other children, has been kidnapped by the state of Tennessee. Maria was allowed to see Yair briefly before the authorities took him and his siblings away from her again. Authorities will not explain why, but claim it is for the children’s safety.

From the AP article: “State officials say the children were taken into custody Saturday for safety reasons but have not offered details.”

Yet… “Siskovic, an FBI special agent in the Memphis division, said there was no indication of an ongoing threat to Gurrolla’s family. He could not say why the children were put into state custody.”

Huh. Unless there is something completely startling that we don’t know about Gurrolla that makes her an unfit parent, we are looking at an egregious human rights abuse as well as unnecessary revictimization at the hands of the state.

Let us hope that justice prevails.

UPDATE 10/6/09

Yair is back! All siblings have been returned to Maria, after police realized she hadn’t been trying to sell Yair to the woman who followed her home and stabbed her before running off with Yair. That was the totes probable scenario, I presume, when the news sez the police took Maria’s children because “someone claimed a family member had tried to sell him.”

“It’s a bad horror movie,” she said. “Gurrola said she had wanted to return to Mexico after the attack and never return to the home where the kidnapping and stabbing happened.”

The Exciting Times V.3

I’ve divided today’s issue into sections. Oh boy!

Overseas

The Czech people are celebrating the collapse of American plans to put (more) American military equipment in their country! Go Czechs!

Idiot far-right German political party NPD sent offensive letters to “parliamentary candidates of immigrant heritage, telling them to go home.” It’s part of their cynical plan to stir up the not-properly-riled dormant xenophobic neo-nazi element in German society to vote for NPD in future elections.

Good news for the gheyz!

Not only does Nevada’s same-sex Domestic Partnership Registry Act take effect today, but the ban on same-sex marriage in Texas was declared unconstitutional!

So Topical!

Homeless American Girl dollEd Kilgore wrote about David Brooks and anti-anti-racism. Did you read what he calls Brooks’ “unintentionally hilarious column”?

American Girl debuts “Gwen”, their new homeless doll! How topical! Here’s a snippet of her story:

Gwen and her mother Janine fell on hard times when her father lost his job; they later lost the house as they were unable to keep up payments. Soon after, Gwen’s father left them and they became homeless the fall before the start of the book’s events.

LOL your post-racial America!

(got that title from Shakesville btw)
US attorney Jim Greenlee in Mississipi targeted convenience store owners based only on the evidence that their names sound Muslim. Not like kinda on the DL, but as a stated initiative. The Convenience Store Initiative, to be precise.

Of the more than 100 people listed as being investigated by federal authorities, nearly every name appears to be Islamic. FBI officials would not comment.

FAIL. Good thing my pals at Mississippi Immigrants Rights Association are ON IT.

ANNnnnd to cap it all off with the worst thing ever: a white woman claiming to be an immigration officer stabbed an immigrant woman and stole her 4-day-old baby. This Yair Anthony Carrillohappened yesterday in Tennessee to mother Maria Gurrolla. Her missing baby’s name is Yair Anthony Carrillo. Investigators said:

“The child was taken by a white female who was posing as an immigration worker. She had come to the residence and demanded the mother give her the baby. When the mother refused to comply she stabbed the mother approximately 8 times.”

Examining an Anti-Immigrant Chain Letter

Thank you to Hector Tobar of the LA Times for debunking “Just One State”, an email forward bashing “illegals” that is making the rounds. The email lists 10 *shocking* facts about how “illegals” harm California. Hector does a little research and comments on the truthiness of each FACT.

1. “40% of all workers in L.A. County are working for cash and not paying taxes. . . . This is because they are predominantly illegal immigrants working without a green card.”

The source of this information seems to be a 2005 study by the Economic Roundtable on the informal economy in Los Angeles County. Its findings were reported in The Times and other papers.

But the chain-mail’s author more than doubled the figures in that study, which estimated that 15% of the county workforce was outside the regulated economy in 2004. Illegal immigrants getting paid in cash, it said, probably made up about 9% of the workforce.

A later Economic Roundtable report, by the way, credited immigrants with keeping the local economy from shrinking in the 1990s.

Read the other 9 FACTS here to learn exactly how much you should fear the “Mexicans”.

Nativists Harrass Train Crash Victim’s Family Because They Are Latino

Nine people died in Monday’s Metro crash in DC. One of them had the poor taste to be a Latina immigrant. Her name was Ana Fernandez and she was commuting to her house cleaning job.

WUSA9 news report:

The family of Metro train crash victim Ana Fernandez says they have been targeted by anti-immigrant telephone messages in the wake of her death.

Callers accuse the family of trying to financially capitalize on Fernandez’s death and have called her an illegal immigrant.

“None of this is true,” said Jose Hernandez, a cousin.

Fernandez was 40-years old and the mother of six children aged 2 to 21.

…Family members say the calls were left at a phone number announced by the Spanish language television outlet Univision, to leave messages of support for the family.

In fact, Ana was a legal immigrant from El Salvador.

The Indigenous Xicano says:

Most people would mourn at the sadness of this story of a hard-working mother going to work and dying in an accident on the way to work.

Many times there will be a call to establish a fund to help defray the costs for the funeral and to establish a fund for the surviving children.

But Ana’s last name is Fernandez. The reality in America today is that there are many abnormal people who quickly demonize people with names that sound Spanish. Deceased mothers are no exception.

…If her name was Ann Smith these monsters would not make a sound.

Immigrants: Are They People?

That seems to be unclear to certain assholes running around.

Because if everyone could agree that immigrants are people, things like this wouldn’t happen:

Immigration advocates are incensed over a Mexican woman’s fight to keep custody of her child after she was reported as an unfit mother two days after giving birth in a Pascagoula hospital.

…According to documents obtained by The Clarion-Ledger, staff at the hospital filed a report two days later listing Ruby as a neglected child.

…Court records obtained by The Clarion-Ledger indicate [Cirila Baltazar] Cruz is charged with neglecting her child, in part, because “she has failed to learn the English language” and “was unable to call for assistance for transportation to the hospital” to give birth. Her inability to speak English “placed her unborn child in danger and will place the baby in danger in the future,” according to the document.

Uh, since when was speaking English a requirement of motherhood?  Whoever stole that woman’s baby, and anyone who colluded, should end up in jail.  At least there is an apparently awesome organization involved to advocate for Cruz: Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance. Their Request for Action is down below the fold. If this incident shocks and enrages you, please check out their action items and get involved!

H/t Alas.

Interestingly, in the light of this sickening language-bigotry-based violation of human rights, just this past weekend Pat Buchanan and his white “nationalist” friends were having a conference where they “suggested supporting English-only initiatives as a prime way of attracting “working class white Democrats.””

Buchanan went on to mock Sotomayor for coming from a Spanish-speaking background, and conference participant Peter Brimelow, editor of white “nationalist” website VDARE.com, “urged the attendees of the Buchanan conference to attack affirmative action in an effort to attract the votes of “young whites” and “yellow people.””

After claiming it would be “suicidal” for any “white man” to vote for Obama, Brimelow contended that immigrants should not be eligible for affirmative action because “they weren’t slaves to this country, they’ve never been discriminated against”.

Those white “nationalists” sure are eloquent. To hear these actual words come out of their mouths, pop over to ThinkProgress, where you can also view their misspelled conference banner.

Request for action below. Continue reading

Why My Name Is The Czech

…And I’m back!

After some months away, I have decided to fire up the ol’ blog again and see how it goes. If safety becomes an issue, I will just stop again.

So I thought a good way to start this new chapter would be an explanation of my name. I chose it for a hodge podge of reasons. I identify strongly with my immigrant roots. My family has been bumping around the United States for a couple generations now, but we have retained a connection with our country of origin and I have retained a sense of my history in this country as a descendant of immigrants. I don’t want to forget that there were peoples here before the white man, people who are still here. It is partially out of deference to them that I identify as Czech-American.

My name also has to do with my white privilege. My Czech descendants were light-skinned, and so am I. (Not all Czechs appear “white”.) Czechs have not always been considered white. A certain German dictator had a special name for us: Minderwertige Rasse (“less-worthy race”), insinuating that we were not the white race, we were something else, something less-than.

That is mostly behind Czechs now. In America, we get white-skin privilege, regardless of that history. And I want to own the fact that I receive that privilege, however unwillingly, and the responsibility that bestows upon me. So I make my identity very clear through my screen name. There will be no mistake when I am in anyone’s space- I cannot ignore my white privilege and try to fly under the radar in spaces created by people of color. I will have to confront it all the time, and check myself with each comment.

Headline Choices

What’s the difference between these murder headlines:

Immigrant Murders Woman

Muslim Murders Wife

Transgender Woman Murders Husband

And these ones:

Wife Murdered

Man Murders Young Actor

Woman Arrested in Murder of Area Woman

All of these murders took place in the UK or the US. In the second group of headlines, all of the perps or accused perps are white, cisgendered US/UK citizens.

So why do editors decide not to mention the race, religion or trans status of white murders in headlines? Why do they deliberately include that information only for people with some sort of minority status (immigrant, black or brown, trans, Muslim, etc.)? Does it make the story more “sensational”? If so, why? If not, than for what other possible reason would they include that information?

The effect of emphasizing what makes minority murderers different, not like us, while declining to emphasize the identities of white, Christian, straight, non-immigrant murderers, (who are more like “us” i.e. the majority), is to make it appear to the general media-consuming public that these minorities are more likely to commit crime, and/or that their minority status has something to do with the murder.

What would happen if every time a white person murdered, their race, religion, citizenship status, and trans-status were included in the headlines? Let’s try it out.

Straight White Man Murders Wife

Christian Citizen Murders Woman

Cisgendered White Woman Murders Husband

White Christian Man Murdered Wife

Straight Citizen Murdered Young Actor

Cisgendered Christian Woman Arrested in Murder of Area Woman

Interesting effect, isn’t it?

Protect Children with Immigrant Parents

Founded in September 2002, FAMILIES FOR FREEDOM is a New York-based multi-ethnic defense network by and for immigrants facing and fighting deportation. We are immigrant prisoners (detainees), former immigrant prisoners, their loved ones, or individuals at risk of deportation. We come from dozens of countries, across continents. FFF seeks to repeal the laws that are tearing apart our homes and neighborhoods; and to build the power of immigrant communities as communities of color, to provide a guiding voice in the growing movement for immigrant rights as human rights.

Families for Freedom has a petition going around to support the Child Citizen Protection Act.

Learn more here.

Sign the petition here.

The Child Citizen Protection Act is an opportunity for our leaders to show that they truly value families and that the health, safety and well being of our nation’s children are among their top priority. Introduced by Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY), this bill represents a grassroots effort by families to create a safety valve for our children affected by deportations and raids. The Child Citizen Protection Act preserves the basic notion of fairness that should define the U.S. justice system—providing immigration judges with the discretion to consider the best interests of US Citizen children before ordering his or her parent deported. This bill would address some of the harshest provisions of the 1996 immigration laws that made deportation a mandatory punishment for many non-citizens.

Midwives + Looking Latin@ = UNAMERICAN

I’m really glad the New York Times published this story.

ALAMO, Texas – The citizenship of hundreds, possibly thousands, of people who insist they are Americans is being called into question because they were delivered by midwives near the U.S.-Mexico border.

…The people delivered by midwives have documents such as birth certificates and medical records. But the agency that grants passports is challenging the credibility of those papers, citing a history of some midwives fraudulently registering Mexican-born babies as American.

…The government has “effectively reduced to second-class citizenship status an entire swath of passport applicants based solely on their being of Mexican or Latino descent and having been delivered by midwives in nonhospital settings in Southwestern border states,” according to a federal lawsuit against the State Department filed last year…

Read the story for yourself. Once again, looking Latin@ is unamerican and will put you at risk of your own government disowning you.

A Closer Look at the Hysteria Over the Octuplets

We’ve all heard the story of the Suleman family by this time: Nadya Suleman, a single unemployed woman who lives with her parents Angela and Edward in California, gave birth to octuplets on January 26. She already has six children.

Before details of Nadya’s life came out, the MSM was all gaga over the octuplets. It was a heart-warming international news sensation. But once the world learned more details of her life, we decided Nadya wasn’t a fit recipient of octuplets, the love affair ended, and the judgments started to rain down relentlessly.

Nadya should be sterilized, she should have the children taken away, she is an immigrant and bleeding the country dry, she is doing this for the welfare money, she’s only doing it to become famous and rich, she should be arrested, she is mentally ill, she is pathologically obsessed with children, she should not be single, her docs should lose their licenses, there should be a limit on how many kids you have, it is immoral to have 14 kids, only married couples experiencing infertility should have access to IVF, this is child abuse, 14 children is sickening, if the family isn’t rich, then shame on them.

I find all this judgment incredibly disturbing, let alone annoying. The public has judged her Not Good Enough for the adoration usually allotted to multiple births. Even though we usually spend our time judging women for selfishly deciding to have one or no kids (below replacement fertility!), or for aborting pregnancies, or for using contraceptives, suddenly our outraged senses of decency are causing us to do a moral 180. We don’t even need the facts to do it!

Well, I’d rather have the facts, personally, and hold the judgment than vice versa. So below I respond to some of the common criticism’s of Nadya Suleman’s massive birth using Facts and References. Holy cow!

Continue reading