A few days ago I wrote a blog about life along the border since 9/11, calling it a “Constitution-free zone”—a term coined by the ACLU. Life in the “Zone”—defined as a 100-mile wide area that wraps around the external boundary of the United States—is like living in an occupied zone, border residents tell me. Where the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects Americans from arbitrary stops and searches, doesn’t always apply.
Unfortunately, the voices of residents living along the international borders seldom penetrate the Washington echo chamber. Today, in Detroit, more than 100 delegates from the northern and southern borders are meeting to “form a national picture of what’s happening along the border,” according to Ryan Bates, an organizer for the newly formed Northern Border Coalition. The goal of the two-day conference, which began February 23, is to hammer out a political strategy so that border residents can lobby Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to rein in U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents whom they say are out of control.
As the number of Border Patrol agents has skyrocketed, so has the confusion about their role in border communities. Residents are unsure of their rights when border agents stop them. Lawyer Ben Winograd, a staff attorney with the American Immigration Council in Washington D.C. wanted to clarify in an email the notion of a “Constitution-free zone” I’d written about in my previous blog.Read more...
Campos, Chávez and Zambrano are all undocumented students who are enrolled at Santa Fe Community College. Along with high school student Udell Calzadillas -- 3.7 grade-point average -- they have joined a national movement dubbed "Coming Out of the Shadows."
They are asking the community to support comprehensive immigration reform and the federal Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, known as the Dream Act, which would provide a legal path to citizenship for youth who complete two years in the military or two years at an institution of higher learning, and fulfill certain other requirements.
In May 2011, the Dream Act was re-introduced to Congress by Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois and Democratic Rep. Howard Berman of California. Although the legislation has failed to gain enough support in Congress, several states such as California allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and to qualify for some state financial aid.
In New Mexico, a student without a Social Security number also can pay in-state tuition.
"I have a dream of becoming somebody in the future, of being the example for my family," said Zambrano, 20. After working in the hospitality industry, he knew he didn't want a future there, he said. So he enrolled at the community college and plans to keep working toward a four-year degree.
"Sometimes I question myself. Should I keep studying? For what? I won't be able to work," Zambrano said. "But I'm still here."
Young adults like him have joined "Coming Out" campaigns in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York to push the campaign's slogan: "Undocumented, Unafraid, Unapologetic." Read more...
The Immigration Policy Center (IPC) is the research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council. IPC's mission is to shape a rational conversation on immigration and immigrant integration. Through its research and analysis, IPC provides policymakers, the media, and the general public with accurate information about the role of immigrants and immigration policy in U.S. society. IPC reports and materials are widely disseminated and relied upon by press and policy makers. IPC staff regularly serves as experts to leaders on Capitol Hill, opinion-makers and the media. IPC, formed in 2003 is a non-partisan organization that neither supports nor opposes any political party or candidate for office.
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The IPC researches important issues related to immigration (such as the impact of immigration on the economy, jobs and crime). Our work is geared toward providing a solid, fact-based foundation for the immigration debate.
Bridging the Gap
The IPC's work helps to bridge the gap between advocates and academics, policy experts and politicians. Through forums, briefings and special publications, we bring diverse groups together to help shape the immigration debate.
Getting the Facts
All too often, the debate about immigration is dominated by fear and misinformation. IPC works to make sure that fact is separated from fiction. To do this, we monitor and rapidly respond to statements made by anti-immigration groups, providing lawmakers, the media and the general public with accurate, up-to-date information.Read more...
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Carmen Lomas Garza was born in Texas. At the age of thirteen she made a commitment to pursue a career in art. Her narrative works of art depict childhood memories of family and friends engaged in a wide range of activities seen in Mexican American communities.
Ms. Garza has a Bachelor of Science from Texas A & I University (currently Texas A&M University, Kingsville) where she studied art education and studio art. She also has a Master of Education from Antioch Graduate School - Juarez/Lincoln Center and a Master of Art from San Francisco State University where she concentrated on painting and printmaking.
Ms. Garza has had several major one-person exhibitions in the United States including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden/Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the Smith College Museum in Northampton, Massachusetts, and The Mexican Museum in San Francisco. In 1991 she had a one-person exhibition titled A Piece of My Heart/ Pedacito de mi Corazón at Laguna Gloria Art Museum in Austin, Texas that traveled to museums in El Paso, Texas, Chicago, Illinois, and Oakland, California. The San Jose Museum of Art organized a retrospective exhibition in 2001 that traveled to the San Antonio Museum of Art where is opened to record-breaking attendance. Ms. Garza’s artwork was the subject of an interactive exhibition for children organized by the Austin Children’s Museum in 2003 in Austin, Texas. The exhibition will travel for 5 years in the USA.Read more...
The Seattle Times put a spotlight on Erin Stark, the fifth-grader who won the Community Education Center's 2013 Creative Writing Contest. From the article:
"'There’s just a lot more people than just a basic everyday American,' said Erin, of Bellevue.
"The stories she’s heard inspired a poem titled, 'What Would You Miss About Immigrants If They Didn’t Come to America?,' which she entered in a writing contest sponsored by the American Immigration Council. The contest invites fifth-graders to submit a writing entry based on the theme, 'Why I am Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants.'
"Erin’s poem won first place out of more than 5,000 entries. Her reward is an all-expenses-paid trip to San Francisco, where she will read her winning entry at the council’s annual benefit dinner on June 28."