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Friday, January 26, 2007

"[N]ever underestimate a person's ability to survive..." a profound statement by Cuitlahuac in his blog entry this week! Well said! His observation, made in the context of the success (or failure) of current and future tough immigration laws, often epitomizes the American immigrant's plight--their stuggle for survivial amidst overwhelming obsticles. You will see that in next Thursday's screening of Avalon. You will see it when we cover Asylum and refugee law (one of the "four ways" to obtain a green card in America, generally), and you saw undercurrents of it in the debate on "immigration in a free society" the internet web debate at the University of Louisville last Thursday. Keep in mind this statement when we watch the rest of the debate, especially comments made about the shortcommings of immigrants ("they don't know how to throw away their trash", etc.). Keep this in mind after our discussion of the myths and realities of immigrants "not spending money". Keep in mind also that the benefit branch of the immigration department, Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) is entirely fee driven. In otherwords, the agency pays its bills by immigrants! How much does it cost to run that department? Do the immigrant's filing fees really susidize the entire agency?

For this weeks' blog entry, review this material, last week's lecture, and Chapter 3 of Daniels. Offer your summary, critique and commentary!

See you Thursday!


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

There were a number of blog entries by your classmates before and after our first immigration policy class last week. Rachael, Julie, and Kate discussed my case with the autistic child, Umair. Was that case merely a way to just bend the asylum rules a little, allowing a sympathetic case get through the seemingly tough asylum rules? Or was the head of the Chicago Asylum office right when he said the case was granted because it met the textbook example of a refugee? How do you think the family is doing today? Is Umair today recieving the treatment he deserves? Has he progressed? Would you be surprised to learn that Umair's brother is a full-time student at Loyola?-- himself living an "American Dream" like Dikembe Mutombo??? (see below)...

Joanna commented about Muslim "speical registration". Keep in mind her comments when we begin our book "We Are All Suspects Now.." and when we watch the documentary, "Patriot Acts." As to the reading due this week, what comparisons can you make with Special Registration and Chapter 2 of the Daniels' book? See also some of my comments, which will be the subject of mid-term or final exam question.

Cezara commented on why immigration is one of the hot topics of the year. A point well taken. I don’t think this class would exist if that were not the case! Immigration certainly is on as many minds of Americans as the war in Iraq. Has it always been that way? Why now? Do you agree with Cezara’s conclusions?
Speaking of these hot immigration topics, Kate commented on President Bush’s state of the union address on January 24, 2007. Here are some of Bush’s comments, as they relate to our class. Take a look:

  • Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine -- but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. (Laughter.) Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth, or the duty to share his blessings with others. He built a brand new hospital in his old hometown. A friend has said of this good-hearted man: "Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to do great things." And we are proud to call this son of the Congo a citizen of the United States of America.”

Does this person fit what it commonly referred to as an immigrant attaining the “American Dream?” Offer your comments as to why President Bush choose this individual to use in his example. As to new immigration laws, the big one was his comment about immigration reform. He received a lot of applause from Congress. Here's what Bush said:

  • “Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America -- with laws that are fair and borders that are secure. When laws and borders are routinely violated, this harms the interests of our country. To secure our border, we're doubling the size of the Border Patrol, and funding new infrastructure and technology. Yet even with all these steps, we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border -- and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won't have to try to sneak in, and that will leave Border Agents free to chase down drug smugglers and criminals and terrorists. (Applause.) We'll enforce our immigration laws at the work site and give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers, so there's no excuse left for violating the law. (Applause.) We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals. (Applause.) We need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are already in our country without animosity and without amnesty. (Applause.) Convictions run deep in this Capitol when it comes to immigration. Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate, so that you can pass, and I can sign, comprehensive immigration reform into law.”

Does that mean a new amnesty law is forthcoming? What about the previous amnesty laws/programs in the U.S.? Lorena, last week, mentioned the Bracero program during class. What other recent programs like this have we had? Did they work? If not, why?

See you Thursday!