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Friday, April 27, 2007

This week was our final class and review session for the final exam Thursday May 3, 2007. Again, I was very impressed with all of your participation in the immigration policy class blogspot. The course had an added element because of your blog opinions and all of you essentially became the Fourth Reading Material for our class. All of you should be very proud!

The student who participated most in this semester's classblog spot is KATE DALTON. She received the overall best performance/participation in the blogspot and should be recognized as such. Congratualtions, Kate, for your outstanding performance! Well done!



Friday, April 20, 2007

Cynthia this week requested that I place this rally information and her involvement on the class blog spot. Her comments are below:

Cynthia writes:

Please join Amnesty International USA and the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America as we rally for justice for Guatemala!

Friday, April 20th

Guatemalan Consulate
203 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL

This rally is part of an international campaign to bring to justice former Guatemalan General Efraín Ríos Montt, who has been charged with genocide, torture, terrorism, and illegal detention. The campaign emerged in support of the efforts by a group of Guatemalan survivors – led by Nobel laureate Rigoberta Menchú – to file a suit against Ríos Montt in Spain, urging Spain’s courts to exercise jurisdiction over crimes of international concern.

In July 2006, Spain’s National Court issued international warrants for the arrest of Ríos Montt and several other former senior officials. As Guatemala’s courts review Spain’s request for Ríos Montt’s extradition, complainants, lawyers, judges, witnesses and local human rights organizations are coming under mounting pressure and intimidation. It is a critical time to let the Guatemalan authorities know that the world is watching.

I thouht it important towards immigration because so many Guatemalans fled to the United States and Canada because of the Civil War and more specifically the "scorch earth program" that Rios Montt was responsible for. During his de facto presidency complete villages were destroyed and several refugees took to the north. Most of them applied for political asylum and fixed their immigration status thru that method and most recently NACARA. So, thats why I thought it was important.

--Cynthia Mazariegos

Sunday, April 15, 2007

THOSE WHO DO NOT LEARN FROM HISTORY ARE DESTINED TO REPEAT IT.....It is with this familar saying that we turn our discussion of the immigration policy toward another immigrant group in the United States: The Japanese during World War II. We see that contemporary programs, as part of today's War on Terror, (such as the NSEERS "Special Registration" Program,) have similarities with the internment program of persons living in the U.S. of Japesnese ancestry, discussed in Chapter 4 of Ngai, was really the first program of its kind in the U.S. discriminating against immigrants during wartime.

"Japanese American Internment" as it was called, was the forced removal of approximately 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans (62 percent of whom were United States citizens)from the U.S. West Coast during World War II. While approximately 10,000 were able to relocate to other parts of the country, the remainder – roughly 110,000 men, women and children – were sent to hastily constructed camps called "War Relocation Centers" in remote portions of the nation's interior. It is clearly one of the most shameful times in our nation's history.

Decades laster, On August 10, 1988 the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was signed into law by Ronald Reagan. On November 21, 1989, George H.W. Bush signed an appropriation bill authorizing payments to be paid out between 1990 and 1998 to survivors. In 1990, surviving internees began to receive individual redress payments and a letter of apology.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I was very impressed by your discussions this week (There were 10 students who particpated in the class blogspot this week), partly for the manner in which you articulated yourselves, but mostly because you were all able to raise some very key issues surrounding "illegal" immigration, discussed in Ngai: Foreign policy, culture, Racism, oppression of women, the difficulties of immigration processes, the international economic system, political oppression, and misconceptions made by the American people and through the American media. These are all complex issues, and you seem to be asking very appropriate and necessary questions.

I enjoyed Meagan’s comments because she pinpointed one of the major frustrations regarding illegal immigration, which is how polarized the views are regarding the issue: illegal is bad, legal is good. She used the terms “Black, white”. There is a reluctance to admit that illegal immigrants have real and valid reasons for coming to U.S. This polarization, this belief in absolutes, or the use of absolute terminology, dismisses the complexity of the issue, and is a notion widely held by the public. This is partly the reason that we have seen so little change in policy since early 1900’s.

Belinda continues this discussion and adds that problems of discriminatory immigration practice frustrates legal immigration. She argues that more focus should be on the corporations who hire illegally, rather than on the individual immigrant.

Cynthia brings up the role that media plays in perpetuating the stereotype.

Cezara’s comments focused on the complexity of illegal immigration. Her argument is that we cannot lump all issues into Immigration, but rather on the processes by which illegal immigrants come to the U.S. She mentions particularly the mistreatment of women, “lapdancers,” adoption, drug trafficking, and emphasizes that though the policies have remained the same, the “the process itself of illegal immigration, from an immigrant perspective, has been greatly transformed.” This post was intuitive in that it necessitates the complexity of the issue, and rejects overt assumptions regarding illegal immigration. She states “The significance of the sex industry rises in the absence of other sources for job, profit and revenue” and goes on to suggest that we fuel the sex industry by not permitting legal forms of revenue to reach these women.

Kate brings up the point that illegal immigrants are not coming to the U.S. from the 50 poorest countries, but rather from countries that are already connected economically to the United States. This is an important issue, she argues because “Framing Mexican immigrants as desperate criminals diverts attention away from the fact that NAFTA has had some seriously negative consequences on the Mexican economy.” (Though she doesn’t say this, she raises questions of Responsibility. As an economic superpower, do we have the right to dabble in other economies, without accept the repercussions of our own actions?)

Cynthia touches on this by stating, “What I am advocating is that the United States just reverse initiatives it has currently implemented in other nations that have proven to only worsen the economy of other nations or that has allowed for an authoritative government to continue to rule.” This is also a question of responsibility.

Julie points out that economic stability in other countries would force the U.S. to increase costs and wages for outsourced work. Yet, it is that instability that is a cause for illegal immigration. She also points out (and I agree with her) that Americans would probably still take issue with too many “legal” immigrants. Though she doesn’t say this, she raises the point that Racism is a major part of this debate, though it hides behind the guise of “illegal”. She also points out that illegal workers may boost our economy, because they work without the right for fair wages, unionization, or benefits.

Cuitlahuac emphasizes political oppression and the issues of culture. He also touches on racism, stating “The “Foreignness” concept illustrates the perverted mind-set that pervades and permeated mainstream America. Relations of domination and control attempt to legitimize or hide these xenophobic beliefs. Images of “them” appeals to the deep-rooted racism that is ingrained in many Americans from centuries ago.”

Racheal Deeds wraps up the discussion by referring back to the notion that legal immigration isn’t necessarily the solution, simply because “illegal” immigration isn’t the problem. She states, “All immigrants have been scapegoats for economic and political issues throughout the history of America from the Germans and the Irish to the Itialians and the Greeks and now the Muslims and the Mexicans, all scapegoats regardless of their legal status. The fear goes deeper that just jobs; it's a fear about the changes that take place in our culture.” She also raises questions about international economic stability, “if we stopped exploiting those countries…who would we make money off of? How could we stay on top if there's nobody at our feet?”

For next week's class, we will focus on recent developments in Congress concerning the GUEST WORKER PROGRAM (proposed).