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The Administration is Saying the Right Things and Promising to “Always Be Listening”

In Uncategorized on March 27, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Last night, President Obama appeared on “Premio Lo Nuestro,” a Latin music awards show, and thanked Latino voters for coming out to vote in November (even if they didn’t vote for him). He also encouraged Latinos to keep coming out and making their voices heard, promising that he would “always be listening.”

This appearance follows the President’s announcement last week that he is still committed to pursuing comprehensive immigration reform this year. We hope that this is only one of many such appearances (to both Spanish- and English-speaking audiences) that will help garner political support for CIR.

Check it out:

In other encouraging news from the administration, Dora Schriro–special advisor to Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano for ICE and Detention and Removal–wrote on the USA Today blog yesterday promising to carefully consider the Amnesty International report that was released yesterday decrying immigrant detention standards in the United States.

Schriro acknowledged the sense of urgency needed in her review of detention standards and detainee treatment and promised that she and Secretary Napolitano were committed to “measurable, sustainable progress.”

All good news from the administration. I hope I can keep saying that more and more as time goes by.

Hold Fast to DREAMs

In legislation on March 27, 2009 at 4:10 pm
The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, S. 729/H.R. 1751) is back.

Today, a bipartisan group* of lawmakers in both the House and Senate reintroduced the DREAM Act, a bill which would offer undocumented children who grew up in the United States a path to legal status and eventual citizenship through pursuing higher education.

As Representative Roybal-Allard said in her remarks as she introduced the bill, “The Act’s premise is simple and just: Undocumented students deserve the same opportunities as the 2.8 million others who graduate from this country’s high schools every year. We cannot afford to waste our investments in these talented, motivated young people who are products of our schools and our communities…the millions of high school students who comprise the Class of 2009 are mere months away from graduation. Among them are thousands of kids who have the potential to become doctors, lawyers and even members of Congress but face insurmountable legal obstacles. We have a moral obligation to remove these impediments so that all of our young people can accomplish their goals.”

The DREAM Act, which by providing a path to citizenship through pursuing education works to mend a gaping hole in the United States immigrats’ and children’s rights, is only one fix to a much broader problem. At FCNL, we believe the education portion of the DREAM Act should be a critical component of comprehensive immgration reform and we hope to see Congress work with the Obama administration in the coming year to pass humane CIR.

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
For when dreams die
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow
~Langston Hughes

* On the Senate side, DREAM was introduced by Senators Richard Durbin (IL), Richard Lugar (IN), Russell Feingold (WI), Edward Kennedy (MA), Patrick Leahy (VT), Joe Lieberman (CT), Mel Martinez (FL), and Harry Reid (NV).

On the House side, DREAM was introduced by Representatives Howard Berman (CA), Joseph Cao (LA), John Conyersr, Jr (MI), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), Zoe Lofgren (CA), Devin Nunez (CA), Jared Polis (CO), Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), and Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA).

Jailed Without Justice: Immigration Detention as Bad as Gitmo

In enforcement on March 26, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Yesterday, Amnesty International released its new report “Jailed Without Justice: Immigration Detention in the USA.”

This report documents the horrific conditions of the United States’ immigrant detention centers. It reports that immigrants frequently do not have access to legal council, their cases are denied judicial review, they live in substandard conditions being denied basic hygiene, cleanliness, and medical attention, and on average are held in detention for at least 10 months.

The most horrific part, as Keith Olberman of MSNBC news says, is that no one at DHS or ICE denies any of it.

Check out Keith’s coverage on Amnesty’s new report (coverage begins 1 min 23 sec into the clip):

For more information, go to “Immigration Impact: Guilty Until Proven Innocent in Immigration Detention.”