Gov. David A. Paterson announced on Monday that he would accelerate consideration and granting of pardons to legal immigrants for old or minor criminal convictions, in an effort to prevent them from being deported. “Some of our immigration laws, particularly with respect to deportation, are embarrassingly and wrongly inflexible,” Mr. Paterson said in a speech on Monday. “In New York we believe in renewal,” he added. “In New York, we believe in rehabilitation.”
An estimated 65,000 marchers filled Milwaukee's National Avenue on Saturday, in one of the largest immigrant-rights marches in the country, organized by WNPJ member group Voces de la Frontera. "In the same way the Wisconsin Congressman Sensenbrenner's bill HR 4437 ignited the immigrant rights movement in 2006; so today has passage of Arizona SB 1070 awakened the nation and opened a new chapter in the civil rights struggle of this country," said Christine-Neumann Ortiz,
|Photo: Racine Journal Times|
A group of more than 40 students and community members chanted "Education not deportation!" outside the Racine office of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, in a rally for immigration reform and rights for undocumented immigrant workers, including those working on Wisconsin's dairy farms.
"We're called the dairy state for a reason and we want to show how important immigrants are," said Gabriel Coronado, a 17-year-old student at the rally.
Arizona's harsh new anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, requires the police to investigate and detain anyone who could "reasonably be suspected" of being an undocumented immigrant, and even makes it a crime for legal immigrants not to have papers proving their immigration status. The bill is a clear violation of 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable government search and seizure, and, just as in the 1960's, federal action is needed to protect civil rights in a state where the governor and legislature are writing racial discrimination into the law. Click here to sign an online petition urging Attorney General Holder to enforce the Constitution by blocking the enforcement of Arizona's anti-immigrant racial-profiling bill.
Submitted by Sister Stella Storch
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, founder and executive director of Voces de la Frontera, a WNPJ member organization, is profiled in a Sunday story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which describes her as a national leader on immigration reform who is also "controversial and the target of fierce opposition."
"It's been a long struggle, but I have to remind myself and others that social justice is not achieved overnight," Neumann-Ortiz said as she prepared for yet another march for immigration reform on May 1. This march also will protest the passage of Arizona's tough new laws against illegal immigrants. "The Arizona law is a logical progression of the failure to enact immigration reform," she said.
In response to a harsh anti-immigrant bill signed into law by the Governor of Arizona this week, immigrant-rights advocates are calling for a boycott of the state.
The boycott effort received a boost on Saturday, when Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva (left) urged businesses, civic, religious and political groups to avoid Arizona and hold conventions and other events elsewhere. At a rally held outside his downtown campaign headquarters, Grijalva said on Saturday that economic sanctions may or may not work but will get the nation's attention on the need for national immigration reform.
A new analysis of census data by the New York Times has found that "immigrants played a central role in the cycle of the economic growth of U.S. cities over the last two decades," and that "cities with thriving immigrant populations — with high-earning and lower-wage workers — tended to be those that prospered the most."
David Dyssegaard Kallick, director for immigration research at the Fiscal Policy Institute, a nonpartisan group in New York that conducted the data analysis for The New York Times, said that “Economic growth in urban areas has been clearly connected with an increase in immigrants’ share of the local labor force.”