Tuesday, April 29, 2008

May 1st Coalition Events in Arizona

March: 8:00am
Southgate Shopping Center
(I-10 and 6th Avenue)

Rally: 11:30am
Armory Park
(220 S. 5th Avenue)

Stop the Raids and Deportations

Legalization for All

Stop the Border Deaths

Stop the War

Education, Healthcare, Housing and Jobs for All,

Stop the Prison Building

Stop the Free Trade Agreements

Stop the Militarization of our Society
More venues across the country at Vivir Latino

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tucson Mariachi Conference Events

This week, participants young and old have been working with master mariachi instructors to perfect their playing. Starting this evening, the performances begin, which are a real treat to the area.


Participant Showcase

Thursday April 24, 2008 - TCC Arena - 7:00pm - $10 Admission, under 16 free
Schedule of Performers
7:00 - 7:13 Mariachi Aguilitas de Davis
7:13 - 7:26 Mariachi Los Charritos
7:26 - 7:39 Mariachi Puno de Oro
7:39 - 7:52 Mariachi Los Potrillos
7:52 - 8:05 Mariachi Pumas
8:05 - 8:18 Mariachi Tesoro de Tucson
8:18 - 8:31 Ballet Folklórico Tapatio
8:31 - 8:44 Mariachi Cesar Chavez
8:44 - 8:57 Mariachi Anacatlan
8:57 -9 :10 Mariachi Mixteco
9:10 - 9:23 Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego
9:23 - 9:36 Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo H.S.
9:36 - 9:49 Mariachi Chula Vista
9:49 - 10:02 Mariachi A.S.U.

Serenata y Cena

Friday, April 25, 2008 - Tucson Convention Center - 5:00pm - $40 Admission - Pre-Registration Required


Espectacular Concert

Friday, April 25, 2008 - TCC Arena - 7:30pm - Admission Varies
This year's headliner is Lucero, returning to Tucson after an 8 year hiatus. Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlan, Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano and Mariachi Los Arrieros join her in what will be a star-studded Espectacular Concert.

Tickets range in price from $46 - $86 and can be purchased from the TCC Box Office, or by calling TicketMaster at (520) 321-1000 or by completing the ticket order form and mailing in with payment.

Click here
to view the arena seating chart.

Mariachi Mass
Saturday, April 26, 2008 - St. Augustine's Cathedral - 9:00am - Featuring Los Camperos de Nati Cano


Fiesta de Garibaldi
Saturday, April 26, 2008 - 10am to 10pm - Reid Park - $5 Admission

Lots of food, arts & crafts, and of course:
Schedule of Performers
11:00 Mariachi Herencia de Mexico
11:30 Mariachi Aguilitas de Davis
noon Mariachi Puno de Oro
12:30 Mariachi Anacatlan
1:00 Mariachi Mixteco
1:30 Mariachi Diablos del Sol
2:00 Mariachi Brillante
2:30 Mariachi Cesar Chavez
3:00 Mariachi Los Potrillos
3:30 Mariachi Pumas
4:00 Mariachi Los Charritos
4:30 Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego
5:00 Mariachi Tesoro de Tucson
5:30 Ballet Folklorico Tapatio
6:00 Mariachi Los Changuitos Feos
6:30 Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo H.S.
7:00 Mariachi Chula Vista
7:30 Mariachi Los Camperos
8:30 Mariachi Los Arrieros
For more information, visit TucsonMariachi.org

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

An Appropriate Response to ABC

Well played, Oliver Willis, well played.

AZ GOP Pie Fight Makes International News

From the International Herald Tribune:
Sen. John McCain's status as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has done little to ease the criticism he faces from a small but vocal group of conservatives in his home state.

A week ago, Republican activists living in the same state legislative district as McCain rejected nearly all the names his campaign submitted as candidates to become delegates to the party's state convention on May 10.

Six people on McCain's slate eventually became delegates, said Rob Haney, the district's Republican chairman and McCain's most prominent critic in Arizona.



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Regarding Torture...

What more can be said on the topic of torture?

We've known for years that the Bushistas sanctioned "enhanced interrogation techniques" for agents of the U.S. to use against prisoners. When that wasn't sufficient, they created a network of secret prisons and rendition flights that allowed other governments to do the inhumane work for them.

Memos, meeting minutes, public statements, back-door agreements to allow certain methods some form of legal gray-space - it's all been there in the public domain. This blog was started three years ago in response to outrageous behavior at the Guantanamo Concentration Camp. Many of us have written letters, signed petitions, made phone calls, faxed, written un chingo de blog posts, yet there's been little to nothing regarding accountability among this crew of war criminals.

Why is that?

Well, I came to the unfortunate conclusion years ago that there are far too many U.S. born Americans™ who think it's fine to treat "terrorists" any way we choose. The moral compass of this country was shattered and pulverized into a dust as fine as the cloud of filth that blanketed Manhattan in the days following September 11, 2001. Inhaling the fumes of that toxic cloud, either through direct contact or the screens of televisions, a bloodlust gripped/grips the national psyche in such a way that waterboarding, and other unspeakable acts that we don't even know about, are given the thumbs up.

If there is any reason I have been in full support of impeachment from the early days of Bush's Two-Term Tantrum, this is it. We have an obligation to uphold boundaries of civility whether we get the same deference from "enemies" or not. That obligation was shat upon a long time ago, but since it's the Shining Beacon on a Hill doing it, will we see the same end game as those who committed identical atrocities decades ago?

Time will tell.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Voto Latino iTunes Playlist Available

Powerhouses of the Latin music community have teamed together with our friends at VotoLatino to help them raise money in efforts to get more people engaged in the civics process. With a goal of targeting 7 million new voters for the 2008 Presidential Election, their campaign is about community empowerment rather than partisanship.

"Music is the soundtrack to my life. The Voto Latino compilation is the soundtrack of a movement," says Voto Latino co-founder Rosario Dawson, who recently starred in a widely circulated telenovela parody PSA with Wilmer Valderrama. "It encapsulates everything about the Latino drive to the polls so blast it on your way to change."

Adds Valderrama: "Music has proven to be an influential platform for our generation. This is the time to use it."

"Voto Latino is thrilled about the generous contribution of iTunes Latino, Nacional Records and these participating artists," said Maria Teresa Petersen, Executive Director. "Having such talented individuals working across professions and sharing their expertise, be it musicians or behind the scenes executives is a testament that the power to enfranchise our community comes from within it."

If you have iTunes, click on this link to be transported directly to the download page. The 15-song compilation only costs $3.99 with proceeds going to VotoLatino.org
1. Notch – Aquí Me Quedo
2. PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED: Pitbull & Kurse - Across The Waters
3. Ozomatli - (Who Discovered) America?
4. Don Omar - Angelito
5. Los Amigos Invisibles - All Day Today
6. Salvador Santana Band - My One True Love
7. Ceu - Roda (Bombay Dub Orchestra's Grateful Dub Mix)
8. Aterciopelados – Cancion Protesta
9. Aventura - Mi Corazoncito
10. Chingo Bling - They Can't Deport Us All
11. Ceci Bastida - Empieza A Amanecer
12. David Garza - There Go The Weirdos
13. Volumen Cero - El Mar
14. B-Side Players – Nuestras Demandas
15. Hip Hop Hoodíos - Viva La Guantanamera
And on a semi-offtopic note...Ozomatli will be performing live on Dancing with the Stars tonight (April 15th). ¡Dios Mío!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Video Featuring Arivaca Wins Award

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a link to a video called Through the Plexiglass: Immigration Today that takes a look at the absurdity of the constipated paperwork process that forms the foundation of the U.S.' broken immigration system. Congratulations to creator Will Coley, as he and the others behind the video won a $500 Breakthrough Video prize from the Movement Vision Lab for their work.

Garnering top prize for the contest was the following video that highlights the situation in Arivaca, Arizona, which lies just to the south of Latino Político Headquarters in Tucson.

Arivaca: Life on the Border

For the past couple of years, the residents of Arivaca have been putting up an admirable fight against the federal government's stubborn insistence to construct a so-called virtual border between the U.S. and Mexico. The massive towers being built will put the entire region under surveillance, but the activist residents of Arivaca are making sure that their/our rights to privacy won't die without some old-fashioned hell-raising using the truth as a bludgeon.
The vast majority of people illegally crossing the border are not criminals or "terrorists". Militarization of the border is a misguided and futile response. We need immigration and economic policy reform to address the real human issues faced by the large number of border crossers. If we can deal with immigration through humanistic policies that allow needed people to come here and work and help create opportunities in other countries, we can dramatically reduce the number of people trying to cross the border illegally. Reasonable levels of law enforcement can deal with the remaining criminality. The threat of terrorism does not necessitate the fencing and surveiling of our entire southern and northern borders.

Of course, there are substantial interests in keeping the situation like it is. There is huge money in smuggling people across the border now. So much so that drug smugglers are getting more involved. This is increasing the violence perpetrated on migrants. As we've seen, there is huge money in securing the border on this side and much of our economy is fueled by exploiting migrants for substandard wages. War is an economic engine.

We're told not to expect any significant discussion on comprehensive immigration reform until well after November's elections. The war at home on our own border needs to be addressed as much as the war in Iraq and the economy. This is an opportunity to bring the issue before the public and make it stay there.

Congratulations to the creators of the video - this will help in raising the awareness of what life is like here in the frontera lands as lawmakers who live far away dictate the growing levels of militarism in our backyards. For more information on the "Build America Together" Campaign click here.

Neal Boortz Makes A Lousy Human

Via our friends at Media Matters, here is the latest example of U.S.-born American™ Exceptionalism and Bigotry that usually goes unchecked.

On the April 10 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Neal Boortz asserted, "I would make a lousy Mexican." Engineer and "sidekick" Royal Marshall asked Boortz: "Why is that?" Boortz responded, "Well, because I wanted to scrub the hangar floor the other day, so I went and rented one of these big buffers," later adding: "I turned on that buffer, and it damn near killed me! It was dragging me across the hangar floor, throwing me around like I -- it was like a dog shaking a cat or something like that. You know, that's skilled labor."

Later in the show, a caller recounted a story, saying he "was in a parking lot and witnessed a wreck on the road. And it was one of the illegals from south of the border and didn't have insurance. He ran, came into the parking lot, and was going to run my wife and myself down to get away from the police. But I was carrying a weapon; my son was carrying a weapon. We both drew down on him." Boortz interrupted, "Qué pasa? Qué pasa?" The caller said the man "got out of the truck spouting Spanish." After the caller finished his story, Boortz commented, "You know, I think with this Rosetta Stone software -- you know, Spanish-language software -- I think the first phrase they teach you is, you know, 'Hands against the -- hands against the car and hood, and spread 'em.' "

linkage (emphasis mine)

What is with this long-standing attitude towards Mexicans? Lazy but hard workers, an "illegal" or at the very least should prove otherwise in the name of the Homeland, and predisposed towards crime (probably because a dirty, lower language comes out of the mouth).

Neal Boortz is right - he would make a lousy Mexican because he makes a lousy human being. With a face that's perfect for radio, the façade of his cultural supremacy is only as mighty as the flash flood of verbal diarrhea that he is allowed to grunt out each day. He knows this, as this is not his first time he's lit a burning cross through the airwaves.

Enough is enough. Here is the contact information for his show's producers, conveniently compiled by Media Matters. Please send them a message that we have had enough of media pundits who are raising the danger levels of racial and cultural tensions in our communities.
Take Action!

Contact information:

Cox Radio Syndication
Cox Radio

Cox Radio Syndication
1601 W Peachtree St. NE
Atlanta, GA 30309

Phone 404.962.2078
Fax 404.897.2226

Neal Boortz
Neal Boortz

The Neal Boortz Show
The Neal Boortz Show

When contacting the media, please be polite and professional. Express your specific concerns regarding that particular news report or commentary, and be sure to indicate exactly what you would like the media outlet to do differently in the future.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Scarier Than La Llorona

And that's saying a lot...
The department issued another still-secret memo in October 2001 that, in part, sought to outline novel ways the military could be used domestically to defend the country in the face of an impending attack. The Justice Department so far has refused to release it, citing attorney-client privilege, and Attorney General Michael Mukasey declined to describe it Thursday at a Senate panel where Democrats characterized it as a "torture memo."


Book Profiles Italian Immigrants to Boston

Author Stephen Puleo is beginning a round of community talks in the Boston area regarding his recently published book The Boston Italians. It tells a story that is all too familiar to those of us that have studied the various periods of migration to the United States over the past couple of centuries.

Early decades of Italian immigrants traveled by steamship to work in America, sent money home, and returned to Italy when work was slow. Puleo quotes a well-known account of an Italian laborer who made $1.25 a day - and lived on 26 cents a day. Immigrants sought the intimacy of village life by replicating it in such places as, for example, Boston's North End - "the enclave within the enclave," Puleo said.

Italians faced early prejudice on two fronts: from those who doubted their commitment to America, and from detractors who said the "dark" southern Italian "race" was volatile, crime-prone, and untrustworthy. In World War II, Italian Americans who had not become citizens had to register as "enemy aliens."


I'm interested in reading the book as my great grandfather on my dad's maternal side came from Italy in 1922 and was later rounded up with others from his home country in response to FDR's issuance of the War Relocation Authority and related Executive Orders during World War II.
February 14, 1942: The U. S. Army’s Western Defense Command sends a memorandum to the Secretary of War recommending the evacuation of “Japanese and other subversive persons” from the Pacific Coast area. February 19, 1942: President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066, which empowers the Secretary of War or any military commander authorized by him to designate “military areas” and exclude “any and all persons” from them. Shortly before signing the Executive Order, the President received a memorandum from his advisers which said, “In time of national peril, any reasonable doubt must be resolved in favor of action to preserve the national safety, not for the purpose of punishing those whose liberty may be temporarily affected by such action, but for the purpose of protecting the freedom of the nation, which may be long impaired, if not permanently lost, by nonaction.”


March 18, 1942: President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9102, which establishes the War Relocation Authority (WRA) within the Department for Emergency Management. The WRA is empowered “to provide for the removal from designated areas of persons whose removal is necessary in the interests of national security….” The WRA is further empowered to provide for evacuees’ relocation and their needs, to supervise their activities, and to provide for their useful employment. Milton S. Eisenhower is named director of the WRA.

March 21, 1942:President Roosevelt signs Public Law 77-503, which makes it a federal crime for a person ordered to leave a military area to refuse to do so.

March 22, 1942: The first removal of people of Japanese descent from the designated Pacific Coast area occurs. The people are from the Los Angeles area; they are sent to the Manzanar relocation center in northeastern California. The center comprises a 6000 acre site, enclosed by barbed wire fencing, and within that site a 560 acre residential site with guard towers, search lights, and machine gun installations. During the next eighteen months, about 120,000 people of Japanese descent are removed from the Pacific Coast area to ten relocation centers in California, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Arkansas.

While these acts were mostly aimed at Japanese migrants and their families, others who hailed from sympathetic countries were ensnared in a xenophobic fervor that echoes what we are seeing today. It just goes to show that despicable government actions in the name of Homeland Security are nothing new to the United States.
Viewed as potential threats to national security, men and women, children, the elderly and the infirmed, primarily from the West Coast, were given just a few days to put their affairs in order, gather only the personal belongings they could carry, and report to assembly centers at local racetracks, horse pavilions and fairgrounds. There they remained for four to six months while ten internment camps were constructed to house them in remote parts of California, Arkansas, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado. The internees were imprisoned behind barbed wire, in inhumane conditions, guarded by armed soldiers.

That reminds me of something.

Decades from now, perhaps longer, will we see apologies or retributions offered to the families and workers unfairly and unjustly targeted?

Only if we keep fighting for human rights.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The 8th Grade Fight That Wasn't

Drama in Tejas.

ATHENS, Texas — School officials say an eighth-grader lied when she told them a pack of angry classmates assaulted her over an anti-illegal immigration poster she brought to campus.

Athens Superintendent Fred Hayes said Wednesday that surveillance video shows 13-year-old Melanie Bowers inflicting scratch marks on herself after her poster was taken.


Dee over at Immigration Talk with a Mexican American writes:
I started seeing reports of the girl´s allegations on Monday. The story was picked up immediately by the local newspaper. Various ANTI blogs got wind of it and spread it to Michele Malkin, Beck and Dobbs who published the accusations as facts and encouraged their commenters to post hateful comments towards not only illegal immigrants but to ALL Latinos in general. Some of these comments included sending all citizen Latinos back to Mexico. Most recommended putting all the 21 children on suspension and or jail immediately and the deporting of many of them although all were citizens.
And therein lies the biggest reason that more voices are needed to balance the megaphone-level howls of outrage that comes from nativist haters. The media pundits that sit in the center of Bigotville will never take responsibility for the mindless hostility they nurture among their followers; rather, they are like playground instigators that makes sure everyone knows there's gonna be a fight after the last class bell.

Unfortunately, the fight is gonna get bloody unless some adults step in and mediate.

Don Imus Was Once A Superiorite?

Oh my.

Despite the occasional rough patch, Imus did spend a full twelve years in public school and emerged with no formal education…a product of automatic social promotion not even casually tied to merit. He graduated with no honors and no skills, a rare stroke of luck because a broadcasting career required neither.

Difficulty continued to dog Imus after his school days: his undistinguished, infraction blotched stretch in the marines, onerous labor in a Superior, Arizona copper mine and a Grand Canyon uranium mine where an accident left him with both legs broken. There was work as a freight brakeman on the Southern Pacific railroad and a back injury suffered in an engine derailment, and at one point the indignities of homelessness, hitching, being flat broke. Better, and worse days were to come.

linkage (emphasis mine)
Kevin Bacon's got nuthin' on that town. It doesn't take long to find someone who has a connection to it....but Don Imus? It's hard to picture him walking down Pinal to Central Bakery for some cochitos with his coffee.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Looks Like It's Vodka:30

Oh, the humanity! How dare a marketing ploy aimed at those uppity natives south of the Border even think they're being funny with their display of a map that, once upon a time, was reality?

Don't they know that legions of all-American™ pioneers had the blessing of the Good Lord upon them when they packed up their covered wagons in search of gold from sea to shining sea? Their guns and muskets aimed true by the might of the spirit of freedom and justice.

Treaties were signed! Railways were demanded so more of OUR land could be acquired! Aren't they aware that borders are like the antithesis of taxes? Taxes must ALWAYS be reduced, while borders must ALWAYS be expanded or static! Never the opposite. Unless, of course, you're a martini-drinking, serape-donned invader - hellbent on pretending that there are alternative interpretations of the phrase: Remember the Alamo.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Southern Arizona Human Rights Organizations

Here are some grassroot organizations that are doing admirable work in the southern part of the Grand Canyon State that relates to the human rights facet of immigration and border policies in the U.S.:

Border Action Network
Border Action Network formed in 1999 and works with immigrant and border communities in southern Arizona to ensure that our rights are respected, our human dignity upheld and that our communities are healthy places to live. We are a membership-based organization that combines grassroots community organizing, leadership development, litigation and policy advocacy.

No More Deaths
No More Deaths is an organization whose mission is to end death and suffering on the U.S./Mexico border through civil initiative: the conviction that people of conscience must work openly and in community to uphold fundamental human rights. Our work embraces the Faith-Based Principles for Immigration Reform and focuses on the following themes:

• Direct aid that extends the right to provide humanitarian assistance
• Witnessing and responding
• Consciousness raising
• Global movement building
• Encouraging human immigration policy.
Humane Borders
Humane Borders, motivated by faith, offers humanitarian assistance to those in need through more than 70 emergency water stations on and near the U.S.-Mexican border.

"They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water."

-- Isaiah 49:10
Coalición de Derechos Humanos
Coalición de Derechos Humanos ("The Human Rights Coalition") is a grassroots organization which promotes respect for human/civil rights and fights the militarization of the Southern Border region, discrimination, and human rights abuses by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials affecting U.S. and non-U.S. citizens alike.derechos humanos logo

Our goals include:

* Strengthening the capacity of the border & urban communities to exercise their rights and participate in public policy decisions.
* Increasing public awareness of the magnitude of human rights abuses, deaths and assaults at the border resulting from U.S. policy.
* Seeking changes in government policies that result in human suffering because of the militarization of the U.S. border region.
Samaritan Patrol
Who or what is it? Samaritan Patrol ( a.k.a. Samaritans) are people of faith and conscience who are responding directly, practically and passionately to the crisis at the US/ Mexico border. We are a diverse group of volunteers that are united in our desire to relieve suffering among our brothers and sisters and to honor human dignity. Prompted by the mounting deaths among border crossers, we came together July 1, 2002, to provide emergency medical assistance, food and water to people crossing the Sonoran Desert.
Feel free to add to the list in the comments below and I will update the post.

I Pronounce Thee: Migrant and Wife

Ireland should know better...

A proposed new law requiring the clergy to refuse to perform a marriage unless couples can prove that they have a residency permit to legally stay in Ireland is causing uproar among priests.

The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill 2008 proposes that priests establish if one or both of the nuptials has a residency permit, and if not they are obliged to refuse to celebrate their marriage.


Friday, April 04, 2008

César Chávez Events In Tucson

[bumped up - Man Eegee]

Feliz Cumpleaños, Sr. Chávez

Chavez Week Schedule, courtesy of the
Arizona César Chávez Holiday Coalition:

Friday, April 4th - 10:30AM
Public Art Unveiling
South 6th Avenue & I-10

Friday, April 4th - 4:00PM
Chavez Day, featuring Dolores Huerta
UA College of Law

Friday, April 4th - 7:00PM
"Dolores & A Movie" Screening Room
127 E. Congress St.

Saturday, April 5th - 9:00AM
8th Annual César E. Chávez March, led by Dolores Huerta
Pueblo High School to Rudy Garcia Park (formerly Rodeo Park)
Meet at Pueblo, march east on 44th St., south on S. 6th Ave., to Rudy Garcia Park
Rally, Music & Speakers held at the park

Saturday, April 5th - 7:00PM
Documentary: "San Ce Tojuan" (We Are One)
UA Chavez Building

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Refocusing The Immigration Debate

Can't seem to shake off this writer's block that has ascended from the ground like mist, through my feet, and up the cuerpo until finally reaching its goal of paralyzing the ability for my brain, heart and fingers to perform a synergistic miracle. During the day, I find myself simply reading instead of writing. By night, gazing up at the stars instead of creating, hoping that the silver sentinels will finally whisper their secrets to me.

Perhaps I'm thinking too much. I've done a lot of that in the past couple of weeks. Since returning from the New Organizing Institute's Summit and Training in D.C. last month, one thing has burned like an ember in my consciousness. It was something that I finally said out loud while I was networking with other bloggers: my site inadvertently became an "immigration blog" and I had somehow become an "immigration blogger". How the sheol did that happen?

Back in the days of 2004 and 2005, when we were still chiseling posts on granite, there was virtually nothing being written about the issue. At least not anything that resonated with the messaging and movements I had/have been involved with here in the frontera-lands. I felt there needed to be more scrutiny applied to the land grabs, law waiving and general disregard by the D.C. system to the opinions of those of us who call the desert southwest - home.

Plus, the daily drumbeat of news regarding human remains and/or bloated bodies being found in remote and sometimes not-so-remote areas of my state, vandalized water stations in the hottest region of the country, vigilante movements that harass and demean supposed invaders (or those who conveniently look like them), lawmakers and renegade sheriffs who join them in hateful and paranoid solidarity, increased checkpoints and armed military personnel that continues to appear farther and farther away from the actual border, etc. etc. etc.

Unfortunately, all of those things are dealt with using a reactionary/defensive posture. It becomes exhausting, especially as a Mexican American/Xicano/Latino/Hijo de la Mestizaje. There is no way to tackle issues like this without centralizing the racial and cultural oppression that the nativist movement has injected like poison in the veins of the discussion. It is a direct affront to my personhood and family's legacy when irrational measures are considered or passed that attempt to strip automatic citizenship rights for children born in this region of tierra, English-only measures are passed with spite while funding for English-learning programs are eviscerated, and media of all forms conflate the terms Hispanic/Latino with illegal/drug smuggler/invader/burden on social services/squatter/criminal.

The double-edged sword effect that must be dealt with, however, is that when immigration is pigeonholed as a "Latino issue" - building solidarity and allies is harder than the Chinese steel they're using to build the Great Wall of America™. Shifting the focus to human rights allows us to work across all imaginary borders we've built up between those of the bipedal persuasion.

While noting the Government’s interest in addressing some of the problems related to the human rights of migrants, the Special Rapporteur has serious concerns about the situation of migrants in the country, especially in the context of specific aspects of deportation and detention policies, and with regard to specific groups such as migrant workers in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, migrant farm workers, and migrants in detention facilities.

The Special Rapporteur wishes to highlight the fact that cases of indefinite detention - even of migrants fleeing adverse conditions in their home countries - were not uncommon according to testimonies he received. The Special Rapporteur learned from human rights advocates about the lack of due process for non-citizens in United States deportation proceedings and their ability to challenge the legality or length of their detention; as well as about the conditions of detained asylum-seekers, long-term permanent residents and parents of minors who are United States citizens. In some cases immigrant detainees spend days in solitary confinement, with overhead lights kept on 24 hours a day, and often in extreme heat and cold. According to official sources, the United States Government detains over 230,000 people a year - more than three times the number of people it held in detention nine years ago.

The Special Rapporteur notes with dismay that xenophobia and racism towards migrants in the United States has worsened since 9/11. The current xenophobic climate adversely affects many sections of the migrant population, and has a particularly discriminatory and devastating impact on many of the most vulnerable groups in the migrant population, including children, unaccompanied minors, Haitian and other Afro-Caribbean migrants, and migrants who are, or are perceived to be, Muslim or of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent.

The Special Rapporteur notes that the United States lacks a clear, consistent, long-term strategy to improve respect for the human rights of migrants. Although there are national laws prohibiting discrimination, there is no national legislative and policy framework implementing protection for the human rights of migrants against which the federal and local programmes and strategies can be evaluated to assess to what extent the authorities are respecting the human rights of migrants.

In light of numerous issues described in this report, the Special Rapporteur has come to the conclusion that the United States has failed to adhere to its international obligations to make the human rights of the 37.5 million migrants living in the country (according to Government census data from 2006) a national priority, using a comprehensive and coordinated national policy based on clear international obligations. The primary task of such a national policy should be to recognize that, with the exception of certain rights relating to political participation, migrants enjoy nearly all the same human rights protections as citizens, including an emphasis on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable groups.

Jorge Bustamante, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
March 2008

Amen to all that.

So how do we do it without having to be on the defensive all the time?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fiesta de Saguaro This Weekend

It's a busy weekend in Tucson. There's César Chávez Week with the big march on Saturday, the Fourth Avenue Street Fair, and the 2nd Annual Fiesta de Saguaro at Saguaro National Park.

Saguaro National Park will host its second annual Fiesta de Saguaro, on Saturday April 5, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The event will be held at the park’s Rincon Mountain Visitor Center, at 3693 South Old Spanish Trail. The Fiesta celebrates the rich Hispanic history and culture of park and local area, with a variety of activities, exhibits, lectures, demonstrations and performances. This family-oriented event is free to the public, and includes free entrance to Saguaro National Park’s Rincon Mountain (East) District.

Due to limited parking at the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center, the park will run continuous shuttle service from Sahuaro Baptist Church, located at 10361 East Old Spanish Trail (at Houghton Road). The shuttle service will run from 9:30 am until 4:30 pm. The only parking available at the visitor center on April 5 will be for those visitors with special needs.

Food, mariachis, folklorico, piñatas, marionetas - what more could you need?

(besides sunscreen)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Imperial Presidency Strikes Again

Where is the outrage from the greater part of the country? So many dangerous precedents have been set by this regime that I've lost count; yet, when it comes to the militarization of the U.S. - Mexico border, the issue is either ignored or applauded.
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration plans to use its authority to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations in an effort to finish building 670 miles of fence along the southwest U.S. border by the end of this year, federal officials said Tuesday.

Invoking the legal waivers — which Congress authorized — would cut through bureaucratic red tape and sidestep environmental laws that currently stand in the way of the Homeland Security Department building 267 miles of fencing in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, according to officials familiar with the plan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the waivers had not yet been announced.

The move would be the biggest use of legal waivers since the administration started building the fence. Previously, the department has used its waiver authority for two portions of fence in Arizona and one portion in San Diego.