Feb 3, 2012

Week's Top Articles on Immigration and the Border: Jan. 27 - Feb. 2, 2012

Immigration news brings an announcement from the Catholic hierarchy of California that it is opposing the federal government's Secure Communities program that pulls undocumented immigrants into deportation when they are arrested for any reason. Mitt Romney, now the likely Republican presidential candidate, makes his most extensive statement about immigration to a Latino audience in Florida.

In Kansas, the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups propose setting up a legal guest worker program, in opposition to the secretary of state, Kris Kobach, who has drafted many of the immigrant crackdown laws for other states. Meanwhile, a study by a University of Alabama professor concludes that that state will lose billions of dollars because of its crackdown law. 

And in Mexico City, Amnesty International members create a unique protest to highlight the plight of Central American migrants who cross the country on their way to the U.S. border: they hang worn out shoes on clothes lines in front of the Secretariat of the Interior.

From the border, an article from Las Cruces, New Mexico, introduces us to photojournalist Bruce Berman, who provides a very up-close and personal look at the realities of the border. We invite you to visit his Border Blog. And another unforeseen consequence of barricading the border with Mexico is brought to our attention: the original boundary markers are now on the Mexican side of the wall.

Finally, with the anniversary, on Feb. 2, of the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in which Mexico surrendered half of its territory to the U.S., we are presented with a very good account of the disconnect between U.S. awareness of its impact on Mexico and the reality of that impact for Mexico. Something to keep in mind as the U.S. carries on, via Mexican proxy, a second Mexican-American War that tries to keep the "drug problem" on the other side of that line in the sand called "the border".

The Articles:


California's Catholic hierarchy takes stand against illegal-immigration dragnet
San Jose Mercury News: "The Catholic Church in California is throwing its weight against a federal immigration dragnet (Secure Communities) that in the past two years deported more than 6,500 people from the region....Catholic priests ... are championing a humanitarian approach, condemning what they describe as "selfish" demagoguery." read more

Mitt Romney on Immigration
Fox News Latino: "On Friday, Romney spoke about immigration to an audience of over 600 Hispanic leaders at the Hispanic Leadership Network, a center-right advocacy group, conference in Miami. ... Here are the takeaways from Governor Romney's remarks:" read more

Kansas prepares for clash of wills over future of its unauthorised immigrants
guardian.co.uk: "A coalition of 20 of the most prominent businesses and trade groups in Kansas is seeking to introduce legislation that would help undocumented immigrant workers find jobs with the blessing of the federal government.

... the state legislature will debate two conflicting approaches. The first is that of the business coalition ... The second is an Arizona-style clampdown ... proposed by the secretary of state, Kris Kobach, a Republican who is credited with being the architect of many of the toughest immigration laws, including those in Arizona and Alabama." read more

Immigration crackdown costing Alabama billions, study reports
chicagotribune.com: "Alabama's crackdown on illegal immigrants could cost the state's economy up to $10.8 billion, according to a new study. ... The cost-benefit analysis by University of Alabama economist Samuel Addy estimated up to 80,000 jobs could be vacated by illegal immigrants fleeing the crackdown, costing Alabama's economy up to $10.8 billion. The lost jobs would cost Alabama up to $264.5 million in lost state sales and income taxes, and as much as $93.1 million in lost city and county sales taxes, it found." read more

Amnesty International hangs shoes at the Mexican Ministry of Interior in support of migrants
La Jornada: "Amnesty International’s (AI) Mexico office organized a rally in support of the international campaign “Migrants desperately need socks,” to raise awareness about the plight of thousands of Central Americans who venture across the country with hopes of reaching the United States.

In front of the doors of the Ministry of Interior building, AI placed two clothes lines of shoes: “They are a symbol of the hundreds of shoes that are lost and abandoned every year in the desert. They represent the fate of thousands of migrants who cross the Mexican border and penetrate the U.S. desert in search of the ‘American Dream.’” read more

The Border

Camera gives glimpse of life in border state
Las Cruces Sun-News: "Bruce Berman is an assistant professor of journalism and mass communication and a researcher at New Mexico State University.... The closest thing he has to a laboratory is the iMac in his office. His high-tech instrument: the Nikon camera he always keeps around his neck or on the passenger seat right next to him while out and around the desert Southwest and the U.S./Mexico border region.

"If you are doing good journalism, you are finding information for other people to use," Berman said of his style of research. "My job is to go out and try to learn as much as I can and then give that information to an audience who might need to know what I've learned."" read more

New Fences Block Access To U.S.-Mexico Border Monuments
Fronteras Desk: "Before there was a fence, all that marked the border between Mexico and the United States were stone and steel monuments, 276 of them dotting the southwestern landscape. They were installed by Mexican and American surveyors starting in 1850, after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican-American War and the two countries agreed to define their shared border.

But as the U.S. Border Patrol has reinforced the boundary with a new fence, many of these bi-national monuments have been left entirely on the Mexican side of the barriers." read more

Another shadow to pay attention to on Groundhog Day: Mexico's
NJ.starledger.com: "Today, Feb. 2, Groundhog Day, marks a more momentous event in North American history that most Americans can’t remember, and most Mexicans can’t forget. On that date in 1848, negotiators for the United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, formally ending what we, north of the border, call the Mexican-American War and what our neighbors to the south still call “the American Invasion.”

Under the terms of the treaty, Mexico surrendered 525,000 square miles to the United States, more than half of its territory. Considering this includes all or part of present-day California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and Colorado, you would think that, on Feb. 2, the treaty would at least compete in the national consciousness with Punxsutawney Phil." read more

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