The California-Mexico Studies Center

Armando Vazquez-Ramos President & CEO
1551 N. Studebaker Road, Long Beach, CA 90815 Phone: (562) 430-5541 Cell: (562) 972-0986 or
"El Magonista"
Vol.2 No.2 July 26, 2013 Viva Cuba!!!

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Time for Obama to give ‘help’, not ‘hope’ on immigration reform promise
By professors Armando Vazquez-Ramos, Gonzalo Santos & Primitivo Rodriguez

President Obama has a golden opportunity to deliver on his promise of “hope” to Latinos on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), and to “help” the nation’s economy and himself politically, by exercising his executive authority and granting deferred action to all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US. Moreover, granting blanket deferred action is not amnesty and would allow the 11 million immigrants to come out of the shadows through an orderly registration process similar to the long established Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program granted to millions of immigrants for extraordinary and temporary conditions* by the Homeland Security Administration (HSA). President Obama has a Lincolnian opportunity to emancipate the much demonized and exploited immigrant population in the U.S. today, by granting a temporary status similar to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented last year by the President for the ‘dreamers’ immigrant population. The president’s order for deferred action or TPS for all would immediately end the tragedy of family separation that we are suffering in our communities, with the daily deportation of over 1500 immigrants. This is not ‘hope’. Undoubtedly, deferred action or TPS for all would force congress to enact true immigration reform, not reactionary legislation like the Senate’s ‘Gang of 8” bill (S.744), before the 2014 mid-term election or in 2015 as is most likely to be the case due to the recalcitrant majority of the Republican party. If the Republican-controlled Congress fails to act in good faith by

the end of August and cannot propose a better alternative to S.744, President Obama should exercise his executive power and grant deferred action or TPS for all 11 million undocumented immigrants that entered the country prior to 2013, symbolically on this year’s Labor Day ! Lets face it, there’s no chance for progressive immigration to come out of congress this year, and there is a growing opposition to S.744 as flawed legislation that causes more harm than good. In fact, S.744 was dead-on arrival with House republicans and there’s a national campaign to derail S.744 by progressive leaders and organizations that view this bill as punitive and mean-spirited legislation that would criminalize and subject to deportation more than half of the 11 million undocumented immigrant population**. S.744 is not only offensive to Mexico and Latinos in the US, it’s a $50 billion boondoggle for the prison complex and the warmachine private sector to militarize the border. This expenditure exceeds the social program cuts by the nefarious ‘sequester’ policy agreed by the president under pressure last year. How can anyone justify a commitment of $50 billion to build an additional 700 miles of a Berlin-style wall ? This contradiction flies in the face of the famous line “Mr. president, tear down this wall” uttered by then president Ronald Reagan to humiliate the Russians during the cold war. Worse, it would increase the Border patrol by 20,000 agents that could be deployed as a gestapo-like deportation posse, and create anti-immigrant conditions similar to the 1930’s Repatriation Act-era that deported or forced to ‘self-deportation’ over 1 million Mexicans during the Great Depression.

On the other hand, President Obama’s ‘deferred action for all’ legacy would temporarily protect the undocumented immigrant until Congress responsibly legislates true CIR, and force republican legislators to recognize the economic benefits of immigrants; and the political consequences of their continued demonization of immigrants as exemplified by the racist commentaries of legislators like Rep. Steve King and the hate mongering of radio and TV jocks. Mr. President, the economic studies and public opinion polls support the argument for comprehensive immigration reform, and granting ‘deferred action for all’ would cement your legacy and demonstrate the courage to push back on the poisonous “Tea Party” influence that controls the GOP, as well as clear the path for you to focus on the 2014 budget and raising the debt limit.
President Obama: we are fired up !...are you ready to go ?

Long Beach, California ~ July 26, 2013 -----------------------------------------------------------Professor Armando Vazquez-Ramos is a co-founder of the Cal State Long Beach Chicano and Latino Studies Department and President of the California-Mexico Studies Center (, Dr. Gonzalo Santos is a CSU Bakersfield sociologist and Primitivo Rodriguez is a professor at El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City.

Homeland Security Administration website for Temporary Protected Status policy:
* id=848f7f2ef0745210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=848f7f2ef0745210VgnVCM100 000082ca60aRCRD

**If interested, sign the petition letter to oppose S.744 here, or go to: 1BSdEE6MA&ifq


Dear colegas, students and friends, I have decided to join the initial co-signers of the following letter and respectfully request that you consider signing as well, to join the growing number of leaders and organizations committed to oppose the U.S. Senate’s regressive and punitive immigration reform legislation S.744 S.744 militarizes the border, creates a national ID system through E-verify, excludes more than half of the 11 million undocumented from legalization, and creates de-facto indentured servitude for those attaining "RPI" status. At this time this letter is being sent out to solicit individuals and organizations to sign through August and is directed to progressive and minority Congress members as they begin to consider S.744 or their version of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). If you decide to join this national campaign for progressive CIR, please sign on here ! Sincerely, Armando Vazquez-Ramos
Sign the Letter to Oppose S.744 ---------------------------------------------------------------------July 21, 2013 Dear Representative: We the undersigned representatives of Latino, immigrant, and Indigenous peoples organizations and communities write to urge you to reject S.744 in its current form. After much reflection, we have concluded that S.744 does more harm than good to the cause of fair and humane immigration reform. We expect that the bill will only get worse and even more focused on "border security-first" as it goes to the House of Representatives. Recent polling findings by Latino Decisions underscore that Latino voters do not support the border militarization or ineffective legalization components of S.744. We marched, we protested, and we voted for real immigration reform. But rather than fulfill the promise of citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the country, we got legislation, S.744, which will plunge millions in immigrant and border communities into a more profound crisis than the one they already face. This flawed legislation begins with the mistaken and dangerous premise that puts punishment over

people and enforcement over citizenship. S.744 is neither inclusive nor fair. We cannot in good conscience support S.744 without major substantive changes. Our rejection does not condone the defeat of immigration reform. Rather, it represents the decency and dignity of a community drawing the line against more punishment of immigrants. These same values will continue to guide our struggle for humane and just immigration reform in 2013 and beyond. In practice, S.744 will:   Block Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPI) from seeking lawful permanent resident status or citizenship for decades or forever; Exclude or disqualify, over time, more than 5 million undocumented persons from the Registered Provisional Immigrant program; Subject Registered Provisional Immigrants to reprehensible and unacceptable conditions for ten or more years in order to maintain status; Increase discrimination and racial profiling of people of color through nationwide mandatory E-verify of every worker- citizen and non-citizen- in the country; and Create a virtual police-state and create environmental disasters in the 27 border counties by militarizing the US- Mexico border including weapons-capable drones, 40,000 guards, and 700 miles of border walls.

 

Such a proposal does not, in any way, reflect the kind of humane, inclusive, and common sense values that we envisioned before and since the 2012 elections. We write to ask you to join us in rejecting this legislation in the name of continuing the fight for real immigration reform. Please contact Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of if you have any comments or questions at Sincerely, The Undersigned National and Regional Organizations Dignity Campaign Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales (FIOB) Hermandad Mexicana Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association Red Mexicana de Lideres y Organizaciones Migrantes Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) Southwest Workers Union (SWU) William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) State and Local Organizations Alianza Latinoamericana por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes (ALIADI)

Association of Mexicans in North Carolina AMEXCAN Anahauk Youth Soccer Association Association for Residency and Citizenship of America (ARCA) Border Angels, San Diego Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Fund Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, Tucson, Arizona Coastal Bend Committee for Human Rights Communion of Independent Catholic Churches, San Diego, CA Community Union, Inc. Durango Unido in Chicago Federacion Zacatecana, A.C., (FEDZAC) Gente Unida, San Diego, CA The Hispanic Community Dialogue, Virginia Beach, VA Institute for Socio Economic Justice, Inc. Latino/Latina Roundtable of the San Gabriel Valley and Pomona Valley Los Amigos De Orange County LULAC, Inland Empire San Bernardino Community Service Center, Inc Mundo Maya Foundation Red Mexicana de Acción Frente al Libre Comercio., México, D. F. Seminario Permanente de Estudios Chicanos y de Fronteras Texas Indigenous Council Tonatierra Individuals: Barbara Alvarez Jess Araujo, Justicia Productions David Avalos Herman Avilez, Director, California Drug Counseling Juan Rafael Avitia, Mexican American Political Association Carlos Balderas, Hermandad Latinoamericana Elissa Behar Hauptman, Samaritans Nelson Benítez Tobar, la Asociación Ecuador Unido de Chicago Ruben Botello, Director, National League of Latin American Citizens, PA (NLLAC) Juan José Bocanegra Roberto Bravo, Hermandad Mexicana Josefina Cardenas Dr. Henry J. Casso, Director, Project Uplift Camilo M. Castrillo Raúl Ceja Jorge Corralejo, Chairman, Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles Marian Cruz Maria Cuellar Laura Cummings Mark Day Abelardo de la Peña Jr., AdlP & Associates Antonio Diaz Bob Divine, Tucson Samaritans Dick Eiden, North County Forum Marie Elwood, Coalición de Derechos Humanos

Jason Flores, California Central Valley Journey for Justice Alan Fiszman Celia Gaitz Julie García Jose S. Garza, Executive Director, East Harlem Business Capital Corporation Roberto Garza, OPTION COM Mike Gómez, Latinos Unidos Prof. Emeritus Gilbert G. González, Latino Studies, UCI Maria C. González, AA Militarized Border Martina Grifaldo, Alianza Mexicana Alfredo Gutierrez, Author of To Sin Against Hope, Former majority leader of the Arizona State Senate Barry Hermanson, Green Party Candidate for Congress - CA 12 Raymundo Hernández, im:arte collective Suzanne Hesh Rodrigo Ibarra Eugenio A. Juarez Sanchez, United Latino Voices Sam Maestas Jose Maldonado, Los Angeles Mission College Daniel E. Martinez, GWU Jose R. Matus, Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras Juan Mayoral, Hermandad Mexicana Diana Montes-Walker, LATINO CIVIL RIGHTS COMMITTEE Dorinda Moreno, International Tribunal of Conscience, U.S. Representative Jose Moreno, Los Amigos of Orange County Eleanor Navarro Rael Nidess, M.D. Gigi Owen Corina Padilla, Dominican Sisters of Peace John Perez Bret Polish Sebastian Quinac, Guatemalan Committee Eduardo Quintana Rosalinda Quintaran Annette Quintero Marty Ramírez Dan Ramos, (former) BCDP Chair Roberto Reveles Tom Reyes, President, East San Gabriel Valley-LULAC Sal Reza Primitivo Rodríguez Oscar Rosales Castañeda, El Comité Michael Rubin Roberto Rubio Sara Rusk Marta Sanchez, Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano Fidel Sandoval Patricia Schano Allen, President, Research Applications Claudia Schwebel, The Seven Challenges Michael Shane, MECAWI Frank Sifuentes, Compton USD Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Jr., Senior Pastor, Allen Temple Baptist Church Francisco Solá, President Executive Director, Latino Voter Registration Project

Melanie Stuart, Public Policy Chairperson for the American Association of University Women-Chula Vista Rick Swartz, President, Strategic Solutions Washington Víctor Manuel Torres, Spokesperson, El Grupo, North San Diego County Carlos Valdez Prof. Armando Vazquez-Ramos, President, California-Mexico Studies Center C. T. Weber, Peace and Freedom Party of California Tamar Diana Wilson, Community4ImmigrantRights Rachel Winsberg, Coalición de Derechos Humanos Ann Yellott, Ph.D., Nonviolence Legacy Project Prof. Chris Zepeda-Milllan, Loyola Marymount University Kimberly Ziyavo

Appendix 1: Latino, Immigrant, and Indigenous Peoples Organizations and Leaders' Critique of S.744
After much reflection, we have concluded that S.744 does more harm than good to the cause of fair and humane immigration reform. What follows is a more complete explanation of our major concerns about S. 744: S.744's Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) program will exclude and/or disqualify over time 5 million undocumented persons from adjustment of status With the exceptions of the beneficiaries of the Dream Act and AgJobs programs, S.744's legalization provisions fail most of the 11 million undocumented people in the United States. According to the recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study only 8 of the 11 plus million undocumented persons in the US will initially achieve RPI status. Moreover, a recent analysis by leading immigration attorney and national advocate Peter Schey of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CHRCL), of Senate Bill 744's legalization provisions found that (1) for several reasons the entire population of Registered Provisional Immigrants may never be eligible to apply for permanent resident status or citizenship, and (2) even if these obstacles are overcome, at least half of the remaining approximately 8 million undocumented immigrants may never qualify for permanent status (or citizenship) because of the onerous "continuous employment" and federal poverty guideline requirements, and the high costs combined with the requirement to pay past taxes. Click here for a legal and demographic analysis of Senate Bill 744's Pathway to Legalization and Citizenship by Schey. The RPI program will have a disproportionately negative impact on immigrant women who only have a 60% workforce participation rate according to a recent Migration Policy Institute (MPI) study. In the face of these facts, those positing that "11 million will be legalized" are exaggerating. They do a disservice to both the U.S. public and, more importantly, to the millions of individuals and families who do not know that they may be among the many excluded by S.744. S.744's Continuous employment and 125% of poverty income provisions subject RPI visa holders to workplace discrimination, exploitation and sexual harassment; Even those "fortunate enough" to meet the requirements to gain RPI status are at high risk to become indentured servants locked into overly burdensome continuous employment and income obligations for at least ten-and perhaps fifteen or more-years

given the "backlog/back of the line" and "border security" trigger provisions. RPIs will be without health care and are ineligible for federal safety net benefits. They will be excluded from access to billions of dollars in previously paid social security benefits. S.744 RPI's will be denied their most basic power as an employee -- the right to withhold their labor if an employer abuses, harasses or exploits them. Conversely, employers will be empowered to engage in unlawful worksite and labor law violations. RPIs who resist employer abuses risk losing employment for 60 days or more. This puts them at high risk of losing RPI status and/or becoming ineligible for permanent resident status. Female RPI card holders will be disproportionately affected. For example, S.744 grants some housewives "dependent" status; i.e. dependent on their husbands' continuous employment and their continuous relationship. In practice, "dependents" suffering domestic abuse, including children, will be significantly discouraged from leaving their homes or reporting abuse to the authorities. Notably, the provisions obligating that permanent resident status not be awarded to qualified RPI card holders upon completion of the multi-year probationary period, unless the border is "secure" and the backlog of pre- existing visa applications are resolved, create a scenario of inevitable and unpredictable delays. There will be no objective way to "prove" border security concerns have been met as S.744 is written, or assurances that resolving 100% of the current visa back-log can be accomplished in 10 or 20 years, or ever. For example, the current backlog includes cases more than 20 years old. S.744's "backlog" and "border security" requirements guarantee an indeterminate number of years of delay before RPI status holders can even apply for permanent resident status. At the same time, S.744 significantly increases judges, courts and the legal mechanisms to detain and deport those excluded from RPI status or ultimately denied lawful permanent resident status. S.744's E-verify program is fatally flawed E-verify will just increase discrimination and racial profiling. It places an undue burden of costs on small businesses and if fully implemented will undermine job growth. The extension of E-Verify to every worker in the U.S. lays the foundation for precisely the national identification system and national database tracking systems that most people in the U.S. oppose. The "enhanced driver's license" provision adopts the requirements of section 202 of the REAL ID Act of 2005, requiring the sharing of driver's license photos among the states and federal government, a program 25 states have opposed by law or resolution. We understand that only 13 states have joined the enhanced driver's license program of the REAL ID Act of as of 2012. This law also removes the religious accommodations that 20 states offer in the form of driver's licenses without photographs for reasons of religious faith. E-Verify in fact misidentifies about one percent of American job applicants as unlawful. The GAO has predicted that approximately 164,000 U.S. citizens per year will receive a Tentative No confirmation ("TNC") just for issues related to name changes. Tens of thousands more may receive TNCs because of transliteration problems, simple typos in Government records databases, or identity theft.

Even the existing limited use of E-Verify has shown that erroneous TNCs produce discriminatory outcomes primarily affecting citizens with foreign names, naturalized citizens, and legal immigrants. Furthermore, errors will disproportionately impact women and immigrants about whom the databases have incorrect information due, for example, to marriage-related name changes or hyphenated last names. Mandatory E-Verify may also reduce state and federal payroll tax revenues because many employers will move existing unauthorized workers not granted RPI status and future unauthorized workers off the books to avoid detection. Under S.744, hundreds of thousands of US workers may be required, within 10 days of getting a TNC, to contact an appropriate Federal agency and "appear in person...." As past experience shows, a significant number of U.S. workers will fail to correct erroneous nonconfirmations, with a disproportionate number being women and other low-income workers. It has been estimated that mandatory nationwide use of the E-Verify program will cost employers with fewer that 500 employees about $2.6 billion a year. S.744's border surge is unnecessary as a matter of policy, and will significantly increase border deaths along with violations of human and civil rights. Today, $18 billion in enforcement infrastructure is already in place after an unprecedented ten year build-up that includes 300 towers, hundreds of miles of walls, electronic surveillance equipment and thousands of border guards. At a border that the FBI certifies as safe, prioritizing "border security" represents an unacceptable escalation of an already extremely dangerous pattern of waste and violence. Net migration from Mexico has been zero or close to zero for several years and unauthorized border crossings are the lowest in a generation. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano certified the border as "secure." The "border surge", with a price tag of $47 billion dollars, will significantly increase border deaths as unauthorized crossers brave even more harrowing and dangerous circumstances. This has been documented over the last several years as increased border enforcement has caused border deaths to increase substantially even though unauthorized crossings have gone down significantly. The "border surge" will cause civil rights violations of U.S. border residents. 40,000 border guards buttressed by electronic surveillance equipment and dozens of drones will "occupy" border communities combing for "undocumented immigrant" profiles that are in practice indistinguishable from that of the majority citizen and legal population. Fifty-four percent (54%) of the 7.5 million border county inhabitants are Latinos according to the 2012 Census. The "border surge" will also adversely impact indigenous communities whose ancestors have lived in the area and worked the land for hundreds of years, including ¡Lipan Apaches, Kickapoo, and the Tohono O'odham nation. Indigenous peoples in the border areas have suffered destruction of their land, loss of land grants, and unilateral extinguishment of land titles, more recently through ¡Operation Gatekeeper, Operation Hold the Line (1993/4), Operation Safeguard (1995), the Secure Border Initiative (2005), and the Secure Fence Act (2006).

Finally, as recent exposes in the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times report S.744 is a boondoggle for the private prison and surveillance technology industries that will get even more billions of dollars in contracts for border enforcement, for more "immigrant prisons," and for the implementation of E-verify.

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