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Weekly Immigration Wire: In Midst of Crisis, Signs of Reform

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FieldNote: This is a weekly feature by Nezua, TMC MediaWire Blogger

President Obama has often stated that immigration reform cannot be approached in a piecemeal fashion, and that his administration would tackle the issue in 2009. This week, Obama will be meeting with members of Congress to kick off a bi-partisan approach to reform. These meetings don’t guarantee any legislative action will take place this year, but are at least an encouraging sign. In the meantime, the deportation industry shows no sign of slowing, hate crimes are rising and hate groups are being main streamed. As a result, the polarization between reform advocates and foes is getting worse.

New America Media’s Jun Wang writes about the disapointing consensus reached by a panel of immigration activists last Thursday at California State University in Los Angeles. A lack of movement around immigration reform won’t help curb rising rates of hate crimes against Latino/as, and compounds other instances of “othering” and racism. According to one panelist: “Employers in conservative cities” are learning that “they are better off not hiring people who are ‘foreign looking or having foreign sound names.’”

Not content with simply raiding homes, workplaces, or storming the local  7-11, Immigrations Customs and Enforcement (ICE) is escalating its enforcement tactics. Also in New America Media, Hiram Soto reports on the joint operation between the Border Patrol and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in deporting three high-school age girls, one as young as 16, who were stopped by ICE on their way to school. Immigration attorney Lilia Velasquez, who is representing the minors, said she “hasn’t seen anything like this in her 25-year career,” because the children are being let back into the U.S. to fight their deportation.